In the spo(r)tlights: Guillermo Hernandez

I feel better than ever both mentally and physically so I plan to stick to my new habits for long.

Who are you, where do you come from?

My name is Guillermo Hernández de Blas and I come from Madrid, Spain. In terms of fitness and how my colleagues at USC Universum may perceive me, I would say I am a consistent guy and somebody that has shown good results since I joined the gym around 1 year ago. I workout 3 days a week, complementing my training with a diet designed to achieve my goals, avoiding processed foods. Additionally I quit drinking alcohol when I started taking my fitness goals more seriously. And I stopped spending my weekends in clubs. To be honest, I changed my lifestyle profoundly in the last 12 months. As a result I feel better than ever both mentally and physically so I plan to stick to my new habits for long.

What is your current profession? What did you study?

I am a Business Development Manager at Numus; a company located in the Matrix complex at the UvA Science Park campus. I hold a Business Administration degree and an MBA by IE Business School.

How did you find the USC and what do you do there?

The USC found me, I would say. As my office is literally in front of the gym there is less than 30 meters distance between our 2 buildings. I see the gym from my desk 8 hours a day. At first I started climbing, doing the initiation course. I went there every time I could find a suitable partner. Then I decided to sign up for the gym to fill my afternoons after work. And here I am getting interviewed! Currently I do a bodybuilding type of workout. I do several muscle groups every session, with long repetition sets, not necessarily lifting big weights. My goal is to stimulate my musculature to the max. Combined with a calorie surplus diet and rest this leads to muscle growth.

How did you get into sports?

During my childhood I was into martial arts. My parents considered it a good way to complement my education and I am glad with their decision. When I got older I tried to keep up my active lifestyle by being part of team sports clubs, like ice hockey. In addition I have been going in and out of gyms for many years. I never took it too seriously so I did not really progress. Surely not the way I am doing now.

How do you motivate yourself?

At first I had to come to the conclusion that this is what I wanted to do with my free time. As I said, before focusing on heavy lifting I tried climbing and also salsa dancing. These activities were cool and I enjoyed my time learning and practising them. But they did not fulfill me. So after some time looking for inspiration and connecting with myself I discovered that I wanted to challenge myself. Then I got into fitness. Once I had this clear, the will power came by itself. I started to go to the gym consistently and started eating the healthy way. I am not saying it was easy, but I was willing to overcome the difficulties, as I incorporated it in my inner self.

Later on my will power faded and the force of the habits I created made me stick to my training routine. During the week I do not even think if I am tired or fancy to do something else. When I finish in the office I head to the gym and go full beast mode, there is no other option. When I see the results in my body, that gives me all the motivation I need; I want to keep progressing. My workout is working. Finally now I also feel much better mentally, I have more energy, I am in a better mood and I am more social. So my brain chemistry has also changed. This is something that I value a lot and I do not want to give that away.

How does your training look like?

I start with 20 minutes of warming up and mobility exercises, to get my body prepared for what is coming. Later I do 2 hours of lifting exercises; as said I look for maximum stimulation. Currently I do a Pull and Push protocol, meaning that I alternate every day between pulling types of exercises, like rowing, with pushing types of exercises, like presses. To finalize I do abs exercises and stretching.

What are the nice aspects of your workout, and the nasty ones?

The best part of my workout is that I can achieve my fitness goals. Furthermore fitness is convenient and adaptable to my lifestyle. I have to travel for work frequently but I rarely miss a workout because I can easily relocate them to another day of the week. I also enjoy using and challenging my body. It is a great thing to do in this modern life where I feel pushed to look at my smartphone the whole day. I consider my gym time as me-time and connecting with my body; in other words a great meditative experience.

I can not mention any negative side of my workout. Maybe from the outside it can look repetitive and tiresome, but I enjoy it. Of course some days I am tired or want to skip a set or two. But I have learnt to identify these thoughts and I know that if I keep pushing myself, afterwards my brain will reward me with some extra endorphins. Everything in life has an opportunity cost; I rather pay the price of being exhausted in the gym than paying the price of sitting comfortably in my sofa, eating Doritos and watching Netflix, but wondering if I am really giving my best.

Do you have specific sports goals?

You bet I do! Now my main goal is to gain lean weight, meaning to grow mostly on muscles, not fat. I started with 75 kg and right now I am around 84 kg. I am very happy with my progress. By May/June I would like to be as close to 90 kg as possible, then I will start a shredding phase for 2 or 3 months.

Do you have a message for fellow sports (wo)men?

Normally I avoid giving advices. But now that I have the chance: the one thing that was key to me was the mental factor in sports. If you learn how to control your mind your body will follow.

There are many ways and techniques to increase the control over your mind. In my case two years ago I started practising mindfulness meditation. I believe that it has been crucial to deal with the challenges of transforming my physique as well as my overall life style. So I would like to invite my fellow gym mates to give it a try; at least do short sessions for a substantial period of time. You won’t regret it!