I want to introduce you to Mitch. Mitch has an amazing story. Like me, Mitch started out skinny and worked hard to reach the level of success he enjoys today.
What are your stats?
Tell us about your transformation story since you got started?
I was the typical ectomorph athlete growing up. Coming from a sports family, it was to be expected that I’d play every traditional sport under the sun until I found one that fit – then make a career out of it. Long story short, that didn’t happen; although I loved every single minute of the competition. I was skinny, small, frail and basically not much to look at during most of my teen years. I remember walking to my apartment fitness center when I was about 16 year’s old thinking that one day I’ll look just like those guys in the magazines. I’ll be big and shredded and have the respect of the other guys around me.
I thought to myself how much I HATED being skinny. There’s nothing I wanted more from that moment on than to achieve the greatest masculine look that I could. I wanted to command attention everywhere I went and build a physique that other guys would kill to have. I wanted to do it right though – never cutting corners, always learning new things, and maybe THIS would be the sport that gave me a career at the same time. A big influence came from my cousin Jonathan, who was four years ahead of me and had the craziest looking abs, chest and shoulders I’ve ever seen. I wanted that, I wanted to look just like him, so I got to work.
From that first pumped feeling I had in my biceps, I knew things would never be the same. I fell in love with the weight, the struggle, the intensity, and the rewards. I believed that each day was another opportunity to become better so I would sit at my computer desk and soak in as much information as possible – watching YouTube videos before every workout and preparing my mind for muscle domination! This is where Vince Del Monte came into the picture…
After finding his channel I made it a habit – a ritual to learn everything I could from him. I trusted his experience and his knowledge and did the most important part: APPLIED the information to my fitness lifestyle. I made a commitment to myself to never look back, and over the next year of learning, adapting, applying the information and growing, I exploded from my small insecure frame of 160 pounds to over 200 pounds of solid muscle! That skinny kid was history.
Throughout the last few years I have learned that there are no secrets to hard work. Muscle does not come easy, but then again, nothing great ever does. That’s what makes this bodybuilding game so enjoyable: the pain, the hardship, the success and the achievement. Isn’t that what we all strive for in the end? This process over the last seven years has been nothing short of incredible, but with all honesty I have to say that with any large goal, you are bound to hit a road block or two. Finances of a young college student always provided an extra hoop to jump through to get enough food and of course to pay the gym membership. At the end of the day though, nothing was going to keep me from my dream. I believe that in times of hardship we are molded into the stronger versions of ourselves, and if we want something bad enough, there is always a way.
Since adding 40 pounds to my frame and getting my body fat below seven percent, I honestly have never felt better in my life! I look back at that skinny kid who only had a hope and a dream and a set of 10 pound dumbbells, and it’s been quite the journey to say the least. I learned so much in these last years that it gets exciting thinking about what the next seven years will bring. I am now a personal trainer along-side my identical twin brother Matt, a business owner and a national level men’s physique athlete. I want to give a big thanks to him for being my best friend and best workout partner ever. Through business, workouts and everyday life altogether, we bring the best out of one another and as a team – nothing can stop us!
Why did you decide to start competing?
Truth be told, the idea of competing on stage was never something that I had dreamed about doing from an early age. My competitive side had more to do with wanting to hit the game-winning shot or catching a touchdown in the Super Bowl. But in late summer 2013 after switching gyms from a big box gym to a smaller training facility, I was introduced quickly to the bodybuilding competitive atmosphere. I would get questioned every day about whether I competed or not with more surprised looks than I can count when I mentioned that I’ve never have before. This reaction really sparked my interest in the sport and made me question myself as to the success I could gain, if in fact I would do well on stage.
I guess it was the “skinny man” syndrome I had on lockdown in my head with the fear that I wasn’t big enough or that I couldn’t compare to the other guys up there in Men’s Physique. But with more research and the inner drive to want to prove my fear wrong, I decided to commit 100% to the process – to the posing, to the dieting, to the long sessions of cardio and late nights at the gym. At the end of the day I just wanted something to work for. My training up to this point was to improve my physique and get as big and ripped as possible, but then what? It was time to step out of my shell and break free into something new. I put my doubt and fear aside and I decided that competing on stage would help me release the inner athlete that had been locked up.
How did you do at your most recent show [[NPC Natural Western USA]]?
I took first in my class in both the NPC Natural Outlaw and the NPC Natural Western USA which were held within a week of each other here in Arizona. I chose to do the first show as a mental and physical preparation for the much larger show a week later. The Natural Western USA was also a national qualifier so this helped me secure a spot to nationals later this year! Overall, the experience of both shows surpassed my expectations tenfold – the contacts I was able to meet, the friends I made and the amazing feeling of being on stage in front of hundreds of people made it an experience worth pursuing again, especially at a higher level.
What is next year’s goal?
By next year I made it a personal goal to become and IFBB Pro Men’s Physique competitor. I know that the only thing that could hold me back from achieving this goal is myself, and right now I don’t even think I can stop me.
What inspires you to keep going and to train harder?
Honestly I have made it a personal goal of mine to keep God at the center of all I do and everything I accomplish. I believe deep down that I was put in the position I am in to inspire others to seek faith and become the best person they can be, both inside and outside of the gym. Yes, I do have very large and seemingly impossible goals to the average person looking on, but with that aside I aim to be much more than ordinary. My inspiration comes from inspiring others. I always believed that when my motivation seemed to be lagging on a particular day or when I just wasn’t “feeling it” in my life or in my training, that I would find someone else that I could help motivate to reach their goals. There is nothing more motivating than to get a big hug from a client or to read an email when I first get up in the morning about the impact that I have made on someone’s life. Even if I only inspired one person to make themselves better inside and outside of the gym, it would be worth it.
