My name is Hans Amato. I’m the founder and author of MenElite and this is my story.
Where it all began
Ever since I can remember I always enjoyed doing adventurous and challenging stuff while growing up as a kid.
I would always be outside, climbing trees, building treehouses, exploring nature, swinging on vines, crawling through storm drain pipes, riding bicycle, body-surfing in the ocean, and so on.
I wasn’t socially awkward, but I was definitely shy. I hated it when the attention was on me, whether it was good or bad.
I remember this one time, in primary school, when we (the class) were sitting on the floor listening to the teacher tell a story. I was sitting with my fingers intertwined on my lap, while the rest of the class was restless. The teacher stopped and asked the class to calm down and put their hands as I had mine.
I suddenly felt embarrassed in that moment and wondered if there was perhaps something wrong with the way I held my hands. Silly I know.
Another time, a group of friends were playing a game where one player from one team had to stop another player from the other team from crossing over, from one end to the other end of a piece of field. My best friend at that time had to get past me. In that moment I could see on face that he would hurt me if it came to that and so I let him pass. That stuck with me for so long and I always felt like a pansy for not standing my ground that day. I didn’t feel like a man (although I was just a boy at that time).
I just remember myself as not being a leader or someone people would look up to since I was so shy and perhaps had some insecurities about not being good enough.
My mother’s death and the downward spiral
At the age of 14, I lost my mom to cancer. …My mom was always quite strict and tough on my older brother and me and we were never allowed to play computer games for too long. So when she passed away, both my brother and I silently ‘suppressed’ our feelings by indulging ourselves in computer games.
My mom was always determined to drive me into what she wanted for me, and so when she was gone, I really felt like I had lost all drive to do anything. At this stage of my life, it really felt like everything was going south for me. After losing my mom I had become what I would describe as a ‘weirdo’… I had become a total introvert with really low self-esteem, and literally no friends at all, who just wanted to play games all the time.
My mom had home-schooled us up to that point and I never felt socially awkward during that time.
However, when she passed away and I became a gamer, I definitely became socially awkward. I never went outside, I looked really pale, didn’t have good posture, had acne, bad breath, and zero social skills.
From homeschooling to public school
That following year my dad put us in a public school.
As you can imagine, with zero social skills, I didn’t fit in very well. Lucky for me, there was another kid in my class who also didn’t really fit in, so we became friends.
During this time I longed to be part of the cool kids, be acknowledged, talk to girls, be admired, etc.
Instead, I got bullied (punched by older kids just for the sake of it) and I stared at girls like a super weirdo. Yes, no “hello” or “how you doing?”, just stared as I walked by. I thought that if I stared they’d see that I’m interested and maybe it would lead to something.
I also had zero interest in doing good academically. I barely scraped through science and math (got like 30% on most tests) and had to sit at the “retard table” in science class. Yes, the teacher was actually allowed to do that back then.
I would daydream a lot! I’d fantasize about how cool and great I was, how I would crack up the class with good jokes, how I did cool tricks to impress people, how that girl and I would hang out together, etc.
The pain of who I was, was getting too big to bear. I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to change. I needed to change for my own sanity. But how?
The first public school I went to only had about 400 kids. Not that big.
I wanted to go to a bigger school in a neighboring town with about 1000 kids. My cousins were there, so at least I’d know people and it would be a fresh start. At least that’s what I thought.
My dad also remarried around this time and his new wife didn’t approve of my brother and me playing video games. This also played a role in me deciding that I had to take a step forward in my life to change who I had become.
I decided that I wanted to go to a boarding school, re-do grade 11 and finish my last 2 years of school and try to make a ‘restart’ in life.
There were both upsides and downsides.
The downsides were that I was still socially awkward. I wasn’t good at making friends. Also, I didn’t resonate with people in my class, which made it harder. It took me almost 8 months to make my first friend. Before that, I’d try to hang out with my cousins, in their friend circles, but I was just the (super) weird third wheel.
