Q & A: Living Life Fit
When and how did you get started training?
Growing up I had always been chubby. I did not pay much attention to my diet (What kid does?) and ate everything on site. Having a Filipino mother who owned a restaurant did not help. There was food in the house 24/7 and the word ‘diet’, well, no one knew exactly what it meant or how powerful the principle behind the word was. All throughout high school, I was heavily involved in sports, despite the fact that I was not fit. Functional, but didn’t look it. Junior year came and I suffered from a rotator cuff tear which prevented me from playing any sports. Everything was dropped and over that year I became an avid couch potato. I gained a significant amount of body fat (more than I already had) and weighed about 235 pounds. It was hell! I felt sluggish, unmotivated and my self esteem hit the bottom of the barrel. There were girls in school who I had the biggest crush on but I just couldn’t pull myself to ask any of them out and it was pathetic. The last year of high school I wanted to change, but did not know exactly how to go about it. I just knew it was time for a lifestyle change. I joined the nearest gym to my house (Planet Fitness) and trained everyday not knowing anything about fitness or weight lifting. My goal was just to lose weight, have abs and impress girls. After a year of trial and error, numerous pulled back muscles and achy joints, I was able to drop my weight from 235 to 170. Let me tell you, it was great! I had visible packs and the compliments were thrown at me left to right. It felt as if I had won the lottery. It was that good! Needless to say, I continued working out and kept the lifestyle going. I did not know much about proper form, technique, diet, but I loved the process. I fell in love with the sport and soon began to learn more and more. The knowledge I picked up from the gym and my own research were all applied to my own training. I was my own guinea pig.
What keeps you motivated?
If you asked me this question when I first started training, my answer would have been different. As mentioned above, I did it for attention and the fact that I was sick of being fat. I did not have a specific goal, I just wanted to be fit. Several years into training, I can honestly say that my motivation goes far beyond just impressing girls or anyone for that matter. Fitness and dieting has become a part of my life. It’s no longer a hobby, or something to do when I’m bored; its a lifestyle and motivation is no longer needed.
I absolutely love it! There’s no better feeling than going to the gym and crushing your goals whether it is to lift X amount of weight or run X amount of miles on the treadmill. I couldn’t imagine living a life other than going to the gym, training, and dieting, as it is physically and mentally rewarding.
It’s been great to be able to ‘transform’ my body, and I love feeling confident in the way I look, but the opportunity to inspire and impart knowledge on others has been the real deal.
What is your outlook on the fitness industry and what advice would you give the upcoming generation?
It’s great and it’s growing immensely. I like to view the fitness world as one big community where every athlete, bodybuilder, advanced or new, come to unite and help guide each other to the top, to a better lifestyle. More people are influenced and motivated to start going to the gym and better themselves and that’s a good thing. It is my own personal goal to be able to educate and motivate people to achieve a different level of greatness in their lives whether it’s to change their body composition, become stronger, or improve other aspects of their lives outside the gym. Self development is a powerful thing and I’m all about it.
Life could be hard or easy. It all depends on how you want to live it. If you want something, you work your ass off to earn it. There are no short cuts and anything worth having will take time and effort to achieve. I learned that anything could be done with a passion. Passion is key to success. Without it, you’ll wear yourself out and you’ll always be disappointed with your results.
What is your training philosophy?
Training is fun. I love it and I look forward to it every single day! I’m constantly rearranging my routine/program to maximize my gains. As a natural bodybuilder/weight lifter, you can only put on so much mass for x amount of time. It’s a very, very, very slow process, hence, why you must love and a have passion for the sport/lifestyle. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself contemplating whether what you’re doing is worth it or not. When I’m at the gym, I disregard the world. It is my happy place and no one is taking that away from me. I put my earphones on and the battle between me and myself yesterday begins.
I perform squats, bench press, and deadlifts 2-3 times per week and incorporate light, moderate and heavy days depending on my training focus. I place the emphasis on increasing volume over time, rather than cramming as much volume into one session as I can, and I perform traditional bodybuilding-style accessory work to supplement main lifts. I include supersets, drop sets and other overload techniques to keep the intensity high.