Have you always been in shape? No. 8 years ago I was very over weight. I had a horrible habit of over eating, fried foods, junk foods, soda, alcohol you name it. I was also a pack a day smoker. I was 245 pounds and I couldn't even do 5 push up's. It was then I decided I needed not only to change my eating habits but my entire lifestyle as well. I started simple, by changing my diet to greens and protein and eating more of these foods more often during the day. I would get up at 5am and run a mile, and believe me, at this time I couldn't run a complete mile. what this did was give me a goal to shoot for and within a month I was running a mile with no problem. I then joined a gym and stated training with weights and it was then that I started to see bigger changes in my body.
How did you get started in physique competitions? I got started when a friend of mine did a show the previous year. He told me I had all the necessary tools to compete in a show. I shrugged it off, but over time, the feeling that I could actually do it grew more and more. I then started to talk to more and more people who had competed and decided I would give it a shot and see how I do. My first show I took 2nd place and have been hooked ever since.
Describe your training philosophy: My training philosophy is simple. Get in, Train hard, No talking, and Get it done. I go into each training session knowing exactly what body parts need to be trained, what exercises I'm doing, how many reps, set's I need to do to accomplish my goal for the day. I go in with a clear mind, and I focus only on my training for that 2 hour duration.
What are your favorite exercises? Seated Military Press, Flat Bench Dumbbell Press, Seated Rows and Leg Extensions.
What is your diet like in the off season? My diet for the off-season is almost the same as my diet leading up to a show. The only difference is my calories are higher, and I have more flexibility in my carb and fat intake. My protein intake always stays high, water says high at around 1.5 gallons per day. I cycle my carbs and I make sure I rotate the kinds of meats and veggies I take in so that my body doesn't become too adapted to the same foods.
Describe your diet during contest prep: Contest Prep diet is very detailed. I normally start 12 weeks out from a show with a plan that takes me all the way up till the big day. I take in 2g of protein per lb of body weight, I cycle my carbs, lots of veggies and 1.5-2gallons per day of water in take. This is the point at which I enter into "lockdown" mode for 12 weeks. Here is where my social life takes a big hit since I do not go out and eat during this time. I cook all my meals for that day and the next day so this is to ensure I am eating every 3 hours.
What supplements have worked for you? Dymatize Fusion 7 Protein. Gaspari Nutrition Avavite, Beverly Nutrition EFA GOLD, Beverly Nutrition Lean Out and 7-Keto, Scivation Xtend
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? My advice would be never give up. If you are just starting out, then take time to establish short term goals that can be measured every 4 months. At the end of the year you should see big changes. Remember this is a lifestyle change and one that you will need to be committed to over the long term in order to see the ultimate results. Work hard, do your homework on diet's and meal preps and be smart on how you train in the gym.
What have you learned about yourself as a physique competitor? I've learned to never give up and to keep working harder each day, each week, each month. I've learned that its not about having the best overall physique for just one day while being on-stage, but its about living a healthy lifestyle and being at your best daily.
What are your plans for the future? To keep living my dream of being in a place where I can inspire myself as well as others to achieve their goals. Over the next year I will be learning more about training and nutrition and how it can make positive changes in my life. To step on stage at my next show better conditioned and more prepared than my previous shows. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new and I am determined to help other people by what I have learned and experienced.