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A journey of self-transformation: From clumsy, fat-slob to lean and attractive model. Ask Me Anything!

George MK
May 19, 2017

My name is George. 

I used to weigh more than 260 lbs, back in middle-school.

Naturally, I've experienced my fair share of bullying, rejection and considerable adversity growing up. It is mind-boggling to me today how I let myself fall so far down the rabbit hole.

I could blame my parents and upbringing, for not instilling me with healthy habits and routines. I could blame others, for not being sensitive to a young kid's struggle for acceptance. I could blame society, for having cheap, unhealthy food readily available at my disposal.

I could, but I would be lame and untruthful. Honestly, my biggest enemy was myself. And I argue this is the case for nearly anyone having weight issues. 

Right now, I am about 178 pounds, lean and muscular. I've done photoshoots as a model, and I've actually trained others in the gym for no pay, for the fun of it. 

Funnily, nowadays people always tell me how I'm blessed with an impressive metabolism and excellent fat-oxidation genetics. Oh god, if they only knew! Haha

Ask me anything. How I felt growing up, how I struggled and how I managed to push forward. How hopeless it felt at first, and how I managed to make progress. Ask me about diet and exercise. Ask me about developing discipline.

Ask me about how you can shape your will to cut through any obstacle.

Ask me anything. :)

Reason you believe this topic would be a great choice for an AMA:
I believe a lot of people struggle with weight-loss. I hope this gives them inspiration. That they can achieve their goals, no matter the obstacles.

Have you ever hosted an AMA before?:
No

May we contact you via phone?:
No

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Conversation (199)

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Has the attitude of people changed towards you now? Thanks

May 26, 9:58AM EDT0

What should a person do to emulate your success with weight loss?

May 25, 3:00PM EDT0

Be consistent about his goals. There is no magic pill, nor any easy solutions. You have to put in the work. :)

May 26, 1:25AM EDT0

Hey - What was your trigger that helped you get serious about losing weight?TIA

May 25, 10:11AM EDT0

Vanity, I suppose, at first. 

May 26, 1:24AM EDT0

What was that one thing which helped you continue with your goal? tia

May 25, 2:55AM EDT0

Ambition. :)

May 25, 7:59AM EDT0

Do you feel vindicated now that you achieved what you dreamt of?

May 25, 12:53AM EDT0

Nope. Onward to the next goal.

May 25, 7:59AM EDT0

Do you still have insecurities?

May 24, 10:37AM EDT0

It might sound difficult to believe, but most people working out heavily do. You always feel like you could improve, that you could be bigger or more cut or whatever.

I recognise my insecurities are silly though. 

May 24, 10:45PM EDT0

Do you have a regular job outside home?

May 23, 11:18AM EDT0

Yes. I already answered this, below. :)

May 24, 12:47AM EDT0

What should a person do to have a strong willpower?

May 23, 10:48AM EDT0

Build discipline! :)

May 24, 1:05AM EDT0

Did you ever feel like giving up and going back to your old habits? Great AMA

May 23, 10:08AM EDT0

I still do, when I'm stressed or tired or exhausted. It's natural. 

But I fight those feelings back. 

May 24, 12:46AM EDT0

Does diet vary from person to person depending on their body and other parameters?

May 23, 5:08AM EDT0

It does. The human body is really complex. 

I'm not qualified to give you a lengthy, proper answer to this as I am no doctor, but I know people have intolerances to certain stuff. 

Humans are more alike than different though. Considering how we humans are 96% similar to the great ape species, I'd say you can't go wrong following the general rules. What applies to most would 99% apply to you as well.

:)

May 24, 12:45AM EDT0

Are there any specific foods that one should avoid to lose weight?

May 22, 6:17PM EDT0

If you want to lose weight you should avoid high calories. :)

May 23, 9:40AM EDT0

Just wondering, how many hours do you exercise these days?

May 22, 6:49AM EDT0

A tiny bit more than one hour. :)

May 22, 11:05AM EDT0

Did you have any surgery to remove the skin?

May 22, 3:53AM EDT0

Nope. But I have an almost negligible amount. I do have stretch marks, though.

May 22, 11:05AM EDT0

How much exercise do you do on a daily basis to keep fit?

