Rock Fucking Bottom!!

by Phil Stevens

Like a junkie who has just raped and then stolen from his own mother to buy his next bump, and then finally seeks help, many times it takes us hitting the proverbial rock bottom to say, “Enough already! It was time for a change.”

Anyone who has followed me for any amount of time knows I have had my share rock bottoms. Over the years I first was able to transform myself from a miserable, fat, drunken, slob, to on top of the world in mind and body.

Me on the left was topping out near 315 lbs of fat, untrained, drunken slob, me on the right was less than a year later taking on and completing the green mile at the FBI training grounds in Quantico.

From there I lead myself down a dark path again to the point of being withered away in body, mind, and spirit. I starved runner bottoming out at 165lbs with a eating disorder, fucked body image, and a hormone profile of a castrated nun. I was in an even more miserable spot then I was in my initial starting slob state. From those rock bottoms however I was able to recreate myself into someone unrecognizable to my former self.

Old habits are like a bad drug, you just get sucked in and soon they take on all your being. Your only worth and mission in life is in defined. The only thing you know how to do is make yourself feel further pain from your habits. It’s a sad disgusting state and a VERY HARD one to kick.

At both of these points I had no further down to go. I had run myself to the ground. Life was not being lived, but existed. My health was shot. I questioned anything and everything I did, and worse, even things I thought of doing I questioned. There were two choice in my brain, eat a bullet, or wipe the slate clean, accept and learn from my mistakes and with fork and iron forge myself into the man I am today. I have never been one to take the easy way out so I chose the latter.

Ironically, during much of this I was preaching to others what I wouldn’t allow myself to hear. Due to my constant reading, research, and questioning of fitness and nutrition I had gained a position in the fitness industry of helping and aiding other people in their mission to reach their fitness goals in an intelligent manner. Helping them accept themselves and make wise choices. Confident choices. Pick their goals. Live an athletic and confident lifestyle.

It took awhile but it was finally a smack in the face. A smack the day I realized I was the worst piece of hypocritical bullshit I knew. I was talking the talk, but the path my feet walked wasn’t the same.

To admit and see yourself in those you help who have problems is a tough but powerful thing to do.

No regrets. I don’t believe in them. Only live, learn, and move the fuck on. I learned, and continue to learn my lessons. I’ve hit highs, and I’ve hit rock bottom, and I’ve learned from each and every step and that is what has formed me. There are two things we can take from any situation; memories and knowledge. That’s what it took to get me out of the hole, and to stay out of that’s hole for GOOD.

How you ask? Here is a short list of lessons you all can take and use in no particular order.

-ACTION

Above all if you can take one thing away from this let it be the importance of action. Take a look around, the biggest, strongest, most successful people in the world are not the ones talking about doing shit, you see them actually doing the shit others talk about.  Not a damn thing is going to happen unless you Act.

That’s what the whole of my first transformation was. I was blind. I had No clue what the hell I was doing but I did it. I woke up and just acted I trained and I ate. What happened? It worked. I made killer progress and lost 100lb in three months. I kept it simple, basic, and effective. I did what I had to do and did it every day. I learned as I went, and fed off of the progress that each day and step created. It didn’t hurt that I was landing mad women now as compared to 70-80-90 lbs ago.

-Reaction

Why did I falter then from that transformation? Reaction took over for action. I was no longer leading myself where I wanted to be, I was reacting to where I thought I should be. I was living for an image the world says you should be not who I truly wanted to be. I was over-thinking. I was in paralysis from over analysis. I was spending all my time questioning and reacting to things I felt, read, or contemplated; instead of taking a stand and acting.  Taking the time to figure out who I am and what I want, not giving a shit what other think or want me to be.

Reading, learning, thinking, and reacting are good, but they at the most need to only shortly precede further action. If you’re spending all your time learning and never putting the rubber to the road, you’re shit, you’re not actually getting anywhere as you have no real evidence that the likely B.S. your learning and preaching to others actually works in the real world. Just think about it. How does one learn most of their lessons in life? Largely from one’s actions and failures. From falling down, picking yourself up, and saying “Damn, I ain’t going to do that again.” Your actions in life follow reactions from lessons learned in life.

If a tennis player reacts to a serve it’s too late, they have lost the point. If they continue to think, they’ve lost the match. They’ve done their thinking prior. They get on the court and use those lessons and act.

-Read and Learn.

