Bodybuilding For A Software Developer

#sport #bodybuilding #health

Around the beginning of 2017, as I had started working for CloudBees the previous August, I realized I hadn’t found a way yet to really get back to Sport. At some point, neither was I feeling very well, nor was I happy with how I looked, and decided to do something. I think I was also starting to realize I was not that young anymore, and that nobody else than me could work on this. Probably some form of the mid-life crisis, I suppose. With 2 kids back then, soon-to-be 40 years old, and realizing that one day, yes, I am going to die…​

After a few weeks of procrastination, around March 2017, after I was coming from a week skiing and the associated tartiflettes and the likes, I decided to start going to a gym nearby my coworking space

I was working in a fully flexible company, and hence had the opportunity to go at unusual times, for usual French companies. So I started thinking: "oh well, going to sport after dropping kids and before starting my day, or in the middle of the afternoon, would be nice, isn’t it?".

My first year

So I started going, and in parallel, I started watching fitness youtube channels about how to do things right. (Lucas Gouiffes, Nassim Sahili, Jean of All Musculation, Enzo Foukra, Jeff’s Athlean-X, etc. [1]) I started to learn about nutrition, the right number of reps & sets depending on your goals, the so-called mind-muscle connection, full-body, half-body, split, the name and functions of various muscles, etc. (spoiler: I’m still bad at this). It was great. I was litterally starting to realize what some muscles were designed for.

And because I was a beginner, liked it, and I was committed to it, I got great results. I got better than my previous self in just a few months. Between mid March 2017, and June 2017, I trained 42 times. In that same period, I lost close to 7kg. [2] When I went to Devops World - Jenkins World 2017 in August, I was so addicted that I trained at the Hotel Gym every mornings. I even ended up creating a ContinuousSport Instagram account, where I didn’t post that much.

Hard stop

scapula fracture

After one year of practice, I went to ski again. After a stupidly missed turn, I got in the air, and landed hard on my left shoulder. I had broken my scapula, and had to stop using my left arm for a few weeks. However, the upside was that I had that awesome 3D reconstruction of a scan of my scapula to brag about.

After a few weeks of no training at all, this was finally time to start my path to normal.


I had been practicing bodybuilding and overall weight lifting for one year already, with a special focus on execution quality after the advice gathered from various experts and coaches on YouTube. If you know what re-education generally looks like, you know that repeating what the physiotherapist told you is going to be critical for getting back to normal life.

Given how I was craving to get back to training, I leveraged my training to get the full mobility of my shoulder in a few weeks.

Some backstory, and fast-forward to September 2019

Years before this, around 2012, during a badminton match, I hurt my back badly and got a terrible lumbago. I think it was just the consequence of me progressively but drastically reducing the amount of sport I was practicing, between 20 and 30 years old, while doing a lot of renovation work during 2+ years for my home. So I went to a specialist, and he explained how the spine worked, and specifically vertebras. I almost had reached the point of a hernia, but not yet. I spent a number of month being keeping my back very straight. But I ended up with a mixed result of no pain anymore, but a definite feeling of a weak back and not being able to trustfully fetch things on the ground, or simply bathe my kids.

After practicing all sorts of pushes and pulls, especially deadlifts and associated movements for the area, I feel much better nowadays. I do feel strong, or at least way stronger and balanced than I was before. I can fetch my getting-heavier kids without efforts, without feeling pain or stress about doing so. Which is awesome for day to day life.

Conclusion and what’s next

So here it is. I am doing bodybuilding, and I like it.

I am now convinced that this is a very nice sport to stay healthy in the long run (meaning, more than running for instance), especially for a knowledge worker who stays most of her or his time seated down, in front of a computer.

My current plan is to keep practicing as long as I enjoy it. I am also going to add a bit more cardio-training for a better global health. This is something I’ve not done enough in the past months, and is also encouraged to be very important too to perform in your day job in HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself. That might be an interesting followup for this article :-).

1. I only nowadays still follow Nassim, and watch some of Athlean-X videos, though I try to stay away from YouTube
2. As you sometimes can read, losing so much weight and gaining muscle at the same time is a one-time priviledge reserved exclusively to beginners. TL;DR: you normally cannot lose weight so fast if you also want to grow muscle.
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