“I’ve been waiting for you.”
So says Arnold, shotgun in hand, to a younger version of himself in a scene from the latest Terminator movie.
Watching it was a painful experience for me, mainly because Terminator: Gensisys is by far the worst Terminator film ever made.
But that scene in particular got me thinking…
If I could travel back in time and give some advice to my younger self, what would I tell him?
When it comes to diet and exercise, I have made a great many mistakes over the years.
Perhaps the biggest was spending far too much of my late teens and early twenties carrying around too much fat.
My main goal was to gain as much muscle as humanly possible.
I believed (wrongly as it turns out) that doing so required eating a vast amount of food. Which is exactly what I did.
I ended up gaining a lot of weight, and did a very thorough job of convincing myself that a) most of this weight consisted of muscle and b) the day would soon come when I would strip away the fat to reveal the Herculean physique that I’d been working on all these years.
In truth, I was deluding myself on a grand scale.
If you’re carrying around a decent amount of muscle, adding a layer of fat can create the illusion of size, especially when you’re wearing clothes.
People may tell you that you’re looking bigger, which is always nice to hear.
And you might feel that warm glow of satisfaction when you step on the bathroom scales and see your weight going up every week.
But what’s the point if you’re just getting fat?
Contrary to all this “eat big to get big” nonsense out there, you can’t force your muscles to grow faster simply by stuffing yourself with food.
Someone in their first few months of training might be able to gain 2-3 pounds of muscle each month, and will need to eat enough to support that rate of growth.
But if you’ve been training for several years, the speed at which you gain muscle will have slowed down.
Extra energy that isn’t used to fuel your workouts, to help you recover from those workouts, or to support the muscular remodeling process that occurs in the hours and days after training, will just end up stored as fat.
It wasn’t until my mid twenties that I came to my senses and realized I needed a complete change in direction.
So, I set myself a 3-month deadline to get in shape.
To put a little extra pressure on myself, I called a photographer to book some “after” pictures.
Once I’d handed over the money in advance, there was no backing out.
Then, I set myself up with a program that involved lifting heavy weights three times a week, a bit of interval training, and a sensible diet.
Several months later, most of the fat had gone.
Yes, I was lighter.
But I was also lean… defined… and a whole lot happier with the way I looked.
SEE ALSO: THE FLAT BELLY CHEAT SHEET
If you want less flab and more muscle when you look down at your abs (or where they should be), check out The Flat Belly Cheat Sheet.
It's a “cut the waffle and just tell me what to do” PDF, written in plain English, that tells you exactly how to get rid of belly fat. To download a free copy please click or tap here.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.