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Success Story: 20 Pounds of Muscle in Four Months

Divorce knocked this landscaper off his fitness path, but friends inspired him to make a change.

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Before

After

MARK BROWN
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Age: 31
Height: 5'9"
Weight Before: 145 lbs
Weight After: 175 lbs

Mark Brown was always the type to eat right and exercise regularly, but when personal issues got in the way, he stumbled down a bad path. “I went through a divorce and I let it wreak havoc on my body,“ said the 34-year-old who owns his own landscaping company in Charlotte, NC. “I didn't work out for over two years and lost over 25 pounds and any muscle I had. I had not been that light since my middle school days.” His condition got so bad, he neglected more than his physical wellbeing. “I wasn't able to sleep. I was constantly sick and depressed and had zero energy or strength,” he said.

Prior to February 2011, Brown stood at 5'9" and weighed 145 lbs. soaking wet. His condition became more pressing when others close to him voiced their concerns. “I had family and friends constantly commenting on how skinny I was, but it wasn't until I finally stepped on the scale and took an honest look in the mirror to see that their concerns were legitimate and I was ready to make a change.”

MARK’S TIP

Take Notes


“Start slow and have a plan. Set a single goal at a time. Don't just say you're going to do it. Map it out, write everything down like I did. Keep a food and workout journal, and have at least one person keep you accountable. When it gets hard, don't quit, just work that much harder. The end result is so rewarding.”

That winter, Brown decided it was time to fully commit to getting himself back to form. “In February I set a goal of gaining 20 pounds by the end of the year, and accomplished that by July, so I set another goal of 10 additional pounds and have currently achieved that.” Now, Brown has added over 32 lbs. of mass to his once wiry frame. “I never want to be as unhealthy mentally and physically as I was before my transformation began. Weight lifting was always such an important part of my life, something that brought me joy, and I was determined to get that back.”

After overcoming the hardest part—getting started and conquering the fear of seeing how weak he’d become—he decided to first make improvements in his diet. “I had to start eating right. I keep a journal and tracked all of my protein, calories, carbs and fat intake each day. I eat about every two to three hours, supplement with Whey and Casein proteins throughout the day and get plenty of sleep.” When it came to creating his training plan, Brown took things just as seriously. “In the gym, I work single muscle groups per day, once a week and lift heavy with reps ranging from eight to 14 per set,” he said. When moments of self-doubt or lapses in motivation set in, Brown persevered. “I stayed, and continue to stay, motivated by a core group of people around me that encourage and support me.” Brown’s motto was, “I always think in the back of my mind that someone is training harder than me.”

Brown credits his success to goal setting and positive thinking. “I learned that if I set goals, and followed through with a plan, that nothing was impossible.” Today he claims, “I'm stronger and healthier now at age 34 than I've ever been in my life.” But that doesn't mean he doesn't have bigger ambitions. “The mission is never complete; it's a way of life for me now! I have set another goal of gaining an additional 10 pounds and working towards maintaining that weight. I'm also considering competing in Men's Physique competitions in 2012.”

Brown’s transformation didn’t just improve his own life; he’s seen how his story can inspire others. “I've learned that doing something positive with your life has a positive effect on other people and opens a lot of doors to helping and serving others.”

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