Take every chance and opportunity to make you more knowledgeable than the you of yesterday. However, if you ever start to reach a point of saturation, as I did, where the incoming messages are starting to cloud and slow your actions. Shut it off. No more reading or learning. It’s time to act. You have more than enough to shift through already; It’s time for nothing but action. Take a stand, or you’ll be stuck in a spiral of constant questioning and wheel spinning.

-Fun and Confidence.

I only write the now as you cant have either one of these if you are living in a constant state of reaction. Other than that these two are top dog in your quest to transforming yourself into the you, you want to be. The great thing is both of these breed and bring forth more of the other one. Meaning the minute you gain confidence, you will find without even trying your having more real fun and vice versa. The more of each you get, it’s all that much easier to have more of it. Take every chance you have to have fun. If something is Fun, Do it again. Build on that. Build on that and confidence will follow. A life of fun and confidence, compared to a life of existing and living on someone else’s terms is a beautiful thing. Anything is then possible.

In the same turn the opposite is true and almost more so. If something truly SUCKS, and your not just being a pussy and doing something you need to, then STOP IT. Don’t do it again. It does the same thing, and has the same power as fun and confidence. It sucks you in. The more you live in a state of misery, deprivation, and depression the worse it will get. Misery loves company.

Sadly, for some reason people seem to repeat this much more. We have some odd attraction to pain. Exercisers, they jump on a treadmill or a machine and say, man that really sucked. That hurt. That kick my ass I feel like hell, But, if I keep doing it someday it’s not going to suck as bad.

-What the hell are we thinking??

I’m sorry I’m not living this short life to waste it doing something that sucks to make it something that doesn’t suck so bad.

I’m hear to kick ass, live life, and have a blast doing it at things I enjoy. To surround myself with people of like goals and drive and slide into my grave when my time is done beat, battered, and with a smile on my face that reads FUCK YEAH, I did that shit up right.

Now I’m not saying your not going to have hard times, and times when you’re going to have to reach down your pants, grab your balls, and say “Do you have what it takes to make this shit happen.” You will any goal worth going after is going to demand years of hard work and dedication, blood, sweat and tears. However if those goals are truly something your passionate about, then it is that fight, and that struggle that is the fun, that you look forward to and that build the confidence and proves your living life on your terms not existing on another’s.

-Get off the suck mobile.

Have fun and don’t feel bad about it. It should be fun. Life’s not supposed to suck. Do some shit just for you and because you want it, to hell with what others think this is your goal. Were not supposed to go through life facing things we hate day in day out. Find what you love and do it and be happy about it. If you like jogging (god help us) do that shit, by all means run like the wind my brother. You’ll excel at it for the simple fact you like what you’re doing and your confident in doing it and need no one else’s permission.

That’s it. For now I could go on forever

Stop the deprivation. Stop the struggle. Stop kicking your own ass, and start kicking some ass and have some fun living life.

My first 7 plate deadlift

Become an athlete. We all have the ability, and it can be applied to any goal. Being an athlete is a mind set. It’s something we choose to be, not something we earn. Awards and accomplishments are what you get for first being an athlete, not the other way around.


Phil Stevens, while attaining both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in studio art found another passion, that of training and nutrition. A constant “student” of the game, his real-world under-the-barbell and behind-the-fork approach has led to many opportunities, experiences, and life changes amongst his clients.

Over his career, Phil has competed and excelled in light and middle weight strongman competitions before taking up Powerlifting. Currently, you can find him competing in Highland games. Phil has been a large player in the coaching field; for 5 years he worked as a forum moderator and coach on one of the largest internet forums which led to his position as head coach under Charles Staley at Staley Training for nearly three years before venturing out on his own. His writings have been published in Muscle and Fitness Magazine, Staley Training, CasePerformance, and more. Phil is also the North American Highlander state chair and founder of Lift4hope.org, a strength based charity organization.

His current personal fitness goals are to build upon his already impressive “raw” powerlifting career which has seen him set National APF Raw records in the bench, squat, deadlift and total. Phil won the 2007 APA Single Lift Raw Worlds 242 lb division in the deadlift. He has been ranked in the “Top 10” in the deadlift nationally across all powerlifting federations (both raw and equipped). Phil’s best to dates is his 725-pound raw beltless deadlift, performed on February 14, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona which is no small feat considering Phil did it on essentially one leg and another that is duct taped back on. Now pulling 700lbs as an easy opener he has his eyes set on pulling a 800lb raw beltless deadlift. He is also a new force to Highland games where he has quickly progressed through the ranks. As of October 2010, Phil competes in the A class with a goal of going professional soon.

