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Body Transformation: Get With The Program!

Andrew was determined to get fit without a gym. His little hometown didn’t cater to fitness, but he didn’t care. He researched new and creative ideas and implemented his own plan!
Name: Andrew W. Harris Jr.
Email: spring85sigma@yahoo.com
BodySpace: spring85sigma

Andrew W. Harris Jr. Andrew W. Harris Jr.
AGE 44
HEIGHT
5'7"
WEIGHT
175 lbs
BODY FAT
17%
AGE 48
HEIGHT
5'7"
WEIGHT
143 lbs
BODY FAT
7.5%

Why I Decided To Transform

My most recent transformation began in March of 2008. From August 1999 to July 2006 I was living in Syracuse, New York, attending Syracuse University pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling and Human Services. While pursuing my doctoral studies, I took advantage of the free gym facilities for faculty and students and began getting back in shape.

Starting in 2000, I lifted heavy weights, combined different types of cardio, and watched my diet. Before I left Syracuse, however, I allowed financial problems and other worries to take their toll and let myself go again. By 2005, I was in horrible shape again. I tried desperately to find a job that would allow me to meet my needs and finish my doctorate, but was unsuccessful. By the spring of 2006, with no job prospects or graduate school funding (in spite of a 3.76 GPA), I had to return home to Waverly, Virginia.

I returned home in the summer of 2006 after losing almost everything I worked so hard for, including a career in academia, the vast majority of my material possessions (e.g. books, clothes, furniture, electronics), and a great deal of my self-esteem and confidence. Much of the remainder of 2006 and 2007 was a huge pity party for me. I worked various jobs, but never seemed to find a proper match. This caused further feelings of depression and failure. I ate and drank like a mad man.

By the time 2008 rolled around, I was up to 175 pounds. I suffered headaches, mental brain fog, physical exhaustion, sleep troubles, and aching joints. I knew I had to get in shape.

How I Accomplished My Goals

There were a number of barriers I needed to overcome. The most important was my attitude. I grew used to the free university gym facilities and commercial gym memberships. In Waverly at the time, there was no local gym. The nearest gym was 26 miles away. Between gas, gym fees, and travel time, there was no way that I could join a gym. Once I accepted this fact, I began to think about other ways to get into shape.

I managed to bring some workout equipment home from Syracuse - two 20-pound dumbbells, an exercise ball, and some push-up bars. This wasn't enough to achieve the health and fitness goals I envisioned. I heard about bodyweight and began researching different techniques. I knew about the classic bodyweight exercises (e.g. push-ups, squats, crunches). I learned quite a few new variations of the old exercises and some new ones. Having done the research, I decided to use my dumbbells, bodyweight, and cardio to begin getting back into shape.

Having completed my research and selected bodyweight and dumbbell exercises, I cobbled together my first six-week workout cycle. I scheduled workouts for five days each week and decided to work out different body parts on each day of the week. I did cardio at the end of every workout. In order to track my workouts and stay motivated, I put the entire six-week workout in a Microsoft Word table that I could print, post, and check off each completed workout. I set my first workout cycle to begin on the first Monday in March of 2008.

I started the first cycle weighing 175 pounds, decided not to dwell on the scale, but to use the mirror and how my clothes fit to assess my progress. I didn't take any initial measures of physical fitness. I did 3 sets of 10 reps for all exercises regardless of how easy they were. I increased reps by set increments each week of that first cycle and started walking a mile each day after the workout for the first two weeks and introduced running gradually.

I never thought about quitting, but felt very unsure about the workout that I designed for myself. I must admit that I still felt deprived and depressed without a gym. I never stopped researching and came across ways to enhance my bodyweight exercises to add mass. I used a backpack to add weight to my exercises. I changed the pace of my reps and used different positions for exercises. I continued to press forward with the inspiration of my family, particularly my mother, grandmother, nieces, and nephews.

Supplements That Helped Me Through The Journey
Post-workout
Before Bed
Diet Plan That Guided My Transformation

I did a great deal of nutritional research and experimentation to determine what works best for me. I tend to eat only when I am hungry, which means I don't eat immediately after a tough workout. I do, however, have to be careful to make sure I eat the right foods because I generally have a busy daily schedule.

Some days are given almost entirely to taking care of my parents and their business affairs. On those days, I tend to snack rather than eating well-prepared meals. I can tell when I have had a day or two of poor eating by simply looking in the mirror.

I've used intermittent fasting (Google: Brad Pilon) for the past three years to help burn fat and gain better control over my cravings.

