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Growing up on a farm in the rural Midwest, I learned the work ethic of my father and mother. Now a resident of Chicago, I am at heart a busy city boy who happened to have been born in the rural Midwest and so received all the benefits of that type of lifestyle, though herding cattle and gathering dismembered chicken heads for disposal were, nevertheless, less fun. I started out athletically as an avid distance runner during junior high and high school. Though I had started as a distance runner, I eventually grew tired of being the skinny kid on the block. I was 16 when I started participating in an after-school lifting program geared toward gaining strength for the upcoming track season.
When I was in college, I quit running altogether and used a miniature weight room in my dormitory to do mini workouts; I did longer complete-body workouts at a gym during my summer break. (One of the first gyms I joined in the Midwest was cleverly named “GYM.” I guess the owner thought there was no need to beat around the bush.) During various phases of school and summer vacation, I would exercise anywhere from two to five days per week, depending on time, school, and motivation. Over the ensuing years, I increased the weight and variety of exercises until getting to the point where I am now, always trying to keep technique and isolation in mind as being at least as important as the amount of weight.
As a good balance promoting longevity, I eventually settled on my present routine of three full gym workouts every week, with each one being at least an hour and 45 minutes long. Also, on three other days, I do miniature 15-minute workouts at home using dumbbells with adjustable plates, a shake weight, and wall sits; finally, I run three miles on the seventh day. For my three full gym workouts, I always exercise one arm part, one torso part, and one leg part. I have a total of four of these routines that cover virtually everything, though I only do three of the four during any given week. I also exercise my upper abs using a steep decline bench during each one of the four longer gym workouts, using a slightly different technique during each of the four routines. (I find that many gyms I visit away from home do not have adequately steep decline benches for doing these routines.) I exercise my lower abs at home using the popular wheel-extension device and using a bench to provide resistance while doing toe raises.
When I reincorporated running three miles once a week, I did so after not running for around ten years and after gaining forty pounds of lean muscle. Initially I felt really slow, but in the process I began triggering many great memories of competition and found an eight-to-nine-minute mile groove that suited me well.
I eat five times a day and try to get around 30 to 40 grams of protein each time. I eat a fair amount of chicken, ham, and beef and love all forms of dairy products. I AM from a farm, after all. Two of the five meals consist of whey-protein drinks. I also supplement with vitamins, fish oil, antioxidants, creatine, ZMA, arginine, and L-glutamine.
I could actually lift weights more often and heavier than I do, but I have geared my routines toward longevity and consistency to enable me to stay at a reliable level constantly over time. This has required an even and consistent year-round, way-of-life approach that also avoids mental and physical burnout. However, the downside of my long-haul approach has been that it is not geared toward physical peaking, and that approach has channeled my industry endeavors toward fitness modeling and not toward bodybuilding competitions. In any event, I have never found bodybuilding shows and photos to be esthetically pleasing and thus have not been interested in that industry. However, I did want to somehow take advantage of the work I was putting into my physical condition and health while also incorporating the creativity I had from a well-rounded and diverse background, life, and education.
Eventually, my physical condition enabled me to accumulate modeling opportunities after graduating, and I discovered that I enjoyed collaborating with photographers who had their own wealth of creativity and experiences. Collaborating with others to achieve esthetically and artistically pleasing results was more meaningful for me than taking the bodybuilding route. My opportunities did not start to be consistent and substantial until around 2005, when I began dealing with Bob Stickel (now deceased) of TenCasting Management, and that was one of my first important breaks into the physique-industry niche. Though my general preference has been for physique, fitness, underwear, and swimwear work, I have been open to collaborating with anyone aiming to be creative and make a high-quality product, such as on one occasion when I was required to pose as a groom with a horse and a princess-like bride in a wooded area.
I had the opportunity to work with John of BBPics.com in Connecticut on two occasions: July of 2009 and August of 2012. I appreciated John’s expertise in physique and bodybuilding poses and photography, as well as his technique involving the exclusive use of natural lighting without the use of reflectors and other assisting devices outside the camera. This knowledge of natural lighting is related to the way in which the coloring in his photos is vivid even without editing. John also demonstrates an enthusiasm and level of professionalism toward his work that I can recommend to other aspiring fitness models.
I have had diverse interests throughout my life, several of which have not even been mentioned here, but I am intense about them all. If I can't do something well, I'd rather not do it at all. In life I believe that talk is cheap and what a person actually does or does not do is far more powerful or destructive. I hope that these qualities show in my work and bring a benefit to those with whom I have worked and will work.