So this article is about my progression that I have made over my years of training. I just feel the need to point out the many different phases of my growth and the changes in my body over the years. Some people who are in the same boat that I was, meaning being very slim (and I do mean very slim!).
Dont get discouraged a bit when they see pictures of someone who weighs a hundred pounds heavier than they do, so automatically they feel that it will be almost impossible for them to achieve that size. So in this article we will go from my very humble beginnings of a whopping 130lbs to now where I have very nearly doubled my bodyweight, naturally.
I am sure most of you have read my bio on my home page so I will spare you all of the details but for those who haven't here goes a brief version of it. I started training at the very end of my senior year of high school and I was a mammoth of a person too, all 6' 130lbs of me. When I started I knew what I wanted to look like and I set my goals from that. Here is a series of pictures from right before I picked up my first weight.
When I started training at a local gym I would express to some of the more experienced guys how I wanted to look and the goals that I had set for myself. I would tell them that I wanted to be 275lbs and look like Arnold Scharzenegger. Most would laugh telling me that it would be impossible because I was so skinny and if I was to look like that then I would have to hit the drugs hard and that my genetics sucked to bad to really achieve that look.
I always look back on these guys and laugh because I thought that they were huge and I assumed that they new what they were talking about. But you see I am a very hard-headed person, never tell me I can't do something. See, when you are 130lbs then a guy who is 200lbs looks pretty dang big to you, or at least they did to me. Needless to say I didn't take their advice, nor did I let them deter me from my ultimate goal. From day one I busted my butt on a daily basis and that has continued all the way to where I am now.
In my first year and a half of training I added right at 30lbs to my body. I thought that I was getting freaky, lol. But hey 30lbs is 30lbs and I was well on my way to becoming what I wanted to be, a freak. In the beginning I lived off of high calorie gainers. I mean I would consume at least 3-4000 calories a day from them and would make some good muscular gains from it.
At that time my metabolism was so high it was ridiculous, that was my reasoning for consuming so much a day from them. I remember the first time I started taking a high calorie gainer I put on 10lbs in the first week alone. Just shows you how fast my body was burning my calories.
In this picture you will see me at a bigger but still skinny 160lbs. Man I thought I was freaky then, lol. You can definitely tell a difference in my upper body and somewhat of a difference in my lower body but it wasn't until later that I learned how to blast my legs.
Now we move on to another 20lbs. Now with me up to 180lbs I really thought that I was something. Once I hit 180lbs I really began to see my strength go up and could really see my muscles maturing and getting that bodybuilder look, somewhat. It took about two and a half years for me to reach this size. People who hadn't seen me since my high school days were amazed at the change I made in my body. People were always asking what I was doing and even some asked if I was on steroids.
It was about this time that I switched my entire thinking around leg training to focus more on squats. The difference in my legs from this era of training to the next is very impressive as far as gains go. You will be able to tell a big difference in my leg development from 180lbs to 210lbs. The main difference was by adding squats. For a video on squatting and spotting, click here.
I hovered in-between the 190lb-200lb mark at what seemed like forever. I would always say to myself, "man if I can just get to 200lbs I will be happy". Isn't that something we have all said to ourselves at one point or time? Topping the 200lb mark was the hardest weight for me to break for some reason. It just seemed like it took forever. It had to be the longest training plateau that I have ever been on. I tried everything at this point and I even thought that I might have reached my natural limit; boy was I wrong or what. Anyways, I just kept on keeping on and pushed though and after about six months hovering just under the 200lb mark I finally broke through, what a day of joy for me. I mean you would have thought I just won the lottery or something. At this point I had added 70lbs to my body, it was great accomplishment for me.
Now once I broke through the 200lb barrier it didn't take very long for me to get to 210lbs. Actually it took all of six weeks, I really changed my diet and took some creatine and bam, I was up 10-12lbs in no time. It was at this weight that my strength was high and I was moving weights that I never thought possible. My most impressive lift at this time was a 1500lb leg press for 6 reps. It was at this time that people really took notice of me and knew that I was a bodybuilder. I wasn't freaky big or anything but my muscle stood out from the crowd, so to speak.
Now in this picture I was at 210lbs, give or take a few. That is a difference of 80lbs of added size in about four years or so.
Once I got to 210lbs I went through another little plateau but this one was only a little one. All it took was some additional supplements and I changed up my diet and wham, I went to 225lbs in about 8 weeks. I added some good size over that time frame and really took my body to a new level but still not where I wanted it to be, actually I was still far from where I wanted to be. My body fat increased a bit in this phase but that's what happens in a good bulking phase so no worries.
I always felt that if I could get up to 220lbs or so that I would really feel big, but I didn't. So I set a goal to get to 230 and I thought to myself that if I can get to 230lbs I will be where I want to be, once 230lbs got here I still didn't feel that good about where I was. I stayed at the 230-235lb range for about 6 months or so, mainly because I was in a bad burnout phase that lasted for a while. I took a week off here and a week off there to really separate myself from bodybuilding and eventually I pushed through this and my body started responding again.
One of the main things that attributed to the burn out was depression. See I came up ill and the culprit was my gallbladder that led me to have surgery which left me down to 210lbs when I was finally able to hit the weights again and eat like I needed to again. We will all have our set backs but it just sucks to have busted my butt to get to 235lbs to only loose so much in a matter of weeks.
But once I was able to train again it was on. I took it to the weights each day with a mean streak and I pushed past my past my previous best of 235lbs to 245lbs. This was a great time too because I was going to a local bodybuilding show and I knew I would see some old friends who hadn't seen me in a couple of years so I had to look BIG.
As I am writing this it is the first of April 2002, the last time I weighed myself was in July of 2001 when I was 245lbs. It was at this time in my bodybuilding life that I decided that my body weight wasn't as important as size and inches are. So I now I use a mirror, comments from people and I take stats periodically to track my progress. I just sat back and thought to myself, if I wanted to be 275lbs in the next 3 months could I, well yes I could but it wouldn't be a very good looking 275lbs.
Now here are some pics of me at my current size.
At my current size I can honestly say that I am starting to be somewhat happy with my build but not satisfied. But I don't think that any bodybuilder ever is. I am at a size now that is big and is beginning to hinder certain aspects of my life i.e.: finding clothes that fit, finding clothes that look good at my size and sleeping to name a few. One thing that has begun to start which is really something that I don't like is more attention drawn to myself.
This is what a lot of bodybuilders love but not me, I do this for me and me only. No matter where I go something always comes up about "how much can you bench? "how big is your chest?", something always comes up about bodybuilding. Most people that are close to me don't even have a clue that I write for Bodybulding.com just because it always brings up a big to do about me and why I do bodybuilding and how insane it is for me to want to do this to my body etc. But this is just all that comes with the territory of being a bodybuilder.
I love bodybuilding. It has not only changed my body as you can see in my photos but it has changed my life in so many other ways as well. It has built my self-confidence and my self-esteem just as much as it has helped build my muscles. It is a hard lifestyle at times but the end results justify any thing that I put myself through to get the results I want.
Like I said in the beginning of this article, my main focus or goal is for any of you who are in this and have your goals set but you get really frustrated some times because you think they are so far off and it seems like forever before you have the results you want. Just go back and look at my progression, it takes time and it takes patience, it takes hard work, and it takes a ton of dedication to achieve your goals but if you quit now you will never have the body you want.
The thing that you must remember about bodybuilding is this: it's not just one workout that will make a difference, it's not just one meal during the day, it's not just one good supplement, it's not just one good night's sleep, it's all of these things rolled up into one that you must do each and every day for months to achieve that 10-15lbs gain in muscle mass that you are looking for.