During a visit to an amusement park with his children, Allen got a rude awakening when he was having trouble getting in and out of the rides. So he decided to make a change. Read on to learn how Allen dropped 57.6 pounds and began competing!
A year ago I was at an amusement park with my family and when my kids bugged me to do one of those "Guess Your Weight" games I agreed thinking the game operator would say 210 pounds - to my embarrassment he said 235 pounds and the scale topped off at 232 pounds!
Click Image To Enlarge. Allen Smolenski's Weight Loss Progress.
To make matters worse I was barely able to squeeze into the ride seats of the roller coasters so I knew I had to do something. When I was fat and out of shape my self image was distorted; I perceived myself as being athletic and youthful.
Click Image To Enlarge. My Self Image Was Distorted.
It took a little dose of reality to wake me up. As an ER doc I see the consequences of poor nutrition and bad habits every day. What kind of example was I setting for my patients with the shape I was in?
How I Did It
I started off in August 2007 at 232 pounds and about 29% body fat - the worse shape of my life. Like most people I did everything the wrong way. You'd think that as a physician I would have known better but they just don't teach this stuff in medical school.
I tried a bunch of different diets and basically ended up starving myself with a low calorie, low fat diet with way too many simple carbohydrates and not nearly enough protein.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Tried A Bunch Of Different Diets.
I had no idea what supplements I needed so I experimented with different ones without knowing what made sense for my objectives. Like all diets it worked - for a while. I lost about 15 pounds - probably more muscle than fat - and looked like a smaller fat guy.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Started To Lift Weights Like I Did When I Was In High School And College.
I was pretty clueless and lifted too much weight with a "get it up by any means possible" attitude without regard to form, intensity or the muscle-mind connection - I basically let my ego drive my workouts.
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As you can guess, I ended up with a shoulder injury from improper bench pressing. Despite all of this I was able to manage some gains probably because I was a beginner and just about anything was better than being a couch potato.
By December 2007 I knew I needed help so I started participating in the Over 35 Forum here on Bodybuilding.com. This is also the time I got up the nerve to post my first progress pictures - it was weird to post my first pictures, but I knew that to transform myself I needed to hold myself accountable to reality.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Was Able To Manage Some Gains.
Thankfully I got gentle feedback and lots of encouragement from other members. My real turning point came when one of the Over 35 regulars, Ed Cook (BodySpace: oldsuperman) sent me a private message encouraging me to get some personal coaching if I was serious about competing as a bodybuilder.
Ed introduced me to bodybuilder and conditioning coach Sean Calder who took me under his impressive wings in January 2008 - he told me to pick a competition and 8 months later I stepped on stage for my first bodybuilding show in the best shape of my life sporting a 6-pack and enough muscle to take third place (out of 13) in the open middleweights.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Stepped On Stage For My First Bodybuilding Show In The Best Shape Of My Life.
I will outline what I did here but to be honest I would have quit many times over if it wasn't for Sean's steadfast belief in me and his expert guidance and counsel.
The bulk of my transformation diet was about 7 meals per day, 4 with food and 3 with protein shakes. The diet is basically high protein, moderate fat and low carbohydrate with a breakdown something like this:
I had a cheat meal and would eat as many carbohydrates as I wanted once a week up until 10 weeks before my show. When I got below 10% body fat I changed things around some and added complex carbs to my diet and then slowly tapered them off in the final weeks to help burn off the last bit of fat.
Now that my show is over I am trying to add some lean muscle while keeping the fat off so I am eating about 7-or-8 meals per day which is about 250-to-300 g protein, 200 g complex carbs, and 100 g fats.
My diet is clean; I eliminate all processed foods and drink 2 gallons of water a day - if you eat 3000 calories of natural foods and drink that much water there isn't much room left for any junk food.
Click Image To Enlarge. I Am Trying To Add Some Lean Muscle While Keeping The Fat Off.
I do allow myself to go out twice per week for cheat meals with my family - but these are sensible meals where I go off diet but it's not an excuse to gorge.
Allen's Training Program
5 to 10 minute warm-up followed by 5-to-10 minute stretching.
No more than 2-3 working sets per exercise, 8-20 reps per exercise except for calves and abs which are 25 reps.
Rest periods are brief and range from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.
Cardio was done for 45-to60 minutes every day immediately following weights and this was gradually increased to dual 60-minute sessions per day in the weeks leading up to my show. Right now I am taking a break from cardio but plan to restart it with three 30-minute HIIT sessions per week.
Sign up for a BodySpace and post your progress pictures regularly. Get a reliable body fat assessment done like a hydrostatic, bodpod or dexascan at least once so you know how much muscle you have and how much body fat you really need to get rid of.
Make friends on the Bodybuilding.com Forums and be open to feedback and criticism. Finally if you want to be a competitive bodybuilder find a mentor like oldsuperman and a coach like Sean Calder to help you take it to the next level.
Click Image To Enlarge. Make Friends On The Forum And Be Open To Feedback & Criticism.
These men have been where you want to be and they will fast forward your progress by not allowing you to make the same mistakes they did along the way. Be honest with yourself and your coach and most of all believe in miracles!