Expert: Ryan Nelson
My journey begins as a timid, skinny fourth grader who was tired of looking the way he did and was determined to become someone who was great. My shyness and low self-esteem was compounded with the death of my mother at the age of 5 and the numerous resulting family issues. My escape from all of this was exercise. It all started in fourth grade which is when I started my own workout program that consisted merely of pushups, pull ups, and sit ups. I was hooked from the start and became very disciplined at a young age. I followed my routine obsessively. There was no one that told me to do it and there is no one that actually lifted weights in my family, I was simply driven and inspired by the idea of becoming a powerful, super hero like being that everyone admired.
The next step in my journey occurred during the sixth grade when I received my first weight set for a Christmas present. During this time I became greatly intrigued by the sport of bodybuilding and the science that came with it. I ended up searching the internet and reading books for as much information I could find about training and nutrition. These are the years in which the “bodybuilding bug” truly bit me.
Next came a membership to a local gym where I met a trainer who was getting ready to compete in a bodybuilding show. He knew I was interested in the sport and invited me to come watch his show. To this day I remember the exact feelings I had once I was sitting in the auditorium of his show. My first thoughts were of how the teenagers looked. Basically, I knew I could kick their asses! I wanted to be up on that stage so bad. I knew I had what it took to win and from that point I dedicated myself to creating the perfect physique. Most of all I wanted to be admired. I wanted to shed my outer shell of shyness and step on that stage and show the world all of my hard work. However, I was smart about it. I wanted to win and I knew the best way to do that was to wait until I was 19 so that my body would have enough time to mature and grow.
Fast forward a couple years. I am now a personal trainer at the gym I first started at. I have just turned 19 and I am now good friends with my co-worker Aj Hrible who is a pro natural bodybuilder. He tells me from the start that if you want to win you got to be the leanest guy on stage and you have to have really good legs. Legs were of no problem to me as they have and always will be a strong point for me but Aj kept bringing up the importance of being shredded to the bone. I then figured since he is a pro that I would enlist in his help and he soon became my diet coach for my first show. Initially, my goal was to win the teen class but deep down I knew I wanted more. I wanted that pro card and I wanted the right of calling myself the youngest professional natural bodybuilder in the world.
The driving force that allowed me to train with such fury during my contest prep was the problems that arose the year prior during my senior year of high school. I basically was fed up with living in a dysfunctional household and this ended up causing me to have severe anxiety. It got so bad that I couldn’t even leave my house without having a full blow panic attack. I was plagued by fear and soon become a prisoner in my own body. This caused me to lose a significant amount of weight and muscle which led to me becoming greatly depressed. However, my wounds eventually healed but along the way I transformed into a new person. From that point I knew that I would never settle for a mediocre life. I wanted to be the greatest and my first step was to turn pro and that I did.
I turned pro in September of 2011 and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. It served as a true turning point. I soon found myself getting asked to do photo shoots and all sorts of other opportunities soon arose. It motivated me to start my own YouTube channel and to start my own online personal training website.
That was view of my life in a summary. Today I am a full-time premedical student and I am beyond determined to become one of the greatest doctors/surgeons to walk the face of the earth. The defining moment of my life was the anxiety attacks that I encountered during my senior year in high school. This is what really shaped me into who I am today. Following those gloomy day I adopted the slogan of “Living Life With a Vengeance.” This statement can be seen on my website and basically represents my burning desire to be unique and to live the most prosperous life one can live. You only live once so you might as well do it big.