Weight: 140 lbs
Weight: 200 lbs
Why I Got Started
As a freshman, I wrestled for my high school, occupying the 140lb weight class. Prior to high school, I had played football without too much success. I was a decent wrestler, but competition within my class was stiff, and I was frequently outdone by people who had wrestled their whole lives.
Although to this day I love the sport itself, I quickly began to hate the stress of dropping weight through unhealthy methods such as fasting and induced dehydration. It was in wrestling that I got my first experience with weight lifting, performing basic lifts such as bench press, dumbbell curls, lat pulls, and other beginner's favorites.
I had no real routine, and achieved a lean but thin build mostly through the cardiovascular activity associated with wrestling. There were several wrestlers I met who lifted seriously, and I was fascinated by the physiques they achieved, as well as the weight they were capable of moving.
It was not until the end of my first semester of sophomore year that I made the decision to begin lifting regularly. I attribute this decision to several factors. First and foremost, I had the privilege of growing up in a health conscious family.
My dad has worked out religiously first thing every morning, five mornings per week, for as long as I can remember. He is in fantastic shape for a person his age, with cardiovascular conditioning that certainly rivals my own, and a build as lean as any sixty year old I have ever known.
I always found his work ethic and dedication to fitness to be an inspiration. My mom has never failed to provide a good, healthy home cooked meal every night of the week, and has always been in good shape for her age.
My older brother is a former bodybuilder, and although he is ten years older than I, he was definitely a part of what gave me the idea to begin weightlifting.
Besides my family's lifestyle, I was also motivated by the idea of not being a skinny kid anymore. It was only a matter of time before I grew weary of nicknames like 'coat rack' and 'stickboy.'
Although they were always just jokes that never truly offended me, I could never help but think how awesome it would be to make a total change for myself and be the strongest and best built one out of all my friends.
How I Did It
I began with a very unrefined split, performing bench press, leg extensions, and overhead triceps extensions one day, and lat pull, leg press, and curls the next. Needless to say, this split brought me few gains, and I became eager to educate myself on what real lifting is.
Bodybuilding.com was the first site I found regarding the matter, and to this day I attribute much of what I have learned to their forums and article database. Like many beginners, I made the mistake of prioritizing supplements over diet, and one of my first moves was to go out and buy a tub of creatine and a tub of whey protein.
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Without a diet, the creatine had only minor effects, and I made the mistake of buying GNC's mixed berry whey, which was without a doubt the worst supplement I have ever tasted. I quickly learned that shakes alone did not comprise a bodybuilder's diet, and progressed to eating four decent meals a day, not nearly enough for my metabolism.
Likewise, I changed my routine to a 5-day split, a huge improvement from what I began with. Summer of my sophomore year I began working out at a friend's neighborhood gym, where I began experiencing my first real gains. I was constantly educating myself on training and nutrition, taking baby steps to eventually work my way up to a real bodybuilder's program.
During the summer of my junior year, I bought a membership to the local LA Fitness, a huge step up from what I was accustomed to. I weighed somewhere in the proximity of 175-180lbs when I began to workout there.
At the end of my senior year, I completed a 6-week program that granted me my personal trainer certification. This was also the time that I reached my peak weight of 210 pounds, though this was at a higher bodyfat than I have ever been.
I continued to work, as well as work out, at LA Fitness until August of 2007, when I entered my first semester as a freshman at Texas A&M. My roommate here is also a natural bodybuilder, which has definitely helped enhance my training and strengthen my diet.
I hope to continue natural bodybuilding for as long as my body allows. I will enter my first competition in 2009 when I am 19, and if all goes well continue competing to hopefully earn my natural pro card.
Regardless of if competing goes well for me or not, I plan to continue practicing the healthy living principles bodybuilding has taught me for the rest of my life. I hope to one day accomplish as much as my favorite bodybuilder, Layne Norton. His progress is enough to motivate anyone, and has inspired me to pursue natural bodybuilding.
I have never had much success with any supplements other than whey protein, Lean Body MRPs, a weightgainer, a multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, and creatine. I will say that Gaspari Nutrition's Size-On worked wonders for meâ€¦ it's a shame it is too expensive for me to use regularly.
- ON 100% Gold Standard Whey
- NOW A.D.A.M. Multivitamin
- Fish oil
- Universal Real Gains
- Higher Power micronized creatine
Because I live in a dorm room, options are very limited. The only thing I have to cook with in my room is a microwave, all other cooking is done in another dorm's community kitchen. My diet is a constant battle against my metabolism.
For me, more food is better, and I keep it clean whenever possible to maintain leanness and for the health benefits. I spend time on my off days premaking large batches of pasta, chicken, and boiled eggs with my roommate to eat throughout the week. I take in a minimum of one gallon of water per day
10:30 AM - Breakfast
- 2 packets reduced sugar instant oatmeal
- Bowl of whole wheat cereal
- One serving vegetable juice
- Protein shake/16oz. skim milk
- Fish oil
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 3-4 tbsp. all natural peanut butter
- Spreadable fruit jelly/honey
- 16oz. of skim milk
- Whole wheat tortilla
- 3-4oz. chicken
- Swiss cheese
- 16oz. skim milk
- Other half of multivitamin
- Fish oil
- B-vitamin complex
12:00 PM - Lunch 1
1:00 PM - Lunch 2
2:40 PM - Lunch 3
4:00 PM - Lunch 4
6:00 PM - Dinner (Preworkout)
8:00 PM - Postworkout
8:30 PM - Postworkout meal
10:30 PM - Dinner 2
12:00 AM - Before bed
The routine that has worked best for me is Layne Norton's 5-day split, which I have been using since December of 2008. I always start off with 2 laps around the track and around 10 minutes of stretching, as well as an additional lap after workouts followed by another 10 minutes of stretching.
I don't have to do a ton of cardio because I either walk or ride my bike everywhere on campus, as well as climb four flights of stairs every time I enter or leave the dorm. I rested (cooked) on days 3 and 7.
|Day 1: Power/Heavy Upper Body||Sets||Reps|
|DB Chest Press||3||5|
|Clean And Press||3||5|
|Incline Barbell Bench||3||5|
|Wide Grip Chins||3||3-6|
- Heavy weight is used to force myself into the desired rep ranges
- 2-3 warm up sets are performed for the first chest and first back exercises
- I alternate each week between performing chest first and performing back first
- Normally the 3rd and fourth exercises will be supersetted
- I vary the incline on chest exercises every workout
|Day 2: Power/Heavy Lower Body||Sets||Reps|
|Straight Leg Deadlift||3||5|
- I alternate between deadlifting on heavy lower and back day every week. On weeks without SLDL, they are replaced by weighted lunges
- I change my calf routine regularly, anytime they stop getting sore
|Day 4: Chest/Back||Sets||Reps|
- I superset exercises three and four, and sometime five and six
|Day 5: Arms/Shoulders||Sets||Reps|
|DB Shoulder Press||3-4||5-8|
|Seated Dumbbell Curls||3||5-8|
- I superset exercises 5 and 6
|Day 6: Legs||Sets||Reps|
- I perform at least one superset during this workout
Suggestions To Others
Educate yourself whenever you can, by any means possible. Read, listen and continue trying new things. Remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Don't spend money on supplements until you have your diet down, they are only there to supplement your diet, not become the focus of it.
Although I recognize it as a personal choice, I highly recommend staying natural. It is a much more rewarding journey when you can attribute all your gains to hard work and determination.