The upsides were that I had more freedom and being around new people pushed me out of my comfort zone. I would spend most days exploring nature, doing parkour, climbing rocks near the ocean and lifting weights. We were also forced to study for 2 hours each evening (in the hostel where I stayed during the week), so my grades improved a lot. I got my first girlfriend, although that didn’t last long because I never knew what to talk about.
My aunt recommended that I read the local newspaper so that I could broaden my general knowledge and have more general conversations with people. I only did that once haha.
In grade 11 before I started lifting weights.
Getting started with gym
I would usually only visit my dad on the weekends, but then one day he asked if I would like to join him in going to the gym in the late afternoons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was totally up for this idea (more time away from the hostile am I right!) and I really liked it. A lot.
We started with a program by Micheal Colgan. I remember my first lifting sessions. During bench press, the bar left like it was cutting into my hands. During deadlifts, the bar wanted to rip the skin off my hands. During squats, the bar wanted to crush my (non-existent) traps. It was painful, but I endured.
Soon, 3 times a week just wasn’t enough for me anymore, so I started going 5 days a week instead, and for the first time in a long time, I started feeling that sense of purpose again. A feeling that had disappeared since the passing of my mom… and it was then and there that I knew that weight training was my passion.
During my final year in high school, I also became obsessed with Bruce Lee and Scott Atkins for their physiques and fighting skills. Each day in my hostel room, I would stretch, jump rope, and practice punching and kicking until I was drenched in sweat. I wanted to become a stuntman for sure.
I never knew what I wanted to do with my life after school, so I asked my best friend at the time what he was going to do. He said he was going to study personal training. I thought perhaps I should do that too. At least I’d be doing what I enjoy doing!
This was the first time I got access to uncapped internet. I YouTubed good training programs and came across Rob Riches. I was amazed by how jacked he was. I watched a couple of his videos and then saw a video of him collabing with Mike O’hearn. I was blown away by Mike’s size, leanness, vascularity and strength.
I was instantly in love (no homo). I binged on all of Mike’s videos and immediately started with his Power bodybuilding program. The basic program was 7×3 on the main lift, followed by 5×10 on a secondary exercise and 3×8 on the last exercise. For example, 7×3 deadlift, 5×10 bent over dumbbell row and 3×8 pulldowns.
Shortly after starting with Mike O’hearn’s program.
During college, I wasn’t much of a grade-A student either (no more enforced study hours) and I was still socially awkward. I wasn’t good at making friends, talking to people or even acknowledging people.
The second year of college
During my second year, I put on a good amount of muscle doing Mike O’hearn’s program. I also started doing intermittent fasting after being inspired by Martin Berkhan.
This was the end of my second year I weighed 78kg, could bench press 275, deadlift 490, and squat 405lbs for a 1RM.
Despite this physical success, I still had zero confidence and was socially awkward.
The only time when I felt ok being myself and talking to people was when I had a good amount of alcohol in me. This made me want to drink frequently just to have a good time. People enjoyed having me around since I brought the fun to the party. It became an identity.
During my second year, my buddies and I started smoking more pot. Pot made me lazy, even more socially awkward, and shy and made me procrastinate like crazy. When I was high, I’d frequently think about what I wanted to accomplish in life. How I’d like to be smart, do fun things and make a lot of money. However, when I was high, I couldn’t do any of those things. Go figure!
But I still kept on smoking because it was a good escape from my boring life. My life of wanting more, but being too shy and awkward with no confidence.
I remember this one time that I’m still embarrassed about. My friend knew a professor that was all into supplements and bodybuilding. We met when I was with my friend when he talked to the professor. At the gym, I’d sometimes see the professor and he would look at me and wanted to greet me. However, I was so shy, I’d pretend that I didn’t see him and walk by. I later felt so frustrated because I could have learned so much from him, but my anxiety crippled me.
3rd year of college
My grandpa showed me a few tricks on how to gain weight. Namely…eat more! Lots of potatoes, fat in your food, raw peanuts, etc. This was my first dirty bulk, up to 93kg.
The strength gains were decent, but the fat gain was definitely unnecessary. I decided I was way too fat and needed to cut. Get ready for December!
It was also during this time that I met my wife, Anya.
How I met Anya
I met Anya through my brother and his girlfriend who were friends with her older sister at that time.
