Why I finally decided to start lifting weights and building muscle at 30

It was, of all things, a People magazine story.

At least, I think it was People.

I remember it so well. (Well, besides which magazine it was in. Details!)

It was about a woman who was a little bit overweight. But she ate well, and she did hours and hours of cardio every week. They said she woke up every morning for a 3 mile run, and on top of that, did cycling and elliptical work at the gym.

And while she had leaned out a little, she was still stuck being chubby.


One day she decided to change up her training.

She started powerlifting.

And HOLY shit guys, her before and after pictures were insane.

She didn’t just get lean, she was super toned, tight, and athletic looking. She looked incredible.

I was 29 when I read this story, and I thought, ‘Maybe it’s time for me to get serious.’

I had had fits and starts with working out for years.

I grew up skinny. Short and skinny. My teenage turbo metabolism kept me lean even through college when I ate like crap and drank heavily multiple nights per week.

After college, it caught up with me.

I should admit, I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth here a little bit.

I don’t have a huge appetite, and just by living my life pretty normally I was able to hover around the same size and weight throughout my 20s.

That is, fairly average build, but doughy around the middle.

But even though I was never obese I still didn’t like pictures of myself. I still kept a beard because when I shaved clean my face looked puffy.

I wanted better for a long time, but never did anything about it.

I’d go to the gym for a few weeks, then fall out for a few months. Rinse and repeat. I never got anywhere.

My typical routine was this: Run on the treadmill for about 10 minutes, walk for a few more, then do whatever weight machines were open. Maybe finish up with some crunches.

Do that four or five times then take six months off.

Not exactly a recipe for getting shredded.

I don’t know what it was about that one People story, but something clicked in me when I read it.

I looked up a beginner weight lifting program and got my ass to the gym.

I haven’t missed a workout since (even on vacation I try to do something).

The biggest thing was I realized there was no difference between me and the muscled-up dudes in the gym or on the beach except the fact that they put in the time to train. The switch got turned on in my brain I became obsessed.

If I’ve learned anything though it’s that you have to get there on your own.

You can’t really tell people they ought to be lifting weights, or even working out in general. Because there’s no “fix” or “cleanse” that can erase years of bad habits quickly so you can go back to living your regularly scheduled life. If you don’t learn to love the grind, you won’t stick with it, and you won’t get anywhere.

For me, it was an article about an overweight soccer mom that did it. Go figure.

And, to answer the question 30 year olds everywhere are wondering: No.

You’re never too old to start.

(And if you’re interested, check out the program I’ve been using to build strength and muscle — it works!)