Work Harder

I’ll admit it: I get a little frustrated when people credit steroids for my post-show transformation. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not claiming steroids don’t work really well. But I know a lot of people who take a LOT of PEDs and look and lift like trash. And I know a lot of people who don’t use PEDs and look and lift incredible.

So, when I read comments like these, I can only shake my head.

  • “How much of this was ‘supplementation’ though?”
  • “Calorie surplus, yes. Steroids, though??”
  • “Just nutrition and proper training? What about other protocols?”

Again, my point is not that PEDs don’t work. My point is that anyone can take steroids, so if you write off diet and training as “easy,” you’re never going to get any further than your average gym rat. If that’s your goal, fine. If you want to go from “suck” to “great,” though, then read on.

Three Factors of Success Besides Steroids

1. Have you set yourself up for success?

This, in my opinion, is the biggest one. I think a lot of people look at my transformation and can’t comprehend how it happened so quickly – but it didn’t actually happen quickly at all. I’ve spent nearly 20 years building the strength that has supported this growth.

Moreover, I’d also been in an extreme calorie deficit for the better part of the past two years as I attempted to stay in the 181-pound class for powerlifting. That level of deprivation primed my body for one of the most dramatic rebound phases I’ve ever experienced.

How extreme are we talking? Take a look at the diet I followed from 2017-2019 diet:

Please don’t think I’m recommending that you try to do the same! Maintaining that deficit was a terrible decision and resulted in a lot of injuries. But the silver lining of all that pain and suffering is what you’re seeing in my growth phase now.

2. Are you making the most of your genetics?

If you follow this blog, you know I’m not a fan of blaming genetics for any shortcoming in results. But it’s still to your advantage to make the most of your genetic strengths.

Personally, I don’t believe I have the best leverages for powerlifting or structure for bodybuilding. But I do have a great metabolism that allows me to stay lean even when eating in a fairly significant surplus, and I have a good enough recovery that I can train hard and often.

Prior coaches I’ve worked with have largely overlooked these advantages, and I myself have taken them for granted. Justin Harris is the first person who’s really helped me develop a plan to use those strengths with both an aggressive training and diet plan, which you can read more about on

3. Do you work hard enough?

Probably not. I know damned well I’m not the world’s hardest worker, but I do know that I push myself harder in the gym than anyone I’ve ever trained with. If you can’t say the same, well, you’ve got work to do.

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