“For the longest I didn’t want to share this. I was afraid, ashamed and horrified about myself but the only thing that will set me free is the truth.”
Those pictures up there are of me.
From 2012 -> 2015 -> 2017 (In August)
I wanna share the story of how I went from skinny to fit to fat with you.
2 years ago (in 2015) I was fit. I had gained muscle from training hard and went from a skinny 140 pound kid to a strong 150 pounds in 2 years.
I was making regular youtube videos, sharing my workouts and all the things I was learning with you guys and that is how you found me.
Life was great back then. I had lots of time to train, create and learn but I wasn’t making a lot of money so I had to find a job.
I quickly got a job and that led into having 2 jobs. This was great and now I had a lot more cash that I could invest into my food, my education and gym memberships.
I joined a powerlifting gym at this point and my strength gains were increasing too fast.
I went from deadlifting 225 to hitting a one rep max of 405 in less than 3 months.
I felt on top of the world. I was making a lot of money and also getting stronger.
During this time some of my friends were really big into craft beer. I had never been into beer before but little by little after hanging out with them I started to really enjoy beer (specially stout and sour beers)
After a few months of hanging out with them I became obsessed with beer. Not because I liked to get drunk or feel buzzed but because there was so many styles of beer out there and I simply wanted to try them all. It was a new art form that I was excited to discover.
Eventually I got to the point where I was going out 3-4 times a week to drink and have fun at festivals and breweries. I had a lot of fun but this new passion destroyed my body.
I was working a lot and after work it was either go to the gym and train or go out with friends and drink. At first it was an easy choice:
I’ll just do it all – Work, go workout and then go out. And that worked out great for the first year.
But eventually the more I went out the less I started to train simply because I felt like S#!t. I was eating junk food all the time, sleeping super late (2:30AM-3AM) and was constantly in a state of drunkness.
Fast forwarding to 2016 I had put on over 10 pounds of fat and had lost a lot of my muscle. I was depressed and felt ashamed.
I once was known for being an energetic guy that all I wanted to do was workout and hang from trees. And now I was a skinny fat guy that was overworked and his definition of fun was going to get a few cold ones with the boys.
I had hit rock bottom.
At the beginning of the year I had made the resolution of training again to get stronger.
During January I moved out with my best friend. We had a cool apartment and I started meal prepping again. I brought my gymnastic rings and kettlebell to train with me.
“I didn’t have a place to hand the rings in the house so I wrapped them around the stairs next to the elevator”
Since I had to pay rent I stopped going out regularly. I was cooking, going to work and when I came back home I was either working out or doing some computer work.
My life was slowly getting back some structure.
Our lease ended in April and I moved back with my parents.
During this time I got lazy again; since I didn’t have to pay rent anymore I could go out and spend money again so I started going to eat a lot of restaurants and trying out crazy fat food like bacon wrapped burritos and ice cream chicken sandwiches.
It was fun discovering fun new foods but again this was wrecking my health and energy levels.
After eating all kinds of Instagram worthy foods I started to feel dissatisfied. The fun that I once had trying new foods got boring and everything tasted the same: Just cool looking grease balls.
After the summer I found some pictures of my old self when I was fit and also some older ones when I was skin and bones. I saw that I had made a huge transformation and started to self reflect on my life.
What was I doing with my life?
I was just consuming and not really contributing much to this world. I taught back when I was making YouTube videos on the regular and that is when I felt the most ALIVE. That is when I was motivating people to take action and change their bodies.
Here I was a once strong guy that had everything going for him and now I am looking in the mirror and my abs are covered by an abundance of constant beer, bacon and donuts.
I felt disgusted into what I had transformed into.
Finally on August 8 I woke up dissatisfied and joined a gym. It had just opened a month ago and the place had all kinds of monkey bars to hang from.
I nervously go there to sign up and start going there almost everyday.
Whitin the first week of training there I meet some guys doing crazy calisthenics movements: 360 Muscle Ups, Levers and Handstands on rings.
