When people lose a lot of weight, it sometimes motivates them to take it a step further and become a bodybuilder. When Quantel Thomas lost 100 pounds, he ended up doing exactly that as he saw all his hard work pay off. Now, he considers fitness his passion and posts on social media to encourage others to improve their health. Quantel thinks of bodybuilding as both an art and a way to get healthier.
“When you think about bodybuilding, you’re trying to edge out like a sculpture, so for me, I’m sculpting my body by exercise.”
Quantel got started on this journey around three years ago when he weighed just around 300 pounds. He never imagined he would look at how he does today when he first stepped foot in the gym. He actually struggled for most of his life with his weight before becoming a bodybuilder.
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“My whole childhood, I was overweight, I was always obese. Definitely out of shape, and that was the main reason why I got injured,” Quantel said. “I’d been pushing myself way too hard to a boundary I’d never been in. That’s how everybody starts. That’s when the weight starts packing on.”
Start slow–you won’t become a bodybuilder overnight.
When you first begin a weight loss journey, you should start slowly (even if you feel very motivated). Many people make the mistake of pushing themselves too hard when their bodies aren’t ready, leading to injuries.
Good exercises for beginners include:
– strength training with 5 or 10 lb weights
– stationary bike
– bodyweight exercises such as squats, pushups, and lunges
After a few weeks of working out, you’ll start to notice some benefits. Exercise improves your health physically, emotionally, and mentally and lowers the risk of many diseases.
The major benefits of working out include:
– improved cognitive function
– reduced anxiety
– eases depression symptoms
– helps you sleep better
– weight loss (or gain, depending on your body type)
– reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
– improves bone health
– builds strong muscles
– increases longevity
– improves circulation
– increases confidence
In fact, when Quantel started working out regularly, he noticed a huge difference in his self-image. When you look good and take care of your health, you’ll feel good from the inside out as well.
“Because of my weight, that brought so much low self-esteem – I definitely had no confidence.”
When Quantel became a bodybuilder, however, his confidence skyrocketed. He hadn’t worked out much before then but discovered he really loved lifting weights.
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“Until I went to freshman year, during that summer, I would start weightlifting,” Quantel said. “There were subtle hints that I actually like to work out because the weightlifting part is the only time I actually loved it. I started looking forward to exercising and lifting weights, doing a bench press, and all of these other exercises.”
For his diet, he just kept things simple and followed basic nutrition advice. With so many diets out there, learning the right way to eat can seem overwhelming and confusing. However, you should always listen to your body and eat foods that make you feel energized and healthy. Try to incorporate a mostly whole foods diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and grains.
“When it comes down to the diet side of things, what matters is how much you eat, and how much you work – calories in, calories out,” Quantel says. “Learn how to put the fork down, and learn when to stop eating. As long as you eat less fast food, it already makes a big difference right there.”
With the right diet and exercise plan, you can easily get in the best shape of your life. You may even become passionate about fitness like Quantel and want to become a bodybuilder yourself.
Quantel’s future plans as a bodybuilder
“I worked hard to get here, and this is only just the beginning. I really love bodybuilding, I want to compete and finally change my mindset, and try to be more confident. In 2020, I definitely learned a lot – I learned to appreciate where I’m at in life. Always know there’s going to be some light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m on a path to greatness, I know I’ve got a lot of potential, so why waste it?”
If you want to become a bodybuilder like Quantel, you should start slow and gradually increase your weight.
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Here are some helpful tips from a fitness enthusiast:
– Stick to free weights
– Do compound movements
– Follow a strict routine and know what exercises you need to do during your session
– Do 3 or 4 workouts per week, using the other days to recover
– Train each muscle group each week, sticking to one muscle group per workout (ex. lower body or upper body).
– Learn the correct form using low weights before advancing
– Gradually increase your weights
– Use a safety belt to protect your back as you get to heavier weights
– Eat plenty of protein (1 gram per pound of body weight)
– Eat a caloric surplus to build muscles
– Aim for 3-4 meals per day
– Don’t eat junk food (or at least limit it)
– Eat plenty of fruits and veggies
– Make sure to take time to recover and get enough sleep
– Avoid drinking, smoking, or other lifestyle habits that may hinder your progress
Final thoughts: becoming a bodybuilder takes extreme discipline and willpower
Bodybuilding isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in the sport, you’ll have to train rigorously. You will also have to eat plenty of calories to build muscle and make sure you get an abundance of protein. If this sounds too strict for you, just doing vigorous cardio and weightlifting a few times a week will improve your health. It’s never too late to change your life, and you’re only one decision away from reaching your highest potential.
Remember: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so take that leap! The only thing stopping you is you.