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iSatori’s 2014 Round 3 Hyper Growth Challenge Champion finds a way to stay humble and get jacked!
At 24 years old, Jose Molina’s life sounds like the making of an infamous heroic novel, with Jose playing the lead protagonist.
Having moved to the US with his father when he was just 15, Jose says he had a very poor upbringing but learned to survive the best he knew. Jose was born in the very small, unpretentious Central American country of Honduras where the main export products are coffee, bananas, and wood. He says he was excited about the new adventure but knew it was going to be a tough uphill battle fitting in and getting settled in a new place, especially since he didn’t know any English when he got here.
Today, nine years later, Jose is over the moon with his accomplishments so far and is excited to be the newest Hyper Growth Challenge winner for iSatori. He made an amazing transformation in just eight weeks—having gained 7.4 pounds of lean body mass, four inches on his chest, and two inches on his arms, and he says this is only the beginning. “It was a big surprise when iSatori called to tell me I had won the challenge,” says Jose. “It was my birthday, and this news couldn’t have been a better present.”
The American Dream
Jose has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past seven years; before that, he lived in Tennessee for a year. “We’ve bounced around a lot, but my family and I are happy here.”
Jose married the love of his life, Shayla, and they have a one-year-old son named Anthony. Jose's days consist of trying to make ends meet for his family, spending as much time as possible with his son, and hitting the gym every night after work when Anthony goes to bed. “I’m very fortunate to have my mother-in-law live with us, so she helps look after Anthony because my wife works long hours, and it gives me a chance to get to the gym.”
Jose plans to go back to school one day to continue with his education, but for now, he’s supporting his family as an electrician. “The biggest thing I’ve learned since moving to the States is that you can do anything you set your mind to if you put in the hard work.”
Despite having won this contest and looking the best he’s ever looked, Jose is a very humble guy and can’t say enough about how much he appreciates the opportunity to live and work in the US. He is honored to be the winner of this contest and is ecstatic about his transformation. “I’m still improving on my physique and want to just continue to work hard and show my son that anything is possible if you’re committed.”
Hailing from Honduras, where the main sport played is soccer, Jose says he’s been athletic for as long as he can remember. But he’s also had to work since he was young.
“We didn’t have a car back in my country, and I had to walk an hour to and from work and bike everywhere, and I was just a kid,” explains Jose of his childhood. “When I was 15, I came here with my dad, but he went back to Honduras after a year, so I lived with my aunt. We had no money, so I had to quit school and get a construction job. I’ve been paying my way ever since. We were really struggling, and even though the US presented a lot more opportunities for me, I had to work very hard to make it day to day. But I’m happy I did work hard, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and my family.”
Setting a Great Example
Jose is determined to show his son that anything is possible. He saw how hard his father worked growing up, and he wants to show his son the same dedication and passion. “I want to teach him that he can do anything he wants. I want to set a good example for him, so he has a good life.”
For a guy in his early 20's, married and with a son, Jose is pretty darned mature. Almost like a wise soul. “I had to grow up quickly and learned what it took to survive without a lot of possessions and money in the house—back in Honduras and even here. So I don’t take anything for granted, and I always appreciate every single dollar that comes into the house. My wife is a great help too and works extremely hard to make a living.”
Jose played soccer and was into amateur boxing growing up. So he knows what it takes to stay fit and strong. Lifting weights was a natural next step for him to feel good about himself and make a difference. He likes to work hard and see results in all parts of his life. “I want to continue to lift weights and become someone someday and show others that they can reach their dreams too. I don’t want to cruise through life without any goals—that’s not in my blood.
"My family has always worked hard for everything they’ve got, and I want to be able to say to my son one day that I got here because I followed my dreams.”
His Training Role
Jose is a fast learner. From the boxing ring to the gym—he believes that anything worth doing takes a lot of hard work. And lucky for him, his body has always adapted well to new workouts and strenuous training. “Before I really started training hard, I used to play pool [billiards] a lot, but that didn’t give me the physical pump I really wanted. It was a strategic game, and I got really good at it, but I wanted to do something with my body to build strength and more muscle.”
His wife was the one who introduced him to the gym. “She got a membership and said I should go with her one time. That's all it took. I was hooked. I went all the time, every day, and I got stronger and stronger. It was different going to the gym to lift weights than it was when I used to box. It felt really good, and the only person I was competing against was myself.”
Jose says when he starts something, he doesn’t stop—he’s very committed and always pushes himself as hard as he can. “I never do things halfway.”
Jose first saw the iSatori 8-Week Hyper-Growth Challenge in Flex Magazine and said to himself, "I can do that!" So he did. It was only two weeks after he had signed up for his first gym membership—he entered online.
“The fitness lifestyle has really changed me. Before I used to go home from work, and my wife would cook meals for me. I wasn’t too happy about cooking for myself. But now that I’m living the lifestyle, I prefer to make my own meals because I know how I like them and what’s good for my body.”
Jose also started lifting heavier and reading everything he could online about training and how to take things to the next level. He started seeing results right away, and it felt amazing.
“I’m not as tired as I used to be and not as stressed when I’m working out. I see the results, and my friends do too. Even strangers come up to me in the gym and ask me how I’ve changed my appearance so much. I am happier, and everyone can see it.”
One day Jose would like to enter physique shows as a next step—once he can afford to have someone work with him one on one. “Competing isn’t cheap, that’s for sure. I have to save some money,” he laughs.
