Body Transformation: Skinny Dominic Cagliero Found His Motivation

Unmotivated and skinny, Dominic Cagliero decided to improve his physique and athletic performance. 2 years later he won a teen bodybuilding class.
Editor's Note: Everyone is different and these results may not be typical for the average person. To achieve these results you need to be willing to put in the work both in the gym and in the kitchen. Use this transformation for motivation for you to make the changes you want!

Before Stats

  • Nearly 15
  • 126 lbs
  • 6'0"
  • 11-12%
  • 205 lbs

After Stats

  • Sill in Progress
  • 167 lbs
  • 6'0"
  • 10%
  • 365 lbs

Lifestyle Prior To Change

What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?

Everyday it was the same stuff: video games, homework, eat, and sleep.

What was your low point or turning point?

Probably the beginning or right before my start date, I was tired and so unmotivated of everyday life because it got boring and bland. I figured since I had so much time on my hands, I might as well get productive and improve my physical trait and aspects when it comes to sports.

Dominic CaglieroWere there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?

Definitely. There are times where you get frustrated because you can’t seem to hit a new record on your one rep max. There are also going to be times where you see someone bigger and stronger than you. But I always tell myself that I’m young and I have a lot of time ahead of me. Right now is just the beginning, and over time I will slowly but surely progress. It isn’t a race, it’s a marathon for me.

Please provide a timeline including when you started the transformation, and include major milestones:

  • Transformation Start: June of 2010?
  • Milestone: Home workouts began, slowly yielded results in my body.
  • Milestone: Purchased my first gym membership. Starting bench 125 lbs.
  • Milestone: Began incorporating leg/lower back workouts. Noticeable mass and strength increased dramatically. Starting squat 245 lbs.
  • Milestone: Decided to compete 2½ years later in the INBA Iron Gladiator. Brought home first place teen division.
  • Transformation End: There isn’t really an ‘end’ for I feel I will always be living this lifestyle and always progress in my physique until I can no longer walk. Current bench: 235 LBS Current squat: 365 lbs.

Dominic's Training Approach

What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?

Well at first I only trained upper body because I was still a kid and visible results are really only what mattered to me. But over time, I put my big boy pants on and started training all parts like a real bodybuilder should. At first I would train every other day, but over time, you learn things and you learn how your body responds to your workouts. So right now I’m doing one muscle group a day for the most part excluding abs and calves.

Please add a workout that worked best for you:

Dominic Cagliero

Remember, calves and abs are muscles that can be trained often. I train them 5-6 times a week and when I train them I like to mix it up and aim for reps.

Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Pull Up (Warm up exercise) 2 15
Wide Grip Lat Pull Down 4 10, 8, 6, 8
Hammer Strength Lat Pull Down 4 8, 8, 7, 6
Pull Ups 4 Failure
Deadlift 5 20, 10, 8, 6, 4
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 10
Biceps and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl 4 15, 10, 8, 6
Hammer Curl 4 10, 8, 6, 8
Concentration Curl 4 10, 10, 8, 8
Cable Tricep Extension with V Bar Handle 4 10, 8, 6, 8
Reverse Grip Cable Tricep Extension 4 10, 8, 6, 8
One Arm Dumbbell Extension 3 12, 10, 8
Reverse Grip Barbell Wrist Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 10
Shoulders and Traps
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Military Press 3 12, 10, 8
Dumbbell or Cable Lateral Raise 4 12, 10, 8, 8
Dumbbell Row 4 10, 8, 6, 6
Bent Over Reverse Dumbbell Flye 4 12, 10, 8, 8
Upright Row 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Shrug 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 6
Squat 3 12, 8, 6
Leg Extension 5 12, 8, 8, 6, 4
Leg Curl 5 12, 8, 8, 8, 8
Lunge 2 Failure
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Incline Bench Press 5 10, 8, 6, 4, 7
Decline Bench Press 5 10, 8, 6, 4, 6
Close Grip Bench Press 3 10, 8, 8
Pec Dec 4 12, 10, 8, 6

Dominic CaglieroPlease detail your cardio approach during your transformation?

