My name is Strider. I am a college student at UMW and looking to become a personal trainer. When I was 18 I came into college at 6-foot-0 weighing about 125 pounds.
|Name: Brian Strider
Years Bodybuilding: 2 years
Favorite Bodypart: Chest
Favorite Supplements: Protein powder, creatine, and a multivitamin.
Hobbies: Art, reading, dance
Favorite Bodybuilders: Ronnie Coleman, Kevin Levrone
Weight: 255 Lbs
Chest: 51 inches
Calves: 18 inches
Legs: 32 inches
Arms: 20 inches
Waist: 34 inches
I wasn't a large guy and during high school I was the shy nerdy type that kept quite. I always heard "get some meat on them bones kid" and was in fear of being beaten up or causing problems.
When I entered college I joined the swim team. This is when I decided to start lifting weights. I tried to lift heavier weights as well, with the attitude of "lets see what will happen."
I was looking at pictures of Arnold and Vin Diesel and was amazed at how muscular they were, so I started reading online articles, lifting weights, figuring out how to eat, how much to sleep, and what supplements to take. Since then I have been constantly learning and transforming.
My Muscle Transformation
In this article I will discuss how I went from a pathetic 125-to-255 pounds in about 2 years by focusing on four areas which I believe are necessary for building as much muscle as possible.
- And supplementation.
I was a swimmer and had been swimming for 15 years, on a swim team, burning calories left and right. My family as well is very thin; my mom is around 120 pounds, my dad maybe 125 and my height, and grandparents, again fairly thin.
So I could have seen that as,
Many times you hear talking about genetics as an excuse or the limiting factor in their bodybuilding, but rather than have it as a crutch I decided to just try my hardest, do the research, and see how far I could get. I also had a high metabolism; being young, swimming morning and night, 10,000 yards a day or more ... I was a hardgainer.
I believe making certain changes in my life I transformed my actions to put me on the opposite side of the spectrum. I quit swimming, began to eat much more, and of the right foods, and did the research to lift, eat and sleep, for the maximal lean mass I could gain.
Mindset / Focus
Being where I was in central Virginia, there wasn't much of a bodybuilding scene, or a big lifting scene, there were actually no bodybuilders at my college. I started thinking to myself, "How am I going to do this by myself?"
There was no scene for bodybuilding. I was going to be doing this on my own. In the toughest of times I have found I am the only one who can help myself.
I had to have extreme focus of what I had to do in the gym, and out of it. I ate alone; you are usually forced to when your eating an extra 10 large meals per day.
Consistency plays a huge role as well. You must be consistent in doing all the right things to succeed, especially in bodybuilding. Just eating right one day and incorrectly the next day won't help you gain.
I always say consistency is the key in eating, lifting, sleeping, etc. because what this does is get the body to a point where it has no choice but to add lean mass because you are overloading your system.
An extreme focus wasn't understood to most of my friends though, and as a result I lost friends, because I was always in the gym, eating or so forth.
They said "This stuff you are doing is crazy, why do you do it?" The focus paid off. This focus, I believe, is needed if you're going to make large gains in the future.
I began lifting way too much. I would lift everyday and do the whole body, day after day doing the same exercises, and not letting my muscles rest and rebuild themselves. The rest is needed so they can grow and in fact cope with the extra weight being put on them.
After researching I started to realize that my body needed breaks and I needed to specialize more. This is when I started the program where I gained most of my size. I trained one body part per day, and let that body part rest for at least 3 days before pounding it again.
I train 5-6 days per week. For instance, now I do chest and triceps on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, chest or calves on Thursday, biceps on Friday, and shoulders on Saturday. As you can see I split it up as much as possible. I do this in order to kill each muscle group as much as I can.
When you work your whole body in one day you won't be able to concentrate on each part as much as you would if you partitioned your body parts throughout the week.
I'm not going to explain any secret lifts I had, or anything like that, because what helped me gain the most mass was the use of free weights and compound lifts. I will outline what lifts I did when I was making the most of my lean mass gains:
In the above listed lifts I perform around 3-4 sets per exercise, and build up to as much weight as I can perform, while keeping form for around 4-6 reps. 6-8 reps is the best rep range studies have shown for building lean muscle mass.
My style of lifting for many of the free weight compound lifts, such as bench, squat, deadlift etc, is more so of a powerlifting style which is similar to Ronnie Coleman (an inspiration to me).
