Weight: 220 lbs
Weight: 178 lbs
How I Got Started
For as long as I can remember, I have always been an active person. I always enjoyed challenging myself physically. Whether it's been jumping my bike over the biggest ramp as a kid or competing in a triathlon as an adult, I've always been known for pushing myself.
I've been a member of a gym in one place or another for the past 10 years of my life. However, it's been a long time since I've taken fitness seriously. One thing I learned as I entered my late 20s and have grown from bachelor to family man is that it's hard to set aside time for fitness.
Prior to becoming a husband and a father I always prided myself in being physically fit and active. Over the past several years, I let it slip away. The excuses ranged from my slowing metabolism to the lack of time, but it basically boils down to a lack of discipline.
I gained an unsightly 40-plus pounds of fat and my blood pressure was borderline hypertension range, I had also herniated a disk in my back. I had gone from priding myself in my appearance to feeling embarrassed to remove my shirt at the beach, especially around those that knew me when I was in shape.
This past January, after settling down with our new baby daughter, I was bound and determined to get back into some sort of shape. I set a goal for myself of losing 30 pounds by June, which I thought was a solid, but realistic goal. I was training for only a couple of days when I saw the poster go up in my local gym: "Gold's Gym Body Transformation Contest."
I went right up to the front desk and got the details. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get back into shape. It was something I was planning to do, but the extra motivation was very exciting. I eagerly went home and told my wife about the opportunity.
We discussed the challenge, and recognized the time commitment required for a total transformation in 12 weeks. I knew that my current fat loss plan would be inadequate for an "all out" effort.
I set a new goal of losing 10 pounds prior to starting the contest and then an additional 30 pounds of fat in the 12 weeks given in the transformation. Now, this was a tall order, but as I mentioned before, I enjoy a physical challenge
How I Did It
I began to drag out my old body building books and started devouring information on bodybuilding.com. I was bound and determined to meet my goal and knew I needed to equip myself with knowledge.
I started out full steam ahead and began a twice per day training regimen that consisted of HIIT cardio in the morning before work and then heavy weight training in the afternoon after work. I trained 6 days a week and recovered on Sunday. My diet consisted high protein, moderate carbohydrates and fat.
I limited calories to 1800-2000, knowing that my maintenance at this activity level would be about 3500. This allowed me to drop a steady 2.5-3 pounds a week. I supplemented with whey protein and fish oil to keep my protein and healthy fat intake where it should be.
I also added EGCG, L-Carnitine, and Caffeine into my regiment for a metabolism boost. The weight started to drop and I met my goal of starting the competition at 210 pounds (down from 220 pounds in the beginning of January). I continued diligently for the first half of the competition without slowing down.
My weight loss never tapered. I weighed in at 193 pounds at the 6-week mark. My measurements dropped quite a bit, especially in my waist. Then, the wall came. I remember the number, 189. Every week I could count on the weight loss like clockwork, but not in week 8. For whatever reason, my body just stopped responding.
I began to research and came to the conclusion that my metabolism was adjusting and perhaps I was putting my body into starvation mode. So, despite logic, I began to eat. I ate for two days, bumping my caloric intake to maintenance and I was very surprised to step on the scale and see 188!
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I dropped the calories again and I was back and running like clockwork again. So, I learned to incorporate "refeeds" into my diet and as I got leaner, my refeeds came more often and my body steadily took shape again. At the end of the 12-week contest, I had lost 42 pounds total (33 in the 12 weeks of the contest plus 9 I had lost prior).
I am happy with the results of my hard work. I welcome the sight of my abs again! The fact that I am back in shape has sparked a fire in me to continue developing. I have set my sights on an all natural bodybuilding contest in October.
I have plans to add a bit of needed muscle to my hamstrings and calves and then begin to cut again in August into single-digit body fat levels. Just the thought of it as I write has got me excited about my next workout!
- Weight training
- Whey protein shake
I snack on nuts throughout the day. Just a pinch here and there, maybe 200 calories total throughout.
Chest & Triceps
Back & Biceps
Quads & Hams
Shoulders & Calves
All lifts are done as a pyramid starting light in the 12-plus range and working heavier as the sets go by into the 5-6 range. Cardio was done separately in the mornings 5 days a week 25-30 min of HIIT running on the treadmill.
Suggestions For Others
Read. Knowledge is power. Understand how the body works so you can do what's necessary to change the way its working now. Diet is so important. Learn macronutrient and micronutrient management. Learn how the body is affected when you ingest food. Learn how to use food to your advantage to boost metabolism, energize your workouts, and burn fat.
Train hard. Many people go through the motions in the gym. A set here and then lean on a machine and talk for a few minutes and then another set. This is the wrong attitude. I viewed the gym as a place of business and my workouts are intense.
I always believed if people aren't looking at you strange while you're working out, then you're not training hard enough. If you want your physique to stand out among the crowd, then you need to train harder than the crowd. If you like to socialize, save it for the protein shake bar afterwards.
Pick an event or competition to drive you. Incentive is powerful and without it, I quickly fizzle into "going through the motions." Choose an event that is challenging. Sign up for a bodybuilding contest, or a triathlon, or martial arts tournament, etc. This will motivate you to crank up the intensity.