This is me standing at 6′3″ & weighing 175 lbs (soaking wet) on December 16, 2015.
This is me 10 lbs of lean muscle mass later, weighing 185 lbs on December 16, 2016.
It was a long journey.
It tested my commitments, my discipline, and my character.
Those daily tests lead to my improvement in each of them.
I have always been skinny. I used to be called things like pencil, rail, string bean, stick. Even one of my high school coaches nicknamed me “skinny.”
So for the longest time, my goal was to add more muscle mass to no longer look like skin and bones.
In the first picture above, I was in a bad place.
I was lifting consistently for the 4 years prior, and it was always a priority in my life. However, for the 4 months prior to this picture, I was not lifting, and I was in a depressed state of mind.
I was a senior in college, and I was sleeping on an air mattress in the common room of a friend’s dorm. I would eat trash like microwaved chicken nuggets, minute rice, absolutely no veggies or fruits, and I was drinking every weekend.
Though I lived with a few friends, I felt alone, isolated, and had no direction.
Trying to balance my studies and a part-time job was my excuse to cut out the one thing I loved to do the most. The one thing that gave me confidence and a battleground for growth.
Lifting the iron!
So what did I do? How did I step out of the ditch I dug for myself?
I made a deal.
That one year from this exact date, I would be a different person, and fitness would help me get there.
With consistent, daily hard work, I began to see change. I ate healthier, became more organized, began to read more, became more social, gained confidence in myself, the list goes on.
It was positive.
6 months in, I had gained 5 lbs of lean muscle. 1 year in, I gained 10 lbs of lean muscle.
So what was my strategy? What did I change in myself that allowed me to put on the mass I did?
Over that one year, I had seen drastic changes I never experienced in my 4 years of lifting prior.
Here is what made it happen.
- Set a goal and work towards it every day. Within reason, how soon do you want to see the change? Have a date/deadline, keep it in mind, and work at it every day. It will keep you accountable.
- Get serious about your training. It takes a focused mindset in the gym to really make the changes you want. You need to feel the muscles, you need to conquer your mind, you need to kill your old self every time you walk in so your new self can emerge.
- Take responsibility for your nutrition. No excuses. You need to have a daily plan for what and how you’re going to eat. I recommend meal prepping – that is how I took responsibility – because you can ration your servings into a handful of meals that can last for a few days. Plus, when put in containers, they are portable, so there is no reason to miss a meal.
- There will be times you f*ck up, forgive yourself, and push on. You are human, and no matter how strict you are with yourself, there will be times where you trip and make mistakes. These may be painful or simple mistakes, but it offers you a chance to grow and learn.
- Find information on what it is you want to achieve. There are people out there that have always been where you are and have done what it is you want to achieve. Find them, whether it be in-person, online, or in the pages of a book. Find them, listen, and follow their lead.
The journey meant a whole lot more to me than the muscle mass gains. That was my physical or material goal. I wanted to be strong and look good.
However, I gained much more than that. My character grew, my mind cleared, I found out more about myself and who I was, and what I wanted. This is the real value that can found and cultivated within the transformation.
You can be next.
What do you actually want?
What’s the first step you need to take to get started?