My epiphany came when I reached the age of 33. For me, 33 was an extremely traumatic year. Due to certain events in my life I became saddled with what I can only be describe as a crushing depression. Not only was I dealing with the effects of depression, but also a stalled music career, as well as working a dead end job. I was lost. One night as I lie awake in bed trying to deal with difficult events of my life, I prayed to God a very simple and direct prayer. I asked God to guide my life, to take me in the direction that he wanted me to go in. This is a prayer that I would repeat over and over again as I struggled to find answers in my life. About two or three weeks later something happened. At the time I worked for my parents. They had owned and operated a small ceramic mold company. My job was to make the molds. Each day I would carry 50 pound bags of plaster, dump them into buckets of water, mix and then pour the plaster to make the molds. One day an idea came to me. I thought that instead of just moving these bags from point A to B, I’d use the bags to do some curls in-between, just as a way to build up my arms. I remember my first attempt at grabbing the bag at either end and curling only yielded a total of ten reps. Initially this was fine, but after awhile I decided that I need to do something for my triceps as well. I solved this problem by doing chair dips on the chair that I would mix the plaster from. When my body weight became too easy, I began to put ceramic molds of varying weights in my lap to increase the challenge. From there things began to slowly snowball. Deciding that I needed to do more than just arms I began to do pushups and sit-ups each night before going to bed. To supplement my cardio needs I began to practice my martial arts katas (forms) each night for about an hour. About six months later I made my first equipment purchase. 50 pound plaster bags were no longer the challenge they used to be, so I bought a curling bar and two 25 pound plates. Yet another simple beginning. Again things began to snowball.
After the curling bar, came a bench, a smith machine and an old digging iron that I chained up in my basement so that I could do chin-ups. By this time I again wanted more, so I began to run and bike to add variety to my cardio training. Although I was training on almost a daily basis my workouts were an unstructured mix of different exercises that I threw together. I knew I needed more information, so after seeing excellent reviews on Amazon.com I purchased the book, “Bodybuilding, A Realistic Approach”, by Frank Melfa. Frank’s book was excellent, and it gave me all the information I needed at the time to structure and organize my workout routines. Frank’s book also helped me begin perhaps the most arduous task of my transformation, changing my diet. Frank was ripped! And as he had stated in his book, the only way he got that way was through a healthy clean diet. That’s the way I wanted to look and even though I had lost a considerable amount of weight due to my aforementioned depression eight months prior, I was far from the muscular definition that I desired. I also realized quite naturally that starving myself as I had done during my difficult time was unhealthy. I also knew that if I ate the way I had in my previous life all the effort I had put into my transformation would be in vain. Just as with my exercise, I didn’t turn my world upside down when it came to my diet. Yes, I still had my fair share of burgers, pizza and soda for the time being, but I also began to eat a lot more chicken, fish and lean beef. I also began to incorporate more green leafy vegetables in the form of salads into my meals. These foods made me feel better during and after my workouts, and again, with time the junk food that I had a love affair with for practically my entire adult life began to fall away. I just couldn’t justify the temporary pleasure I got from those foods with compromising all the hard work and results I was getting from my workouts.