SHEEPLE OF THE INTERNET, today marks the beginning of a fitness revolution. However, in order to properly understand this revolution, you first need to understand its origin. So, please come, take a walk with me.
For the majority of my childhood/adolescence, I was what many people would consider “skinny af.” By the time I entered my sophomore year of high school, I was 5’11”, 137 lbs with a fully developed head, quasi-mullet, lanky frame, and sex appeal rivaled only by Michael Cera. See exhibit A (15 years old, summer before sophomore year):
Every time I caught a view of myself in the mirror, I’d stop and mutter under my breath, “F*ck.” It was at this same time in high school that the rest of my friends had started playing football and begun an accompanying weight training regimen. Their muscles started growing, their voices dropped, and girls started including their quotes in their AIM profiles (please tell me someone remembers that…)
Needless to say, I began to notice a direct correlation between muscle size and overall life success. So I made what was quite possibly the most pivotal decision in my 15 years of existence: I decided to start lifting weights myself.
For the first several years, I didn’t really utilize any programs or set methodologies; I just followed my friends around the gym and mirrored them. Lots of bench press, curls, and the usual aesthetically focused lifts. I honestly had no idea what I was doing, and I had no set goal besides the vague intention of getting bigger muscles. But, like anything, if you do it enough, you will see some results. See Exhibit B (17, senior year):
At this point I was up to 185 lbs, but still fairly soft. So I had successfully moved past the “skinny af” stage into the “kind of big Asian” stage. In retrospect, I still had no idea what I was doing both from a nutrition standpoint and a training standpoint.
At the ripe age of 18, I went off to college at Rice University to pursue the American dream. I grew my hair out, wore a backwards hat, hemp necklace, and basically embodied the definition of the word “chadbrochill.” See Exhibit C (18 years old, freshman year):
My weight training was still sporadic and non goal oriented. Coupled with the frequent late nights and partying, I’d say I got a good deal softer my freshman year. It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I joined the newly formed “Rice University Powerlifting Club” that I started to add some direction to my programming. I also got somewhat educated on proper nutrition (which I’ll get into in a separate post). Exhibit D (19 years old, sophomore year).
My main goals became adding strength in the big three lifts: deadlift, bench, and squat. I started utilizing some reputable, longer term workout programs, one of my favorites being Westside Barbell for Skinny Bastards. I realized that gaining strength was fun and rewarding, and hypertrophy (increase in muscle size) was an added side benefit. From the ages of 19 to 22, I jumped around various powerlifting/ strength programs I found on the internet. I even dabbled in some bodybuilding split programs. My deadlift increased from 300 lbs to 440 lbs, my squat increased from 255 lbs to 370 lbs, I worked up to 225 x 3 on power clean, and my bench went up (numbers aren’t important). See Exhibit E (22 years old, summer after graduation)
So after 8 long years, I had finally gained entrance into the swole kingdom. My growth topped out at 6’2″, and I weighed 205 lbs.
Unfortunately, over the next year, I lost some momentum and direction as I transitioned into the Corporate America 8-5 lifestyle. Exhibit F (23 years old)
It wasn’t until I joined a Crossfit gym in November of 2012 that I began to regain my passion for challenging myself and making GAINZ. Crossfit was unlike anything I had ever done before. There were a number of things I loved about crossfit:
- The group workout setting – it’s indescribable how much more you push yourself when there are 10 other people working their ass off next to you. Everyone is super positive and encouraging, and overall it’s just a really fun time.
- Focus on strength and conditioning – for me, there are few things more satisfying than lifting more weight than I used to lift, and making measurable improvements in my fitness in general, so Crossfit was a natural fit.
- Minimalist gym environment – the warehouse environment full of bars, plates, pull up bars, and chalk really gets you in the right frame of mind to DO WORK. You can yell, clap, scream, and cry and it’s all tolerated.
- Short, intense workouts– Crossfit workouts are 8-20 minutes of hell, but after you are done, not only is every muscle in your body engorged with blood, but you get an indescribable endorphin rush.
- Bumper plates- God bumper plates are awesome. Seriously, what is more emasculating than throwing down 225 lbs from over your head to the ground, yelling out “AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A PEANUT!!!” while everyone stares over in pure awe. But I digress. Anyways, Exhibit G (23 years old)
So I liked Crossfit. A lot. It’s pretty addicting. But there were also a few things I disliked about Crossfit:
- Randomness of Programming– yes, I realize this is part of the inherent Crossfit philosophy. But if you miss a WOD that incorporates say, chest strength, you might not see that strength movement again for… weeks.
- Excess of Metabolic Conditioning Workouts- I’m sorry, but pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion 5 times a week just isn’t conducive to long term GAINZ and general muscle/joint health.
- Leg Hypertrophy – after a month of crossfit, my quads had grown quite a bit while my upper body had actually gotten a little smaller. Besides the painful chafing, I felt like Dumbo trying to get into a pair of jeans and heaving my tree trunk quads around in an attempt to walk.
At this point in my life, I realized that my ideal workout would be aimed at a few things:
- Pure Strength (especially in the large, compound movements)- because virility is derived from strength
- Short and intense– gotta have my endorphin fix
- Balanced training of all muscle groups- body building splits are great in that you know every muscle group is getting work adequately on a periodic basis. Your physique usually reflects that in its proportions as well.
- Proper recovery periods– Personally, I want to still be able to throw down when I’m 50.
- Upper body hypertrophy– I mean come on, let’s be honest.
I then asked myself a simple question: why can’t I have the best of both worlds? Huh? Huh?!?? I wanted to bake my cake and eat the batter!! It’s 2013, anything is possible. Thus, SwoleFIT was born.
SwoleFIT is essentially what would happen if Rich Froning and Jay Cutler had a child. See Exhibit F:
So I ask you this:
- Do you want to have fun while pushing yourself?
- Do you want to get in great shape?
- Do you want to not spend every waking hour in the gym? (SwoleFIT workouts take about an hour including warmups.)
- Do you want to have great A E S T H E T I C S?
- Do you want to feel AMAZING? (endorphin high- no feeling like it)
- Do you want to not have to feel like death during every single workout but rather only a couple times a week?
Then take my hand and come with me on this magical journey to the KINGDOM OF SWOLE.