Phil is known by many as the guy who always bounces back and “can’t be kept down.” As a child, his hip was shattered in 16 places and femoral artery severed after getting crushed by a utility truck, later biceps tendon tears, Rotator cuff injuries, none of them will keep him down. Fast forward 21 years and Phil won his first major accomplishment – single lift worlds in the deadlift. Despite suffering from chronic pain related to this childhood injury, Phil manages to still get things done.

Phil has underwent many body transformations himself. He was morbidly obese as a teen and early 20’s. After embracing fitness and nutrition, he went from a 315 lbs to 215 lbs in three month. At his lowest he was 165 lbs and an avid runner. He then took up physique training and spent several years weighing between 200-220 lbs at low body fat before setting his sights on strength sports (strongman, powerlifting, Highland games). It’s this diverse background that Phil’s clients love about him. No matter where they are coming from, he has likely lived it or something worse.

Over the past years he has trained everyone from distance runners to fitness competitors, triathletes, to powerlifters. These athletes have included many regional, national, and world champion athletes. Many of his athletes have set records in their specific sport at both the national and world level of competition.

Look for Phil to be a regular contributor to StrengthVillain.com.

Last but not least Phil can help you with all your print and promotion needs from shirts to hats, DVD’s to business forms, magazines, and office supplies. Phil has taken the head role in his family business Marketing Promotions Inc. Juts drop him a line to personally quote anything you might need.

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17 Responses

  1. That one gets you going. Don’t talk the talk walk the walk. Thanks for the write, it was awesome.

    November 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm

  2. Paul Sousa

    “There were two choice in my brian, eat a bullet, or wipe the slate clean, accept and learn from my mistakes and with fork and iron forge myself into the man I am today. I have never been one to take the easy way out so I chose the former.”

    I think you meant you chose the latter…

    November 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

  3. b.ibarra

    This really hits home for me. I’m on the fight back down to a reasonable weight from the 300+ zone. Down to 235 so far and loving every minute of it. I’m the same size now as I was in high school & feel just as good.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:15 am

  4. Thanks Phil. Love the honesty and rawness this.

    November 11, 2010 at 7:19 am

  5. Rabid27

    Right on Bro! I train to keep the demons at bay and to be healthy. I was down to about 170 just a month ago and have put on 15 since.

    November 12, 2010 at 2:40 am

  6. keith

    FINALLY! A REAL post from someone who knows what its like to go up and down and all around the weight loss – strength gain yo-yo and end up on top. Thanks for posting this!

    November 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

  7. Tyler "Melee" Minton

    Man, that was great! I myself suffered from an eating disorder at one point (Bulimia Nervosa). It was spawned by a lack of self confidence as well as the constant demand to make weight as a wrestler. Its hard to find people (especially men) who are willing to talk about such a sensitive issue. Thanks for the honest brother!

    November 12, 2010 at 11:41 pm

  8. your welcome all and you are correct Tyler it is. I have written about it more and have some stuff that’s actually needs revisited and re written. might get more of that out here in the future.

    It’s good to have a place where I can write what I have to say and not censor it like many other venues I write or have written for, just let the shit spill

    November 15, 2010 at 11:42 pm

  9. KittyMcTaco

    Phil – great fucking shit. Great Read. I love when people write how they talk…no bullshit. Thanks!

    Tyler, I agree – It is a story like this that helps people to realize what they are looking at each day in the mirror, how rock bottom doesn’t discriminate and how god fucking awful it is.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:35 am

  10. forrest

    great article…thanks for the advice and honesty

    November 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm

  11. Butch White

    Phil: This article hit home with me and motivated me to start living free of tobacco on 11/14/10. I have dipped Copenhagen since I was 17 (that’s about 30 years of dipping) and said “fuck it – I am tired of being owned by this shit.” It hasn’t been easy but I’ve printed this piece and have been reading it when I need a reminder about why I gave the shit up. Thank you for the wake up call.

    November 24, 2010 at 1:39 am

  12. Scott Beall

    Read your this inspirational article yesterday. And today I flipped through an old Muscle and Fitness. Saw you featured on a weight loss article. Pretty cool.

    November 24, 2010 at 10:05 am

    • Thanks Scott, the sun seems to shine even on a dogs ass from time to time (Me), sorry for the delayed reply life has been insane

      January 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

  13. KittyMcTaco

    Hell yeah…good for you Butch!

    November 27, 2010 at 3:12 am

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