Growing up I was always the chubby (aka husky) kid in my age group. Each year, from the 4th grade all the way to my junior year in high school, I noticed I was gaining a steady 10lbs, and it wasn't muscle.
I loved to play basketball but never did touch the weights. I was "too heavy" to play Pop Warner Football when I was younger, so I never got into it by the time I got to high school.
I'll admit that I had low self-esteem when it came to girls, so I never did go on any dates growing up. I was always their "friend." I sweat more than the average person, so couple that with pimples and a fat body, it wasn't a pretty sight.
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During my Human Physiology class, we had a few guest speakers come in to talk to us about being drug-free. One of the speakers was a natural bodybuilding champion, Mike Monis. After hearing his inspirational message, I got in contact with him to ask for some guidance. It really struck a nerve, because he said it's important to focus on longevity in life, by taking care of your health.
I never knew my Grandfather (on my Dad's side). The only thing I can remember as a 3/4 year old, was that he was always too sick to play with my sister and I. He battled diabetes and passed away before I could even remember much else about him.
I never wanted to end up in that same situation. Whether or not I will be blessed to have grandchildren one day, I wanted to be active as I get older. So Idecided to dedicate my time to getting in shape, with lots of cardio and getting myself familiar with weight training.
Eventually, I tried out for our basketball team my senior year in High School, after dropping 40lbs of fat within several months. But a fractured wrist deterred my dreams of ever playing varsity basketball.
What Were Your Major Struggles or Challenges?
Through the years, some of my major struggles have been dealing with relationship breakups. After one competition, I went through a breakup andended up putting on 30 lbs in 2 months. It wasn't pretty and lookingback at it, I should have known better. But life happens, and we all have the choice to learn from it.
Also, with most people, just starting off with cardio always feelslike a chore. To go from not doing any cardio, to doing it 3 times aweek for 30 minutes seems like hell. But eventually you grow into itand it's a piece of cake.
I've also had many people not believe in my goals to step on a bodybuilding stage, let alone buying supplements to aid in my goal to live a healthier lifestyle. Not even my own family thought I would have ever competed on stage! Not having that support system behind me, just drove me even harder to attain the impossible.
Detail Your Workout and Cardio Plan During Your Transformation
My ideology for training and cardio has changed over the years. I always thought that doing high volume, lighter weight was the way to "burn fat." Not true.
I do listen to my body more than before, while keeping some heavy training in my programming. I do have to deload sooner than later, otherwise I'll be dealing with injuries regularly. If I feel like my body needs some high volume/pump workouts, then so be it. I'd rather continue to make progress than to take one step forward, and 5 steps back.
As far as cardio goes, I believe in a slow as possible changes. Starting off with 3 days at 30 minutes should be doable for almost anyone at a moderate pace. I prefer to diet/prep for a long period of time, so that I don't have to rush the process. I have been in situations of playing catch up, in order to make the show date, and was doing 2 hours of cardio a day, on top of my weight training.
That wasn't fun. It worked, but if you plan it all out accordingly, you won't have to deal with that stress. Once your weight plateaus, you can start to add in minutes and/or extra days to your regimen. Always do slow increases.
Detail Your Diet/Eating Plan During Your Transformation
Over the years I have done the steady drop in macros, keto, skip loading, HC2 (similar to a fruitarian diet) and carb cycling. My personal preference is carb cycling. I've gotten in the best shape of my life using that method and it just makes more sense to me.
Depending on how my days have been, I'll eat anywhere from 4 to 6 meals a day (including snacks).
Typically, I'll start off with carbs and protein meals to start the day, and end with protein and veggie meals towards the end. Lately, I've just been eating to feel satiated, not even tracking anything yet. I have went from 250lbs (Aug 2015) to 209lbs (12/14/15) so far. It's super simple, but once things start to get more serious, I'll be tracking and measuring everything again.
Detail Your Supplement Plan During Your Transformation
During my last transformation in 2013, this was the stack that I was using throughout Jan-Sept 2013:
- Nubreed Nutrition, Undisputed - Pre-workout
- Nubreed Nutrition, Insanity (1 in AM) - Fat burner
- Nubreed Nutrition, Phantom (1 with 3 meals) - Non-stim Fat burner
- Nubreed Nutrition, Helix BCAA (2 scoops intraworkout) - BCAA Recovery
- Nubreed Nutrition, Menace (3 prior to taking Undisputed) - Performance Modulator, Endurance, Recovery, Strength gains
- Nubreed Nutrition, Hysteria (3 with breakfast) - Natural Test Booster
- Nubreed Nutrition, Heliotropin (3 before bed) - Night time REM sleep aid, natural GH releaser
So far, I have taken 2nd place in the INBA/ABA in three separate occasions, on top of becoming a sponsored athlete with Nubreed Nutrition. It's always been one of my life long goals to be able to work with a supplement company, ever since I moved to Las Vegas.
Detail Your 3 Biggest Mistakes
The day before my last competition, I worked the Olympia expo, thinking that I could do it, while it being peak week. I felt so drained by the end of the day, and instead of going home and grabbing a quick burger, I decided to cook my food. I ended up going to bed around 1am and by that time, my mouth was so dry, that I had a large cup of ice chips by my bed. I know it ruined my conditioning for the competition, even though I still placed 2nd at the tough Team USA.
A second mistake was dirty bulking on numerous occasions. It was fun to eat all that food and lift heavier weights, but in the end, it's not worth dieting off all the fat for months on end just to have enjoy that extra pizza or ice cream. I wouldn't advise anyone to do that; it's just not healthy to begin with.
Using a natural diuretic too early before the show. It was my first time using Xpel by MHP and I took it way too early. It worked within a few days but by the time I was on stage, my body just wanted to hold onto as much water as possible. It was like night and day; like I didn't even diet for the show. It was disappointing because that was the first time my family ever got to see me compete.
3 Biggest Things You Learned During Your Transformation?
Use cardio as a tool for fat loss, rather than an end all, be all way of going about it. Too many people put excess focus on cardio, while their training and nutrition lack attention to detail. If you want to keep muscle while dieting off the body fat, then I would suggest to hit the weights consistently and intelligently. Toss in the cardio slowly, to make sure that you keep progressing rather than plateauing.
There is always more than one way to get to the same result. Figure out what works for you, and LEARN YOUR BODY. Everyone thinks white rice is bad for you. For two weeks I would only do brown rice then my fat loss plateaued. After I changed it to white rice, BOOM, my weight started falling off again.
You need to be more aware of how your own body responds to the training, nutrition and cardio in order to get the most out of this process.
I know some people use anger, frustration, etc. to push themselves in the gym. For me, all it had done was make things worse outside of the gym. That bottled up anger, will one day explode on someone unsuspecting of it. It may even ruin your relationships and friendships. I've learned to focus my attention on other things while training in the gym. Life has been so much more positive and my training has actually improved immensely.
Final Words of Advice for Others Looking to Make a Change?
Balance. Maintaining balance is key to everything, especially during your transformation. If you're single and have no obligations other than taking care of yourself, then by all means do you. But if you're in a relationship or have a child(ren), then you should probably take their feelings into consideration.
I've witnessed too many selfish people ruin their close relationships because they were so head strong and one track-minded. It's not healthy. Those people need to communicate better with others to be able to make this work out in the long run.
Changing the nutrition and/or training regiment too quickly to even notice results. Sure you may get nervous that the scale isn't moving, or your strength is dropping, but people need to believe in the process more. Program hopping tends to set you back farther, because you don't give it a chance to really work for you. There are no quick fixes. You just needs lots and lots of consistency.