Every now and then someone asks me when did I start working out. Usually I tell them that I started in 2007 but after thinking about it for a while, I have to give them a different response. Like the workout program that I am currently using, my quest to become bigger and stronger has taken me through 3 different stages. Although I wish that I could have bypassed the first two stages, they were very instrumental in getting me where I am today and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
Stage One: On the Road with No Map
The first stage that I went through was when I first joined the gym back in 2007. I was a wide receiver on my semi pro football team and I wanted to get stronger so that I could be at my best. During that time, I was pretty green to working out so I would go to the gym with no set routine and do curls all day long. I became what is known as a “Curl Monkey.” Back then I would do curls until the cows came home then go back the next day and do more curls. One day this guy named Lawrence Jones, one of my big brothers, asked me why am I always doing curls every time he sees me. When I told him that I didn’t really know what else to do, he told me that I needed to start bench pressing and squatting. At the time I was pretty weak so I was kind of embarrassed to bench press only 135 pounds. I decided to take his advice and started benching and squatting but my workouts still lacked structure. That would all change real soon.
Stage Two: Potential
September 4, 2007 was when I started working at my current place of employment. Little did I know at the time that my workouts would never be the same again. This is where I met Anthony Fisher who I consider to be on e of the best trainers in the world. Anthony and I, as well as a few other people, started working out at the company fitness center. That was when I started to see my potential but it would be a string of negative events that really made me take my workouts more serious. It seemed like any and every thing bad that could happen, did happen. I could have easily let the situation get the best of me but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I went to the gym and worked it out like a mad man. There were times that I would go to the gym twice a day and there were times when I would leave my apartment at 2 a.m. and go to the gym just so I could ease my mind. It was those times that really got me to start focusing on my workouts. I guess you can say those days and nights were blessings in disguise because every since that, I’ve been working out as hard as I ever been. But there was still one piece missing.
Stage Three: The Pieces Come Together
Even with my renewed focus on working out there was still something that I did not quite understand. Rep ranges always threw me a curveball. I knew what a set was and I knew what a rep was but when I heard someone say 10 reps until failure it confused me. If it was 10 reps then how is it going until failure? Normally I would go to the gym and do 3 sets of 10 reps of all the exercises that I was planning on doing that day. This routine gave me some pretty decent muscle gains but I found that my strength was lagging behind. Through my research, I came across these twins on YouTube named Keith and Kevin Hodge also known on You Tube as, The Hodgetwins and Twinmuscleworkout. They talked about how to build muscle naturally without the use of steroids or pro hormones. They explained to me that lower rep ranges (6 to 8 reps) would help me build my strength and that higher rep ranges (9 to 12 reps) would help me build muscle. This would explain why my strength gains were lagging behind but I started to have another issue. Sure I was working in the muscle building range but it seemed that I was no longer building muscle. Now what was the problem this time? Back to the twins I went. They said that if I wanted to build muscle then I needed to use a weight that would only allow me to go to 12 reps and no more and if I wanted to build strength, I needed to use a weight that would only allow me to go to 8 reps and no more. That is what working until failure within your rep range is. That was the moment that I realized that I now have truly unlimited potential in the gym and in a short period of time later, my size and strength has increased quite nicely and is still progressing.
Over the past few years, my journey has taken me through many twists and turns. I’ve made friends and met some not so friendly people and I’ve also lost some loved ones along the way. There were times when I felt like it was me against the world and times when I felt like I was the baddest man on the planet. Through every situation no matter what it was, I could always go to the gym and work it out. The health and strength that GOD has blessed me with has allowed me to help others as well as myself. The way I see it, if I approach every day life the same way that I approach my workouts, I have no choice but finish on top. So to everyone that reads this, do yourself a huge favor and whatever it is that you’re doing, give it all you’ve got in all situations. Always remember, to GOD be the glory!!!