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“If you’re bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don’t have enough goals.”
Greetings everyone, I’m Alex Walsh; competitive natural teen bodybuilder, and aspiring fitness model from Arkansas. I’m 18 years of age, and am enrolled into college. I believe in living life to the absolute fullest along with helping and changing others lives in the process. Iv been competing in natural bodybuilding since I was 16; placing no further than 3rd in my 3 shows experienced in the teen’s division. My accomplishments include 2013 Teen Arkansas, 2013 runner up Teen Tulsa, IronMan Magazine feature for transformation of the month, and Teen transformation of the month on Bodybuilding.com. Currently I’m majoring in Physical therapy and am minoring in business management. I work full time at Exon Mobile refinery for Turner Industry as a Pipefitter. Work consists of 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also I personal train 3-4 clients 5 days a week for no financial gain. I love helping others and leading them towards the right direction. So my profit with training goes towards a brotherhood gain and seeing my friends reach their goals. Now I know, with so much going on, how am I supposed to have the time to train myself most optimally?
Before the competitions, the magazine features, and the acknowledgment, there’s a dark side in my life that’s not spoken of very often, but ultimately still motivates and helps me overcome obstacles. My Journey/ path started when I was just a 12-year-old naive boy. At the time, the “cool” attribute in school was to be skinny and ripped. Starting at a normal skinny/fat body composition, I admired what I assumed were healthier looking people. It wasn’t the desire to be or act like these people that made me admire very much, but it was more or less the attention these guys were getting from all of these beautiful girls. So early on I felt the need to do whatever it took to get this acknowledgment or attention from these girls. I remember doing countless numbers of pushups and sit-ups day in and day out. Of course with being a complete beginner, I had not a clue about any kind of training or proper nutrition. So the results were little to actually none. One day at school I decided to wear a tight under armor shirt. Being totally oblivious I walked into the hallways normal as usual. When greeting these body-crazed girls, I was almost instantly shut down. And I don’t mean shut down as I just get ignored but better yet, I was told I was too fat and disgusting to wear a tight under armor shirt. With being totally devastated, I was completely at a loss of words. Never at the time, had I been opinionated so negatively about the way I looked. For Gods sake, I was 12, so of course I wasn’t the least bit insecure, but unfortunately for me, this one rejection and negativity set the tone for my insecurities for many years to come. While Reminiscing and thinking on what I could control to make me look appreciable/ representable to others, I soon developed a case of mild anorexia. I felt food itself was the only thing I could control that would help me lose weight and “look” like these ripped up kids at my school. This behavior or act started with just slowly eating less and less every day. Obviously my mom noticed at first, but I would just tell her, I’m already full, or, I just ate, or even I feel sick. I started sucking in my stomach 24/7 when my shirt was off. I don’t mean just holding in your gut, I’m talking like a Frank Zane vacuum pose. I had a very strange mindset and never could grasp or acknowledge how mentally unstable I was.
As months went by, I got leaner, and leaner, aaaand leaner. I still had the idea or image in my mind that I was a fat and disgusting person. When I looked in a mirror, I didn’t see what or who I really was. My mind would show me an image of something totally opposite of what I was and whom I am. During the summer of 2009 I was taken into counseling for my problem. Did it help? Honestly I felt it just made me more insecure than what I was prior of going. When hope seemed all but gone, a small passion for school sports sparked my interest coming into 7th grade (13years old) Football and basketball were my first interests that started pulling me away from my own personal problems. I gained a newfound bond with my brothers (teammates). I started to make many friends and actually feel comfortable with myself for the first time in a long time. Learning how to be a team player as well as being accountable for my own actions kind of made me feel it was my own duty to help the team. Therefore, I started recollecting myself in a sense. I still had insecurity’s, but nonetheless I adapted much better being around people who had not the least bit interest of how “lean” or “shredded” you were.
