It all started 5 years ago.
The first day I set foot in a gym.
That day completely changed my life. I look back on that day with immense gratitude. Starting to lift weights at the gym has been one of the best decisions of my life.
Today, I absolutely love bodybuilding but..
Was it always like this?
I’m glad you asked.
In fact, it was the exact opposite.
Five years ago, I was a directionless 18 year old kid. Having just started University, I was incredibly skinny but had a bit of fat around the belly area. Basically, I was skinny-fat and clearly out of shape.
I hated the way I looked. Some of my friends had been going to the gym since the age of 16. After two years of training and at just 18 years young, they looked fantastic.
One particular friend of mine used to come in 15 minutes late for Math class. He’d be at the gym and would come in class sweating like hell. The teacher would just look at him as he carefully prepared his protein shake and devoured it like an animal.
His spectacular physique proved he worked hard in the gym. I admired his work ethic. Most of all, the results he was getting.
I definitely wanted to build my body like my friends were doing. I wanted to have a muscular body and date the hottest girls of the school. Moreover, I knew lifting weights would dramatically improve my health. Above all, I wanted to feel the confidence that these guys were able to project.
It still took me months to start bodybuilding. As a skinny twig, I felt intimated to walk into a gym full of big guys with huge arms. I thought I’d look like an idiot lifting 5 kg dumbbells or doing exercises incorrectly.
Yet, every month that went by, I was getting more interested in bodybuilding.
I took a moderate approach and decided to take it easy.
In March 2013, I started going for a daily 30 minute walk to build up my stamina. Eventually, during that summer I bought a set of dumbbells to train at home. I would spend hours watching YouTube videos about different types of bodybuilding exercises. I was learning all the exercises I needed to do to grow bigger.
There’s only so you can do at home though. If I really wanted to achieve the body of my dreams, I had to go to a gym. I had to stop feeling intimated and take the plunge.
So I entered the gym for the first time on 26th November 2013. I was still sceptical and paid for just 1 day access to the gym, ‘to try it out’.
I asked the gym instructor to show me around and opted to start with a bit of cardio on the treadmill.
He even gave me a program of six exercises. I remember he gave me squats, dead lifts and machine bench press.
Even though I had spent the entire summer learning all those exercises, I lacked confidence. I kept asking the instructor whether I’m doing the exercises correctly or not. It must have been his busiest day in years.
I remember one specific scene vividly.
Everyone seemed to know what they were doing in the weight room. I walked in there and wanted to practice squats. Everybody was lifting weights and I was just there, facing the mirror and squatting with no weights.
I felt like an idiot. It felt as if I was the only clueless guy in the gym. Nowadays, I know it was all in my head. In fact, nobody actually gave a shit about what I was doing. Still, that’s how it felt for my 18 year young self back then.
I felt ashamed. So, I grabbed my towel and headed for the changing rooms. I packed up my stuff and left the gym for my next class, which was due to start at 5 pm.
Walking up a set of stairs, I felt like quitting and never going back again. I still remember this moment like it was yesterday.
During class, I had no idea what was going on. In my head, I was constantly debating with myself whether I should quit or keep going to the gym.
That night, as I got home, I sat down. I made my decision. It was straight forward and final.
I no longer wanted to be a nobody. I desired to have the body of a Greek God. I wanted to be a somebody.
No matter how long it takes, I knew what I wanted.
The decision was made. The next day, I was to go into the gym and pay for a full year gym membership. A full year was the maximum term available for a membership.
I made a commitment.
After paying for the membership, there was no way back. I had made the investment and I was committed to the process. I didn’t want to pay for nothing.
When you invest money in something, you tend to stick to it. It’s completely true.
At first, I started going to the gym 2-3 times per week.
I have to admit that going to the gym felt really dragging.
Building strength from zero is hard.
I still remember walking to the gym full of fear, knowing that I was going to push myself to squat a heavier weight on one particular day.
Looking back, it sounds ridiculous. Back then, it was different though. Squatting 40 kg was tough.
So, I had to push myself to get into the gym for just 2-3 times a week. Yet, I still went and did what I had to do to slowly build up my strength.
Yes, I can assure you it was a very slow and painful process.
The workouts were challenging but I was learning.
Plus, I was feeling cool getting all the attention from drinking protein shakes in class. It was some sort of a statement. Yes, I go to the gym and train. Yes, I’m building my body.
After training for around 4-6 months, I realised that I was going in the gym every week and barely seeing any results. It was frustrating. Going in there, month after month and barely noticing a difference.
I changed my approach.
I raised the number of times I trained to 4 days a week. After a year of training, I went up to 6 days per week.
That is when I really started to see results.
Unsurprisingly, that was also the point where I started to love going to the gym.
Finally, after all that hard work and sweat. I was starting to see the amazing results happening right in front of my two eyes.
I kept on training my 6 days a week. Each workout would last 1.5 – 2 hours. Sometimes, I even went up to a whopping 3 hours.
The results were really adding up now. I started to feel physically strong and powerful. This translated to a great feeling of confidence. I started making some cool friends at the gym too.
Even better, the girls were starting to notice.
On my first day, I felt like an idiot for just one reason. I felt like I was in competition with the rest of the other guys, despite it being only my first day in a gym. It was all in my head.
The reality is that outside of the gym, we have no competition.
We look way better than most average guys do.
Suddenly, I no longer had to make much of an effort to get noticed by girls. All I had to do was make eye contact and say “Hi”.
It felt amazing.
By now, I was obsessed with bodybuilding and you know what?
I still am.
Looking back, it’s incredible that I could have just decided to quit on the first day.
Make no mistake, the beginning was hard. Going to the gym for months without seeing any results was discouraging.
Still, I pushed on and on.
Today, I am 100% certain my life would be very different had I quit on that first day.
Thank God I made the right decision.
Now I can gladly look back and see all the way I have come.
From a skinny twig to a lean and muscular man.
A directionless kid to a strong, determined man.
From a nobody to a somebody.
The gym helped me develop so many crucial skills.
- Work ethic
Traits that I would otherwise still not know of.
It all began with one simple decision that late cold Tuesday night in November 2013.
From that point forward, there was no looking back.
Now, I have to get going and get my Monday night workout in.