Meal 1: Pre-workout
Meal 2: Post-workout
Meal 3: Snack
  • Raw Vegetables

    Raw Vegetables

    1 cup

Meal 4
Meal 5: Snack
  • lean meat

    Lean Meat

    8 oz

  • Raw Vegetables

    Raw Vegetables

    1 cup

  • salad

    Salad

    1 small

Training Regimen That Kept Me On Track

My training is a combination of mostly bodyweight (pull-ups, push-ups, chin-ups, dips, etc.), dumbbell exercises, and various types of cardio. My training regimen is a six-week workout cycle, followed by a two-week "Intercycle" of active rest and recovery bodyweight workouts.

Each week of the cycle contains six days of workouts designed to hit various body parts and to address various training goals. This workout as well as my "Intercycle" workout is posted in its entirety on my BodySpace. I stretch before every workout or cardio session.

Here's an example of Week 3:

Day 1: Cardio
Day 2: Arms/Shoulders/Cardio
Day 3: Chest/Back/Cardio
Day 4: Legs/Cardio
Day 5: Abs/Cardio
Day 6: Tabata/Cardio/Plyometrics

    Tabata Circuit: Repeat 3x for a total of 6 minutes

  • Half Burpees Half Burpees

    Half Burpees

    20 sec
  • Pushups Pushups

    Pushups

    20 sec
  • Freehand Jump Squat Freehand Jump Squat

    Freehand Jump Squat

    20 sec
  • Plyometrics

  • Ankle Hops Ankle Hops

    Ankle Hops

    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Standing Jumps Standing Jumps

    Standing Jumps

    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Lateral Step-ups Lateral Step-ups

    Lateral Step-ups

    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

    Box Jump (Multiple Response)

    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Box Jump (Multiple Response) Box Jump (Multiple Response)

    Jump Off Box

    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Cardio

  • Trail Running/Walking Trail Running/Walking

    Walking

    1 mile
  • Trail Running/Walking Trail Running/Walking

    Tabata Run

    6 min (sprint 20 seconds, walk 10 seconds, repeat 12 times)
Day 7: Rest

What Aspect Challenged Me The Most

The aspect of my transformation that continues to challenge me most is keeping the workouts fresh, balanced, and productive because I rely heavily on bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. I continue to research new exercises and variations on old exercises. I introduced Tabata-styled workouts, found them challenging, and welcomed them to my regimen.

Another addition to my training has been a thorough stretching regimen. I spent most of 2012 rehabilitating a shoulder impingement injury, which was most likely brought on by the high number of repetitions during bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. I failed to thoroughly stretch my entire body, specifically my upper body. That is no longer a problem. I also found that with lighter workouts my shoulder impingement continues to heal.

My Future Fitness Plans
  • To earn physical training and nutrition certifications and concentrate on those 35 and older.
  • To find fitness modeling opportunities, especially in media aimed at the 35 and older market.
  • I want to write a step-by-step book chronicling my journey to be used as a training program.
  • To complete a behavior change book that's useful to those who wish to live healthy.
  • To find a competitive outlet for motivation and maintain a high level of fitness.
  • To continue challenging myself to be more fit and healthy and to serve as a positive role model.
Suggestions For Aspiring Transformers
  • Assess what you want to accomplish in your transformation.
  • Develop and write down your goals.
  • Do your homework (research).
  • Make sure you develop a strong support network.
  • Develop a strong time management plan.
  • Be consistent and patient.
  • Make sure to balance all aspects of your life.
How Bodybuilding.com Helped Me Reach My Goals

By the time I found Bodybuilding.com in October 2008, my workouts were getting stale. I continued researching new exercises and workouts, but really needed motivation and encouragement. I finally developed the courage to create a BodySpace profile and put up some pretty bad pictures of my progress, or lack thereof, and was surprised at the warm welcome I received.

Bodybuilding.com is my primary social network and has been for the past four years. I look forward to checking my "Dashboard" to read my friends' "Fit Statuses." My BodySpace friends helped me through the loss of loved ones, a very painful shoulder injury, and through daily challenges. I encourage any new members on Bodybuilding.com to get involved. If your profile isn't completed, I urge you to complete it and find a network of people.

You Could Be Our Next Transformation Of The Week


Male
Male Transformations.

No longer content to sit on the sidelines of life these guys have gone from wimp to pimp!
Female
Female Transformations.

Done with giving excuses, these ladies have given themselves the bodies they always wanted!

Teen
Teen Transformations.

These amazing teenagers have made changes in their lives that most adults only dream about!
Over 40
Over 40 Transformations.

Age is no excuse for these over 40 women & men who have decided to feel and look young again!


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Comments

Showing 1 - 25 of 37 Comments

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Perseus3

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Perseus3

Wow, this guy had every excuse not to get fit but he did and achieved an impressive physique by using bodyweight exercises, a cheaper diet, and hardly any supplementation. No excuses guys and mad props to you Andrew.

Nov 29, 2012 5:49pm | report
 
spring85sigma

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spring85sigma

Thank you Perseus! I appreciate the kind comments!

