In 2021, YouTuber Brendan Jones underwent a body transformation challenge which saw him get ripped – maybe even in the best shape of his life, losing weight and packing on muscle. However, while he was thrilled to begin with by what he had achieved, Jones details in a new video how the process affected the way he thought about his body and training, causing him to pursue increasingly unrealistic standards.
“It seemed intuitive that if I felt this good about the progress I had made, I would only continue to look and feel better if I continued to work hard and see improvement,” he says. “But what actually happened led me to feel the worst I have in a long time about how I looked, completely stagnate in my training, and for the first time ever, seriously consider taking performance-enhancing drugs.”
Jones explains that after his initial transformation, which he says got him “90 percent” to where he wanted to be, he set himself the goal of getting under 12 percent body fat and absolutely shredding his six-pack. However, those rapid results he had seen in his earlier training got slower and slower, leading to him hyper-fixating on specific “problem” areas like his lower abs, where he was struggling to shed belly fat. Each time he hit a new plateau, he would decrease his daily calorie intake and increase his training, and cutting out cheat meals.
“[I was] shifting my attention away from everything I was happy with and zeroing in on these one or two places I still wanted to improve,” he says. “Trying to get shredded shifted my focus away from all the things I liked about myself and turned those areas into a moving target that I never felt like I was actually hitting.”
Despite training six days per week and being on his most restrictive diet to date, Jones couldn’t seem to lose that specific pocket of body fat, which made the entire process more frustrating. Additionally, his continued weight loss had begun to negatively impact his strength, endurance, and overall health. But it wasn’t until he started to think about taking unregulated performance-enhancing drugs that he realized just how far his perspective had drifted away from his primary goal of maintaining healthy habits.
“Rather than striving to achieve a constantly shredded look, I’ve realised I’m much happier trying to stay in a 13 to 15 percent body fat range where I feel stronger and have more energy that I can put into other goals that have helped me get back to a place where I feel excited about training and am satisfied by the experience,” he says. “And that’s ultimately where I want to be.”
By Philip Ellis
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
This article was first published on Men’s Health US.