I want to start off by apologizing for being so busy lately and not writing more entries. I recently just finished competing in the Sacramento championships November 1st where I finished in first place. I did my own diet for this show for the first time in many years. I felt I brought one of my best all time packages to date. I am learning a lot about my body and learning to fine tune it. I weighed my heaviest ever and was my best ever condition at 223lbs. I am shutting it down for a whole year until next November where I will be competing in nationals in Miami. Why? Because I have out grown my class and I need a full year off to come back at a legitimate weight of 240lbs to compete as a super heavy weight. Since the Sacramento show I have not really been doing much in the gym these last 2 weeks, I have been giving my body a much needed break because I have been on my precontest diet since February. It’s time to rest, recover, and come December… It’s time to grow!

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Another reason I have been so busy is on top of having a full time job, bodybuilding, church and more. I also have a ton of clients on the side. I have 12+ clients at the moment and another guaranteed 12 come January first. It seems like every 5 days I am getting a new client. I don’t really have down time, that’s the big reason I have not been able to write more articles for this site as often as I used to. At home, at work, on the treadmill, at church, I am answering client emails, texts, and writing diet plans. This is what I wanted right? I mean after all, for years, I have pursued the dream of helping people through health and fitness (which I feel the most impactful form is writing peoples diet and nutrition plans). I always wanted to do this, I always wanted the high income that comes with it, and I always wanted to help people. But it’s funny, we all want it the easy way, and forget the amount of time, hours, and dedication it takes to be successful. It’s not going to just happen. It’s a constant daily grind, from sun up to sun down. And it can be exhausting. But if you’re chasing dreams you need to stay motivated.
All these years I’ve wanted this and it’s finally happened; now I’m surprised I am always busy and have no real down time? It’s like wanting to be in shape or a successful bodybuilder but don’t want to put in the time, effort, and work ethic to achieve it. Fitness is a lifestyle and over flows into every area of life, much like a relationship with Jesus, you can’t just put it in a box, it’s a daily walk that takes time, effort, and self-denial in order to continue to grow spiritually. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Notice he said Daily? Not once, but every day. It’s like putting your work boots on and going to work every day.
So should I be upset that I am finally seeing success but at the cost of taking up so much of my time? No. Should I be upset that I need to put more into my body building this off season than last season so I can become a pro bodybuilder? No. Should I be upset that if I want a better relationship with Jesus Christ it is going to take more effort on my part? No. If you want something you need to go get it and work for it, harder than ever before. My pastor once said “You can have as much of Jesus as you want. In fact… you already do!”
Stay tuned, I may have a job opportunity to move across the country. Keep me in your prayers as I have some big life changing decisions coming up.
God Bless.
-Conquer the Flesh

Fruits of our Labor

October 5, 2014 — 1 Comment

Anyone who does ministry always questions why they do it, and if they are really reaching anybody. I know many people who do not see the fruits of their labor until years later. Some people never see it. I know some older youth leaders who tell me they thought the kid they were always talking to while they were in high school or middle school was hopeless. Then down the road they see them with a family and doing ministry themselves, then they come up to them and thank them for the impact they made on them during high school and the integral role they helped with in their walk with Christ. How amazing is that?

I have been doing youth ministry since I moved to Fresno for 5 years now. I have already been lucky enough to witness the fruits of my labor. Many people I know or who are in my small group that I meet with on Friday nights were once students I mentored, and to see them grow as young men of God, staying on the path is pretty amazing. I still seem to question why I do what I do though. Even this blog sometimes I wonder why I write it, who reads it? Am I reaching anybody? Am I affecting anybody? Am I wasting my time doing this? Who knows!!!!

Well I was lucky enough to receive this direct message on Instagram confirming everything I do and prompting me to keep pressing on.

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I’m glad to know what I do is actually helping people or encouraging people. But at the end of the day I have to realize we are all just tools in Gods garden he is using to plant seeds in others, water, and cultivate. All for the glory of God and helping them increase their faith in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Taking credit for what God is actually doing is just foolish. We need to be blessed and honored that God has chosen us to do his work, not the other way around.

