Body Transformation: Live By The Gym, Live For The Gym

Joseph was an athlete through high school, but he was very small in stature. With proper motivation and religious dedication, he packed on 40 pounds of muscle!
Name: Joseph Chung
BodySpace: ILLINIdrummer

Joseph Chung Joseph Chung
AGE 18
115 lbs
AGE 21
154 lbs

Why I Got Started

All throughout elementary school, I was picked on since I was small, scrawny, and a big teacher's pet. As a senior in high school, I was still small and scrawny, yet very content for having a six pack (at 115 lbs). Running track and cross country in high school was also very rewarding, too (I reaped the benefits of having good mental and cardiovascular health).

Once I went to college, I noticed how big everyone was, and how super skinny I was (I had the narrowest shoulders, chicken legs, and stick-skinny arms).

Reflecting back on my life, there were many important reasons why I really wanted to lift. To give a brief background of myself, the motives for everything I did was to either impress a certain girl I really liked; to become popular and feel accepted and respected by others, while getting revenge on the ones who looked down on me; to feel good about myself psychologically and physically; to suppress my ongoing waves of emotions; and the list goes on.

I always wanted to escape my negative thoughts through all these things, and I would zone out my emotions through being in relationships, drumming, running, doing push-ups and sit-ups, and by listening to music all day long.

But now, the main purpose why I lift and why I have a reason to even live today is solely to shine Christ to others, through everything I do. Now, almost every day, I have come to a realization that this world cannot fill the void that's been in my heart for so long (I've been chasing after so many things in life, as living proof)! Only Jesus can fill that hole!

So when I meditate and read the word and even during times of hardships and sufferings, my heart is at peace because knowing that Jesus already won the war, brings peace to my heart! I just need to persevere, endure, and grow in Him!

Just like in bodybuilding, punishing your body through every single rep and set (despite your current mental and physical state) shows true strength; and in return, you are stronger and bigger than you are yesterday. So now, every day before I lift, I am indescribably filled with joy! It keeps me going before every workout session, and every day in life!

Even though others may view bodybuilding as a negative (and even as a boring) sport compared to football and basketball, it's truly amazing to me how the human body can transform to anything your mind visualizes it to be---there are no limits! You just have to persevere through a temporary period of pain every day, learn how to sacrifice, be patient, and become disciplined. It really tests your mental toughness and sees how much you are willing to receive, as well as sacrifice, for one goal: Growth!

As a lover of Christ, I am called to be a spiritual bodybuilder not only in the gym, but through all spheres in life! And what do I get in return? Eternal life (that is only given by Christ who died for my hell-deserving sins)!

So how can I not be driven to get off my lazy butt and hit the gym every day and fight rep by rep? How can I not be driven to share the gospel with strangers? How can I not be driven to persevere when I go through physical and emotional trials and hardships? How can I not be driven to fight the good fight, and to serve and love the Lord whole-heartedly every day until the day I die?

I believe the heart of a spiritual bodybuilder focuses not on the temporary things of this world, but on the things that are eternal. And I just need to learn how to be faithful not only in the big things, but especially in the small things, as well.

Somehow, bodybuilding definitely helped me to bust through every single rep, be disciplined in counting every gram of macronutrients daily, and it somehow helped shape the better person I am today (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually).

How I Did It

I've been faithfully bodybuilding for 3.5 years now and when I look back at all those years, I never viewed bodybuilding as a chore or duty. Instead, I viewed it as an art because it is just that! In your mind, you perceive this image in your head, and once you have that image/idea stuck in your head, you work on it day in and day out. And during this very long process, when you look at the mirror, you are so impressed because what you see now surpasses what your mind thought it would create in the beginning...and BAM! There's your masterpiece!

I call this mind sculpting! But, it doesn't just stop there. The beauty of bodybuilding is really building upon your masterpiece---there are always rooms for improvement!

Just like the great legend (Arnold) said, "Life is about continually staying hungry." Honestly, I was and still am very discontent with my body, to this day. I guess you are never too big (just keep that in mind)! And this drives me to hit the gym even harder and more intense than the day before! So basically, I embrace this sport as a mind game, a privilege, and a hobby; as well as a lifestyle!

So since I had the mindset of a bodybuilder in check since the beginning, every single workout I had, I would always progress, persevere, and most importantly, I would always have fun! I had fun feeling my muscles tighten up, seeing my strength improve, and seeing how nutrition plays the biggest role in muscle building!

I somehow made my workout fun for myself, as well as for others. If I ever feel unmotivated (which rarely happens), I would always look back to the reason why I initially started bodybuilding in the first place. To add, listening to music and reading the Bible helped motivate me tremendously!

To end, I transformed my body by keeping myself accountable through the art of motivation (I hope that makes sense)!


Upon Waking, Evening & Before Bed
Morning, Evening & Before Bed
Morning & Evening (w/ Meals)
Pre Workout
Intra Workout
Post Workout


Meal 1
Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6
Meal 7


My body responds best to high-volume workouts. It was mainly inspired by Layne Norton's P.H.A.T. The first exercise of every workout is always more strength oriented; everything else is hypertrophy-bodybuilding style.

Many of my good friends think I am overtraining. I believe in under-eating and under-sleeping; not overtraining.

Here are a few things to note about my training:

  • I usually have one day of rest every 2-3 weeks.
  • I never train abs when I'm on a lean bulk.
  • I don't do cardio unless I'm on a cut.
  • I foam roll and stretch after leg and back days.
  • I always start with 3-4 warm-up/acclimation sets before every strength exercise (always the first exercise for each workout).
Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Chest
Day 3: Back
Day 4: Arms
Day 5: Shoulders
Day 6: Same As Monday
Day 7: Same As Tuesday

Suggestions For Others

  • When you feel mentally burnt out from going to the gym, remember why you even started in the first place. Don't make bodybuilding a "New Year's Resolution" or even a phase in life. It's a lifestyle. Period. Embrace it!
  • To all the hardcore ectomorphs (like me): stop reading this article and start eating!
  • Count your macronutrients daily! I still struggle with this.
  • "Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you respond to it." -Unknown
  • Always humble yourself before the weights...there is a difference between powerbuilding/bodybuilding and "EGO-lifting". Lifting heavy for one rep with horrible form does not build muscle.

    What builds muscle is really feeling the mind-to-muscle connection; as you focus on each controlled rep by flexing the targeted muscle at the peak of the movement, and really concentrating on the slow eccentric portion of the movement to really stretch out the muscle.

    It's not about how much you can's all about how much you look like you can lift. Bodybuilding is full of illusions; that's the beauty of the sport.

Thank You

Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me and keeping me accountable financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I would also like to thank Layne Norton for breaking the laws of broscience by providing the bodybuilding community with free legitimate studies backed up by science!

He is truly a living example of what he preaches and studies! I cannot wait to work with him this April for my first few shows over the summer! I would like to thank the Illini Bodybuilding Club for all your helpful critiques, social support, and for just being a fun-loving community!

I also want to thank all of my brothers and sisters in my campus church, Covenant Fellowship Church. I am so motivated and encouraged by every single one of their hearts to serve the Lord through everything they do!

Next, I would like to thank not only for putting my transformation up on their world-known website, but for giving me all the tools and information on workout routines, supplementation, and motivation since the first day I started bodybuilding! It is a true honor to be featured on this website!

I hope and pray that I can inspire others (especially the hardcore ectomorphs) to get sucked into the lifestyle of natural bodybuilding! Most importantly, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior for dying on the cross for me and for the world! He is the definition of what true love really is; and I am hopeful and honored to be active in my faith in Him.

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