Get Big or Die Trying!

I don’t know if there is a singular point that I’m going to make with this article or not, but this is based on something that my old training partner and good friend were talking about on the phone a few days ago.

You see, back in the day we were fucking animals when it came to building muscle. I didn’t have much going on outside of the gym and work, and the gym was pretty much his biggest priority too. Life was all about muscle, bitches, and food!

Funny enough when I first met the guy, I thought he was an asshole. I can remember getting into an argument with the guy and telling him to keep the fuck away from me, and then out of nowhere he said to me, “What are you training in the gym on Monday?” Of course, Monday was probably national chest day for us both, so we met up at the gym and destroyed a workout together. From that point forward we just kind of always clicked, and I’ve been friends with him through 4 of his failed marriages. He’s on the fifth one now and so far, it seems to be going well for him!

We lived by a simple phrase that we would toss around almost daily; GET BIG OR DIE TRYING! And that is what we set out to do every day we stepped foot in that gym to train. Looking back on it, there was not A SINGLE WORKOUT that wasn’t great when we trained together!

No sleep the night before? Didn’t fucking matter! GET BIG OR DIE TRYING!

Going through a divorce? Didn’t fucking matter! GET BIG OR DIE TRYING!

Spent last night in the emergency room? Didn’t fucking matter! GET BIG OR DIE TRYING!

I’m telling you; we became just like Spartan warriors that somehow traveled into the future in some time fucked up time machine!

Life was so kick ass back then for those years that we trained together. I can remember going to a buffet on all you can eat steak night, and literally eating, sitting in a booth talking shit, and then hanging out there long enough to go eat again for another meal! It was just this time in my life that everything seemed so pure, and the goal was so simple, yet so demanding to train for. JUST GET BIG!

He was about 180 lbs when we began training together and I was around 225 lbs or so, but he was 3″ shorter than me, so his 185 lbs looked like a much larger 185 lbs than what most people would think. His goal was 250 lbs at a height of 5’6″ and the fucker was relentless for years and years to hit that 250 lb mark. Well, he eventually ended up getting to his goal too.

Every day we stepped foot in that gym we would weigh ourselves, first thing! If he was up 3 lbs and I was where I was the week before, I had to catch up, he pretty much was winning that day. If I was up and he was the same weight, he would pretty much eat and will his way to start making gains again!

Some of our conversations at the all-you-can-eat steakhouse were very interesting, like the time he told me that he didn’t think his kid was really his. I was like, “Nah man, it’s probably your kid. Sometimes kids take on features of other relatives in the family. Relax man!”

Then I went to his house to help him pack a moving truck when he went through his separation. I took one look at the kid and as soon as we got away from his wife and walked outside, I said,”Duuuuuude… THAT KID IS DEFINITELY NOT YOUR KID! How does a Greek guy that looks tanned make a kid that’s pale white with fucking nazi blonde hair?”

“I know asshole! Why do you think I’ve been telling you that shit?”

And then there was that one time we went out on the ocean on his boat, and he about lost his shit trying to dock the thing. He had a new boat that was pretty big, and each time he got about 3′ from the dock the current would pull him away from it and back out to sea. These failed attempts to dock that boat went on for about 30 minutes, and all I could do was laugh at him! So then afterwards we stopped into Wendy’s, probably to order like 3 burgers each.

He went to use the restroom and I thought it would be funny to unwrap his Baconator and take a giant bite out of it and then wrap it back up. Now, this wouldn’t have been as funny if he wasn’t already pissed off over the boat and about to go over the edge of sanity.

He returned to the table, opened up the burger, and just stared at it with confusion on his face.

“Did you take a bite out of this son of a bitch?” he asked me.

“Hell no man, listen there is a lot of shit I joke around about but fucking with someone’s food is something I don’t do because I wouldn’t want it done to me!”

Fast forward to a fat, black cashier about to beat his ass when he went to the counter and lost his shit about the burger!

“Mutha’fucka why I wanna take a bite of yo’ burger? WHAT DA’ FUCK IS WRONG WITHCHOO YOU MUTTA’FUCKA!”

And there’s me at the table, about to fall on the floor laughing!

So, yeah we had some good times with our training and fucked up adventures together. Everything from the gym, to food, to strip clubs, to arguments that almost came to blows. I think that those days were about as close to living like a true animal that a human could get AND WE LOVED IT!

But then something happened, I think they call it GROWING UP. And growing up can get tough when you’re trying to stay in the gym!

As my stepdaughter and son began growing up my obligations and responsibilities became greater, and then came the phases of being 100% with the gym and nutrition and occasionally falling off. Now, I always stayed in the gym, I suppose when I say “falling off” I’m talking more in the sense of strict dieting and the look I would maintain for shorter periods of time as my family grew together.

I would always go back to those bouts of living like an animal and killing the gym, but I would sometimes slip a bit too. My old training partner moved away, and I never trained with anyone else after that. We might call one another up and talk about once a month, and now the conversations seem to be more along the lines of trying to maintain health and fitness and family, rather than how big we want to get (we are both still very big, but not as big as back then).

