In today’s section of Competitors Profiles, we’d like to introduce you to Tommy. He competed in our third bodybuilding competition in 2016 and won First Place in the Heavyweight Category.
IATB: Tell us a little about yourself.
Tommy: I was born in Panama City, Panama . I was raised in the US. I have spent most of my life in Miami, FL with my family. I grew up in church, my father was a leader in the church and held several positions as youth pastor, praise and worship leader and radio show host. My mom was the leader in the church and I used to play drums for the church band. My family and I have been through a lot of troubling times but we are much closer because of it.
IATB: How did you get into bodybuilding?
Tommy: I got into bodybuilding to help with anxiety and depression. Then later it became about aesthetics. My very first trainer showed me just how strong I was and I have been hooked ever since. I was in my early twenties at the time and the only place that my girlfriend would not go with me was the gym, so the gym has always been my place to escape.
IATB: What’s your diet plan and workout routine?
Tommy: It changes depending on my goal. However, no matter the goal, I always eat around 6-8 times a day and train no less than 5 times a week and I prefer to train twice a day. Cardio in the morning and weight later on in the day.
IATB: How did you hear about the FitCon competitions and why did you decide to compete?
Tommy: I forgot how exactly I just remember that I was stoked. I followed a lot of the guys on YouTube and their journeys helped me not to feel so lonely on mine. When I found about it I decided to see what the competition was like and when I did, and at the risk of sounding cocky, I was like “ I could definitely give these guys a run for their money” and so when the time was right for me, I put all of my efforts into competing.
IATB: How do/did you prepare for the competition emotionally and mentally?
Tommy: I had a team behind me. I had my coach who kicked my butt in the gym and showed me some techniques he used when training. I would listen to motivational speeches (I still do) while I was working out. I wrote down everyday that I was a champion. I just got really focused and I am lucky that one of best friends is also into competing just like I am so I got a lot of support from my close family and friends when things get a bit overwhelming.
IATB: What do you think about the creation of IATB – The International Association of Bodybuilders?
Tommy: I think it’s great because as a Trans-Athlete we need a space to be able to participate in bodybuilding.
IATB: What are your expectations for IATB? What would you like to see happening?
Tommy: My expectations is that we grow as community and really start to break barriers.
IATB: How do you relate bodybuilding to your identity?
Tommy: I think bodybuilding gave me a chance to create the body I always wanted but I do not think bodybuilding is tied into my identity per se. I just don’t see it as an expression of gender but just of who I am. I like to be strong and look good. However, I have always admired bodybuilding women that are femme and carry a lot of muscle.
IATB: How far do you think we’ve come and how far do you think we have to go in the fitness industry for people of Trans experience?
Tommy: I think we have come a long way but we have a lot more ground to cover. We as a community, have to come together and until that happens we are not going to get any further. I see a lot of hate due to expected ‘passing standards’ and in terms of masculine expression between our brothers and it is sad. I think people should be able to express their gender in whatever way seems fit without judgment.
IATB: We like to think of the IATB bodybuilders as ambassadors for the trans community because they show a different but important side of Trans visibility. Do you consider yourself an ambassador for the community? If so, how?
Tommy: I am by default. So I will take it but I am just a regular Joe. I try to live my life as best as I can and be a decent human being. I try to give the same respect and compassion that I would want. I just want to lift , eat good food, love my family, friend and my girl.
IATB: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Tommy: I see myself with a few more bodybuilding titles , being a national level NPC competitor or a Physique Pro. I want to be a physical therapist and eventually the owner of my own training facility. I would finally like to marry my current girlfriend and continue to tell my story to people.
IATB: What are some tips you’d give to someone who wants to compete in IATB competition?
Tommy: Get a coach , train hard , diet harder, learn to pose correctly and come in with a good attitude
IATB: Any last words?
Tommy: At the end of the day. The ONLY ONE who defines you is you