I always knew that I was the chubby, awkward kid that people laughed at. This bothered me for a while, but eventually I accepted it. I surrendered to be the person others thought I was.
As a freshman, I weighed 215 pounds. I was a member of the golf team and worked out sparingly, but didn't enjoy it. I had a good core group of friends, but I was by no means popular. By my sophomore year, I was up to 230 pounds and still ate. When my junior year came around, I used my size and joined the football team. The coaches loved me because I was the stereotypical high school lineman.
By lifting and continuing to eat, I weighed 245 pounds by the time my junior football season ended. Between my junior and senior year, I kept eating and working out to get stronger and bigger. When my senior football season started, I weighed in at my heaviest ever; 260 pounds. That may sound impressive for football, but my form at 260 was far from impressive. While I was still strong and could move lots of weight, my figure was disgusting. I looked big, but you couldn't see any muscle under the fat.
Throughout high school, I felt alone. I had friends, but felt like a loser. Girls looked past and blew me off as a joke. I didn't think I was good enough to be anything special and was depressed. Toward the end of my senior football season, I finally got it through my head that I didn't have to be the person everyone saw me as; I had the power to change into the person I wanted to be.
After football season, I started to work out on my own and changed my diet to eat clean. My motive was for people to like me more and for girls to notice me. I saw progress each month and by January 1, 2012, I lost 40 pounds. At that point, I had another personal revelation that pushed me to the next level: I was my own person and it didn't matter what everyone else thought. Because of this realization, I enjoyed the transformation and pushed harder than ever before.
I worked out twice per day, did at least an hour of cardio, and focused on two body parts for each weightlifting session. I quit eating school lunches and cooked enough chicken breast and brown rice on Sunday nights to last a week. I froze them in individual portions so they were ready to take to school. It was difficult, but I knew the end would justify the means.
In May 2012, one year after I weighed 260 pounds with a 46-size waist, I went to get fitted for my prom tuxedo. When they measured my waist, I started laughing. I shredded 11 inches off of my waist and brought it down to a size 35 and weighed 185 pounds. In seven months, I changed my mindset and lost 75 pounds. I got home and told my parents what I accomplished; I don't think I ever saw them so proud. My mother had tears in her eyes.
After graduation, I kept working and set a new goal for myself after watching YouTube videos and looking at pictures of bodybuilders. I never thought about competing before then. I looked back on everything I accomplished and realized that if I set my mind to it I could do anything.
Here I am seven months after deciding to compete, in the greatest shape of my life. My waist is 32 inches and I weigh 195 pounds, which is up 15 pounds from where I was, but it is pure muscle. It was a tough road with plenty of speed bumps and obstacles, but it was worth it. The end justified the means.
People think that to lose weight you need to diet and exercise. That's a good start, but there is much more to transforming. Diet and exercise are components of the bigger picture; an entire lifestyle change. When I was transforming, I changed nearly all of my eating habits. I quit eating out multiple times per week and stopped eating three large meals per day. I switched to barely eating out and eating six small meals per day.
I changed my schedule to fit around my workout schedule. Before I was motivated, I simply fit in a workout if I had time, but when I started my transformation, workouts became the most important part of my day. There were countless days when I left home before the sun came up so I could work out before school.
After school, I went straight to work and then to the gym for another workout. I often didn't make it home until long after the sun went down. This was the most difficult part of the process because nobody besides you can understand the immense toll you put on your body.
People notice your results, and it feels awesome when they do, but what people don't see is all of the work you put in during the quiet hours of the morning and night. There's a weird satisfaction in knowing that while the rest of the world sleeps, you're chasing your dream.>
The most frustrating part about training is when you work your butt off to attain your goals, but you hit a spot when you don't see results. Keeping a good mental attitude is enough to get past a plateau, but sometimes it takes more. Whenever I saw a plateau, I made a change within my sets, reps, or exercises.
Another aspect even more difficult than plateaus is to change who you are and give up things you enjoy. There were times I wanted to hang out with my friends instead of work out, but to be great I put in work when I didn't want to. Peer pressure is hard to ignore, but you have to ask yourself what it takes to become the person you want to be.
I'm currently in the cutting stage for my first contest in May and I plan to compete in at least 1-2 more shows this summer. I started working out to impress girls, now I do it to see how far I can push my body and mind. I want to say I pushed myself to the edge of complete exhaustion and I have conquered it.
- Don't wait; start now.
- Don't worry what others think.
- People are always going to talk trash.
With Bodybuilding.com's help, I was able to easily track my results and keep in touch with fellow weightlifters and bodybuilders, who helped me to stay motivated. The forums are an amazing resource for anyone trying to get started or continue their journey in lifting because you see what has and hasn't worked for others.