A:No, actually I was born in the western suburbs of Chicago. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 when I started my orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I left Pittsburgh for 1 year to do my fellowship at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Pittsburgh drew me back and I love living here. The president of the IFBB Pro league and the NPC, Mr. Jim Manion, has connected me to so many great people in Pittsburgh that I feel like this will always be home.
Q:Describe your first experience at the gym...
A:My very first experience in any gym was in a gymnastics gym. The girl I had a crush on in 8th grade was on the gymnastics team in high school. One day I walked into an open gym session as a freshman and saw her tumbling around and I decided that I was going to be a gymnast (LOL). From that day forth, I was in that gym every day that it was open. I fell in love with the strength training from day one. I incorporated weight training in the off season shortly thereafter.
Q:When did you know that you could step up from the amateur ranks and compete at the IFBB level?
A:I could definitely taste my pro-card when I took 2nd place at the NPC National Championships in 2009. The year between 2009 and 2010 was driven, focused, and persistent. I peaked for only one show that year and I won. I made great improvements in my symmetry and muscle density. I weighed the same in 2010 as I did at the 2009 weigh-in thus I was a bit leaner since I carried more muscle. As for competing at the IFBB level, I have decided to stick with judging. Judging shows like the Arnold Classic, I show that I was a spectator at for 10 years, has allowed me to live vicariously through my friends like Phil Heath.
Q:Describe stepping on stage as a pro...
A:There are 4 times that I have stepped on stage as a pro. The first was during the over-all at the 2010 NPC National Championships; everyone in that overall had won a pro-card. Looking at the super- and heavy-weight made me realize that I would have to be much bigger to compete as a pro even at 212. If there was still a 202 class, I would’ve probably stuck with it. Otherwise, I have done 3 guest posing routines in the last 3 years at the show I sponsor in Pittsburgh, the NPC Natural Pennsylvania.
Q:Can you give us your pre contest diet and training regimen?
A:Pre-contest I always did a very low carb diet for the last 6-8 weeks; lean protein and fibrous veggies all the way through. I have never dieted for more than 10 weeks for a show. I do fasted morning cardio every day. I have a 5 and 1 split of body parts in the gym: back; chest; shoulders/abs/calves; bi &tri; legs. I water load for the final week dehydration.
Q:You're a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. How has this enhanced your fitness career?
A:My experience in medicine has been an immeasurable contribution to my success in bodybuilding and fitness. I have always wanted to be an orthopaedic surgeon since sophomore year in high school. I would read medical articles every day since. Having a strong biochemistry and nutrition background gives me an advantage when it comes to changes in my diet and supplementation. It is this knowledge that I apply and share in writing articles for Muscular Development, Fitness Rx, Wellbella, and other magazines. It is this background combined with personal experience that has allowed me to train 3 overall national champions and many more pro-card winners while keeping them healthy. It is this experience that I have put into my book, The G.A.I.N. Plan which I hope to have published in 2014.
Q:How did you become a member of the GNC Medical Advisory Board?
The GNC MAB has been a great honor and privilege. I enjoy researching nutritional supplementation and contributing to the development of new products. Particularly, I enjoy experimenting with new products and my own performance. I have been on the board for a little over 2 years with lots of great things to come.
Q:What's next for you and your career?
A:I am very active in the dance community in Pittsburgh (I was a professional swing dancer in med school). I am working on a project to open a dance medicine center. I am putting together my book and designing and building a new biometric monitor that is going to take fitness wearables to the next level. Give the Century Club Challenge a try at yourgainplan.com !
Q:Can you give us all of your social media handles?
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven.com