Name: Ben Lee
Location: Glendale, Arizona
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.
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.
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.
What aspect challenged me the most
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
- "Now is the time" by Darren Tate
- "Cascade" by Hyper
- "Neno Itome" by Marksun & Brian
- "Remember The Name" by Fort Minor
- "Body Language" by Jesse McCartney