I know it might sound cheesy or a bit cliche, but the moment I saw her, I fell in love. I hadn’t felt that way about any other girl I had ever liked, or had a big crush on. This was way bigger than that. There was so much about her that drew me close like a magnet.
Not only was she the most gorgeous young woman I had ever seen, but she had this strong yet gentle aura that just reeled me in. She wasn’t like all the other girls I knew who just wanted to be noticed and liked and banged by any hotshot. She was like…a diamond, not trying to be all sparkly or noticed…she just was who she was; carefree of the praise or approval of others.
When I first met Anya, she was busy finishing her studies in photography and was doing photo shoot assignments for practical training. So while I was cutting down I asked if she would be willing to do a photo shoot for me. We weren’t a thing yet, at that time, but after the photo shoot, I got her number to stay in touch “for the photos”. Then after I received the photos from her, I kept on texting her for a couple of days until we started texting every single day from then on. 🙂
Here’s one of the photos she took of me that day.
I just tracked my calories in MyFitnessPal and “eyeballed” the weight of my food. I also added in about 60min of slow pace cardio daily. It worked…to an extent.
After that, I decided I’m too small and needed to bulk again. So I did that. Gained too much fat again, and then again decided to rip down.
This time I counted my calories on MyFitnessPal and actually weighed my food. I added in some cardio, mainly HIIT.
This time I got to around 8-10% body fat. But as you can imagine, I then thought I was too small.
After college, elopement and the family business
At the end of 2015, I finished my studies and received my degree in health science. Anya and I eloped, went to grandparents in the Eastern Cape, had a small wedding, went on a two-day honeymoon, then had to go back and start working at the family business as my grandparents were a few hands short and needed help during the holidays. Most of the family didn’t really want us there and it wasn’t fun being there either…working long hours for other people.
Anya and I also had very little time together and so we tried our best to make the little time that we had together count. We’d start work at 7am, get a short break at 1:00 to 1:30 to quickly eat something, and go home by 6pm. Anya and I would then quickly change into our gym clothes, go to the gym and train for about an hour, come back to our flat and take turns taking a shower in our one-man’s-only shower. She’d then start dinner while I was taking a shower, then we’d eat, talk a bit, clean up and get ready for bed and do it all over again. But despite all that and be exhausted everyday, we luckily still made time to be intimate…just about every night and every morning. I think that was oftentimes the biggest thing that I looked forward to at the end of a long day and the biggest thing that got me out of bed every morning lol.
As I was doing research one day, I stumbled across the website Anabolicmen. It was all about testosterone optimization back then and I got hooked. I read almost every single article. I then read an article on how the author was able to make $7000 per month after just 1 year of blogging. I was like: “This is it. This is what I want to do. $7000!! That’s insane!” I was making less than $600 per month. I was like 🤑🤑🤑.
I talked to my wife about this and we agreed. We had to get away from the family business and start doing our own thing. With like 3 months’ worth saved up, we moved into a flat on her parent’s property, about 1300km away from the family business in Middelburg.
Anya had told me about her dad who had been abussive most of her life…verbally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I had met her dad, mum, and older sister, but I had never seen his true colors in person. I only knew that he didn’t approve of our marriage, but when they wanted to “reconcile”, we (more so me) hoped that things would go peacefully and that it might bring peace between us. It was also our only option at that time, away from the family business.
While staying with them I soon learned, firsthand and experienced (only a bit) of what Anya had told me about. He was dominating, degrading, and a massive asshole (to put it kindly). And I’m ashamed to say this, but I let him trample over me like a rug. I hated myself for it. I hadn’t yet learned how to stand up for myself or for my wife. Plus, after 3 months we ran out of money (the blog didn’t grow as fast as I had wished) and he provided us with the bare minimum amount of food and necessities; so he had the upperhand in our dependent situation.
Although this period only lasted 9 months, I lost a lot of muscle, felt like a child, got my ego destroyed, became even more silent and withdrawn, etc. I hated myself for not being able to stand up for myself or being able to provide. I hated the way I looked and how weak I had become. I hated the fact that our business was growing slower than a snail. All of this took my confidence to hell.
