T Nation

What I've Learned on My Journey to Become Stronger, Leaner, and More Efficient


Hello everyone.

I wanted to share with you my year long journey, a few of the things I learned during the way, so in hopes I might be able to share some knowledge, gain some knowledge, and inspire.

Backstory: I have only been working out for a year, when I began I weighed a whopping 300 pounds, was 19 in college, and had more rolls then the pillsberry dough boy (currently I am 203). For the first 3 months of working out, I was mainly training for the police academy entrance standards, which was close to a 11:30 mile, 33 pushups in under a minute, and 40 sit-ups in under a minute, however, I challenged myself to destroy those times because I wanted to be way above the standard-not just average.

Within a 3 month timeframe I dropped my 12:00 mile down to a 11:00 mile and a half-(currently run a 6:30-7 min mile), 40 pushups in under a minute, and I am not sure how many sit-ups I do in under a minute haha.

After I hit these standards I was addicted to the gym, I started getting interested in building my strength, my body, and growing my muscles, so I kept with it, started designing my own workout plans, and have been doing endless research

Current: Fast forward 9 months and here I am- 203 pounds and training 6 days a week. A few of the things I have accomplished in the time

past- 120+ pound ASSISTED pull-ups current- 5x3 strict pull-ups (still working on them haha)
Past- 3-5 pushups with sloppy form Current- 40+ strict form
Past- Bench press around 150 max with a bodyweight of 300 Current- 235 max
Past- 135 deadlift for like 3 or 4 reps Current- 350
Past- Wall squats with a ball behind my back because my balance was so terrible lol Current- 275 pound max squat (haven’t tested in a bit) and 195 pound 20 rep squat

These are just a few of the accomplishments I have made in a short amount of time, however, its a little frustrating because my progress is much slower now compared to before. I am also on my way becoming a personal trainer, as I have an interview this week and am pretty excited to help people reach their goals and become a better version of themselves.

What have I learned?
The number one thing I have learned, which can be quoted by Arnold is “trust yourself,” everyones body is completely different, yes we have some similarities, however, I believe and have experienced that the ideal path and program for myself varies greatly then any individual person.

-Never say “I can’t” in the gym, don’t even think it. I always tell myself to never even think those words, If I fail I fail and thats life, but as soon as I tell myself “I can’t” my mind fails before my muscles.

-Accept failure and grow from it. When I was trying to hit my 225 bench press (yes 225 thank-you lol) I kept hitting 220 for the longest time, I must have failure 3 or 4 times. One day after heavy 9x3 benching I decided to try again- I hit 230.

-Speaking from person experience, never judge anyone in the gym. I don’t care if they are 600 pounds, having terrible form, or what. At least they are making an effort, and attempting to better themselves, that does not require judgement-but praise.

-Work out as many day AS YOUR BODY feels. Now before people jump on top of me and scream overtraining, I am not saying train 50 days in a row and have one off day. However, some people preach to only workout 4 days a week for optimal gains, 5 days a week, 6 days, certain plans that are “better” then others. I argue that as long as you feel good, are moving well, and seeing results, listen to your body and follow it.

-One of the things I have struggled with over the year is “Overthinking” such as doing research on a subject, getting 100 different opinions and conclusions, and being confused to hell as to what to do. Again, listen to you body, test, and review.

-Another thing I have struggled with, and definitely learned from, is sometimes less is more. Doing shoulder press with 30 pound DB’s and feeling the muscles work, having a slow eccentric, and a much better pump, is sometimes better then just jabbing dumbbells in the air because its a bigger weight which obviously means bigger gains?

-One of my more important once- never accept perfection. We are never perfect, their is always, ALWAYS, something we can do to make our form better, the lift better, or our bodies. We can always keep improving, never think that you have become your maximum potential, because we are always stronger then we know.

Anyways, thanks for reading! I hope some of you got something out of this, if not thats fine! Just figured as an avid reader of t-nation, and a newer lifter, I would share some insight about things I have learned over the year.


Congrats, keep up the good work!


appreciate it brother