An Embarrassing Confession I Wish I Didn’t Have to Make

Bill Phillips Before to After

This is an Embarrassing Story to Tell, But if it Helps Someone Else get Back on Track with their Health, it will be Worth it to me. So here goes

Okay… let’s see. There are two photos of me posted along with my words. The photo on the right is me today, age 49. On the Left is ME in pretty bad condition, 2 years ago. In the summer of 2011 I had brutal accident which required emergency surgery and which put me in the hospital, then a wheelchair, then in a hospital bed at home for months. Just like everybody else, with inactivity and too much comfort food (ice cream is an incredible pain killer), I lost so much of my muscle and I gained fat… and I aged fast. I was so embarrassed and just literally in tears (inactivity and depression go hand in hand). But I knew what to do to pull out of the tailspin. Two years ago this month (in the Autumn of 2011 at age 47), I decided to completely change and rebuild my body and life.

I developed an new, inspiring vision for my future and transformed it into steps and stages… monthly, weekly, and daily goals were set and met. I created a new, positive environment and got support from true friends. Of course I had to completely change my eating and work hard in the weight room to rebuild my strength. I put my heart and soul into it and applied the key knowledge I have learned over the years… I put it to work very enthusiastically in my own life. I will tell the complete story and give my exact workout and nutrition and supplement program in an upcoming blog on my site — watch for the whole story a week from today.

For now I can tell you this: I am more grateful for a healthy and strong body now than I EVER was before! I am grateful to be pain free and alive. My life has changed even more than my body since the devastating accident I had back in 2011. I wouldn’t go back and change any of it if I could because it has all been an edifying, humbling (although very embarrassing) and transformative experience. I have a new life today… a beautiful and smart and incredible wife now and a new fitness business which allows me to put my passion for fitness to work everyday!


I tell my students and clients today what I learned painfully and personally… we all respond the same way to inactivity and over eating… I am just like you. And you are just like me in that when you start working out and eating right and you follow a smart plan, your body will reward you with incredible changes and renewed health!

I’ve been there… I know what it is like to be stuck in a body that is in pain and not doing what you want it to. It nearly broke my spirit and I nearly threw in the towel and blamed it all on aging and being over the hill. But I snapped out of it one day and said ‘F+#@ This! I am not settling for this! I AM GOING TO GET MY BODY AND LIFE BACK ON TRACK!’ And that is what I did and what I am doing… I will continue to get leaner and stronger and healthier each month… I will never have a final ‘After photo’… I will have a lot of Progress Photos which show the steady results of hard and humble work aimed at helping me improve my body and mind more each day. And finally, let me tell you this…

Don’t be surprised if what feels like your greatest adversity today becomes your biggest blessing two years from now… that is what happened for me and I thank God each day for helping me wake up to LIFE again!!

(If you want my help rebuilding your own body for life, come work with me personally at my fitness center in Colorado… we have an incredible 3-day Transformation Camp each month where I share what I know and help you get motivated to transform like I have done myself. Camp is the best investment you will ever make in your health. If you might want my help, email me at and we’ll send you details.)


  1. As always, thanks for keeping it real!

  2. Patrick Morin says:

    The funny thing is that, for you, the BEFORE picture looks like the one that was photoshopped. You look great now. Too bad you didn’t snag the “Fit-Fat-Fit” title…

  3. You still inspire me, 14 yrs later.

  4. John Zenkewich says:

    What you have done is impressive. What was more impressive (motivating) to me was the picture of you 1 year ago. I suggest you use all three in the future. A 1 year goal for me is motivating, 2 years well it’s a long time. and at 57 1/2 I want to feel better now. Thanks and keep up the great work. Your transformation is amazing John

  5. Matt Le Cornu says:

    Thanks for sharing Bill. I have signed up for your challenge probably about 30 times, since Sep 2000. I have only managed to complete it once and had to take three months off work and live in a different city (Cairns from Sydney) to make myself focussed to achieve it! This will be a big help for me.

  6. It is just my opinion but I figure you have nothing to be embarrassed about and everything to be proud of. It makes you easier to relate to because you know what it’s like to truly struggle. Thanks for being real and honest. It means a lot!

  7. Wow… I so needed to read this today. I had surgery this morning on my leg from an accident I had last year. Its been a rough time. The weight gain and depression are something im hoping to finally leave behind with the new year. Thank you for writing this. 🙂 It helped one person for sure!