The first actual love of fitness came from running. Since becoming or wanting to be an athlete, I needed speed, quickness, and endurance. During these years in my life, I was extremely motivated by Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky”. The only motivation I had at the time came from Sylvester. I noticed how hard work payed off in the end. Whether it is, getting conditioned by running every single morning before the sun was up, or just believing in myself; furthermore, my dedication and consistency started from Rocky. Just being able to visualize someone going through a rather difficult situation and make something of themselves, sparked a fire that still burns inside me today. Alex Walsh would not be writing this paper if Rocky never motivated him to be the best version of himself and always no matter “What!” go the distance with everything he has. With that being said, my athletic ability immensely expanded as the summer months rolled by. I would wake at 6 every single morning 7 days a week and run nonstop till 9-10. My running was very sporadic and unorthodox. Though I kept a descent pace most of the run, I would imagine myself racing with someone, so then a pace would turn into a 60 second sprint, right back down to pace and this would happen like every half mile. Returning to football at the beginning of the school year, the coaches noticed a great deal of difference from when we had introduction practice at the end of the last school year. My hard work earned me a starting position on offence and defense. For the first time, I had the ladies hitting on me rather than vice versa!
Weight training was still a bit non-existent at this point, but early on I started noticing how the older high school kids were hitting the weights hard and getting bigger. Honestly at 13-14 I still didn’t have the motivation or drive to get started on a whole new hobby. Us younger athletes really just focused on running and doing bodyweight exercises. Even though football and basketball were becoming more apart of my life, I wasn’t truly happy and excited about life all the time. Fast-forward to 15(age) sports became more and more competitive, all enjoyment was non-existent. Big games brought big pressure while bigger games brought more pressure. I loved the game, but disliked the negativity and shot nerves it brought. My only escape was through running and lifting. By now, weight training had been introduced, I maxed out at a whopping 95lb bench press, 135 squat (with bad form) and 115lb power clean. So obviously I had quite a bit of work to do. Lifting always came before practice, and when I had the time would run 4-5 miles. I enjoyed lifting, but running was a bit more important at this age mainly due to track and field involvement. I didn’t consistently train till I was 16 but lets slow down some.
For some odd reason I became addicted to running!!! When I got up extremely early and jogged miles on miles end, I could here my own thoughts. My own personal escape from the negativity of football, parents fighting, and crazy world around me. Nothing seemed to could have broken my shield of own thoughts. I craved pain in a sense of bettering myself. So when the opportunity of being on the track team was presented, I didn’t hesitate to see what it was all about. Practices were a bit difficult, mainly due to racing high school kids while only being in junior high. But much was gained at the time of being with older, stronger, and faster individuals. It kept me hungry and gave myself motivation to one day destroy all there so called fastest times. Track gave me the independence I was searching so desperately for years. I loved all obstacles and challenges dealt with and criticized by only person to blame, you. Practice would start at 4 and end around 8ish, so techniquelly I found a hobby that didn’t seem all to bad. I loved and was fascinated by the fact that everything was all on me. As in, if I didn’t win a race, it was probably because I wasn’t fast enough, and there was no one else to blame but myself. Not just the independence, but also the idea I was the only person in charge is truly what I loved about track.
