Body Transformation: Mid-Life Crisis Becomes A Ripped Midsection

Ben's midlife crisis brought his shortcomings into light and put his health into perspective. See what he changed to build a ripped physique with 5 percent body fat!

Why I decided to transform

I grew up being active and played high school sports. I always had free time to engage in physical activity. As I became more engulfed in college, marriage, and my career, time to myself became rare. After I got married, I gained 30 pounds in the following months.

Life started to get stressful and my body reacted to my environment. Food became stress relief. I eventually contracted a stress-related illness shortly after my first child was born and realized I needed to do something. Regardless of my desires to change, life became increasingly busy which left less time to take care of my health. I moved states five times in five years and constantly battled yo-yo dieting and training.

I turned 30 years old last year and realized that I had terrible eating habits and didn't take care of my body. Some people have a midlife crisis around this age, but mine was the opposite. It was an awakening to become the person I always wanted to be.

I started burning excess fat by cutting calories and eating smaller portions throughout the day. I dropped weight quickly but had no recognizable muscle, so I decided to put on lean mass. It was a long process that became more daunting than I anticipated because I'm an ectomorph.

Before /// 200 lbs
After /// 160 lbs
AGE 26 / HEIGHT 5'11" / BODY FAT 18%
AGE 31 / HEIGHT 5'11" / BODY FAT 5%

It wasn't a secret at work that I was making an effort to get in shape. A friend introduced me to Bodybuilding.com and I became a sponge. I read many helpful articles, diet plans, workouts, and motivational stories. It was a game-changer. Armed with the knowledge of nutrition, supplementation, and training, I began to see results.

Through Bodybuilding.com, I learned about the men's physique division and set a goal to compete. It took me a year to prepare. The last four months were the most intense and disciplined, but nothing can compare to the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt walking on stage in front of 1500 people, including friends, family, and other supporters.

One of the most satisfying parts about competing is having others reach out and ask for help to start their fitness journey. I want to help those around me to find happiness and confidence that comes from being the best you possible.

How I accomplished my goals

Staying on track comes down to understanding the impact of everything I do. If I eat like a champ, I feel like a champ. Holding myself accountable is a must. Having a support system is good, but I can't solely rely on others for help.

Ben Lee
"It's about being willing to make the sacrifice necessary to succeed. It's a matter of confidence and commitment."

There were tough times, but I didn't want to quit. Nobody wants to quit. It's about being willing to make the sacrifice necessary to succeed. It's a matter of confidence and commitment. If you want to do it and believe that you can, then you will.

Accountability is important. I had a concrete goal and didn't give up because everyone knew about it. I learned about myself in the process and will carry those lessons forever. The most important lesson I learned was that I can do anything I set my mind to. If I want it bad enough, it will happen.

My biggest inspiration is my family. I wanted my wife and kids to know that I committed to something worth passing on. My daughters were always there to encourage me to take my muscle food. Health affects lots of aspects; happiness, mood, and more. I wanted to be positive and energetic around my children. Fitness helped me do that.

Supplements that helped me through the journey

With Meal 2
Pre-workout
  • Nutrabolics Muscle Fusion Nutrabolics Muscle Fusion

  • MusclePharm Assault MusclePharm Assault

  • Bodybuilding.com Foundation Series Beta-Alanine Bodybuilding.com Foundation Series Beta-Alanine

  • ProMera Sports Con-Cret ProMera Sports Con-Cret

Post-workout

Diet plan that guided my transformation

Meal 1
  • eggs Egg Whites

    5

  • egg Egg

    1

  • turkey Turkey Sausage Patties

    2

  • oats Quick Oats

    1/2

  • milk Almond Milk

    1/4 cup

Meal 2
  • eggs Egg Whites

    3

  • yogurt Greek Yogurt

    1 cup

  • All-natural Almonds All-natural Almonds

    1 oz

Meal 3
  • Grilled Chicken Grilled Chicken

    6 oz

  • brown rice Brown Rice

    1 cup

  • carrots Carrots

    2 oz

Meal 4: Pre-workout
  • Nutrabolics Muscle Fusion Nutrabolics Muscle Fusion

    1 serving

Meal 5: Post-workout
Meal 6
  • Sirloin Steak Sirloin Steak

    6 oz

  • green beans Green Beans

    2 cups

  • Sweet Potato Sweet Potato

    6 oz

Meal 7
  • Cottage Cheese Cottage Cheese

    1/2 cup

  • Natural Peanut Butter Natural Peanut Butter

    1 tbsp

Training regimen that kept me on track

I do a quick 5-10-minute warm-up shooting hoops or getting on cardio equipment. I don't rest more than 30-45 seconds between sets. I end most workouts with a 20-30-minute cardio session.

