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Building my Body – How I went from Skinny to Jacked (and you can too!)

Body of a Spartan Review

I've written a bunch of articles on training techniques, different styles of dieting and how to get motivated.

Today I want to take you back to the beginning and show you what I’ve been working on for the past 4 - 5 years of my life. Before I get started I want you to know that it’s possible. You and I are no different; I started off as your average skinny teenager with no money, no knowledge of what I was doing, no mentors or guidance.

All I had was a burning desire to succeed and get that body I had envisioned in my mind.

If you’re making up excuses it’s simple, you obviously don’t want it bad enough.

We can all be winners.

July 2010

Skinny Transformation (2)


I’d been out of high school for 6 months.

I weighed 135lbs, people made fun of me and pushed me around for being skinny. I thought wide shoulders and masses of ripped lean muscle were only possible if you were a genetic freak or were constantly ‘enhancing’ with synthetic compounds in a sharp needle. I was wrong.

A skinny-fat fellow from school I’d lost contact with a few years ago resurfaced on my radar; bumping into him at a party he was barely recognisable, having put on over 30lbs of lean muscle he was more confident and demanded respect.

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After a brief chat on what he ate and how he trained it was decided.

I was going to give it everything I had to transform my physique.

The next day I went around to the 3 local gyms in my area to suss out how to join, unfortunately I could not afford a membership at any of these as I’d just bought my first car and had to pinch every penny I could…

An expensive 12 month lock in contract was not feasible…

I did not let this discourage me

Home gyms seem to be all the rage these days, maybe I could get one of those? After a few days of searching eBay and the Australian version of Craigslist I managed to find a winner.

A free-standing squat rack, an old bench press and a barbell for 200 bucks.




I got my family to help me disassemble it all and transfer it all home, I had it set up in my backyard along with a rusty set of old dumbbells that my Dad purchased when he attempted to go on a health kick several years prior.

I spent weeks performing set after set of bicep curls each day.

This isn’t working… I need a routine

After browsing through countless pages on looking for routines I was left stumped, all I had was a barbell, dumbbells and a squat rack when every routine mentioned require a leg press, smith machine, preacher curl and more.

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I worked with what I had and focused on the main lifts.

Heavy compounds.

I spent the next year and a half grinding away in the backyard with my makeshift gym – rain, hail or shine you would find me out there every day working on my squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press.

During this time I learnt that my workouts were only creating the demand for my muscles to grow, I needed to give them the supplies to grow.

I started eating everything and anything in sight; I purchased a weight gainer

and smashed a shake with full cream milk after my workout each day.

My weight slowly began to climb…





Skinny Transformation (1)

 Eating clean and staying lean...

I’d not only been working hard on my physique during this time but I’d also be saving every penny I could.

December 2011

At this point in time a new gym opened, just streets away from me.

I had the money, I paid a year up-front.

‘Time to take my body to the next level’ I thought to myself.

Now with the added luxury of every conceivable isolation machine possible I drastically changed my regime, opting to focus on leg extensions and calf raises instead of heavy squats.

I started a ‘bro’ split, training one muscle group per day with 2 days off per week.

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My progress began to slow down…

I assumed it was because I wasn’t taking as much weight gainer as I used to.

I proceeded to order $400 USD worth of supplements online.

You name it, I bought it.


Amino acids, ZMA, multivitamins, glutamine, nitric oxide boosters, pre-workout supplements

Progress was steady again - the placebo affect was in full swing.

I reached my initial goal weight of 176lbs.

At this point adversity struck in my life, and I was getting beaten down.

My progress stagnated, I was lacking motivation…

I was trying to use these supplements to fill the hole of half assed-ness I’d be putting into my workouts as of late…

July 2012

While searching through my room for an old assignment I was looking to reference uncovered my old A5 training journal, from the days in the backyard.

The fire was reborn.

I decided what I had was no longer enough.

I needed more, I demanded more.

Reflecting on my old full body compound workouts - each workout was so efficient, so Spartan. each workout brought me one step closer to the body I dreamed of.

I spent weeks and months researching nutrition, learning about caloric intake, manipulating calories for fat loss and muscle gain.

I learnt that the $400 USD I spent on supplements was just about as useful for my progress as flushing it down the toilet.

See also
20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Lifting

I was furious, no longer would I fall for the marketing tactics of the major supplement companies, preying on those looking for a quick fix, a quick solution to their problem of wanting to gain muscle and burn fat quickly.

I combined the dieting principles I had learned with a mixture of heavy compound lifts and small amounts of accessory work (isolation exercises).

The fundamentals of my workout regime have not changed since.

Along the way I manipulated the number of calories I was consuming based on whether I wanted to bulk up further or get ripped.

Skinny Transformation (1)



I still look forward to spending time in the gym every single day, it’s no longer a mere event – it’s a lifestyle.

At the start of 2014 I stumbled across Victor's website, BoldandDetermined.

I ran through his program, 30 Days of Discipline.

I learnt to discipline myself and succeed in other aspects of my life, not just the gym but also business and relationships.

I have never been more determined to succeed

As of right now I’m 200lbs, 10% body fat.

Skinny Transformation (4)

(Above photo taken December 2013, at a gym in Indonesia).


Update: Early 2015 - stronger & leaner than ever. My documented techniques work should you have the discipline to follow them.

TheronKPhoto_0162B copy

The reason I’m writing this is to show you that it is possible; you don’t need any special circumstances, magic supplements or over-priced personal trainers that haven’t even walked the walked to help you transform your physique.

See also
IgnoreLimits Podcast Now Live! (Episode 1 & 2)

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting detailed articles containing the exercises that helped me the most, the foods I ate and how I calculated my diet, along with the few useful supplements I do use daily.

Is there anything else you’d like me to cover?

Leave any questions or comments below!

>> If you haven't already check out the actionable steps on my Start Here page. <<

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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