I was always active in sports as a kid but it wasn’t until I first deployed overseas to Iraq that I started to really lift weights. Although like most guys I wanted to impress girls and get bigger, the experience of being overseas away from family and friends in a war zone made the gym an outlet for me. When I needed to release some stress, I would go to the gym since it was open 24/7. After a few years I started getting a lot of compliments and people telling me I should start bodybuilding so I registered for my 1st all Natural competition and placed 6th out of 40 competitors. In 2014, I tied for 2nd and but was given 3rd at NPC USA National Championship in Las Vegas, NV. I was so close to getting my IFBB Pro card but didn’t. That just helped mold and motivate me to be better.
My passion for being the best that I can be is a major factor that helped me push past my limits. That desire also helped transform me into wanting to help others on accomplishing their fitness goals. My biggest challenge was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and still having the energy to go to the gym for another 2-3 hours, while trying to keep in contact with family and get the sleep I needed to maintain. Iraq is 8 hours ahead of the US, so I either had to get up early or go to bed late just to talk to family. It took a toll on my body physically and mentally. When it happened, I had to rely on my training partner and motivational videos to feed off that energy I needed. I live off the energy and good vibes of the great friendships that I gained overseas.
If there was only one thing the military would have overseas to keep you occupied, it would be a gym. Although most of the gyms were in tents, we had gyms everywhere which were convenient since they were all open 24/7. My roommate at the time and good friend, Teo, was the person who helped push me. Like me, he also developed a passion for the gym and wanted to get bigger. We both knew nothing about nutrition and just really relied on magazines and YouTube. I knew nothing about a good diet besides the posters on the wall of the DFAC (Dinning Facility) that showed your basic nutritional information. I used to buy protein from the shopping center we had and drink about 4 protein shakes a day to make sure I was getting the right amount of protein. The food was free, which wasn’t completely healthy but I figured since my metabolism was high it wouldn’t’ hurt. I saw some major changes but it wasn’t until I decided to compete that my diet completely changed.
The military is built on discipline and that fueled my desire to be the best that I can be. As I started lifting weights more and more, I started getting more advice from not only, Teo, but other people in the gym as well. I learned about carbs to protein to fat ratio, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, and basically what a good diet was. I stopped relying on protein shakes all day but instead ate a lot of salads and cut out most of the fast food unless it was a cheat day.
I want to continue to motivate and inspire people to live a healthier life. You don’t necessary have to be the fittest person but health is important. I also want to get sponsored by a supplement company such as Optimum Nutrition or Cellucor. My long-term goal is to become an IFBB Pro. I placed 3rd at NPC USA Nationals in Las Vegas, NV and is training to get that Pro card and one day compete on the Mr. Olympia Physique stage.