Why I Got Started
When I graduated from high school and went to college I was insecure with the way I looked. I had been called skinny the majority of my life and I felt it was time to not only pack some weight on but prove to myself that I could be more than just the skinny kid from Kansas.
I had huge dreams of one day being on the cover of a Fitness Magazine and obtaining the physique of my childhood hero Jean Claude van Damme. I remember when I first started working out I had no idea what I was doing. I literally spent more time in the gym and reading up on fitness then I did my own college classes.
Needless to say, I graduated college with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a fitness model physique!
How I Did It
The most important part of the whole equation is your nutrition. It took me a few years to understand how food was supposed to be used. Early on I thought the more I worked out, the bigger my muscles would get, but this is not true.
Building muscle is a slow process - 6-10 quality pounds per year. It takes a nutrition plan that will enable you to become stronger and force the muscle to grow. Sleep is also a huge part of the equation. You are repairing and building muscle during rest time so never neglect your sleep, try to get 6-8 hours nightly.
The other big tip I can off is that everyone's body is slightly different and what works for me may not work for you the same. Body types also come into play. Ectomorphs (hardgainers) like myself can eat enormous amounts of food and have issues putting mass on but stay naturally lean year round, so if this is your body type then eat, eat, eat. I would consume 5000-6000 calories per day for 6-month periods of time during bulk. It's not fun but just a part of growing.
Working out is 1-2 hours daily, 4-7 days per week. Make sure when you are in the gym that you keep things very focused and intense. You are not there to socialize you are there to WORK. Put your headphones on with some of your favorite upbeat music and have your course of action laid out. Going into the gym knowing what you're about to do is always going to be more effective.
Set short term goals as well as long term. Yes my goal was to be on the cover of a fitness magazine when I was 18 and 140 pounds, but I had a ton of short term goals to achieve first. It took me 7 years of hard training but I finally landed that cover and many more after! Follow your passion and your dreams, and never let anyone get in between that.
This is how I eventually got there, I sure wish I would have had someone guiding and helping me out on the way. Take this advice and apply it to your life. Make every choice you make throughout the day make a positive one and in time you will find success.
The Car Accident That Changed It All
I was at the peak thus far in my career midsummer 2005, and I'd recently been on the reality show "Manhunt." I also had just landed the cover of Men's Workout, and many other national publications. Everything was going in the right direction toward my dreams and goals. However, within seconds my whole life changed.
I was on my way to the airport going to Tampa, Fla. in June 2005 when a ladder fell off the back of a man's truck, landing in the middle of the highway. It caused a huge car accident, and unfortunately the vehicle I was in ran into the side of a truck. The force of the impact caused major back and neck issues for me. I needed chiropractic work for more than 6 months. I was unable to work out and maintain the physical condition I was used to because of the pain.
I became depressed and unmotivated. I lost my strength, flexibility and dropped 30 pounds over the time period. I became so depressed and withdrawn from the passions that made me so happy. I started living a different lifestyle and accepting I would never be able to achieve the goals I set. I worked so hard to obtain a fit and sculpted body and within seconds, my efforts seemed wasted.
My livelihood is working out, staying fit and living healthy. Motivating others is my main reason for working as hard as I do to become successful. I am a personal trainer and fitness model so getting my body to its top level is my job, but unfortunately, my livelihood had been compromised because of my own lack of motivation to diet and work out properly. I was eating whatever I wanted and out partying. I was living for the moment instead of the future. I started hanging around the wrong crowd and the wrong environments. I preached healthy living by keeping positive people around me and being in positive surroundings for so long.
Then suddenly, I put myself in the middle of negative situations. I tried to pillow the feelings I kept inside by living a lifestyle that had never been suitable for my goals or me. I felt like I failed so many people around me that supported me to continue the dream of being one of the elite fitness models in the nation. I was living for short-term comfort instead of living for long term happiness. I had lost everything in such a short amount of time. My body went into the dumps, my way of living was keeping me from advancing in my life and I was around nothing but toxic people. I went from fitness to failure. Then, as quick as it had been taken away it was given back.
Out of nowhere the January 2007 cover of Muscle and Body with Jennifer Nicole Lee (Abs Circle Pro Spokesmodel/BSN Spokesmodel) and I hit the stands. I was so excited because this was the motivation I needed to reach my goals. I had no idea the cover was coming out because the picture was shot over a year ago and we both heard nothing about it. I remember sitting down one day soon after, telling myself that I was going to give this another shot by putting 100% effort toward achieving the goals I had set over 2 years ago. I knew how much work and sacrifice it was going to take but it was a challenge I needed and wanted.
When I was able to lift again I started back slowly. It was frustrating because not only did I lose weight, but I lost most of my strength as well. A bit disappointing when I was benching 225 for 25 reps and then I got back on the bench and could barely lift 225 for 6. It made me want to scream. I didn't know at that point if I'd overcome the challenges before me, and reach the elite fitness model level again.
So, I decided to cut out all negativity, quit all the partying and removed the negative people from my life. I was no longer going to feel sorry for myself or make excuses. I was going to be the old me, but a better version of him. I started working out hard, changed my diet and went back to sprinting at the track. Within a short period of time my life was returning to normal and my body was getting back to tip-top shape. I knew this was the start of something big. I'd overcome a huge setback, but through it I became a better person.
In the last 2 years so many positive things have happened. I got married to my beautiful wife Diana Chaloux. We opened HitchFit Gym locally here in Kansas City, within 2 years have gone from 2 trainers to 20, and opening a 3rd location soon. We started Hitch Online Personal training business and thus far have clients in 50 different countries and were voted the #1 Online Personal Training System in the World.
We just released our second book and also produced a workout DVD. I was on the hit reality tv show "Split Ends" 3 features in Muscle & Fitness as well as 2 other covers and 20 other national spreads. I placed 5th at the 2010 WBFF World Championships in Fitness Model and I am a writer for one of the top fitness magazine in the world Status Fitness Magazine. In 2011 I accomplished another goal by winning the 2011 WBFF Muscle Model World Championship.
Through this journey I have found my true passion in life, helping others. I live and teach by the motto, "Live healthy, Live happy." My passion in life is to teach others that this way of living is where happiness and success is made. You become happy with whom you are and you will be able to make others happy. I have never smiled more in my life than I have recently. When you have control of your choices then you have control of your lifestyle, and you'll live healthier, becoming happier, and spreading that happiness to those around you.
The more success I get, the more I am able to help others worldwide to follow their dreams through hard work and patience. This is what keeps me going every day, and I'm grateful to live a passionate life. The feeling that I am an inspiration to so many people and showing others that no matter what negative setbacks we may have in life you have to keep stepping forward knowing that you WILL reach your goals.
No matter what happens in your life, you must always try to stay positive, and keep positive people around you. Through struggle you sometimes learn the most important lessons in life, I'm living proof. I was an only child raised by my mom in Kansas but had big dreams, the setbacks in my life only made me stronger. If you want something in your life you have to go get it. I hope my story inspires you to follow your passion and know I'm always here to talk to if you need some guidance or an open ear.
Suggestions for Others
The most important thing you need to do is believe in yourself, once you have that you can accomplish anything. Having good supportive people around you also ensures you are living the proper lifestyle.
Use places like Bodybuilding.com or Hitchfit.com to communicate with people who have similar interests and can help you reach your goals.
Always prepare in advance with your food and your workouts. This will lead you to avoid mistakes. Remember to be patient; you're not going to look like the guy you see on the cover of your favorite fitness magazine overnight. Most of the best bodies in the world are in their 30s or early 40s!