A:I am from Houston, TX Born and raised! I spent a couple of years out of state in Kansas when I played college football then came back home! Love this city. Houston has a very tight nit fitness community despite the fact that we're one of the fattest cities on the f*cking planet!
Q:Tell us about your fitness journey. ..
A:I was a full time student athlete until 2005. I had a severe neck injury that ended my football career. It was at that point that I began doing all of the things I had wanted to but couldn't because of football. I started surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, tennis, golf - even trained MMA for a couple of years. I mean anything I could get my hands on! At that time though I was working as a corporate sales manager. You know a f*ckin suit and tie guy! I had a conference call with corporate one day, and it was one of those calls that just really got to me. So later that night I was at the gym and I was thinking to myself, "is this really what I want to be doing with my life?". That's when I looked over and saw someone personal training. I had a few clients back when I was in college and I decided right then that I would make health and fitness my life.
I always held on to that competitive spirit that made me so successful as an athlete. I had been a fan of bodybuilding since I was a child. I got my first set of weights when I was 10. My grandfather saw me lifting weights in the kitchen. I had taken a broom stick and stuck two 12 packs of soda on either end. Haha! Well one of the trainers that worked with me was former IFBB Pro Courtney West. I went to the Ronnie Coleman Classic with her in 2012 and was hooked. I started prepping for my first show as soon as we got back to the gym.
Q:When did you know you were ready to compete at the NPC level?
A:The first time I stepped on stage was actually at a Muscle Mania event in Galveston, Tx. It was a real quick prep after the Ronnie. I remember walking out on stage and those lights hit me. Bright...so bright! I looked out at the huge crowd and right there in the front row was everybody from my gym. My heart started racing. In Muscle Mania events you come on stage 3 times. Once for evening wear, again for a sports theme costume, and again for swim wear, because it's a model competition. I think you get 30 seconds on stage each round. That first round I was out there for maybe 10! Lol! But by the third round I felt much more comfortable and ended up finishing top 5. But it was then that I knew that I wanted to transition to NPC shows and fight for a Pro Card.
Q:What does your diet and workout routine look like?
A:My training split is a little different. I do a lot of priority training. So I do chest and calves twice a week as well as legs. One leg day is heavy while the other is high volume. I've found that this has allowed me to gain size while burning a lot of body fat. As a fitness model I shoot every weekend, so I'm constantly cutting water and carbs to be shoot ready. I wouldn't recommend what I do to anybody because it's just what works for my body and is a result of a lot of trial and error. My workouts consist of a lot of supersets, giant sets and drop sets. I am constantly moving. Rest periods are always 30-45 sec. My split really depends on my shooting schedule. If I'm shooting a leg workout on Saturday, I'll train them early in the week on Tuesday. I never have that set “Monday chest, Tuesday back” type of split. I like to switch it up with my cardio. Bike rides, swimming, boxing. Anything to stay active as opposed to always walking on the treadmill for 45 min a day.
My meal plan is the same as my training split. It depends on my shooting schedule. Early in the week Meal One can be 10 egg whites and a cup of oats and later in the week I start cutting sodium and water so I'll put a scoop of protein in a cup of oats because egg whites are so high in sodium. Same with meals 2-5. I'll have chicken for meal 2 and 3 then fish for meals 4 and 5. Some weeks I'll eat 5 fish meals a day. The only consistancy in my nutrition is that I eat my meals at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and that meal 6 is alway 0 carbs. So again it's not a meal plan that I would recommend to anyone because it's what works for me. I just don't have the luxury of writing a meal plan for myself and saying ok day in day out “Meal 1: 10 egg whites and 1 cup oats, Meal 2 10oz chicken, 1 cup brown rice and 1/2 cup broccoli, etc... I have to adjust my nutrition based on my training split and shooting schedule.
Q:What is the key to keeping low body fat but retaining your mass?
A:The way that I am able to continue to grow while maintaining low body fat is by eating clean. I stay away from saturated fats, sugar, sodium, chemicals and preservatives. And when I show up to the gym I mean business. I train as hard as I can for as long as it takes. Refuel, rest and hit it again day in and day out!
Q:How did you transition into modeling?
A:I was approached after my first show and signed the next day. Since then things have been taking off.
Q:What's next for you and your career?
A:I have my first book cover coming out Spring 2014. I'll be going on a nationwide book signing tour. I recently signed with US-Shaker as well as Nutrishop. Really excited about the 2014 Contest Season.
Q:Can you give us all of your social media handles?
FB: Don Allen
Athlete Page: Don Allen Fitness Model
**Images provided are by Jason Mortel and Eric Battershell
**My team page is https://m.facebook.com/blackoutfitmodelz
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven.com