Our 13hr roadtrip
Things got so out of hand at my parents-in-law’s that we just had to get out. We had to escape. One day a massive fight broke out between him and me. I felt completely paralyzed with fear but it drove us to get out of there. Anya and I packed the little we had, into our car, and we were gone. We made a quick, sleep-over-stop at my grandparents’ before driving through to Port Elizabeth.
Richmond Hill was the area in the city where we stayed for 4 years. At that time it was the only available place we could get. At first, the flat we had just rented looked decent, albeit a bit small. Soon we learned what was wrong with it. It was in a very scaly area (crimes happened almost every night), the walls started to crack, paint started to peel off, water started to leak through every nook and cranny, mold grew on the walls, the place had zero ventilation, there was black dust accumulating everywhere daily, we had zero privacy, and our neighbor’s swimming pool’s creepy crawly was sucking on our living room wall (yes the neighbors on top had a swimming pool above us).
We had to live there for 4 years due to financial issues (business still growing very slowly), and our landlord made it impossible for us to get out as he knew it would be impossible to get new renters, and he would have to take out a lot of money to get the place fixed without anyone living there.
It was during this time that massive health issues started to occur.
- Lost all my muscle and strength since I didn’t have weights and we often didn’t even have enough food.
- Became depressed. I was very rarely happy.
- Had low energy, motivation, and drive. I procrastinated a lot.
- Became bitter. I despised it when other people (even our dogs) enjoyed something. I felt like they didn’t deserve it. Even when we took our dogs to the beach, I hated the fact that they had so much fun.
- Became severely anxious. I would get really anxious and rilled up over the small thing, like someone wanting to dice me.
- Became fearful. Scared that someone might beat me up.
- Developed hypothyroidism. Cold hands and feet, poor sleep, hair loss, brittle hair, and nails, etc.
- Got very low testosterone. I got erectile dysfunction, severe premature ejaculation, very low libido, and a long refractory period.
- Got weak and supple joints.
- Developed lots of food sensitivities.
- Had bacne and severe dandruff. If I would run my fingers through my hair, I would cause an avalanche of dandruff.
- Developed weak vision. At 10m away, my vision turned blurry. I was afraid I was going to lose my license.
- Became addicted to porn and masturbation (even though I have the most gorgeous woman in the world and there was nothing wrong with her libido). When my wife found out we nearly divorced. After that, I quit for good.
Towards the end of this period, the business finally started to do better. We made more money, could buy more food, I was able to get weights, we could get out more, etc.
Things started to turn around.
From then to present
I was able to completely reverse all and every health condition I developed and now feel better as a 30-year-old than I did in my early 20s.
Looking back, going through hard stuff really SUCKED at the time, but it really does make you who you are. Anya had already gone through really tough things growing up (which is also a big reason why I think she was able to stick with me through it all), but going through all the shit we went through together made US stronger. It made us the couple and team we are today.
- Am more driven and motivated than ever. My energy is through the roof. I feel like I can hardly sit still and do nothing. I often times do 3 workouts per day to progress toward my different goals.
- Am not depressed or have anxiety anymore (maybe some inner tension if I’m overcaffeinated)
- Added over 30 lbs of muscle.
- Am the strongest I’ve ever been.
- Am no longer hypothyroid.
- Grew back the hair I lost (horseshoe-type hair loss).
- Fixed my sexual dysfunction (am able to have sex sessions over 2 hours).
- Increased my testosterone over 1000ng/dl naturally.
- Got rid of the bacne and dandruff.
- Fixed my vision completely.
- Can now enjoy life and grant it to others. I now love to see our dogs happy lol.
- and much more!
I’ve fixed everything that was wrong with me which had developed during Richmond Hill, including the social awkwardness, low confidence, and shyness that I had most of my life.
I attribute all of this to being with the best spouse as well as eating certain foods and implementing lifestyle habits that maximized my testosterone.
If you’d like to talk to me directly, book a free call.
If you’d like to get the exact principles (diet, lifestyle, and supplements) that I used to maximize my testosterone, be sure to join my course.