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Gettin personal

heavyhitter

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So we do a whole lot of taking about training and drugs and blah blah blah....but one thing I’ve been finding more and more interesting as I grow up is how different people got into the sport. And what are some key things or personality traits that have lent themselves to this endeavor.

For me, I was always a skinny kid, got picked on here and there, but nothing crazy. But I HATED being skinny. I was 6’1” and 141 pounds at my high school graduation. I looked like a little boy. I saw pictures of the guys in the muscle mags and comic books and I wanted that more than anything. Never could find any interest in the actual training though.
Fast forward to I’m 19 and professionally racing enduro races for KTM. Ended up in a terrible crash at 90 mph that left me with fractured vertebrae, a herniated disk, and eventual crippling sciatica. During physical therapy for this I actually started to put in some muscle and I liked this. I went and signed up at the local gym which looked like a tiny little ymca inside, but actually had some legit equipment and was open 24 hours a day, and I was hooked for life.

Fast forward a billion years and I ate, trained, and drugged my way up to a 274 pound record holding powerlifter, and couple times bodybuilding competitor. I never really was hooked on the competitive part of either.....I really just enjoy looking big and powerful, and thankfully I have a metabolism fast enough to prevent me from ever looking tubby while doing so.
Speaking of which....the other part I want to hear is what helps you here. For me....the aforementioned metabolism. The bane of my existence in the beginning. I spent years and years trying to outrace my metabolism with total calories and food volume. Well over 400 grams of protein and 800 grams of carbs for years and years. But as I’ve aged I’ve come to appreciate this as I have to do very little to stay pretty lean. Just trying usually does this.
The other major contributor to my success has been world class OCD. When I’m committed to something, I’m committed. I’m 0 or 100. No in between. This drives my wife insane, I have no give when it comes to these things and it causes some stress and anxiety for me, but also causes me to be very meticulous. I don’t miss meals, ever. In ten years I must have missed a handful. I don’t miss training days. Unless I’m in the hospital I’m training, even if it’s just a light bike ride because I’m sick or injured. It’s a blessing and a curse, and I’ve worked very hard to find a happy medium.
Anyway....let’s hear your story
 

hawkmoon

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I was 14 when I first picked up my dad's weights.
My parent's divorced when I was four and I suppose I longed for some connection to my dad, and his weight set was one of them.

When I saw him he was hugely supportive. He was always working out and a star football player in HS before a bad car accident that should have killed him. He still worked out after recovery though.
I built a gym piece by piece in my garage (an authentic moo-cow barn, I grew up in a New England farmhouse).
I responded well and got lots of attention. As an asthmatic kid, I didn't like sports, but weight lifting suited me.
All the school coaches tried to get me to join teams, but I wasn't interested. One coach though owned a gym in my downtown that I could walk to, so I joined up.
I trained with an HS friend and made gain after gain, soon being accused of using AAS - I had no idea and thought Arnold was natural at this point- the magazines told me so.
I read all the books the library had on BB and they had a lot. I was a book nerd anyway and spend a lot of my time working out or reading.

I then joined a better gym and made further progress, got further attention, and was encouraged to compete. I did my first show, the only drug-free show around at the time.
The support built and more and more people encouraged me. I started getting calls from people I didn't know like Lou Zwick and other promoter-types.
All kinds of people started telling me I would turn pro. I talked to Lou a couple of times a week and ended up working for him later for a while, which was enlightening.
I decided to go all the way (in my 19-year old view) and got on AAS and jumped another 20+ pounds. I also got really strong.

I did the New Englands and then the Teen Nats as a light-heavy.
I wanted to turn pro and dealt a little on the side to cover my costs, but soon learned there were better ways to spend my life. Lou was helpful here offering perspective.
With increased negative attention on AAS (lots of arrests around me) and my changed focus, I went natty again. I never ever stopped training.

Most of you guys know a lot of the middle stuff after that.

I stick with it because it satisfies my control-freak nature and allows me a place to progress. It's the progression and mini-goals that I love the most besides the training itself.
It also taught me persistence, patience, and goal setting that I use in every aspect of my life.
I'll be training until the day I die if I have my way...
 

