I have to become big for football!

On the first day of football training when I was entering 10th grade, the coaches took our height and weight and told us to bench press our body weight as often as we could.

I was fifteen, 6 feet 160 pounds tall. I played Center and Defensive End. The only bench press I had done was lying on the floor pressing the 100-pound plasticized concrete weights my parents bought at the department store. The guys I was lifting with on my first day of training were a little smaller than me and had to press 135lbs, but they only did it for a few reps. Before adding any more weight, I wanted to try the 135. It was good that we didn’t add any weight, because I couldn’t even press the 135 once! I was embarrassed to be so weak and I knew I had to get stronger.

The next blow came a couple of weeks later when I found out that my mother had gone to the coaches to express her concern. He told the coach: “Aaron is so small and skinny that I fear he will be crushed by those older guys.” This he did. Now I was crazy! There was no way I was going to be crushed by anyone, and there was no way I was going to be small and thin anyway!

The funny thing was that even though I was small, thin and weak, I was actually good enough for a guy who had only played organized football for one season. We had enough guys that we were split into three teams. Varsity was for the best of the best, regardless of the grade they were in. The JV was for those who weren’t good enough for the Varsity, and it was mostly Juniors, with some Seniors and Sophomores. The sophomore squad was for all 10th grade players who weren’t good enough for the varsity. Most of them only played on the sophomore team, but I was different. I played for the sophomore team every week and it was fun. I mean, the competition was weak and I hit the quarterback in almost every play. Some of the 10th graders were good enough to also play on the JV team every week, and I was one of them. Now three eighth-grade players could dress up for Home Varsity games, and I was one of them. The other two guys were!

wide receivers and they actually played while I was a linesman and never got into a varsity game that year.

My 10th year was the first year that I was able to take weight training classes at school, and I took full advantage of it. I wanted to be the biggest and strongest guy on the football team, but he was a long way off. The weight training program that the trainer proposed to us was very simple and essential. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we sat on the bench. If we had time after the bench press, we could choose between military presses for our shoulders, French presses for our triceps, or barbell curls for our biceps. Sometimes we got to those exercises, but with 4 guys in our group, it didn’t happen often. The training was 5 sets of 5 reps. Usually, we warmed up with a light weight, like 95lbs for me in the beginning, for our first set of 5. To each set we added a little more weight, so that only our final set of 5 that was all. Every couple of months the trainer had us test our max for 1 rep, even though I couldn’t even do 135lbs at the start of the year, I was quickly b!

ecoming one of the strongest guys.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays our training consisted of the Squat for 5 sets of 5 reps. If we finished our squats early, we could do stiff leg deadlifts or donkey calf raises with our partners sitting on their backs. For the squats, we used the same protocol used for the bench press. Starting with a light weight, we added a little bit to each set so that our fifth set of 5 was a total effort. However, we haven’t tested our best on the Squat.

I put everything I had into my workouts, trying to lift more weight with each workout and trying to beat everyone else. It was important, but it was only half of my plan. Now, I don’t know how I figured it out, and I don’t think I’ve ever thought about what possible ways there were to grow up. It seemed natural to me that becoming big and strong only required three things. First, train as hard and heavily as possible. Second, eat as much food as you can. Third, have enough desire to make sure you do the first two things no matter what. It sounds simple and, truth be told, it is. But most people who want size and strength don’t get it. They think expensive supplements or fancy exercise equipment will get them where they want to go, but unless they follow the three principles for slaughter, they won’t make it.

When I say eat as much as you can, not everyone understands that I’m not talking about gorging yourself once in a while. I’m talking about eating constantly and staying all day. I didn’t know about protein shakes [http://www.nlpbodybuilding.com/protein-powder.html], and no one had heard of creatine [http://www.nlpbodybuilding.com/creatine.html], but there was food, and I ate as much as I could. I don’t want you to think this is for everyone, but for a teenager or young adult who wants to put on more muscle and gain as much strength as possible, this is how it works.

I actually had a girlfriend during this time who was very helpful. Although there were limits on how much I could eat at my home, she and her parents were more than happy to provide me with all the food I wanted, whenever I wanted. They cooked me steaks, bought me pizza and whatever else I wanted. I don’t know if that was part of their plan to keep me around, but it worked, at least for a while. I remember one night I was at Burger King. I was eating 3 Whoppers, some fries, a smoothie and I don’t remember what else. Two policemen were sitting at a nearby table and one of them asked me why I was eating so much. My answer to them was the same as all the many people who asked me the same question: “I have to become great for football”. That single focus on my goal is why I achieved it so quickly.

When I started 10th grade I couldn’t bench press 135 pounds. At the end of the school year, I benched 235. When football started for the following year, I benched 250 and my body weight went from 160 to 190 pounds. I was also 2 inches taller at 6 feet 2. At the end of the football season, I benched 285 and weighed 200 pounds. I was the best pass rusher on the Varsity team, had two defensive touchdowns that season, and was given the nickname Drago, by Rocky 4. 15 months, over 150 pounds added to my bench press and 40 pounds of muscle body weight. This is what I call Bulking!

Aaron Anderton

Physical without limits [http://www.nlpbodybuilding.com/personaltraining-aaron.html]

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