Do I Want Muscles?
Being painfully shy in my early years, the thought of showing my skinny Muscle-less body in a gym was unthinkable. So I did what most skinny kids did, (and may still do), I went and purchased a small plastic weight set and begun my "muscleman" routine in the comfort of my basement at home.
After two weeks, I acquired (and admired!) that little "bulge" that looked somewhat like a bicep that seemed to have grown out of nowhere on my arm.
Of course, then my training took a backseat to graduating from high school, college, work, and just plain growing up. But even then, the sight of anyone that had that "bodybuilder look" always made me yearn to get back into the gym. And in my mid-20s, I did get back to the gym, and did almost everything I could to get the weight and muscle on ...
Am I Serious?
Weight gain powders, haphazard routines, fad dietary habits ... everything. In retrospect, I was doing everything wrong. On my 29th birthday, that was my turning point. At a height of 6-foot-1, I weighed a "whopping" 119 pounds soaking wet. 119 POUNDS! I looked like I was suffering from malnutrition!
It was then that I came to my Damascus Road ... either make a true concentrated effort to learn and make strides in my quest for muscles, or forget the whole thing. And it was time to cut my losses, as I had spent thousands of dollars on snake oils, supplements, gizmos, machines, bad advice and the like. What did I decide? I got serious.
Can I Do It On My Own?
My first step was to join my first true gym. What a STEP THAT WAS! And to my amazement, the world didn't open up and swallow me. That first step was hard, but it was the best, for it made me learn to overcome the fear and the false perceptions I had of gyms and bodybuilders.
I then learned from some pretty terrific people, who, instead of being these muscle monsters that I had painted in my early years, just happened to be really nice people who just happened to have big muscled bodies. And no one stared at the "skinny kid" (me)!
What Can I Learn?
It was then that I started to teach myself, did a LOT of reading, did the trial by error thing, and learned that bodybuilding isn't just about hoisting a weight around, it is also about adopting a lifestyle. And yes, bodybuilding can be integrated into your daily life. And like I was told by one really terrific training partner, "you got to want it bad enough". By the time I was 35, my weight had gone up from 119-to-225 pounds, and no sign of excess body-fat anywhere. (the "skinny genetics" came in handy in that respect!).
Is It My Lifestyle?
And yes, I'm still bodybuilding and loving it! I'm now 43-years of age and still hitting the gym hard. I currently weigh in at 245 pounds. (And no flabby waist!) I'll probably never become a stranger to the weights or a gym as long as I can lift a bar. No, I haven't made it to the posing podium, (not yet anyway, but it's never too late!), but being a bodybuilder isn't just about getting on a stage. If you're like me, you just like to look like you are very familiar with weight lifting!
Did I Make It?
Well, I may have gone on a little longer with my little story than I planned. However, I write this in hopes of sharing my story with someone who has been or is in the same boat that this former skinny kid was in. And to show that bodybuilding is not just for becoming a Mr. Olympia. It is, to me, a way of life and health.
And no, I would be lying if I said it wasn't about my physical appearance, because I really like the way I look after a real pumping' session in the gym and especially in a Polo Shirt! But the physical appearance is merely part of the entire picture. The self-esteem, focus, dedication and pride of achievement that bodybuilding brought to me extended in other parts of my life for the better.
Where Do I Go Now?
And yes, I see myself possibly in a Masters Tournament in the not too distant future (to show that this old man of 43 can still do it!), and hopefully I'll be bodybuilding well into my later years. And I'll let you know about that little journey also. Let's face it, we all are going to get older, so why not get old and be able to bench press all of our friends at the age of 65! Because in my opinion, that is what bodybuilding is all about. An investment in a healthy lifestyle for the rest of life! In the meantime, Keep it Pumpin!!