In the previous article, I just took a “sneak peek” about how I started bodybuilding and learning how to get my body in a better shape. Now I want to tell you the full story in detail (You will probably relate to some of my early mistakes).
Why I do this?
The path I took in life when I started bodybuilding, wasn’t easy. I had many ups and downs, got scammed plenty of times and tried all kinds of bogus diets and pills. In the end, it was worth it.
Those challenges were the ones that motivated me to further search and try to find out the right way to eat and train. I want to share my experience with you.
Let’s start from the beginning and see the whole story:
I was just a regular high school kid that was living his own life pretty much the same as everyone else.
Everything was normal in a sense that I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Most of the time I was playing games, going out with my friends, eating junk food, doing no real activity whatsoever.
I had a cousin that was going to the gym with some pretty huge guys and was calling me to join. I think that he wanted me to pack some size at that time because I was pretty skinny. (I got easily bullied some times for being so skinny).
I remember that I was sitting around 145 lbs at a height of 5.9 feet when I first considered going to the gym. I started seeing people around me getting buffed, looking better and if this was not enough, my own mirror was not lying to me. I was in a pretty bad shape and looked like I was sick or something (too much coca cola, chips and gaming).
The Turn point
The way I looked in the mirror wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Also because I saw so many guys at my age looking better compared to how I was looking, motivated me to start pursuing a better body.
It was around 2006 when I first started going to the gym and even now, I remember that old, dusty basement that was full with rusty iron.
You can take a look to the right. It was just a regular basement gym, improvised in a friends house.
All that red iron, gum carpets and dusty air. I kind of miss those moments. You can see me sitting on an incline bench press (I know I know, look at those arms.. ).
Imagine a sight of classic looking gym that was in a basement full of pure iron.
Even if the “gym” was looking crappy at that time, I was excited I could workout and try to progress in my quest to find a better body. I wanted to change everything at me. I started to admire guys that were looking godly at that time for me (I am speaking about fitness models).
I remember my first gym sessions like it was yesterday. Each session took over 2 hours every time, because I enjoyed being there and working to get closer to my goal. All this gym time was getting better because I made plenty of friends and started learning with them the “fine art of bodybuilding (as you probably guess, we were mostly doing idiotic routines and diets – but we enjoyed trying).
The atmosphere inside the gym was always of high morale, everyone was having a great time training and teaching others how to train. I can say without any regret that the first year of my lifting “life” was probably the best.
It’s like in life: in the beginning, everything is better, especially if it’s new, because you experience that feeling of doing something fresh. If you also get to enjoy doing that new thing (for me, was going to the gym), you always look forward to the next day.. the hours spent in the gym would seem to pass just like a few minutes.
The theory of relativity, applied on real life:
Compare these two situations:
Take your finger, go to the cooker stove and touch it. Keep your finger there for like 3 minutes. I bet that those 3 minutes would seem like an year.
Now, take those 3 minutes and spend them doing something you love. For example, going to the gym. Those 3 minutes will pass just like a second.
See what happened there?
Anyways, let’s continue…
Aside from the fact that I enjoyed going to the gym, another thing I liked was my progress. I progressed on a bad diet and on a bad training program (I guess that sometimes, being motivated can have a big impact on your results, even if you do sub-optimal stuff).
Advantage Of The Beginner Gains
In the beginning, anyone can gain muscle mass and even lose fat at the same time. I was on a retarded training program but with sufficient food intake which helped a bit in my beginner progress (living with my mother had its advantages haha). I was able to change my look for the good (I got some additional eyes from some people asking me what I did to get bigger so fast).
Now, if I think about it, my fast progress was attributed to the fact that I was very flexible with my diet (I was eating whatever and in large quantities because my hunger levels were rising – I guess that 2-4 hours of training every day nailed my hunger hormones).
Oh well, I was happy that I was progressing forward. By looking in the mirror, I really saw improvements comparing to how I looked in the beginning. Of course, I had also gained some fat along with some muscle mass. We don’t live in a perfect world where we only put on muscle mass when training. This is especially true when your training and diet is not done in the right way (as mine was).
As a side note, if you just started reading my website, you should definitely check out my tutorial page where I teach you how I get started: Read My No Nonsense Starting Tutorial
The negative turn for me was when I started to plateau. Of course, every one of us will reach a plateau phase at one moment but the difference between those who succeed and those who give up is made at this point. The only thing you can do when you a plateau or brick wall as I like to name it, is to get motivated and try something different or search a solution for your problem (hint: with my tutorials, you will be able to get over almost any kind of plateau).
Anyways, getting back to my story, the thing is that I lost some interest because I wasn’t progressing. Because I got to a point in which I was pretty much satisfied with the way I looked (at that time).