Reload

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I was a hardcore surf grom. Not school focused at all. Got hit by a car riding my bike to work when I was 16. Took a glancing blow off the hood, smashed the passenger side windshield and flipped off the roof of the car. Amazingly other than some tendon damage to my left knee and bruised left shoulder I was fine. Had to wear a knee brace that entire summer and go to PT (2-3x/wk) for a few months for rehab. No surfing that summer.
Initially hated the Physical Therapy sessions but something about being in the weight room and getting my strength and flexibility back really appealed to me. So much so that when I went back to school in the fall for my Junior year I took a weight lifting class as an elective to continue my rehab.
Well, that junior year I got bit by the iron bug bad. Lived in the gym from pretty much that point on. I put on 40lbs of muscle that year. My senior year I had put on another 30lbs and competed in my first BBing competition and placed second. Ironically I was on the honor roll those final two years. Bodybuilding probably saved my life as it gave me direction, discipline and purpose.
It continued through many competitions and into my powerlifting years. 37 years later and the sounds, smells and atmosphere of walking into a gym still get me fired up.
 

heavyhitter

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I was a hardcore surf grom. Not school focused at all. Got hit by a car riding my bike to work when I was 16. Took a glancing blow off the hood, smashed the passenger side windshield and flipped off the roof of the car. Amazingly other than some tendon damage to my left knee and bruised left shoulder I was fine. Had to wear a knee brace that entire summer and go to PT (2-3x/wk) for a few months for rehab. No surfing that summer.
Initially hated the Physical Therapy sessions but something about being in the weight room and getting my strength and flexibility back really appealed to me. So much so that when I went back to school in the fall for my Junior year I took a weight lifting class as an elective to continue my rehab.
Well, that junior year I got bit by the iron bug bad. Lived in the gym from pretty much that point on. I put on 40lbs of muscle that year. My senior year I had put on another 30lbs and competed in my first BBing competition and placed second. Ironically I was on the honor roll those final two years. Bodybuilding probably saved my life as it gave me direction, discipline and purpose.
It continued through many competitions and into my powerlifting years. 37 years later and the sounds, smells and atmosphere of walking into a gym still get me fired up.
I mentioned in another thread that it saved my life too. I had been suffering for almost 2 years with crippling sciatica that was damaging the nerve so much that I could not longer hold my foot up when walking and it would drag. Surgery was on the horizon. The pain was so bad I was considering killing myself. In addition to pt I started dc training and I 100 percent believe in my soul that heavy rack dead’s and rack pulls created enough strength and traction on my lower back that after never having had surgical intervention I’ve essentially cured it. I get the occasionally twinge that leaves me sore for a day or two, but basically just old man shit now lol
 

Dugbet

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I grew up with the Van Damme movies, Dragon Ball cartoon series, He-man or ninja turtles. I always wanted to be a great martial arts fighter and have super powers, but didn't have the discipline or the sacrificial ability to do it. Signed me up for Karate, but I just wanted to play i the street, I didn't enjoy any of it.

I was never good at team sports, I was short and thin, so it was not a pleasant experience throughout childhood and part of adolescence.

So, I had nothing to do because we no longer met to play soccer, so I decided to go to the municipal gym to start lifting. That seemed to hook me despite my bad genetics and the absence of quick results, it was something I had control over and victory or defeat only depended on me.

In this era I only lifted without understanding the importance of diet and without even knowing that competitive bodybuilding existed. The first contact I had was Ronnie's documentary, the unveiable. I was shocked, excited, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

In a car accident I broke my flue and I had an operation, 6 months of rehabilitation. At 3 months I was already in the gym lifting light weights. Take advantage of this downtime to gobble up magazines and learn as much about nutrition as possible, then, move on to give little or relative importance to training factors. I believed in the axiom that the diet is 80% or results, or something like that. I still believe that diet is more important, but later I began to study more about training and plan my routines with order and logic.

Almost from the beginning, I liked to do my own routines and not follow the ones that the owner of the gym did. I remember perfectly how other lifters with more time still received the owner's routines. I also realized that many had better genetics than me but did not have the discipline or total love for training and the lifestyle.

Bodybuilding saved me since it gave me what I need to not be fat, lazy, drinker ... and due to a closed routine where there is no room for unforeseen events or spontaneity, it keeps me protected against the problems that arise from human relationships, etc...
 

Reload

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I mentioned in another thread that it saved my life too. I had been suffering for almost 2 years with crippling sciatica that was damaging the nerve so much that I could not longer hold my foot up when walking and it would drag. Surgery was on the horizon. The pain was so bad I was considering killing myself. In addition to pt I started dc training and I 100 percent believe in my soul that heavy rack dead’s and rack pulls created enough strength and traction on my lower back that after never having had surgical intervention I’ve essentially cured it. I get the occasionally twinge that leaves me sore for a day or two, but basically just old man shit now lol
Funny you should mention this. My training partner and I both feel that heavy racks "maintain" the core strength around the spine. Take racks, deads, heavy shrugs and hypers away and simply sitting is painful. Even for short periods of time. I almost bought one of those Versa desk tops for work. We both noticed not being able to train during the pandemic and how it seemed to aggravate our chronic back issues. When we were finally "allowed" to get back in the rack (gym) and return to our training routine...the back pain is just gone.
 