As I was coming into my freshmen year of high school, I was a 120lb 15-year-old lanky kid. Up to this point I still played sports such as football, basketball, track, and cross-country. Like I said early I had already began weight training but proper training and nutrition was yet to cross my way. So no gains were made in the beginning of my journey. While searching desperately for answers on how to do this and how to do that, I stumbled across a well-known teen bodybuilder, Nick Wright. I seen where he started at 13 and I thought to myself, “wow, it is possible to build a lot of muscle naturally”. Nick opened my eyes to bodybuilding. He motivated me and taught me so much about training and nutrition. Eager as ever I had my mind on competing when I was 16. Leading up to my very first show, I had my first successful offseason. I ended up bulking to 170ish pounds. But it wasn’t easy, due to not really understanding and following exactly what my favorite YouTube channel taught me. I believed you had to have “mass gainers” to put on any kind of muscle. Through trial and error I was able to learn from my many mistakes. I used to believe in eating every two hours, not to eat past 6, good carbs bad carbs. Frankly I started my journey being very “broish” as like Nick was at the time. Now I’m not going to lie, I am glad in a sense I went through a trial and error phase mainly due to learning consistency along with preparation and dedication. Meal prepping was learned, time management, and just simple honest knowledge was acquired through the beginning stages. Now, honestly there were a bit of distractions with sports and so on. Being a sport oriented kid made it rather difficult to put in the much-needed time to put on a lot of mass. Through football and basketball, I managed to get a descent offseason, nowhere near impressive, but I could tell some of the physical changes. Going into my first cut/diet, I was destined to win teen Arkansas! I started my first contest prep around February since I turned 16. Going into this prep, I had no clue what to expect and honestly didn’t know the price you have to pay. Since growing up with a rather unhealthy family, not much was understood when I contemplated how I wanted to do a bodybuilding show in June. Bodybuilding’s not very known in Bald Knob Arkansas. I guess you could say there are many rednecks/unhealthy hillbillies all over. At first I believe my mother thought it was some big joke because when she thought of bodybuilders she was thinking of the roided out monsters you see in magazines and TV. She didn’t have an understanding about natural bodybuilding or anything to do with any kind of physical exercise and such. So as I began dieting, so did problems at home. I wasn’t eating what my family had fixed for dinner, I was bringing my own lunch to school. My mother assumed I was going back into my anorexia stage so she layed down many threats towards me. Iv had been called a freak, I was called a sick person. But that wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, but the one phrase that would break me down and actually make me cry, was when my mother would ask me, “why can’t you be a normal kid” or tell me “I would never accomplish anything on my quest”. From then I felt very degraded, as in I didn’t feel good enough for my mother. I actually questioned my existence for a little while. It seemed everything I was doing was wrong in my mother’s eyes. She grounded me, she took my supplements away, and basically treated me as a worthless being. I’m not sure about others or how they would feel, but I was at the point where I was just going to give up on my dream and journey to compete. Until one day I talked to my father when I went to visit him in Texas. Out of everyone I associated myself with, my dad was the only person that had believed in me since day one. He told me to always follow my dreams and never let anyone say you can’t do something. It’s crazy to think at a time in my life, even my closest friends thought I was insane, but fortunately my father was there when I needed someone most. That summer my dad took me to my very first bodybuilding show, and witnessed start of something amazing. From the time I stepped in the backstage room till the time I left the stage that evening; honestly I knew that natural bodybuilding was indeed my passion and calling. I ended up placing 3rd out 6th, but ultimately had the time of my life. I met some amazing people and role models for my future. I felt accomplished and hungrier than ever to prove anyone who has ever doubted me, but most of all I was most excited about bettering myself so that one day I could become a professional natural bodybuilder. As I returned home, I remember summarizing all that had been experienced and how happy and successful I felt. For the first time, my mother gave her acceptance to this journey I had begun. I couldn’t tell you how and why she changed, but maybe she felt it was her duty as a mother to be supportive of her child.
Now coming out of contest prep, I needed quite a bit of size if I ever wanted to win Teen Arkansas. Unfortunately this was the year I decided to do a very “dirty” bulk as in I ate everything in site. By this period I had already chose bodybuilding over my previous sports, however; I quit sports due to not really having a true passion for it all. I didn’t care for all the negativity schools sports brought with competition. Bodybuilding gave me the independence I wanted along with competition that’s only with you. As in, win or lose you can be positive based on if you’ve improved or made any progress.
