When I started I was, according to mom, 106 pounds, and I have a feeling I was less. I don't know, because I was too scared to step on the scale without all of my shit on. I was 5'11. The attached picture is me during Halloween (I'm the one in the middle) dressed as a gay zombie. The lesbian lady at Goodwill turned me down though.
I'm keeping a log so that I can't ignore the truth. It's going to be in my fucking face, because I wont have it any other way. Running is not an option.
The following notes are more for me than anyone else so that I understand my mindset right now, as well as some general backstory. Getting into it, discovering what was wrong with my routine, deciding to work on my nutrition, only to get sick and lose ten pounds and have to gain it all back. Etc., If you're not me from the future, you might not find it all that interesting, if so, skip ahead.
Hey, me. I'm writing this for you. Remember when we dropped our computer, and lost that diary we were going to keep during college? Let's not do that with our training logs okay?
The posts after this are going to show pictures and log information. Above is a picture of us during Halloween. Remember that? We went as a gay zombie with the guys. We know we could pull off zombies because we were incredibly fucking thin. Like twelve year old girls! You pussy.
I'm going to write some notes on the past six months, since that's how long it's been, before continuing. Six months! We stuck with it! This is so that you, me, us, can look back at this and figure out what the fuck I was doing before, and so that I have a snapshot of my mind. What I was thinking.
This log probably wont get updated with the same frequency as the one on our computer, but I'll try to keep it up as best I can so that hopefully, it will. The advantage of this one is since it's not in some table format, we'll be able to explain things and make notes to ourselves without the complication.
So let's begin a rundown of the last six months. I haven't done it alone. Sarah's been with me the whole way, without pressuring me or making me feel like I have to, saying "I like you skinny, but I admire your determination and didn't want to put you down" when it came up. She knows I'm thin and weak, but she's there for me and motivates me. That's a reminder, dipshit. You didn't do this alone. Don't take the fucking credit. You had people pushing you forward without feeling forced, who let you achieve that. Appreciate and respect them. Every. Fucking. One.
September: Ben took Tristan and I at the gym between September 1st and September 3rd. He had us do three different kinds of arm curls, followed immediately by dumbbell presses (all three arm curls and the press were done back to back as part of the same set) and then an odd horizontal wrist curl variation followed by ten minutes on the treadmill and a sit up machine.
I did my first curl/press clusterfuck with ten pound dumbbells. I finished the last two sets with the five pound dumbbells. I almost collapsed on the treadmill. I did 100 sit ups on the ab machine with a 30 pound resistance and was stupid enough to actually be proud. My left arm hung up, I called it the T-rex arm, for almost a week. I came home completely trashed and I was scared to drive us back from the gym.
I was instantly addicted.
October: My roommate, Max, who I would later leave for a single room, was into working out too! Perfect! Except, he was full of shit. He wanted to gain 15 pounds, at his thin weight of 140. Hey, fine. He called himself skinny (with that fatass stomach? He didn't know what word fucking meant.) I lied and told him I weighed 115. He was surprised. He knew I was thinner, but THAT much thinner? No way!
He read Men's Health. A lot of it. He wanted functional muscle. He designed a workout routine... all pushups, running, sit ups, pull ups. That's it. By December he wanted to run 4 miles a week, do hundreds of pushups, a hundred pull ups, and a hundred sit ups (he thought that was an accomplishment for some reason.) Per session. Five times a week. He did not touch weights. He wanted to be huge and ripped and muscular. Yet, he thought apple juice was worse for you than soda because it had fewer calories.
I went to the gym five times that first week, once a day every day, until I bought into that "rest period" bullshit online. I thought I had wasted my time there. I was a dumbass.
By this point, I was the worst noob possible. I did the arm curls and the wrist curls and the dumbbelll presses, back to back like Ben had showed me. Then, I did calf raises (later traded out for the calf extension machine, which is just a fancy bullshit calf raise) and went to the machines. four different press variations, only one aimed at the shoulder. FOUR. Plus the machine flys. Then leg extensions and leg curls and leg presses and side straddles (Max convinced me they were AWESOME SO COOL- yeah, he wanted to do those too) and sit ups.
