A humble start
I will take you all the way back. From the very beginning.
This is me at the age of 4 I believe.
Yep, that’s me. The only kid that is not looking at the camera. A true 1%-er from a very young age.
Never doing what I’m told.
And that’s what follows after the photographers’ command: “Look at the camera and smile”.
I was always the “black sheep”, the one punished in the corner. The one teachers were yelling at.
It wasn’t a good start. I felt shame and confusion.
So I quickly became the kid who was doing his own thing all the time.
But it was sporting a huge complex, the feeling of not measuring up to the standards.
Not ideal for the self-esteem of a kid.
It got worse.
Apparently, I had concentration problems as well. My attention span was like I’m sugar high all the time.
I wouldn’t listen, therefore, I wouldn’t learn as quick as the other kids.
This lead to me being home-schooled for 2 years.
I would wake up to my grandmas regular “good morning” question “How much is 5×7”.
While the other kids were outside playing, I’d stay home “catching up” with homework.
Well, it is what it is I thought.
But that couldn’t take away from the fact that I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and just disappear.
I ended up talking less and less…
…and by the time I started school again, I wouldn’t open my mouth.
I was the good kid who carefully listened, at class and did everything as supposed to.
The truth is I was just scared…scared not to be left behind. Again!
This allowed me to finally fit in.
I found my sweet spot, I had friends, I was hanging out with them, I was just like everybody else, a normal kid for once.
Except for one thing. Mother Nature—or the Powers That Be—weren’t finished screwing with Lil’ me.
Imagine the skinniest person you know. Well.. I was skinnier. And I’m not talking just skinny, I was sick skinny.
Kids would often tease me that the wind could blow me away. They would bully me, and they were probably right, couldn’t blame them. I was skinny.
So here we go once again, self-esteem boost at its finest.
I thought it doesn’t get any worse than that.
I’m already among the “misfits”.
But then again…..
We had to enroll in a PE (Physical Education class). And in order to pass, we had to cover a strength test. It was 15 push-ups and 5 pull-ups.
I remember this like it was yesterday. One of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
Skinnier kids are supposed to be good at these things right? Well, not me.
I was so bad at doing push-ups that the teacher thought I was screwing around. No one could possibly be THAT bad.
But then, what can only be described as a miracle, I finished middle school without failing. The teacher gave me a little slack with the pull-ups because after 4 months of relentless attempts I was able to do the stunning, half a pull-up with a jump.
Thanks for the compassion, devil of a teacher, whos name I don’t recall.
I was finally free. NO more PE classes.
And I’m thrown into the open.
15-year kid getting into puberty with self-esteem lower than freshly mowed grass.
I had to face new challenges.
New school, new friends…
Probably, that was the new beginning I needed.
Have you had the feeling that, somehow—perhaps by dumb luck, magic, or whatever super power is at play—everything is going to fall into place?
The first day of high school.
Headed to class, ready for a fresh start, filled with hopes, dreams, and positivity.
Went well, no remarks on how skinny I was.
I even found couple other fellas who looked alike.
So we formed the nerd union where the main topic of discussion was World of Warcraft.
For those of you who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, this is a computer game that I was sucked into.
It was something that I was finally good at.
And when you are good at something you spend more time on it, it’s our natural instinct.
That’s the reason it’s so hard for us to go out of our comfort zone and try new things. We are not good at them as we start, so we quickly get discouraged.
So how did I get good at that computer game?
I’d spend the bare minimum of 12 hours a day glued to the screen.
I’d barely sleep, eat or do pretty much anything outside of the virtual world.
I was an addict.
And the story I will share down below is a proof of that.
And mom if you are reading this, I’m sorry.
So she (my mother) left for work at 08:30 in the morning- so I would pretend to leave for school, and then sneak back inside to play for the rest of the day… and night. As much as I could.
She’d get back home around 7 pm and I would tell her I was doing my homework until just now.
I simply couldn’t get enough of the game.
I was good at it, nobody was threatening me there, teasing me…
I was on top of the world, the little world which I’ve built for myself.
But what made my daily routine even more ridiculous? My diet.
As you’ve probably guessed, nutrition was an unknown mythical word for me back then.
I lived off of soda and energy drinks to stay awake and be in the virtual world “forever”.
Food preparation (even sandwiches) meant taking time away from playing, so it was out of the question.
What I saw as the most viable option to “fuel” myself with were potato chips and sweets.
2 and a half years into it and here are the results.
My diet killed my motivation and made me feel sluggish. I would avoid any activities that required effort.
I even developed a posture imbalance that I’m still trying to fix to this date.
But I learned my first lesson.
Which I’ve applied to almost every area of my life that I wanted to excel at.
If you put enough time into something you will eventually become good at it.
180 – degree turn but not quite
It was around that time I realized it was time for a major change in my lifestyle.
It was time to take care of my health.
