Why I Got Started
When I was younger I was skinny. A twig is a good comparison. Going through grade school and middle school I didn't notice because pretty much everyone was lanky and awkward. But then high school hit.
If I could have had a dollar for every comment that was made about my size or how unproportional I was I would be a rich man. Going through high school having people say things about my 145-150 pounds, 6-foot frame sparked a flame in me.
At the time I acted out and was angry at myself for being that way. BUT then I found the gym. I got to college and had access to the recreation complex. As soon as I got in there it was love at first site. I had no idea what I was doing so the first year was a huge learning process. But as I gained knowledge on fitness and nutrition my workouts continued to improve.
I have a shirt that I wore freshman year in college that was loose on me then. I use that as a motivator to see how far I've come and to keep striving to be better.
How I Did It
I started off hitting the gym 3-4 times per week. Getting used to the soreness and creating muscle memory for my lifts took me some time. I messed around in the gym for a couple years but then about a year and half ago I stopped the college partying, stopped eating fast food, and hit the gym religiously 6 days per week. It changed my life completely.
I did research on nutrition and started writing down everything I ate throughout the day. Keeping track of my calories, protein, sodium and carbs really helped me to gain knowledge on the foods that were around me. I set up a new program for my workouts and have kept pushing myself week after week.
Juggling two jobs, classes, and the gym kept me busy but every time I see the improvement it's not only a great feeling but extremely addictive. I've had the support of my girlfriend Ashley, who has cooked me tons of healthy meals and helped me to keep my nutrition in line by cooking meals for me that were healthy, consciously getting things for me that helped me along my path to my goals. Everything from protein bars to reminding me to get a water bottle that would filter anywhere so that I could stay up on being hydrated. Without her help this process would be much more difficult and I thank her very much for that.
It has changed my life. I feel like a whole new person and continue to feel better the more in shape and bigger I become. It makes you sleep better, feel better emotionally, you get such a rush getting a good workout in at the gym, and above all you are improving your standard of living by getting in the best shape of your life. Those hours you are in the gym it is just you and the weights, nobody else. That is a great feeling.
Suggestions for Others
- Never be too proud to pick up lower weight. All too often at the gym I see guys trying to throw weight up that is way too heavy for them. Don't waste reps and sets by trying to act tough. Pick up the lower weight you can handle for a good solid set.
- Don't let people bring you down. Success stimulates jealously in others. Just because you are getting in shape people will try to play down your progress to try and make themselves feel better. Going from 150 pounds to 195 pounds I got, "Why do you spend so much time at the gym. Seems like a waste to me."
People who say this are just too lazy to get in and do it themselves so they feel the need to try to make it seem like a bad thing while validating to themselves why they don't. Use these as motivators not as deterrents for achieving your goals.
- Work harder then the next guy. Make time for your goals. I organized my class schedules and work availability so that I would have my 2-3 hours per day for my exercise. Pushing hard and past the other guys that spend 45 min - 1 hour in the gym makes you that much better. Obviously don't overtrain but adding those extra sets and abs/cardio into your workout makes you that much better.
- Be passionate. Enjoy what you are doing. It has gotten to the point now where I am happy to know that at a given time in that day I will be at the gym. It isn't the "I HAVE to go to the gym today" as it was when I first started. It is now "I WANT to go to the gym".
- Work hard, every day, physically and mentally. It is tough sometimes to push past the pain/burn when you are lifting but that one extra rep each set adds up over time. Get yourself past the next guy by working harder and being persistent.
Rock Your Shots Photography Studio