May 22, 1:03AM EDT0

I dont exercise daily. :)

May 22, 11:03AM EDT0

I want to gain weight, and know I need to eat more and healthier, as well as exercise more, but I am fairly busy and have trouble finding the motivation. Do you have any recommendations for balancing everything and finding motivation?

May 21, 10:42PM EDT0

Drink a portion of your calories. It is much easier than eating them.

Train like a minimalist. Minimize fluff, do compounds.

May 22, 11:03AM EDT0

Thank you!

May 22, 12:01PM EDT0

How much time did it take for you to reach your ideal weight? Thanks in advance!

May 21, 8:57PM EDT0

"Ideal" is subjective. I have, by many definitions, an "ideal" body weight right now or close enough that it makes no matter, and yet I think I have a lot of things I could improve on.

So, in short, I still haven't. Haha

No problem. Thanks for reading my AMA. :)

May 21, 9:44PM EDT0

Do you have a gym close by where you live?

May 21, 8:36PM EDT0

I have lots of gyms close to where I live. :P

May 21, 9:41PM EDT0

Do you consume sweets now that you have reached your goal?

May 21, 5:00PM EDT0

Occasionally, yeah. I never had a "sweet tooth" though. 

May 21, 9:41PM EDT0

What inspired you to shed weight?

May 21, 12:41PM EDT0

Vanity, probably. Insecurity also.

May 21, 9:40PM EDT0

How much weight did you lose during the first three months?

May 21, 3:50AM EDT0

Probably about 8 pounds per month or so. I don't remember exactly, sorry. 

May 21, 8:07AM EDT0

What was the rate of your weight loss after a year? Thanks in advance!

May 21, 2:45AM EDT0

I don't remember exactly, but it definitely slowed down. The more you have to lose, the easier it is to lose it.

May 21, 3:47AM EDT0

Are there any exercises to target belly fat?

May 21, 2:38AM EDT0

Nope. You store fat differently, depending on your sex and genetics. Most men store it in their bellies and/or "love handles". 

The best way to reduce belly fat is to reduce overall fat. That requires a caloric deficit. Your best bet is adjusting your diet, and do some form of exercise. 

I believe regular strength-training three to four times a week coupled with walking is best. 

Calculate your caloric requirements, keep track of your progress and re-adjust when your progress stalls. That's really all there is to it.

As for specific ab-training, I'd recommend you don't waste too much time on it. Google up plank progressions, leg raise progressions and focus on introducing harder variations and/or increasing time or reps as time passes. Do it whenever you feel like it, probably after your main workout is ideal.

:) I hope I answered your question.

May 21, 2:47AM EDT0

How many months did it take to make any significant change in your body weight? Thanks in advance!

May 20, 3:23PM EDT0

I initially lost weight REALLY fast, actually. "Significant" is largely subjective.

Normally, it takes about three dedicated months to make really noticeable changes. I had a lot of work to do though, so I guess it took more than that.

May 21, 1:30AM EDT0

Did you have good friends as a kid?

May 20, 1:13PM EDT0

My definition of friendship is different than it was back then. By today's standards, probably not. :)

May 20, 2:24PM EDT0

Did you follow any specific diet to shed weight?

May 20, 7:41AM EDT0

No, not really, though I did try for a short period of time go on a "Keto" diet. :)

May 20, 7:54AM EDT0

How to stick to your goal inspite of emergencies and obstacles?

May 20, 6:55AM EDT0

Balls are a requirement.

May 20, 7:52AM EDT0

Which is the best exercise to lose weight?

May 20, 5:26AM EDT0

Put-the-fork-downs.

May 20, 7:51AM EDT0

Hi, proud of your achievement! :) Im not considerably fat, but Im not skinny either. Im kinda unproportional. My legs and arms are a bit chubby, but my midsection is slim and curvy. Also, Im heavier than I look. Any ideas to solve these problem?

May 20, 4:22AM EDT0

Unfortunately, you can't spot reduce fat. Some people store it differently than others. 

I suggest you start a proper lifting program and eat it at a slight caloric deficit. Do some form of cardio you like, if you feel like it, or otherwise just walk more.

:)

May 20, 7:52AM EDT1

Thanks for this! 

