This is an essay for my humanities class. Feedback appreciated. Hope you enjoy!

A Recipe for Success

When I get off work, I am grateful for the peaceful warmth of my car after the biting wind and snow. I am happy to sit down on the soft seat after carrying concrete blocks or packing sheets of plywood. Usually, I feel hunger pangs and dream of a large, steaming dinner which might be waiting for me at home. I would like nothing better than to take a quick nap on my bed after stuffing myself with a mound of roast beef. But I know that my near future contains nothing of this sort. Rather, I swig down a protein shake, eat a granola bar and some peanuts, and begin to prime myself for the workout ahead. As I cruise down the interstate back to town, I go through it in my mind, from the warm-up down to the last, quivering burning rep.

Most of my life, I was a small, weak kid. I thought big, but I knew that I small, therefore I wanted to be physically bigger as well. I never really knew what it took to get any bigger, however. As I got older, I began experimenting. Our basement contained, among other things, an ancient pressing bench, along with a barbell and a few plates of iron. I recall long hours of wasted time, completing rep after rep with terrible form, no real routine, and no knowledge of what I was really doing. I over trained my body terribly, lifting every day and biting past the aching, screaming muscle fibers. I never really progressed much with this method. In fact, after a time, the overtraining caught up with me and I dropped in strength and energy. Every time I stepped on a scale, a measly 110 lbs stared back at me.

Determined as ever to succeed, I spent hours researching and delving into encyclopedias and web sites of all kinds, sifting through the garbage (“Build Muscle For Only 59.99 With My Program”) from the good information. I talked with older and more experienced folks, and little by little began to build up a database of truly useful facts. Meanwhile, my body continued to grow naturally and inch toward its maximum height. When I was ready mentally and physically to “hit it” once more, I analyzed what I had to work with: at five feet and eight inches, I weighed slightly over 120 lbs.

So, armed with an iron determination and my hard-earned knowledge and experience, I once again commenced in my quest to make myself stronger. The first order of business was developing a solid nutrition and exercise program. I played personal trainer, and cranked out a simple, effective workout routine based around compound exercises. I determined the amount of calories I had to eat in order to gain, and acquired supplements to help me reach those caloric goals.

When I was truly ready, I joined a public gym and began to lift with intensity and will power I had never before experienced; driving a heavy weight using my own strength, stars flashing before me as I strained with everything I had, ever striving toward a goal. I also began to eat 6 meals a day, gorging myself at every possible opportunity, and loading my system with extra protein. With every meal I ate and every barbell I battled, I felt victorious. I was finally achieving the dream. My diet and training dialed in to a T, I began to experience the rewards.

Consistently meeting my daily goals, the needle on the scale began to move. The weight plates on the bar began to multiply, more than doubling their previous numbers. My efforts were paying off, and I felt better than ever. My confidence grew and my overall health improved. Ever more motivated, I continued to steadily improve my training. I didn’t always want to go to the gym; sometimes I really had to force myself to go. What matters is that I did, time and time again, and my persistence spawned success. 5 Months later, I weighed 145 lbs, and I was vastly stronger than before. Today, at five feet and nine inches, I weigh in at about 155 lbs and I yet continue striving to better myself in my exercise program. I am still nothing more than average, but I am quietly proud of what I was able to achieve.