I do the 6-8 rep range when building up to my last set of an exercise, but on the last set I usually go all out, lifting to failure with heavy weight. Here is where I stood before my program and after it:
|Before & After|
Ah, the lovely 'freshman 15.' This refers to the 15 pounds that a freshman may gain when first entering college. I joke around sometimes and say I experienced the freshman 130.
This extra weight usually comes from a lack of sports which may have been required in high school, unless of course you are a top notch athlete. In addition, the cafeteria food was "all you can eat." This was what spurred me into gaining mass in college.
Sophmore year of college I began upping my calories as I had a very high metabolism. I had gained 40 pounds just that summer, after getting serious in the gym, and performing the lifts correctly.
I found I had to continually up my calories, I was eating 6000 calories per day which I thought was a lot; I gained a few more lbs. I upped it again after I hit a plateau, it was now up to 8000 calories, I was like, "crap this is getting expensive," my money was going towards "clean foods" and high protein foods such as eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, yogurt, pasta, rice, lean beef, pork, beans and lots of milk!
I was basically on a diet I called 'The Massive Eating Diet,' which does sound kind of ironic. This just means I was taking in more calories than I needed and meant I took in more calories than I burned. This allowed me to build lean mass; at a rapid pace.
I remember I upped my calories up to 12,000 calories for a few months; during this period I made most of my gains, where I remember I would gain 10-12 lbs. a month! Now when I say clean foods I just mean I stayed away from high-saturated fatty foods, and empty carbs, as well as fast foods, sugars, candy, desserts, etc.
While doing this I kept off a good amount of fat while I gained mass. I was actually happy that I could keep my body fat constant as well which was around 9-10%.
This is where I started at when I was 125 pounds.
Some General Rules For Me:
- I ate around 800-1000 calories per meal.
- Made each meal high protein to get in around 400-450 grams of protein per day.
- Kept meals "clean."
Sleeping isn't too tough; made sure I got 8-10 hours. I know 10 seems a bit much but some people need more, some less, with a minimum as a safe number. I followed this closely.
You build muscle when you sleep, not when you're in the gym, so this is when you're actually growing. You also heal during this time as well. Why do you think parents tell you to sleep when you're sick?
Since your body has no fuel for eight hours, it may start to breakdown muscle tissue to use as fuel. This could be a problem and be very counterproductive if you're trying to become a musclebeast that scares women and children (just kidding).
One thing I would do would be to wake up in the middle of the night and actually have a small meal prepared, mostly a protein shake of whey protein, some cottage cheese, and milk.
This gave my body fuel for the night. Another thing people do if they don't want to be bothered with waking up is get some protein before they go to bed.
I would get some milk and cottage cheese, which gave me Casein protein (digests more slowly than whey). This would last through the night rather than being quickly digested such as whey.
I did supplement with a few products; didn't go crazy with tons of supplements. I think the key is in the name, they "Supplement" what you eat. They are not magic.
- ON 100% Whey Protein: This helped me the most by helping me to get in my daily protein needs.
- Creatine Monohydrate: Used this to help with maximum intensity in the gym and gain lean muscle mass.
- L-Glutamine Powder: After becoming ill with a lymph node infection I took this to strengthen my immune system.
- Flax Oil: To help me get extra healthy fats, such as Omega 3's; to fight effects of saturated fats.
- Multivitamin: Helped me get all the vitamins and minerals I needed to keep growing.
Here Is A List Of What I Use:
Did I Use Steroids?
My family and I were once having a family dinner. After I ate I was leaving to go downstairs when my little brother said, "Me and my friends at school, think your doing steroids."
I laughed at him and jokingly said "all the time." Later that night my dad comes down and being sly says, "ya know ... um, steroids are bad okay."
I have never taken steroids, although I don't hate them, I have nothing against them, I just don't use them. I don't think I need to use them because I am still young; my free testosterone in my blood stream is doing just fine.
I supplement and am on the massive-eating diet that is enough for me and has helped me get where I am without anabolics. However, if you want to use them, learn about them, and do your research, then fine ... go on ahead!
Something possibly more important than the physical gains that I made was how my mind changed; mostly in what was important in life. Before bodybuilding I thought schoolwork was everything. I was a shy nerd and girls were a no no. I never even talked to them and If one smiled at me, I would become week!
After bodybuilding it was all different I was meeting people left and right. I figured out, at least in my mind, people were equal. Sure some may be prettier, have more money, be bigger, thinner etc, but they are still people.
I never thought I didn't deserve to talk to someone. After this experience I gained more confidence and grew mentally, which was more important, I believe, than bodybuilding itself.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.