I was a dipshit.
I hit 111 pounds or so by here. College food.
November: Move into a single. Max is intolerable. He went to bed at SEVEN IN THE AFTERNOON. Gets up at five. Bitching about being exhausted by three. Wont shut the fuck up. I feel like his mother. Asked for the room for seven hours so he could pork his girl. No. Fuck no.
Alone. I have so much time now that I'm alone. Brad asks me how much I can bench. I avoid the question. "More than normal." Well I thought I was right. I went onto the chest press machine and could lift 150. With maybe like, a 1/10 range of motion. I thought it counted.
Went to try free weights. Put 150 pounds on the bar. Couldn't lift it. Tried 100. No. Decided to try just the bar. Okay, that worked. added ten or twenty. Lifting it down slowly. Small range of motion. Not sure what I'm doing.
A larger guy comes towards me. "Do you need a spot?" He doesn't make fun of me. He doesn't call me weak. He just offers to help. I say "I don't really know what I'm doing." He teaches me how to bench, with just the bar. He never mocks me. He never gives me shit. He makes sure I get the ROM down. My arms are shaking. He doesn't judge at all.
This man is my hero.
I discover I am at 5.4% bodyfat.
December: I attempt to "bench 40" (I had no idea the bar weighed anything. I thought it was maybe like, 5 pounds tops. I was, as said before, retarded.) I do this with a proper ROM.
I get pinned. I lean the bar to one side. I hadn't secured the weights. They come crashing to the ground. Everyone turns to look at me. I'm an embarrassment. I get up, put the bar away, and finish the rest of my workout regardless.
I find T Nation after browsing through articles online. I just wanted to bench press properly. I begin to find answers, but I haven't gone deep enough.
My workout is still a clusterfuck of machines and curls, with pull ups in there. I start to drop the machines. I begin doing sit ups by putting a large dumbbell on my chest and doing normal sit ups (with a constrained ROM because my back hated the larger ROMs. Thank god, I chose the right exercise to fuck up for once.)
I somehow think I'm good enough at my partial rep 85 lb bench's to go into 95 pounds. Bring the weight to my chest. Get pinned again. I really should get a fucking spotter. I tilt the bar off me. Fuck. Again. The weight's secured this time (I'm not FULLY retarded! Huzzah!) so there isn't a sound to draw attention. I put the weights away.
Tristan comes to work out with me, he drove down to Corvallis. My arms are about the size of his. That's to be expected, WITH ALL THE FUCKING CURLING. He burns out before I do because "I haven't had breakfast" (what kind of dolt goes to the gym at 3 pm without having breakfast first?) but he lifts about the same. Of course, we're doing partial reps so this doesn't mean shit. His ROM is slightly lower and he does fewer reps, but he doesn't work out at all and he's close to me. Fuck.
Winter break happens and my workout scheme hits the fan. I've spent more time on TNation. I decide to adopt a starting strength variant. Incline, Overhead, and Squats one day. Squats, Deadlifts, and Bench the other. Incline was originally power cleans, but my gym is run by pussies and they "don't do those here." Fuck you. I do some wrist curls for my pathetic forearms (they did not grow relative to the rest of me, because I grip like a ten year old girl) and hang and swings for my rear delts (I want big shoulders)
January: I weigh 113. I read up on nutrition. Okay, I'll eat 4000 calories a day. My doctor had once put me on Ensure, so I'd just drink a few of those. They're calorie machines. Sure, they make me feel sick. But fuck it.
I decide to fix my ROM on everything. Squats destroy me, I had not been properly prepared by the leg press. Then again, I have chicken legs too. I find a way to get in about 3000-4000 cals a day efficiently and figure that at my weight, it should be enough. I'll add as my stomach expands, which I'll force slowly.
