The latest news and views from founder of Evolution Sam Winkworth
Friday, 20 April 2012
The "Sam Winkworth Story" You Never Knew About!
It’s taken me a long time to sum up the courage to write about this. It was a time of my life that I don’t like to think about let alone write about it and if I’m truly honest I’m really ashamed of what I did. I’m going back to the year of 2006 and it was a very dark time in my life. Only my brother and a few close friends know about what I did in the year of 2006, not even my parents know what I’m about to reveal, however I feel it’s the right time to talk about it and get it out there in the open.
It was a time of my life where I seemed to be lost? I was 26 years old, young and impressionable and I wasn’t sure where I was going with my life. I was into my 4th year working as a personal trainer at Virgin Active in Bromley. Personally my training was going well, mentally I was happy (or at least I thought I was) and I had a huge client base so business was going well but somehow for me this wasn’t enough? I felt something was missing in my life. I’ve always had a burning urge to be the best at whatever I do and it was in the year of 2006 where I REALLY started to focus ALL of my attention onto training.
I’ve always enjoyed lifting weights and I’ve always been naturally muscular (thanks to my dads genes!) but back in 2006 I was never satisfied with what I’d got, I always wanted more. Everyone would comment on how good I looked but I’d never listen to them, I always used to think they were just being nice so I made a decision back then that I wanted to take my training to the next level. I wanted to get massive and I wanted to compete as a bodybuilder.
I decided to educate myself on what it required to pack on a huge amount of muscle and what it took to compete as a bodybuilder and it was during this time that I decided to train with another bodybuilder and another trainer at virgin active who was training for his first strongman competition. My intention was to enter some bodybuilding competitions.
I started to REALLY get into the bodybuilding world. I would buy DVDs of “Mr Olympia” champions Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler to study how they’d eat and train to get their body shapes. I’d spend hundreds of pounds on bodybuilding supplements every month and Id train every day with my new bodybuilding buddies. All we’d do is talk about bodybuilding, nutrition and training programmes. I guess you could say that we were completely obsessed with it and we were quite literally living, eating and sleeping bodybuilding. When I look back on it, it seems really laughable how I was back then but at the time, that’s what I wanted.
I was starting to become a bit obsessed with it, the more I read up around the subject of bodybuilding the more it was pointing to one thing and one thing alone.
Yep, in the summer of July 2006 I decided that I would take steroids.
I’d like to say at this point that I wasn’t forced into taking them from anyone. It was completely my decision and my decision alone to take them.
It started with a really basic course which saw some pretty good gains. I didn’t really get any side effects and I had gained inches everywhere which was awesome. I would never have got these muscle gains from conventional diet and training. My squat went from 150kg to a whopping 220kg and I was comfortably lifting 115kg on my bench press. I was buzzing! “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?” I thought. “Anyone that said that steroids are bad for you clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” I convinced myself. Although the results were good, I STILL wanted more.
I decided that, after trying out a relatively mild course of steroids that I was gonna try a monster course soon after that would get phenomenal results. I would take deca, dianabol and sustanon for 6 weeks, the number one goal would be to INCREASE MUSCLE to the absolute max and boy did I pack on the muscle. In 6 weeks, I went from 13.5 stone at the start of the course to a whopping 15 stone by the end of it! Yep I’d put on a stone and a half of muscle in 6 weeks and I was a MONSTER, I wasn’t particularly lean, quite fat in fact, but I didn’t care, I was HUGE!
But it was AFTER this course when the problems with my health started.
I started to get terrible side effects due to the horrendous pressure I’d put my endocrine system under over the last 6 weeks. For those of you that don’t know, when you take steroids you’re basically injecting testosterone into your system to help the muscle grow and repair at a rapid rate to allow you train MUCH harder and longer than what you’d normally be able to naturally.
However this is synthetic testosterone, meaning the body hasn’t produced it naturally. The body is very clever. When this happens it thinks that there’s testosterone in abundance it so stops producing it naturally which obviously is a big problem when you come off it because you have zero levels of it. (Anyone that tells you that this can be sorted by taking more steroids clearly doesn’t understand how the endocrine system works, trust me I tried!). The hormones Cortisol & Estrogen then go sky high to compensate for this lack of testosterone which then leads to breakdown, which in my case was COMPLETE psychological breakdown.
I started off with severe mood swings. My girlfriend at the time and best buddy told me that I was a different person since I started taking them and didn’t really want to be around me or know me during this time. I had become more short- tempered, aggressive and my sex drive had gone through the roof to the point where it had become ridiculous!
