A:Originally, I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. After I left Iraq in 2009 I came to New Orleans, LA only to embark on a part of my life that I could have never imagined. New Orleans, LA is currently the film capital so there are tons of productions being filmed all year long. My love, passion & knowledge for fitness became sought after by a few actors & the rest is history. I'm currently trying to establish more of a presence in Hollywood though so I'm making frequent business trips, training clients and having meetings.
Q:First time you hit a gym, you felt....?
A:The first time I hit a gym I felt like a fish out of water. I was that REALLY skinny kid who had no idea what he was doing. I remember very clearly that I couldn’t even bench press 135 lbs. Although I was skinny and unfamiliar with the gym scene, it didn’t deter me but rather intrigued me and made me want to understand it better. I started reading all the muscle magazines, eating tons of food, taking supplements, etc… Let’s just say it was a process to get acclimated but once I did, I was hooked. It became a huge and defining aspect of my life and has led me right to where I am now.
Q:Tell us about your online training business...
A:My online training business through Complete Physiques is really something I’m doing because I get so many emails and messages from people who are looking for ways to get “back on track”. There’s so much controversial material online, in magazines, in books, etc… that many people find it very hard to know what to start with & how to do it; this applies to nutrition and training. They end up being overwhelmed or they use an approach that doesn’t work and they give up. My goal is to try to help people understand how to eat, how to train and simply put, just get back to a healthy way of living. I write the blueprints in a fashion that’s basically laid out & very easy to understand.
Q:How did you become a top Hollywood trainer?
A:The beginning of my “celebrity trainer” title actually began when I worked with Zac Efron on the “Lucky One”. Zac and his trainer came to the gym where I did personal training at and he found out I was a former Marine. The “Lucky One” is a film about a Marine Iraq Veteran, so I was asked to be a military advisor for him. Word of mouth in this industry is huge so my name began to circulate, primarily because of my size, physique & demeanor. I come in to train these actors, producers & directors with the sole intention of doing my job. Not talking to them about the industry, not taking pictures, none of the crap that so many people do these days. That’s a big part of what separates me from many others. I let each one of them know that I’m there to take care of them by getting them in the shape they need to be in & to keep them as healthy as possible. As much as I love what I'm doing, I didn't seek this out - it found me, which is why I feel my presence in New Orleans is a destiny type of thing. As long as the doors keep opening, I keep going through them. I wake up every morning, I pray & let my faith guide me through the day. Whatever's meant to be will be...
Q:Name some famous people you have trained...
A:Some famous names of actors I’ve trained are: Sylvester Stallone (Bullet to the Head), Jamie Foxx (Django: Unchained), The Cast for GI Joe: Retaliation (also training partner to Dwayne Johnson), Josh Duhamel (Fire With Fire), Zac Efron (Lucky One, Paperboy), Josh Brolin (Old Boy) and I’m currently working with Anthony Mackie for (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
Q:What's the hardest part about training celebrities?
A:The most difficult aspect of training celebrities is the crazy schedule that goes with each production. There are so many variables that can dictate changes in a filming schedule which would obviously affect our training. I’ve had to learn how to be patient because everyone is always late. That’s really the only part I find to be difficult though. Because of my look & training style, I typically attract people who are really into training & want to push their bodies to the max and that’s exactly what I’m good at. I worked with one actor recently and we pulled off a feat that’s never been done before- so being able to make cinematic history, to me, is a very humbling thing. Once the cat’s out of the bag on this upcoming film, it will be highly discussed by many people for a long time.
Q:You're also a stuntman. Is it as dangerous as it looks?
A:Stunts! Yes, I’m currently getting into this right now, as we speak. I’ve been training much differently than I have in years outside of the gym to get my functionality and mobility back by doing fight choreography, weapons training, etc… If all goes as planned I’ll be doing stunts within the next month in a very big action film with a highly recognized cast. Looks like you’re going to have to do a follow up article to this one! Haha…
Q:Absolutely! Lol...tell us about being a Vitazen Athlete.
A:Vitazen is an amazing, on-the-rise company in the fitness industry that represents something very different than the average supplement company . www.Facebook.com/Vitazen stands for “Zen” or just trying to live a healthy, peaceful life. It’s meant to support any sport or any person’s lifestyle whether they’re an athlete or just someone who’s trying to stay in shape. I love being a part of Vitazen because there’s an integrity to what the company is built on. The CEO and his wife run Vitazen so all of us athletes are essentially part of the Vitazen family and we’re treated as such. I highly recommend everyone check them out and stay up-to-date with their growth because everyone can truly benefit from what they have to offer.
Q:Who has been your biggest inspiration?
A:This is a great question. I get inspiration from many people and they’re not famous. Instead, they’re normal, everyday people who face life’s challenges everyday and win – we feed off each other for motivation to get through adversity. I’ve had a tough life full of obstacles and hardships but I’ve simply refused to give up because so many look up to me and tell me how much I inspire them. My family and friends have always believed in me and have supported me greatly so that’s been a huge blessing. And I most definitely want to mention an extremely important person in my life right now, my girlfriend Jessica Kairouz. I met her at the most unlikely time and in the most unlikely place. I’d challenge any man for the title of “luckiest guy in the world”. She’s truly inspired me and has changed my life in a huge way- in such a short period of time. To know what an amazing person she is and what’s she’s been through to get to where she is now, there aren’t any words to describe how inspired and in love with her I am. I’ve never been a very mushy guy but it’s impossible not to be mushy with her. She brings out the best in me so going back to the original question, she’s the biggest inspiration in my life. For those who follow me, you’ll get to know her more because I talk about her A LOT!
Q:Where do you want to take your career in the next 5 years?
A:Simply put, here’s my tag line:
“Marine Corps Veteran—turned—Bodybuilder—turned--Celebrity Trainer—turned—Stuntman—turned--Actor.”
This I promise.
I want to do something and represent something different. I want to give back to everyone who's helped me get to where I am now. I want to make an impact to society in a positive way. My goal is to write my own chapter in history.
Q:Love it! Can you give us your Twitter,Facebook,Instagram,Pinterest,blog and website handles?
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Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven LLC