I remember when I was in my early 20’s I was very lean. I had plenty of lean muscles, a ton of muscle definition and striations, but I was skinny. I had as much muscle mass as I did when I was in my late teens (which wasn’t much). I always admired and aspired to be like the Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Hulk, or any other comic book hero. What really hurt me was when a young lady said I had “spaghetti arms”.
I felt horrible about myself because if I had spaghetti arms, then I did look like a “macho man”. Talk about a complex. My belief system placed way too much value on looking like a real life X-Men character. But, the flip side is, this drove me to learn more about nutrition (particularly protein), weight training or resistance training, caloric intake, and energy expenditure.
I loved running at that time in my life. I was always an athlete as a kid and teen, and I was always a sprinter. I developed more stamina and endurance for distance running throughout the first half of my twenties. I got to the point where I was running 2 miles in 11 minutes! I had an unbelievable stride in my run and managed to maintain that level of speed for a good 1.5 – 2 miles on a daily basis. The problem for my spaghetti arms was that no matter how much upper body work I did, I never gave my body a chance to use its calories for muscle building. I was burning calories and going into a calorie deficit before the sun went down everyday! How was I going to get bigger arms like this?
With my new found knowledge on muscle training and growth, I shifted my focus and training towards arms. Since my metabolism was fairly high because of genetics, I had to stop cardio training all together and eat massive amounts of food in order to grow. I gained muscle mass very slowly in my upper body, but I eventually graduated from spaghetti to Linguine Arms. Big improvements in my mind! I was happier. Luckily, I maintained a lean waist through my twenties.
My efforts shifted even greater when I decided to “bulk”. Except I did what some call “dirty bulking”, which means you eat all the muscle building foods in a clean bulk, plus all the junk that you would eat on a cheat day… everyday.
Read My Fat Loss Story for how that turned out.
Moral of the story: Goals are healthy to have, especially fitness goals because of all the health benefits that come with achieving your fitness goals, but don’t let it consume you to the point that you loose yourself. Accepting yourself for who you are, what you are, and where you are today is just as important as defining who, what, and where you want to be tomorrow.
© 2017 Clinton N. Downs