I was able to do a muscle up before but these guys were frestyling on the bars and basically flying.
After that training session I felt alive. I wanted to get stronger and I knew that if I wanted to do crazy skills like these guys then I needed to start training with them.
For the past 2 months I’ve been training to get my muscle up and I am able to do them again. But after gaining weight and getting weaker this movement is a lot harder.
I’ve decided to re-start my calisthenics journey and here we are now. I am writing emails to help you guys and making regular YouTube content again.
I feel excited to train and share. I am still not at the level I want to be but I am excited to train everyday.
I will be sending regular emails to help you get stronger based on everything I know and learn.
It’s been a long email and I just wanna say thank you for being subscriber. Thank you for being here for me and reading my story. It was tough to share all this personal information but the truth is what will set us both free.
If you are in a similar situation or needed a kick in the ass to go train then I hope that my story inspires you into action.
I am here for you so feel free to drop a comment and ask m anything.
Can’t wait to see how much progress we make together.
P.S. The blender I use is a VItamix. This thing is powerful and I can even make almond butter on it. They are pricey but worth it. I see a lot of smoothie shops and restaurants use them for their drinks.
First off all I love avocados, their flavor and color make all food better.
But they don’t make me full. Fat on a meal is supposed to make you full so you can have sustained energy for longer BUT that wasn’t entirely the case for me.
About me: I am ectomorph (skinny body type) and I tend to break down carbohydrates and protein fast so eating fatty rich foods help me sustain energy for longer.
I talked to my coach about this issue.
Me: I eat a big dinner with rice, chicken and avocado but in 1 hr I feel hungry again.
Him: That’s because Avocados tend to digest faster. Not all fats act the same and you need to consume a fat that takes longer to breakdown like some peanuts or almonds.
Me: So by eating a handful of almonds after my meal I will feel fuller for longer?
Him: Yeah, nuts and seeds will take longer to break down and will give you sustained energy for longer.
Boom! The light bulb went on! and from now on I’ve been eating almonds with my most of my meals.
I eat them after eggs, after eating white meat (chicken or fish), after eating avocado & it has been working great. I am finally full for a few hours as opposed to feeling dissatisfied within the hour.
[Warning: Something to be aware is that almonds contain a lot of calories so if you are watching the amount of calories you consume then don’t eat too many.]
This has helped me and if you are in a similar situation where avocados alone aren’t doing it for you, then add a handful of nuts like almonds after your meal.
You will feel full and have energy for longer times.
Last week I was working 12 hour shifts back to back and I am sure many of you are familiar with those schedules.
The little sleep, the constant to do and not having much of a break.
In those moments you need to either be prepared with meal prepping or make healthy choices when it’s time to eat.
I was working at hotel and was fortunate to get breakfast and lunch for the most part by the hotel so I was eating eggs & potatoes for breakfast and salad, beans and chicken or turkey.
For dinner I usually just went to Chipotle since it was convenient. I just made simple choices and didn’t overthink my eating schedule.
When we are busy is better to keep things as simple as possible and if that means having the same meal over and over then let it be. As longs as it is not something greasy or fried for the most part you should feel fine.
Last week I also didn’t get much time to workout or train but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t moving. My job was very active so I was constantly moving and pushing carts with heavy items on them.<
On the times I had a break I got my coworkers involved into doing a few reps of dips, push ups, pull ups and L-sits on chairs, the carts we were pushing or anywhere there was a corner.
It’s fun how many people will follow you into working out when you show them that it is easy and that things don’t have to be perfect. Specially with bodyweight exercises since they don’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere, most people will see it as a challenge and will join you to see if they can do the skill.
Yesterday I had a call with a new friend of mine and we talked all about opportunistic workouts and how he didn’t have access to a bar where he can practice muscle ups so this is what i told him:
Find any bar outside and do pull ups there to practice your muscle up:
Use the bars on shopping carts to do pull ups or dips
Any store will have rails that you can use as a bar (check out the guy below)
Use any wall to practice a pull up
Use any bar at the playground and if there is no good pull up bar then buy gymnastic rings and practice ring dips and the muscle up there. Hang them on the swings, a thick tree branch or somewhere safe and sturdy.
