Why I Got Started
In my teens and early 20's I was always labeled as the skinny kid, weighing in at about 150 pounds. It seemed like no matter how much I ate I stayed the same weight.
In my later 20's, my metabolism began to catch up with me. My diet and fitness level was in very bad shape. I found myself in a busy career eating fast food 2-3 times per day. Exercise was almost nonexistent in my life. By the age of 29, my weight had increased to 180 pounds and by age 32 I was tipping the scales at 205 pounds. People made jokes about my big belly. I always laughed it off. I didn't realize how bad of shape I was in.
I was your typical ectomorph - skinny arms and legs but a large midsection. In May of 2009 at the age of 32 I realized it was time for some drastic changes in the way I took care of my body. I realized I wasn't just big; I was carrying around excessive body fat and was out of shape.
How I Did It
I began following the principles outlined in the book The Eat Clean Diet. I started preparing all my meals in advance and took a huge tote of food for my 12-hour days at work. I cut out soda, white breads, sugary foods like fruity yogurt, candy, etc. I was eating 6-7 small protein rich meals per day.
At the same time I joined the gym and started walking, and then jogging 20 minutes per day. Everyone thought I was crazy, that I was taking it too far. In my mind I knew that drastic result required drastic changes.
The results were slow, but almost immediate. In the first month I lost pounds and in the first year I dropped from 205 pounds down to 159 pounds. I had to purchase an all new wardrobe. I began receiving compliments and questions of curiosity on almost a daily basis. Everyone wanted to know the secret.
At 159 pounds I was lean, but I also felt skinny. All my life I wanted to have muscles. I continued to follow the same clean-eating principles but I increased my caloric and protein input and added weight training to my fitness plan. Over the past year I've gone from a lean 159 pounds to a lean but very muscular 171 pounds. I get so many compliments about my toned physique. I love it.
I continue to fully follow my fitness plan. I always explain to people that eating clean is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. This is the lifestyle I have fully embraced. I will follow it for many years to come. I still pack my massive meal bag and take it with me to work and I still eat 6-7 small meals per day. I work out 5-6 days per week. I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way.
My body has responded to weight training well and my current goals focus on getting much stronger and more muscular through the use of heavy resistance training. My goals for this year focus on gaining significant muscle mass while maintaining a lean physique. I am excited about what the future holds for me in the area of fitness and nutrition.
Morning & Before Bed:
1 scoop with 1% milk
Note: I try to limit pre workout drinks to once or twice a week.
1 scoop with 1 cup 1% milk
Day 1: Chest/Shoulders
Day 2: Biceps/Triceps/Back
Day 3: Legs/Abs
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Start Again with Monday's Routine
Note: Because I'm a hard gainer I do not perform cardio. Rather, I try to keep my weight training workout intense. I usually keep my rest periods between sets at about one minute, taking few breaks during my workout.
Suggestions for Others
Get the nutrition component right first. If you don't know where to start, do your research. Eating clean has affected me beyond just the weight loss. There are many other benefits. My skin is much healthier, my teeth seem whiter and stronger, my mental state seems much sharper, I'm full of energy, and my immune system seems much more efficient (I haven't had a sick day at work since I started the ECD.)
Set goals and get them in writing. You may want to tape your goals to your bathroom mirror so you are reminded of them daily. Maybe your goal is to lose 20 pounds, or add 10 pounds of muscle, or maybe your goal is to increase your max bench press to 350 pounds. Whatever the goal, write it down and review it often.
Find out what motivates you. I'm motivated by the photos and articles I read in muscle magazines and on Bodybuilding.com, therefore I will often scan through a few pages of a muscle magazine before I go to the gym. I'm also motivated by the compliments that I receive from others and I allow myself to really thrive off of those compliments when I'm in the gym.
Remember that gaining muscle is a slow and steady process. Despite what you might read, you can't put on 20 pounds of muscle over night. Achieving your fitness and bodybuilding goals takes time and effort. If it were easy everyone would do it. Focus on your goals, stick with your nutrition plan, work hard in the gym, be consistent and disciplined with your plan, and you will see results.
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