More months passed beside me and progressing was still at a halting point, along with some serious signs of overtraining which were making me feel week all the time. I was losing concentration at school (I was in a constant period of sleepiness) and I really couldn’t take it anymore.
Daily training for long gym sessions of 2-4 hours that I used for months, started to put a mark on my recovery capacity and probably what happened there was that I entered in the overtraining zone.
Like I said in my fat loss book, I started to be scared of my situation. I really thought about it for some days and I reached to a conclusion that I was hurting my body and mind by exaggerating. My body started to fight back, so I told to myself: “If my body doesn’t like the way I treat it, I’ll stop for some time and focus on trying to recover myself while finding an alternative to continue with my need of progress”.
So, I stopped going to the gym and planned to wait until I had a full recovery. I wasn’t feeling good at all..
The inevitable change
It needs to be said that the change I did was for the worst…
Rolling some months ahead, my eating habits got worse (because of my addition to video games), I wasn’t eating in a proper way at all. All these, coupled with some alcohol, made my body look worse and feel weak (I had a small belly and I was basically skinny).
My condition: Skinny + Belly = skinny fat
After a couple of months, I realized that what I was doing was wrong (no activity, too much time invested in video games, some excessive alcohol days). I decided to restart my gym activity. This time I was also interested in my overall health (I also wanted to learn more about nutrition).
I can say that even if I recovered from that “overtraining” period, even if I was feeling better, my mistake was that I exaggerated in other areas of my life like: playing video games, drinking too much, eating now and then with no real interest in what I was putting in my mouth.
The 1st comeback attempt
Alright… I had the proper mindset and desire. I started researching training and dieting by joining forums, buying every diet book that I could put my hands on (I have to say that I literally bought a huge pile of books that had some six pack abs on them and a nice and shiny advertisement).
After reading everything I could find, this happened next:
This was the start of my failure. I say this because I went ahead and started dieting with around 1300-2000 calories/day spaced evenly across 6 meals (that’s what I’ve heard from other people and from diet books that I should do if I wanted to “metabolic advantage” – if you’ve read my post on the meal frequency myth, you should know that that is just a general fat loss guru dogma).
That metabolic fire “thing” that everyone was talking about was supposedly created by eating 6 meals/day evenly spaced. Each meal had to contain a nice portion of protein, carbohydrates and mostly low fat.
I was losing fat, sure… I was counting my caloric intake with a digital scale so I was pretty accurate on my intake. Another reason on why I was successful in losing fat (along with plenty of muscle mass) was because I started going out more frequently and enjoying time outside, made my activity levels skyrocket which in turn got my caloric expenditure go up.
Everything seemed to go well and I thought that I discovered the “holy grail” of fat loss so the only thing I believed that I needed to do is to be consistent with my diet and I will reach the six pack road in no time.
I was… WRONG!
The hunger was chasing me every day and after I ate the required caloric intake for the day (mostly 1500 calories), I was still hungry because the meals I ate were simply unsatisfying and small. Even if I felt that something wasn’t really right and something told me that I should try to change something, the will of getting to a six pack was higher than my reasoning.
Most of the time I just couldn’t wait for the next day to come so I could eat again. That’s how I felt most of the day after I finished eating my allotted caloric intake.
I still remember the words of an apartment colleague of mine (I was living with 3 of my best friends at that time – all students).
After he saw me blabling about being hungry all day, he told me these words: “Florin, I was just like you some years ago when I was dieting. I remember the way I felt back then. I remember the hunger, the continuous need for food, the sacrifice that I had to do to look better. Don’t worry, just think about your goal and wait the next day. Food tastes alot better when it’s scarce haha”
Now, if I think about my training program at that time, I almost laugh. I was doing an upper/lower routine (quite nicely programmed I must say) but the volume was simply too high for my caloric intake. I was training myself into the ground with huge volume and little food.
I always struggled to put weight on the bar (lifting more weight) because I’ve heard that if I increase the weight on the bar while dieting, I would lose fat and gain muscle at the same time so that’s what I wanted to accomplish. More or less… but what happened?
Needless to say, after some good months, I reached a lean level at a weight of ~136 lbs. I think I was under 10% bodyfat at that time as I had my visible six pack abs so I was pretty happy that I accomplished something.
Something… made me think twice at the actual situation
One day as I was reading a bodybuilding forum, right after I finished eating something, a friend of mine came home, looked at me and asked me:
Excerpt from my fat loss book:
He asked me: “Florin, are you satisfied at your current level of development”?
I said: “Yes, I am trying to shed all my body fat. Right now I am sitting around 8% and I almost have no fat and only muscle mass” (I began pinching my bicep skin to show him).