“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”
School weight training had no significant benefit towards my physique. But fortunately at the time, I ran across a youtuber named Matt Ogus, and he really emphasized having a structured training program to ensure I would get stronger and bigger. So I decided to run the Wendler 5-3-1 program. Granted I still wasn’t in a gym yet, so I needed a program that involved mostly heavy compounds because I only had access to a cheap 50-dollar squat rack. I trained 4 days a week, separating each main compound for each own day. As in for the bench day, I hit chest and triceps. Deadlifts would involve back and bicep work, squats would incorporate legs and calves, and last but not least overhead press would involve shoulders and traps. Though the programing was great in my situation, my offseason diet was horrendous. At the beginning of my bulk I started at 147lbs. When I finished my offseason in 5 months, I was 200lbs. I gained 50lbs in 5 months!!!! Yes I gained some strength but at what cost, I put on a TON of fat. I didn’t notice or see anything wrong with having extra weight because everyone at school was telling me how big I had gotten and how they can’t believe how I changed my body so much. It was a wonderful feeling having everyone acknowledge after being tormented several years ago for being disgusting. At the beginning of December I started my second contest prep, but this time I hired a local coach to diet me down. I worked at McDonalds during my prep, so I could pay for all my food, supplements, and monthly fees for my coach and gym. I’m not going to lie, it was a pain having to pay for all these attributes towards my physique, but it helped me in the long run. I became very responsible as well as great at managing my own income. My mother made me a deal that if I basically provided for myself, she’d allow me to compete again and maybe go. With the new schedule, I was able to go to the gym for the first time at my 17th birthday. I can’t describe how stoked I was to finally be able to have so much more equipment to work with. I was like a kid in a candy store! I would try out every single machine to see how it felt and to see if I like them. Anyways, getting off topic, my prep took around five and a half months to get me down from 200 to 163 pounds. Physically I looked much better than I did the year previous, however; mentally I was very startled. I became very irritable once I hit a certain body fat percentage. Others might say I turned into a Jackass, but honestly my body had been deprived so long and I was at such a low body fat that I didn’t have a clue on how to control myself since dieting really long for the first time. Examples might be, jokes were non-existent to me, I was very structured and would get so very irritated and mad if someone made me switch up my pattern or structure I had going before. Dieting so long for the first time had been a learning experience that I would never take back. I learned how to control myself for future contest preps/cuts.
Leading up to my first warm-up show in early June, I felt very confident in how I looked and was itching to get back on the stage. The first show was held in Tulsa Oklahoma. Coming onto stage I knew and kind of had a feeling I was going to have some stiff competition. Not only did I enter the teen’s division, but also the novice men’s. In the teen class I had one tough athlete to beat.
“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training… what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” -Socrates
The guy was a 19-year-old college student that had very similar muscle development as me. He ended up beating me, mainly due to having slight better conditioning. Size was very close, probably leaning towards me, but conditioning got me. The same kid won the overall novice division while I received 4th. Proud but not satisfied, I had to tighten up my conditioning for my last and final show in Arkansas. This last show was what I had been working on the entire past year. I dreamt of winning the teen title over and over in my head. As the final show approached, surprisingly I had many friends and family coming to the show for support. It was even more surprising when I found out my mother was bringing my brothers, some of my closest friends and also my grandparents to support me at my show. With my family and friends by my side, there was no losing any way you put the placing’s. I presented my very best the best that I could, and fortunately I was able to win Mr. Teen Arkansas. Words can’t describe how amazing I felt receiving that first place trophy in front of my friends and family. I almost started tearing up because of how happy I was. To be able to show my passion to others, especially to my family and friends was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life. To finally have my whole family and all of my friends to say they are proud of me, makes all the training and dieting so much more worth it. Yes I know people get the misconception that bodybuilding is a very introverted hobby/lifestyle, but frankly what’s more important, a ten dollar trophy or a strong healthy relationship with not just your body but with your friends and family. Soon after, I filled out an application to be on bodybuilding.com for teen transformation of the month, and what do you know! I received an email saying they wanted to publish my story and bam I was featured on bodybuilding.com. I felt very honored and privileged to have received that accomplishment, next thing you know, Ironman Magazine wanted to publish my story as well. I ended up being featured in 3 pages of the November magazine. Once I accomplished my goals of being teen Arkansas, I feel everyone started to notice me. As more and more people started to know me, the more advice and helpful information I was giving. It might sound strange, but as I gotten more of an opportunity to help others and change there lives, the more I loved to help people and make a positive impact on there life.
