I am in my 6th year of training clients and offering nutritional consulting as a professional in the field. Over four of those years, it has been my only full time job. I am very confident in my training practice and in my skills for adjusting nutritional programs, training programs, supplement programs and the like, but I want more. I am unbelievably passionate about this industry and here is why:
I was a 155 lb, 5'6'' 10 year old kid. I played basketball, football, soccer and volleyball. I was very fat for my age. I actually had to diet in Grade 8 to be able to make the weight limit for the football team (it was 155 lb, and I was 165 lb). Then, the summer going into Grade 10, I shot up to almost 6'1'', all of it in my legs. I also had a belly of fat at this weight (I later found out it was due to my insanely tiny hip structure, being roughly a 28 in most pants).
I then played only football (for 7 years), and being still 155 at 6'1'', I realized I was not as strong as the other kids, and was getting knocked around quite a bit because of my height and weight. I looked at weights the winter of Grade 11. This made a massive change; I gained about 40 lbs of fat, water and muscle by eating chicken burgers and KFC on the weekends. This made football much more easy, but still, I was 190 lbs as an offensive center. I did not have a six pack nor was I aesthetically pleasing to look at. My strong body parts just grew bigger, in other words, my back thickness, triceps and quadriceps grew. My chest, shoulders, butt, biceps, calves and hamstrings did not. I thought about university level football – I was told to either gain 60 lbs or forget about playing football. I opted for the latter.
In university (chemistry major at Mount Allison University) I looked more into weights. I read every magazine about men's health, muscle and fitness and what happened? When I bulked, I got fat. All the way up to 250 lbs. When I tried to cut, I went to 180 lbs with a gut. Then I started looking online at bodybuilding.com forums and the like. I tried things there, nothing happened. I went to animalpak.com and tried all their workouts there. I was so over-trained I could barely think and my marks were suffering accordingly. One day, one of my professors at school told me formal education wasn't for me. I needed to learn at my own pace, and being in chemistry wasn't right for me. I thought he was full of it, and left the room very angry.
I was told I wouldn't be able to have enough money to go back to school. Nova Scotia Student Loans and Canada Student Loans wouldn't give me anymore either. I proceeded to live on my own in Moncton, New Brunswick to get some money to go back to school. I ended up finding a great gym, and took it upon myself to continue my research into working out. Finally after a while I grabbed a hold of Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. That book to this day altered my perception of working out. A lot of my training technique is based upon this book, not only from reading it, but using it on myself for results.
I finally gained some OK real muscle, nothing impressive however. I ended up moving to Alberta in search of something else to do with myself (I hadn't had the ambition to go back to school). I started to look more into who's who in the fitness/weights business. I found names such as John McCullum, Stuart McRoberts, Dante Trudel, Westside method, Bill Star etc.
What these people had said was vastly different from what any other source of information I had read told me. So, armed with this, I worked out again.... only to ferociously stall/fail. A little over 7 years ago I grabbed a copy of Power Eating by Susan Kleiner. This book set me on the path to correct/proper nutrition and just how important it really is (I still recommend this book to everyone who is looking to gain fundamental knowledge on nutrition). So from there, I have learned from the likes of: Lyle Mcdonald, Dave Palumbo, Shelby Starnes, Justin Harris, Chris Aceto, Scott Abel, Mark Rippetoe, John Meadows, John Berardi and more. This is what really interested me, and finally made things click. The nutritional aspect was so easy in the beginning.
Through a weird, interesting series of events, I ended working at a supplement store/tanning salon, due to my prowess in supplements (the 3 years of chemistry really helps in this). Then I was offered a part-time job as a trainer. I continued my job at the salon while slowly working up my clientele and experience. My “Mega Method" was laughed at a lot when I had my first clients. I had people squatting as quickly as they could, because I had come to believe so intricately in what I had read/seen. But what was it that was failing my clients? Nutrition. Nobody wanted to eat well, nor was I telling them how in any way that they could understand!
So, today, this is my pursuit. I am perpetually studying nutrition and exercise. It's a passion and an obsession. I am now certified through Precision Nutrition, and have many solely nutritional clients where all I do is council them on nutrition. Nutrition + Weights + Cardio (when needed) = the answer. Here I am today, with my own Contest Prep/nutrition and fitness company, sitting here able to provide to you what I wanted to know 7-10 years ago. I can only imagine if I knew how to eat right when I was playing football. All the times I fell asleep in English class due to too many processed carbs at the wrong times would be gone. Muscle mass would have been maximized/optimized, and I would be 10 years ahead in my goals.