I discovered this week's Buff Body while having Sunday Brunch...
... And it wasn't the French toast I was drooling over. It was Jason Cooper.
I met him while having brunch near Tivoli Triangle in Columbia Heights. I took notice when Cooper sneezed and his biceps bulged out of his shirt (apparently this is a natuaral phenomenon when your body is as ripped as his). Right then and there, I knew he was going to be my next Buff Body of the Week.
I approached Cooper and struck up a conversation. Turns out he's a native Washingtonian who just moved back to the D.C. area after spending some time down in Miami to pursue a career in modeling. He took the photo above 6 months ago and says he was about 3-5% body fat at the time.
OMG! What does a guy do to get in such "Calvin Klein underwear model" shape?!?! I sat down with Buff Body Cooper to find out:
Markette: When you were modeling in Miami, what was a typical day of exercise like for you?
Jason: On a typical day, I would wake up, have a small cup of coffee and get ready for cardio. Fifiteen minutes before, I would have a protein shake with 25g protein, and little to no fat or carbs. The idea was to get as close to "empty stomach" cardio as possible without going catabolic.
I would do 60 minutes of steady state cardio, most often biking or fast-walking on a sever incline (to save my knees). When doing as much cardio as I was, running was too taxing.
Then I would have my first meal, then my second, and then wait to digest. Two hours after my meal, I would lift. Immediately after lifting, I would consume 5g glutamine, and do another hour of cardio, then have my third meal.
The diet and exercise routine I was on allowed me to actually lose fat while gaining muscle. That is the holy grail of fitness.
Markette: You said you were at like 3-5% body fat 6 months ago when these photos were taken? OMG! What was a typical lunch or dinner meal like for you back then?
Jason: Yeah, but my food was always the same, day in and day out.
I would have five whole food meals (in contrast to shakes) a day. The first four meals consisted of 60 (or more) grams of protein, 40g (or less) of complex carbs, and a fibrous vegetable.
My protein sources included chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna, lean fish and egg whites. Basically, any protein source that had little to no fat.
My carbs included brown rice, oats, grains, and sweet potato (but only after lifting andcardio). Basically, anything complex.
My vegetables included anything green and lacking in starch.
I weighed and measured all of my foods except for vegetables; I even measured the sauces I used. The rule for sauces was no more than 4g of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fat per meal.
To simplify things, my diet contained almost no fat, oil, sugars or simple carbs. The idea was that the only fat source available was that of my own body. This diet took several months of trial and error, and constant body-fat monitoring to achieve the ideal numbers for me.
Additionally, I didn't drink at all. For a long time.
Markette: You said you stopped modeling... what are you doing now to stay in shape (I noticed when you sneezed your biceps flexed somethin' crazy! You are obviously still in great shape :)
Jason: I stopped modeling because I didn't enjoy the lifestyle and since I am short (5'11") for conventional modeling, it was becoming to stressful. Now, I lift when I have time, do cardio when I want, and eat as healthy as I can.
The key is effort.
When I lift, I put a lot in to it. I am not as lean as I was, but I am also much stronger and bigger. I go out with my friends, I work, and I exercise.
The benefit of eating what and when I want is that it is conducive to gaining muscle. Alcohol, on the other hand, is HORRIBLE for fitness goals of any kind. The more serious one gets, the less they are able to drink and still achieve goals. There are always trade offs.
Markette: What is your ultimate career goal? I know you said Miami really wasn't your style. Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what would you like to be doing professionally?
Jason: I am preparing to go to grad school to pursue a career in mental health.
If things go they way I plan, then I will be on my way to starting a private practice in 5 years.
Markette: Well thank you Jason (for the interview and the eye candy :) and good luck with everything you pursue in life! I'll be rooting for you!
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