So many times we want credit for Gods work, seems like some things never change. They dealt with this dilemma in the early church. In 1 Corinthians the church at Corinth was bickering about which of the apostles they follow and who they give credit to on who brought them to Christ. We see this in the church today, people bicker about which church they go to, and who their favorite pastor is. Aren’t they all doing the same work and have the same purpose? (Expanding Gods kingdom).

Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 3:4-9 “For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

So all I can say is (and if you are a believer too you can agree). I’m just honored I am making myself available to be used by God and for God. While by no means am I more qualified than anybody else, I am willing and am happy to be able to do the work of the Lord. May I encourage you that you may not be seeing the fruits of your labors now, but God can do amazing things and maybe your only job is to plant the seed in somebody’s life while God has somebody else in mind to water it, and somebody else to cultivate it. Just be faithful, and don’t give up.

God bless.

-Conquer the Flesh.

It’s weird how people with the smallest problems or better yet, inconveniences, make the biggest excuses for why they can’t do or achieve certain things. Have you ever noticed the people who face the biggest issues and adversities where everyone would understand if they quit, gave up, or made excuses, usually never make excuses and they always get it done?

Quitting for people with major hardships is not an option. But on the other end of the spectrum there are those who have it easy who struggle to accomplish anything that takes hard work. I have had friends that are very well off financially, live at home, do not buy their own grocery’s, don’t have any bills to pay, have all the time in the world and a very easy lifestyle but just can’t stick to a diet or training routine. They claim “It’s too hard!”. On the other hand I have had two female clients who were single mothers, working multiple jobs, going to school full time and get the best results of their lives and lose 50+ pounds. They are dedicated and quitting is not an option. They will always work harder than anybody else, why? I have always asked myself this question. Why are people that are set up for success, fail? And people who are set up to fail, succeed?

James 1:2 says “Brothers consider it all joy when you encounter various trials…” Some people can handle it, while others can’t. “…Because you know the testing of your faith produces patience, let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Trials make you stronger, no way to get around it. These people like the single mother have a greater capacity to handle trials and experience perseverance. I used to joke with other people that I liked to train legs with women because women are bred to endure the pain of child birth so they have a naturally higher pain threshold than men, and when they want to, they can push themselves harder than men. Why? Because they can endure a lot, which we as men will never experience. I have never given birth to a child and praise the Lord I don’t have to, and never will.

If you never experience trials, God can’t continue to do his perfect work in you. I like to think of us as lumps of coal. How do you turn a lump of coal into a diamond? It needs to experience a lot of heat and a lot of pressure. God is refining us through the fire to make us perfect and complete diamonds, lacking nothing. So we need pressure, and we need heat in our lives.

I have plenty of reasons to give up on bodybuilding; Crohn’s disease, Degenerative disks that have fused together causing tons of lower back pain, have a fractured wrist, broke my hand at the beginning of my prep, overall joint pain, sleep 4-5 hours a night (if I’m lucky) and yet I never once made an excuse as to why I can’t prep for a show. I live a healthy lifestyle, I spend my free time helping out at church or a church like activity 3-4 days a week. I make time. It’s not an option, and you should make time too. Don’t tell God how big your trials are, tell your trials how big your God is, and remember, you will be better for it. Life’s not a cake walk, and it shouldn’t be. If it were easy, everybody would do it.

God bless

-Conquer the Flesh

So a lot of people do not realize I have been on a hardcore diet and in competition prep mode since February. When I was interviewed live on the rxmuscle.com NPC USA preview show, Dave Palumbo (my diet coach) asked the legendary diet coach Christ Aceto what he thinks of me dieting that long and he said “He’s either crazy, dumb, dedicated, or all three!”. I’d like to think I’m a little of each. My sponsor Animali Apparel posted a meme of me that said “Conquer the flesh, then conquer the rest”. I can agree with that. It all starts with conquering the flesh. The reason I was able to diet for 6 months straight, do hours of cardio, thousands of reps, and eat pounds upon pounds of protein without wavering from the plan at all was because my flesh does not control me, I control my flesh. When you tell your body what to do and don’t let it control you, you can make it do amazing things.

