I’ve been fat and weak. At one point I weighed 118 kg and could lift something like 16 kg without pummeling to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I was lazy because I was fat. I was fat because I was lazy.
I had to do something about it.
I looked in the mirror and was simply ashamed. I met my wife at a party in 2012. Six months later, I had talked a lot with her, but we slipped apart for a bit (We have a long, complicated and sweet story, but it is between us). I, like many fat people with low self-esteem probably also thinks, thought it had to do with my physical shape. I decided to do something. I wanted my Cecilie!
I had tried previously with some powder diet shit that just produced air in my stomach and nothing else. I had dragged my almost anemic porpoise body out to wander around for a jog in the woods with asthma spray in my back pocket. I had tried the metabolic diet, which is just purely awful, Day 1 was one slice of peanut butter for breakfast and avocado for dinner.
No, I had to do something drastic.
“I got support for my attitude and will, but not at all for the crazy regime I was running.“
I gave myself a deadline. Before I started, I had to prepare. I read about nutrition and exercise until I became somewhat of an expert. Since then, my knowledge has increased considerably, and today I can write a perfectly complete plan for a stronger, leaner body for anyone. I set aside one month for my project. My plan was eating 600 kcal a day, eating less than 18 grams of carbohydrates and focusing the 600 calories on almost only protein. This is an insane diet. Absolutely insane, and I recommend NO ONE try this for more than a maximum of two weeks. At the same time I would drink four liters of water every day, and I would train heavy strength and guerrilla cardio on steep slopes.
I shared my plan with people around me. I got support for my attitude and will, but not at all for the crazy regime I was running. Fuck it! I was going to get a great body, and it was going to happen in a month. Today I wouldn’t have done such a thing, but I am extremely glad that I did, as you will eventually understand.
I started the journey.
“The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.”
Food was exceedingly difficult at first, as I felt like I could not eat anything. I survived on broccoli and egg whites for a few days, before I found my salvation: tuna in jelly. It smells and tastes like cat food, but after living on egg whites and broccoli for four days, even a cat would taste good! So, nutritionally I managed, so far. Due to work, I had to change routines. I started work at seven in the morning, and was often not back home until seven in the evening – by this point I was so tired of work and lack of nutrition that I could not exercise efficiently. I had to solve this in a different way, we look for solutions not excuses. This is extremely important, because we can be too quick to blame too little time to incorporate exercise routines into everyday life. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for that. What I did was get up at 4:00 in the morning, eat two egg whites and go to the gym. I trained hard.
My heavy training was called “Starting Strength”. There are three to four exercises. Squat with barbell, deadlift, bench press / military press and I added pullups. These are great compound exercises to train the whole body. I also chose to train with very heavy weights (and good form obviously!), so that I became strong and functional, not a knot with a torso. I did this three times a week. The other days I ran on steep slopes.
“I was completely drained and completely burned out. I was close to giving up.“
It was the heaviest, hardest damn thing I’ve ever done to myself in my entire life. Just getting up that early was a nightmare. The food was disgusting, and the training was so physically demanding on a body that was not nourished, that I shivered through the work day, before I collapsed and fell asleep immediately as I came home. Sometimes I was so tired that I didn’t even manage dinner before I collapsed. Which in turn resulted in an even worse tomorrow. The training was especially heavy, but because I started the day that way, I had more to give. Not only that, but testosterone production is at its absolute highest between 4 and 6 in the morning, my training took full advantage of this window. I saw some changes in my body over time. I did not see much myself in the beginning, but people around me saw it very clearly, often a little too clearly. Some were afraid for my health. I looked like a drug addict marathon runner with a cold.
The penultimate day I stood in front of the mirror after training, I stared at my thin face and my body. I was completely drained and completely burned out. I was close to giving up. Then I spotted a muscle I did not know I had, right in the area of the abdomen and thigh. I burst into tears. I sobbed and wept like a constipated baby in front of the mirror,
I felt broken, but I had to finish.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
– MARCUS AURELIUS
My first meal after the hard month was oatmeal with honey. I followed up later with two heavy burgers. I was expecting a heavenly feeling, it was not. Sure, it was infinitely better than tuna, eggs and broccoli, but certainly not as amazing as I had hoped. I learned a lot about myself along the way. I learned that I have discipline, a hell of a lot more than I ever thought. This was because of the motivation, but also the deadline. I gained a lot of professional knowledge about food, nutrition and exercise. I learned that the physical strength I now had was a direct result of my mental strength training. Without a strong head, I would not be able to lift as heavy as I did. The mental strength gave me more over the years than any of my muscles have done.
I’m very glad I went through hell. I came out of it much tougher and I appreciated nutritious food and exercise in a different way. It had become a part of me. I did not quit after the month was over. I took a week off and felt it tingle. I HAD to exercise, chocolate was now disgusting compared to lean beef and fresh vegetables. I have since grown, both in knowledge, muscle mass and experience. It goes without saying that knowledge and experience are utilized well, but my muscles have also done their good. The job I do is sometimes physically demanding, which is no longer a problem. I work at night in the winter, and I rarely freeze. I get injured very often at work, small cuts and things like that, but due to a high production of testosterone, the wounds heal quickly. What was damn good back then is not only natural now, but essential in my life.
“I will never do it again, but the process was priceless.“
I have two children and a wife, which can make the morning busy for many. I love to get up at 5am, two hours before the others, to drink coffee, write and exercise. I hated getting up early then, now I love it. I have started to enjoy testing myself physically and mentally, and I will never stop training mental strength.
That month was hell on earth and I will never do it again, but the process was priceless. If you’re going through hell, just keep walking.