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At What Age Did You Start Exercising and Why?

Posted Mar 01 2011 10:36am

This post was written back in 2008, but the poll didn’t get many votes and the post didn’t get any comments. Now that Project Swole has much more traffic and somewhat of a loyal community, I went and rewrote some of this piece and I’m re-posting it today so that we can get more comments and votes. I think it will be an interesting study into the training background of most Swole readers.

We all know how beneficial exercise is to maintaining a healthy body. Kids don’t usually know this and teenagers don’t usually care. Typically it is up to parents and schools to educate kids about exercise and nutrition, ’cause quite frankly they aren’t very likely to do it themselves.

I learned about exercising in junior high school when some of my friends started curling and bench pressing to build the “show muscles” for the girls. I even did some curling and bench pressing myself, but not more than a couple times a week, and I didn’t build any significant muscle mass. My real education in weight training came in high school… I’ll talk about that more below.


What I want to know is, at what age did you start exercising and why did you start exercising? I don’t mean at age 6 when your parents enrolled you in little league or mighty mites soccer. Nor do I mean that time you tried out for basketball in 6th grade and ran a couple wind sprints in practice? I mean, when did you really make an effort to start training your body for a specific reason on your own? High school? College? Mid-life? When?

At what age did you start exercising with a real purpose?

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There are a million reasons why someone might start a serious fitness routine. It could be sports, it could be peer pressure, it could be to attract the opposite sex, perhaps you want to slow down the aging process, or did an injury force you to start exercising?

Did you lift weights for football , lacrosse, or hockey in high school?

As a kid, did you start training outside of Karate class so that you could be faster and stronger than the rest of the kids in the class?

Perhaps you started walking, jogging, or running for the first time ever at age 45 because you grew tired of the spare tire?

For me, it was when I was 16. From age 12 or so I messed around with weights in my dad’s garage, doing bench presses and curls of course. When I turned 16 and got my license, I got a membership to Worlds Gym in Plaistow, NH and started doing… lots more bench presses and curls… but that’s not the point. That membership lead me to examine the ways in which I could really start to fill out my clothes develop increased muscle size and definition all over my body.

By age 17 I had learned how to train my full body. I was using a small variety of exercises including:

  • leg presses
  • stiff leg deadlifts
  • bench presses
  • lat pull downs
  • triceps push downs
  • curls
  • crunches

Around this time I investigated a crazy program by some professional bodybuilder that included 2 workouts per day, 6 days per week. I attempted to follow the program for several months, but ended up overtraining, seeing minimal gains, and getting burnt out. In desperation I finally asked the resident personal trainer Ted for advice.

He scoffed at the crazy program I was trying to follow, muttering something about professional bodybuilding, steroids, and overtraining. When I returned a gaze of complete bewilderment, he sighed and brought me out onto the floor for a bit of tutoring.

Ted put me on a 4 day split, training 2 or 3 muscles per day, and emphasized proper form, proper weight progression, proper nutrition, and proper supplementation. Ted introduced me to barbell squats , creatine , protein shakes , and enlightened me with the knowledge that I can construct millions of different workout programs using the most basic of exercises. Something similar to the Werewolf Training routine here at Project Swole, only with far less muscle confusion.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I have one word for you… girls. My build was what I would now call ‘skinny-fat’. I still had a layer of baby fat, nasty love handles, a slight double chin, and tiny ass arms. My hair was long, I had acne, and quite frankly, girls were scared of me.

In order to fix what I thought was broken, I decided at age 16 that I would go on meds for the acne (thank you Accutane), cut my hair, lose some weight, and pad my bones with sculpted muscles. I had hoped that doing this would land me a girlfriend. Well guess what? I was right!

Before I graduated high school I dropped about 40 pounds of fat and gained about 20 pounds of muscle. I scored myself two girlfriends (not at the same time), started to make friends with some of the kids in my class, and eventually by senior year I had somewhat of a normal social life. Thank you Ted, thank you Worlds Gym, and thank you free weights!

So, what is your story? When did you start? Why did you start? How did you start? What were your results?

Let everyone know by voting and leaving a comment below. If you have a website detailing your fitness routine, be sure to leave us a link so we all can check it out.

If you haven’t started exercising yet, but realize that you need to, feel free to try some of the Project Swole workout routines, or check out the hugely popular P90X home workout routine. You will thank me later if you get started today.

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