Body Transformation Part I: A Window Into My Past

By Terry Grant

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
–Tony Robbins 
 

“Study the past, if you would divine the future.”
–Confucius

 
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have been following along on the blog and who have signed up for The Way to Mass E-class. Cory and I have been working hard to provide you with quality information from our own experiences, as well as, from the experiences of some of the top physique transformation coaches in the world.

In our effort to do JUST THAT we’ve decided to make some changes in our approach. I’m going to be making some changes to the blog (for starters) that I think will be an improvement over the way I’ve been posting.

I’m fairly new to blogging (this is my first blog!) So at first I was approaching this in a linear fashion almost like writing a book. My plan was to talk about mindset, then training, then nutrition, then recovery. However, I don’t think that’s the best plan and use of this amazing resource.
 
I have a lot to teach from each aspect of the Four Pillars of Rapid Body Transformation and to keep from rambling on one topic too long, I’m going to be covering all four pillars simultaneously. One week I may pick mindset, another week may be training, then nutrition, and you get the idea.

I’m also going to personally show you how to apply all of this information by doing another body transformation over the next six months (in real time) and posting the progress right here on this blog from week to week. You can follow along with me or even start your own transformation using the tips and principles revealed.

I will talk more about this in the coming posts. Before I get into all of the details of things to come, I want to give you a little look into my past.

My Past Attempts at Body Transformation

I started out like many of you guys. I was a true hardgainer with ectomorph genetics. When I was eighteen years old I weighed 130lbs at  about 8-9% body fat. I stood at 5’11” tall and still do.

I trained for a couple years making very little progress following the typical bodybuilder approach to training. I had some beginner’s gains, but nothing to get too excited about. I had Arnold’s book, used the muscle magazines, spent hundreds of dollars on supplements (probably more like thousands), and trained my butt off six days a week.

At that time there was no hardgainers that I was aware of who had overcame their scrawny genetics. I didn’t even understand that as an ectomorph I needed to train in a different manner than what I was doing. I thought who better than Arnold to show me the way to mass!

With no coach or knowledge of the proper training methods for my ectomorph body type I was left frustrated. Yet, I was determined to transform my body, so I pressed on… literally.

About a year into training I hurt my lower back doing bent-over rows (Arnold style) with more weight than I could handle. I was couch bound for about a week before I recovered. It started to dawn on me that I just couldn’t train  like Arnie!   

I must have really tweaked something because I experienced severely painful muscle spasms and problems with my back off on and for several years after that. Let me tell you something…. you do NOT want back pain. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. It’s very crippling and debilitating.

Back Pain Sucks!

 
In retrospect, I was sort of clueless because I didn’t understand that I needed to back off once in a while. All the magazines I read kept telling me “you gotta train heavy, train to failure, no pain no gain.” While there is some truth to that, I never remember reading anything about taking “deload weeks” and backing off every so often to let your muscles, joints, and ligaments recover.

Well, turns out I was reading the wrong stuff, but then again many people are.

I guess that’s where having a knowledgeable coach comes into play. Yet, I wasn’t an athlete or anything. I wasn’t training for any sports. I didn’t have anyone guiding me or helping me. I just wanted to gain some muscle and improve my physique. I knew what to do… I mean how hard could it be?

Little did I know my “know-it-all” attitude was a part of the whole problem…

:)

I thought I knew what I was doing form wise, and training wise, but in actuality there was a lot I didn’t know. In fact, like most teenagers, I didn’t know squat! No offense, if you’re a teenager. 

:(

Here’s some further insight into my muscle-building dilemma. You see I was also big into partying as well. I sang and played guitar and dreamed of being a rock star. So, I did all of the typical rock star stuff minus all the money and girls. 

That basically means staying up late, partying, lots of drinking, smoking, drugs, fighting and all that crazy, catabolic (muscle destroying) stuff… oh yeah, and making music too! 

My lifestyle was anything but healthy back in those days, but hey I was lifting weights, so I was bound to get huge, right?

Wrrraaaawwwng!

Yet, everything happens for a reason though. You see it was my crazy lifestyle that would eventually lead me to a love and dedication to training, health, nutrition, and continual learning. Little did I know it would even lead to a spiritual awakening.

It’s in this strange way that our greatest pain and suffering can lead us to a greater understanding of life and to the happiness and fulfillment that we all long for.

That being said, one day I woke up dehydrated, hung over with alcohol poisoning, dry heaving, unsure of how I even got home. As bits and pieces of last night flashed through my aching head, I suddenly realized it must have been a bad, bad night.

Take note that this wasn’t too far off from my usual weekend routine back then. I had many close calls and went through a bunch of alcohol induced complications in my late teen years caused by excessive binge drinking.

Drinking was like an escape for me and as strange as it sounds, it was one thing that I was good at. I even had a cool nick-name “The Vodka King.” I built up a huge tolerance and could drink a lot. I even took pride in being able to outdrink other people, I guess I thought it proved that I was more of a man or something.

In fact, many nights I sat around playing drinking games in an effort to make the other guys puke. Most of the time I would win, but when I think about it winning came at a high price. I usually paid for it the rest of the weekend. 

I spent many crazy nights doing wild, stupid and crazy things, like car surfing for example. Sounds like fun, until you fall off and land on your head. One night I even passed out in a ditch.

