I first published this in early September, 2014. But then I changed web platforms, didn’t import it, changed back, and am just now getting around to putting it back up. So with that context, here you go:
Twenty years is a lot of lost time. It’s a lot of time to make mistakes, cultivate bad habits, and grow soft in both mind and body. When I was 17, I competed as a teen bodybuilder in Southern California. Then I stopped.
I went to college, got a degree in an area I thought would be lucrative (it kind of is), and stopped lifting seriously. Actually, I stopped before that. I didn’t place high enough in my second competition to earn any kind of trophy, so I think that was the point I let my whiny brat come out and quit the sport. From that point on, I only lifted recreationally.
The last ten years, however, I’ve barely lifted at all. Just take a look at the pic my wife took on July 8 2014. I got sloppy, fat, and developed health problems. My blood pressure went up, my triglycerides were so high that my health care provider wanted to test me for diabetes at one point, and I grew more depressed as my body fell deeper out of balance.
Once I saw the pictures of me from our latest Florida beach vacation (I really love the Gulf coast), I decided it was time to get back into the gym. My mind was filled with ideas of what could have been, but I wasn’t really in the mood to ruminate. I went to my budget.
With enough money for a family membership to one of the local gyms and the will to grow giant, rock-hard muscles, I was ready to go. And go I did. My body remembered what it knew years ago. It remembered what it loved. After just a couple of weeks, I was hooked again.
While I wouldn’t be going blindly by any stretch — due to working as a professional fitness trainer before and during college — I didn’t want to just let the iron take me where it wanted. I would be directing this dance with iron and fire (the lactic acid burn), and I would determine how far I would go. I joined BodySpace on bodybuilding.com and started filling my mind with fitness. I caught up on trends in nutrition, supplements, and exercise, and I looked for the latest science.
At 37 years old, with a slightly weathered face and gray hairs abound, I picked a program and dedicated myself to the schedule and the work. I don’t yet know how far I’ll be able to go with my fitness, but I do know one thing. I’m going to be the best version of me I can create. I’m going to push myself hard in the gym, and I’m going to take my resting times seriously.
So how fast can I pack on twenty years of muscle? I guess I’ll have to find out.