Weight: 185lbs (comp weight) | 200-210lbs (off-season)
How did you get starting with bodybuilding?
I got started in fitness about ten years ago. I grew up as an obese kid, but my senior year in high school I lost over 80lbs. I continued my journey into college, getting really interested in weight training (once I realized simply losing the extra fat was not going to give me the body I wanted). After graduation I became a personal trainer, starting my own company a year later. Now, fitness and coaching are my full-time job. Regarding my start into competing in bodybuilding specifically, that’s a much less inspiring story. I was on vacation at Put-In-Bay, OH with a group of friends. My buddy and I were two of the most in-shape men there—and we got a lot of attention as a result. To make a long story short, we were drunk and riding the confidence boost that vacation was giving us and decided on that trip that when we got home we’d start prepping for our first show 12-weeks later. However, the actual act of competing in my first show was the most liberating feeling in the world as a former fat kid. In fact, I wrote an article about that experience that was later published. (There’s also an article from my second show on my blog.)
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation stems from my experiences with obesity, as well as the noticeable changes throughout my life because of getting fit. I went from mediocre student with zero aspirations after high school, to graduating in the top 3% of my class from one of the best university’s in the world, starting my own business at the age of 23, and being fortunate enough to have a positive influence on so many people’s lives throughout the years. I have experienced things, and discover opportunities for myself, that I could’ve never imagined existed or were possible when I was overweight. Each day getting just a little bit closer to the person I always dreamt of becoming when I was younger—that’s what pushes me every day.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
My routine is a hybrid of different programs I’ve completed throughout the past decade. The basic structure follows that of Layne Norton’s PH3 program—a powerlifting/hypertrophy hybrid program that allows me to see sufficient growth in both size and strength. I want to not just look the part, but be able to back it up too.
Full – Routine:
- Sunday: 3-mile run
- Monday: Bench press/Chest accessories/Shoulders
- Tuesday: Heavy Deadlifts (2-4 reps)/Back/Arms
- Wednesday: Mid-heavy squats (4-6 reps)/Mid-heavy (4-6 reps) Bench press/Leg accessories/Shoulders
- Thursday: 3-mile run
- Friday: Mid-Heavy Deadlifts (4-6 reps)/Heavy Bench (2-4 reps)/Chest accessories/Shoulders
- Saturday: Heavy Squats (2-4 reps)/Back/Arms/Leg accessories
If you had to pick only 3 exercises what would they be and why?
Without a doubt, I’d pick deadlifts, bench press, and squats. No other exercises can bring your improvements in all-around strength, size, and general benefits than those three compound movements. (In my opinion.)
How does your training and diet evolve as you get closer to a competition?
My training remains unchanged throughout the entire process—except for additional cardio as crunch-time nears. However, I focus on trying to retain as much strength as I can throughout all of the prep.
As for my diet, I find that being on a generally lower-carb diet helps me lean out, and also helps to better control my appetite on a daily basis. Throughout my last prep I was averaging around between 120-150g of carbs daily (mostly consumed pre- and post-workout). I will cut my calories as necessary to see continuous progress. For both of my shows, I bottomed out at 1,900-2,000 calories a week out from show date.
Additionally, for my latest show, I was practicing intermittent fasting on my non-gym days (something I had started doing prior to prep). I found this helped me control my appetite and also experience the joy of semi-large meals on those days—making the mere 2,000 calories seem like more food than it was.
what is your diet like? (break down your meal plan)
- I eat the same thing every day (especially during prep) so here it is:Meal 1 (pre-workout): 30tbsp egg whites, 2 chicken sausage, ½ green pepper, ~65g of plain greek yogurt.
- Meal 2 (post-workout): 60g oats, ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop whey protein (all mixed together).
- Meal 3: Homemade mint-Oreo protein ice cream (click for recipe)
- Meal 4: 30tbsp egg whites, 9oz romaine lettuce, mustard
- Meal 5: 9oz romaine lettuce, 3 cups spinach (raw), 6-8oz chicken breast, low-calorie marinade for dressing.
If there’s one misconception that people have about you, what would you like to clarify to them?
While training in the gym I tend to look very serious. I’m not naturally an intimidating person—quite the opposite! (People often tell me I’m a giant teddy bear). My workout is usually the only part of the day I get to truly have time for myself, and I use that time to work out any stress I may be dealing with that day. I may look angry, but anyone who knows me will tell you, “he’s always so damn happy!”
Tell us about your hobbies outside of bodybuilding?
Outside of fitness, I work diligently to grow my fitness coaching/writing business. I write health and fitness articles and coach individuals all over the country. Outside of professional endeavors, I am a naturally very curious person. I love to travel and adventure—I plan to visit Spain in July to run with the bulls. I’m also taking salsa dancing lessons right now too. I read like a maniac, with a goal of completing 40 books by the end of 2018. In general, I also enjoy meeting new people (I also have a goal of meeting 100 new people by the end of the year).
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small [people] who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” -Muhammed Ali
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