There was a lot more examples I shared but the point was to open his eyes to the fact that there are opportunities in every day life. It’s just up to you to keep your mind open and attack when you see an opportunity.
Lots of pictures today but I hope they motivate you and get the point across:
Keep nutrition simple and find opportunistic workouts anywhere you can.
A month ago I joined a gym called Just Go Lift in San Diego, California.
I hadn’t been part of of a gym in about 2 years and I was missing the community and support from others.
I am not gonna lie, I was hesitant to join since I had been training alone for so long so the fear of being judged and seen scared me a little. (I’ve always been an introvert by nature.)
But I joined and the coaches welcomed me with open arms and my thoughts of “I will be judged” were all a lie.
I have had nothing but support here and that is what a good community does: they support each other and grow together.
I have been working on getting my muscle up again and while training here I realized how weak I was and have been working on the basics: Pull ups, dips, planks, L-Sits and any movement to get my body and hands used to hanging again.
2 weeks after joining I meet a few calisthenics guys. Seeing them do muscle ups like nothing and freestyle on the bars made me realize that I can do this.
They gave me advice on how to do the muscle up and what I can improve on.
After 25 min of failing and very encouraging “You can do it” “You got this” words I was able to get 1 muscle up and that is all It took for me to make the mental switch on my mind.
I ended up doing a few muscle ups that night and my whole mindset on training changed from “I am weak & have so much training to do” to “I can do this and I am excited to keep working at it”
Instead of feeling bad for being weak now I am happy because there is so much exciting growth that will keep happening.
All it took for this mental switch was for someone else to believe in me and guide me with their support.
The point I am trying to make with this is that in order to accelerate results you need a foundation (i.e. working on the fundamental exercises)
But if you want to accelerate even faster then you need mental support and that is where joining a community comes in. They will be there to pick you up when you feel worthless and be there to make you remember that you can do anything.
Train not only the physical but also the mental and you will get there faster.
I am not sure what your specific goals are at the moment but I wold advice to get friendly help from someone that can do the skill you wanna do. Whether that be a muscle up or a handstand just ask and you will be surprised by how open others are willing to help.
Enjoy your Labor Day and reply with any questions, I am here to help.
It’s been 2 years since I’ve made videos for you guys but I am back!
In the past 2 years I’ve been lost and I got a little too comfortable with living an average life until last month when I woke up very dissatisfied.
I went from working out daily and eating healthy to living a very unhealthy lifestyle: I was staying up late, drinking, eating out too much and neglecting my training.
All the progress I had made in the gym and in my online business declined.
When I made videos, wrote articles and sent emails for you guys I had a purpose to live for: I was on my mission to help skinny men get stronger and live a badass life.
3 weeks ago I went to a business and personal development and I made a lot of great people who got me back on track on living my mission.
It was a breath of fresh air to reconnect with some of my mentors (Elliott Hulse, Craig Ballantyne, Vince Del Monte & Bredos Keuilian to name a few) and also get acceptance that we all fall down – and the only thing that matters is getting back up.
Over the past 2 years I’ve been anxious and afraid to keep creating content since I am not at the level I was before but after hearing my mentors talk I know that it’s OK.
It’s OK to fail. It’s OK to feel sad and depressed BUT It’s NOT OK to Conform to the idea that you are a failure.
So today I am back.
I am back to making content for you guys and help you guys get stronger.
I’ve been training on the regular again, I joined a gym and have made amazing new friends in the calisthenics community.
Something I have learned from training and talking with these athletes is that they aren’t perfect. They have all have had tough moments when their life was in ruins but none of them settled for mediocrity.
Maybe you are in the same spot I am – feeling lost and alone but you aren’t alone.
You got me and the whole fitness community.