One of the worse times in my life was when I completely lost it with my girlfriend (at the time) and completely smashed up my bedroom and pushed her down the stairs in a fit of rage. I had completely lost it. Like a wild animal. Luckily she was ok. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I’d become a monster, I didn’t recognise myself anymore? I didn’t know where to turn? All my buddies had disowned me and my girlfriend (at the time) finished with me. I don’t blame her, who would want to stick around that disgusting behaviour?
With no where to turn and my endocrine system shot to pieces, the anger soon turned to depression and despair. I had reached rock bottom. Mentally, I had reached a very dark place and didn’t know how to get out. In the space of 6 months I had gone from a healthy, happy 26 year old to a desperate, lonely, unhappy one (and a messed up one at that!)
I suppose you could call it a bit of a breakdown?
Awesome. A break down at 26 when I should have been in my prime?
That wasn’t right…
One thing I did know was that I needed to get out of this black hole. I went to see several doctors and physciatrists to help me. One diagnosed me with clinical depression and asked if I wanted to take anything for it but I wanted to get out of this without medicine. Although they all tried to help in their own way, I knew deep down that it would be me, and me alone that could only get out of this.
Life didn’t seem worth it anymore, I had contemplated suicide several times. My family tried their hardest to help me, especially my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to over dramatize how I felt but this was more than just “feeling a little bit down” as anyone that’s had depression will verify. The only way I can explain it is that it felt like I was in an empty vessel moving through a still ocean. Nothing seemed to interest me anymore? I just seemed to be… existing… without a goal, without a purpose? And just so desperately unhappy?
A horrible feeling that I hope I never have to experience again till the day I die.
After weeks and months of trying to get back into normal life, each day I slowly started to feel abit better. The depression I was in was slowly starting to lift. I was keeping busy, trying to keep my mind off what had happened and eventually, after several weeks, I felt like I was starting to climb out of my black hole that id been in.
So why am I telling you all this?
Good question, after all, why would I divulge all this stuff about me. It’s not exactly what I’d call being a role model is it! And why would I tell you that I’ve done steroids in the past? Surely, I’d want to keep that hidden away from everyone right?
Well you’d be right…up to a point. Trust me, I’m not proud of what I did back then but I guess I’m happy to share my experience with you because I wanted you to know when I reached the point when I wanted and needed to change.
It was because of THIS experience that made me want to turn over a new health leaf…
It was because of THIS experience that made me start my own journey back to health…
And, ultimately it was because of THIS experience that made me want to help people do it the right way (and not take the wrong path like I did).
This time of my life was a massive learning curve for me. I’d made a decision to take stuff that I shouldn’t have done and I paid the price massively for it. I hit rock bottom, severely compromised my health and lost everyone that I loved and cared for at the time and I knew that once I got myself back on track mentally that I’d never follow this dangerous path ever again.
The end of 2006 would be the last time I did bodybuilding.
My new goal in 2007 would be restoring health and has been for the last 5 years.
In those years I have studied with some of the world’s best health experts, I’ve read over a hundred nutrition books and my whole philosophy towards training & nutrition has changed for the better. My own personal training and diet is primarily focused around regaining health. I have now reached my natural bodyweight, I look far more athletic and toned than I did back in 2006 and my body fat levels have been low throughout. After all, a healthy body cannot carry body fat!
Don’t get me wrong! I’m still HUMAN!
I still like a pizza, I LOVE cheesecake and I do like a p*ss up every now and then just like any other person does but I guess what I’m saying is that my main goal is to eat the way mother nature intended us to as much as possible, staying away from toxic, processed and I feel sooo much better for it.
I feel in a much better place mentally now although I still have to be aware that I don’t over-do things (both with business and training). As you probably may have guessed by now that when I put my mind to something then I like to give it 100% so I can be prone to a bit of burn out as my adrenal glands aren’t as strong as they once were due to the steroids that I took.
This is when the depression can slowly start to kick in again however I guess I can recognise the warning signs now and I’ve learnt to back off a bit when this happens.
I’m sure they’ll be some people reading this who’ll be quick to judge me for what I did in which case I have no control over. I’ve already had abusive emails from what I thought were “friends” saying that I’m a fraud and telling me “how the hell can you preach health? Everyone knows you’re a steroid abuser?”
This really saddened me when I read this, particularly as we used to be friends once apon a time however I understand that people will form their opinions which is fine however I DO believe that it’s often the people who have had EXPERIENCES in life that are in the best place to help others.
After all, you can’t learn experience from a text book!
I have learnt HUGELY from my experience and if my story has given people more of an insight about me and understand WHY I’m doing what I do and inspired people to change their ways because they’re unhappy (for whatever reason) then that makes me happy. Looking back, I’m really proud of myself for beating depression and changing my ways.
I guess it comes down to this?
If you’re not happy , and you WANT to be happy then change SOMETHING!
I hope my story has inspired you and I hope you don’t judge me too much
Thank you for taking the time to reading it