Getting to know our athletes: Cody Vann

February 26th, 2012

Team Mass has athletes from every corner of the competitive industry.  From bikini and figure ladies, to the bodybuilders; juniors right through to grandmasters we’re all together and part of the same Mass family.  Each and every one of us has our story on how we got started and ambitions of where we want to go.  It’s time to get to know our MASSletes one by one, and find out what Team Mass is really about.

I had the opportunity to talk with 22 year old Cody Vann about his experiences with training and contest prepping.  See what this first time bodybuilding competitor has to say about his daily routine, and what keeps him pushing through.

What have you learned about yourself while prepping for the show?I never thought I would be able to commit to the diet and actually turn away food. The closer the shows gets, the more serious I’m getting. I definitely don’t want to disappoint anyone.

What is your favorite part of training for the show? Least favorite part?My favorite part has been watching my body transform, and least favorite has been being hungry ALL THE TIME.

What inspired you to decide to compete?Curtis Trudeau, Mark Cherry, Chris Morgan, Nick Danylchuk and some other guys who are all like brothers to me have inspired me to do it. They have been super supportive the whole time and keep me motivated.

Who do you look to for motivation and inspiration?My favorite pro is Evan Centopani, so I love watching his workout videos. Other than that I look to my buddies I mentioned before (Curtis, Mark, Chris and Nick).

What is your favorite training day?
I love training chest or shoulders, they’re by far my strongest muscle groups and I love lifting heavy.

What is a typical day like for you while training? (Work, training, school, family, etc..)

5am – morning cardio
6am – shower, eat, and pack meals for the day
7am-330pm – work
4pm-6pm – weights/cardio
630pm-930pm – prepare for the next day
10pm-230am – work job #2

How long have you been training with Ryan?
I started training with Ryan in October 2011.

What do you find are the biggest challenges while preparing for this show?
Definitely morning cardio and keeping my diet clean. I LOVE to eat.

What is your favorite cheat meal? What are you looking forward to eating post show?
My favorite cheat meal is nachos (beef, taco chips, onion, tomato, green onion, green pepper, jalapeno pepper, shredded cheese, nacho cheese, sour cream and hot sauce). Post show I’m looking forward to Cafe 22 pizza or Boston Pizza pizza, and some really weird cravings like ice cream sandwiches, reese’s cups, and chips!

What is your favorite clean/dieting meal?
My favorite clean dieting meal is probably salad; it gives me the most flavor by far and you can get pretty creative with it!

What are your goals for this year?
My goals this year are to win my class and juniors, then in the off season bulk a lot and get my contest weight up closer to be at the top of the heavy weight class.

Each week will bring you the opportunity to get to know another Team MASS competitor.  Stay in touch to see what motivates each and every one of us to do what we love, LIFT!

10 weeks to go!

February 13th, 2012

I feel so out of touch lately! I used to update and write like it was my job…but the last few weeks I’ve been too preoccupied with training, school and life to remember what was missing – what I love to do, write!

Nothing new has really developed in the past few weeks, life wise.  I just completed my Canfit Nutritional Specialist course this past weekend and am very excited to share everything I’ve learned.  I have a pretty good knowledge base from experience, research and various University courses but it was my goal to achieve the certification.  School has been steady and reading week is coming up fast…even though I don’t spend hours upon hours on campus it will be a nice catch up break for my distance courses, which I’ll admit I’ve fallen a tad behind in – but am still holding onto the A I set out for.

Dieting has been pretty bang on these days, and yes I’ve been sticking to the fish meals as told…tilapia is actually pretty damn tasty when you know what you’re doing with it (whew).

I’ve dropped about 12 pounds in the last few weeks and have really noticed a change in my legs.  Since September my goal has been to put on as much size in my lower body and butt as I can and it makes me happy to actually see the changes on my own.  You’re your own worst critic, right? I tend to be pretty stubborn when it comes to seeing where I’ve made improvements, so for me to notice and be semi-satisfied with my progress is huge.  Mind you at the end of the day if the boss is happy, then I’m happy and I know I’m on the right track.  I think sometimes we focus too much on how far we have to go until we hit our ultimate goals, that we forget where we’ve come from.  Not only have I come far physically, but mentally and emotionally.  I have learned so much about my strengths, weaknesses, and overall self throughout my progress physically.  There have been ups and downs both on the scale and emotionally, but it’s developing the strength to control your mental game that develops the physical and pulls it all into place.  I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to stop, breathe and remember what this is all about.  Although my goal is to hit the stage in April for World Qualifier, there are so many others that tie into the overall end result.  Being able to inspire, motivate and show others that their dreams aren’t out of reach is a huge part of why I do what I do.  If I can help one person by sharing my struggles or successes then I’ve achieved something that getting absolutely shredded and lean can’t do.  I’m in this to compete with myself and to prove myself wrong, in the way that I never dreamed I would step on stage with such amazing women who have already made a name for themselves in this industry.  I am so grateful for every opportunity this experience has brought me and I wouldn’t trade a single one…no, not even the dehydration fiasco :P I was asked this past weekend while attending the course if going through something that severe has turned me off from the sport – absolutely not.  It made me stronger and more aware of my body, its limits, and needs.

