Steve Windham


I am in the midst of a journey to transform my body and thought it might help others if I shared my experiences. In the past 3 years, I have gone from a very out-of-shape couch potato to a "gym rat" that is continuously trying to learn more about bodybuilding and fitness.

I was skinny as a teenager and always wanted that athletic, muscular build, but I was too embarrassed over my physique to workout in a gym. Just as I was graduating from college, I finally got up the nerve and began lifting weights at the university's student fitness center. I continued to do so off and on for many years. However, I tended to gain a lot of fat with the muscle, and lose most of the muscle when I lost the fat. The result was that although I was bigger and stronger than I had been as a teenage, the net gains were small.

When I reached my early-mid thirties, I thought my time was running out to get into really great shape. My work schedule became a little more flexible so I could regularly get to the gym. I also discovered Creatine and started using it for the first time. Just eight months of regular weight training led to the most progress I had ever made, though again, I had gained fat along with the muscle.

But the workouts were halted by a major shoulder injury. After more than a year and a half away from any form of exercise, I found myself in the worst shape of my life. The "before" picture above is from this time, taken in the Summer of 1998. I decided to have the surgery that would remedy the shoulder problem once and for all. I was able to lose some weight with only changes to my diet to better handle the upcoming rehabilitation, but was still in very poor shape.

After the rehabilitation therapy ended, I went back to the gym and started lifting again, using only very light weights. It was embarrassing as I struggled to bench press less than 100 pounds, but I had no choice but to start over. Just as I was getting back to regular weight training, I read about one of the early EAS Challenges. I entered, and although I did not complete the contest officially, this started the critical concept of measuring progress by lean muscle gain/fat loss and not just the readings of the scale.

It was during one of these body fat measurements that I met Tim Owens, a personal trainer at my local gym. He noted that although I was losing weight, my body fat was going down very slowly. I began working with Tim and learned a lot about the fundamentals of bodybuilding - the combination of weight training, diet, cardio and supplements to lose fat and still gain muscle. In about three months, my body fat went from 30% to 17% and I gained about 15 pounds of muscle.

But this too would come to an end. A back injury halted both weight training and jogging (my main source of cardio). This was a depressing time, knowing that I was so close to getting into the kind of shape I wanted to be in. I was afraid that not only was I unable to continue improving, but I would lose the gains that had been made. I did recover completely from the injury though and was able to get back in the gym. I did regain all the muscle I had lost, but then had to deal with a serious personal issue in my family. After all this had passed, I could get into the gym regularly again. It had been over a year since the back injury and other issues had kept me from regular weight training. Fortunately, although I was not able to continue my progress, I was active enough and watched my diet so I was able to least hold onto what had previously been accomplished.

So I went back to the gym, fired up and ready to get back to lifting weights regularly once more. A local bodybuilder that I knew, Aaron Marino, had recently started working at my gym as a personal trainer. We spoke; I told him that I was skinny enough by that point and was mainly interested in getting bigger. He countered that I could get much leaner and still continue to gain muscle mass. We began working together and I have made significant progress since then. My knowledge about training, diet, cardio and their interaction continued to increase. My workouts reached a new level of intensity; I continued to gain muscle, and my body fat went from around 17% to 7%. He also took the "after" picture of me (above) last September.

And I still train with Aaron today at his new facility, The Gym, in Kennesaw, Georgia. Now my focus is more on gaining muscle and getting stronger. My first article for described what I did with regards to weight training, diet, cardio and supplements in order to significantly change my body. I have learned a lot from trainers, competitive bodybuilders, supplement experts and other informed sources, and anyone trying to improve himself or herself can to. Also, just because your plan is interrupted, doesn't mean that you are doomed. It is possible to make progress even if you have to take time off. But the more you know about diet/nutrition, the more you know about weight training exercises, the more you know about fat burning, the better your odds for success and the greater those successes will be. Knowledge is the basic foundation for maximizing your chances at achieving your goals!

(As of September 2001)

Years Bodybuilding: 2 1/2 years (serious)
Favorite Body Parts: biceps, pecs
Favorite Exercise: flat dumbbell flyes, barbell curls, one arm dumbbell rows
Favorite Supplements: Creatine, Myoplex Shakes, Solid Protein Bars
Hobbies: golf, college football, internet
Favorite Bodybuilders: Arnold, Gunter Schlierkamp
Age: 39
Height: 5 11?
Weight: 176 lbs


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