May 20, 9:25PM EDT0

Does yoga help reduce weight and get into shape?

May 20, 1:14AM EDT0

I am a big fan of yoga - even though I kinda suck at it, due to lack of flexibility haha.

But no, I think there are more optimal ways to reduce weight than solely practising yoga.

May 20, 2:30AM EDT0

How did you feel during your childhood?

May 19, 5:45PM EDT0

Worse than I feel now. 

May 20, 2:29AM EDT0

How do your friends feel about your weight loss and good looks now?

May 19, 5:01PM EDT0

Now? They seem to have nearly forgotten I didn't always look good. :)

May 20, 2:28AM EDT0

Would you recommend a special diet to someone?

May 19, 2:58PM EDT0

Some people seem to respond better to higher carbs, others to higher fats. 

It takes some trial and error to find what's optimal for you. Still, when it comes to body composition, calories matter more than the macros of your diet.

I would suggest you: a) Define your goal b) Make an estimate on your caloric needs for said goal - there are resources online for that c) Try it and re-calibrate as needed. 

:)

May 19, 3:22PM EDT0

Do you need to exercise seven days a week?

May 19, 2:27PM EDT0

You could. But you don't need to, no. :)

May 19, 3:19PM EDT0

Did you get any help from your family? TIA

May 19, 1:42PM EDT0

Psychologically? Not much really. Most are still overweight, and don't quite feel like putting in the effort. 

They admire my results now, though. Funnily, even they bring forth the "you have good genetics" card. Haha

May 19, 1:45PM EDT0

How did you handle bullying and teasing as a child?

May 19, 1:34PM EDT0

I'd sometimes bite back, but most times I wouldn't really react. I'd just get mad or sad inside and think of ways I should have reacted. 

May 19, 1:40PM EDT0

How did you start the process of weight loss? TIA

May 19, 1:13PM EDT0

I went on a diet and did heavy cardio at first. In retrospect, it would be better had I focused more on my diet and lifted heavy. :)

May 19, 1:22PM EDT1

Good to know..thanks.

May 19, 4:38PM EDT0

Did you ever cross over from being fat to being too thin?

If so:

  1. Did you like what you saw in the mirror?
  2. Was it satisfiying?
May 19, 12:54PM EDT1

Yes.

Yes.

I don't have it in me to ever be *really* satisfied. I always have to move forward. 

May 19, 1:00PM EDT1

Have you had periods where you have fallen off your routine? If so, what did you do to reel yourself back in?

May 19, 12:06PM EDT1

I have, yeah. I would usually "punish" myself in the past, but I think that's a bad strategy. 

I think it is far more important to accept your humanity and capacity for error. It is much healthier. 

May 19, 12:12PM EDT1

Did you give up on high calorie foods and sweets?

May 19, 11:53AM EDT0

Not completely, but mostly, yeah. There's nothing inherently bad with high calorie foods or sweets. It's calories in vs calories out. I have a large appetite, though, so I tend to stick to low calorie, high volume food. 

Not that there are some people who can lose weight eating sweets no problem, though. 

May 19, 12:13PM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What should a person do to stick to a regular exercise program? Thanks

May 19, 11:47AM EDT0

Set clear, manageable goals, keep track of progress and see the big picture. :)

May 19, 12:14PM EDT0

What is the first step to healthy weight loss?

May 19, 11:42AM EDT0

Walking more & eating less! Yeah, it's dead-simple. 

May 19, 12:14PM EDT0

What kind of exercise schedule helped you shed the extra pounds?

May 19, 11:28AM EDT1

Honestly?

Exercising is almost negligible next to diet when it comes to weight loss. Strength training raises your hormones, though, so I would recommend it. 

The best exercise schedule for shedding pounds is practising 10 sets of 10 reps of fork-put-downs each day, I'd say. :) 

May 19, 11:51AM EDT2
Show all 5 replies

Hi.. What kind of obstacles did you face?

May 19, 11:13AM EDT1

All kinds. Physical, mental and sometimes social:

Physical: Starting up really heavy made it extra hard to see any substantial progress. I'd lose 15 pounds and still be fat. It took many months before I saw something I liked in the mirror. 

