This is a brief visual history of my progress through the years, starting at an early age and continuing today with this blog.
In 5th grade I was about 5ft 5in and weighed about 190 lbs of pure fat. I looked really fat and all the kids I went to school with let me know this on a daily basis. (A good amount of the people that use to make fun of me look like fat whales today, but I just kind of sit back and laugh, rather than return the favor and make fun of their new found rolls.)
In 8th grade I went on a really low fat diet and lost a ton of weight getting down to about 130 pounds at 5ft 8 in tall. I was skinny, but had no muscle mass at all. I ran 6 miles a day to get ripped, but as you can see I didn’t get that way. I didn’t lift at this age and really didn’t know much about it. I figured running was the key to a good looking physique, but besides getting really good at running, it didn’t do much for my physique.
In high school, I basically maintained my physique (from the above picture) without making any real gains in muscle or fat. I did get taller at a little over 6ft tall, but looked basically the same all the way through.
Around freshman year in college was when I really got into lifting. I lived on campus right next to a dining hall, so I had close access to really good food that wasn’t exactly the healthiest. So over the course of that year I bulked up and made a lot of progress in strength and muscle, but also got kinda fat.
Starting around sophomore year of college was when I got really into nutrition and how different foods effected your body. I also got really obsessed with being really lean and losing body fat, which really affected my potential muscle gains. Looking back I spent way too much time trying to stay lean, when I could have been applying my knowledge to making muscle gains. I also read “too much” during this phase and had a really bad case of analysis paralysis (having knowledge, but failing to act). I was so busy trying to cut calories and eat low calorie foods, that I basically threw out all the good nutritional information that I knew.
Senior year of college was better than my sophomore and junior years. The previous two years I got so obsessed with dieting that I felt like my social life was somewhat affected by not going out and having fun, because I was trying to maintain my diet. I also feel like by trying to maintain such a low body weight for so long my metabolism and hormones were negatively effected. (Actually read a very good article (The effects of dieting) by Lyle McDonald explaining this process. He also said only 4 days of hard dieting can start to negatively effect you psychcologically and physiologically.) As a matter of fact, I lost most of the muscle I built and became skinny fat, even though I knew a ton about nutrition and lifting weights. I was under eating for too long and the results were not pretty.
My diet basically consisted of all protein and very minimal carbs and fat. This is basically a crash diet to retain muscle and lose fat very quickly, but only if used properly for a very short period of time. I was living of this diet and for some reason it took me awhile to wake up and start feeding my body with a lot more than just protein. I was eating low calories probably around 1000-1200 calories a day on this diet and wasn’t losing fat at all. This is one of those things looking back that I really wish I could change, but I’m just going to move on and learn from it.
In senior year I decided to end the whole dieting stint and start putting on some muscle. I finally decided to end analysis paralysis and snap out of all the dieting dogma I use to believe in. My goal was to “reverse diet”, which means slowly raise calories up and go the gym everyday. Over time this would allow me to raise my metabolism and hormones and get back to normal. Going to the gym every day would also partition a lot of the calories into muscle rather than fat. My goal was get rid of the skinny fat physique that results from under eating and build some muscle. I knew some fat gain was unavoidable at this point, but honestly I didn’t really add much. I finally started to put all those nutritional principals I learned into effect and the results started to come.
I’m going to keep the section updated in the future as my ongoing personal visual journey. My goal is to continually gain muscle while keeping fat gain to a minimum. I’m glad I did this visual progress page though, because it reminds me of the mistakes I made and I will never make again.
February 17th 2015: