Teen Trainer: Fitness in Pandemic
When the quarantine first began, this young teenage author was ecstatic because of how much time he had to himself. His story about how he decided to use this time more productively to improve his overall health is inspiring to people of all ages.
When quarantine first began I was ecstatic because of how much time I had to myself. At first, I took it easy and did nothing more than watch movies and play video games, however, it quickly turned repetitive as days turned into weeks. One month into quarantine I was forced to ask myself, “Am I doing things that will help me be the best version of myself?” It put the future into perspective and I realized I could be using my time more productively. I decided I wanted to be more active and start an exercise regimen.
I looked into different workout programs but I didn’t know what to focus on. I had some knowledge about bodybuilding but I did not have enough knowledge on subjects like a proper diet and optimal rest times. I researched different bodybuilders and athletes to see what routine and diet would best suit me. It wasn’t until I learned that everybody’s journey is different and that it is impossible to replicate somebody’s physical profile that I realized I needed to take a customized approach.
I began researching different body types to see which one I was. I learned I was an ectomorph, naturally thin. That told me I needed to consume more calories than the average person because of how fast my metabolism works. I didn’t know how much weight I wanted to gain but I knew I wanted to be healthy and build muscle. Based on different variables, my goal was to gain 50 pounds. I would go from 130 pounds and 18 percent body fat to 180 pounds and 13 percent body fat. I chose to gain 50 pounds because of my height and I wanted visible and vascular muscles. I decided to measure my body fat because it would help me track how much pure muscle mass I would gain.
I found a 5 day routine that was solely focused on the use of dumbbells. This was beneficial as lifting dumbbells is less likely to cause injuries than barbells. I arrived at the ideal diet by utilizing a macro calculator based on my physical attributes. It indicated that I should consume 3660 calories and 132 grams of protein a day. If I followed this diet I would gain at least two pounds a week.
I officially started working out on June 24th. My first week was very exhausting and my body was extremely sore but I persevered and stayed on task. To ensure I was eating the proper amount of calories I downloaded an app, called mydiet. It indicated that I needed to eat more calories. I added a shake that had 50 grams of protein and 1250 calories as well as 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is a healthy supplement that improves muscle strength, muscle growth, and exercise performance. Incorporating these two supplements made me feel less fatigued after each workout.
Finally, I wanted to add cardio in order to balance my weight training. I decided to bike 3 miles a day on my off days. As time progressed my workouts felt less like a chore and more like a hobby. I felt great and had more energy. I gained my first 10 pounds of muscle and no body fat in less than a month. I noticed a slight change in my physique. Eventually, I added a core workout to my regular sessions to strengthen my core. My weak core was prohibiting me from deadlifting and squatting more weight. My workouts remained consistent except I gradually increased the weight used for each individual exercise. One month later I gained 10 pounds and 1 percent body fat. This time I noticed a lot more definition in my arms, chest and legs.
I’m currently 168 pounds with 19 percent body fat as of September 8th and still working toward my goal. This journey has helped me become a better version of myself. Personal fitness was always important to me but it seemed I never had enough time. Having my daily activities come to a screeching halt gave me the opportunity to reflect and prioritize. Oddly enough I did have the time, I just needed to focus on how I allocated that time. I hope that my story will inspire others to become active - the hardest step is just getting started.