Can you imagine getting fit in a single summer? Going from a 3XL to a medium in shirt size in just three months. That would require a lot of time and effort. I can hardly imagine it now with school and work taking up so much of my time. I went through that transformation going into my freshman year of high school. There was nothing else on my plate so I dedicated my summer days to working out in my parent’s garage and running around the backyard.
When I say dedicated my summer days, believe me, I mean dedicated my summer days. I woke up around 9:00 am, ate breakfast, put on a sauna suit, went to work on an old workout machine my dad had in the garage, took a break for lunch, and ended the workout at 5 or 6 in the evening to shower and eat dinner. And this for 3 or 4 days out of every week of every month of that summer break. From the time I stepped foot in the garage till I stepped out, I filled my time with workouts for the chest, abs, back, legs, and arms. Any muscle group that could not be hit with the machine would be hit with different workouts I found online.
I didn’t prepare very well for this little adventure I suddenly decided to take. Besides the machine, I had no dumbells or workout mats to use when doing situps. I just placed a towel on the hard, concrete garage floor and did as many situps as I could before my back hurt. This left my lower back pretty bruised on days I did abs. For being a nerdy kid in middle school, I didn’t make the most informed choices that summer. The sauna suit left me so dehydrated at the end of every day and I used it every day because, at the time, I thought all that sweat that poured out was fat I burned for the day. It was a lot of sweat! I left puddles on the garage floor while I was working out and had to take off the sauna suit in the back yard because it would leave such a mess all over the garage floor otherwise. It wasn’t until towards the end of the summer that I figured out I was just losing all the water I was drinking throughout the day.
For my cardio, I used to run around my backyard for an hour or so. It wasn’t a huge backyard. It was a decent-sized area where I just ran around in circles. I ran about 15 feet, touched the fence, ran back, and touched the back wall of the house. I did this over and over in 5-minute segments for an entire hour. When that was over, I went back into the garage for weight training until the end of the day.
I can’t remember how slow I took it when I first started, but I am shocked that I never blacked out. Or maybe I did and I can’t remember it. I’ve been able to keep the weight off since then which I am very proud of. I gained a little of the weight back during the time I was applying to university during my senior year of high school, but I was able to lose it again in college when I had a proper gym right next to my dorm. I didn’t frequent it nearly as much as I did my garage during that summer, but I went regularly.
Do you know why I decided to start working out that hard? A girl. She was a popular, pretty girl who I had in several of my classes. I thought me being a nerdy, overweight kid meant that I had no chance of ever going out with her, especially knowing that her last boyfriend was a tall, muscular soccer player with who she was still a close friend. The more I spoke to her, the more I liked her. I thought she was awesome in every way. Yet, I was too afraid to ask her out. She spoke frequently about her last boyfriend and how he’s so buff and how much she likes his six-pack. And so I spent my middle school days trying to move on and not try to think about her. I was a little jealous. I know it’s dumb to be jealous as she was never my girlfriend, and I was the one who was too scared to ask her out. Still, there was always a bit of me that was jealous. That’s why at the beginning of summer I thought I should use all my free time to work out. I thought that maybe if I got a six-pack, then I would finally get noticed by all the girls. I cringe every time I think about my reasoning behind that summer. No, it wasn’t to get myself fit for a sport, for health reasons, or because I thought working out was fun. It was because of a girl. I shouldn’t be so surprised though. That seems about right for the mind of an immature middle school boy. Anyways, I never did end up getting a six-pack. I did lose a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle, but not enough for me to look extremely ripped. Still, I did get the reaction I was looking for.
It was a few weeks after the start of the first semester of freshmen year. I had just gotten my food and was looking around for the table where my friends were sitting when I caught guess who starring at me. Yes, people of Earth, it was THE girl staring right at me with the greatest look of shock on her face, and it might have been my imagination but I think I heard a gasp coming from her. She was sitting at a table with her friends who all had the same expression on their faces. I have to be honest, my knees did get weak a little when I saw her looking at me like that. But I tried to keep my cool and gave her a slight smile and said hello. My breath caught in my throat when she said, “Wow, you look hot!” I couldn’t believe it. She actually said I was hot. To a kid who never thought of himself as remotely attractive, this was like winning the lottery. The popular, pretty girl that I had a crush on said she thought I was hot. I thought I made it. I was no longer a chunky, nerdy, nobody. I was now cool. At the moment I tried to keep calm and thought, “Okay, now I gotta act cool. Just say thanks and walk away calmly.” I said thank you, smiled at her, turned to walk away, and walked right into the trashcan. I heard some giggling behind me but I just kept walking, hoping I didn’t look too much like an idiot. I thought maybe acting “cool” was just not for me.