I get up to 116 pounds close to the end of the month. I get sick for two weeks. I could not eat the first day, or leave the bed. Recovery was slow. By the end, I'm 111 again. Fuck. I continue coughing after being sick for some reason.
February: I begin to gain again. I get up to 115 once more. I get sick for another week. Well, at least a week. I'm still coughing a bit. I drop to 111 again. Fuck. What is with that weight level? Does it hate me? Does it?
I have a small breakdown. Why bother if I can't even hit one fucking twenty? I'm only eating between 3000-35000 cals a day. 4000 was unmanageable.
I hear starting strength (or my mutilation of it) isn't hitting all my muscles, and I decide to try another split. I've made progress, wonderful progress, but I figure if I can hit muscles I typically ignore, they might grow quicker and this will give me bigger mass gains, and reduce the amount of time I spend fixing muscle imbalances.
At this point I can bench 95 lb for 3 reps with a full ROM. I'm fairly certain I can do 105 for 3 as well, but I pussied out on the 3rd rep because I didn't have a spotter, and that flicker of uncertainty fucked it up. I've gotten stronger. I'm going to keep getting stronger. The only one stopping me is me.
As of Friday, I weigh 111 dry, and 113 soaking. Levels that anorexics struggle to achieve but I flaunt it easily. It's probably because of my incredibly thin frame, even people who guess low have always put me ten or twenty pounds larger, because I don't resemble a zombie (compared to a normal person, I would be lucky to be a bodybuilders skeleton.) Not clothed, anyway. My hands are the size of a girls, if she were half a foot smaller than me. My feet are around size 9's. My forearms are twigs. I've never been pencilnecked though, at least, certainly not considering my weight, so if I put on some long sleeves and walk with good posture, others don't have to notice.
It's definitely gotten better since going to the gym. I had absolutely no chest development before. Nothing. I look fleshed out. People are noticing.
Let's fucking change that. In the past two months I've lost about 7-8 pounds and then gained it all back. I can do a pound a week at this. I can get bigger.
I'm still recovering from that bad back acne. The scars are beginning to fade, but hot damn there are a lot of them. If you're easily disgusted skip it. But I'm posting the pictures anyway. I'm not going to withhold them because I'm scared or disgusted by what I see. Time to man up.
Few things I've learned, or just genuinely believe without evidence: A good routine is one that works. People can tell you what exercises to add in to hit certain muscles, and what works for them, but if you're growing, you're growing. Some things work for some people and some don't. People have varying needs. If something seems "too hard" or looks like you're overdoing it, it's probably perfect. I believe the human body adopts to stress, and that the harder you blast at it, the better. I believe you can go to the gym twice in the same day and it'll aid results.
Don't give up on a routine unless you have to. Maybe it doesn't hit all of your muscles, or hit them all well, well, fine. Give it a couple months though, and see if you're making progress in some area. Those first few months were a clusterfuck of me adding and removing things and it didn't work.
Do a full of ROM, it works wonders. I spent all of January and half of February trying to legitimately reach that 95 lb bench because I was so used to half reps. After I nailed it, I got 105 two weeks later and began seeing the lift grow. After bringing my squats down to 115, they soared up to about 135 at an incredibly rapid pace (I was doing squats every day though) while being my ONLY leg movement.
Don't bother adding a bunch "small shit like wrist curls" unless you need it. If you want big forearms, grip the bar, don't complicate your logs or training procedure.
Pull ups absolutely hate me. I can do them, but there's always something wrong. No energy, my tricep hurts for whatever fucking reason, etc., I'll get you fuckers down though. Watch me. I'm not scared of you anymore.
Canned foods kick ass.
I CAN gain weight, but I lose it very quickly. This is going to be hard.
Going to the gym (I hesitate to call myself a bodybuilder as I don't believe I've really earned it) is the hardest thing I've ever done and it was a mistake of me to ever think it was anything else for the people that did go.