Adam was an active kid and an athletic adolescent. Then he got a job, went to college, and saw the person in the mirror change into someone entirely unfamiliar. After he gained a quick freshman 40, his friends and family were letting him have it.
Even at a young age, Adam knew he was at a crossroads. So he dug deep, channeled plenty of inspiration from his favorite video game character, and decided to take a stand.
How did you get started with fitness?
Growing up, I was always in pretty good shape. I come from an athletic family, and I was encouraged to participate in sports from a young age. I ran track and cross-country and wrestled throughout high school.
Once I graduated high school, however, I became less active. I spent the summer working to save up for college, and I ended up continuing work through school. With no sport or hobby to help me stay active, I spent most of my time indoors. Sure, I was on my feet most of the day working a retail position, but my ravenous appetite more than made up for it. Before my first semester had ended, I'd gained about 40 pounds.
Looking in the mirror was tough. I wasn't obese, but I'd definitely put on a stomach. My friends and family were constantly commenting on it, and I was getting tired of it.
Weight: 215 lbs.
Body Fat: 28%
Weight: 198 lbs.
Body Fat: 12%
When did you decide it was time to make a change?
There are lots of video game references throughout my Bodybuilding.com forum posts and in my username and signature. That's because, oddly enough, video games pushed me to get back into shape.
Street Fighter IV came out right around my second semester of college. I'd always been a huge fan, but this version was tremendously popular, so I played it constantly. One night, as I played a few matches with a friend, the desire to change hit me like a Hadouken, one of the signature fighting moves of my favorite character, Ryu.
I remember looking at Ryu's all-out effort and feeling the childhood nostalgia and awe wash over me. He was always working hard and training to become better. He wasn't the strongest guy in the world, but he had the drive and determination to become better. He was always ripped and muscular, befitting the hard work he did.
I know he's a video game character, but, in a way, he was also a perfect representation of me and the steps I knew I had to take. I wanted to be like Ryu.
How did you go about becoming Ryu?
I had a friend I used to go to anime conventions with, and we immediately made plans to build Ryu's costume for the next event. The convention we chose was a year and a half out, so I knew I had to start getting into shape. That's what kicked everything off.
I threw together a mixture of exercises I remembered from my wrestling days and began running. It's what I assumed Ryu would do. My iPod looped his theme while I worked out, as if to tell me to push a little bit harder, and that if I kept it up, I'd be where I wanted to be. I lived on cans of tuna, chicken breast, and broccoli. My diet was unpleasant, miserable, and definitely suboptimal in terms of macros and caloric intake, but I was losing weight, so I felt like I was doing something right.
When progress began to slow, I ended up scouring the web for ways to build the physique I wanted. This is when I found Bodybuilding.com. I devoured the information on the main page and ultimately jumped into Kris Gethin's 12-Week Hardcore Trainer. I signed up at a local gym and got to work. In the span of a year, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and finally ready for the convention.
So Ryu is your primary inspiration?
I know it sounds strange, but I feel like I owe everything to him for giving me the inspiration to work. His drive to succeed and become better was motivating. There's nothing more inspiring than somebody who just won't give up no matter what—even if he's a video game character. I'd like to think that I take a lot of my current resolve from that inspiration.
Where will your fitness journey take you now?
When I first started, I was looking to build a better physique. As time has worn on, I've realized I have a hell of a lot of fun in the gym. My goals have slowly shifted from just physique to both strength and physique. Gotta be as strong as I look if I want to be the World Warrior!
A few of the guys on the boards have been pushing me to do a powerlifting meet, so I'm actually thinking about entering one when my totals have increased to 405 pounds on the bench press, 500 pounds on the squat, and 600 pounds on the deadlift. I'm hoping on doing that a little less than a year from now.
I'd like to ultimately use the knowledge I have to help other people achieve their goals, whether through forum posts, writing opportunities, or in-person training. I'd like to write from a hobbyist's perspective and provide a more laid-back view than most of what this industry pumps out. Everybody should be able to achieve the physique they desire, and everybody should be able to learn how to live a more active lifestyle where they can still live a life outside the gym.
How did you get started on the Bodybuilding.com forums?
I started browsing the forums months after having attended the convention. I spent most of my time in the nutrition section. I thought I knew what I was talking about back then, but it turns out there was a lot more for me to learn. I got schooled many, many times.
I remember reading the stickies [threads posted permanently at the top of a forum category] and feeling like my mind had exploded. It was like being shown a new world entirely. I learned about caloric surpluses, deficits, discretionary calories, daily minimums, and pretty much everything in between. I learned that what really matters is the bigger picture and not the minutiae. I have the nutrition section to thank for a lot of the things I currently know. I spent a lot of time learning things the hard way while debating with some of the more knowledgeable guys there.
This is part of the reason why I post on these forums. It's a place where I can freely share the knowledge I've learned from other forum members in a way that doesn't cost anybody anything. That's the way it should be!
The forums aren't always known for being a positive place, but you exhibit a lot of positivity in your posts. How do you maintain your outlook?
Glad that you mentioned that! I've learned that being positive is its own reward, although I was not always a positive person. It took a long time and a lot of work before my views on the world changed.
I spent a lot of time focusing on the negative aspects of life before realizing the reasons why things seemed so down for me was because I chose to allow it to be so. The moment my paradigm shifted, and I started working on improving outside of the gym, I realized that life is what you make it and started thinking positively as well.
Working out and improving your physique is a lot like working to become a more positive person. The main difference is that working out is significantly more visual, and the changes are easier to see. Just as you spend time and effort in the gym to become stronger, you can spend time becoming more positive. It's a matter of actively working toward it.
Maintaining positive vibes on the boards is as simple as trying to provide constructive commentary as often as possible, even if the other person is resorting to personal attacks. Sure, it takes less effort to call the other guy a name, but that makes you feel good for a fraction of a second before you go right back to feeling the same way you did before.
Instead, brush it off and come back with something that adds to the conversation without attempting to disparage the other person. You'd be surprised how often positivity comes back when it's given out.
Adam's Most Popular Forum Threads
What's your favorite thread?
Any of the official "NutMisc Chat Threads." There are some really great guys in there who are very knowledgeable. I would never have gotten as far with my physique without them. I owe them all a great deal of thanks.
What advice would you give to someone looking to stay motivated for the long haul?
I think people put too much emphasis on the trivial. When we're so caught up with the smallest of flaws or the most minute of issues, we're often our own worst enemies. Focus on the big picture. Just because you're not where you want to be now doesn't mean you can't get there later. Look ahead, and work toward it.
If something can't be changed, don't worry about it. There's no sense in spending time being upset at your muscular structure. A lot of times, the fitness industry throws pictures of guys like Arnold, Zane, or even guys like Mike O'Hearn in your face. A lot of what makes a bodybuilder successful is the fact that they have great muscular structures. But the thing is, we'll never be the best version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hell, we can't even be the worst version of Frank Zane. We can only be the best versions of ourselves, and if you ask me, that's even better.
Finally, don't forget to enjoy yourself. Your diet, your training, and everything else shouldn't be miserable. You should be learning how to set things up in a way that is both enjoyable and can be maintained for a long period of time. This is doubly so if you're a hobbyist like me.
As a hobbyist, we have to remember that most posters we see where models are 5 percent body fat and peeled to the bone are photo shoots. Most people aren't looking like that year-round. Learn how to be comfortable in your own skin. There's always room for improvement, but don't obsess.