My goal with this site and messages is to help you grow stronger physically, emotionally and spiritually trough fitness.
And I will do that.
I’ve been thinking about how to serve you guys better and I will keep making videos but I’ve also been thinking about interviewing calisthenic athletes about their lifestyle and how they have gotten stronger.
If that is something that would be of interested to you please let me know. (reply to this email and tell me you do want interviews)
Also I do want to get to know you better and I think there is no better way than actually talking to you. So what I want to do is make myself available and get on a phone call with you.
I want to know what are the obstacles holding you back so I can serve you better and I think the best way to do that is to talk with you live.
I will have more details about that at the end of the week.
Lastly I do wanna apologize for being MIA for so long and I appreciate all the nice and supportive comments you guys have left on my videos and blog. I am grateful to have you as a subscriber and will keep pumping regular content to serve you better.
Last year I moved out of my house for the first time and it was a big learning experience.
I had to be more responsible, get used to meal prepping and workout before or after my work, even when I was tired.
The same thing applied to my roommate who hired me to be his personal trainer. When he came back from work it was workout time for him even if he was super tired from walking around in the heat from 6am-6pm as a mailman.
Below is the workout that him and I did for a couple of months, it is nothing fancy but it worked to help him gain muscle, improve conditioning, lose body fat and get a lot stronger!
If you don’t have barbells or dumbbells don’t worry, find a substitute like a heavy rock or make a sandbag.
If you’ve been wanting to get started in your fitness journey or you’ve been slacking and need an all around muscle building plan to get you back into shape – print out the workout and give it a go. I know you will get you results like it did for us.
Warning: I am very open about myself & this might be one of the scariest & most personal things I’ve written but I need to get it out there.
First off I hope you are having an awesome week so far…I’ve had an interesting one so far but I wanted to share with you some (and very personal) updates as to what I’ve been up to, my scattered thoughts and things that I will be releasing soon.
Emotional demons: Depression + Being Lost & Found
OK so I am not sure how to entirely explain this, but I think depression is a word that it can be compared to.
You guys have noticed that last year I did not made many videos and the reason as to why, it’s because I I felt lost.
It’s interesting to look back & to admit to myself that I was to some degree depressed & unmotivated to progress (funny because I talk and write a lot about motivation & not having excuses yet I am a victim of what I fight against – I guess I knew this subconsciously so I told myself why bother to write about improving your life when mine is simply static and not moving right now – which was a huge mistake)
Even tough last year I felt very passive, I did create several training programs, workouts, but all of these projects where not completed or released (I have lots of rough drafts, video ideas, workouts & they will all come to life in the weeks to come)
At this exact moment, I don’t feel lost or depressed anymore – those emotional demons I’ve being fighting with have left (but I know they are not gone)
One of my mentors Elliott Hulse describes how we have anabolic & catabolic cycles in life – you can’t have anabolic without being catabolic first.
I felt that last year I was forcing myself to be anabolic (i.e. to be productive & creative) when these actions cannot be forced, they just have to be allowed and be let.
My best work has always been done when I allow myself to feel “possessed” – when I have an un-describable energy where I just am and am doing – an state of flow.
This state is something that I’ve tried to describe & show in the past trough my workouts – where you just workout in the moment because your body feels like moving, not because you are forcing yourself to move – it’s a moment where you allow yourself to be movement itself.
This workout happened in that state of just being:
Forcing myself to be happy:
I read and listen to various books last year and one of the things that screamed to me in terror is that I was always forcing myself to be and feel positive – to bury negativity & force myself to smile even when I didn’t want to.
I don’t remember the exact page or quote that highlighted this, but the book talked about just letting emotions happen. If you feel sad be sad, if you are happy be happy, if you feel sexual be sexual BUT don’t be ashamed of how you feel and try to suppress your feelings – just let them be.
This gave me a huge slap n the face since it made me realize that I have always felt bad for not being Mr. Positivity 24/7 & it gave me permission to welcome “bad” & “sad” emotions & stop feeling ashamed of them.
