When you're in the mix to win the Men of David crown and become a certifiable gay Atlanta hunk, fitness better be your focus. That's the approach of Gerald Valentine, so we asked how he builds that toned body.
The 31-year-old Valentine uses fitness to build a healthier life, too. We got a sexy sneak peek when Valentine jumped into the Men of David contest. He didn't win the crown (bottom photo), but the Brooklyn native did pique our fitness interest.
What got you so focused on fitness?
I was unsatisfied with how I viewed myself. At the height of 6' 5", I had a difficult time gaining weight. It looked awkward to me. Plus my eating habits were the worst. I wanted to be healthy and needed to make a change.
The diet: Protein with a side of cheats
My eating habits have changed drastically. Breakfast is a must to start the day and will usually consist of eggs, oatmeal, fruit and maybe Greek yogurt. I have snacks throughout the day. I love fruits (apples and bananas) and peanut butter or a Quest cookie dough protein bar. For my bigger meals, I will have my protein (baked fish, chicken or lean turkey), vegetables (usually a sweet potato or broccoli), and maybe brown rice. I cannot forget about water. I try to drink a gallon a day. I will have some nonfat milk or 100 percent juice every so often. I cook throughout the week, and am more relaxed on the weekends. But when I eat out I still try to eat as clean as possible. But I do allow myself some cheats every so often for the hard work.
The workout: Keep it fresh, indoors and out
My workouts change quite often. I don't want my muscles to get too comfortable with my routine. I incorporate weight training about four days a week, with each day focusing on a different muscle group. I do cardio about three days out of the week, usually along the days of weight training. I enjoy the spin class, running outdoors and rollerblading most. To keep it fresh, I incorporate music, different exercises, different environments (park, gym, school), and try to have fun with it. After all this play, get enough rest for your body to recover, and for your next day's adventure.
Biggest challenge: Patience and pep
My biggest challenge is to stay consistent with everything. When you don't have a partner or trainer, it's easy to get side tracked and lose focus. Many fitness goals require patience and plenty of time. As humans we want instant results. I give myself a pep talk and play some of my favorite songs to get me going.
Your motivation: A healthy future
I do it to stay healthy. I'm conditioning my body and lifestyle now to be prepared for the future. Plus I would like to get into modeling in the near future. I began personal training to originally help my family and friends. Now I help anybody that reaches out for help or needs assistance. Staying faithful isn't the easiest, but I try to have as much fun as possible. I'm always dancing in between sets or laughing about something. I'm known as Smiles at one gym and Happy Feet at another. Staying positive and music help me get through my day-to-day fitness program. Knowing and admitting my weaknesses helps me overcome them. Knowledge is power.
Final fitness thoughts: Push yourself
Just stay consistent and focused with your training goals. I know that is not easy. But with time and determination, your goal is very attainable. Try to push yourself and raise your goal often. You are stronger than you think. Most importantly, have fun.
Second photo by Russ Youngblood for David Atlanta