HI, MY NAME IS CHRISTIAN THIBAUDEAU
Those of you who have been reading my stuff or watching my videos know who I am. Or at least you think you do.
My articles have been on the internetz for twenty years! First on a website that I started with Joachim Bartoll and Eric Hesse called Ironmag. We had a pretty solid following for a website created by three nobodies. Then on T-nation, starting in 2001 (close to 500 articles) and finally on Thibarmy.com. All and all, we are talking about over 600 articles!
My photos have been floating around for just as long. From Tubby/hairy Thib to pro-bodybuilder size Thib, including any and every type of physique in between. But for most people I’m known as the jacked, bald coach that kinda looks like Vin Diesel.
People think they know me.
Thib must always be strict with his diet, he is always lean.
Thib is an alpha male, he looks tough and is a true success story.
Thib is a world class authority that has a lot of confidence in what he’s worth.
Thib trains like a scientist, everything is thought through and optimized.
Well, you don’t know Thib…
I’M A MESS…
Many of you might be aware of my Neurotyping system, an approach I developed to help coaches design training programs that will fit with a person’s brain chemistry and personality profile.
A lot of coaches have adopted the system with great success. For example, Mike Millner used it to develop a business where he works with 500 people on a daily basis, and Steffan Jones is using it to revolutionize the cricket training world. I also have quite a few trainers here who are getting spectacular results with their clients using the system.
But do you know why I developed the Neurotyping system in the first place?
Because I needed to understand why I was so flawed. Why I was so unhappy. What were the reasons being my destructive behavior.
Yep, you read that right. I’m a mess. Or at least I was.
THIB THE ALPHA MALE
A lot of people see me as this confident alpha male. Great body, looks like Vin Diesel, eloquent with words. But the reality is far from that.
I have very low self-esteem. If we cross paths on the street I won’t be able to look at you in the eyes. But I don’t want to look weak, so I will pretend to look at something else, or the watch I don’t have. I might also look at your forehead or nose to make it look like I’m looking you in the eyes.
And if we strike a conversation, you will wonder how this person can give a 12-hour seminar: he can barely make two intelligible sentences and has no mastery of the English language!
Because of that lack of self-esteem, I’m horrible with girls. I have NO game. I met my first girlfriend when I was 21! I was actually starting to think about paying for sex at that point.
On the flip side, my low self-esteem also makes me crave the approval, admiration, desire, and love of others. When someone loves me, I feel good about myself. But since I suck at real life interactions, I often use Facebook to flirt. Which is total lack of respect for my wife and almost led to a divorce.
My wife is awesome because she stuck with me when I was acting like an asshole.
This is the same self-esteem issue that led to me to use steroids during my bodybuilding days. This led to significant health issues: a heart attack and kidney problems. Likely not directly caused by the drugs, but it didn’t help.
On the flip side, I believe that this turned out to be a positive because I now understand the difference between training/eating for natural and enhanced trainees.
That low-self esteem helped me to get to where I am today, though.
When you have self-esteem issues, you tend to be a people pleaser. Why? Because you need others to like/respect you to feel good about yourself. So, you act in a way to get people to like you. That’s what drove me to write my first book: I wanted other high -evel coaches to respect my work.
That’s why I love interacting with readers because their attention boosts my self-esteem but interacting with readers made me a popular writer. When I coach I want the athletes I work with to succeed so that they will think I’m good, so I go the extra mile to help them reach their goal. When I give a seminar, I give a show because I need the crowd to love me.
See, my lack of self-esteem is due to my neurological profile. I’ve always been that way even though I had a great childhood, played tons of sports, had friends, and great parents. We are who we are. There is no such thing as flaws, only traits. My lack of self-esteem is how my brain is programmed to work. But I can use it to my advantage.
THIB ALWAYS EATS PERFECTLY
I understand why people are surprised when they see me eat a burger or a donut (or 12). They’ve always seen pictures of me ripped. And you know what, I’m always pretty lean. Even when I’m “fat” for me, I still have abs, veins and muscle definition.
That’s not genetics because I was fat for a good part of my life.
