Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Week: Big Man Balaban

Teenage insecurities kept Brandon from realizing his potential early in life. Thanks to surgery and family guidance, he overcame those obstacles en route to fitness freedom!

Name: Brandon Balaban
BodySpace: hardworker1128
Facebook: extemefitness
Location: Omaha, NE
Age: 23  Height: 6'2"  Weight: 215 lbs off-season, 195 lbs contest
Years Bodybuilding: 4

How Did Your Bodybuilding Journey Begin?

When I was 15 years old, I never took my shirt off, not even to swim. It wasn't because I was skinny; I was a skinny kid with gynocemastia. I didn't know why my chest was the way it was, but it made me very insecure about myself. It was torture to be at the lake with my friends and family swimming in the hot sun while I kept my shirt on. After a year of that, my parents caught on. They noticed I never took my shirt off and walked with an arch to cover it up.

Gyno had taken over my life. It was going to prevent me from dating girls. My self-esteem and confidence was so low, I couldn't imagine dating. So, we decided to get surgery done when I was 16. It was the best decision I ever made. After surgery, it was time for the next change: adding muscle. I started going to the weight room with my stepfather in the morning before school. When I was 19, I dedicated myself to a diet and the results came quick.

Now everyone knows me as the fitness guy to ask for advice. My confidence and self-esteem are 10-times what they were when I was a shy, skinny boy with gyno. In the past two years, I helped many friends and family members transform their bodies and lives. Some of them tell me I've been an inspiration to them. That alone makes me extremely proud of myself and the obstacles I overcame.

How Did Your Passion For Bodybuilding Emerge?

What our bodies can endure is fascinating. Lifting heavy weights and forcing the body to grow is amazing. When you start seeing the physical changes, you can't stop and want to see how far you can push yourself. My passion started when I saw the changes and got positive feedback from friends, families, and strangers.

What/Who Motivated You To Be A Bodybuilder?

My biggest motivator is the legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger. When I watched the film Pumping Iron, the dedication and passion he had for bodybuilding really hit me. I'm a naturally competitive person and always set the bar high. My passion and dedication to bodybuilding and healthy living is much like the Austrian Oak. I'm always striving to be better than I was the week before. Every time I see a new training video or a magazine interview, it makes me more motivated to be that guy. I'm always improving and willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs advice.

Where Did You Go For Inspiration?

Everyone has days when they're too tired to hit the gym and make excuses to justify it. I'm the wolf climbing the hill right now, so my motivation is always high. I like reading Arnold Schwarzenegger's commencement speech about the "6 Steps To Success." It's very inspirational and uplifting. It applies to every person on earth.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I want to take bodybuilding as far as I can and make a career in the fitness industry. I'll continue competing as long as I can walk and hope to become an IFBB pro. My plan is to be a pro, start an online personal training business, and eventually open a gym. I want to help as many people as I can across the globe.

What Is The Most Important Bodybuilding Tip?

Eat clean. You can't expect to get the body of your dreams by stuffing yourself with greasy cheeseburgers and cake. The single biggest mistake people make is not eating clean. I was guilty of it for years. Once I changed my eating habits, my muscles came in faster, fuller, and bigger.

Who Is Your Favorite Bodybuilder?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is my favorite bodybuilder, and not just because of his physique. He was a very driven and disciplined bodybuilder at building a better body and creating an incredible resume.

How Did Help You Reach Your Goals?

I found when I was 16 years old and just starting to lift weights. I remember going to Google, searching "bodybuilding supplements," and stumbling onto I read every article you can imagine, created an account, and began messaging people with amazing physiques for advice. Some replied and some didn't, but I took all the information and applied it to my training. Over the years, I educated myself through countless hours of reading, and now people message me for advice. is also where I get 99 percent of my supplements.


  • New Age Photography
  • I want to personally thank Sean Harley for preparing me for my first competition. I wouldn't have done it without him and look forward to continue working with him. Check out his online personal training site.
  • Thanks to New Dawn Nutrition for sponsoring and believing in me.