Which back then meant putting on some muscle.
Don’t blame me, that’s what’s going through the mind of 15-year old.
So what do I do when I want to put on muscle?
I had no clue back then, so I reached out to my friend Daniel who was a soccer player.
He also went to the gym couple times a week and that was a great opportunity for me to join him and “soak in” some of his knowledge.
I’ve had him share some of the insights and after a brief conversation, my ego had a spark to develop a healthier physique.
I Still Remember The Day It All Began, As Clear As If It Just Happened Yesterday. Some Things You Just Never Forget
June 27th of 2009
I’ve marched into the neighborhood gym, not knowing what to expect but strangely I felt awesome about it. In fact, I was looking forward to it.
I touched a weight for the first time in my life.
Daniel had me do a quick “introduction” workout.
Wasn’t too bad, not as scary as thought. Except the fact that I used the lightest weights possible, I thought I did okay.
Definitely better than the PE class.
We repeated the same thing the following day and the day after that.
And about two weeks in,
my motivation started to slowly fade away, so I’d find an excuse on every possible occasion not to go to the gym.
The problem I faced was performing the exercises with a horrible form exposing myself to a risk of injuries.
Therefore, I didn’t get visible results.
And I quit.
Two weeks of “rigorous” training, and I threw in the towel.
Right when I quit, though,
I was introduced to another chapter of the teen’s life.
Drinking and partying.
I was a testosterone-fueled 17 years old which wanted badly to be like everybody else and “fit in”.
So what is a better occasion than to grab a drink with “the bros” and do bar hopping.
I started getting intoxicated a few nights a week at house parties and disco clubs. That combined with the gaming diet wrecked havoc of my health.
I haven’t felt worse.
Then I got re-introduced to the gym again.
Everybody else was chasing “the pump” during the after-school hours so I’d follow the trend and join them.
It was either gym or bust.
I started working out a couple of times a week, nothing serious. A little biceps and chest, few crunches, chatting with my friends, and I would mark “another killer workout” in my calendar.
But then that magic I was talking about earlier happened! Remember?
“perhaps by dumb luck, magic, or whatever super power is at play—everything is going to fall into place?”
I’ve met the personal trainer Georgi.
My mentor, my coach, my savior.
Under his guidance, I revised the poor decisions I was making as far as training and nutrition go.
I started trying various training styles with his help (calisthenics, barbells, free weights, running and even basketball).
3 months in.
I started getting compliments on how my physique was changing for the better.
This pivotal moment helped me shape my future and pushed me to become a personal trainer.
NOT so FAST, though.
I had other things to take care of first.
I had to choose what I want to study.
I really wasn’t the poster child for academia but my parents wanted me to go to college!
It was a MUST do.
And I did, I’ve sent a bunch of application (15+) to which I got approved in only a handful universities and to be more precise, I’ve got approval from only 2 schools.
“Could’ve been worse” I kept telling myself
That’s how I ended up studying Economy.
Definitely not a thing that I was passionate about at the time.
I was studying fictitiously.
Even though I was supposed to be reading economy reports, thick books and find my way around numbers, I’ve spent all that time reading about fitness and nutrition.
That was my passion.
I’ve studied just enough to pass the university exams but all the extra time I had I’ve spent learning about the human body and how it works.
Not only physically but also psychologically.
Year one in school.
I had the whole summer at my expense with no plans.
I had no intention of leaving behind the health habits I’ve developed so I enrolled in a summer work and travel program in the USA where I was a lifeguard.
The perfect way to mix work with pleasure.
Soaking up some sun and getting paid for it.
Doesn’t get any better than that.
The dream job.
Well, that’s what they’ve told me in the agency but nobody told me how boring it can be.
I thought lifeguard is an “action” job, I had something like “Baywatch” in my mind.
But this couldn’t be further away from the reality.
I looked something like this.
I had an entire week where nobody showed up at the pool. 55 hours to be more precise.
Plenty of time to think, read and pray for “rainy clouds” so I could go home.
And that’s when it finally hit me.
It was time for me to act upon my decision to become a personal trainer.
And armed with positivity I enrolled for a PT class the very next day.
Day and night I would read the materials I’ve been sent.
And after 6 months of studying, I was proud to say I’m a “Certified personal trainer” ready to conquer the fitness world and help as many people as I could.
Unfortunately, when applying for a job as a Personal trainer I didn’t quite look like a proper fit for any of the gyms.
More than 100 applications. Nothing. Nada.
20 old skinny guy, with no experience, athletic background or anything to prove he is fit for the job.
I had to find something else.
I’ve had to put my dream on hold.
So that’s what I did. I entered the reality of getting looser job after looser job.
Store clerk, buss boy (I even got promoted to a server) damn I was good at wiping tables.
Started right at the bottom of the career shit pile.
Another year rolled over.
Nothing has changed.