With 10 weeks and a bunch of days left, my main focus right now is to stay occupied, away from peanut butter and on time management.  Let’s see how the next few roll out!

Happy training everyone… <3

You want me to eat WHAT?!?

February 1st, 2012

After years of not eating tilapia and refusing to eat fish – other than tuna while nearing a competition, I sucked it up and finally cooked up some of the tilapia I’ve been hoarding.  To everyone that sent me their tips and ideas for cooking fish, thank you! Without the recipes and tricks to un-fishy flavor my meals, I wouldn’t have attempted to enjoy eating half of my meals.  I was fully prepared to choke it down as quickly as possible and grit my teeth hoping it wouldn’t gross me out too much.  Tonight I cut it all up and just threw it in a pan with Mrs. Dash and some low cal BBQ sauce – not too bad!

Each time Malo gives me fish I always beg for a substitute, but clearly there’s a reason he’s feeding me something he knows I detest.  So alas, the reason for todays blog – nutritional benefits of some least favorite diet foods.  I looked to you guys for your least favorites and here are the ones that topped the list.

Tilapia: It’s been stated that tilapia is a rock star amongst proteins – and with 29.5 grams of protein per 5oz. and only 145 calories it is definitely protein packed!  It contains essential nutrients such as B12 (helps with mental alertness), Niacin (keeps body functioning at optimum levels) and Selenium (decreases cancer rates) without adding any extra carbs or sugar to you meal. Of course, you can’t forget the omega 3 fatty acids that you’re getting which help with blood pressure and reduce heart disease.

If you’re new to eating fish like I am, don’t forget your spices! There are SO many ways to cook it and almost everyone has their special method, ask around!

Spinach: I love spinach and have never objected to eating it as long as it’s been in my diet, but I have heard several people say they don’t like it.  Spinach is rich in antioxidants such as Vit C, Vit E, potassium, and beta-carotene that help combat osteoporosis and high blood pressure.  It contains more than ten times your daily recommended amount of Vitamin K, which helps with bone density, brain function and cardiovascular disease and stroke.  I can’t forget flavonoids, with anti -cancer properties  in spinach it has been shown to help slow the division of cells in the stomach and skin cancer cells.

Broccoli:  I have no complaints when I have broccoli in my diet, but I know some of my closest bikini girls push it aside and cringe.  Well ladies, you’re missing out on a great source of fibre, beta-carotene and potassium! These all benefit you by helping with digestion, immune system support and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Tuna: Because of this food, the very sight of my can opener makes me wince.  At one point I had 3 meals with tuna/white fish and since I was too stubborn to try to make tilapia edible, I subbed in drained, rinsed canned tuna! Blech.  My tip to get used to the taste and smell – mustard! And if you’re allowed, salsa with avocado. Tuna is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which boast great cardiovascular benefits while improving the ratio of HDL(good) cholesterol and LDL(bad) cholesterol.  There are great cognitive benefits that can lead to a decline in alzheimer’s, and supply healthy blood supply to the brain.  Omega 3 acid EPA also stimulates leptin, which regulates weight and metabolism.

Cottage cheese: Now, I’ve never had cottage cheese in a diet, but a good friend of mine is currently on one with a final meal that includes it.  Dieting or not, I can’t imagine having to eat this either to be honest.  I think it’s a texture thing, it actually grosses me out. I’ve heard that blending it works great though, and if you blend some with protein and a tiny bit of almond milk it’s almost like cheesecake – now that, I can handle.  However, this is a great low carb and high protein snack that help promote fat loss and muscle gain.  Another perk is that it plays a role in optimizing maximal growth hormone output.

Everyone has that one meal that they may not look forward to, but you have to remember there’s a reason it’s there.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, or find out how others prepare theirs.  You’ll be surprised – you may end up looking forward to what used to be your most unattractive meal ;)