I highly recommend that book – it will make you really uncomfortable as you will be exposed to exploring your own self, emotions and your habits that have been developed since childhood & give you insight as to why you are the way you are so you can change them.
This mindset alone, of letting my emotions just be has relieved a lot of pressure from myself & has allowed myself to be less judgmental and more welcoming.
How I Pushed Those Demons Away:
I’ve talked in the past about just moving and letting things fall into place – to take action and learn from experience, like how I describe in this video:
“Clarity comes from Taking Action NOT Thoughts!”
For the past 5 years I have been working out outdoors and at my home gym, but since last year I felt that it was time for a change even tough that I wasn’t entirely sure on what specific change.
I had created an identity for myself as being a guy that workouts at home or outdoors – no excuses. And to some degree I did not want to let this identity go therefore I decided to keep working out at home – to force myself to do it.
My workouts started to suffer: my intensity wasn’t there anymore, I was just going trough the motions and was bored – I was just doing something to do it.
During this past year I did not make much progress (strength & muscle wise) simply because I wasn’t in love with training.
That’s exactly how I felt and it resonated with me a ton. His turning point was the realization that he wasn’t gonna go anywhere feeling that way and it was time to man up – he joined a bodybuilding contest and the competition lit up the training spark once again.
For me what I was missing back from my workouts was a feeling of community, I needed an environment where I was gonna be at war with other warriors.
I don’t remember exactly what page in the book made me wanna do this but I decided to finally join a gym again.
My friend had joined this power-lifting and strongman gym not too long ago & I knew the place was awesome since I did a trial workout there before, but I didn’t sign up because I told myself that I had work so I wouln’t have too much time & the place wasn’t close to my house.
Like Zach I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere by just feeling and being the passive way I was, I needed to be surrounded with other people that where committed to being strong, even if I was gonna be the weakest there, I knew that things where only gonna progress quickly because of the environment, so I signed up 2 days after realizing this.
It’s been almost 1 month since I joined & I am glad I did. I am finally making constant strength and muscle gains again + my outlook on life is that of just moving forward.
There have been days that I feel tired and don’t wanna wake up but I do it anyways because I don’t want to be weak anymore. This is my first time actually training for power-lifting & my CNS is barely starting to adapt to the constant heavy weights & I’ve always had an interest in strongman so I am having a lot of fun with the training. More than anything thanks to the training my mind is shifting to stop over-analyzing everything and just taking action.
I still love at home & outdoor workouts – they get me fired up, but being part of a gym was something I’ve been missing and craving for a long time.
You might be in a similar situation with your training, so I hope that my experience resonates & helps you get out of that training rut.
If you get anything from this rant is to just workout, to just move even when you don’t want to – force your body to move, get in tune with your self physically & your mentality for life will change for the better. – This is something that you will only understand once you actually start moving regularly so don’t think about it Just Do It.
If you want to change your emotions then you gotta get in motion – there is a reason why it is spelled E-MOTION
I have so much more to share but I’ll stop for now…
What’s the point of writing all of this?
My original intention was to share my feelings & realizations that are stuck in my mind, but to my surprise as I was writing this post learned more about myself than I was aware of.
I know that you like me have experienced some similar downs and slaps in the face in your own life. And I want to remind you that you are not alone – not everyone’s life is sunshine, rainbows & constant strength gains all of the time. Shit happens to everyone, learn from it & keep moving forward.
You currently might be fighting some emotional demons (even if you are not entirely aware of them) that are holding you back from making progress, and I want to help you overcome & make you aware of this.
I am not entirely sure how I can do that besides talking to you to try to bring out the roots of whats holding you back (childhood traumas, bad habits that lead to unwanted actions, negative or super-positive self talk, etc)
I am not an expert on this at but I want to help you in some level so if this is of interest to you email me: beastlifestyle [at] gmail.com with subject line: “emotional demons” and lets set up a coaching call to talk about overcoming your obstacles.
That’s it, I’ve written too much, drop a comment below.