Mental: When you've had a lifetime to develop unhealthy habits, it ain't easy to replace them. It took me quite a long time to realise the importance of tracking things. What gets measured, can get managed. You can see the cause and effect of your choices. This is very important. 

I will give you a short example. I keep a file around which I call "The Dopamine Spreadsheet". I track various habits of mine and how I feel each day. I quickly noticed that when I overdrank caffeine, my sleeping hours would inevitable lessen and my sleep quality would take a large hit. Thus I dropped my caffeine intake. Now I sleep better. If I hadn't tracked that, I would still wonder why I wake up unrested like I, quite often, used to. 

Social: At first, I used to work out at home. It took a lot of courage to sweat and curse and jump around on my living room. My mother would think I was insane. I had to convince myself that what she thought was irrelevant. Luckily, I did and pushed through despite her initial objections. :)

May 19, 11:50AM EDT1

Did you feel lazy and not wish to exercise on weekends or holidays? Great AMA topic!

May 19, 9:44AM EDT0

Thank you, Mark!

I think the most important time to put in the work is when you don't feel like doing it. And that goes far beyond fitness and working out. Like I said in another comment, your progress is preserved or wrecked day by day. 

That said, of course I feel lazy from time to time - especially when I feel generally tired or overwhelmed. Everyone does. But I always try to battle through it.

A good practice is to focus on the long term reward, instead of short term pleasure. Read up on "delayed gratification". :)

May 19, 11:38AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What kind of modeling have you done> pix?

May 18, 10:02AM EDT0

Just photoshoots. The fashion type. :)

May 18, 11:50AM EDT1

;)

May 19, 2:34PM EDT0

How do you get from A to B, to Z?

May 18, 12:40AM EDT0

You will have to expand on this some more. :)

May 18, 11:50AM EDT0
Show all 3 replies

Are you happy now? ;)

May 17, 9:11PM EDT0

I do not think I have it in me to be happy long term. :) 

May 18, 11:48AM EDT0

What motivates you?

May 17, 7:03AM EDT0

I am not a big fan of motivation. I prefer discipline. If anything motivates me, I guess that would be ambition.

May 17, 8:44AM EDT0

How getting stronger made your life better?

May 17, 6:08AM EDT1

I feel much more confident. I do much better socially and financially as a side effect.

May 17, 8:42AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What do you do to feel better? Thanks

May 16, 10:23PM EDT0

I feel good at most days. When I do not, it usually is due to lack of sleep or exhaustion.

After I get a good nights sleep, I always come back kicking :) Also, look up "active meditation"'.

:)

Last edited @ May 19, 9:32AM EDT.
May 17, 1:09AM EDT0

Blaming isn't a solution but all these things suck. At what point in your life you took a personal responsibility?

May 16, 7:36PM EDT0

I do not think it is an on or off switch. It is more of a gradual process. I took responsibility for my weight early on, maybe as young as 15, but what really affected me at assuming ownership of my life, I think, was spending time in the military. :)

May 17, 2:35AM EDT1

What are some of the good heathy habits you developed over the years?

May 16, 7:13PM EDT0

Regulating my coffee intake so that it does not affect sleep quality. Walking a lot and not being lazy. Being able to concentrate on a given task for hours. Focusing on the important, not the urgent. 

I still have trouble with smoking. But I'll conquer that as well, eventually. :)

May 19, 9:35AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What's your advice for someone who's overweight, lonely, depressed, with social anxiety? It's not one problem at a time to deal with, that's the thing.

May 16, 9:20AM EDT0

Don't settle for less than you deserve. You are your greatest asset. 

May 16, 12:55PM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

Do you feel obesity is a mental state of mind or physical?

May 16, 8:49AM EDT0

Its the physical manifestation of a most likely unhealthy mental state. :)

May 16, 12:54PM EDT0

Any tips on transformation?

May 16, 4:08AM EDT1

Consistency. Resilience.

May 16, 5:41AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

Is juicing part of your life?

May 16, 1:57AM EDT0

Nah, not really. I prefer whole fruit.

May 16, 2:44AM EDT0

What do you do to raise your metabolism??

May 15, 9:38PM EDT0

I lift heavy weights and sometimes do HIIT. :)

May 15, 10:05PM EDT0

I sometimes go on youtube to watch some motivational videos. Is this something you do?

