At 5’5’’ and 200 lbs I’m no mass monster…but not for lack of trying! When I first began bodybuilding in my teens, then competing in my early 20’s, I had one goal; to get HUGE!!!

My hero was (and still is) Flex Lewis. The first gym I trained at was owned by a competitive bodybuilder and a number of its members competed too, both locally and nationally. They were the biggest, baddest, coolest guys I’d ever seen and as I’ve stated before, more than anything, I wanted to be like them.

At the time, I remember setting and reaching a goal weight of 200 lbs. To get to this weight I was eating everything in sight, good, bad and ugly. If it stopped moving for long enough, I’d probably try and eat it. I was drinking those crazy 1,000 calorie mass gain shakes to get there, as you might expect, I gained a considerable amount of weight, but it was by no means all muscle.

Still, I thought I looked pretty buff! It took me a few years to fully embrace the fact that as much as I wanted to be a monster, my physique is more ‘balanced beast’ than ‘freak of nature’. In time, I learned to accept my genetics and actually embrace them. After this, things suddenly started to click. Instead of banging my head against a brick wall, trying to get massive, I ate according to my physique and let my body dictate my training, employing a more instinctive approach in the gym. In turn, I started to see refinements that I never had before. I was eating more, yet getting leaner and more vascular, even though my weight stayed fixed at 200 lbs I looked bigger, stronger and more muscular. I can’t remember the last time I measured my arms or chest, I have relied on the mirror ever since.

Now as I reach my early 30’s my bodyweight is still around the 200 lbs mark, except my body fat is much lower (sub 10% down from around 20%) meaning I’m up around 20 lbs of muscle and down 10 lbs of fat from my early/mid 20’s. On my 5’5’’ frame, that makes a BIG difference!

No doubt a lot of guys out there reading this will identify with what I’m saying; You desperately want to be big and freaky, but will never be the second coming of Ronnie Coleman no matter what. In other words, go with what you have, rather than fight your inherent physical make up, play to your strengths and show what brought you to the dance. Accentuate the positives, hide the negatives, that is, after all, what bodybuilding is all about!

For me, I enjoy the challenge to put on mass and lift heavy day after day, week after week, then suddenly switch gears, cut down and get ripped to battle it out on stage with the best in the world on an IFBB stage. In learning to fulfil my own potential and not somebody else’s, I am happier than ever with my physique, training and progression both in the gym and on the stage.

I say, go for the low hanging fruit first, and if you’re not loving it, then start climbing that tree and don’t look down. For me, right now, I’ll grab what’s within my reach and enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Keep working hard, Keep pushing the limits and as always, give 100%...OR NOTHING!!!