Name: John Lee
BodySpace handle: JungleCat
Weight: 220 lbs, 215 contest
Education: Biology at University of Texas in Austin, NASM and ACE certified
Occupation: Fitness Director
2011 Europa Supershow in Dallas, Texas, 1st Place Tall Class
2011 NPC Nationals
2012 LA Championships
2012 Jr. Nationals
Athletic Background: Mixed Martial Arts (Striking focused), basketball, Mongolian wrestling, soccer.
Super Powers: The ability to speak inspiration into others.
Ultimate Goal: To be remembered for leaving the world a better place than the world I was born into.
Long before BodySpace became our signature social networking site, the Bodybuilding.com Forum was the flagship. Who are we kidding, the forum still rolls! It is one of the largest active forums on the Internet. Its members are the bastions of bodybuilding, the creators of crush, and are, of course, willing to share, even when you're not ready to listen.
John Lee has been part of both the origin story and the modernization of Bodybuilding.com. He witnessed the growing pains, and used the information and the community as support and guidance through the greatest growth years his musculature has seen.
He knows why we do this. He knows how lives change. He has seen it, in our website, and in his own shoulders.
This is fitness. This is bodybuilding. This is Forum and BodySpace. This is about you, him and us.
I was grossly overweight in 8th grade from a battle with tuberculosis when I first immigrated to this country from China. Growing up, I was always athletic, and always excelled at every sport I touched. Tuberculosis changed all that. It wasn't a full-blown battle, but the tests came back inconclusive enough for me to be placed on medication as a preventative measure for an entire year.
The side effects left me groggy, fatigued, and drained. My metabolism slowed to a halt and my appetite went out of control from all the newly introduced American food. I went from a lean 135 to a fat 185 in a couple of years. Those were nightmarish years for me at such a young age, and I'll never forget that experience.
I preach, live and breathe the lifestyle. I added other components to stay on track mentally and physically instead of taking everything for granted and leaning on my God-given genetics so heavily. I eat a diet that works for me, train with a routine that works for me, and live a lifestyle that works for me.
The keys are the words "works for me." Everyone is different. I see fitness as a journey to self-discovery, not a leap-frog session from diet to diet, exercise routine to exercise routine.
I was actually one of the original members, under the name Mr. Aries. Bodybuiding.com even used my BodySpace in one of the early ads. Everything was going well, until one day someone hijacked my account and it was erased from existence. I've since started over with this new account, and for the large part, most of the people who remember me back in the day still do today.
To be humble at all times, to be willing to learn always, and to adapt to every situation at the drop of a dime.
BodySpace has inspired me to continue my journey because so many people come to me for advice. It has kept me on the cutting edge, to constantly learn new things and develop new ways to train the body and the mind. It has helped me understand people: how they think, how they live, and how they cope.
Through BodySpace, I'm now open to a much larger audience than the local one I've grown accustomed to. It has, in a sense, allowed me and my story to go global.
I don't, because I'm neither vain nor a meathead. I've done this for many years. I don't get caught up too much with vanity for vanity's sake. The way I look at it, I've done this for so long, if I'm not good at what I do, something is wrong.
To be cocky because I'm good at something I spent such a long time honing seems petty. I don't see myself as a bodybuilder. Most of my friends are professionals in every walk of life. I don't hang around the gym much. I go there to get the job done, and when I leave, I leave the atmosphere behind.
There's too much life outside of the gym for me to isolate myself with a tiny fraction of the population inside. I love people, and I respect athletes of every sport equally. I like to meet the runners, the cyclists, the basketball players, and the volleyball players. I play all their sports and I learn from them as much as, if not more than, people in the gym.
The friends feature. I love conversing and catching up to people I would have never met without BodySpace. It's an eye-opening experience every time.
Shoulders! I believe every man should have broad, strong shoulders. I think I've hammered them for 15 years now, and never let up. Here's my favorite routine:
By now, you can see that my routines are largely about creating intensity. Weights are less relevant. After so many years of training, muscle maturity is already there. For the sake of injury prevention, I create intensity with supersets, dropsets, and forced reps, and not so much with heavy weights.