heavyhitter

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Funny you should mention this. My training partner and I both feel that heavy racks "maintain" the core strength around the spine. Take racks, deads, heavy shrugs and hypers away and simply sitting is painful. Even for short periods of time. I almost bought one of those Versa desk tops for work. We both noticed not being able to train during the pandemic and how it seemed to aggravate our chronic back issues. When we were finally "allowed" to get back in the rack (gym) and return to our training routine...the back pain is just gone.
i couldn’t agree more. I always have to keep some sort of high pull, rack dead, explosive shrugs type movement in there or I feel it after a couple weeks. Something about it really does help reduce pain for me and keep me strong. And as a sort of silver lining.....it forces me to keep really good form which has done wonders for bringing up my back development.
 

juggy38

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I was a only child. Introverted, heavy-set, and above average intelligence. I excelled in academics, school came so easy to me. My mother was a teacher at the school also. (Small town of 3,000 people).

middle school and JR high was tough. I was picked on, pushed around, teased.

I was very good at baseball and football, which brought some relief as I got older and that mattered more (9th grade and beyond)

while in 8th grade, my neighbor who played nose guard for Clemson literally came over and made me start training with him (I think he wanted a spotter) in his shed. We had a nice home gym. Squat rack, bench, lat tower, and dumbbells. All scattered between the tractor, Lincoln welder, and saw tables.

he also used to box, which got me into MMA and BJJ. As I grew stronger and more confident, and learned to throw hands, life changed. I got into 3 fights total my 9th and 10th grade years. I realized that if your bigger stronger, more dangerous, people will quit fucking with you. I was the fat teachers pet no more.

I continued lifting hard through highschool and college ball, and now the gym is my safe space. I love to train. Life stops, no bills, no work, just the iron. Me vs my pain tolerance.
 

maldorf

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Funny you should mention this. My training partner and I both feel that heavy racks "maintain" the core strength around the spine. Take racks, deads, heavy shrugs and hypers away and simply sitting is painful. Even for short periods of time. I almost bought one of those Versa desk tops for work. We both noticed not being able to train during the pandemic and how it seemed to aggravate our chronic back issues. When we were finally "allowed" to get back in the rack (gym) and return to our training routine...the back pain is just gone.
I've found that as well. After my heart attack I was no longer able to do things like heavy squats, dead lifts, and bent over rows. My back and core in general got weak and that's when my bad lower back pain started. I used to be able to squat with 495 lbs with zero pain. After the heart attack and not lifting hard for several years, I was unable to do 225 without significant pain for days afterward. Now everyday my back hurts most of the day off and on. I never injured my low back, just stopped lifting heavy.
 

Biggerp73

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Fat kid age 15 around 2004-2005 picked up a muscular development magazine and saw how awesome branch warren looked, like he had football pads under his skin, started lifting the same day
 

Goody

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Grew up in a very abusive house hold, Dad was a tough old alcoholic army vet with all kinds of mental health issues.
Liked to get drunk and bully and smack around me and my mom.
Started lifting and training in the 6th grade to build my armor,with the hopes that one day I could protect my Mom and finally whoop his ass. Read Weider and Arnold books to learn.
Responded extremely well to the weights,very high threshold for getting and staying uncomfortable thanks to my upbringing.
The weights became my "medicine". I'd go in garage and pump and pump and pump and take all my anger and frustration out on them.
Worked well and kept me outta trouble.
Still does.
 

lookslikesausage

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Saw Roland Cziurlok on a cover of Muscle & Fitness while i was in high school and thought that guy must have none of the problems i have and if i looked like him mine would be solved. That wasn't the case. However, i was an athlete, so the time spent in the gym was a good thing and it proved to very positive in many other aspects of my life too. I still love training although i can't push the way i used to. Not a day goes by that i don't miss the gear too. I gave that up a long time ago. Overall, my experience with fitness has only benefitted me as a person and if it was taken away i don't think i'd be in a very good place mentally.
 

Slyder190

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I loved comic books as a kid and got used to seeing muscular frames. Fast forward to adolescence and ai was always impressed with the guys on the magazine covers. When I was 12 my parents bought me a bench and some weights. At 16 I joined a gym. Never stopped. Never had any particular physical goal except to just maybe build a little muscle and loved just partaking in working out. My senior yeae wrestling weigh in was just under 160. Just over 200 today at 46. 5'9 not the biggest guy but work hard and get compliments at times. Looking back I wish I had worked to better my mind many years earlier as well. Not where I wanna be in life yet and coupled with my depression/anxiety life can be challenging at times. Working out and dieting gives me something about myself I can control to a large degree so I'm thankful for that.
 

tkav1980

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Grew up in a very abusive house hold, Dad was a tough old alcoholic army vet with all kinds of mental health issues.
Liked to get drunk and bully and smack around me and my mom.
Started lifting and training in the 6th grade to build my armor,with the hopes that one day I could protect my Mom and finally whoop his ass. Read Weider and Arnold books to learn.
Responded extremely well to the weights,very high threshold for getting and staying uncomfortable thanks to my upbringing.
The weights became my "medicine". I'd go in garage and pump and pump and pump and take all my anger and frustration out on them.
Worked well and kept me outta trouble.
Still does.
Good to see you’re still around here man!
 

benchmstr

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I was naturally strong and wanted to see how strong I could get if I lifted seriously…

but I’m just an extreme person..I’ve never had a hobby that I didn’t fully engulf myself in…a week into any hobby I have had I’m thinking “you know, it would be easy to be the best in the world at this”

ive never been into bodybuilding..just strength and looking good naked (team dick root!)

