Guest post by Jesse Hicks.
Until I was 24—I am 34 now, so a complete decade ago—I was an athlete. I loved competition, and I have always loved the gym. But I had a terrible diet. I was eating for strength (for competitive powerlifting), eating whatever I could get ahold of. I would stuff myself with huge meals, then snack on candy and soda; even after these big meals, my girlfriend would get angry for finishing off an entire sleeve of Oreos.
I gained weight fast, and it stuck. I had kids and a family, plus a new job and moving—there was a ton of stress. I felt tired a lot. I got short of breath and really wanted to sleep all the time. I was strong, but my cardio was terrible. My workouts involved long rest times. At 32, I had gotten up to 255 pounds.
Covid came in and canceled my lifting events. So for almost one month I did not exercise, but I was still eating like mad. I saw a photo of myself and just knew I had let myself go.
I knew I had to do something. I had tried multiple fad diets, but nothing stuck. I researched how pro athletes and bodybuilders went about their diets, which caused me to focus on meal preparation, counting macros, and timing my meals. I didn’t try to lower the extra calories in one go, but tapered them down slowly. As I went forward, I tapered them more.
Underneath that extra weight, I knew I had strength—in many ways, changing my diet was about getting slimmer to show the musculature I already had. I changed from a powerlifting workout to doing a Push, Pull, Legs workout. Eventually, I did a bodypart split which I had created, doing this six times per week. I developed my routine, without a trainer, but I did lots of research, and people helped me bounce ideas off of them. I was very inspired by YouTube fitness channel Ryan Humiston and bodybuilder Seth Feroce.
In under two years, I went from 255 pounds down to 188-pound for my first bodybuilding competition. I was excited to show off my shoulders, which got much bigger with the new workout routine. And for the first time ever, I have real abs.
Author: Steven Sinclaire