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February 2010 TSM: Mastover

Discussion in 'Transformation Spotlights' started by John Stone, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
    Staff Member Owner

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    For the February 2010 TSM I've selected long-time forum member Mastover. Most of you already know who Mastover is, but there's a lot you probably don't know about him. I selected Mastover for this month's TSM because he leads by example, doesn't make excuses and reaches his goals through sheer force of will. Throughout his life Mastover has overcome drug and alcohol addiction and homelessness; he's battled cancer and immune system disease; he's been stabbed and left for dead... the list goes on. Mastover has plowed his way through a lifetime of setbacks and obstacles. He takes responsibility for his own actions, and he never feels sorry for himself. He also spends a great deal of his time helping others improve their lives, and that is something I admire about him a great deal. I think you'll enjoy this very special interview.


    Aram Abdominal.jpg

    aram.jpg


    Can you talk a bit about your life prior to getting involved with bodybuilding?
    All through high school I led an uneventful life, I was a good athlete playing baseball, football, all sports. At the age of 19 my father died of liver cancer (he never smoked nor drank). Afterwards, I went on a 6 year rampage, abusing alcohol, recreational drugs of all types, which included being addicted to heroin, on and off jail time, and in a last desperate attempt at hope, I flew to the Big Island of Hawaii and lived there from 1980-1984 (something that people do not know about me). I've driven cabs in NYC, and I was usually drinking from 6AM untill I brought my cab back to the livery at 6PM. Afterwards, I'd head out to the bars. I can honestly say that I was inspired by the movie Taxi Driver.


    What made you decide to stop doing drugs and drinking?
    I was in love with a girl who I had been seeing for 4 years. Quite suddenly she left me. At this time I had just emerged from a rehab hospital in Hawaii, and was feeling good physically. I decided to show this girl that she had made a mistake. That I had turned my life around. I started hitting the gym and within 1 year, I went from 127 lbs. to 159 lbs while dropping bodyfat. I was hooked. Shortly thereafter, I felt unstoppable. My self confidence and self esteem grew to proportions I had never felt before. I wanted to train for a show and was positive I would do well. Maybe even win the show. A year and a half after stopping all the drug /alcohol abuse, I entered my first show and came in dead last in my class. :lol:
    BUT. I was hooked. :D


    What were your initial goals?
    My initial goals were what they basically are today... To train exclusively for bodybuilding shows. And to get as strong as possible without sacrificing any strength, even if only a few days out, while bodyfat levels are almost non-existent. I LOVE training heavy.


    What is your current diet and supplement intake?
    Currently I am in a mass gaining phase but all my calories are clean. Loads of lean meat, pharmaceutical grade protein supplements, veggies, fruit, potatoes, mult-vitamins.... just your basic bodybuilder diet. I also believe that how you eat 32 weeks from a show is just as important as what you eat 32 hours from a show. Feed yourself junk on a consistent basis and your health and physique will reflect it.


    What is your current training like?
    Low volume, high intensity and focus. I don't believe in counting seconds on the negative or positive of a rep, or high volume. This simply makes you lose focus. I like to lift explosively and make every rep a set unto itself. I also believe in cheating. Lift as heavy as possible, focus on the form, and when you feel like terminating the set, go for an extra rep or two. That's how I train today.


    How has your diet and training evolved over the years?
    At one point in my career I was eating four lbs. of lean meat per day, along with 5 lbs. of potatoes AND a few protein shakes. I can no longer deal with such volume. Way back when, I blew a hole in my duodenum that has come back to haunt me. I have also had stomach cancer twice, and currently am getting treatment once again. Nowadays, I like to eat meals more spaced out, and will eat all the way up until bedtime just so I can get in all the calories.


    Can you talk a bit about some of the health problems you've had to overcome (and are currently dealing with)?
    Well, I touched upon it above just a bit, but I've had cancer, immune system diseases, nerve disorders which led to severe muscle wasting (currently I am recovering from neuromyotonia), and as a young man growing up in the streets of the south Bronx I was stabbed four times in the groin and lower back, and left for dead. My heart actually stopped twice on the operating table, but I guess it wasn't my time to go yet. :nono: :tu:

    Right now I have severe sciatica which prevents me from doing many of my favorite exercises like dead lifts, squats, bent barbell rows, and leg presses. However, these type challenges are something that has made me a stronger willed bodybuilder. If everything was just peachy and a bowl of cherries, I probably would never have won my pro cards.