Your flesh goes off feelings, desires, emotions, cravings, and wants. Many times your body is not using logic, it’s going off temporary feelings. This is where your mental toughness comes in. This feeling is not only physical, it’s mental, and emotional as well. Nothing is more mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting as getting ready for a bodybuilding show. Your desire to win and do well has to be stronger than your desire for food, rest, and laziness. Not only does this apply to bodybuilding, life is a constant battle of your fleshly desires. From drug addiction, laziness, alcohol, sex addiction, and so on and so forth.

One of my biggest non bodybuilding fleshly desires I had to overcome in my life was pornographic addiction. There’s a study that came out that said 8 out of 10 men are “avid porn watchers”. First of all there’s no such thing as an “avid” porn watcher. Anyone who watchers pornography knows you are either addicted or you’re not. So 80% of men (8 out of 10) are addicted to pornography. Why do I claim it’s an addiction? Because during masturbation when you ejaculate, the brain releases a hormone called Oxytocin. This is an addictive hormone that gives you a euphoric feeling. Other addicting drugs can lead to this hormone being released. The more this hormone is released, the more addicted you become and the more you crave it, so don’t tell me there are “avid” porn watchers, it’s not possible. I believe God created us to release this hormone for when we have intercourse with our wives or husband, because God created us to be addicted to our spouse, and sex was a gift God created for us in the confines of marriage.

It took me years to conquer this problem, because as a society we promote it everywhere we go and every media source we look at. But once I realized Jesus was so much better, so much more fulfilling and didn’t make me feel empty, lost and hopeless afterwards like many addictions do. I keep my eyes on Jesus and everything else that tempts me fades away. Whether its food, porn, relationships or drugs, Jesus takes the place of all of that and he’s all I need and I pray you can discover one day he’s all you need. Keep your eyes on the cross, conquer the flesh, then conquer the rest.

God bless

-Conquer the Flesh

perspective

July 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

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So I am 12 days out from the NPC USA championships in Las Vegas. I got my cardio upped to an hour and thirty minutes a day, cut out my cheat meals, all my water retaining supplements and I get carbs every 5th day now. So I should be suffering, upset, and dreading what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a long 12 days with a lot of suffering. I am constantly tired and drained and it doesn’t help that I am always super busy throughout the week, Sunday is really my only day to relax after church and cardio.

I should be complaining, but instead I’m pretty excited. All this hard work is going to pay off and if it were easy it wouldn’t make me better or build up my character. I’d prefer not to do it, but I need to do it. I haven’t come this far to slack off or give up because it got hard.

Sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do in order to achieve something greater. A lot of times that’s how God sets up divine appointments. This past Tuesday I had to go to a photo shoot my sponsor set up for me in Selma (which is a small town a half hour south of Fresno). I really did not want to go because it was in the evening after a long day, and I have been really tired from the diet lately because I’m just under 3 weeks out from my show. Not only did I show up and have a great time, it turned out the owner was a Christian who does a community outreach program there and holds bible studies. I told him my story and what I am all about and we hit it off pretty well. Not only did I meet a brother in Christ but he invited me back in the future to speak at a bible study at his gym where he has many troubled youth, ironically that’s the audience I love to speak to and feel I have a great connection with.

If I never put myself out there I would have never went to this gym and gotten a whole new opportunity to minister to people. I think often we as Christians get tired or run down and just close ourselves off to things because they inconvenience us. I think we should go into every situation with a mindset of opportunity that maybe God wants us there for a reason. Nothing happens by accident and nothing happens that God does not have planned, so have an open mind and change your perspective on opportunities disguised as inconveniences. Have fun, open your eyes, and be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit has for you, because you never know when there will be a “God appointment”.

God Bless,

-Conquer The Flesh

sharing is caring

June 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’ve heard a statistic that 80% of Americans suffer from Adrenal fatigue in some way or another but don’t know it. I totally believe this. I could go into a very long explanation of what the adrenals are and what they do, but I will not. Let’s just say they are very important and in a nutshell they are very important for energy and create some very important hormones. The way we fatigue our adrenals is by lack of sleep, a lot of caffeine, stress, and physical activity like working out. Sound familiar? Last time I checked all Americans are; stressed, tired, lack sleep, and rely on a ton of caffeine to get through the day and if you are like me you work out on top of that. When they are fatigued it releases more cortisol than usual (which increases more body fat) and less adrenaline which makes it hard to keep going and performing at a high level.

