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My Journey Back to Getting Ripped – Part One

  Mar 21st, 2012

Piled High SandwichAs my followers already know, I tend to use a lot of direct, matter-of-fact language when writing about anything related to building muscle and shedding unwanted body fat. I do this because far too many individuals let countless excuses keep them from transforming their bodies into the kind that they can be proud of.


Well, as hard as it is for me to do this, I need to come clean and let you know I’m not perfect and have let changes in my life (a.k.a. excuses) get the better of me.


I have to be honest. I really struggled with whether I should let my guard down, be vulnerable, and share my personal struggles with maintaining my ripped physique during the past 12 months. After all, I don’t want to lose any of my hard-earned credibility!


To put what I’m about to do in perspective…


I’m an avid reader of a number of strength training and fitness websites and don’t think I’ve ever seen the owner of any site fess up when they’ve fallen off the wagon. It’s not that they’re 100% committed all the time. Just that they’re afraid to share when they have a momentary relapse.


I ultimately decided that struggling with maintaining a fit, strong and healthy lifestyle, amidst our other commitments in life, is something we all have to deal with.


So, I’m writing this with the hope that my honesty will encourage you by showing that even those who wholeheartedly believe in the importance of training and nutrition, like myself, are vulnerable to the same struggles as everyone else.


I also want you to understand that even if you do have a momentary relapse, or if you’re someone who has never been satisfied with your body, you have the ability to turn things around whenever you’re ready to commit yourself to being strong, lean, muscular and healthy.


Even the Ultra-Dedicated Can Slip

Craig Leonard Relapse Photo - Dec. 10th, 2011My second daughter was born in January of 2011 and I quickly found that adapting to life with 2 children would require some shifting of priorities.


Some of this reprioritization had an impact on my physical appearance, as the ripped and muscular body I worked for months to develop, slowly degraded into one that would be described as less than impressive by any standard (right).


It wasn’t that I no longer cared about my commitment to training or how I looked with my shirt off. It was simply a choice I made to become complacent about how I was feeding my body.


After years of maintaining a ripped physique I began to take for granted how important nutrition really is when it comes to building muscle and reducing excess body fat and ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, for about 9 months.


Training Without Proper Nutrition Leads to Disappointment

Even while my dietary choices had fallen to the wayside, my commitment to strength training and cardiovascular conditioning didn’t waver at all. During that 9 month span I continued to train with weights and cardio 4-6 days a week.


Apparently I should have heeded one of the axioms I use more than just about any other:


“You can’t out-train a bad diet.”


I know this to be true from my years of hitting it hard in the gym, while ignoring my nutrition, with little to show for it. Not to mention the incredible results I’ve achieved while making nutrition a priority.


Again, it wasn’t that I forgot everything I learned over the years…


The 9 month downward spiral that was my physical appearance was a result of my CHOOSING to neglect the way I was feeding my body, nothing more. I could have trained as hard and as frequently as possible, but as long as I continued to pound the calories like I was doing, no amount of training could have ultimately prevented the end result.


You Can Turn Things Around Whenever You’re Ready

Back in December I realized I’d let my diet and physical appearance get out of hand for far too long and decided enough was enough. I renewed my commitment to eating for muscle building and fat loss success and have made dramatic improvements to my physique over the past 3 months:


Craig Leonard Second Transformation - Dec. 10th, 2011 to Mar. 21st, 2012


My secret is nothing more than using the same training plan I’d been using all along, but I’m now combining it with an effective muscle building and fat loss nutrition plan.


If this doesn’t convince you on the importance of nutrition for developing a ripped body, I don’t think you’ll ever be convinced!


If you’re someone that has let your physical appearance get away from you, and are ready to make the changes necessary for dramatic transformation, you can use the exact training and nutrition plan I’ve been using for the past 3 months.


Actually, I have been using it for almost 4 years now, except for my 9 month hiatus between March and December of 2011.


It’s a plan I developed after many months of experimentation that enabled me to achieve this incredible 60lb transformation a few years back:


Craig Leonard Before and After Photo


Following my program really isn’t that difficult. But, like anything else worth attaining in life, it will require your dedication to a few aspects that will be crucial to your success (i.e. training, nutrition and monitoring your results).


Trust me, if I can make it work with my hectic schedule, anyone can!


Click here for part 2, and here for part 3, where I provide an update on my progress… With my latest transformation photos, of course!



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