Why I Got Started
I decided to change my physique when 16 years old. I had played football the past few years and was, obviously, a linemen. I stopped playing football after my sophomore year of high school and noticed my weight continued to go up a little bit at a time. After my 16th birthday, I remember standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror and thinking, "What happened...?" I had always been the short chubby kid growing up but this was a whole different story.
From that day on, I decided that I was going to do research on how I should be eating and working out so I can lose weight and hopefully like my physique one day. I picked up a couple of fitness magazines from the store and searched the web for bodybuilding information. I found myself on Bodybuilding.com.
After learning all that I did from the website and the few magazines I would pick up every month, the weight started to come off. It steadily came off for 2 years! Having a much better grasp on nutrition and training helped me achieve my goal of being healthy and looking better.
When I got to college, I was a business major. Halfway through my 2nd semester, I was talking to my sister and explaining something about nutrition to her. She then asked, "What are you doing being a business major?" She told me I should follow what I love and that was health and exercise. I changed my major to Exercise Science as soon as I could.
The next year I lived across the hall from a guy whose brother was a bodybuilder. I became friends with them both and my new bodybuilding friend encouraged me to compete. I had always wanted to compete since I started dieting several years ago but I always saw Dexter Jackson, Jay Cutler, and Phil Heath in the magazines and thought I had to look like that to get on stage.
Later that year, I competed in NPC Indianapolis in 2008 and won the Lightweight Open class. As soon as I stood on stage for the first time, I knew I never wanted to leave.
How I Did It
First and foremost, I have to say that I could not and would not have the success in bodybuilding that I have today if it weren't for my family and my fiancé. Without their love and support nothing that I have done could have been possible. They are the people that will be there whether I'm 2 weeks out from a contest or 20 weeks out, I can always count on them for support when I need it most. The first thing that made the big difference in my journey was them.
After that, I changed my physique drastically by being consistent with my training and more importantly my nutrition. I have experimented with nutritional strategies and training theories and found out what works best work my body. This entire journey as a bodybuilder was more or less learning what my body wanted to do in the first place. As human beings, our body does want to be lean and muscular! I found that eating lean protein sources 5-8 times a day, having moderate fats, and lower carbs have worked the best for my body.
When it comes to fat I like to focus on the "good fats" from fish oil and nuts. When it comes to carbs I usually go for something like brown rice or sweet potatoes unless it is post workout. I train anywhere from 4-6 days a week and have had great success with training once a day as well as two. The key to training is change and variation. I have the best success with changing my workouts every 3-6 weeks and it also keeps me from getting bored in the gym doing the same stuff over and over.
Getting ready for the 2011 season, I was working at a gym as a personal trainer and working with my bodybuilding mentor Austin Dossey. You may have heard of Austin from his girlfriend Jacqueline Zediker, she's a WNBF Figure Pro and Optimum Nutrition Sponsored Athlete. I never had the opportunity in the past to surround myself with such dedicated athletes like the team I had somehow surrounded myself with today.
I can honestly say that by surrounding myself with people that are as dedicated and driven as I am, that it made contest prep significantly easier. I always had someone to talk to that was going through the exact same struggles as I was. I have met some of the best people I know through working at that gym and if the WNBF gave out pro cards to people for just being dedicated and working extraordinarily hard, we could think of a few people that would be pros already.
The last 2 years I have been competing in the INBF and have continued to make progress by finishing runner up to a pro card 3 times in 2011. I've competed seven times in the last 4 years and bodybuilding has saved my life.
Suggestions for Others
- If you want to change your life, make small changes over time and stick with them.
- When things get hard, don't make excuses. Just fix it!
- Consistency is key!
- Our limiting factor isn't our strength or our muscles, it's our mind. We are powerful beyond measure.
- It doesn't matter if you just want to be healthier or you want to win the world championships in your sport, always strive for improvement but be thankful for what progress you've had.
Trainer credit: Austin Dossey, https://DosseyTraining.com