Why should I change?
For as long as I can remember, I was incredibly small. The story of my childhood reads like that of skinny guys everywhere: I was picked last for sports teams, I was persistently harassed and humiliated by other kids, etc., etc. Growing up, I learned to take pride in my other talents and strengths, and while this sustained me, I ignored my physical health. I grew accustomed to my frail size and deficient strength. As I watched all the other guys grow huge, I decided that this was they way I would always be, and nothing could ever change that.
Many people would look at my skinny frame, including friends and family, and ask: “How much do you weigh?” Only a skinny guy knows how painful this question is. I answered with, “I’m not really sure, probably about 120 or so.” Even though they would laugh and jeer at this number, the truth was even worse. I hadn’t weighed myself for years because I didn’t want to know. At age 26, when I finally did weigh myself in preparation for the program, I learned that I weighed only 105! I thought to myself: “I’m an adult male, is that even possible?”
Once I finished college and began my career, I began to question my self-imposed belief that I could never change. As an engineer, I traveled constantly—there were so many demands on my time I doubted if I could truly complete an exercise and dieting program. However, I already knew what to expect from inaction and doubt—a 105 pound frame. Why should I be skinny and weak? Because I constantly told myself so? I could change this, I will change this.
How I did it
I found Anthony’s program and knew that I owed it to myself to try it. After all these years, I was determined to finally prove that I was not destined to be so incredibly skinny. When I started at age 26, I had never lifted weights in my life, so I planned to follow the program exactly as written. For a beginner, everything was so clear and easy to understand, all I had to do was follow the explicit instructions. Diet, exercises, and the timing of both are all clearly explained.
I dove into the program with zealous dedication to my diet and training. As Anthony prescribed, I did three workouts per week, each lasting just over an hour. In the beginning there are two upper body workouts—the “pushing” workout (chest, shoulders, and triceps) and the pulling workouts (biceps and back). But the most physically and mentally challenging workout was the legs workout, which included squats and deadlifts. Because I was new to weightlifting, I took extra care to learn correct form using lighter weights on all the exercises, particularly the leg exercises. I had much to learn, since the program workouts changed as I progressed through the 26 weeks.
The mass did not come easily at first. Because I was so small I thought I could get away with only 2200 calories to start, I had to increase this twice in the first six weeks, going all the way to 3000 calories before I started to see my weight increase. Finally, I watched my weight creep upwards. 107 lbs, 109, 112…it is working! Slowly but surely, I was finally making a difference, and watching the scale sustained me.
I pushed harder, I gained even more weight, and the success fed back to motivate me even more.
Of course, my friends and colleagues noticed all the food I was eating, and wondered why I was doing this. I held my head high and spoke with confidence about my new “hobby.” Most were surprisingly supportive. Ultimately, they noticed more than the food; they noticed that I was looking bigger. And I noticed this was becoming more than a hobby for me; I was making a lifestyle change for the better.
At the end of the 26 weeks, I weighed 120 pounds. Not much, but I was proud of every single pound that I fought so hard to get.
Furthermore, I knew I wasn’t done yet. I saw this program work once, I was smarter and more efficient at the process, so my results could only get better from here.
Over the next two years, I kept up my dieting and workouts, and today I weigh 135 pounds. Even though I have a small skeletal structure (for example, my wrist girth is only 5.75 inches), I know this is still skinny by society’s standards. But I am proud of that weight. I look healthy and strong. Heck, I feel healthy and strong!
Friends have complimented my progress and tell me how much better I look now. All the feedback now is positive, and that will sustain me into the future as I strive for even greater gains.
A few keys to success…
I reserved my workout time every week, months in advance. I knew that Thursday night at 7pm, eight weeks from now, I would be doing my back and arms workout. I vowed that nothing would change these plans. If I was to be successful, I would guarantee to myself that I would be in the gym three times a week, every week, from now until the time that I reach my goals. I reserved a block of time every week to prepare all my meals for the week. Schedule was vitally important.
The two-week break in the middle of the program was absolutely necessary. It gave me time to reflect and make adjustments in my schedule, and it gave me time to just relax! Between my job and the program, it felt like I was moving 100mph for those first 12 weeks. I really needed to sit back and enjoy the time off.
Looking into the future, I know that I’ll never give the added weight back. I learned to diet and lift around my career, so I can be sure that I’ll never see that terribly thin 105 pound frame ever again. I still have goals and you can be sure I’m going to chase them for many years to come. No matter when you read this I guarantee you that as long as I am alive, I am still lifting, still eating, NEVER quitting!