To me, you are either training for a show, a goal, or for life. I'm one of the lifers. With or without competitions, short term goals, or even BodySpace, I'll always be training and eating right.
Using way too much weight! I've been blessed to have never had any serious injuries, but I sure have had to deal with a series of small ones early on. I was always strong, so I always lifted big weights. It wasn't until later that I realized that heavy weights weren't always necessary.
No, not at all. What you need is the ability to lead, the singular focus to succeed, and the passion to help others. It helps to have a killer physique, but often those people have little to add to a company other than a face in an ad page.
To me, it's less about the physique, and more about the impact, the presence, and the ability to inspire that companies will look for.
ALCAR, CLA, cortisol blockers, vitamins, fiber supplements. I don't really have any favorite companies. I expect supplements to fill in the tiny gaps that I leave unfilled, not do the heavy lifting (so to speak). I also use protein shakes for convenience, such as Dymatize ISO-100, and also rely on Quest Bars; they taste great, are high in fiber, and also gluten-free.
Nutrition, training, genetics, and lifestyle. Without the right combination of these components, you are dead in the water. All of these together in the right ratio will get you there faster than any one by itself can accomplish alone.
Rap, hip-hop, alternative. I usually tune out, no matter what I listen to. I only pay attention when I'm in between sets usually.
Consistency plus time. You don't need to perform at superhuman levels, you just need to perform at peak human levels over enough of a period of time to gain, maintain, and solidify your gains. Try too many shortcuts and eventually you will have to eat one of your mistakes and fall face first. Play it slow and steady, and the rewards will stay and be yours to keep.
Visiting my favorite restaurants, watch a good movie, hang out with some good company, and if possible, long walks along the beachfront.
Because we are stronger as a collective group than any single person can be. Because no matter who you are, there will be moments of weakness, there will be times you want to give up, and there will be times when you simply need someone to understand. You won't always find that in everyday life, but you will always find that here.
I think everyone who considers me a friend on BodySpace makes a special impact on my life. The world is a shrinking space, and BodySpace makes it even smaller. Everyone who cares to reach out to me, like my pictures, comment on my writing, and support me in any other way gives me fuel to continue living the way I do. The people on BodySpace affirm my purpose here: to learn, to share, and to mutually inspire.
I think it's foolish, boring, and counter-intuitive to only do one type of training. I like to change things up. The body learns by adapting, and to stay one step ahead. I regularly change the order, pacing, exercises, rep ranges, and intensity levels. Doing things this way prevents burn-out and inspires me to reach for new heights. It also keeps my physique and athleticism well-rounded. I don't want to be a big paper weight.
Yes, of course. Without Bodybuilding.com, I would have never learned as much as I have about the newest supplements, the latest research, and the craziest stories. Bodybuilding.com gave me new insight into an old industry, and I developed much better understanding of not only the lifestyle, but also humanity in general along the way. I've also learned to be more patient, more tolerant, and more observant.
Find love in what you do, and what you do becomes nothing more than your expression of that love. There's nothing tedious about working out, training, or dieting. It's as part of my routine as much as brushing teeth and washing face. Everyone has a different idea of "balance", and everyone has a different "feel" for life.
Working out, to me, provides balance for my life, not the other way around. It anchors me, gives me guidance, and sets my boundaries while pushing my limits. I don't need something to balance "it." When I get tired, I take a day off. I've been in the game for many years, I understand better than anyone else that one day off changes nothing in the overall scheme of things.
The popularity has exploded. I remember back in the day when the website was nothing more than a forum with an avatar picture. Then came BodySpace and the people resistant to the changes up and left. Those who remained helped make BodySpace what it is today. Now, there are more users than ever, more content than ever, and it's more influential than ever. Along the way, Bodybuilding.com has grown to be even more of a juggernaut.
No. I'll leave that to the creative minds behind the megasite itself.