"Getting a DUI changed everything for me"
Me : It's pretty incredible to think someone can go from weighing 130lbs to 210lbs, did you always want to be a body builder?
Giovanni : "I never wanted to be a bodybuilder, I don't think it ever crossed my mind. Growing up my passion was baseball and my goal was to play it at a college level. Unfortunately you have to graduate highschool and I ended up getting kicked out my senior year. And I just want to say, I didn't get kicked out because of bad grades, I was actually very good at school. With the circumstances I was in, I learned at a very young age that I was going to have to do what ever it takes to make money and that led to me selling whatever I could get my hands on. After getting kicked out, I switched my focus to strictly working because I knew college was no longer an option. My dad lost his job in 2008 and it changed things durastically for our family. Work and paying bills was now the only priority. Things were moving in the right direction, I was working 7 days a week at a stable job but the kid in me still wanted to have fun. One day after work, one of my buddies hit me up to hangout and drink so we went to this liquor store that sold us a few tall cans and I didnt realize at the time but that one decision to go out was going to change the direction of my life forever. Shortly after drinking that first tall can, I was driving to drop him off and I got pulled over. Getting a DUI changed everything for me. Since I was underage, my license got suspended for an entire year. So now I have to ride my bike everywhere and since I can't go out anymore, I used my free time to lift weights in my backyard. I used to have to lift weights when I was boxing but I didnt really enjoy it until it was all I had to do. And being so skinny, there was no way I was going to feel confident enough to get a gym membership until I gained some weight. I worked out everyday after work for about 6 months straight until my old beat up weight set fell apart. My passion for bodybuilding began when I started to see my body changing and I just fell in love with the process, I became addicted to it.
Me : Looking back to that day that you got pulled over, now that it's nearly 10 years later, would you say it happened FOR you and not to you ? How different do you think your life would be today if it never happened?
Giovanni : It definitely happened for me and not too me. I think it's easy for someone in that situation to just call it bad luck but it changed my life completely. If that never happened to me I wouldn't be where I am today. I am blessed to be able to work everyday helping people change their lives and reach their goals, and somehow I get to call this my "job". I think if I never got that DUI, I would probably still be working in that same manufactoring industry, making decent money, but definitely not fullfilling my calling. There's more to life than just making money, we get to do what we love everyday and help people at the same time, I couldnt ask for anything more than that.
Me : What was your first weight gain goal and how long did it take you to reach that goal ?
Giovanni : My first initial goal was to gain 20lbs so I could weigh 150lbs. All my life I never weighed more than 130lbs. And when I used to box, I would have to cut weight from 125lbs down to 108lbs. My long time friends and my family still trip out when they think back to how skinny I was. It took me roughly 4 months of working out everyday to gain that 20lbs. But at that time I really had no idea what I was doing. I was basically just figuring out what works and sticking with that until it didnt work. But by the way, when I reached 150lbs I still looked exactly the same! 20lbs distributed into a 6ft frame showed little to no changes, but that's what pushed me to my next goal of hitting 180lbs.
Me : Can you walk us through a day of eating as the 130lb Gio that is trying to gain weight?
Giovanni : Everyday I ate the same thing. I would get to work early in the morning and eat breakfast from the food truck. I would get oatmeal, pan Dulce, plus eggs and beans with tortillas. My next meal was some sort of meat and carbs from my moms dinner the night before. Keep in mind my mom is Hispanic so everything was cooked in oil meaning it was more calorie dense than just chicken breast by itself. My next meal at work was a canned soda like Coca-Cola and a pack of poptart from the vending machine. My last break at work, I would get another meal from the food truck which consisted of more Hispanic food with tortillas. When I got home I would eat another meal from mom and then workout in the backyard. At the end of the day I would have multiple bowls of cereal with whole milk.
Me : And after all these years, what is your diet like now?
Giovanni : My diet now consist of much more nutritious whole foods, but I still have the habit of eating the same thing everyday. My breakfast is whole eggs, toast, peanut butter and honey. For a snack I have greek yogurt and granola plus berries. Lunch and dinner both have lean meat, carbs, veggies and healthy fats. Another snack throughout the day is a scoop of protein plus a bagel. And of course my post workout shake everyday. The major difference is we focus on the quality calories and what exactly is in the food that we're eating, instead of just trying to eat anything possible.
