The Two Basic Changes That Helped This Guy Get Jacked
When Stephen Chase graduated high school, he weighed just 135 pounds.
He knew that wasn’t healthy, but he was having a difficult time managing even just his physical health. He felt that his emaciated physique was the result of a pretty bad break up, and both his physical and mental struggles left him feeling like trash, with no motivation to do anything.
“Depression was really taking its toll and I was contemplating some pretty dark thoughts,” Chase, now 26 and working in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in cyber security sales, told Men’s Health. “And for some reason, one day it just clicked that I needed to make a change or something bad was going to happen.”
But Chase hadn’t always been underweight. Heading into high school, he was a self-described “chunky kid.” He was a year younger than his peers, just 13, and found himself an easy target for bullying at 5’3” and almost 190 pounds. He spent most of his time sedentary, playing video games and eating junk food—even his position in the school marching band was sitting down, playing keyboard in the “pit” area. He had a reputation as the “energy drink kid” because every day after lunch, you could spot him drinking a Red Bull or a Monster. According to Chase, they weren’t ever the sugar-free kind, either.
But he wouldn’t be “chunky” for long. “Luckily, summer prior to junior year I ended up getting a job working at a car wash and spent a lot of time outside being active and sweating a ton,” he says. Chase lost about 45 pounds, but the pendulum swung too far in the other direction, leaving him listless and tired because he was so underweight.
Fast-forward to his lowest point, post-high school and post-breakup. The decision to change came suddenly, and simply: He woke up on his day off from work and realized he wanted to be different.
He threw away all his junk food, and stocked up on what he considered healthy essentials: tilapia, chicken, ground turkey, green veggies, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. He joined a gym and started going their five or six days a week, partly to take his mind off the break-up and the rest of his life.
Chase had a health support group of gym-savvy friends, who he quizzed about building his workout. In six months he added fifteen to twenty pounds. “I ate a lot,” he says, “and I think what everyone forgets is a purely clean bulk doesn’t really exist.” Now, seven years later, he’s weighing in at about 200 pounds.
“I’m not going to lie, 200 pounds on a 5’8’’ frame feels pretty odd,” Chase says, “and I don’t feel very mobile at this point, but I’m going into a cut phase and I know for a fact that I feel a lot better around the 185 pound range.”
Chase credits getting bigger for improving both his physical and mental health. He felt a big boost in confidence as people noticed his gains, and the new feelings of self-worth have helped him manage a high-stress job. And when he struggles, there’s always the gym. “Endorphins are a hell of a drug and when you’re in a low point,” Chase says, “you need as many as you can get.”
He attributes his success to taking things one day at a time, ignoring “influencers” but surrounding himself with positive reinforcement, and not being afraid to ask questions.
He’s still got plans to tackle even loftier goals. He hopes to find an aesthetic he’s happy with and maintain that look, and maybe even enter some NPC shows. It’s an ongoing process he compares it to a marathon. “As for being finished,” Chase says, “fitness is never finished.
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