I believe that I train hard and with a purpose for the main reason of pure desire to improve. Noticing that all the hard work is paying off and especially being rewarded for that hard work (winning shows), has sparked the fire of desire inside me to reach beyond my comfort zone; to break through all mental barriers and to say to myself at the end of the day, “I’ve done everything I could to be better than yesterday.”
How have Vince’s No Nonsense Muscle Building and Stage Shredded Status workouts and ideas shaped your training philosophy?
Both of these programs combined together gave me a complete arsenal of tools to help destroy fat and build the insane amount of muscle that I’ve developed. Vince uses the philosophy a lot that a gradual and continuous approach towards building muscle and losing fat will not only help your mind with the mental preparation that it takes to adhere to such a program, but will also steer your hard work directly towards success.
My personal philosophy about building muscle and losing fat has so much influence from Vince’s programs, but to add to the reason above, a defining characteristic of these programs is to create a specific goal that I wished to achieve, and to create daily action plans in order to accomplish this goal. Nothing was ever achieved completely over night. He helped me to understand that small improvements, committed to day-in and day-out would bring that enormous goal I set for myself over time; that nothing worth working for comes easy.
I am also a firm believer in intensity. The majority of guys that I’ve seen in the gym lack this important ingredient in their muscle-building and fat loss approach, and Vince taught me to never settle for going through the motions. Just showing up at the gym for my workouts was not enough. My intensity directly influenced my success and therefore, my ability to pack on more size and to get more shredded than anyone at my gym.
What is your nutritional approach?
I like to keep all of my nutrition very simple. I’m a big fan of learning new things and reading new research that comes out each year on this topic, so it’s safe to say that my nutrition could change from time to time, but with the purpose of taking a more optimal approach towards my goals. The principle of metabolic flexibility or “nutrient programming” is something that I’ve used over this past contest prep to get extremely lean, and without being starving all the time in the process. Basically this term refers to helping your body to become flexible in using the fuel sources that you want it to use, rather than whatever you eat from meal to meal. In an application, this meant that I would have a lean protein source and healthy fats in my first meal of the day, rather than the popular high amount of carbohydrates. This made my body more “flexible” to using FAT as fuel throughout the entire day as opposed to carbohydrates. Carbs were only to be taken in around the time I needed fuel – being my workouts.
A typical day for me consists of six food meals split up about every 2 ½ hours, and with my post workout shake considered as my seventh meal, or whenever my workout happens during the day. Carbs are only taken in moderation as mentioned above and fats are consumed three times per day mixed with veggies and protein sources. I’m also very careful to not mix carbohydrates and fats in the same meal due to possible unwanted storage of fat! Cheat meat meals excluded of course…
What kind of cardio do you get best?
Just like Vince has said many times in his videos, there are many ways to get from Destination A to Destination B – you could walk, run, bike, drive or fly. All of these ways of transportation will get you there, but some take longer than others. I believe that cardio is the same. I’ve tried low intensity steady state cardio which has worked great in the early stages of my fat loss, however high intensity interval cardio is by far my most favorite. The reason for this is because it’s never boring and it’s over with in a shorter amount of time. I’m the type of guy who loves to work extremely hard in the gym, but I don’t want to be there all day. High intensity cardio allows me to do that, and with insanely fast results. My best results have come from HIIT workouts lasting no more than 20 minutes at a time after my regular training sessions.
What’s been your greatest achievement in fitness so far?
Given my recent success in placing first in my first two Men’s Physique shows, I would love to say that they were my best achievements right now in fitness, but honestly the success that I’m proud of more than anything I’ve done up to this point has been the creation of MindsetFitness.net. The site encompasses the idea of using faith to build up men to have such a strong mental approach towards fitness and achieving their goals that it carries into every aspect of their lives; Boys become men and men become leaders. These leaders then go on to impact the lives of their families, communities and businesses in the areas of both faith and fitness. I learned so much of the life lessons that I apply and teach today simply from the quiet mental focus of the gym setting, first. That focus then spread like wildfire into not only feeling strong and empowered physically, but to be strong mentally as well. The idea was just too big to keep inside, so Mindset Fitness was born and it’s been blessed with tremendous growth ever since.
What is your top tip to a skinny guy who wants to gain lots of muscle?
Make sure your nutrition is on point before you ever worry about supplements or even training for that matter. The way I see it, there’s no point to build a house on sand when you know that it’ll just fall down eventually. You must learn to establish your nutritional foundation in order to build the solid physique of your dreams. Build your house upon the rock and watch the growth happen before your eyes. After all, muscle doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere!
What is your top advice to someone who wants to compete?
My biggest advice is to first select your show. This will give you a specific date in order to plan your competition meal prep for. Be sure to do your homework on what the judges are looking for in your particular show and event. So many guys go into their first show trying to look like “pros” right away. Make the most of your contest prep and find a coach to teach you the correct posing. This will make or break your stage presence. I beat a lot of guys who looked much better than I did simply because I out-posed them. If you have the physique the judges will notice. Your job is to present that physique with the MOST confidence you’ve ever felt in your life! Relax, have a blast, and OWN IT before you ever walk on stage.
What’s your favorite quote?
This is on a poster above my desk:
“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light. When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it. When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway. When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back. When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some. When you are feeling tired, dare to keep going. When times are tough, dare to be tougher. When love hurts you, dare to love again. When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal. When another is lost, dare to help them find a way. When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand. When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile. When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too. When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best. Dare to be the best you can at all times, DARE to be! – Steve Maraboli
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