  8. Bill,

    You’re AWESOME dude! This is truly inspiring. I have been following you since the days of first days of Body-for-life and i remember what you looked like then. To see those pics of you and read your story of ‘retransformation’ is very impactful, because like you, i too am facing a difficult time in my life that has eroded my self-confidence and desire to excel. I feel stuck, and have been for two years now.

    Knowing where you came from with respect to the fitness industry and to hear about your trajedy and see how it affected you, to then see how you overcame it and rebuilt yourself is awesome. Thanks for not being afraid to be vulnerable and sharing your story.

  9. says:

    Bill, thank you for this! You never fail to inspire me.

  10. clinton morin says:

    bill I have changed everything. I am almost divorced I am on my own I got a new amazing job(carreer) my own place well room lol. but I was in a bad place with everything constantly depressed losing motivation eating terrible unhappy. well the best thing that happened to me was ending my relationship after 14 years. I know it sounds harsh but I ran out of for worse, I did for better well my wife didn’t like for worse so I ended it and now I see clearer I am killing it in the gym and the only thing wrong is I still eat like I was 45 lbs ago. If I get this in check I will have nothing but progress. I do bootcamp 3 times a week. intense full body cardio with hiit. I rreally don’t like lifting weights but I have come to the realization that I need to because all my results are lower body my legs are cut and awesome. so my question to you is if I added two days of 525 upper body to my bootcamp would that be overkill. thank you for the inspiring story.

  11. Hi, thanks for the honesty and direction. Is there a lower body workout video? I looked through the archives but missed seeing it.

  12. Bill, this is SO inspiring! I used to be the best at whatever I would put my mind to. I tried all sorts of activities in school: Basketball, Track and Field, Ballet and Modern dance, Theater … and when I finished school I stopped doing most of those things. I got married, had children and lost control of my health. I’m over weight and couldn’t do any of those activities the way I used to be able to. Just reading about your journey gives me hope. Everyone is human. I know I can get back to where I used to be because other athletes have done it. Thank you!

  13. Thanks so much for sharing this Bill! I keep rereading your message — it helped me tremendously!
    — Joe

  14. Bill thank you for your honesty. You are a great motivator. God bless and thank you

  15. elsie pallanes says:

    WOW! i just received tons of Right Light shakes:) Bill and team transformation, i really appreciate it with all my heart! all i can say is that you all keep your word and actually i have been telling everybody about the shakes. it means a lot to me and i am so grateful! Thank u! Thank u! i am so happy:) God bless all of u for all u do!

  16. Bill I am actually very inspired your willingness to be transparent. It shows that you too are human. I completed the BFL challenge back in 2000 and was in the best shape of my life. I even finished in the top 1000 ! Shortly thereafter I became pregnant with my 3 rd child. 3 years later I went through a painful divorce and depression took over. Alcohol was my “go to” drug for my depression and my life began to spiral out of control. I am now in the worst shape of my life so I understand completely about the embarrassment. Now, over 13 years have passed since that first challenge and I am ready to embark on a new journey. I’m the type of person that once I finally reach that point of being utterly disgusted with myself and decide to make a change….it’s GAME ON. I owe it to myself, my kids, and my awesome new husband to be the best I can be. Monday is the 1st day of my new 12 week challenge. I’ve dusted off my old copy of BFL and have re familiarized myself with the BFL principals….talk about having some flashbacks!! Thank you so much for sharing your “embarrassing” story. It made me feel better to know that ANYONE, even Bill Phillips can have a setback and then come back stronger than ever.

  17. Bill, Wow! From Up to “down and out”, and then back on your game. Thanks for sharing your reality. One day I like to attend your fitness Camp. The “Body of Work Challenge” introduced me to your knowledge. Again thanks for sharing without the high priced fees.

  18. Well I think the “before guy” is still sexy! But you’re happier now and that’s what matters.

  19. Sara Yankey says:

    I decided to take back my body. Several things have led to my over indulging for the past 5 years. I did your program 18 years ago and felt wonderful. Many pills and fad promises later, I told my husband we both know how to do this. Thank you for being inspiring!!@


  1. […] can improve yourself too.  An Embarrassing Confession I Wish I Didn’t Have to Make This is an Embarrassing Story to Tell, But if it Helps Someone Else get Back on Track with their […]

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