Since my last competition, I decided to really educate myself on proper training and nutrition. Coming out of the competition, I didn’t dirty bulk, but I did reverse diet out of my show. This means, slowly but surely adding more calories and lowering cardio overtime to ensure weight and fat gain is at a minimal. Flexible dieting was learned along with progressive overload. I really needed to take the time to build my physique the right way and build strength at a steady pace. So for the next 14 months I stayed in a steady caloric surplus gaining no more than half a pound to a pound every week, and I made sure I was getting stronger in the gym whether it was by weight, reps, or sets. Through this very long offseason, iv had the privilege to work with about ten friends/clients. So not only was I making progress for myself, but also I was helping others in the process free of charge.
“Nothing worth having in this world comes easy”
I only worked with serious and determined individuals. I trained with people who were going to push me past my limits and ultimately help me get stronger and bigger. Now through ¾ of the offseason around April, I received a message from John bbpics. I knew of John through watching Matt Ogus on YouTube. Since being a huge fan of Matt, I felt kind of honored having Bbpics wanting to set up a photoshoot. Now I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous talking to the guy. But after having the bravery to call him, the conversation went great.
The only problem or situation that was hovering, was that I really wasn’t ready to end my offseason, I wanted to keep progressing in my strength rather than lose 20lbs in a month. I was about to graduate and move to Houston to start my job at Exon, so that’s another reason why I didn’t want to rush into a cut. So being immature, I decided to ignore John and put off the photoshoot. I believe the immaturity came from being afraid and unsure about how to be professional in the fitness industry. Now I did tell John before I decided to ignore him that I would contact him once I finished my job, but that ended up being another 5 months before I actually did. I peaked at my bulk at around 215lbs, and I contacted the Bbpics when I was around 190-195lbs in the end of September. I apologized to John because I was in the wrong, but I made a vow to myself that I was going to follow through with the shoot. We connected on the phone everyday on the phone, to make sure my head was in the right direction along with him teaching me the business side of fitness. I dieted down 183lbs when I picked up the captain in Bush airport in Houston. Never in my life had I had such a huge wakeup call when I met John bbpics in person. The man has been such a huge influence on my future plans in my fitness career. Not just lessons on being successful in the fitness industry but also how to be successful in life. A whole new horizon was brought before me. Thinking back I wish I would have done the photoshoot in April, but I’m glad I ended up being a “doer”. It was such a blast shooting with my friend John! He’s very professional and shows authenticity of your body if that makes sense. No Photoshop, no perverted pictures or posing, just real fitness photography. I highly recommend John aka the “captain” to anyone that wants to be serious in his or her fitness career/journey and not just be a social media star with fake photoshopped pictures. John has ultimately changed my life for the better, and I am so blessed and thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such a professional and amazing person. You can definitely believe, that I, Alex Walsh will be working with my good friend John bbpics in the future again!
CURRENT TRAINING SPLIT
MONDAY- PUSH (CHEST, TRICEPS, SHOULDERS, ABS)
Flat Barbell Bench- 4x3
Incline Barbell Bench- 4x5
Skull Crushers- 4x8
Side Lateral Raises-4x8-12
Weighted Knee Raises-4x8-15
TUESDAY-LEGS (QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, CALVES)
Straight Leg Deadlift- 4x8-10
Seated Calf Raise- 4-5x12
Standing Calf Raise-4-5x5
WEDNESDAY-PULL (BACK, BICEP, REAR DELT, ABS)
Wide Grip Pullups-4x12
Alternating DB Curls-4x8-12
Seated Side Laterals-4x10
Tricep Rope Pushdowns-4x8-12
Seated Calf Raise- 5x12
Standing Calf Raise-5x5
FRIDAY-LEGS (HAMSTRING, QUAD, ABS)
By following the principles of Progressive overload, I am aiming to increasing the weight, rep, or set, each and every workout.
Through this training program I follow flexible dieting often known as IIFYM or if it fits your macros. I believe in the philosophy of calories in vs. calories out. As in if I’m burning more calories than I’m consuming, then ill be in a caloric deficit, which means I’m losing weight. If I’m consuming more than I’m burning, then I will be in a caloric surplus, which means weight will be gained.
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take”