Written by PJ Braun
13 November 2023

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Overcoming Obstacles

Limitless Bodybuilding

By PJ Braun

Sponsored by Blackstone Labs™

 

I have changed so much for the better and am proud of what my fiancée Marissa, as well as my family, see in me. I see it myself, too!

 

What’s up, everyone, and welcome back to Letters from Prison. LMAO, but seriously, that's what this feels like a lot of the time. I wish I had more exciting news to write about, and at times, I will bounce back to more basic bodybuilding info, but this column, Limitless Bodybuilding, was always meant to be about a lot more than just the sport. It’s about the lifestyle, the business, the culture, and overall, it’s about being the best you can be! So, for this month, I want to sort of break down where I am in my sentence and how my bodybuilding ties in.

 

Thanks to the RDAP program, I have earned a year off my sentence. Such amazing news, and when I say the program was tough, lol, WOW is all I can say. However, I have changed so much for the better and am proud of what my fiancée Marissa, as well as my family, see in me. I see it myself, too! I am far less impulsive and anxious and really evaluate my thoughts to make sure they are rational all day long. I expect this to really enhance the way I do business when I get home, not just enhance my personal life. I also have been earning time credits under the First Step Act. For each month of programming, I earn 15 days of time credits off my sentence. I also get 54 days off per year of my sentence for good time as long as I don’t get “shots” (incident reports). And finally, because of RDAP, I have also earned about nine months of halfway house time. Hopefully, under good behavior and working full time, I can get out of the halfway house fast and finish the remainder of my sentence on home confinement. We shall see when I get there. For now, I just take it day by day, and it’s become very natural for me, which is scary when I think about it.

 

My days start with my alarm going off at 5:00 a.m. I drink three teaspoons of Folgers coffee, BLACK, and chug 32 oz. of room-temperature water. This combo has me on the toilet very fast, especially with the serving of Metamucil I have before bed. Metamucil is a staple for many inmates! LOL. After that, I change into my sweats and head out to the yard at 5:30 as soon as they open the compound. Some days, they open it slightly faster; other days, it can be 10-15 minutes slower based on which guards are working. I am on a five-day split where I do as much as I can for each body part with what I am limited to outside as far as rocks, wooden poles, etc. Lots of bodyweight and reps. I will get into that more in a later article, but I will usually do about 30-40 total sets per body part, with most of that also being supersets. This takes me exactly one hour, and I am drenched in sweat by the time I am done. I have been super consistent, with the exception of blowing my back out a few months ago.

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I have had back issues for years and have been told years ago I will definitely need surgery for degenerative disks in my lower back. L4 and L5, to be exact. I woke up one morning and stepped off my rack, and my back just popped. I could not even stand up, and I was really nervous because this happened to me before in the free world, but I had my buddy, Dr. Nick Ruggiero, to put me back together, which also took a couple of months of physical therapy. It was very difficult for me to even make it to medical, but I hobbled my way there with sheer will even though it was suggested I get in a wheelchair. It hurt every breath I took, and I could not stand up straight; in hindsight, I should have taken the wheelchair. I got a shot of Toradol and a 12-day supply of prednisone, and sadly, I also had to be on 800 milligrams of ibuprofen three times a day for a couple of weeks. I iced my back numerous times a day, and somehow, I only missed a week of training and then spent the next couple of weeks rehabbing it. It was tough, and in prison, you can't just take days off, so I still had to do my job working in the unit. I have worked my way to the head orderly for my building, so I have many responsibilities. It was a rough couple of weeks, but I made it through, and my back feels much better.

 

I eat the same pretty much every day. A few months back, I broke down my diet, and since then, I have changed it quite a bit. Guys, I had gotten up to nearly 280 pounds and carried too much fat! Being off everything, my body just stores fat now, and so I had to really cut back. I am now steady around 263-264 most mornings and usually only eat four meals a day now, five on days when I go to chow for dinner. Every day, I have one pack of shredded beef (40 grams of protein), one pack of tuna (24 grams protein) twice a day, one health shake (24 grams protein), and the rest of my protein comes from peanut butter (two to three servings a day) and what I may consume from chicken at chow. Now, hypothetically, you can buy chicken breasts and hamburgers from guys who work in the kitchen as much as you want, as long as they don’t get busted. Most people will tell you the only appeal to working in the kitchen is the food that makes its way out to the units. This is all hypothetical, of course, and I would NOT indulge in these types of negative contracts anyway because I am a very good boy! Shout-out to my momma for raising me right, LOL.

 

Anyway, when I am not working out, eating, or cleaning the unit, I am reading. I will break 200 books soon! I have read more than enough self-help books and prefer fiction at this point. My favorite series by far was the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. I am so thankful that my buddy Mike Sewer talked me into reading them because when I think of the main things that got me through prison, one is always the love and support of my future wife, Marissa. Two was the excitement of reading that series, waiting to get my hands on the next books, and discussing the plot twists with the other inmates who read these books. On this particular compound, those books were passed around like crazy.

 

Speaking Of Marissa, we have grown even closer than ever! We write each other letters every week, and I max out all 510 minutes of phone time a month on her. Instead of just doing a single 15-minute call like most inmates do, I break the calls up and will do short four- to five-minute calls three times a day to see how she is doing and listen to her voice. It makes the days so much better. I have a monster pile of letters that I am bringing home to save and cherish forever. She has been my angel through this entire experience, and I can’t wait to reunite with her soon. She has taken the time to fly up and visit me every three weeks, which has really brought us so close together on a spiritual and emotional level. When I get home, I can rekindle the physical side and make some babies with her, boom-chica-wow-wow! I miss Marissa, I miss my family, I miss the gym and real weights, and I miss Blackstone Labs™. It’s been very hard not being a part of the company after all these years, and I am very excited to get back to it once I am on probation next year. I have a lot to relearn and evolve into, but thanks to my dad, my partner Jared, and the staff, I know they will help, and I will excel at doing what I love once again.

 

The beginning of this process was awful. Especially going from county jail to being stuck in transit for months, I survived and have endured and made a nice little routine here at the camp that has allowed me to grow as a person in ways that I would never have in the free world. Most of the guards and staff here are cool! Finally, I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for having my back through all this. Every night, I get together with a group of guys, and I read aloud from a devotional, and one of the other guys will lead our group prayer. It keeps me centered and focused, and I love it!

 

As always, thank you to Muscular Development, and my readers.

 

Until next time, I love you all, peace out, bye.

 

Instagram @pjbraunfitness

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