Day 1: Chest/Back/Abs
    • Pullups Pullups Pullups
      3 sets to failure
    • Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
      5 sets of 12 reps
    • Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows
      4 sets of 10, 10, 8, and 8 reps
    • Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press
      4 sets of 10 reps
    • Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes Dumbbell Flyes
      5 sets of 5 reps
    • Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover
      3 sets of 10 reps
    • Flat Bench Cable Flyes Flat Bench Cable Flyes Flat Bench Cable Flyes
      3 sets of 10 reps
Triset
  • Plank Plank Plank
    3 sets of 1-2 min
  • Jackknife Sit-Up Jackknife Sit-Up Jackknife Sit-Up
    3 sets 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Bend Dumbbell Side Bend Kettlebell Side Bend (Shown w/ Dumbbell)
    3 sets of 20 reps (each side)
Day 2: Arms/Abs
Superset
    • EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl
      5 sets of 10 reps
    • Bench Dips Bench Dips Bench Dips
      5 sets of 30 reps
 
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl
    5 sets of 10 reps
  • Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment
    4 sets of 20 reps
  • Preacher Curl Preacher Curl Preacher Curl (EZ-Bar)
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension
    4 sets of 10 reps
  • Hammer Curls Hammer Curls Hammer Curls 21s
    3 sets of 7,7,7 reps
  • Ab Roller Ab Roller Ab Roller
    2 sets of 30 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise
    4 sets of 12 reps
Day 3: Cardio
  • Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer
    20-30 min HIIT
Day 4: Shoulders/Traps/Abs
Triset
    • Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press
      4 sets of 15 reps
    • Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise
      4 sets of 15 reps
    • Front Dumbbell Raise Front Dumbbell Raise Front Dumbbell Raise
      4 sets of 15 reps
 
  • Reverse Flyes Reverse Flyes Reverse Flyes
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row
    3 sets of 12 reps
  • Face Pull Face Pull Face Pull
    3 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug Dumbbell Shrug
    2 sets of 40-50 reps
  • Plank Plank Plank (Bosu ball)
    3 sets of 1-2 min
  • Isometric Wipers Isometric Wipers Isometric Wipers
    3 sets of 15 reps (each side)
  • Dumbbell Side Bend Dumbbell Side Bend Kettlebell Side Bend (Shown w/ Dumbbell)
    2 sets of 20 reps (each side)
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Legs/Abs
    • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat Barbell Squat
      5 sets of 12 reps
    • Leg Press Leg Press Leg Press
      3 sets of 15 reps
Superset
    • Leg Extensions Leg Extensions Leg Extensions
      4 sets of 12 reps
    • Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl
      4 sets of 12 reps
 
  • Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise
    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises
    3 sets of 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups Dumbbell Step Ups
    1 set of 20 reps (each leg)
  • Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise
    3 sets of 15 reps
  • Medicine Ball Full Twist Medicine Ball Full Twist Medicine Ball Full Twist
    2 sets of 25 reps (each side)

What aspect challenged me the most

"The hardest part is committing to change. As creatures of habit, we resist change."

The hardest part is committing to change. As creatures of habit, we resist change. Actions as simple as going to the gym take lots of adjustment. I have to balance family, career obligations, and fitness goals. Striking a happy medium is crucial.

Forming healthy habits is difficult in the first few months. I kept my goals at the forefront of my mind. Now when I wake up, it's part of my mental checklist. I have certain things I want to accomplish each day. Eating right and exercising are now part of my daily plan.

My future fitness plans

I want to focus on becoming the best version of myself. I love helping others achieve their goals and finding success, so I plan to pay it forward to friends and family who want to take the next step.

I plan to compete again because it's a motivating experience. I don't know where fitness will take me, but I'm ready for the challenge.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

  • Trust yourself and never give up.
  • Be willing to make sacrifices.
  • Find balance.
  • Don't let minor setbacks change your path.
  • Have a support system.
  • Step outside your comfort zone.
  • Push your limits.
  • Be confident.
  • Seek trusted information.
  • Be humble and grateful.
  • Make a plan!

How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals

Bodybuilding.com is my best resource. I read the articles daily. It's amazing how much information is here. Bodybuilding.com compiled trusted fitness experts on cardio, competition prep, bodybuilding, and nutrition.

Cory Gregory's Get Swole program helped me prepare for my first competition to get stronger and leaner.

Ben's Top 5 Gym Tracks

Gym Tracks

  1. "Now is the time" by Darren Tate
  2. "Cascade" by Hyper
  3. "Neno Itome" by Marksun & Brian
  4. "Remember The Name" by Fort Minor
  5. "Body Language" by Jesse McCartney