Why I decided to transform
I enjoyed playing sports but unfortunately played too many without rest and tore my ACL in 2008. When my knee healed, a co-worker introduced me to bodybuilding to help my knee recuperate and I quickly embraced the lifestyle.
I enjoyed being able to monitor my body's progress through measurements and strength gains. After 8-10 months of consistent lifting and dieting, my body became stronger than ever and I no longer experienced pain in my knee.
In two years, I went from 135 to 167 pounds and 12 percent to 8 percent body fat. I felt great and hit daily PRs, but it was short lived. On December 6, 2010, I was driving on a street notorious for street racing and got pushed off the road while driving home. I suffered a traumatic brain injury and was put in a two-month coma in intensive care. The doctors told my parents to plan my funeral because I was going to be a vegetable at best.
When I miraculously came out of the coma, I weighed 130 pounds and couldn't walk for a few months. When I could walk again, I started an eight-month therapy cycle and learned my short-term memory had been severely handicapped, which made me appreciate smart phones.
I became incredibly depressed and bummed out because I wasn't the same person anymore. After therapy, I got back in the gym to strengthen my short-term memory and teach my body to be productive again.
Weightlifting had a positive impact on my mood and helped me feel more balanced emotionally. After a few months in my local gym, my perception changed and the injuries I viewed as shortcomings became motivation.
I'm finally comfortable in my own skin again and weigh 161 pounds with 5 percent body fat. Tracking reps, sets, and progression helped my short-term memory recover and the lack of control over my body quickly dissipated thanks to bodybuilding. I put everything I had into bodybuilding and got everything back from it.
How I accomplished my goals
I accomplished my goals by staying focused on the goal and motivating myself to earn what I deserved. I'm lucky because I never have days when I think about quitting because I know progress can always be made. If, for some reason, I do feel that way, I look at competition photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane for motivation.
My motivation comes from a simple saying my gym mentor always repeated to me: "Fitness is a journey, not a destination." This quote reminds me that I'll always make improvements and that bodybuilding is a lifestyle.
What aspect challenged me the most
The aspect that challenged me most was learning to take rest days. I have an overtraining problem and have to remind myself that rest is vital to grow.
My future fitness plans
I've contemplated competing and becoming a personal trainer but have no set plans right now.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
- When you step in the gym, only your opinion holds value.
- Don't worry about the weight on the bar.
- Eat to live, don't live to eat.
- If it were easy everyone would do it.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
Bodybuilding.com helped me overcome many obstacles. When I need supplement, diet, or training advice, I know Bodybuilding.com has the information I need to continue progressing.
Charles's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Dopeboy" by Butch Clancy
- "Hospital" by Lydia
- "Book Club" by Arkells
- "Way Back Home" by Bag Raiders
- "Delinquents" by Woe, Is Me