Updated: Aug 15
Not everyone entering a gym is trying to lose weight. In fact, some have the exact opposite struggle of being underweight.
“Isn’t your mother feeding you?” “You look like you weigh all of fifty pounds!” “You need to put some meat on those bones.” Unfortunately, I am far to familiar with these clichés.
Though I’m not sure if this sort of light ribbing from friends and family made me feel insecure about my body or appearance directly, I do know these comments made me aware I was noticeably thin to others. And honestly, it's something I might otherwise not have noticed.
Growing up I caught myself wishing on multiple occasions I had rock hard muscles and a six pack that would put Fight Club's Brad Pitt to shame. I never knew how to approach achieving this seemingly unattainable physique. As I entered into adulthood, I realized a muscular physique is obtainable. I just needed to learn how.
And like everything we accomplish, the right mindset is the start. Here's my top three suggestions for getting (and keeping) your mindset high when your motivation gets low.
#1 Work with a Personal Trainer
I put on nearly 40 pounds of lean muscle in seven months. I contribute this to a couple of things, but the first is my decision to invest in myself and hire a personal trainer. At this point, I was willing to put skin in the game so to speak, aka money. Usually when we open our wallets we pay attention.
Also, a good trainer can help with your mindset and guide you to your goals. Find a place that gets serious about your goals - with you. A quick internet search will share many options. I built a profile on a site that screened personal trainers so I could review several at once to make a good decision for me.
I researched personal trainers with three main points in mind:
Reasonable terms and pricing
Private personal training gym to guarantee an intimate and laid-back environment with the trainer and trainees, and
Photographic evidence to prove they get results
Believe it or not, there are still personal trainers out there reasonably priced and phenomenal at what they do. Speak openly about budget concerns you may have. Many trainers offer hybrid programs that can be a little more budget friendly. However, I wanted results, so I made the decision to invested four days a week of training and have not regretted it.
I knew I didn't want to get lumped or lost in a big box gym. Finding a community of like minded, supportive people is a powerful component to any transformation.
I can say the plan that the trainers of Pro Push set up for me worked wonders. A big part of my success is working a custom fitness and nutrition program. Also, I had an excellent trainer, Chase Cawood - watching my form, correcting me when necessary, and constantly challenging my workouts. It helps to have someone guide weight load and rep range. This prevented injuries so I could just focus on overloading muscle groups and creating lean muscle.
#2 Be Flexible in How You Do Things
I’d say the biggest sacrifice I had to make is giving up being a vegetarian after years of abstaining from meat products.
I’ve gained so much knowledge about diet and how much what you eat really affects your body’s chemistry (seems obvious, but it’s not something I ever really considered).
I did try in the beginning of this program to stick to a vegetarian diet, but I honestly was not making the progress I was working so hard for. While my trainer was supportive of whatever I decided, he also helped me understand the importance of good, quality protein when building muscle. It is necessary.
Ideally, when you are working out four days a week strength training you need 1 gram of protein per every pound of your body weight.
That is just way easier to do with meat than with plant based proteins. So, I made the decision to give my body what it needs to achieve my goals.
I now eat turkey and chicken, so the decision was more akin to a bargain as opposed to a sacrifice.
#3 Be Willing to Work
Be willing to work physically and mentally. I found I had to put in the work, not only for my physique, but for my mental and internal health. I had to me willing to recommit over and over again at times. I had to reset my financial & social priorities at time. But, I’ve noticed a considerable size increase during my tenure training. It has absolutely been worth the work.
It's important to note the strong, positive emotions I feel after I'm put through an intense workout. The rush of finishing a tough workout through to the end, something that feels like it’s going to kill you while you’re in the thick of it - is actually incredibly rewarding. I feel growth in the moment with my physical capabilities and my confidence.
I think given the place I am now, mentally and physically, I wouldn’t want to go back to the place I was before. Training with all the people at Pro Push (the staff and clientele) has really changed my life for the better in more ways than just my physical appearance, and I wouldn’t have or want it any other way. I really can’t stress how thankful I am for everything Pro Push has done for me in my fitness journey. And this is only the beginning!