May 15, 2:23PM EDT0

The thing with motivation is that it rarely lasts. It's like a burst of energy. It gives you initial momentum, but long term it's a lacking solution. 

I prefer discipline. Treat your goals, whatever those may be, the way you treat your job, like a professional, and you won't ever need external motivation. 

Stick to motivation when you have to break out of a prison. :)

May 15, 2:46PM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

When did you start noticing you're gaining weight and when did you start feeling you lost control?

May 15, 1:35PM EDT0

I was aware of the situation but I didn't identify it as a problem. I was like, oh, I'm fat, cool. I don't think I ever had substantial control when I was young. :)

May 15, 1:50PM EDT0

What do you eat?

May 15, 11:00AM EDT1

You'll have to get a bit more specific than that, James. :)

May 15, 1:12PM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

Some workout tips or someone who doesn't work out much?

May 15, 10:56AM EDT0

I'm afraid I don't understand the second part of your question. Please, clarify.

As for workout tips: Focus on quality, not quantity. Few sets of compound movements with high intensity. Try to progressively increase your strength. 

Generally, a good physique consists of a low body fat and some muscularity. I'd suggest to try and get as strong as you can, while staying in a relatively lean state. 

:)

May 15, 1:08PM EDT0

Do overweight people have slow metabolism?

May 15, 10:09AM EDT0

In short, there isn't that much of a difference between metabolisms, no. And I'd say that's a bad excuse - you play with the cards you've been dealt.

Long answer: https://examine.com/nutrition/does-metabolism-vary-between-two-people/

:)

May 15, 10:15AM EDT0

Do overweight children bully others? Is it a vicious cycle?

May 15, 9:04AM EDT1

Not in my experience. But I wouldn't be surprised if that were true. Bitter people are usually mean. 

May 15, 9:17AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

Do you take any supplements with your food, shakes?

May 15, 2:21AM EDT0

I am not a huge fan of supplements, to be honest. Most don't have half the results they promise to have. I take Vitamin C in large doses, but that's it. 

An excellent resource on researching supplements, by the way, is http://www.examine.com/. You might want to check it out. I am certain you'll find it of use. 

:)

May 15, 6:57AM EDT1
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That's such an amazing story! Are you still modeling? pictures? Cheers

May 14, 9:46PM EDT0

No, not really. I was never truly interested in modeling, I did it mostly to say I've done it. :P Since you asked, here's a random photoshoot pic: 

lol

May 15, 7:01AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What does a day in your life looks like today?

May 14, 8:58PM EDT0

I wake up early in the morning, drink a buttload of coffee, prepare breakfast. I check mails, I do my online work (I have a few ongoing contracts) and then I go to my regular work.

I come back, eat lunch and continue on my online gigs. I go to the gym, I come back and I read, usually non-fiction. Often times I keep notes on what I read for future reference.

Naturally, there are days when I spring in some fun to my routine - having sexy times with my girlfriend, watch movies or catch up with friends.

But I generally keep a pretty straightforward, routinely everyday life at the moment. :)

May 15, 7:53AM EDT0
Show all 3 replies

What do you think of Crossfit?

May 14, 6:27PM EDT0

Great way to improve your general fitness.

Not optimal in developing particular areas of your fitness. A proper muscle building program, for example, will always trump Crossfit in packing muscle. Likewise, a strictly conditioning oriented program will trump Crossfit in improving conditioning. 

The injury risk also seems to be higher in Crossfit.

Possible explanations: Inherently competitive nature of the sports, complexity of lifts, a few bad coaches, time pressure.

May 15, 7:04AM EDT0

In your opinion what is the relationship between obesity and bullying?

May 14, 5:47PM EDT1

Depends on the severity of bullying and the sensitivities of the one getting bullied.

I believe some people can actually benefit from harsh criticism. I think I did. To give you an analogy: Pressure breaks glass, yet creates diamonds. 

May 15, 7:08AM EDT0

How old are you? Just wondering..

May 14, 4:11PM EDT1

24! And you?

:)

May 15, 7:05AM EDT1
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How were you bullied at school? tia

May 14, 3:17PM EDT0

Nothing extreme.