    How has bodybuilding affected your life?
    It keeps me grounded and goal-oriented. I guess I've become an island unto myself, somewhat; but being sociable, or making abundant amount of friends, or being funny, or popular is something that has never interested me. I have all the friends I need, and know first and foremost, that they would never stab me in the back. This is what's important. I am a very cautious and private person, but I also am a volunteer drug counselor and help families and individuals in any capacity necessary to get them the help they need. I never received such help when I was suffering, so I can feel the yearning and desperation with these people. It has been the most rewarding part of my life. Leaps and bounds above bodybuilding.


    What advice would you offer to others who are dealing with substance abuse?
    If you are hurting and killing yourself, this is something that only the individual can come to terms with. But when you hurt your family and your loved ones and subject them to pain, it's time to take a closer look at yourself. It's easy to lead a life of destruction. But it takes courage and sacrifice to lead a healthy life and to take the necessary steps. If you are a user, you've been enslaved. Once you let go of drugs and alcohol, you have taken full control of your life. When I came clean, it felt as if I were released from prison. I became fearless and felt as if I were indestructible. Just the opposite of when I used to drink. I was a paranoid, schizo, who eventually became afraid of his own shadow.


    Any general advice for others with regards to diet and training?
    I get many clients who are not 100% dedicated. They want to cheat here and there, they don't want to train with intensity, they have too many cheat meals, drinks, missed workouts, too many distractions and excuses. I'm an all or nothing guy. When I drank it was 100% that lifestyle (and all the trimmings that went along with it). When I get into bodybuilder mode I am obsessed. In my opinion, being obsessive towards a positive outcome is healthy. I don't believe in moderation. Either you are in the game 100% or you're out. There's no in-between compromise. Once you have this kind of mindset, success is eventually guaranteed no matter what life endeavor you embark upon. Training, and especially nutrition, takes day to day, week to week, month to month dedication and determination. If your friends want you to be another type of individual, or to do things against your will or what is going to prevent you from achieving your goals, you don't need them. Surround yourself with people who have similar destinations in regards to their future, health, fitness aspirations, etc. Why would you succumb to just being a sheep? I don't get it. :confused:


    What are your future plans?
    Right now I am training for 3-4 shows beginning in either late May or early June. A goal for this year would be to secure another natural pro card. Another thing I am working towards is to set up a local homeless shelter in my neighborhood. I'll be working with some community leaders to get this off the ground. Being homeless myself at one point in my life, it just disturbs me when I see these people out there in the frigid cold. And some of these people are people I went to high school with.


    Any closing thoughts?
    Giving up, or giving in is easy to do. This leads to procrastination, laziness, second thoughts, and generally leads to failure. If you have a dream and the desire, and I'm not talking about a half-assed plan or half-assed attempt, GO FOR IT WITH ALL YOU'VE GOT and don't let anyone stop you or get in your way. Once you get a head of steam going, all of your naysayers will either disappear, or will become shocked at what you've achieved. Last year I was chosen as OCB's Inspiration of the Year award winner. I have received numerous emails and PMs from people who were inspired by this award. This is what makes all my sacrifices to this sport worthwhile. 25 years ago if you told me people were going to be inspired by my life, I would've referred you to the psychiatrist I was seeing. :) This ultimate success will then transcend into other arenas of your life, opening up doors and opportunities you never knew existed. This is what I experienced when I gave up drugs, and I still have not finished achieving. No matter what you've done, there is always a higher level to aspire to. Being sober has been the greatest "high" I've ever experienced. :nod:


    Thank you very much for sharing your story with us, Aram!
     
  2. gentlesavage

    gentlesavage Well-Known Member

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    Awesome & inspirational as always. Thanks for sharing, Mastover.
     
