Wow. I started to work out after I saw this picture ... stuffing my face with a burger after sitting on my @ss drawing fake tattoos for an hour.
Name: Greg J.
Weight: 155 lbs
Body Fat: 15%
Weight: 175 lbs
Body Fat: 4.1%
Why I Got Started
I no longer played competitive sports and I was really starting to get out of shape. During this time I shied away from any cameras, I was embarrassed of how I looked. There are literally no pictures of me during my worst period, especially none of me shirtless. I was a recluse!
I remember sitting in my apartment alone, polishing off a large pizza and a three liter of Pepsi! (I no longer drink soda by the way) I used food as comfort. It was almost like I was punishing myself for not living the way I wanted to. I would purposely eat the worst possible things; it was really messed up.
I work at a major chain restaurant as a server. One time some friends/coworkers of mine caught me in the back of the restaurant, eating this 1,500 calorie ice cream dessert all by myself! I was hiding back there because I was ashamed of my habits! How embarrassing!
I was only 155 pounds so I wasn't "fat," but I was really out of shape. I had little to no muscle tone, complete with skinny arms and some extra weight around my mid-section.
How I Did It
Somehow I finally broke the cycle. Training was a good way to take my mind off of things and release some stress. It wasn't easy; one day I just finally decided to live the way I wanted to live and follow through on my good intentions. I started reading everything I could about fitness and bodybuilding.
I read tons of stuff from the articles and forums on Bodybuilding.com. I also read magazines like Men's Health, Muscle and Fitness, Flex, etc. I also got a job at a gym and picked up a lot from the trainers and nutritionists that worked there. My brother, David, was a huge inspiration.
With our skinny family genes he managed to break the 200-pound barrier (he did it all naturally). He was solid muscle; it took him about 3 years of dedication to do this. I was amazed by his physique. His advice and knowledge of bodybuilding has really helped me. I remember him preaching, "Protein, protein, protein!" I believe that diet/nutrition are the keys to success.
They are probably 75% of the battle. I feel great because of the way I eat. Nothing revolutionary; just the traditional, healthy, muscle building foods. I train everything with constant tension through a full range of motion. I try to get as many clean reps as possible (using perfect form).
- 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein by Optimum Nutrition
- "Lift" Protein Bars by Optimum Nutrition
- 100% Gold Standard Casein Protein by Optimum Nutrition
- Opti-Men Vitamins by Optimum Nutrition
Obviously, you have to lay off the fast food, soda, and beer. I eat a very strict diet, but allow myself a cheat meal once every week or so. That keeps me from going insane! I try to get AT LEAST a gram and a half of protein per pound of body weight. I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep each night to help my muscles recover.
I also try to be up early, in order to get my metabolism going. I try to get most of my carbs postworkout, and I decrease my carb intake as the goes on, and I don't eat any past 8 p.m.. I train in the morning, so preworkout I drink 2 scoops of whey protein and eat half of a large sweet potato.
I also try to get some caffeine; it wakes me up and helps stimulate my metabolism (but be sure to avoid sugary sources of caffeine, like soda). Postworkout I have 2 scoops of whey protein, and 2 pieces of white bread.
As far as training goes, I usually work out about 5 days per week. I have learned to listen to my body. I push myself hard but if I feel like I'm dead, I'll take the day off (but not often). I am a cardio junkie - I enjoy boxing, jumping rope, racquetball, soccer, jogging, etc.
I train each body part once per week, but I do tons of pushups and pullups (both varying in style/angle) almost daily. I have a few staple exercises, but I'm a big fan of muscle confusion - I like to keep my body guessing. I honestly don't have a routine; I change things up each workout.
My favorite exercises for each muscle group are as follows: for triceps it's rope pulldowns and weighted dips. For biceps I like EZ bar curls and cable hammer curls. For chest I like incline dumbbell presses and cable crossovers - from different angles. For traps its smith machine shrugs.
For shoulders it's Arnold presses. For back its wide grip pullups. For abs it's hanging knee raises, reverse crunches, weighted cable crunches, and side bends holding 15 lb dumbbells - with legs as far apart as possible (all of those to failure).
For hams and quads it's hack squats, and for calves its standing calve raises alternating between toes pointing in and toes pointing out. I usually do 3 sets of 10 reps on everything, unless I think something is out of proportion and needs to be worked on.
Suggestions For Others
You can't just jump in with both feet; you have to work up to a point where you are comfortable/motivated enough to work out consistently while eating right.
Otherwise, it probably won't last if you are too hard on yourself. Allow yourself some leeway, and realize that the goal is a lifestyle change; not random 3 week fitness obsessions.