Part 2: Get Fit or Die Trying
At this point, I was pretty committed to figuring out this whole “get into shape” thing. It’s like a switch went off in my head. I had this undying attitude to get it right.
I, like most who get into Bodybuilding, have an extreme personality. When I do things, I do them right. I go all in and sacrifice everything for it. I don’t care the cost. If I truly want something, I go after it and win. Quite frankly, the way I thought back then was: if it’s harder, hurts more, or requires more effort, the better. I wanted to go the hard way.
So, I began researching. I read up on Intermittent Fasting, going keto, high fat diets, going vegan, etc. I also found myself on Reddit’s r/Fitness page (honestly, the basic advice on there is pretty spot on).
Here’s what I came up with. I still remember writing this down in one of my journals:
“12 weeks. 12 weeks and you’re shredded (I know, lmao)…Intermittent Fasting every day, extreme caloric deficit, track your macros, and stronglifts 5x5 along with cardio every single day. Let’s go.”
Orrrrr something like that. Either way, you get the picture: do the most extreme shit possible for a finite amount of time to get what I wanted right now.
Fast forward a week: I had stuck to my program and diet, but I was miserable.
This is pretty hilarious, but I still remember reading up on Reddit later on that week that Stronglifts wouldn’t “build a great physique” or something like that. I threw a temper tantrum in my Studio apartment after reading that because I thought I had just “wasted” the last week of training while running Stronglifts, and I took my frustration out on my dirty hamper, lmao.
I wanted something more extreme. I wanted to work out every single day to stay committed. So, I found the Reddit Push, Pull, Legs beginner split, which meant I’d be training 6x a week. Remember, the harder the better for me, right? (Sigh).
I started running this program, learning more about tracking macros every day, etc. Every day I focused on getting better and executing my diet (IIFYM). I slowly began to love myself for the daily work I was putting into my goals.
I went from about 167lb and 25 ish% bodyfat to 153lb and maybe 15 ish% bodyfat in 12 weeks. The difference was remarkable to be honest. At this point, I was hooked. I was bit by the iron bug, and I wasn’t going back.
There were some issues at this point though. In making this mini transformation over the course of 12 weeks, I sacrificed a lot. I don’t think I saw my parents once, I sacrificed social relationships, and said no to dinners/nights out weekend after weekend.
I became a hermit. My daily routine was as follows: Wake up, go to work, lift, get home, eat dinner, shower, play video games with friends, meal prep, and then sleep. Repeat.
If anything got in the way of my routine, I’d remove it from my life. Hence, the title of this part of the blog. I say this with no sarcasm whatsoever: I was going to get in shape or die trying.
I didn’t care what it took. I was so committed to figuring this out that if anything jeopardized executing my plan daily, I would say no to it.
Invited out to dinner with friends to a place where the nutrition information wasn’t public? Sorry, can’t make it.
Invited out for drinks? Sorry, need to rest and recover to be able to beat last week’s lifts.
Invited on vacation? Sorry, the hotel gym doesn’t have a barbell.
Need to travel for work? Nope, not going to do it. Fire me, I don’t care.
When I say my fitness goals were the single most important thing to me in my life at this point, I’m being totally serious.
I want to point this out because my mindset at this point in my journey was so wrong. It got worse too.
After the above transformation, I went ahead and bulked for 3 months, followed by a 4 month mega cut where I slashed calories hard for 16 weeks before spring break (transformation below). I still remember going from "bulking" to "cutting" one day to the next. I was consistently eating what I thought was 2800 calories a day in the middle photo (really like 3.5k because I still didn't know how to track my intake properly) and from one day to the next when I wanted to start cutting, I slashed my calories to 1850, and kept them there for 16 weeks to get to the photo on the right.
Looking back, that's actually insane and was terrible for my long term growth. I could have been so much further ahead in my journey had I not done this. But, hey, we live and we learn. Ask James - I actually prefer the slow and steady approach now.
I clearly made progress. Thank god I did, because I left so much on the table and sacrificed so much for it. Saying no to almost any social event because it didn’t fit my new lifestyle got me the results I was looking for but was not a healthy long term strategy for me.
I don’t regret anything. Quite frankly, I think people when starting their fitness journey need a little bit of this kind of “relentless” attitude to really get some momentum under their belt.
I just went too extreme with it. I could have exercised a better balance, which I have begun to learn how to do (more on that later though).
Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed another installment of my little journey so far. If I even only help one person re-think how they're going about their fitness journey to avoid the mistakes I have made thus far then this would all be worth it.
Drop any questions or comments down below, I'd love to get some conversations going/answer any questions.
Until next time,