WEIGHT 240 lbs
BODY FAT 30%
WEIGHT 190 lbs
BODY FAT 5%
Why I Got Started
Growing up, I was always on the shy side. I had a decent amount of friends, but never had many. I always stuck with a familiar group of people I knew. I had been a pretty good baseball player from the time I was 5-years old until I was about 16-years old. I was never a skinny kid. I always carried "a little extra baggage," but nothing to be really concerned about. It was then, when I was around 16 years old, injury struck my baseball career.
At the time, I wasn't too concerned. I still had high school to worry about, but what I didn't know was now that when I stopped baseball, I stopped doing regular physical activity. Baseball was my way of burning calories. My weight was ballooning, and I didn't even realize. Slowly but surely, I started getting the subtle name calling.
Again, I wasn't the social butterfly, but it was getting harder and harder for me to fit in with the high school culture. I really just carried on with high school because I was still confused. But then I got into video games, which was the worst thing I could have done at that time. My weight climbed even higher.
I hit my peak weight at the start of junior year of high school. Still oblivious about my weight, I needed a reality check. I think it was a combination of a couple of my friends and even my parents going to the gym every day and also finally realizing I had a slight weight problem that initially drove me to start training full-time.
I had tried training in the past, but had always quit after a short period of time after seeing little to no results. I decided to stick it out this time though, because I was extremely out of shape. With no knowledge how to diet or train at all, I just started to starve myself and run on the treadmill.
The weight did start to come off, but I was still unsatisfied. Then there was the day at the airport, shopping to pick up a magazine for a flight back from Florida; I think that day really started everything. I picked up a Muscle & Fitness magazine, mainly because the claims on the cover attracted me.
I must have read that thing front-to-cover 1,000 times, and I actually still have it. It opened my eyes on how to diet, how to train, supplementation, etc, etc, etc. With this newfound knowledge, my training and cardio sessions in the gym started to get better and better.
This newfound muscle drove me to try more supplements, and ultimately I discovered bodybuilding. I felt bodybuilding was perfect for me. I loved the feeling of going to the gym every day and eating clean, and actually started becoming more social.
How I Did It
When I decided bodybuilding was going to be my new way of life, I knew I still had tons and tons of work to do. I was still considerably overweight. As I continued to research the sport and the nutrition and training aspects of it, I continued to slowly build muscle and lose fat.
Senior year went by and it was time to go to college. Freshman year was a good time. I still thought of myself as a bodybuilder, but I never was knowledgeable enough still. My university just so happened to have its own bodybuilding show, so I decided I was going to enter.
I was nowhere near ready, and some of the more-experienced people realized it, but I did not. I was so inexperienced, and taking different bits of information from all kinds of different people just turned into a pretty bad experience.
In the end, however, it didn't turn out to be all that bad. This experience actually drove me to train harder, to diet harder, to research more. This moment on really began my bodybuilding career in my opinion. I also started to find my niche at school. I found the right major, the right friends, and learned how to be true to myself. That show was about a year ago as of writing this, March 27, 2011.
With my newfound knowledge, I decided I was going to take a year off before I competed again. I stayed in good shape, and slowly gained size until it was time to diet again. My major, Exercise Science, really helped me, because of the nutrition and physiology I learn on a daily basis.
The after pictures you see now are me at the 2012 NPC Northern Kentucky. I took 3rd place in the teen division. I was very happy with a top-3 finish at my very first NPC show. It's been a long run from the time I started until now, but I've learned many valuable things throughout this battle.
Stay true to yourself, stay patient, and face challenges head on and overcome. I took advice from people in the beginning because again, I had no idea how to train and diet right, but after bodybuilding for a few years, I now know how to stay true to myself more than ever. And that's the most important thing in my opinion.
Suggestions For Others
The main thing to take from me is, if you don't like something about yourself; try to improve it little by little, whether it is your body image, self esteem, etc.
All of your issues will work out in the long run if you stay true to yourself. It doesn't matter what other people say about you. Go about your day how you want to go about your day. If someone doesn't like the way you do things, then that's their problem. Chances are, they have problems themselves, and just bottle it in.
No matter what your goal is, stick to it. Everyone hits bumps along the road, but they pass. It has taken me a long time to get where I am right now, and I'm still trying to work on many things. Be patient too, you'll be surprised how much easier it will be if you work hard and let things happen.
Remember this quote by Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."
First, I would like to thank my family for everything they do for me. They buy me all the expensive food and supplements constantly and also put up with me on those tough diet days.
I would like to thank the bodybuilding lifestyle altogether, for being there to guide me and help me stay true to myself in pursuing my life's goals of graduating from college and ultimately promoting health and wellness somewhere.
Finally, I would like to thank Bodybuilding.com for the opportunity to be featured in the teen transformation. It is a tremendous honor to write for such a well-respected website.