I’m kinda the Eric bugenhagen type lifter…I just go out to my barn and lose my fucken mind for a couple of hours.

so, for me it’s the ultra obsessive extreme personality for sure
 

TheOtherOne55

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Everyone writing in this thread has the perfect mix or random events, decisions, thoughts, etc...that ALL lead them to love BBing and/or the look.

I was the first born to a pretty athletic household.
I was ALWAYS the biggest kid in the class. Not heavy, but always the tallest. Teachers, friends, whatever always thought i was 2 years older than what i was. I wasn't skinny, but i wasn't fat. But i remember just being BIGGER.
THAT + the fact that i gravitated toward super heroes and comics and action figures as a kid. Still love that shit today.
The good thing is that EVERY person told my parents to throw me in tackle football—but my parent said no. That honestly was the best thing for me. My dad knew i would immediately be thrown into a much older/bigger age group because of my size and i'd just hate it. So i stuck with basketball and track and all that until i was in HS. By the time I was 14 I was 6ft 190 and was killing people during my first year of tackle football.

Honestly, i just lifted weights for sports. I DO remember sitting in front of the TV on Saturdays watching Worlds Strongest Man and loving it though. I had always enjoyeddd being big or strong or muscular or all that. It was fun for people to say, "watch out big guy."
I pick up lifting just for football. I end up being good at football and good enough to get a handful of D1 schools offering me rides. Take one and end up playing oline in college. I was good in college too. Good enough to start 3 years and make a couple all conference teams. But when football was done, i still loved the gym. Couldn't leave it. EVERY OTHER BUDDY OF MINE was over it, would never want to really lift again. And the 6 months from when I finished my last college game, i ended up dropping from 290 to 240. Came back on campus with some abs. Anddd now I'm here. I basically have been big....then got small ....then rebuilt the big lol
My 290 NOW is muuuuch better than the 290 i was in college.
 

danieltx

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Growing up I enjoyed comic books, started reading them probably around age 6-7. On our weekly grocery store trip my mom would always buy me one since she knew it was getting me into reading - it was usually X-Men and derivatives. Seeing the great physiques in there probably planted a seed of wanting to be super jacked. Combine that with video games like Street Fighter II and characters like Guile, Sagat, Ryu, and Ken, and it's easy to see how that unconscious desire to look a certain way starts.

I started doing martial arts around 7 or 8 and kept at it until I was 14 - I just got burn out on it and was starting to have other interests. My high school didn't get a wrestling team until I was in 11th grade - that would've been a natural transition for me but starting as a junior gave me no chance of doing anything in college. I used to think what could've been if I'd started wrestling as a freshman - I graduated high school in 2005, the same year UFC's Ultimate Fighter show started, and I could've easily seen myself wrestling through high school, maybe college, then going into fighting.

By 11th grade I was more into partying and wasn't doing anything physically active. I stayed that way through most of college and went from 170lbs. my freshman year to a very overweight 230lbs. by my junior year, to the point it caused stretch marks on my lower stomach. Seeing that made me realize I needed to change and I started looking into weight lifting.

My lifting journey started in 2010 with about 2 years of just trying to make sense of everything, a few years of powerlifting, and now about 4 years of bodybuilding.
 

tkav1980

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I got into it because I’m 5’7”, not exceptionally agile and have hands like cast iron pans so anything involving being good at catching a ball was out and , let’s be honest, golf isn’t a sport.
plus, even as a kid I was unusually strong for my size so lifting heavy stuff just made sense.
Did I mention I’m 5’7”? So I’m sure there’s a Napoleon complex in there too.
 

rcorchid

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Grew up in a very abusive house hold, Dad was a tough old alcoholic army vet with all kinds of mental health issues.
Liked to get drunk and bully and smack around me and my mom.
Started lifting and training in the 6th grade to build my armor,with the hopes that one day I could protect my Mom and finally whoop his ass. Read Weider and Arnold books to learn.
Responded extremely well to the weights,very high threshold for getting and staying uncomfortable thanks to my upbringing.
The weights became my "medicine". I'd go in garage and pump and pump and pump and take all my anger and frustration out on them.
Worked well and kept me outta trouble.
Still does.
Sounds totally familiar to me...
 

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