From Geek To Freak: One Teen's Remarkable Transformation

Tired of having sand kicked in his face, Daniel took a page from Charles Atlas and hit the gym. Thirty pounds of muscle later, he's the big man on campus.

Vital Stats

Name: Daniel Wardawa

Email: Daniel_7@msn.com

Bodyspace: Vuch

Daniel Wardawa Daniel Wardawa

Before:

Age:
16
Height:
6'1"
Weight:
165 lbs
Body Fat:
16%
Waist:
35"
Thighs:
20"

After:

Age:
19
Height:
6'3"
Weight:
195 lbs
Body Fat:
9-10%
Waist:
31"
Thighs:
24"

Why I Got Started

Growing up I looked up to people with powerful physiques, guys like Hulk Hogan and Jean Claude van Damme, plus a huge inspiration, sister's fiance who passed away in 2008 with cystic fibrosis, Ante Vucko. Before his illness progressed he was an avid bodybuilder and always encouraged me to train and guided me.

I always wanted to look like them but in reality I was a skinny ectomorph. I decided one day, I'm going to commit to getting bigger, I set a small goal at first because I didn't have much confidence and didn't think I could get bigger at all, I just wanted to look like the more athletic guys in my year level at my high school.

I bought a set of adjustable dumbbells/barbell and Ante gave me his bench. At the start I was weak, and it was hard to motivate myself, I was benching 10-pound dumbbells! But slowly the progress came and consistency and hard work overcame my poor genetics.

Bodybuilding is such a personal and beautiful sport. I think of bodybuilding as an art form, like Arnold said in Pumping Iron,

"Then after looking at it a sculptor goes in with his thing and works a little bit, and you do maybe then some extra forced reps to get this lower part out. You form it. Just like a sculpture."

I love the idea of creating something beautiful, building towards something that will some day strike awe and amazement in people.

Another aspect of it is; I love working out and the dieting aspect of bodybuilding. The part of the day I most look forward too is my workout. There is no better feeling than setting, and reaching your goals. The progression is an amazing part of it.

I Love The Idea Of Creating Something Beautiful, Building Towards Something That Will Some Day Strike Awe And Amazement In People
+ Click To Enlarge.
I Love The Idea Of Creating Something Beautiful, Building Towards Something That Will Some Day Strike Awe And Amazement In People.

How I Did It

I didn't have much knowledge so I started reading the articles at Bodybuilding.com, they really helped as I had no idea what it took to grow. Also advice from Ante definitely helped on what exercises I should do, and how I should eat (he always told me if you want to get big you have to eat big!).

As a beginner I started doing all the so called "noob" programs like 3x5 which were decent but I found that I only really started to gain mass on split routines that focused on progressive overload and high intensity.

At first I was training at home but this wasn't a motivating atmosphere, I was reluctant to join a gym though because I was intimidated. I finally did and it was the best decision I ever made, your motivation goes through the roof when you surround yourself with like minded individuals who want to achieve the same goals as you.

At the start I did a huge dirty bulk which helped me put on a lot of mass but my body fat levels climbed very high and I wouldn't recommend it to a new trainee. Someone just starting out with weights can easily gain a lot of mass and cut body fat whereas it's harder when you've been training for longer.

The bulk was followed by an even bigger cut. Since it was my first cut I went overboard with it; I was doing cardio everyday on an empty stomach in the morning and did weights every night, I was barely eating any carbs and I lost a lot of mass.

All these things showed me it's better to be slow and steady, bodybuilding is a marathon not a sprint!

Someone Just Starting Out With Weights Can Easily Gain A Lot Of Mass And Cut Body Fat Whereas It's Harder When You've Been Training For Longer Someone Just Starting Out With Weights Can Easily Gain A Lot Of Mass And Cut Body Fat Whereas It's Harder When You've Been Training For Longer
+ Click To Enlarge.
Someone Just Starting Out With Weights Can Easily Gain A Lot Of Mass And Cut Body Fat Whereas It's Harder When You've Been Training For Longer.

Supplements

At the moment I am not using any supplements, only food.

Although I would recommend a good creatine or pre workout if you are working through the day and find you don't have adequate energy to train 100%.

In the past though I would take:

Post Workout:

During Workout:

Diet

My diet depends on what I am trying to do. I have learned recently that for myself, slow clean bulking is more beneficial than "dirty bulking" or eating a lot over your maintenance caloric number.

Right now I am slowly gaining mass and losing fat. I am eating around 5 large meals a day and if I decide to go more for mass gain I will add another meal in and go from there. There's a lot of trial and error in this.

I rotate my carbs occasionally also, some months I eat sweet potatoes, others brown rice.

I snack on things during the day also like nuts or sesame crackers. I have one big cheat meal where I eat whatever I want and I do this on a day I'm training my weak points (i.e. chest or shoulders).

Meal 1:
Meal 2:
Meal 3: Pre Workout
Meal 4: Post Workout
  • 220g Chicken Cacciatore
  • 50g simple sugars
Meal 5:

Training

Generally all sets are taken to failure. I rotate the volume also. Some weeks I may do 3 sets per exercise, another week I may train 2 sets, but the second set is followed by a drop set to add intensity.

I change up my exercises a lot too. Occasionally I will take down the intensity and increase the volume greatly, 20 sets or so just to change it up.

If I plateau on an exercise, I stop doing it and move onto a different movement for 3-4 weeks and come back to it, hopefully setting a personal best and breaking through that plateau. If I feel I am not recovering adequately or feel an injury coming on, I take 4-5 days off training but this is rare.

Day 1: Chest/Biceps

Fourth Exercise: Varies weekly

  • Incline Curls: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Preacher Curls: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Day 2: Triceps/Calves/Abs
  • Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Pushdowns: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • One Arm Skull Crusher: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • One Arm Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Day 3: Back

Final Exercise: Varies weekly or

  • Deadlifts (every second week): 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Deltoids/Traps
  • Seated Barbell Press: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Side Laterals: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Front Raises: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Rear Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Shrugs: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Day 6: Legs
  • Squats: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Leg Press: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Hack Squat: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Lying Leg Raises: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl: 3 sets of 5-8 reps
Day 7: Rest

Suggestions for Others

What works for one person may not work for another. There is a lot of trial and error in bodybuilding but a few simple rules should help all: Focus on Compounds, Progressive Overload (1 more rep, 1.25kg increase every session).

Train with intensity, get a lot of clean, quality foods in (high protein, low GI carbs & healthy fats) and get plenty of rest, but most importantly, enjoy the journey!

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