Blood, sweat and tears – three words I think we can all often associate with working out. Watching someone devote so much time and effort into creating a better life for themselves both mentally and physically through the gym is what captivated me for this Creative Flow story. It might seem strange to deem the bodybuilding and the gym as being ‘creative’ but to me, bodybuilding is an art form — it’s a life that you devote endless about of time to in order to shape, sculpt and mould your body into this modified structure. Similar to sculpting or even engineering, you have to create a structure within your body that has a stable and proper foundation to maintain over time. I really wanted to understand this world even more and discuss how Ted finds Creative Flow within this abstract art.
Ted Campbell is someone who I’ve gotten to know since moving to Dublin. We’ve often had gas discussions about life, mental health and of course, the gym. We ended up having a small debate over what title he would call himself for this — the joys of labelling in 2020 — but Ted concluded on, aspiring bodybuilder.
Our chat talks about how Ted finds his Creative Flow and rhythm with training as a bodybuilder and why it’s not only changed his physical appearance but his outlook on life. You can also follow Ted’s story and daily workouts over on his Instagram page.
After filming Ted’s training session, we began chatting about the session that he just had. I opened up the conversation by asking him why he got into going to the gym and the type of training that he has committed himself to.
“With physical health, comes mental health – for years where I did struggle mentally I wasn’t doing anything physical but as soon as you have that outlet, that’s when you start to see changes in your body, you get confident and in turn that affects your mood and mental health.” I wasn’t surprised by his answer knowing Ted on a personal level but hearing how the gym and discovering his Creative Flow within training has changed his life was fascinating to discuss. It’s crazy that something as simple as moving your body can impact on almost every aspect of your life positively.
I was intrigued to understand how Ted perceived himself through these so-called ‘changes’ that he was talking about since he started training.
“It’s the confidence in myself, knowing who I am and what I’m capable of which is what has just completely soared since I started training and going to the gym full time.” Ted went on to explain that he goes to the gym six days a week and that this routine has had a positive impact on nearly every other aspect of his life too.
Following someone as they train is certainly a different experience to what I’m used to when I go to the gym – you see someone genuinely push themselves to their limits to get the result they want on that particular day. I wanted to understand what actually goes through his mind and how his body physically feels during these sessions.
“It’s a funny one,” he opens up in response to my question. “Usually when you’re getting down to those last few reps in a set, I keep saying ‘how badly do I want this?’ over and over again in my mind until I finish that last rep. Take a tough leg day for example, my legs will literally be like jelly and I’ll find myself sitting on the ground covered in sweat but by that stage I know that I’ve pushed myself to my limit and I feel really good.”
This naturally led to Ted chatting about what he finds challenging about this type of lifestyle. Ted’s aspiration is to eventually enter a bodybuilding competition next year, so I was intrigued to probe him about these challenges and what advice he might give to someone else starting that journey from scratch.
“I think the most challenging aspect about finding yourself in that flow is keeping consistent. When I started training I didn’t match up this new regime with what I was putting into my body food wise. Being consistent with food, as well as going to the gym six days a week consecutively, has to be one of the most difficult aspects to this lifestyle. I honestly eat like six or seven times a day — meaning that I pre-cook everything in advance and measure absolutely everything that I’m about to eat to the gram. People honestly look at me and think that I am simply crazy but the difference in being consistent with the food side of training is monumental to seeing physical changes in your body. I think that’s the best piece of advice I’d give, you have to be willing to commit yourself fully – you can’t half-do this lifestyle and expect the results you want.”
The last thing that I asked Ted, which is a question that I’m asking every person that I interview is, what’s his motto when it comes to the gym and finding his creative flow.
Ted’s immediate response to how I phrased this made me laugh because I asked him about the mantra he lives by, once I explained what I meant I was actually somewhat astonished by how much his motto matches his personality. “Something I live by, not only in the aspect of the gym but in my personal life is be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
We left the chat on that quote and I came away learning more not only about a friend but about training in general. Ted is someone who continuously pushes himself and strives for better — a quality I think is admirable in a society whereby you can often end up questioning almost every aspect about yourself. Hopefully there’s something within this chat that you can take away and apply to your own journey with fitness — whether that’s literally just being consistent by getting out everyday for a long walk or committing to the gym life and bodybuilding.
Make sure to give Ted a follow on Instagram and keep up with him as he continues to train and find his creative flow in the gym. If you haven’t already caught up with last weeks Creative Flow chat with Irish Fashion Designer, Mary O’Sullivan, you can give it a read here.
Till the next one,