Winter Springs, FL
I started Working out when I was about 20-21ish. I was always a big kid growing up but it didn't look that way because the fat was pretty well distributed around my body. Being 5'11, my heaviest weight was about 225 pounds and when I went to see my doctor he wanted to test me for diabetes. I never did school sports but I did always play football and basketball at the school gym or at the field near my house so I was an active kid who just liked to eat. I don't know what snapped in my head but when my doctor told me that I was mad at him and mad at myself for letting my body get to that point. Then and there was my turning point.
I started out by doing simple Calisthenics ex. pushups, dips, pullups, different variations of them. I did that for about a year and got to about 175-180 but was still what they call "skinny fat." I got my 1st gym membership when I moved to Florida almost 4 years ago now and it was at planet fitness. I know a lot of people give planet fitness a bad name but I developed a pretty good starting physique and trained there for about 1 and a half to 2 years. Of course I didn't know any training splits and went there and looked up random exercises to build muscle while losing fat. I also did a lot of cardio.... like a lot. Hours of cardio each weak while lifting trying to lose as much weight as possible as fast as possible. I did what most if not what everyone does, which was to compare myself to fitness influencers and said "This body isn't good enough, big enough, lean enough." So I looked into the nutrition side of things and got on the "anabolic diet." I got a lot of information from people I watched on YouTube and the internet about low calorie high protein meals and made my diet change to that. I was using artificial sweeteners, low calorie beverages, anything I could think of to crave my hunger so I wouldn't binge.
At my lowest weight I was around 171-172 pounds and that's not far from the 175-180 I got to but I had a lot more muscle and a lot less fat. My face was sunken in and my coworkers and even my mom thought I was getting too skinny. I've been known to my friends to have very high energy levels, cracking jokes making people laugh and I still had that same energy but there was some other things that did change. My attitude became more aggressive. I was thinking about food all the time. Counting every single calorie, weighing everything to the gram as accurately as possible. Being lean became an obsession and I definitely developed severe body dysmorphia from it. I would wake up some days saying I look good but in the back of my head I would think I was always gonna be that fat kid who ate whenever he got depressed or down because I was an emotional eater. Food was comfort for me.
When I used planet fitness for all it had to offer I made the change that I wanted to lift weights that weren't only on smith machines and lift heavier in general. Sure they had dumbbells and barbells but they didn't go up past 75pounds. So I canceled my membership and switched to Crunch Fitness. Then and only then did I know I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. I could barley bench 155 pounds for a couple reps and squatting and deadlifting... well I don't remember the starting weight but they weren't impressive. I saw guys shorter and smaller than me outlifitng me and was said "man I really am weak 😅." So I looked up training splits, talked to some of the coaches at the gym and put together my own training routine that best suited me after a lot of trial and error. I wanted strength and to lift heavy weights and I found out quickly that I wasn't going to get there eating how I was. I need to fuel my body with more food. So after a while I got up to around 185-190 pounds and hit all my gym goals at that time. I got a 405 pound sumo deadlfit for 3 reps, benched 275 pounds for 1 rep and about 2 weeks ago, squatted 315 pounds for 3 reps for multiple sets.
A dream goal would be benching 315 for 1 but there isn't a time frame on when I want to get there. Fitness for me now is a life long journey and I love going to the gym. I find it fun pushing myself to the limit and even breaking those limits.
I still have body dysmorphia and that's a combination of a lot of things, having stretch marks, being fat in the past, getting in my own head but I've come a long away and it isn't nearly as bad as it once was. One way that's helping me get over that hurdle is doing posing videos and posting them online. I just recently did a posing video in my own gym, like not in the bathroom but in a room where you and everyone can see you. I was really nervous but went through with it anyways and it was pretty fun.
Something in the future I'd like to do with fitness is help people get into working out. Make it fun for them and enjoyable. You don't have to do typical bodybuilding if that's not for you. You should find what works for you what you like doing that way you'll keep doing it for years to come. Maybe I'll be a personal trainer? Open my own gym one day? Who knows but I just want to pass my knowledge and experience to help people who started out like I did to get them into fitness and see it for what it is like I do.