If there’s one thing that motivates me to get as fit and healthy as possible, it’s my kids. I am the father of two 8 year old twin girls – having them has been a huge motivation for me to work hard and be an inspiration to them.
My first attempt at getting healthy was a bit of a failure. I’m 6’1 “and was pretty skinny. After watching a Netflix documentary about the keto diet, I decided to give it a try. Keto naturally allowed me to get rid of carbs completely. My weight dropped to 145 pounds. I felt extremely sick and listless, I actually passed out and hit my head on the bathroom sink.
That was clearly unsustainable for me. Instead of keto, I started to eat a more balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. I tracked my calories to make sure I was eating enough. I stayed in a small calorie surplus and started training hard to try to build muscle, with the goal of getting back to a healthy weight for my size.
I started doing gymnastics and barbell exercises in my house, doing pull-ups, push-ups, shoulder presses, and curls three to four times a week. After about a year, I started to plateau, so I went to a local gym. Free weight exercises helped me get stronger and push through the plateaus.
I started with three full-body days a week. When I started trying to increase the volume I went to a higher / lower program. I’ve made a lot of good progress hitting every major muscle twice a week.
I also cleaned up my diet. My approach was 80-20, focusing on 80 percent whole unprocessed foods, then 20 of whatever I wanted. That baseline made it easy to stay consistent over time. That was a big deal because diet is such a big part of staying healthy, but it’s also easy to think about. With my 80-20 guide, I didn’t have to worry about too many lines or complicated macros.
In six years of following that plan, I’ve added 50 pounds to my frame. I also went from working as a restaurant manager to a career in physical training where I worked with a great trainer who taught me a lot about workouts and nutrition. I know I have pretty good genes: I’ve always had really good muscle symmetry. I was able to grow my pecs, arms and shoulders while staying relatively lean. And unlike a lot of people, I never had to alternate between bulking and cutting – I just trained hard for a long time.
I plan to go ahead and see how far I can go with muscle mass and strength. For me, finding a consistent routine that I could follow was key. And that is the advice I would give to anyone just starting out: find a style that suits you. You can learn from what other people are doing, but don’t just copy them because their approach may not work for you. Ultimately, finding your own path and sticking to it is the best way to achieve your own personal goals.