Me : What was your training regimen like back in those days?
Giovanni : Honestly it was full upper body everyday. lol I was team no legs until 1 year into training when I realized that I was missing out on gaining half my body.
Me : When did people start noticing that you were gaining weight and when did you start to really notice for yourself?
Giovanni : People started to notice when I reached about 160lbs but to me, I still looked the same. I think when I finally weighed 180lbs, that's when I could see a real difference in myself.
Me : When did you finally reach 200lbs?
Giovanni : 200lbs was a big challenge for me, not only because I was naturally skinny but because as time went on and I became more educated on what to eat, l didn't really like to dirty bulk anymore. I used to make a heavy calorie gainer shake with cereal, Ice cream, milk, protein, and a large pizza on the side every night. Once I learned the nutritional value of what I was eating, I stopped all that and kept it very clean. Lean meat, sweet potato, eggs, lean protein, oatmeal etc. I eventually got into competing in men's physique and I would stay super lean all year round. Once I decided I didn't want to compete anymore, I focused on just gaining and hit 200lbs around age 22.
Me : I know you maintain 210lbs on a regular basis now, what would you say is key to maintaining the muscle mass you put on over the years? And do you think it's possible to actually lose all the weight you've gained if you don't do everything to maintain it?
Giovanni : To maintain I know I have to consume roughly 4000calories per day and train 4-5 days out of the week. If I miss meals, I drop weight and I think a lot of people assume that once you hit a goal weight, the job is done and you've made it. It's definitely the opposite but that's what keeps you going. I don't know if its possible for me to lose all the weight I've gained. If I stopped workout out and stopped eating the right calories, I think my body composition would definitely change and I might drop down to around 180lbs but the one thing I know for sure is that I don't ever want to have to find out.
Me : Was there a goal weight in mind that you wanted to reach but never did? What do you think you would have to do to reach that weight now?
Giovanni : I always wanted to hit 220lbs. The closest I ever hit was 219lbs for a day. I was eating 5000+ calories per day, training 7 days a week and it was right around the time when our shop got busy so I had to sacrifice gym time and most days had to skip meals because it was just the two of us working the store every day. If I wanted to make that my goal again, I would have to do the same thing and consuming that many calories on a daily basis isn't fun, its more of a hassle! When you're over eating that many calories everyday, most days you look at your food and don't want to eat it. I like the balance I have today, being able to train 4-5 days per week and enjoy my cheat meal on the weekend. It's more of a healthy lifestyle now.
Me : Obviously food plays such an essential role in gaining, are there any supplements that you take ritually? What would you recommend for someone trying to gain?
Giovanni : I don't recommend any supplements that I wouldn't take myself. With that being said, I always recommend Protein, Bcaas, Creatine and a pre workout. Each supplement has a different benefit but this stack together helps to stimulate protein synthesis, build and repair muscle tissue, increase performance and power output while training. This stack along with proper calorie intake and consistency should take the results to the next level.
Me : Being where you are today, if the 130lb Giovanni asked you for advice, what are a few key things you would tell him?
Giovanni : I would tell him to focus on the marathon and not the race. Staying consistent is everything. Paying attention to the choices you make, and to not let excuses hold you back. I had to eliminate everything that was working against me and take full advantage of anything that would get me closer to my goal.
Me : Any upcoming goals for 2020?
Giovanni : Good health, longevity, to keep working hard and continue building a bigger and better Supreme.
Me : Lastly, what is one piece of advice you'd like to give to anyone reading this blog post right now ?
Giovanni : I would say that it's never too late and never to early to start building a different life for yourself. What you've been through in your life and the person you were a year ago or even yesterday doesn't have to define your future. The choices you make today and from this point forward can change everything. So my best advice would be to know that nothing can hold you back if you want it bad enough.
Thanks for reading and sharing with your friends ! Stay tuned for next weeks post, real people and real results