1. How and when did you get interested in fitness and training?
I have always been interested in fitness – I have been swimming since the age of 5 and grew up swimming and playing water polo competitively. After college, I took more to the gym to stay in shape. However, it was only when I moved to California in January of 2011 that a friend of mine encouraged me to compete in the new Men’s Physique division in the NPC and my fitness and training took on new purpose.
2. How do you stay motivated to train and eat healthy?
At this point it’s just a way of life. It also helps that as a competitor and someone who genuinely loves fitness, I am surrounded by like-minded people. On those low motivation days, you can only see so many Facebook updates about hitting the gym or staying focused before you get your butt in gear! Beyond that, I see the changes in my body when I eat well and when I don’t – I’m addicted to the positive changes!
3. Did you make any mistakes as a beginner dealing with training, nutrition, or both?
I truly believe fitness is a journey so there are no true mistakes, but simply a way of doing things better. The area I learned the most about was nutrition. In particular, I didn’t know the effect of simple vs. complex carbohydrates. I never thought about the glycemic index and the role it could have in choosing my meals. When I incorporated what I learned, I took my physique to new levels that I didn’t think were possible.
4. What training routine has given you the best results?
I do full body low weight, high rep routines. This works the best for me for conditioning, muscle growth and staying lean.
5. What three exercises would you consider to be your favorites?
- Serratus pulldown
- Single arm kettlebell swings
- Barbell lateral shoulder raise
6. What form of cardio do you usually perform?
I try to do 30 minutes of cardio every session and switch up my cardio routine often – but I run at least one mile every day.
7. What is an example of your daily diet?
- Ground Turkey
- Shakeology (vegan protein meal replacement shake)
- Catfish & brown rice
- Steak & black beans
8. What three nutrition tips could you give our readers that you have found most useful?
1. Glycemic Index – it measures the impact of food on the rise of blood sugar levels. Research has shown this can be a more telling index for health and body composition, than simply monitoring the amount or type (simple vs. complex) of carbohydrates a particular food may have.
2. Green Tea – This is good for so many reasons, from revving up the metabolism to warding off certain cancers. This is a daily must for me.
3. The last is more of advice than a particular tip, but that is although food is fuel, it should be enjoyable. Any diet or regimen one undertakes must be conceivably sustainable for the rest of your life. This means that your nutrition should be enjoyable and one you can envision being a part of your life for the long haul. Temporary solutions only produce temporary results.
9. Which physical feature are you most proud of?
Abs – I work on them almost daily and when my core is strong I feel stronger overall.
10. What supplements do you use if any? If not, why not?
I generally avoid taking supplements on any consistent basis – I believe in getting most nutrition from food. However, I do take Shakeology daily and a pre-workout in preparation for competition and shoots.
Shakeology – it’s a vegan protein meal replacement with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and pre/probiotics.
CNP Preworkout – it includes protein, creatine, beta-alanine and no caffeine – I only use preworkout 1-2 weeks out from competition or 2-3 days before a shoot.
11. Who are your favorite bodybuilders/models/athletes?
James Ellis – he is a fitness model and a friend that really helped push my pursuit of the fitness industry and encouraged me to compete in my first men’s physique show.
Muhammad Ali – Another one of those inspirational figures we all look up to. His determination and will have always motivated me.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Is there anything I really need to say – a legend!
12. Do you listen to music while you workout? If so what kind?
Yeah – music really helps me through my workout. I love everything; rap, country, classical, you name it. Lately, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, David Guetta, and Avicii are pretty constant.
13. What time of day do you prefer to train? Why?
I’m not really a morning person when it comes to training, though I will go if that’s the only time I have. Ideally, I prefer to train in the early afternoon when I feel my best and right before the 5:30pm crowd hits.
14. What last three tips would you give to our readers to help them reach their fitness goals?
1. Take risks – don’t be afraid to try new things or fall flat on your face when you do – be it in your training or nutrition it’s through taking a few risks we really learn to grow.
2. Surround yourself with like-minded people – As I mentioned before, having so many people in my life that value fitness picks me up on those days when my motivation is low. More than this, however, I have heard from so many people who gave up on working out and/or eating right because of the negativity they got from friends for doing so. It is so strange for me to hear this and I realize how blessed I am to be surrounded by some amazing people in the fitness industry; so seek out the same, whether in the gym or on facebook, twitter, bodyspace, or any of the myriad forums online!
3. Be patient – Results won’t happen overnight. Work hard and eat right every day and you will eventually be in the shape and have the physique you want. There are weeks leading into competition where I refuse to look at my body so I don’t get lost in my own head about not seeing the results I want quickly enough. Rather, I know that if I continue to stick to my program, that come competition day I will be right where I want to be. I think patience is the most valuable thing you can have in your fitness journey.
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