Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Raul Cervantes, being active in sports and fitness has always been part of who I am. It all began when my Dad introduced me to the gym when I was 15 and soon after, I found myself loving the process of challenging my mind and body. Fast forward 10 years to now, I’m 25 and I have my degree in Exercise Science and my NASM personal training certificate. While in school, I helped coach the Kennesaw State University here in Georgia; that was a blast and I give a lot of credit to the Strength & Conditioning Coach, Jim Kiritsy for all the mentoring.
I’ve been a trainer for a little over 2 years. I’m still new to the game and I’m learning something new each day, which goes back to when I was still a teen. I love the challenges and process of this lifestyle.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
The fact that I can help others feel better about themselves. All I want from a client (or anybody I can help) is for them to go home, take a good look in the mirror, and love who they are looking at. Fitness is more than just big muscles and protein shakes, it’s mental too. Mental fitness is something not many work on and if I can help one person learn to love themselves, then I’ve won.
How long have you been into fitness?
I started working out at age 15. I took it very serious at age 18. I’m about to turn 25 here soon (August 25th), so you could say I’ve been in fitness for about 10 years.
How did you get into fitness?
My dad introduced me to the weights at an early age. I was 15 and I had a small frame. I’m naturally thin but my body responds well to exercise. When I realized that I was making great progress, I was hooked and did everything I could to be better. I would come home from school each day, get my homework done as fast I could so I could research nutrition and training before it was time to go to the gym. That’s where it all started.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
My turning point, I remember it very clearly. I was sitting at the lunch room at my high school and it was the beginning of my senior year. I was auditing everything that I was doing as far as my working out, nutrition, sleep, habits, everything, and I was honest with myself. I quickly understood that my training was a close to perfect as I could get as I was doing my own research and I had guidance from the weight training class at school.
Nutrition was a different story. That was the one aspect that nobody else could really help me the way I wanted to and my own research was not as great as I had thought. I dedicated most of my free time to figure out how bodybuilders ate and how I could mimic that to help me add more size, since I was 140 lbs. my senior year. It took me about a year of trial and error to get the hang of calories, macros, meal prep, foods that worked best for me etc. I did so much research that when I started my nutrition classes, I knew most of what they were teaching us. My professors had to ask me to stop asking questions in class because I was confusing the class and it was material we didn’t need to know but I wanted to know more.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Fitness has helped me a ton. Starting with helping me find a sport and lifestyle that I love, which lead to helping many people achieve a better way of life.
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
My number one piece of advice would be to be extremely patient and to use the internet to help you find what you want. It’s all out there, you just have to go and find it. Everyone has a smartphone; you have information at your fingertips. The problem is that people would rather play video games or watch tv than actually doing real work. If you’re complaining that you’re not making progress and you’re not doing anything to help yourself, you’ve got to really evaluate your priorities and start being honest with yourself. This is a man’s “sport”, you either make it happen or you don’t. Nobody can hold your hand, eat and train for you.
Trainer at BridgeMill Athletic Club in Canton, GA.