People called me fat and stuff, and sometimes I felt like I was being ignored. On the flip side, however, my high school best friend was really popular, so I was never completely an "outsider". But I was often the clumsy sidekick, you know what I'm saying?

In retrospection, I believe another factor in not beingvictimised too much was that I was somewhat witty, even back then, and sometimes bit back. 

May 15, 8:51AM EDT0

Did you have any support along the way? I know its essential.

May 14, 2:38PM EDT0

Not really. Most members of my family are still overweight. 

It took a long time for my weight loss to be noticeably visible to others. Then, I'd get the occassional positive remark, but that was it.

Naturally, after I really got in shape I started getting compliments all the time, but until then, I had to fuel my fire myself. 

May 15, 7:11AM EDT0

Do you fall short sometimes, lapse in judgement, and how do you get back up?

May 14, 2:17PM EDT1

Yeah, often!I could give you an extremely detailed explanation, but I'll just say I'm currently.. standing on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes. I've read a LOT of philosophy. Of particular interest to your question is Stoicism.

You should check out Marcus Aurelius "Medidations". You'll find your answers there, better articulated than I ever could. Hit me up if you wanna know more. 

May 15, 7:14AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

What are some things you unexpectedly found as you were transforming your body and soul?

May 14, 1:02PM EDT0

How little most people work. How little they demand of themselves and how easily they settle. 

The contest is now, we're at the Olympic games. Whenever we encounter an obstacle, however difficult or inconvenient, we ought to remember we CANNOT wait any longer. Our progress is preserved or wrecked each day, each passing moment. And although we might not be yet the verions of ourselves we'd wish to be, we can at least *try* to live as people who are like that.

:)

May 15, 7:21AM EDT0

How long did it take you to transform your body from being overweight to muscular?

May 14, 11:51AM EDT0

I'm still working on my body and I do not think I will ever, ever be satisfied. It took a long time, I think about three years, because you usually have to move two steps forward, one step back.

If I knew what I know now, though, it would probably take half the effort and time.

The most important thing is keeping track of everything. Of your calories, of your strength progress in the gym, even how much you sleep. What gets measured can get managed.

Otherwise you're doing random shit.

*That* took me a long time to realise, unfortunately. But hey, I just told you, so you might want to try that! :)

May 15, 7:25AM EDT0

What was the turning point in your life?

May 14, 11:18AM EDT0

The day I came in touch with my human nature and acknowledged and accepted both my positive and negative aspects. This comes, I believe, after experiencing both failure and success multiple times.

:)

May 15, 7:38AM EDT1
Show all 3 replies

Why obesity is such an epidemic?

May 14, 9:47AM EDT0

Because food companies are more interested in their wealth than their customers.

And because most people lack basic knowledge of nutrition, and the way the human body works.

For example, the simple calories in/calories out concept or the connection between insulin and fat gain remain obscure to a lot of people struggling. 

May 15, 7:40AM EDT0

What advice would you give a teenage girl who's dying to lose weight but somehow can't get it done?

May 14, 8:44AM EDT0

I would advise her to re-evaluate her priorities.

And I would insist that most things worth having are hard. :)

I could expand more, if you're interested.  

May 15, 7:42AM EDT0

How do you keep watch on what to eat?

May 14, 8:23AM EDT0

If you're talking about the amount of what I'm eating, it is important to get a scale if you're serious about it. I, personally, can tell simply by eyeballing my meal, but this comes with experience.

If you mean what kind of food I'm eating, I try to keep my diet simple. I stick to similar meals most of the time. Routine is your friend.

You might want to check out apps like myfitnesspal or IIFYM. They're very convenient. :)

May 15, 7:46AM EDT0

How often do you work out?Thanks in advance

May 14, 8:23AM EDT0

I walk a lot each day, due to my current occupation. I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I do it. 

I weight lift 4 times per week - do more than that and you inevitably have to sacrifice intensity at some point if you're a natural, due to hormones.

An effective 4 day split is as follows: Upper body, lower body, rest, upper body, lower body, rest, rest. Repeat. :)

May 15, 7:49AM EDT0

Conquering weight issues is great, did you apply your ideas to other areas in your life?

May 14, 7:18AM EDT0

Absolutely. 

I'm a pretty confident fellow. :)

May 15, 7:49AM EDT0