Paul’s Story

Paul ThielHow much time have you got?

Given I’m in my forties, I’ve managed to pack quite a lot into my life and the full telling of my story might take a while.

So let’s do this…

In the tech industry, we have what’s know as the TL;DR, an abbreviation used in email to provide colleagues with a VERY short summary of a lengthy conversation. It literally stands for Too Long; Didn’t Read and is intended to save the reader valuable time and let them get back to doing something more productive with their time.

So for those of you in a rush, here’s my TL;DR.

TL;DR – Husband twice, brother to a sister and father of two fine young adults. Worked a quarter century in tech but passionate about bodybuilding and physique transformation.

In reality, that’s probably all that’s needed. I mean, Twitter has a market cap of just over $14B, all based around limiting what you can say to just 140 characters.

Still, If you’ve got a another minute, we can go a just a smidge deeper and add a little color to that pretty sterile TL;DR.

How about this?

Proud Englishman living abroad.

Father of two wonderful young adults that have already made my life complete.

Professional Engineering Manager with twenty-plus years of experience, currently working at YouTube in sunny California.

Obsessed with bodybuilding and passionate about all things related to physique transformation.

I’ve made more mistakes than I care to remember, and I am grateful for the learning opportunity in every one of them.

Trying to live a better life.

If you’re still here, I guess you’re not big on brevity…. I think we’ll get along.

Just remember. You asked!

The Aries man has a lust for adventure

I was born in 1970, April to be precise, making me an Aries. And while I don’t put much stock in the Zodiac, I do live up to many of my Aries traits.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, we weren’t coddled anywhere near as much as the youth of today. Both my parents had to work full time, so after school and school holidays were spent tearing around on my bike with friends trying (and generally failing) not to get into trouble. Still, such escapades made me hardy and adventurous (and probably stupid), and I cherished every minute of my youth.

As a teen, I was always into fitness, taking part in a wide variety of sports, including football (the type you play with your feet), rugby, track and swimming. And I was generally pretty good. Not always the best, but almost always the hardest worker in the room. You see, I had a very competitive nature and didn’t like to lose. And more than that, I just didn’t like the idea of not being as good as I could be at something.

I didn’t go to college, leaving school at sixteen and starting my first full-time job as an accounts clerk for a local bank. From there, I got into IT and by the time I was nineteen, I was pulling down a decent salary with a company car to boot. At twenty, I bought my first house with a mortgage, and if I recall correctly, the interest rate was 15.4%. Yes. Fifteen point four. My reasoning was that if I could afford a house while interest rates were 15.4%, I could always afford a house. Turned out to be a good move.

Just a few years later and my son, James, was born, followed a couple of years later by Katy.

They say that having kids changes you, and it does. But not always in ways that you’d think. For me, the biggest changes have come in the last few years, watching my children turn into two of the most well-rounded adults you could ever wish to meet. They are truly wonderful humans to be around and if I died right now, this second, they have already made my life complete.

For over twenty years I’ve been working as a software engineer, managing teams of up to forty people at a time, with the last five or more of those years spent at Google. Engineering management is a career that I have enjoyed very much over the years, and in addition to making a good living, I’ve learned a lot about people, what makes them tick and how to get them to perform at their best.

So other than helping to explain why my writing is so… dry, how is any of this story relevant to bodybuilding or physique transformation?

Enter stage left: Arnold Schwarzenegger

I was twelve when I first watched Pumping Iron on TV, a documentary of sorts, shown by Channel 4 in the UK.

If by some small twist of fate you’ve never heard of Pumping Iron, it is a documentary filmed during the 100 days leading up to the 1975 Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions, featuring a bodybuilder called Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, it’s a cult classic and renowned for introducing Arnold to the world and shooting him toward stardom. But at the time, it was edgy, revolutionary, and it quite literally changed my life forever.

Within a year, I’d saved enough for my first set of York weights. Gold vinyl goodness, filled with concrete, and a flimsy little bench framed in 1″ steel. From there on out, I was hooked on bodybuilding. My walls were covered in posters. I bought all the magazines. All the books. All the videos. I followed Arnold’s Olympia training program and never looked back.

My first cat was called Arnie. My latest, Conan.

My son’s middle name is Arnold. That’s not an accident.

Throughout adulthood, up until this very day, Arnold and his golden era compatriots remain my biggest source of motivation. And frankly, despite a handful of meaningful insights gleaned from modern science, much of what Arnold and bodybuilding distilled as best practices remains highly relevant to those training today.

One other point that’s worth sharing. Despite having worked on my physique for almost three decades, I’ve made more progress in the last three years than I had in all my previous training combined. How is that?

In part, it has come down to refining my art, focusing on what works for me, adapting and changing my approach with the ebb and flow of life. I’ve also made some great connections over the last few years, surrounding myself with like-minded people, each of whom are experts in the field of physique transformation.

And now I’m going to extend a hand and help you on your journey to a better body and a better life.