10 Tips That Helped Me Get Past A 7 Year Fitness & Health Plateau (Awkward Selfie Enclosed)

I normally don’t do this, I swear… By Nick West

I was the absolute runt up until my junior year of high school.  At about 5’4, I finally ended jumping a little over 7 inches through my senior year of high school beginning at age 16ish. Regardless, I had always had an awkward body type somewhere in the grey area between an ectomorph and a less genetically gifted mesomorph. Those freaky genetic gifts were given to my brother, so, thanks Tim.  This blog post could have come a lot sooner if you didn’t hog all of the athletic DNA.

As a result of my newly gained lankiness at around 18 years of age, I decided to start lifting to put some bulk on my 148-pound frame towards the end of my senior year of high school.  Fast-forward 7 years to last summer, and more or less, nothing had changed.  I worked out at least 5 days a week, but I stayed within the same 5 pound range with little to no actual definition gained.  Sure, I looked respectable in a t-shirt, but for the time I was putting in, my transformation into Mario Lopez status never came to fruition.  And to be honest, that was only part of my goal.


The whopping results of 7 years of dedication

 I wanted to feel even better than I was looking.  You know when you’re really hungover, doing a walk of shame through your hometown/city, and you see that man/woman at 8am who’s running along the streets, just oozing, just OOZING vitality and good health.  That’s who I wanted to be. Not only exhibiting a shredded physique, but also displaying an heir of pristine health and wellness.  (Ps, I hate that guy when I’m hungover…making me feel all unproductive). 

 After 7 years of ignorance, I just recently (about 5 months ago), started to actually investigate what I was doing wrong.  Now before I go into the 10 quick fixes, take note that this does not paint the whole picture. Rather, this is a jumping off point for a series of health and fitness posts that I’ll be adding to TANR as I continue to experiment with my health and wellness.

Without further ado…

1) I exercise SMARTER 

I only do circuit workouts when lifting.  Even more specifically, I don’t go into the gym blind anymore.  I have one main source for pre-built workouts from an expert in the field of exercising and working out. His name is Chad Howse and he’s got a great health/wellness/fitness success story. His system is only $47 and includes a ton of PDF workouts, meal plans, and fitness wisdom. This is one of those secrets of the internet that I wish everyone knew about (and no, I wasn’t asked to promote him, or paid in any way shape or form, this is just top quality workout wisdom). Plus, circuit workouts force me to work out with a time constraint.  Overall efficiency is thus gained. (robot voice)

2) I stopped eating sandwiches (whenever humanly possible)

Some carbs are good (like fruit), but if a ton of the calories in your meal are coming from bread, you just simply will not reduce your waist line. I’ve also done my best to substitute fries for a salad and will just altogether avoid any portion of bread during meals.

3) I eliminated snacking 

I don’t allow myself to have a random bag of chips or candy in the middle of the day unless I’ve planned a reward… (plain almonds are my new snack)

 4) I reward myself every once in a while…

If I eat a perfect breakfast and lunch  and dinner (with the occasional clean protein in between) for a couple days (2-3), then I eat a milky way out of the vending machine, aka, my form of crack.  When I say perfect, I mean perfect. No breads, no starchy carbs or sauces. No cheese. Basically, none of the stuff your Cosmo, Shape, and Men’s Health magazines are telling you to avoid. This is the only way I can survive completely avoiding my favorite foods and tastes for days on end.

 5) I started doing hard cardio (not long cardio)

No, I cannot run long distances. Shin splints, bro/sis. But, even more effective, I’ve taken up a healthy addiction to HIIT training, jump roping, and sprinting before I get my circuit workouts on. This type of training quickly gets you to the heart rate you need to be at in order to really do fitness damage in the gym.  You can find a ton of articles on Chad’s page on the benefits of sprinting and high intensity cardio training

 6) I never talk my way out of a work out.

There are so many excuses not to go to the gym after a 10-hour day at work. I’ve just done what I’ve needed to do psychologically in order to remind myself that I’ll feel 1000% better after a workout. No one’s ever said, “I regret that workout.” (Obligatory cliché)

7) I drink my greens shake every morning.

This generally keeps my engine running smoothly to ensure I’ve got that core vitality driving me through my workouts.

 8) have a friend who will shame me into exercising.

 No, we don’t go to the gym together. In fact, we don’t even live in the same city. But we talk often, and we aren’t afraid of embarrassing each other if either one of us falls out of our routines.  Find someone who you’re not afraid to be honest, open, and competitive with. And, most importantly, talk some smack if need be. But also, be positive with positive results. (Shoutout to Garrett for keeping me in check!)

9)I drink a lot less beer (if any at all)

Beer makes you fat. For men, it also increases estrogen levels, i.e., man boobs.  I am a massive fan of Bud Heavy, but it unfortunately is no longer my drink of choice.  Tequila and lime juice/ red wine are my current go-to libations.   They generally fall in line with safe substances within normal paleo parameters.

10) When I cheat, I cheat hard.

How I eat, isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s frankly, not even for my heart. I am a cheeseburger monster, and am still addicted to french fries.  I honestly, never want to give those two things up. But, at the same time, I do want to live a life of vitality and overall wellness. So, after a week of eating nearly impeccably, I’ll eat like crap for an entire day.  This is fine. There is a ton of research behind the positive aspects of a cheat day. Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body popularized the cheat day and the science behind it’s benefits.

Again, this doesn’t tell the full story, but like most of my articles, I plan on providing more in-depth follow ups on the topics surrounding fitness, nutrition and overall wellness. In the meantime, if there’s anything you’re curious about, e-mail me at nicholaswest10@gmail.com

…Now for the selfie: (This is after 5 months of strictly following these tips – I will be sure to add more and will soon launch a series of fitness interviews with some leading experts to give you researched backed methods of supercharging your life of vitality).


Hopefully this isn’t as awkward for you as it is for me.

Keep it toight,


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