UPDATED July '08: Scroll down for new entry and photos.
Weight before training (started December 2007): about 154
Weight in March '08: 160
Weight in July '08: 161March 2008
Well, I've been hitting the weights for about three months now, so I thought I'd stop lurking here and post some pictures. For me, these are progress photos, but they'll be "before" photos for you--assuming I keep at it and post again in a few months.
I'm grateful to have found this forum. When I went vegan last year, I found that I had more energy to burn, and I wanted to be a good ambassador for veganism, which meant using my own good health to counter all the usual myths about vegans. Discovering this site got me intrigued about weight training, so I got started. (I'd lifted in the past as part of my usual gym routine, but nothing serious or thorough.)
Robert's sample routine for beginning bodybuilders
gave me a starting point, and recently I've been using the pyramid method that is so frighteningly well documented in Troy's training diary
. I've also learned a lot from John Hansen's book Natural Bodybuilding
, which has been an invaluable source of information for different exercises and how to do them. Only in the last few weeks have I felt that I'm actually doing the exercises correctly. My shoulders in particular were hurting, and I probably would've damaged my rotator cuffs if I hadn't started 1) using proper form (or trying, anyway--still a lot to learn) and 2) beginning my workouts with light weights to warm up the muscles.
I'm feeling more comfortable handling weights. I didn't start squats until a few weeks ago because they scared me--what if I break my back? Now I'm enjoying them. My favorite area to train: chest/biceps. Least favorite: abs. I haven't learned to love the burn of an abs workout yet.
I usually work out four days a week: chest/biceps, back/abs, shoulders/triceps, legs. I try not to go more than two days in a row.
Learning about the role of nutrition has been a revelation. I don't think I ever made the connection among calories, protein, and muscle growth. Eating a lot is a tough one for me. My style before was to have a low-calorie, highly nutritious whole-foods diet. So it's a bit weird to be chugging Vega and eating mid-morning and afternoon snacks, but I'm getting used to it.
Here's a photo from last summer:
And below are photos taken this morning, March 1, 2008. Suggestions are welcome and most appreciated. I want a balanced physique, so let me know what needs work (besides the obvious--everything
). Thanks to all of you for making this forum such a unique and motivating resource. I'll post more pics in a couple of months.(Pics moved to updated entry below)UPDATE: July 2008
OK, so I finally got around to taking some new photos. I continue to hit the weights 3 or 4 times a week, though I've had to take a hiatus here and there due to winter colds or busy times at work (of which there have been far too many). I'm pleased with the progress I've made. But seeing these new pics makes me realize that I've got plenty more work to do.
My weight has pretty much leveled off at 161 or so. That's only a pound more than I weighed in March, and yet I'm thicker now. I suppose this means I've lost some fat and replaced it with muscle, and that's pretty cool. My legs are stronger now but haven't really gained any mass. I'm intrigued by the idea of getting bigger but I think I'm pretty much where I want to be. I'm definitely eating more calories, but I can't seem to put away more than 2500 or so in a day. Just doesn't feel natural to me. So for now I'll just work on symmetry, definition, and LBM.
I feel like I'm still learning how to lift weights properly. I'm not in a hurry to increase the weight I lift, because I find I can make the exercises harder and more stimulating to the muscles just by concentrating on form and contracting the right areas. It's been a really interesting project, and I love the results.
Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions! I look forward to meeting some of you during the PDX portion of VV '08.
Same T-shirt, summer 2007 and summer 2008
If you think that's a skinny arm in the 2007 pic, here I am at 18 years old:
Yes, that's a mullet. Hey, it was the 80s.
Now on to the comparison pics:March 2008, July 2008 Onward!