Like most people I had no Idea I had adrenal fatigue. I never sleep more than 4-5 hours a night, and I have never had bad workouts (or at least I thought I didn’t). Then one day a supplement rep gave me some adrenals support supplements and told me to try them out. So I thought “Why not? I’m fine but it can’t hurt”. Once I tried it my workouts went through the roof that week and I had no idea why. I could not figure out what happened. My diet didn’t change, my workouts didn’t change and I wasn’t getting more sleep. What could it have been? Why did I feel so good, and why were my workouts so good? Apparently I had adrenal fatigue.

Most people don’t realize the huge advantage I have by using adrenal support while dieting, because your body and especially your adrenals are really taking a beating from every angle and sometimes you just can’t get it going. I am very thankful the supplement rep introduced me to adrenal health over a year ago, because I would be seriously dying otherwise if I never had it. So many people don’t realize that they need it. But how will people know if they are never told? I was lucky enough to hear about it, and I always try to tell others about it. If you work out there is a really high chance you have adrenal fatigue, so make sure you get some adrenal support.

In relation to that, how are we supposed to share Christ with others to get saved if they have never heard? What if you don’t tell them? Too many ministries and Christian’s are like this today. It’s not a given, you need to tell people about Jesus. They won’t just discover him if they do not know him. Modeling a good and moral life is cool but that alone won’t bring people to Christ. Just like the Jews back in Christ’s day and before had a story telling, verbal oriented culture, you need to tell people.

Don’t believe me? Read Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” I have said it before, part of being a Christian is the great commission we are not called to sit back, focus on ourselves and wait for Jesus to return. “The Gospel” is translated in to “The good news” for a reason. You are supposed to spread good news if you have it right? This is not rocket science people.

If no one ever told me about adrenal support I would be suffering, tired, lethargic and struggling through my contest prep. Just like if my parents never introduced me to Jesus as a child, I would never be walking the path I am walking right now and have an eternal spot in heaven secured for me. I am grateful that my parents loved me enough to share Jesus Christ with me and I pray you love others enough to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them and how they have already been saved and forgiven by his death on the cross, all they have to do is accept and follow Jesus.

God bless

-Conquer the Flesh

The reason I love the saying “Conquer the Flesh” because it means so much more than just spiritual and religious application. Everybody uses it in some way or another. I love it when I see someone who chooses to make a life changing decision and stops yielding to their fleshly desires and completely transforms their life and body.

 
I see this all the time in the gym and in the fitness world. There is nothing more inspiring then hard work and dedication. No one pays you to do it, no one tells you to do it. You just on day decide you want a change in your life. I believe this is why the show “The Biggest Loser” is so popular. It’s real life people pushing through adversity who were sick of giving into all their fleshly urges of being unhealthy, over weight and inactive. So they decided to give up everything that their flesh wanted in order to achieve something greater and to inspire others.

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This is my client Johnny. Once in a while a few clients come along and inspire you with their hard work and dedication. This is a before and after photo of my client. Clients like these are the definition of “Conquer the Flesh” and make my job easy. They are so mentally focused and locked in it’s awesome. Whatever you tell them they do because they want results and are tired of how they used to look. He set aside his desire for food, he pushed his body to the limit, and developed a work ethic that is second to none. I do not allow most clients to workout with me because they are just not strong enough nor do they train hard enough to push me. This guy is a work horse, and is very strong, he really puts the pedal to the medal. His results speak for themselves and contestants on the biggest loser wish they could get results as good as Johnny.

 
Romans 8:6 says “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Isn’t it ironic that when you set our mind on what the flesh wants it leads to death? In a physical standpoint it really can. Relenting to whatever your flesh wants to eat and wants to do can lead to so many health complications; heart complications, diabetes, strokes, respiratory issues, and a compromised immune system. Following the desires of the flesh will never lead to anything good. But where the spirit leads you will not be disappointed. It may not always be what you want or what you think you need, but like it says, it will bring life and peace.

 
I’ll leave you with this, living by the flesh will always lead to sin because our desires usually only look out for what makes us feel good, and nothing else. Romans 6:32 says this “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Choose the gift of life in Christ over death. Death has a very high price to pay, life in Jesus Christ is free because your debt was already taken on the cross.

 
God Bless

 
-Conquer the Flesh