I’m going to turn 34 in 11 days. By sheer coincidence, I have photos of myself shirtless almost exactly half a lifetime ago. It reinforces what I’ve told clients for a while now: you’ll get most of your gains in the first 2 years. Biology does not adapt to infinity.
First, here’s a photo of me at almost 17 years old:
That is a testament to terrible diet and skinny-fat genes. I had been “training” for 2 years at this point, but a steady diet of cream cheese and 2 hours of basketball each day. Also, notice how flipping long my legs are…36″ inseam! I weighed ~165lbs in this photo.
After high school, I gained ~16 pounds of muscle, and then tried to eat my to more gains. This resulted in an awesome “before” photo, where I’m 207lbs:
Twelve weeks later I had the sweet greased-up after shot, weighing 183 pounds:
Some months later, around 20 years old, I had this photo taken. Very nearly the same weight (~185lbs), but as you can see not much in the way of abs. The Mark McGrath goatee was a nice plus though:
Now what should be plainly evident at this point is that I do not have the genes for huge muscles. I’m the prototypical 800 meter runner/fitness model: 6’2″ & 175lbs. It took me a long time to accept this, but I eventually did.
Now at soon-to-be age 34, I look like this:
Or if I’m really getting my flex on:
I weigh 175lbs and have for the past 7 years. I spoke about this in my “On Progress” post. I feel fantastic and I train less than 1 hour per week, with only 12 to 20 minutes of strength training per week. I eat unprocessed whole foods, and I don’t count calories or macronutrients. I fast, sorry “time-restrict” my feeding. I love to cook and share food with friends and family. I have so much more time for my family and other activities than I would being a gym bro, which never made me huge because that wasn’t my body.
So even though the delta is only 10 pounds, I think I’ve done a pretty good job over all these years:
If there’s a better fountain of youth than strength training, I don’t want to hear about it! Though I may have “tapped out” my muscular gains 10+ years ago, the value of this training for my health and longevity cannot be understated.