I kept going to the gym couple of times a week training as hard as I could while working 12-14 hours a day.
Summer was in front and I believe that each person only gets a small finite number of true opportunities presented to them in a lifetime.
That was my “backdoor” to escape the burdens of my current reality.
That’s the difference here The 99% float through life oblivious to the handful of true opportunities presented to them.
They keep doing the same thing over and over again, not going out of their comfort zones.
Simeon version 2.0 (& John)
I enrolled for a work and travel program again.
I already knew that lifeguarding job wasn’t as demanding physically so I would be able to devote a lot of my time to something that I was passionate about – fitness.
And to make it even more interesting I challenged myself.
Wasn’t an easy decision to make.
Took a lot of guts to do it.
I signed up for a physique fitness competition and I had 90 days to prepare for it.
I would jump from one program to another, I would constantly try the “new method” for building a lean aesthetic physique.
I’ve had some results but nothing meaningful that would match the efforts I’ve put in.
And by no means, I was ready to be competing.
True opportunities come with a huge risk.
And it takes a special kinda of stupid to risk everything on some crazy unknown.
I did it anyway.
And that’s when I decided to devote myself a 100% to a plan and stick to it.
That’s the plan I religiously followed, day in and day out.
It was hard, damn hard.
6 meals a day.
Took a whole lot out of my day. But instead of quitting I felt more motivated than ever.
I even kept a food and training log where I would put everything I’d eat throughout the day and the weights I used during the workouts.
93 days. I didn’t skip a single day.
Finally, it was the show day. I felt drained. No energy, no strength.
Though I looked better than ever before.
It all has paid off.
And that’s how I stepped on stage for the first time in my life, with only 3 months preparation.
Couldn’t place among the top competitors.
5th place is all I got.
I didn’t see it as a failure.
I’ve learned a whole lot about execution and mindset.
That’s what’s been missing from the picture thus far.
Until that point,
I was always on the look out for the “easy way”, for the magic pill and routine.
But unfortunately there Is no such thing.
The sooner you realize it the better.
Simeon Krastev version 3.0 (&Tim)
This is when I assumed the role of Tim.
(I kicked being a John to the sidewalk.)
Like John, Tim basically represents a core set of behavioral traits that dictates how focus and action are applied to building a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
The difference is like night or day.
White or black.
This or that.
The one is nothing like the other. Not even close. Not even on the same planet.
So far so good but…
I still didn’t have a job as a personal trainer.
And it took me several months of interviews to finally land an interview for my dream job.
November 19th, 2012, just a day before my birthday.
A boutique gym in the heart of Sofia had me as their newest trainer.
I was the luckiest man alive.
And NOT only I was working in one of best gyms in Sofia but I also had really experienced mentors helping me out.
I was like a “mushroom”, soaking in as much knowledge as I could.
Peter and Dimitar, both amazing coaches, taught me a whole lot about functional training, corrective exercises, postural and muscle imbalances.
I started applying this to myself and my clients.
And I was finally able to fix my “game addict” posture.
But it didn’t stop there. I wanted to know everything and pass on that knowledge to as many people as possible.
I soon started working in a second facility (Trinity Sports Center) and writing a monthly column for a popular health and wellness blogs.
Why so serious? You’ve got the dream job.
There I met other two amazing coaches, soon to be doctor Ivelina Kirilova, European powerlifting champion with 15 years of experience under her belt and a member of the Bulgarian Bodybuilding Federation Georgi Dobrinov.
I kept soaking in knowledge, applying what I’ve learned and spreading that information.
This allowed me to quickly fill up my schedule.
I was doing something I LOVED but,
I didn’t have any spare time.
Monday through Sunday I would work from 7 am to 9 pm.
I got burned out.
I had to find a way to work smarter not harder.
My journey continued to crack the busy lifestyle health code.
Most of my clients were busy executives so that’s where my focus was.
Helping them achieve and sustain long-lasting health results in the fast-paced business world.
I wanted to be able to reach more busy people with my message and help them feel good in their skin while succeeding in the business world.
And that’s how www.simeonkrastevfitness.com was born.
With the only goal in mind to spread this framework.
- & RESULTS
You can’t skip steps 1-4.
I’ve tried it doesn’t work.
If you follow these steps, focus shifts from fooling yourself that you’re doing important work, when you’re actually just spinning your wheels doing non-critical minutiae.
That’s how it all started for me.
That’s basically my journey from initially operating like a John, to finally “upgrading” my thinking and behavior to that of a Tim.
THE 1% online coaching is a premium service where I offer help the 99%, the majority, to become 1%-ers. feeling and looking great!
… and for the ones who are already successful to get even better at sustaining their healthy lifestyle on their terms, as they go off into the sunset creating and spending quality time with their loved ones.
Today, I live in Hong Kong and help busy guys get in incredible shape and maintain it with ease year round.
Yours truly Simeon