Meet Eric Barshinger.
Eric and I went to the same high school and I was a few grade above him. Back then he had jet black hair and looked like a young frail Sirius Snape.
The only reason I knew him was because he was some Halo prodigy. We would team up at Halo 3 (still, by far, the greatest xbox game) and kick the everlivingshit out of kids.
Apparently, Eric decided to put down the controller and hit the weights. He just got done competing at the Europa Expo for men's physique. I decided it would be interesting to interview him on his incredible transformation.
(Quick note before we begin. I purposefully did not ask Eric about steroid usage even though it is prevalent at physique/bodybuilding competitions. Reason being is either he is- A. Using steroids and should not be talking about it on the Internet. B. Not using steroids and then there is no point in asking. C. Will lie about using steroids and make the article pointless. None of these are good outcomes for anyone. Steroids or not, I think we can all agree it is a RIDICULOUS transformation)
Favorite Lift: Incline Dumbbell Press – Video
Alex Nerney: So Eric, before we get started, what do you want everyone to know about yourself?
Eric Barshinger: Hey guys, I’m Eric. I just want to tell my story and give some hope to all the skinny bros out there and show that it is possible to turn your life around and gain some size.
So, what happened dude? What caused you to start lifting weights?
I was playing 8 hours of halo a day and I was even self-conscious about wearing short sleeve shirts. I had no confidence and was insanely skinny. There were no girls in my life and it just felt like I was wasting my life away.
Was there a defining moment that solidified the need for a change?
My sister's friend one day came over and made a few comments on the amount of video games me and my friends were playing. How what we were doing was not productive and pretty lame. That moment became a defining day in my life to put down the controller and focus on living a better life.
Ok, then what's your motivation? Girls?
Well, that's what it started out being. I have no problem admitting that. Only later on though I found the gym to be something that meant much more in my life. It became my home away from home where I could relax and get away. Now it's my favorite part of the day. I want to see what I can do and what my body is capable of.
With your diet, what do you do specifically?
I did the typical macronutrient and calorie calculation. While bulking, I was shooting for 35% protein, 45% carbohydrates, and 20% fat at 3,600 calories a day. During my bulk I was eating lots of chicken breast, whole wheat PB&J's, rice, and ground beef. I also use intermittent fasting when bulking (Article coming soon, I SWEAR IT) and eat in an 8-hour window everyday. While cutting and during contest prep I was eating at a 600-1000 caloric deficient from maintenance and the only foods I was consuming were tilapia, chicken breasts, salmon, green veggies, and a little brown rice for some carb cycling. My contest prep was a crazy diet and not for the faint of heart.
When you workout what do you do?
I use a 5 day split program with 1 day off, then repeat.
Day 1 – Shoulder and Traps
Day 2 – Arms
Day 3 – Back and Traps
Day 4 – Chest
Day 5 – Legs
Day 6 – Rest
(I do traps twice a week because they need a lot of work)
So, lets talk about motivation. A lot of people struggle with motivation and when something goes wrong (have a bad day or a bad meal), they fall off. People always get excited about going to gym, but what has kept you there?
Most people don't “like” exercising. For me it's the complete opposite. The gym time is my time. I hate to say it, but it is almost like meditation. You have got to find something you love doing if you are going to stick with it and see results. The only time I have had motivation issues is because I had a surgery two years ago and got out of my rhythm. It's just as important to keep a steady rhythm as it is about liking what you're doing.
If all else fails just take a pre-workout. It will force you into the gym or you're going to have a bad time.
What about music in the gym, what do you think about it and what do you listen to?
I love music and by far my favorite artist for working out is Papa Roach. Other than that, anything fast paced like rock, hip-hop, or electronic seems to help.
My two favorite songs are: “To be loved” and “Leave the Lights On – Krot Remix”
Also, on occasion I just turn on the Youtube Zyzz playlist and listen to that.
What supplements do you take?
I like to keep it simple:
Pre-Workout: I will alternate between Craze, Jack3d (the original formula), and Noxipro.
Whey: Dymatize Elite (post workout)
I have also used natural test boosters before and creatine.
Do you drink?
Yeah, not as much this summer. I just turned 21 and it seems to have lost its allure. I think we can all agree sneaking into places is a lot more fun because of the danger aspect. I also stopped to get ready for the Europa competition. When I do drink, it's like every college student, loads of shitty party beer.
How's life different with women?
It's the completely opposite from where I was 4 years ago. I get a lot more attention and I think that's a result of the confidence I have gained. Seriously night and day.
Do you do a cheat meal?
Once a week on Sundays with some occasional splurges.
Any favorite lifters?
Jaco De Bruyn, Zyzz, and, naturally, Arnold.
Do you workout by yourself or with a partner?
Mostly by myself these days, but I used to workout with my old roommate. He's my best friend and he actually came in 3rd for the Men's Physique Class D at Europa this weekend. His name is Brent Harris and I promised to give him a shout out on here.
Any last thoughts?
Changing your body is a marathon, not a race. Stick with it and the changes will come with time. It IS worth it and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve with a little willpower and dedication.
Hope you guys enjoyed it. If you or a friend has a transformation story you would like to feature on here, feel free to shoot me an email via the contact form on my website: www.alexnerney.com
See you next week, bros,
Alex Nerney — Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition specialist, Lord of BroScience.