  3. Chopaholic

    Chopaholic Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations, Aram! :bow:
     
  4. Paddy

    Paddy Well-Known Member
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    congratulations and thank you for being open with your life. what a great journey you've made. and what a great attitude. sciatica is indeed no bowl of cherries. :tucool:
     
  5. Rabid

    Rabid Active Member

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    What an amazing journey! Congratulations!
     
  6. CA$ON

    CA$ON Active Member

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    Mastover,

    Thanks for sharing! No matter what road block that was in your path it seems that you overcame it and you didn't just give up. Many others would be willing to just say forget it I'm just going to let the road block kill my dreams. Not you! You overcame a bunch of road blocks to be where you are today. Very inspirational and I only wish you the best on everything. When we chat back in fourth with the forum postings or private messages you are always willing to help and give your honest thoughts. I hope you do awesome in your up coming shows. :tucool::bow:

    Not only did you become stronger and better, you are helping others around you do the same. We all appreciate it! :claplow:
     
  7. ameer

    ameer Active Member

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    Wow what a perfect TSM! Congratulations!
     
  8. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Congratulations Mastover. Your's is truly an inspirational story.
     
  9. dejavued

    dejavued Senior Member

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    :claphigh:

    :dreamy:

    congrats on all u've overcome mastover!

    lookin damn sexy, as always. :nod:

    and thanks for all the help you hand out round hur.

    :claplow:
     
  10. gazareth

    gazareth Senior Member

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    The term "inspirational" is thrown around a little too freely on internet forums, especially on those that specialize in health, fitness and strength training, but your story is one that is truly deserving of the word. Your positive mindset and consistency of method never fail to astonish me and keep me driven. I look forward to hearing of your success at the summer bodybuilding shows, and hope that the next time I happen to be in NY/NJ for work that you will let me come and beat the shit out of my legs with you at 4am in the Bronx :D
     
  11. Jedi

    Jedi Well-Known Member

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    You are a star, Aram:) thanks for being around for so many of us on JSF and good luck with this next show.
     
  12. cymbals

    cymbals Active Member

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    Movies are made out of stories like this. To go through what you've been through and just keep toughing it out is amazing. You're story is remarkable Aram. Congrats. :tucool::tucool:
     
    #12 cymbals, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  13. tbuck

    tbuck Active Member

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    Aram...

    This is a well-deserved honor, sir. Thank you.:bow::claplow:
     
  14. digitalnebula

    digitalnebula Plagiarist

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    You da man, Aram!!!

    :tu:
     
  15. Sent

    Sent Well-Known Member

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    He is always open to giving advice to anyone who seeks it. :nod:
     
  16. Ecrivain

    Ecrivain Well-Known Member

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    Mastover is an invaluable resource to this community. He is always willing to selflessly share his wisdom and experience without hesitation. I can't imagine these forums without his positive attitude and priceless contributions. Spotlight of the Month doesn't even begin to describe the recognition he deserves. There needs to be a Lifetime Achievement Award. :nod:
     
  17. george mavridis

    george mavridis Active Member

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    What can I add that already hasn't been said. Reading this, this morning over here in Australia 15,000 miles away has given me a bit of a lift. Presently feeling down as there are situations going on within the family which is making me hurt and feel depressed. All I hope is that he reads this and sees that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Aram, I don't know you and as a recent member of this forum I am just getting to know names and starting to feel part of the community here. All I can say to add to what has already been said is "I take my hat off to you"
     
  18. SweetPea

    SweetPea Well-Known Member

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    This story puts fire in your belly and makes you want to go hit the weights. Wow.
     
  19. carguy

    carguy Well-Known Member

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    Just got home from work and was very happy to see who the TSM was. Your story, even leaving out the bodybuilding aspects, is truly inspirational. I think I know why it was not your time to go way back when. You had a lot of great things to still accomplish. Keep on. And congratulations. :nod:
     
  20. IROC-Z

    IROC-Z Raw Bench Daddy

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    Congrats, Mastover! Very inspirational! You've been a huge help to many of us here at JSF, and we truly appreciate all of your contributions.:)
     

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