Jose says that his two scoops of Bio-Gro™ in the morning and two in the evening was a HUGE part of his transformation. “I was really tight with money when I first started working out and supplements can be pricey. I bought Bio-Gro and one bottle of protein and used it all because I didn’t have the freedom [money] to pick and choose from all the awesome supplements available—but Bio-Gro™ helped me make the changes I wanted to see and then some. I’m still not in a position to buy all the supplements I want, but I make the most of what I’ve got.
When Jose started the Challenge, he only had two weeks' experience at the gym. He was a newbie and didn’t really know what he was in for—except that he knew he wanted to see what changes he could make in his life. Coming from a poor childhood, Jose learned to work hard for everything he achieved, and the iSatori Challenge was something he thought would keep him in the gym and take care of his needs at home by learning to cook for himself. He also wanted to show his young son what true dedication and hard work means in life. Here’s what his training regimen looks like:
Sample Training Week
Monday Heavy Push Routine: Chest, shoulders, and triceps
Tuesday Light Pull Routine: Back and biceps
Wednesday Heavy Leg Routine: Legs and some days, abs
Thursday Light Push Routine: Chest, shoulders, and triceps
Friday Heavy Pull Routine: Back and biceps
Saturday Light Leg Day: Legs and abs
Sample Daily Routine
“Chest and arm days are awesome,” says Jose. “I get to see [results] and feel what I think are my best attributes, but if I had to pick one specific day of training to highlight, it would be leg day because even though they are ripped, I really need to gain some size in my legs. Leg day is my favorite because I get to focus on my weakness.”
Heavy Leg Routine
Jose starts by stretching for 10 minutes before he trains legs. Then he moves on to a warm-up that consists of walking on a treadmill or stair climber at a low speed but highest incline level.
Stretch: 10 minutes
Warm-up: 15 minutes
Barbell Squat: 3 sets × 10 – 12 reps with lightweight to follow and finish warm-up
Barbell Squat: 5 × 6
Leg Press: 5 × 8 – 10
Sumo Squat: 4 × 8 – 10
Leg Extensions: 4 × 8 – 10 (2 supersets × 6 reps)
Leg Curls: 4 × 8 – 12 (2 supersets × 6 reps)
Weighted Lunges: 3 × 12
Standing Calf Raises: 4 × 20
Seated Calf Raises: 4 × 12
Jose’s nutrition plan is not as strict as you might think, but he does watch what he eats. “I don’t count every calorie because it’s too hard to remember, so I try to consume as much food as I can as long as it’s healthy. Making sure I get the protein I need for the day.”
The Sample Meals In a Day
Meal 1: 3 eggs, 3 slices of turkey ham, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1 cup of orange juice
Meal 2: 1 protein shake or 15 oz of Greek yogurt
Meal 3: 1 chicken breast, 1 1/2 cup of rice, 1 baked potato with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 2 slices of whole-grain bread
Meal 4: 1 protein shake or Greek yogurt
Meal 5: Jose will have anything he wants. Most likely he will eat his home country food like Baleadas, which are similar to Quesadillas, but instead of the chicken or steak, it'll have eggs, refried beans, Honduran buttermilk cream, Honduran style cheese, and avocados. Yum!
Meal 6: Jose will cook his own chicken or fish fillet dish. For example, 2 chicken breasts, broccoli, 2 oz condensed milk butter (Honduran style), 2 oz of milk, Montreal chicken seasoning, and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Then Jose will eat a bake potato and rice.
(A Baleada is a traditional Honduran dish composed of a flour tortilla, often quite thick, folded in half and filled with mashed fried beans. It originates from La Ceiba.)
Jose likes to eat pineapple Greek yogurt for a snack. “It’s my favorite!” And once a month, he’ll splurge on some pizza.
Jose is beyond thankful to the iSatori team for recognizing his physical changes, and he’s completely humbled that someone has recognized his efforts. “I can’t thank the [iSatori] team enough for their confidence in me and what I can do to change my body. In fact, it’s changed my life for the better, and I’m happier now. I’d like to tell anyone reading my story that you really can do anything you set your mind to, and if you try your best, you’re sure to catch someone else’s attention. It happened to me, and I can’t thank them enough for all of this. It means so much.”
Who He Looks Up To
Jose says there are many people who have been there for him during his life. His Mom and Dad in particular he’d like to thank for showing him what hard work is really like. “My Mom always told me to stay out of trouble and be a humble person, and my Dad, even though I didn’t grow up with him by my side the whole time, he did a great job teaching me to stay grounded and out of harm’s way. I always thought to myself, ‘He didn’t get into bad situations, so why should I?’ My parents are humble people and would do anything for anyone, and I like to think I am very similar to them.”
Jose says choosing to be fit now isn’t just about looking better—it’s a lifestyle and something you have to decide you want to do for life. He feels better and now cooks, which wasn’t him a year ago. He’s learned a lot through his journey and winning the Challenge. He has enjoyed every minute of the process and won’t look back. “I will always love where I come from and appreciate the struggles my family and I went through back home and here, but I know there is potential in everything I do now, and I want that sense of accomplishment for my son. I want him to live a good life, knowing anything is possible. Even little changes in your life can make a big difference, and that’s something to be proud of too.”
If you’d like to contact Jose, follow him on Instagram and Twitter josemolina2911
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