Posted by on Sep 10, 2012

Member Spotlight

For this week’s Member Spotlight we bring you Hilby, an athlete who came back from a devastating injury. Told he’d never walk again, Hilby now deadlifts over 400 pounds. If you have a member you’d like to nominate for a Weekly Member Spotlight, contact users lexyloowho or xJenx or simply email

Username and level
Hilby, level 36

How did you get started in fitness and training Do you have any pics to share ?
In the summer of 2010 I shattered my heelbones and I lost a lot of weight and muscle in the months that followed, due to sitting in a wheelchair for a long time, having multiple surgeries and a nasty infection that dragged on for months. In the spring of 2011 I was able to walk again (though quite wobbly) and I decided to go to the gym consistently, in order to regain some weight. I started out with a horrible machine-based bro routine that got me some muscle, but nothing really impressive. In September 2011 I joined a real gym that actually had a squat rack, benches and olympic bars and I suddenly made a lot of gains. I’ve been addicted to lifting heavy ever since.

This was my first ever ‘progress pic’ I took:

In 2012 I bulked up to about 76.5kg (176lbs) until April and started my first cut, currently sitting at just under 70kg (154lbs) and looking like this (beginning of July):

Pics of my progress so far can be found in this album

How did you find the site? How has it changed your workouts?
I found the site right around the time I actually joined the above mentioned ‘real gym’. At that time there was a big influx of users from /fit/, amongst which yours truly.

Fitocracy definitely helped me bring more structure and consistency in my workouts and also push myself harder, since more people are ‘watching’ and following what I actually do in the gym. It’s also a great way to track your own progress with all the graphs and being able to ‘go back in time’ and check how you were lifting like a little bitch a couple months earlier. I’ve also learned A LOT from other users on Fitocracy, whether it’s from other people’s routines, or any advice or critique I’ve had on workouts.

Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
Once I got more serious about barbell training and also started deadlifting (last November) and – despite my permanent injury – squatting (this January) I noticed my numbers going up really fast. I was able to deadlift 2.5 x bodyweight within four months (420 lbs / 190 kg) and I hit a 275 lbs / 125 kg squat within three months. Back in March I decided that I would eventually want to compete in powerlifting and kicked my training up a notch. I probably kicked it up too big a notch, because I got some minor injuries around that time (slight tear in a ligament in my lower back and some knee issues). So for now I’m going to postpone the ‘powerlifting style training’ until September and focus more on cutting and losing as much body fat as possible. The latter is going pretty well, I’ve gone from about 18% to just just 12.5% bodyfat since then. Although I am content with how I’m starting to look right now, I’d rather go back to training without focusing too much on looks and focus more on the weight on the bar.

What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
To both questions: FORM. I’ve learned a lot this year about proper form on bench, cleans, squat etc.

Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
My weakness is definitely dealing with injuries. Because of my permanent injury from 2010, injuries scare the hell out of me and I get frustrated and impatient as hell as soon as I have one, even if it’s very minor. Oh and another major weakness is that I can’t run, and probably never will, because of that same injury, there’s simply too much damage to the joint. But considering the fact that the prognosis was that I might be unable to ever walk unassisted ever again, I’m REALLY happy with where I am right now.
I think one of my strong points is that I’m basically never not motivated; no matter how frustrated, agitated, sad, or distracted I am, I’m always motivated to lift.

What motivates you?
I think nothing motivates me as much as seeing actual progress, whether it’s my lift going up or looking better in the mirror.

I also honestly think that there is no better feeling than the excited nervousness and elevated heart rate in the moment that you’re setting up for a big lift or PR; you load up the last plate and fasten the weight clip, doing that typical ‘finger wiggle’ on the bar right before take off. Best feeling in the world, maybe even better than actually completing the lift itself.

Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
I still consider ‘carb cycling’ to be the best thing ever for anyone trying to lose bodyfat while trying to keep gaining strength and muscle. As far as supplementation goes, I think the most important things are fish oil (for numerous reasons) and whey protein powder. During my cut I’m also taking CLA, a multivitamin and extra calcium.

If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
DO YOUR RESEARCH! Not just on (beginner) routines, but also on basic physiology and anatomy, nutrition, form, anything. You’re going to hear a lot of advice, tips and critique from people around you or in the gym; this way you’ll be able to separate the ‘bro science’ from real science.

What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
Like I said, I’m never unmotivated and I’m also not at all afraid to completely fail a set or rep. I’ve also found out that a good gymbro can be invaluable, it can be a great help to have someone to check your form, motivate you and spot you. Luckily I have a motivational as hell gymbro Flow who has been making amazing progress over the last year.

What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
I spend way too much time on Fitocracy, got to learn a lot of interesting people from all around the world and have spent way too many drunk nights on Tinychat (the person who might be to blame for the latter is definitely j0n).

One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
If you’re going to make mistakes, at least try to learn something from them, this way even the most stupid shit you do can work out in a positive way for you in the long run.

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