Hey guys, Nate here. I'm proud to announce that I'm now the Program Director of Scrawny To Brawny. From now on all of my blogs and articles will be posted on the brand-new Scrawny To Brawny Blog. So if you enjoyed what you read here, please go check it out. (It's awesome, if I say so myself.) I'm keeping the NGE website alive for resource reasons, but will no longer be actively updating it. The best way to get in touch with me is through leaving a comment on the Scrawny To Brawny blog or by posting on the S2B Facebook page. See you guys over at the new blog!
Genetics, Training, and BFS Excerpt
(These were taken in October, 2008.)
I've received quite a few emails recently asking what, exactly, I do. After you check out the excerpt from Built for Show, make sure to scroll down for an explanation and to see a way more embarrassing photo of me from 2004.
Excerpted from Chapter 3 of Built for Show: The Bad, The Ugly, and the Uglier
"We all start at the beginning. Where we end up depends a great deal on how we think of ourselves and the individual choices we make. Common sense, right?
But hereâ€™s the part most people overlook: Itâ€™s not the situation thatâ€™s important. Itâ€™s how you react to the situation. If you doubt yourself, make excuses, or succumb to procrastination and apathy, all youâ€™re doing is building a ceiling over yourself that will abruptly halt your progress before it even begins. And thumping your head against an immovable object is about as much fun as it sounds.
I used to be a skinny, shy little twerp who constantly sought approval from others to validate my life. But after defining the problem, trying to break past my limitations, blaming other people, cursing, making a lot of stupid mistakes, cursing even more (which, I confess, I mostly enjoy), and ultimately learning from my mistakes, I realized that Iâ€”and I aloneâ€”decided my individual outcome.
This was a sobering thought, and it brought about an epiphany: Everything that happened to me was both my fault and not my fault.
Lost yet? Let me put it another way.
Genetics matter, as I noted in Chapter 2, and they most definitely arenâ€™t your fault. But if you spend a lot of time thinking about the crap genes your parents handed you, and using them as an excuse for not reaching whatever goals you have, youâ€™ve probably assigned them more power than they actually have. There isnâ€™t a scientist on earth whoâ€™d claim that 100 percent of your weight and shape are predetermined. A few bloggers, maybe, but no actual scientists.
Training and diet matter, too, and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re focusing on here.
The BFS training program and nutritional guidelines are designed to alter what nature intended for you, as much as it can be altered. If you choose to follow the program, youâ€™re acknowledging both realities: Youâ€™re changing what you can while recognizing that you canâ€™t completely re-engineer your genome.
I absolutely canâ€™t tell you how much you can change. Iâ€™ve never worked with a client who couldnâ€™t put on muscle and take off fat. Every client has emerged from our training looking and feeling betterâ€”dramatically better, in many cases. But thereâ€™s never a single pattern. Sometimes people achieve more than I expected, and Iâ€™m happy to take credit.
But sometimes they achieve less, and if Iâ€™m willing to take credit for the overachievers I have to accept blame when a client falls below our mutual expectations.
What I can predict is that your success will be directly correlated with the effort you put in. And Iâ€™m not just talking about physical effort. You also have to change your attitude toward your own body and your preconceived ideas about its limitations."
What I do:
1. I used to earn a personal training studio where I trained guys who wanted to look better and high school, college, and a few professional athletes. I was in business for over three years, so I guess it's safe to say I was fairly good at what I did. (I recently handed it over to my business partner to pursue other opportunities, but am still on as a consultant.)
2. I wrote a workout/lifestyle book, Built for Show, about my personal experience with body transformation and included a year's worth of programming based on what I've done for myself and with clients.
3. I'm now a full-time journalist for Testosterone magazine. That means I interview people, perform research, condense information, and write about things I know. (Or I write about things hoping to learn about them, spread an idea, or share the information with others.)
There. That oughta clear some stuff up!
Oh, and here's the other photo:
God it's awful. I look like a little douchebag with a rather serious sweating problem. Oh well. Chalk it up to experience!
What about you? Have you overcome and genetic "problems"? Let me know.
Comments for This Entry
Love the blog and looking forward to the book Nate.
Haha, awesome post and even better end picture Nate! I'm just curious, what were your lifting numbers back when that was taken, if you have any idea off-hand. Either way, it's safe to say that you've made tons of great progress.
As for my own results, 2 years ago, I would have given anything to look like you did back in 2004. I didn't necessarily weigh that much (180 at 5'8"), but I had upper arms the size of tooth picks and probably about 130lb of LBM on me! I didn't chalk these up to be genetic problems because my family has great genetics; I was just lazier than shit!
By actually going out and doing something about it (finding T-Nation, working out and following Berardi's nutritional advice), I managed to change my body, my attitude and basically my entire life. I might still be insecure about some things, but never like I was before.
Anyways, I'm looking forward to BFS!
Well said, dude. Congratulations on another important lesson, too. It looks like that between the 2004 picture and the 2008 picture, you figured out that you look like a tool if you have you boxers sticking out above your pants. Way to get those pants up where they belong!
Have you trained any older people? Does your training plan work for the young as well as the not so young? If you've only trained other young people, I guess you wouldn't know.
I'm 50, thin, ~10-12% BF, 5'11" and 165 lbs and have been working out off and on since I was in my 20's. When I was in my 20's I could eat tons of food every day and not gain a pound. I still can eat more than most people my age and not gain weight, but weight gain is definitely not impossible now. It's just muscle-gain that seems to have been impossible for me all my life. The idea of "workout like a monster" and "feed your face" doesn't seem terribly sound unless you're in your 20's.
The Asian guy on your blog made some gains in size and it looks like he gained a bit of fat too. The fat white guy lost some weight, but is far from having the ideal body yet.
So maybe your great gains were due to genetics or just a fluke. In your picture that you say you look "awful" and like a "douchebag", you look a lot better than most skinny guys. Most thin guys have a flat chest, pipe stem arms, and terribly skinny legs. So maybe you had a genetic head start?
So my question is: can a thin 50 year old make the same kind of gains you did, and have you ever trained any older guys who need to add muscle and don't need to diet off 50 lbs.?
Um, really?! You think you looked like a douchebag before? You were young looking, yeah, but coming from a girl you would have been able to hook up with anyone you wanted with those arms and abs!! Give yourself more credit, you're hot now but you weren't bad then either! :)
Nice work Nate!
Too bad you can't get rid of that sweating problem.
Keep up the great work, awesome blog.
Hey nate ,
what you weighing in at in that picture i think
i read you said your about 180 ? in a recent
t- nation article but i could be wrong?
"I realized that I and I alone decided my individual outcome." Well said and so true!
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COMMENT RULES: Critical posts are fine, but if you're rude I'll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your personal name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. But most of all, have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Tim Ferriss for the inspiration.)