About a year ago I started lifting weights in the gym. It wasn’t so much to get fit, as before that I was running eight miles everyday. But as I kept running, year after year, I started to look like those olympic long distance runners — very very skinny. I’m 6 foot 1, and through running, I had withered myself down to 131 lbs – not good. Looking back on some of the pictures I have, I looked almost emaciated.
I decided to get into weight training and put on some mass. I didn’t want to just eat and get fat, as that wouldn’t be good, so I decided I’d put on some muscle. I’ve sort of fallen in love with it. My cousin, who is a super strong body-builder, gave me a workout routine and I went out and bought a lot of books on weight lifting. It’s been a really neat journey.
In the past year or so I’ve put on around 45~50 lbs of muscle. Yeah, you may have to read that again — pretty insane! My entire appearance has changed. It’s blown my mind. I didn’t even think such a transformation was possible for me. I have always been skinny, a sort of scrawny guy, and I thought that was genetic. My parents would always tell me that our family is skinny and there’s nothing to do about it. My mom was super skinny and small, my Dad was very tall and skinny, and I have been most of my life as well. So, for most of my life, I believed them.
However, I’ve learned that you don’t have to be skinny if you don’t want to be. I read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, and what really struct me was the nutrition section. I had lifted weights before many years ago, but I never put on any real muscle. I lifted for around a year, and looked basically the same; that had just confirmed to me what my mother had said — I’m just genetically a skinny person. But I’ve realized that roughly 80% of body building and weight lifting is nutrition!
Like for instance, you need to eat at least 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh each day, on top of a bunch of carbs for energy. The key to gaining strength and muscle is eating — and eating a LOT. So I’ve been eating tons of chicken, hamburger, steak, and other meat, chugging protein shakes, eating protein bars, and eating a lot of food. Combine that with some hardcore weight training and wow, total transformation!
I started off curling 15 lb dumbbells, and after a few sets of five or six reps, my pathetic, tiny biceps were exhausted. I’d wake up all sore and couldn’t lift anymore for days. Now, just the other day, I’m curling a 120 lb barbell for reps. The other day I was military pressing 175 lbs over my head. If I was in the pool with someone, I could just Hulk Hogan body slam them, easily lifting them over my head. Me, formerly skinny, formerly puny Jason. (Don’t worry, I won’t lift any of you over my head… though, I wouldn’t mind trying!)
When I first started bench pressing, I dreamed of benching 1 plate (135 lbs). Now that’s so light to me, I use it to warm up. It’s too light to even count for a set in my pyramid workout I do. I’m nowadays benching around 250 lbs, and it’s going up by 10 lbs every two weeks or so. My squat is moving in the same direction. Sitting on the computer all day, it used to be kind of difficult just getting up and down, squatting my bodyweight 10-15 times – that alone was a workout. Now? Throw 250~300 lbs on my back and watch me go. Up, down, up, down.
I went to put on jeans I used to wear and literally I can’t fit in them. Not because I’m fat, but my legs are too big. Too much damn muscle! No more skinny chicken legs. The other day I was on the leg sled, pushing like 600+ lbs. It’s incredible to me. I’ve went from a skinny, scrawny, really weak dude, to one of the strongest guys you’ll come across in the gym — in one year.
Lately I’ve been spending about 2 and a half hours in the gym each day, and I eat and eat and eat when I get home. I eat like six or more times a day. Tons and tons of protein, and I lift hard, almost every day.
It’s fun to me. It’s like, wow, I can do this? My goal is to do this for another year or two, get to around 200~210 lbs of raw, man-beef. Not big and fat, but 210 lbs of pure ripped muscle. That’s not crazy huge like those bodybuilder guys you see in the Mr. Olympia competitions, but I’ll be big and jacked, for sure. Then I’ll just workout to maintain that body weight.
I spend a lot of time these days watching weight lifting videos on Youtube, learning from personal trainers and power lifters. I always used to play sports and have always missed it. This is sort of filling in that void. I might one day decide to upload a bunch of videos of me and the guys in the gym.
Speaking of the guys — I’ve joined a really hardcore gym where I live. This is a gym where the guys yell out things like, “Whhhhhhhoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” and “Light weight BBBAABBBBYYYYYY!” before doing a heavy lift. They’re all really supportive, giving me tips, and spotting me when I need a spotter.