Massimo Luliano, AKA Max Osiris, is a profoundly deaf bodybuilder from South-East London, UK. In a guest blog post for RAYOVAC, Max discusses his fitness journey and gives us his tips on starting out at the gym as a hard of hearing person.
The beginning of Max’s bodybuilding journey
I started at my very first gym three years ago. At that time, I had quite low confidence but I really wanted to make changes to my body. I was quite skinny, weighing about 82kg.
My friend and I went for one session; I remember thinking at the time; “what if I do something wrong or mishear things, it's going to be embarrassing”. I was very nervous, to be honest.
As soon as I got in the gym and started some basic workouts that my friend showed me, I noticed that no-one was really looking. Everyone in the gym is usually only focusing on their own fitness journey. A lot of the worries slowly started disappearing as I kept on training for the rest of that session.
After that very first session, the ball started rolling and I was already researching routines and diets online - the more things went on, the more I learned. Bodybuilding is a learning curve; you don't always have the knowledge about everything, but you can work around it by researching it online and talking to people.
Increased confidence and improved diet - Max’s progress now
Three years later, I'm a much happier person and a lot more satisfied with myself. I have become more confident, outgoing and not afraid to speak my mind. My weight has increased, which is much healthier. I have visited many gyms and learnt a lot from my visits.
I am now a member at a gym in Wallington. The gym has given me a self-discipline that I've never really had or developed before. Because of that, it has helped improve my concentration skills as well.
My diet has completely changed too - I opt for healthy protein-orientated meals and plan them weekly. I have also changed my diet to a vegan diet, not only based on how healthy and positive it is for the environment, but also because how my body benefits from it.
I usually prepare my food on the Sunday before the start of the week; this allows me to control what I eat and also makes it easy to grab my food and eat after workouts - it can be hard to fit in cooking when my time is usually taken up by work and bodybuilding.
Max’s tips for starting out in the gym if you have hearing loss
Don't be afraid to step in
Everyone has to start somewhere! Every single person in the gym was most likely to be nervous when they first started, and they have probably made a few mistakes. No-one is really bothered about new people, and many people I've encountered have always been more than happy to help demonstrate or give tips.
Don't expect results fast
It takes time for the hard work to show, it will develop over time. I was not the size I am now, back then; I certainly wasn't last year and neither the year before - it is an ongoing process.
Maintain your fitness
When you are seeing results, it's important to maintain your fitness. Muscles need to be constantly worked and fed correctly with a consistent diet in order to maintain their state. Protein-rich diets are very good for muscle maintenance. There are lots of nutritionists that can help you out; online ones are even better as you can email them - just make sure they hold nutritionist qualifications.
Correct etiquette can go a long way!
Make sure you are wary of your space; use your eyes to look around and ensure you aren't blocking other people's views, in the way of areas that people may need to get to, or interrupting workouts. That can irritate a lot of gym users. Always put your equipment back in the same place that you found it, no one likes having to spend time hunting for another matching dumbbell that's been dumped somewhere else.
Use headphones to block out background noise.
Sometimes gyms can be noisy. It may be people grunting, shouting or loud music blaring out. It may be distracting for you, especially if you're concentrating on your workout. I suggest using over-the-ear headphones with noise-cancelling and playing a personalised playlist, or turning off your hearing-aids if the noise is that bad (I personally have never had to do the latter).
Headphones have really helped me as I don't get distracted with voices from different directions. It benefits me even more, as people tap me to get my attention more often when I wear headphones, which really helps!
Always bring extra hearing aid batteries with you.
You never know when your batteries will run out. I always keep a spare pack of Rayovac batteries in my gym bag, which are for emergencies. My batteries have gone flat in the gym many times, and while it didn't affect my workout, it did make it slightly more difficult to communicate with hearing workout partners.
If you sweat a lot, invest in sweat covers for your hearing-aid.
Too much moisture can damage your hearing-aid; sweat covers stop that moisture getting inside and can also be easy to apply and remove. There are a few available online that can be easily ordered.
I really hope this blog piece has given you more of an insight, and has proven useful. Remember, being deaf makes no difference - anyone can achieve anything, no matter what disability they have.
If you have any more questions, you are always more than welcome to contact me on Instagram or Twitter - you can follow me on Instagram on @max_osiris and Twitter on @themaxosiris where I post my everyday life, gym routines and all sorts.
Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer and not Energizer.