But I spent 2 years in a row on a very low carbs diet (with very few cheats) and then most of the following 5 years, on a low carbs diet with 1-2 cheats per week.
I won’t lie to you: I was miserable most of the time. Lazy as shit, no motivation to do anything except training, huge mood swings, and zero sex drive, erectile disfunction, you name it. I had no joy in life. I thought about suicide a few times.
But the upside is that this changed my body fat set-point. It now seems that I really need to go crazy with crap food for weeks (if not months) to get fat.
Which brings me to my point: when I need to get in great shape (for a photo shoot, for example) I will be perfect for 8-10 weeks. I will not cheat once, I won’t even think about cheating. But the rest of the time I can be BAD.
I once gained 26lbs in 6 hours (I actually measured it).
On a different occasion, I ate 24 hamburgers and one order of fries. I didn’t weigh myself but it likely exceeded 26lbs.
At some point, it got so bad that I stopped storing any food in my apartment and I was going to the grocery store 3 times a day, buying 1-2 meals at a time. I woke up one night craving food but I couldn’t find food anywhere so I drove to a convenience store opened 24/7 and bought 75$ worth of crap.
I was laying in my bed with food surrounding me, grabbing a bite to the left, a bite to the right and crying at the same time. After 15 minutes I stood up and decisively put everything (that was left) in a trash bag and put it to the curb…. Only to go back out a few minutes later to open the bag and eat what was left…crying.
I cannot have a cheat meal, because it will turn into a cheat day, then into a cheat week. When I have a taste of a cake I will eat the whole cake, then will go to the grocery store to buy more cake. And if an old lady is looking to buy the last one, I will push her out of the way to get it.
After years of this eating disorder I was able to get back to a healthier relationship with food. But it took a while.
This led me to understand that not everybody can use a low carbs diet and feel good or stay sane and that cheat meals are not for everybody.
THIB IS THE MASTER PROGRAMMER
Oddly enough, I’m renowned for my program designs. I come up with imaginative, fun and super effective training programs that always deliver results.
But despite that, I simply cannot follow a program myself! After 2 weeks on a style of training I need to do something different. For me, training has to be interesting otherwise I lose motivation. And for me, interesting means trying to learn something new or being emotionally stimulated by a program.
A few years back I decided to get back into Olympic lifting. So, I began researching what was new program-wise and started to watch Klokov, who was the big thing back then. And I was able to find a program designed by Klokov. DUDE! This got me so amped up.
I bought the Klokov Russia shirt and started doing his program, me, the guy who has been a top coach for 20 years. I was even walking like Klokov. Emotional attachment led to motivation. That lasted all of 2 weeks!
I was the same way when I played golf (I used to compete). I had a membership to Golf Digest, which had a frame-by-frame analysis of a pro’s swing every month. Every month I would practice the swing of the pro of the month. So, I essentially changed my swing 5 times a year.
That used to piss me off. I couldn’t understand how I could make progress that way, but I couldn’t force myself to stick to a plan for a long time. But on the other hand, it allowed me to understand how pretty much every training technique and method worked because I pretty much tried every possible combination.
Paul Carter and I gave a seminar together a few weeks ago and he thought up an exercise that I wrote about like 15 years ago. And I said “from now on, assume that I invented pretty much everything related to training”.
I’M WEIRD, BUT I’M OKAY
This is just a small part of my weirdness. For many years it plagued me, made me feel like crap. I don’t remember being happy until two years ago. Developing the Neurotyping system allowed me to understand why I am the way I am. This took so much pressure off, but it also helped me know in advance how my brain would react when facing a certain situation and thus be ready to handle it.
Training-wise, it also helped me use an approach that provides me with the novelty/variation I need while being structured enough to stimulate progress.
I’m a much better person now than when I was younger and I’m enjoying life for the first time. And the side effect of designing the Neurotyping system is that I can help other people with their own issues. Not only their training but their life.
I may sound weird, and I guess I am. But that’s okay, that’s how my brain works. And the secret to success and happiness is understanding how your brain works so that you can work with it and make the most out of who you are.
Sorry for the total lack of training information!