If there was ever one thing I wanted to change about myself, it was my body. At a mere 125 pounds I felt insecure, weak, and would do just about anything to pack some muscle onto my skinny frame.
I would look at other kids and think, "why can't I just feel average ?" Forget being strong and muscular, I just wanted to feel like I wasn't a toothpick compared to everyone else. I probably took things too far, and maybe I wasn't as thin as I imagined, but it didn't matter. In my eyes I was nothing . Afraid to show my arms, or take my shirt off, my confidence was down in the dumps.
Yep, that's me, at a skinny 125 pounds!
There were several times when I told myself I would do something about it, but I was never able to stick to any kind of real plan. I lacked the proper knowledge and wasn't sure if what I was doing would be effective.
I would usually end up doing pushups every night, and then give up in a week or two. I had no idea what to do as far as eating was concerned and lacked the confidence to get advice from others.
But then it happened. One day when I was looking in the mirror, I realized just how unhappy I was with the way I looked. I realized that I could never be truly happy on the inside until I was happy with myself on the outside. It was as if my mind had taken a 180 degree turn.
It was on that very day that I decided it was time to change. This time I meant business. No more sitting around whining to myself and complaining about my small frame, it was time to put all the talk aside and get to work. Talking builds no muscles. Although I still had no idea how to approach it, one thing was for sure, I wasn't going to quit.
Whether or not I knew what I was doing, the bottom line was that I had made a self-promise. No matter how difficult it was, how long it took, or how many obstacles came my way, I was going to change. I was going to get huge, and there was nothing that would stop me. It was there that my journey from point A to point B began.
For Christmas I received a universal weight machine with a seated bench press, lat pulldown, pec deck and leg extension. I also went out and bought a cheap set of plastic, cement-filled York weights to complete my home gym. I decided that if I was going to be doing this for the long haul, I better learn how to do it right, or not do it at all.
Why on Earth would I want to put in so much time and effort if I wasn't doing things properly? And so I read. I read a lot. I spent many hours reading, and I read until there was nothing left to read. And then I read some more.
After filling my head with every possible piece of bodybuilding literature I could get my hands on, I put together my first weightlifting routine. Nothing complicated. Just a straightforward, sound program focusing on basic lifts with maximal intensity.
I would train 3 days per week on hit each muscle group once. It was really hard at first, but I stuck with it. There were many times when working out would be the last thing I felt like doing, but it didn't matter; I dragged my ass downstairs and lifted. I remembered the promise that I had made to myself, and that was all I needed to keep going.
With an ectomorph bodytype and rocket fast metabolism, gaining weight wasn't the easiest thing for me. I had to train like a madman possessed, and eat until another mouth full of food would cause my stomach to explode. I ate insane amounts of food in order to keep the weight gain coming.
I ate whenever I possibly could, and I was never hungry. I ate even when I wasn't hungry. Call me crazy, but this is what I had to do if I wanted real gains. Some call it obsession, but I call it dedication. And it worked.
I started gaining weight. After the first few months I'd put on a good 15 pounds and gained an inch on each arm. My hard work and persistence was already paying off. So I pressed on. I kept on training and I kept on eating. Most people would have quit by now, but I wasn't one of them.
I refused to be defeated; to give up and go back to the way I was. Workout after workout, week after week, month after month, and I was still training. Sure, I experienced bumps in the road. Inevitably there were obstacles, but I rose above them. When I felt like it was time to pack it in, I dug down deep and kept going. This is what separated me from the rest; I wasn't going to quit no matter how tough it was.
I did the things that I hated doing the most in order to reach my goals. Training when I wanted to sleep, eating when I wanted to rest, going to bed when I wanted to stay awake. This is what separates champions from wannabe's. I watched as months went by, and my size continued to improve. I was finally walking around with my head up high. I kept on training and I kept on improving. There was no letting up.
Dedicated bodybuilders are few and far between. Very rarely do you find those who are able to stay totally committed to something as difficult as bodybuilding. But even to this day, I'm still training, and I'm still improving. I can truly say that bodybuilding has been the greatest choice I've ever made in my entire life.
It has changed me from the inside out. I am now confident with the way I look. I don't hide behind baggy clothes anymore, nor am I reluctant to take my shirt off. I feel strong, powerful and healthy. My life has completely changed for the better. Words cannot describe the feeling of being in great shape. I now know that I am able to set a goal and reach it.
If you're thinking about getting into bodybuilding or if you're just starting out, one piece of advice I can give you is do not quit. No matter what happens, do NOT quit. Bodybuilding will do so much for you, and you will be eternally grateful if you continue. There is nothing like it. It teaches self-discipline, builds character and pushes you to your utmost limits. There is just so much you will get in return, I can't even tell you.
So next time you're tempted with that can of coke, just remember that nothing tastes better than being in the best shape of your life. Remember, cowards never get started, and the weak die along the way. Are you one of the destroyers, or the broken?
Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle.
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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