When I was in high school, I was terrified of taking my shirt off. I had a problem:
I was skinny-fat.
Slight belly rolling over the top of my trousers like a muffin top, and puny man-boobs sticking out my chest like some weird sex-change experiment gone wrong. I constantly walked around slightly hunched, with my slight belly sucked in so hard like a black hole was present in my guts.
I didn’t want to accept it, so I ran. I documented my earlier fat loss experiences during my adolescent years in the Yellow M&M’s and Trainers series (do check it out sometime), and kept the cardio going into my pre-university days.
There, I picked up weight training, and faced with the prospect, or at least the chance to become the Terminator, I eagerly signed up my first gym membership. I was never consistent, but I knew I was making progress. The first year went well, I lost my man-boobs and put on some muscle. My bench-press went from nothing to 40 kilos, and back then I thought that was the biggest achievement ever! I’d swag around at home or at uni, puffing my chest out like I was a DC comic book hero.
Freshman year in uni. Now faced with the freedom that every university student had, obviously I had to party and do all the crazy things that all that freedom entailed. Training was still a second priority, and I squeezed in a workout here and there whenever I could. Obviously, I didn’t get much stronger than I did, but at least I wasn’t obese. Sure, I had a bit of belly fat, but as long as I kept my shirt on, I was safe. Kind of.
Now the fourth year rolls around and life gives me a lemon. I broke up with my girlfriend of 7 months and lost my accommodation in the process (long story for another time). I never admitted that I was hurting, and so I binged on alcohol, parties, hook-ups, took more part-time jobs, played more games all in an attempt to numb the pain. Naturally, working out became a non-priority for me. And so the cycle continued until I finished university, and went to Fiji to volunteer (Snippets of Fiji series).
When I returned from paradise, I was 80 kilos, had a slight belly, but I’d gotten good at concealing the fat-ness. Having relocated back to Malaysia, faced with the challenge of a job hunt combined with even more free time, I WAS UTTERLY LOST. There were no video games, parties that I could go to, and alcohol was goddamn expensive.
I had to confront the fact that I had let my 16 year-old self down.
As I stepped into the same gym where my journey began, I felt slightly ashamed of myself. I could not even hold myself accountable to the things that I wanted. If I were to repeat this for the rest of my life, I would never accomplish my own goals ever, let alone anything. And in that moment, I vowed to do whatever it took to become fit.
October rolled around. I had nothing to lose. I crafted a ridiculously extreme fitness plan for myself: two training sessions in a single day with cardio, all in a 18-6 intermittent fast split on extremely low carbohydrates. I’d finish one workout in a fasted state, then wait till I could break fast, then go to the gym again shortly after. I kept that up for two months, and just as my will to go on was faltering, my stomach started flattening.
I changed things up a little bit, but I knew that I was near a breaking point.
The first two pecs came into existence around December.
The second two pecs manifested around March.
The last two pecs showed up last week.
Today, I cheekily make every excuse to take my shirt off. I no longer walk around like a fat-hunchback trying to hide himself. I know that I’m a goddamn sexy beast, and if I could, I would go back into my past and tell that skinny fat boi that things would work out eventually.
That all he had to do was to put in the hard work, and everything would be alright.