My name is Ethan Barrett. I started experimenting with weightlifting and exercise at a very young age. I can remember being eight years old lifting weights and doing burpees with my dad. Somewhere along the road, I lost sight of that passion. At 13 years old, I was a chubby little kid in middle school with not many friends, no respect, and no girlfriends. I wanted to be liked, and admired. My brother and I had started reading muscle magazines and watching Arnold movies. Before we knew it, we were hardcore weightlifters. At age 13, I had started lifting weights at the very beginning (November) of my eighth grade year. I started off bench-pressing 65 pounds. Through hard work, by May, I could bench press 185 pounds. That level of strength for a 14 year old is quite impressive. I remember my brother and I would lift weights over the summer. I was 14 and he was 19. I was bench-pressing 185 lbs and he could get up 215 lbs. I was such a big fan of his, and still am. He is a huge inspiration to me and one of my heroes. One time, we went to the local sports store to look at weights. While there, I remember he was surprised to see his little brother curl 50 pounds. Following that summer, I attended high school. All the kids my age, who could barely lift 100 pounds, were amazed to see that I was already one of the elite lifters in my school. The upperclassmen were shocked to see that a 14 year old was out lifting 18 year olds. I played football my freshman year of high school. During that time, I injured my right elbow. I thought that it was probably nothing but a minor injury, but the injury never went away. I continued to lift through the severe pain for all four years of high school. My gains were definitely set back by the injury, but I continued nonetheless and still made gains. I was also very overweight in high school. I spent all my time lifting weights and eating, that I lost sight of my health and overall fitness. In my senior year, I dropped 60 pounds as I went from 250 to 190 pounds. About a month after my weight loss, I got into a car accident. A blessing in disguise, the accident broke my right arm. (The arm that was injured) When at the hospital, the doctors revealed that my arm had been severely fractured for the past four years and that I had been trying to work through it. They told me that I broke through my growth plate of my elbow and that I would never be able to straighten it again. That I’d never be able to regain my full strength, lift weights, and that I would most definitely have arthritis. I took this as a challenge and worked hard everyday to strengthen my arm. I was in a sling for 6 weeks and out of the gym for about 6 months, but when the doctor cleared me, I jumped back in the weight room. When I was recovering though, I thought about my routine. I realized that I was missing so many things. I saw a Bruce Lee film on television, and I was immediately amazed by his physique. I started to incorporate running, biking, core work, and stretching to my routine. I reevaluated my lifting routine, and instead of lifting different body parts on different days much as a bodybuilder does, I started to lift 3 days a week focusing on strength and power work, mostly Olympic lifts. I have been doing that since age 18 and am in the best shape of my life at age 21. I went from a chubby little kid, to a one dimensional yet strong weightlifter, to an 185 pound kid who can bench press 350 lbs, run 2 miles in 13 minutes, and do a complete split! I defied the experts and the odds put against me and can say that not only my injured arm, but also my whole body is the strongest it’s ever been. My accident and injury was something I didn’t want to forget. I wanted to remember the trials and tribulations that I went though; therefore, when the doctor asked me if I wanted to get plastic surgery to remove my scar, I declined. Everyday I look at the huge scar on my elbow and feel grateful for everything. I keep finding ways to reevaluate and change myself, and am in college pursuing a degree in Personal Training and Strength and Conditioning. Nutrition wise, I always had used supplements used at the local store. I used to just use protein when I only lifted weights, but when I reevaluated my fitness routine, I started to incorporate things like vitamins, fish oils, and joint health into my routine. When I found Optimum I was very impressed with the nutritional difference between the vitamins I had been taking and Opti-Men. Along with hard work and motivation, my supplements push me to the next level. Optimum Nutrition can count on me being a loyal customer from age 21 to 100, and my main goal is to, one day, become an Optimum Nutrition athlete. My name is Ethan Barrett, and I have True Strength.