Name: Ben Silverman
Height: 6'2 1/4"
Weight: 425 lbs
BF%: Approx 49% (generic Wal-Mart electronic tester)
Waist: 60" (at my largest)
I was a large mammal. Not sure what I was looking to do exactly but I had enough fat on me to be the largest bar of soap known to man. It was neither a proud time in my life or a healthy one.
For the longest time I was 385, but when I quit smoking I put on an additional 35 pounds to put me over the 425 barrier. I remember going into the doctor's office for a physical and accusing the scale of being off because I still thought I was a skinny 385.
I was out of shape (unless you consider round a shape) and in denial. I was having chest pains and couldn't do anything really physically demanding. It was really embarrassing when friends don't even ask you to help them move!
Weight: 280 lbs
Well, now I'm almost half the man I used to be (but actually twice the man I ever was.) I have the medium range goal of 11% BF and 258 pounds, and a long range goal of once at least seeing myself in the single BF digits. No more chest pains, no more windedness walking stairs and people are always asking me to lift things now!
Why I Got Started
I was scheduled to get married in October of 2005 so I decided I didn't want to be a fat groom. I couldn't stand the thought of me having all of these pictures of my wedding confused with a photo shoot at SeaWorld. I had seen all my friends' wedding pictures and they looked great in them. I wanted to look great too.
Well, the wedding never went the distance and I found myself back on the singles market again. There's nothing like being scared straight! I realized it was going to be extremely hard to compete out there in the singles world at 400- pounds.
This is when I began really studying diet and supplementation. Coincidentally, I met a guy where I worked, his name was Joe Mazzarella, he looked no older than 40 and was built pretty amazing for his age. I asked him how long he had been lifting and he said he's been doing natural bodybuilding and powerlifting since he was 14!
Come to find out, he was actually 52 (Sorry Joey!). Well, he quickly became my mentor and inspiration and we signed up at a local gym to work out together. From there I was totally addicted to bodybuilding and fitness and shortly thereafter I found BB.com and it's been a source of education and inspiration for me.
How I Did It
About 6 months before my soon-to-be cancelled wedding, I dusted off that old treadmill we had in the basement, broke out my old Weider weight set from 1985 and started "working out." I started out slow, walking on the treadmill 25 minutes a day for 3 days, then 4, then 30 minutes, etc.
I also modified my diet of fast food and fried foods more towards the healthier selections. I began some portion control and began to eat salads in place of Whoppers and double cheeseburgers.
I added some low fat snacks to my daily regimen and I began to see slow, but significant weight loss. This, combined with my weight training and cardio were giving me the results I wanted; but I wanted to make sure that I didn't lose it too fast and have a bunch of loose skin to deal with.
However, sometimes I would be slimming down, but the scale would not move. That's when I learned about body fat percentages and how not to be a slave to the scale.
I needed to change my life a little more, so after spending the first 30 years of my life mostly on the East Coast, I decided it was time to "go west young man" and move to Arizona. I love the sun, it gives me energy.
I figured if I was going to continue on this journey I would need all the energy I could muster. So, I moved to Phoenix, Ariz. and promptly joined a gym where I continued to hone my workouts and diet. I took all of the things Joe taught me, combined it with what I read in books and on BB.com and saw in this new thing called "The Fit Show" and began to get serious about bodybuilding.
For almost a year, I didn't miss a workout, I seemed to get lucky with colds and the flu and I just banged away at the iron. I noticed significant changes in my physique and strength and it just fueled my passion for the body that I will someday have.
So how did I do it? Well, to put it simply, 110% determination of will. If you don't want it like you haven't wanted anything in your life, you're just going to get mediocre results. Effort in, equals effort out. I didn't just want to lose a few pounds, I didn't want to just get "a little tone," I wanted to get strong and be huge. I wanted to be big and ripped.
That being said, I have my long-term goal but I have short-term ones as well, and without those your long-term goal will be so far off, you'll feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even start.
I am now a certified personal trainer, helping others lose weight and attain their goals in the fitness lifestyle!
I started taking NO-XPLODE and some generic protein and I started adding things that were working and not working. I found out that I have a reaction to creatine, so I've cut that out and I have cycled off of L-Arginine(AAKG). But I've tried Tribulus Terrestis and have taken ZMA on occasion with mixed results.
Sample Week Of Diet
8 egg whites
Protein Shake, 2 scoops ON 100% Whey
1 packet Sugar Free Oatmeal
Chicken Breast and Sweet potato with Green beans
String cheese and carrots and a protein shake or an Isopure
Salmon (8-10oz), brown rice, mixed vegetables (steamed)
Protein bar(low carb)
Sugar free popsicles
Sugar free jello.
Sample Week Of Training
4 Day Split:
Suggestions For Others
Stick to it. If it's not working, change it. If it's working, keep doing it until it doesn't. You can do whatever you set your mind to.
Dream big! No ... dream huge! If you set your bodybuilding goals low, then all you're going to achieve is low. Don't be afraid to take your body to its natural limits. The body is an amazing machine, able to achieve all sorts of crazy things.
I never, ever, thought I would be what I am today, nor did I think I would be giving anyone advice (the right advices) about losing weight or bodybuilding. But I am, because I set my mind in that direction and didn't let anyone convince me otherwise.
Two years ago, some lame training manager at Gold's told me he thought I didn't have the genetics to be competitive in natural bodybuilding. He didn't think I had the right stuff. I'll be sure to thank him when I'm holding my trophy.
Eat, Sleep, Lift, Repeat. All things are possible.