He then told me this:
“What muscle mass?
He told it on such a tone that I somehow understood what he wanted to say so I simply stayed quiet. I was sitting around 136 lbs “shredded” and as I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I realized he was right…
He was right at me having no muscle mass and looking skinny BUT the blindness the “nutrition and training gurus” inflicted on me was much stronger than common sense.
I started to question my knowledge and went into a period of darkness where I started reading even more. I felt I was doing something wrong and I wanted answers. Questions like “what is happening to me?” , “I did everything right, why I am looking like this after so much time and money invested?”
These questions hunted me and made me want to seek further knowledge on training and dieting.
Oh boy… not again… you can say it…
The actual comeback
I started to think more about what I really knew about bodybuilding, fat loss, muscle gaining and other knowledge that I’ve gathered from diet books. I started questioning books, blogs and certain research studies which at that time seemed right for me and were actually bringing me some results (small results but still… results).
Yes, I was having some results but they were far from what I’ve pictured in my mind and also after spending so much time and money testing and reading.
I wanted to make it as good as I could this time and failure was not an option anymore. I decided to bulk to 100 kg (~220 lbs) and after that, to try and diet to a six pack in a proper way so I could maintain my muscle mass.
The plan was the following: I was going to bulk to 220 lbs, I had to learn research and read some books that were actually giving me some real answers. I was trying to avoid bullshit this time at all cost. I didn’t wanted to waste even 1 day with bogus dieting or training.
I started to try different training programs that I discovered and I also tried to create some training programs after reading certain weight training programming books.
In a course of 1 year, I bulked up to 213 lbs with some nice results (my clothes were getting smaller, my jeans were being ripped off by my huge legs) – I am quite small boned so even if 213 lbs might not sound a lot for someone, I really was at a decent size.
The only regret I have now is that I couldn’t reach those 220 lbs that I had planned. It happened because I had to eat enormous amounts of food (I was actually eating over 5000 calories/day just to maintain my weight). Because I ate so much food in the course of a year, I don’t know how but I began getting sick from eating so much. My stomach started to fight back and every time I looked at food, I wanted to vomit.
Needless to say, I felt that those things were the signal to interrupt my quest to 220 lbs and to start dieting.
Sitting at 213 lbs, I was pretty bulked up, I got some decent size on, so dieting to a six pack was the next thing.
The winning formula
In that year of bulking, I’ve read tons of books that were tackling dieting, research. I spoke with many people around forums that were having great results with certain protocols.
I started dieting with a nicely done training program, still upper/lower training, 2-3 times a week for 30-50 minutes that were fast and intense. Basically, what I did was to go inside a gym, train fast, go home, eat a certain caloric intake.
I can’t remember exactly how many calories I started eating but I think they were around 3500 in the first month and I was still losing weight on so much food (mainly because of my overall size).
I continued dieting for some good months, getting past plateau every time until I reached that level (which you can see in the pictures on this blog).
I managed to get to a six pack because I had the will to search and learn what it took to get there. I also had the will to apply everything and test the theory myself to see what was working. These, coupled with my consistency, gave me the winning formula (which I explained thoroughly in my fat loss book). From that time until now, whenever I want to bulk and pack some size or lose fat to get to those six pack abs (mainly for the summer time), I know what I need to do.
Seeing that I could do this, I started thinking about my story and how hard it was for me to find that good information so I could use it to get closer to my dream. I thought of a way to tell everybody what I discovered and I wanted to transmit to the whole world that achieving a better body is way simpler than most of the “gurus” tell you.
I was sick and tired from all the bullshit advertisements I was seeing on all kinds of websites regarding “how I lost belly fat”, “how to lose belly fat”, “how to lose 30 lbs in 15 days”.
I tried that stuff, I bought their products, and in the end, I was just wasting time and getting scammed.
You can see an advertisement of a “magic fat loss bottle” supplement that I got suckered into buying.
In the end, I just wasted my time and money and I can see plenty of people getting in my shoes all the time and search for the magic pill.
I think that because they are still advertising even now, after so many years, they must be successful in tricking people to buy their books/courses.
So, I came up with my own book in which I’ve put all the knowledge I have collected over the years regarding dieting and muscle mass maintenance and here is from where the no bs flexible formula for six pack abs started to take its existence.
Thank you for getting the time to read my story today and I hope this will inspire you to take action, getting your body in a better shape and keep moving forward!
All the best to you and have a good time here!
PS: If you have a friend that is struggling with losing fat, gain muscle or even strength, you can recommend this page to him by either sharing my story with those easy sharing buttons you can see in the left ( It only takes 1-3 seconds top ).