His gear routine is usually just TRT and 2ius/day of HGH, and mine is, well, probably a little more than that at times. I think he’s let it go a bit more than I have, HOWEVER…

His diet is spot on! He’s back down to 200 lbs and it’s a high quality 200 lbs. But here is the thing you have to realize about him; this is a guy that will lay out of the gym for weeks at a time and maintain a look that makes you think he’s preparing for a bodybuilding competition! He’s the only guy I’ve known that can stay that dedicated to eating clean without several days a week in the gym to accompany the clean diet!

He’s gone from 250 lbs and having trouble breathing due to his size, to jogging along the beach and not obsessing over how many meals he gets on that day. Some days might be 5 meals, other days are two meals, it’s very instinctive at this stage of the game, but very health conscious.

Why is he not in the gym as much anymore?

Well, he owns several businesses and puts a lot of his time into building businesses, and I asked him how he can maintain such a clean diet and lean and muscular look without being in the gym as regularly as he once was.

In not as many words, he pretty much summed it up as short-term gratification versus long-term goals and things that were more meaningful and accomplishing. Food is just something he needs to eat, but it’s not celebrated as much because he’s so focused on other things. And this was when I realized that food has most people by the balls because it’s short-term gratification for energy and focus that could be better spent on more rewarding endeavors in life.

This is also proof that nutrition trumps countless hours in the gym! Of course, I’ve always known this but when you see an example of someone that can let the gym go from time to time but keep spot on with their diet, it’s physical proof that it’s not as difficult as one may think to maintain a good physique and possibly make an already good physique even better, and healthier!

I think that when we get to a certain point it’s more important to put health and nutrition first for the training to fall into its proper place. It’s almost like running a car with the right type of fuel and oil, versus running a sports car with shitty gas and the wrong oil.

As our conversation went on, he said something to me that made a lot of sense. He talked about how he looks at training and nutrition now versus how he used to approach it (he’s 50 years old right now). He said, “Training and nutrition is like floating down the river with the current. You can still move your body to float in slightly different directions, but you can’t take a hard 90-degree turn. When you try to take a hard 90 is when you’re fucking up!”

I thought about this for a moment and realized that this sort of knowledge only comes from another guy with the same 30 years of experience that I have. This analogy makes so much sense for health, your look, and your well-being and the enjoyment you get out of life.

Some of these other online coaches do not understand that people have lives outside of the gym, and that there are times when life is going to short-change you if you don’t learn to devote some of that same dedication and passion that you have for the gym, to other people in your life. A good physique is nothing with a lonely life. Nothing about my physique got me the loving relationship that I have with my family!

I feel like here is where people fall off with the gym; they put people their families first and they’re doing the right thing… ALMOST. But they stop doing anything for themselves and they do not understand that with the right mindset the gym and nutrition can actually help your family.

For starters, you’ll be there for them and not have a heart attack because you ate McDonald’s every day. You’ll set a good example for your kids when it comes to being active and achieving goals. Kids also pick up on parents that are disgusted by what’s staring back at them in the mirror. You rarely see fit and active parents with kids who are slobs.

The homepage for Johndoebodybuilding says “bodybuilding for the every man.” Not every man needs to look like a Greek statue to be a man, and just because you look like a Greek statue doesn’t make you a man! I feel like a real man is someone that can learn, adapt, overcome, and grow as a person. It’s not all about growing in the gym anymore, and it’s not all about “GET BIG OR DIE TRYING” just in the gym.

If my old training partner and I had not changed our tactical approach to life, then I feel like life wouldn’t be as rewarding. This does not mean to not work out and kill the gym, but it means that you just can’t take a hard-90 in that current. But you can help steer your body left or right as you go down that river!

I guess now as I look back on everything, we really lived by the phrase “GET BIG OR DIE TRYING.”

We just didn’t realize at the time…

that we weren’t just growing in the gym!

And by the way, that kid was in fact NOT HIS KID!


Shredded Ops & Let The Blood Spill bundle


16 thoughts on “Get Big or Die Trying!”

  1. On point as always.
    Im 62, been training since 19. I have 4 kids, my 15 y/o son trains with me and it is rewarding as hell.
    Thanks KD

    • That’s awesome man, not too many fathers out there anymore that can spend time and pass something down, we need more like you!

  2. Some of my most memorable days are back in the day when I was broke, only focused on training/eating, and work. At the time you don’t realize you are living such a simple life and you don’t need all the stuff you tell yourself you do. The relationships you form during that time you never forget.

    For any of the young guys reading this. Listen to this man and his advice. Low doses, extremely intense lifting, and consistency on your diet year around tracking your macros. You will be more than pleased with the physique you end up with. You do not need to run tons of gear.
    Train hard, get your cardio in, and keep your diet on point. That’s it, now just do that week after week for a few years. There is no magical secret.

  3. JD , this comment you said ( below) is exactly what got me thinking!!! I had sport and training in my life – though competitive bodybuilding came after i had started my family!

    “Nothing about my physique got me the loving relationship that I have with my family!”

    Nice story legend!

  4. It is good to read a new article jdb!!!! Hell yeah keep that grind, I remember first discovering you years ago and recently re-read your book!!! Hell yeah!!


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