When I originally published the article entitled “Lifting and Building Muscle Mass: How Much is Too Much?”, I really didn’t have any specific intentions. In that article, I summed up my journey from skinny to swole, described the mental baggage which ended up accompanying me (read: muscle dysmorphia) along the way, and summarized the lessons I learned trying to rid myself of that baggage.
On a whim, I decided to post the article to an internet forum whose audience I felt could relate to the piece—the subreddit r/gainit. Gainit is primarily focused on discussing the logistics and challenges of packing on muscle in spite of being genetically predisposed to skinniness. I had a feeling that the article would be appropriate for Gainit, but I was surprised by just how overwhelmingly positive the response was.
The article was quickly voted to the top of the subreddit, and messages, both private and public started pouring in. Other young men wrote to me describing how they had gone through similar struggles. They told me how it was difficult for them to acknowledge that, despite their attempts to be ‘healthy,’ they might actually have some other underlying issues that needed to be corrected.
First of all I would like to thank-you so much for posting this. Everything you say is true in my life. I knew that this problem existed, but never interacted with anyone who dealt with it in a similar way…. Much like your life, my whole experience with everything i ever do now is changed because of lifting…
Again thank-you so much for telling your story because it hit home in so many levels… I always had a problem with body image…. But after the gym it all changed… I feel now that i can talk to anybody without a problem and look them straight in the eyes(and talk to any girl).
But overall, I am so happy that you have found balance in your life. I did not reach that level yet and the struggle is real….Sorry that this is long. I am just so happy that you posted this. Take-Care!
I tried to step back and think about the big picture implications of my decision to share my story. What if that article somehow sparked a chain of positive events in this other young man’s life? He read the article, was inspired to take the path to physical and mental wellness and was then able to positively influence his own circle of peers? It was a crazy thought, but certainly not unrealistic.
Whenever we hit the “publish” button and etch our thoughts into the archives of the blogosphere, we are projecting a part of ourselves for the world to see. And, believe it or not, we can actually significantly positively influence other peoples’ lives from behind the terminal of a computer screen. It’s just not always tangible and apparent.
So, if you have an inspiring story to share, or a positive personal experience to pass on, consider putting it on (electronic) paper and publishing it for the world to see. You never know what good may come of it!