Paul O'Brien - Founder of Isometric-Training.com Fitness Log
by Paul J.O'Brien
Before - Front - Oct 10th 2009
Welcome to the Fitness Log of Paul J.O’Brien
In order to fully explain where I am now, it’s important to understand where I’ve been. With that in mind the first 12 weeks or so of entries will cover my journey from fat to fit, using the methods that would later become Project Dragon. In this log you’ll get to see behind the scenes of where I was, how I lived and what I did to go from fat to really fit in just 6 weeks, and from there to lean and muscular once more. Once that’s over I’ll bring you up to speed on where I am now, but you can always check out the Isometric-Training Facebook page for more details on that.
You’ll also see in my fitness logs the NEVER before released video footage I took every week, monitoring my weigh-ins and calliper tests, along with my summary of the week’s events.
So let’s get started…
Start Date: October 10th 2009
• 27 yrs
• 25% Body Fat
• 47.5 lbs Fat Mass
• 41 inch waist
I was fat. I never thought I’d be in this place again, but it was so much worse. I was 20lbs fatter than I was at my previous corpulent level. How did this happen? What had happened to my muscle, what had happened to my fitness? I can’t tell you how bad it felt being overweight, fat, heavy, weak and tired. I don’t think I ever felt worse about myself than I did at that point. But I knew how this had happened….I’d done it to myself and I’d done it on purpose.
The sound was deafening. A loud snap, like a crack of thunder, followed by 2 more in quick succession. Then there was the scream. Like nothing I’d ever heard before and I was shocked to realize it had come from me. Then there were pounding steps, blackness and then nothing.
I awoke feeling the clammy, cold sweat on my skin.
Confused I tried to figure of what was going on, why was my brother here, what was he staring at? Then it hit me, a wave of excruciating pain and the sound rushed in to the room, and I realized what had happened.
While attempting a test of my leg strength, pressing over 2,850 lbs, a safety mechanism on the equipment I was using failed. A chain snapped and flew in to my left shin, shattering my tibia in three places. A weight plate crashed into that same leg. My body, unable to cope with the excruciating agony did the only sensible thing it could – I passed out.
Unable to walk, unable to train this was a terribly frustrating period for a fitness instructor and personal trainer as I’m sure you can imagine, so I decided to take advantage of this accident and turn it to my advantage. For the last year I’d been working on refining my fitness programs. Spending countless hours researching medical journals, physiology texts and more in the quest for an even more efficient system of training than the incredible isometric system I was currently using.
I’m a big believer in Isometrics, in fact, that’s the only way I train anymore. However, as I discovered while many people produced extremely impressive results using the Perfect Body Program I devised, there were some few who did not. This did not sit well with me. It took me over a year and a training session with a world record holder in the Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift for me to realize what the problem was. And in finding out the component missing from that led to those who did not great brilliant results with Perfect Body (they still built muscle, just not as quickly as I wanted), I discovered how to super charge the results for my advance trainees, and thus Project Dragon was born.
While training with this exceptionally strong athlete – I was explaining the nature of isometrics and decided to demonstrate this on a bench press. I racked up her personal best, her record lift and placed it in my strongest range. Now, this kind of sounds like the Matrix but bear with me - I did not, when going to press this incredible weight think about pushing the bar up.
Instead I focused on contracting the muscles of my chest, my pectorals. I simply isolated and contracted the muscle, and I focused on contracting and pulling my triceps tense. I focused on isometircly contracting the muscle and to get them to that position the muscles pulled the joints in to the right position, my arms strengthened thanks to the triceps and the chest muscles pulled the elbow closer to my chest. Viola, the impossible to move bar moved and shot up effortlessly.
This was a common thing for me and for my clients so I thought nothing of it. She on the other hand was shocked.
Moments later I was shocked when she attempted the same feat and could not move it. At all.
And it dawned on me – despite the fact that this woman can press enormous weight, she couldn’t actually contract her muscles correctly. It’s like being able to sing a beautiful ballad in Italian or Japanese without knowing a damn word of the language. You can learn and sing the song, but you can’t say something as basic as hello.
And so it dawned on me – people don’t know how to contract their muscles voluntarily. Those that can isolate and contract their muscles achieve excellent results – those that can’t achieve only the standard.
The second problem I faced was that of my advanced trainees. Those that followed Perfect Body to the letter and had made dramatic changes to their physique and strength, but wanted to go beyond this, they wanted to test themselves and improve more.
I realized the solution was one and the same.
In the same way I developed a progressive cardiovascular system and achieved phenomenal results in terms of re-education of the body’s energy systems, heart and lungs, I could apply the very same principal to the development of phenomenal strength and rapid muscle development.
But I needed a test subject first. So having shattered my leg, unable to exercise I made a decision. I would put this new system and my theories to the test and rebuild myself from the ground up. I would prove to everyone the system would work, by testing it on myself.
To truly show the world exactly how powerful this system could be though, I’d need to do something I thought I would never do again. I was going to need to get fat.
I’ve been overweight before, I didn’t like it. I felt tired, weak, lethargic, unmotivated, and slow and had a constant weariness in both mind and body. I’m not used to that anymore. I am used to feeling light fit, fast vital, youthful energized, motivated and pretty much bordering on the magnificent. Having a busted leg is bad enough but I knew eating crap food and not exercising would make me feel even worse.
I spent 6 months eating Pizzas, Chinese, Ice Cream, chocolate, donuts and other crap. The result was terrible. I felt terrible. Headaches, fuzziness, mouth ulcers, stomach upsets and a host of digestive complaints. I developed low back pain, and my knees started to ache. This totally sucked. What’s worse was I was actually having a hard time putting on FAT. Many of you will be cursing me for this but it’s an important point and I want to make this clear.
The isometric workouts I had been doing made my body run very efficiently – it did not want to store body fat.
As a result it took me 6 months to add 30lbs of fat on to my frame. (On the upside I retained most of my muscle mass, despite the fact I had done 0 training in 6 months).
On October 10th 2009 I couldn’t hack it anymore. I couldn’t keep poisoning myself with such poor food. I was 190lbs, the FATEST I had EVER BEEN at 25% body fat. I was sporting a HUGE GUT – at 41 inches, and had significantly increased my likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke. You can see how fat I was above.