Transformation of Nick Manzoni
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When I was about 21 years old, I was at my lowest mental state and my heaviest bodyweight… 200 lbs. At 5’9”, I was a sight to see. I honestly couldn’t tell you my measurements, or my b.f. (which could have easily been over 40%) I refused to get pictures taken of me. In fact, the picture you see before you was just as I was starting to lose the weight, in this photo I weigh 180 lbs or so. I was bloated, pale and acne ridden. Depression set in, and I thought all was lost. Being that family was my only outlet for support, I stayed close with my siblings. My eldest sister Genevieve would always let me stay over at her house for summer vacations and the like. And it was through her that I met her husband Glenn Pratt: my brother-in-law, my friend, and my future mentor. He was at the time my driving force to getting back into shape. This man is single handedly the most driven gym minded guy I have ever met in my life. A natural athlete, he stands around 6’2” 240 lbs. He is a phenomenal guy and was the man who opened my eyes to bodybuilding. I saw him as a happy go lucky guy, and I never saw him lose his temper. Two summers ago, I spent about two months with my sister and Glenn. During that time he mentored me through the beginning stages of my body development. Suggesting proper diet tips, working through his normal routine, he also forbade me to drink anymore sweetened drinks: soda, juice, and the like.

He was my mentor. He was my motivation, he showed me a picture of himself when he was 19, very skinny, and gawky, and he told me that it would be easier for me to get into shape than it was for him for two main reasons: Being heavier means a natural affinity to strength training. And the most crucial: I wanted it more. And so I set off, week after week, month after month, of strict eating and exercise. I would be remise if I didn’t share with you the reader what steps I took in greater detail. So where should I start? Perhaps the diet?

Being a personal trainer, I am afforded some liberties in my eating schedule, I am able to then schedule clients around my eating habits, which helps keep me lean all year round.
A normal day for me would consist of :

8:30 am breakfast with plain oatmeal a scoop of protein powder for flavor, a banana, and a cup of coffee.

10:00 am workout lasting about an hour (details to follow)

11:30 am protein shake with another banana (hey I like’em)!

1:30 pm snack that would usually include low fat cheese and triskets. If something in the area was unavailable, I would probably munch on a power bar or it’s equivalent.

4:00 pm “power lunch” of what would usually consist of grilled chicken and some sort of whole grain, be it brown rice, wheat pasta, or even sliced chicken on whole wheat bread.

7:00 pm, the one meal of the day that varies most, but for argument’s sake, I usually like to cook some sort of Mexican, with chicken and refried beans (fat free) some low-fat shredded cheese, and plenty of water…I like my food HOT.

9:00 pm, unwinding from the day, I like to eat yet another banana and a cup of peanuts, unsalted this pretty much finishes my eating day. Going to bed 2 hours later, and the cycle continues.

At first, my routine had a huge focus on cardio, each day was a beginning 15 minutes on the treadmill, followed by my daily splits.

My splits consisted of one to two muscles per day, and most sets and reps are set up in the classic composition of 3 sets of 10,8,6. Unless otherwise noted that is how I worked each of my muscles to their current status.

Monday: quads and calves.

Warm-up with light leg-extensions 2 sets 20

Free bar squats
Hack squats
Leg presses with lower footing
Leg extensions (working sets)
Standing calf raises, four sets of failure
Seated leg raises, again four sets of failure

Tuesday: chest

Warmup with dumbbell bench press 1x15
Flat dumbbell presses
Incline dumbbell presses
Incline flies or flat flies
Cable crossovers
Pec deck

Wednesday: back

At first, I was unable to do a single pull up, and as I progressed pull-ups became a fast favorite…. Over time pull-ups became so easy and natural, I was forced to move up to weighted pull-ups to get any sort of feeling out of the exercise.

T-bar rows
Seated rows
Bent over dumbbell rows
Hyper extensions 3 sets of 10. no weight.

Thursday: shoulders

Warm-up rotator cuffs, 2 sets of ten for abduction and adduction
Dumbbell military presses
Upright rows
Front raises
Lateral raises
Cross body cable side raises
Single arm reverse raises
Reverse flies
Shrugs…. Yes I save my shrugs for last because I want to leave the gym feeling like I couldn’t raise my arms to scratch my head, that is what a shoulder day feels like.

Friday: Bi/Tri

Preacher curls
Standing barbell curl
Close grip bench
Weighted dips
Hammer curls
Reverse grip curls
Overhead extentions
Tricep pushdowns
Hercules curls

Saturday: hams and calves

Warmup with lying leg curls 2 sets of 20
Stiff legged dead lifts
Leg press with a higher footing
Walking lunges (length of the gym, about 25 per leg) 2 sets
Lying leg curls (working sets)
Standing calf raises 3 sets of failure
Seated calf raises 3 sets of failure

Saturday off

Sunday off

As I progressed, I found myself not needing the cardio component as much to control my weight. This phenomenon was caused by proper diet and proper diet cannot be stressed enough in this day and age.

Tips I suggest to people wanting to lose weight:

1. Please do not drink your calories. Unless it’s a protein shake, more than likely a large quantity of your calories may be coming from juices, sodas, and alcohol…. Please abstain.

2. Limit yourself to no more than 20 minutes on the treadmill at a time, unless you are a trained marathon runner, or are training to become one, your body will not burn fat but burn muscle to keep up with the dramatic increase in energy needs.

3. I know people say to eat your fruits and vegetables, but the truth is fruits are one of the WORST things to snack on throughout the day, specifically because of its naturally high sugar levels. Leave the fruits alone. Yes, I eat bananas but they are lower in sugars, and contain plenty of natural water and potassium, two very important keys in maintaining a healthy water balance. Which brings me to my final point.

4. DRINK WATER! Tap, bottle, rain, whatever….water has been proven to help aide in weight loss. Flushing blood toxins, clearing your skin, it even can give you energy if you are deprived. Water is the miracle drink. I drink so much water, I find myself having to get up in the middle of the night to alleviate pressure, sometimes twice! But my 29 inch waist thanks me.

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