We all know the saying, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." But when tough actually becomes an unbearable, real-life circumstance, these words are harder to apply than they once seemed.
Ryan Brock was either going to "get going" or end his life when his ex-wife announced that she wanted a divorce. After four years together and committing to help raise her son at home while she worked in the Air Force, Brock was devastated to hear her say that the relationship was over. Depression and suicidal thoughts ensued.
"I wanted to fight for our marriage, even though she told me it was over," he says. "But after a while I thought, 'Why would anyone fight for you when you can't even fight yourself?'"
When this switch flipped in his brain, Brock took off the self-pity and put on his running shoes. After he built a base of fitness, the running eventually morphed into weight training—something that was uncharted territory for him. His nutrition was another area he tackled in baby steps.
"In the first few months, I ate what I typically would—the normal "terrible" foods—but in half the portion sizes," he says. "I lost 40 pounds this way. But once I hit 205 pounds, I found myself on a plateau that lasted for two months."
Brock then took on an "eat less, move more" approach, and he realized just how important nutrition was for achieving his goals.
This is his story.
Snapshot: Ryan Brock
- Height: 5' 7"
- Weight: 172 lbs.
- Occupation: Correctional Officer for the State of Texas
- Location: Fort Hood, Texas
- BodySpace: (still waiting on this)
What did life look like for you before this transformation?
One word sums it up: lonely. When our marriage took a turn for the worse, I avoided arguing and let myself develop the destructive habits of overeating and not moving. Granted, I was not the healthiest before, but I made it even worse. When we divorced, I was back at home living at my parents' house. I had to start everything over again like a teenager right out of high school—no career, no love life, no place of my own, and nowhere to turn. Depression took its toll on me. I contemplated suicide. I was leading a desolate and isolated life.
Was there an aha! moment for you that made you decide to change?
I remember the night very clearly. It was March 25, 2017. I had just gotten off the phone with my ex-wife after a month of begging her to work out our marriage with me. She said the damage was done. I wanted to kill myself over those words, and I cried for at least an hour in my room.
When I went to wash my face, there I was in the mirror...shirtless. I had never been that big before in my life. I hated the way I looked, hated the way I thought, and hated the hand that the world had dealt me. A spark was ignited inside of me, and I decided the best way to get my wife back was to lose all the weight. I wanted to show her and myself that anything could be done when you strive for it. Whether that be a personal fitness journey, a broken marriage, and even a run-down car, people often believe they are too far gone to come back from the pain and brokenness. That wasn't going to be me.
How did you accomplish your goals?
My first day of training was the night I wiped those tears off my face. Angry, I walked away from my reflection in the mirror, headed outside to our few acres of land in the country, put in some earbuds, and ran. That lasted approximately 10 seconds. It was absolutely pathetic. I used to be a swimmer in high school and was a black belt in tae kwon do. I used to be active with my friends years before. But now, I couldn't even jog more then 20 steps without gasping for breath. So, I started slowly and did 20 minutes of cardio a day to the best of my ability. After building some stamina, I visited Bodybuilding.com for guidance with lifting.
What was the most challenging aspect of the journey?
Patience. There were times where I would see no change, but everyone else would. Some days I wanted to give up and got sick of the stricter eating. Sometimes I questioned why I was even doing this anymore. It would have been so much easier to stay home and do nothing, day in and day out. But I had neglected my body and chose terrible habits for so long that it took as much time and more effort to fix those habits. Patience is a quality you must have for this life.
How did this transformation change how you view yourself and relationships?
It made me realize that everything, including relationships, takes a lot of work, and it also changed what I believe about what I deserve. I need someone who inspires me to be the best I can be in any and every avenue. They don't need to be a total gym addict, but if this is your chosen lifestyle, you need someone who wants to live a long and healthy life with you, making smarter food choices, staying active, and most importantly, supporting your goals and dreams.
If you could say something to someone aspiring to make a major transformation of their own, what would it be?
First and foremost, find people with a like mind and strong work ethic. This could be a friend or a personal trainer. Second, find your spark. Mine was my depression after my divorce. The anger and despair I felt grew into a fire I will never extinguish. Whatever gets you up and going, focus on that. And last but not least, do not give up! The hardest part is to keep moving forward.
Do you have future plans with fitness?
Currently, my goal is to reach 10 percent body fat. Man, is that difficult. Nutrition must be stricter; exercise must be on point. I have thought about maybe getting into personal training as well, to show people that if a guy like me can hit their goals, anyone can. Still considering it!
Who was your support system throughout this transformation?
Casey, Rodolfo, George, and all my friends helped me through my depression and told me to lift my head when the world came crashing down. They listened when I needed ears, were a shoulder to cry on, and a voice of reason when I was on the verge of ending my own life. My parents have always loved me no matter what trouble I get into. I owe a "thank you" to my co-workers, too. I know they hated hearing about my workouts and calling myself a fat sack of potatoes, but they have my back. And of course, I have God who always creates a new day with new beginnings for me.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
I went to Bodybuilding.com to learn how to lift weights. I had never lifted in my life, even as a teenager, so I had to learn proper form and which exercises isolate certain muscles. They also assisted with meal prep ideas and proper nutrition. I love reading the transformations from people all over the world. It's cool to see what sparked their fire. It inspires me daily!