Yet this morning I wasn’t bleeding out of my head or anything… but I knew something was different. I felt like I had died or at the least should have died.

I remember looking in the mirror that morning, trembling and shaking. I was pale, extremely skinny and I felt like death. It was in that moment that I realized I had to make some serious changes or I was going to literally end up drinking myself to death. I mean did I really want to go out like a rock star before even becoming one?

In fact, here’s a picture of me from around that time. I looked something like this that morning, but probably worse (if that’s possible):

It wasn’t until I talked to some of my friends the next day that I found out how bad it really was. My brother told me I didn’t even recognize him and that I tried to punch in him the face. One of my friends told me I had almost died of asphyxiation (suffocation from choking on your own vomit- think Jimmy Hendrix.) 

There’s a lot more that went down, yet we’ll save the details of this story for the movie! Honestly, I can’t even remember all of the details.

Luckily for me, my friend was still awake playing video games that night and was able to turn me over, clear out my passage way and literally save my life.

“Thanks Bro, by the way, sorry I threw up in your face!”

:)

Yes, that’s how I rewarded him… I threw up in his face. That’s right ladies and gentlemen I was a class act back then, a real stand-up guy. 

My point in mentioning this was only so you could get a better glimpse of where I was both physically, mentally, and spiritually at that time and the huge hurdles I would have to clear along the way. This was a rock bottom moment in my life and many moons ago! So, lets move on…

It was that day, that I decided to change my life and start working out more seriously. I can honestly say that lifting weights saved my life. It was the catalyst that allowed me to make the changes I needed to make in my life and start the shift away from abusing alcohol, drugs, and an unhealthy lifestyle.

To make a really long story a little bit shorter, let me just say that I eventually went on to gain thirty pounds of muscle and escape the downward spiral of death that was sucking me under. I wish I could say it was a rapid transformation, but self-evolution can be a slow process sometimes.

However, if one is intelligent and keenly aware they can learn to speed up the evolutionary process and overcome any situation or set of circumstances that may be keeping him or her down.

The biggest things holding me back were my negative mindset and outlook on life and the contradictory lifestyle habits that I developed. Neither of these things are easy to change and more often than not may follow you detrimentally throughout your life.

I’ve had to learn a lot of life lessons the hard way and the struggle has definitely made me a stronger person.

I have no regrets about the past. Sure, I would do things a little differently if given the opportunity, but the past made me who I am today. If I were to change anything, who knows if I would be the same person I am today. I’m just grateful I survived and I hope to share what I’ve learned with you here so that you can learn from my mistakes and achieve your own goals in record time.

Learn From the Past and then Let it Go

I encourage you to take a look at your own life. What has the past taught you? What mistakes were turning points in your own life? Finally, what lessons do you think YOU still have to learn?

Our pasts (if we let them) can follow us forever and have either a positive or negative effect on our present moment reality. The truth is the past is only a memory that has been stored within our subconscious mind.

Even though the past is over and done with, the experiences we have gone through have deeply affected every aspect of our lives for better or worse. Our pasts have shaped our personalities, our relationships, and even how we handle our lives in the present.

The most important thing for us to realize is this: the past has no control over our lives, except the control we allow it to have.

Once we become aware of this fact and take full responsibility for our own lives we become the true creators of our own future. The past may have made you who you are today, but it’s up to you whether you stay that way or not.

If you want to transform your body or your life just know that you have the full capacity to do so. The past is just a trail you leave behind, it’s like the wake of a boat, or your foot prints in the sand. It’s not who you are, it’s only who you were and where you have been.

Nothing more and nothing less.

In any given moment we can choose to learn from our past and decide to let it go. If we don’t let the past go then it can become a huge burden to our present lives. If we allow this to happen, then we let our past determine our future as well.

The past is but a memory and the future is but a dream… the present moment is our only true point of power.

It’s vitally important to remember the illusory nature of time. The past and future can seem so very real, but our lives are really just a series of present moments, one after the next. Thus, the key to transforming your body is to harness the power of each moment as it is happening.

 As the spiritual teachers remind us: Be Here Now.

It may seem like common sense or even overly simplistic advice, but it is a very powerful truth that many of us do not practice at all.

In fact, many of us are trying to escape the present moment. We want to get to the future where our lives will be all that we’ve imagined and all of our dreams will have come true.

Yet this future never comes, because when the future does come it does so as the present moment. In order to create the future we desire we must harness the power of now, the only true moment there is. To squander this moment is to throw away our future.

Hope this makes sense to you.

This wraps up a brief look into my body transformation past. In a couple of days I’m going to post a deeper look into my present situation and share some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past fourteen years of my life.

I believe these lessons will give you a good idea of what it takes to make a successful body transformation and help you avoid some of the mistakes I experienced.

 Brandon

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About the Author:

Brandon Cook is creator of The Awakened Warrior Blog, and co-creator of HardgainerMuscleBuilding.com, a website specifically designed to teach people with the ectomorph body type the laws and scientific principles for building a classic, muscular and functional physique.

HargainerMuscleBuilding.com features a free email class covering the basic principles of training naturally, eating a nutritious, muscle-building diet, and understanding the truth about supplements. The website is filled with free articles, videos, and the programs you need to create your ideal body.
Please visit us at http://hardgainermusclebuilding.com

© 2009 Hardgainer Muscle Building. All rights in all media reserved.

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