Nov 30, 2012 8:39am | report
Sushimaster

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Sushimaster

Now add some muscle, doesnt look good, too skinny.

Nov 29, 2012 6:57pm | report
 
spring85sigma

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spring85sigma

Sushimaster, thank you for your feedback. Given what I have to work with, I am proud of my progress! It would be awesome to see YOUR transformation. Your profile, however, is EMPTY! Best wishes to you!

Nov 29, 2012 7:34pm | report
Rodygringo

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Rodygringo

I've never commented on a transformation before but Andrew deserves it!
Amazing physique bro!!
To sushimaster above: he doesn't look skinny at all..he looks athletic as hell!!
Amazing shape!!
Congratulations Andrew!!

Nov 29, 2012 8:33pm | report
kiestonreece

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kiestonreece

Good reply spring85sigma!!

Nov 30, 2012 6:26am | report
superfitkira

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superfitkira

Thanks for sharing your story! Truly inspiring and lots of great information!

Nov 29, 2012 7:01pm | report
 
spring85sigma

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spring85sigma

Thank you for your comment, Kira! Wishing you the best in all of your endeavors!

Nov 30, 2012 8:41am | report
spring85sigma

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spring85sigma

I just found out about this being published through another member! I thank you for this honor! I appreciate your capturing my story!

Nov 29, 2012 7:32pm | report
 
tayparker718

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tayparker718

Wow true admire this! This shows you there is no excuse to not being able to transform your body even if you may not have all the fancy equipment you can still achieve your goal

Nov 29, 2012 7:56pm | report
 
luciano007

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luciano007

amazing! good job!! i will do this workout starting tomorrow i'm not saying that this gonna work on myself, but i will give a try!! how does the IF working on you???.

thanks! and again...good job!

Nov 29, 2012 8:49pm | report
 
Avoc

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Avoc

Congrats on the feature, now the bodyspace group should be rocking.

Nov 30, 2012 12:50am | report
 
TheGaspari

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TheGaspari

Respect man!

Nov 30, 2012 1:15am | report
 
transformerchad

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transformerchad

he looks more like 5% damnn

Nov 30, 2012 1:34am | report
 
kiestonreece

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kiestonreece

Hats off and much respect to you. You didn't allow not having a gym membership as an excuse. Great respect from me sir. Good luck on for future fitness goals!

Nov 30, 2012 6:27am | report
 
mikelupham2

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mikelupham2

This is awesome! You are a true inspiration, especially for those who aren't necessarily set up for success. You've proven that the only thing someone truly needs to reach their exercise goals, is a strong mind and perseverance. Possibly the most impressive transformation that I've seen considering the mountain you had to climb. Congratulations Andrew!

Nov 30, 2012 9:03am | report
 
DCLou

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DCLou

GREAT inspiration for everyone!!!EXCUSES are not optional :). Great work sir, keeping pushing for those goals.

Nov 30, 2012 10:09am | report
 
gotabebig

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gotabebig

well done buddy its really nice to see ya on the front page

Nov 30, 2012 11:03am | report
 
vinny2020

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vinny2020

Great job Andrew. You look really ripped! No traditional gym? So what? No excuses. Looks like you better get started on your book :)

Nov 30, 2012 11:59am | report
 
nathanc92109

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nathanc92109

Hey Andrew, I found your article very inspiring! I wish you the best with the writing, I think that you will kill it! It was nice to read an article with a diet and supplement plan that is both minimal and realistic...I see what some of the people on this site consume and it is overwhelming!
Thank you for your article!!!
-Nathan

Nov 30, 2012 2:10pm | report
 
Aswilli4

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Aswilli4

Great Job! Definitely an inspiration, my job for the last couple of months has kept me on the road for almost 6 months so its been difficult to modify my exercise routine but its great to see you overcome your barriers! Well done and you deserved to be commended!

Nov 30, 2012 2:46pm | report
 
ameyp97

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ameyp97

great man,you did your cardio everyday,really impressive

Dec 2, 2012 12:10am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Andrew you have been inspiring me for years now. Glad to see that BodySpace has finally given you some recognition for what you have been contributiing to all of us for so long.

Dec 2, 2012 6:07am | report
 
speedoguy

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speedoguy

In my opinion this guy has a more balanced physique than the traditional bodybuilding regimen gives. Also inspirational for anyone approaching their 40's. I get a lot of weird looks doing loads of bodyweight excercises all the time but this guy shows they're not to be sniffed at and in many ways lead to greater functional fitness. The intermitent fasting idea gains greater momentum too shown here.
Inspirational. Andrew you will make a great trainer.

Dec 2, 2012 7:06am | report
 
KettleBellFreak

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KettleBellFreak

Man! you're quads are looking quality for having no machines! And you did this on a budget, against the odds, and out of your own head. You're a ******* beast!

Dec 2, 2012 7:28am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 37 Comments

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