During my off season, I only do my cardio once a week. Cardio would be 30 minutes on the stepmill. But during season I’ll do the stepmill for 30 minutes twice daily. Stepmill's the best way to burn fat and preserve mass.

Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. Work hard and you shall be rewarded.
  2. Perseverance is key: stay consistent and persistent.
  3. Rest. Rest is just as important as while you’re in the gym!

How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?

As the years went on, I started to learn more and more about my body. I learned that once muscle group a day worked better than training it 3 times a week. Also, remember to train smart. It doesn’t matter how much weight you’re pushing to an extent; however focus more on the contraction and form.

Dominic's Diet And Supplement Plan

What was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?

In the off season I really up my carbs, fats, and calories just to fill in better considering I’m a 6-footer. As it gets closer to show time though, I taper down on my carbs and calories a long with fats. I’d take in a moderation of unsaturated fats just to maintain my strength and size.

Can you give an example of what your daily meal plan looks like?

  • Meal 1: Post cardio - 1/2 cup oats w/ 2 tbsp almond milk and dash cinnamon, 6 egg whites.
  • Meal 2: 2 scoops whey protein isolate, 1 tbsp almond milk, 1/2 cup raspberries.
  • Meal 3: 5 oz grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or 1/2 medium baked sweet potato.
  • Meal 4: 6 oz grilled halibut, 1 cup steamed asparagus, 1/2 cup oats w/ Splenda and cinnamon.
  • Meal 5: Before Bed - 1 serving whey/casein blend protein.

Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?

Definitely. At first I wasn’t taking in enough of my carbs so I was really flat and weak. But I learned things and realized that theres certain times of the day where it’s okay and your body can be more tolerant to absorbing carbs and what not. But that’s the beauty of all of this. Trial and error.

Dominic Cagliero

Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. When to eat and how much to eat.
  2. Weighing your food.
  3. Eating clean!

Did you allow yourself cheat meals?

I did very rarely. I completely cut them out though the last 3 weeks. I allowed myself a cheat meal every now and then just to give me that piece of mind and kind of replenish my mental aspect of the game. Dieting gets exhausting and honestly it’s the hardest part (to me) in a bodybuilder's life. But I would more often reefed on my carbs. Just to replenish my glycogen levels.

What supplements did you use during your transformation?

Advice For Others

What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?

  1. Stay humble: Although results are rewarded after hard work, never get big headed about things. "Be strong when you are weak, be brave when you are scared, and be humble when you are victorious."
  2. Consistence: You’re not going to get anywhere if you’re on and off about this. You have to stay consistent and work hard. There’s no easy way out!
  3. Perseverance: As stated before, you’re going to meet people that down you and belittle you. Although it can be very frustrating, never let that affect your outstanding performance that you’ve developed since day one. Keep at it, and your time will come. 

How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?

Look back and see where you started. Look at where you improved and which areas of your body became more muscular. You’re obviously doing something right. I highly suggest affiliating or networking with people that share the same hobby as you. It’s a great way to stay motivated because you meet people that’s doing and overcoming obstacles just like you are. And the best part of it is knowing they’re behind you 100% of the way.

Your Life Now

What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?

Since I started, people are aware of what I do for my passion. All my friends feel comfortable enough to contact me if they have any questions regarding living a healthy lifestyle. And I can honestly say that I take great pleasure in doing so. Because I feel like it’s my way of giving back.

What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?

There are lot of things that motivate me. Networking with fellow fitness gurus as stated earlier is great because you learn things from them and it motivates you knowing they’re in your shoes. Also like I just said, it’s truly a blessing being able to help people and give them advice about being healthy.

Anything else you would like to share?

My body is still a work in progress. And every day I tell myself that there is always room for improvement no matter how tip-top I look. I know I still have a long road ahead of me but I’m ready for whatever lies ahead and I can’t wait (God-Willing) to blow up the bodybuilding scene. It would truly be a dream come true and a huge blessing.

How Can People Contact You?

How can people contact you?

Please feel free to contact me via email or Facebook.

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2 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 12/28/2012 - 00:05
Mossab

U already have abs before, were u working out your abs, thanks :>

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Posted Wed, 06/20/2012 - 23:55
Dominic

I'm currently 17, by the way guys (: