Making the Change
I’ve always wanted to be a bodybuilder but didn’t know what road to travel to get there.
In 2009, I decided to challenge myself by getting in lean and ripped shape. I was 300 lbs at the time and did a lot of heavy lifting. I was a generally a normal sized kid. In high school, I was maybe 170 lbs., – 5 ft 9. I’ve always wanted to be a big muscular guy.
In my 20s, I went out and partied, drank a lot, wanted to be that funny guy at the party that was drunk all the time. I thought I was going to be a bar hopper party guy for a while. The day that changed my life, I was sitting on a bar stool drinking by myself. A much older guy sitting next to me just turned to me and said, “You’re thinking too much.” I responded “What?” He said, “It looks like you’re lost in thought. Is it a girl?” He told me not to look for one here at a bar.
That moment kind of stuck in my head like a hammer. I looked in the mirror at myself and said to myself, “Why am I here in this bar by myself drinking?” I should be doing something positive, not drinking my life away. I decided to turn to fitness. I began going to the gym and I began learning more and more about fitness. I grew to be about 300 lbs. but my diet was fast food, fried foods. I also drank pop or sugar drinks at all times.
I decided to make a change in 2009 to try to get ripped up. I started to read everything I could on how to get ripped online. I looked up a lot of reading material, diets, and training methods. I started with trying to take pop out of my diet and go from there. I then began cutting sugars and baked goods from my diet. I started doing cardio. I began losing a lot of weight right off the bat. My clothes were getting looser and my pants were falling down and people started to notice. Free weights with cardio were the main components of my workout plan.
My diet consisted of certain amount of protein, carbs, and fats per day with timing between meals. I had been on a bodybuilding diet for 11 months now. I eat almost the same thing, same time of day. I’m very regimented in my diet and training. Now, I currently weight 167 lbs. for a competition I’m doing in Sept. 2013.
Venture into Bodybuilding
In October 2012, I was approached a few times from bodybuilders asking if I have competed or in the process of competing in a bodybuilding show. Apparently, the condition I was in was close enough to being able to compete. I was flattered by their comments but it really wasn’t an option at the time. I have a huge fear of public speaking or being the center of attention. Plus the fact of being practically naked in front of strangers with lights on me showing all my physical imperfections. There are parts of my body that I’m self conscious about.
However, the seed was planted in me that maybe I should compete? I should try to face a fear of mine but I wasn’t sure if it was being brave or just stupidity? But thinking back earlier in the year June of 2012, I had a close cousin that died unexpectedly. He was the same age as me but only a few days between our births. We grew up together and were like brothers. We lost communication for 10 years until I found out about his death a day after his funeral. That still haunts me today. Life goes by fast and anything can happen. All of his hopes and dreams are lost. I still have time to live life. Put yourself out there and try to experience all you can. Break out of the box and find your best self and passion.
I finally spoke to one of the bodybuilders that approached me, Scott Fanti. I’ve seen his bodybuilding pictures that hung on the wall at the gym and he looked like the person I wanted to be. Scott sat down with me to explain what I needed to do and what to expect along the way. He wrote me up a diet to follow in October as my first show was supposed to be in April 2012. I thought I had plenty of time to get in competition shape. As the weeks went by, small changes were happening, still scared out of my mind about getting to the stage. In February 2012, I started training at Everybody’s Gym in Chardon, Ohio. There, I met Scott’s friend Dan Summons, a current bodybuilder. Dan always gave me little tips and anything else I needed.
One day he asked me when my first competition was going to be. I told him I was going to compete in April. He told me it would be a waste of time dieting for almost 6 months to do a competition and that I should think about doing a competition in March, which was only maybe a month away. I really started to sweat then, he told me lets see what I look like and go from there. I striped down to my shorts and Dan was like, “Dude you’re ready!” “Ready now!” to compete, he added. Any complements from Dan I take as if God himself complemented me. I said why not, I guess I’ll compete in March then.
Plenty of stress, fear and doubt at my first bodybuilding show on March 17. First thing we had to do there was take the required polygraph test for the natural bodybuilding show. Freaked out about that since I never took a polygraph test before and haven’t taken anything illegal but being hooked up to that machine made me stress. I was relaxed going on stage for the first time. All that went through my mind was to remember my posing and don’t fall down. Also try to pay attention to what they’re telling us to do onstage for the posing.
By the end of the night, I won first time bodybuilding class, 1st place in light heavyweight and also 1st place in the heavyweight division they threw me into. I was on Cloud 9, so high on all the events that took place. It was probably the best time in my life the whole weekend of competition. An empty void was filled. I broke out of the box and I found my passion. The Buffalo bodybuilding competition helped me find out who I was and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Without the supporters in my life, I probably never would’ve found it.
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