About a year ago I met fitness photographer John Mitchell through my former weightlifting partner Kai Au. At the time, I was very muscular but lacked a certain muscle definition or aesthetic appeal that many bodybuilders and fitness models display. Over the next year, my body would change drastically as I readied myself for my first fitness modeling photo shoot.
My starting weight was nearly 220 when I embarked on my first "competition style" diet and training regime. Around this time my body fat was also as high as I had ever been at nearly 15 percent. With Kai's help and support, I began to cut out those foods that I felt would help me bulk up (the occasional greasy fast-food hamburger, high carbohydrate pasta dishes, and sugary protein bars) in favor of lean sources of protein and low carbohydrate meals. I also began to track my daily macronutrient values and aimed to consume a diet mainly of protein and moderate fat and carbohydrates in a 60/30/10 fashion. Also, I needed to drink at least two gallons of water a day to help boost my metabolism and spur greater blood flow to my muscles. Cardio would be performed 6-7 days a week to help rid stubborn chest and lower abdominal fat.
After months of following this program, my weight began to slowly, yet steadily drop. Results were coming but not necessarily as fast as I would have hoped for them to come. Along the way, I encountered a number of times where I began to doubt myself and wonder if I was meant to be a fitness model. I always told myself though that patience, discipline, and consistency would soon pay off. I could not have been more right in that thinking.
To help show the exact training and diet protocol, I will lay out a common week-day on my program. In the early morning I awoke and on an empty stomach (in an effort to burn body fat instead of carbohydrates), I did an hour of moderate intensity cardio. This cardio would be either the Stairmaster, low-seated stationary bike, or incline fast paced walking. Immediately following the morning cardio session, I drank a protein shake and mix in one serving of dry oatmeal. Over the next 8 hours, I went to my day job and would drink 60 grams of whey protein every two hours and in the middle of my shift, I ate 10 ounces of lean ground turkey or beef with another two servings of oatmeal. Following my day job, I headed back to the gym and did my weight training followed by another protein shake with oatmeal and then another 10 ounces of turkey and a serving of natural peanut butter before bed. This peanut butter became the highlight of my day as it was close as I would come to ever cheating on my strict diet. By the end of the day, I intended to consume at least 350 grams of protein in an effort to rid myself of catabolism because of an exhausting schedule. My workout split was defined as followed:
Day 1: AM cardio, biceps/triceps, and abs
Today, my body fat is as low as I have ever been able to reach. In the year of hard training and dieting, I lost nearly 55 pounds but did not lose an incredible amount of strength, if any. This statement gives great testimony to allowing yourself time to achieve one's goal. If I were to devote six months instead of one year to achieve my current physical state, I simply would have lost far too much muscle. Also, dieting for that long required an extreme amount of dedication to conquering my goal. To get sidetracked in that time would have been an easy thing to do, but I feel the support system I had around me helped me to thrive.
My support from family and friends has been incredible ever since I began my journey for peak physical condition. I thank John Mitchell for giving me this opportunity firstly. Our talks we shared every few days really helped me stay focused and ready to complete my ultimate objective. Also, my pictures I sent him a few times a month to show progress helped to gauge my conditioning and helped to implement new diet and training strategies. Thank you again Mr. Mitchell. I thank Kai Au for introducing me to the bodybuilding/fitness model lifestyle and the advice he gave. I thank my mother for her guidance and her aid in getting me through the final two weeks before the shoot. Without her help, I could have easily run out of gas. Lastly and certainly not least, I would like to thank God for giving me the self-discipline and drive required to succeed in a mission like this. It is not easy to stay focused entirely for nearly a year of dieting, but with the before mentioned people's guidance, I can safely say I have done all I can do to achieve my goal. The future will only bring brighter days for my career but I feel this was an excellent start.
The time spent with John shooting photos was a tremendous experience. John was very professional and hospitable the entire weekend we came to take pictures. As this was my first experience, John offered advice on how to pose and accentuate my better attributes. He took us to some of the Northeastern USA's most beautiful scenic locations to capture some breathtaking pictures. Also, I felt very comfortable with John as he took pictures we were happy to pose for and would better our portfolios. Overall, John was a very proficient bodybuilding photographer and inviting human being as well. I recommend that any person with serious aspirations in the fitness industry work with this man. I am sure it will only bring good things for the future to all of you.
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