You probably know Branden Boston. And if you don’t, you likely will soon. If the junior philosophy major sees you sitting alone in the cafeteria, you can be sure he’ll set his bag down, crack a friendly smile, and promptly introduce himself.
While you dine with him, you may notice the healthy assemblage of grilled chicken, boiled eggs and raw vegetables that span his multiple plates. Yes, plates, plural. Boston is one of the school’s premier bodybuilders and must adequately fuel his gargantuan pectorals on a daily basis.
But Boston wasn’t always a model of muscular definition. In fact, he spent most of his childhood overweight, massively addicted to the sugary drink Kool-Aid.
“I was pretty chubby until I was about twelve. Whenever I went home there was sugary, sweet delicious Kool-Aid. It was always on a table. My parents, they didn’t know any better. It was completely normal for me to go days without drinking water,” said Boston.
Not only did it affect his self-esteem, it limited the amount of activities that he could participate in. His poor diet sapped his energy, and his legs would tire out from even the most routine activities, like walking. At ten years old, he weighed in at an alarming 130 lbs.
He knew things had to change, and a few years later sought help from an older friend who knew the ropes when it came to proper exercise. Since then, Boston hasn’t stopped in his pursuit of an extremely active, healthy lifestyle.
Flash forward to UT several years later. Boston is a certified personal trainer in the McNiff Fitness Center, and an avid member of the UT Bodybuilding Team.
He’s won the annual bodybuilding competition twice after dazzling the crowd with near perfect form, but if you ask him, the title of champion is relatively meaningless.
“To me it’s not so much about the winning aspect. Everybody’s a winner in bodybuilding,” he said.
“As long as you make it on that stage and commit to competing, you’re a winner in my eyes. It’s not about just getting up there, though. It’s about the change you have to go through, from point A to point Z. It’s a commitment. It’s a lifestyle change.”
And a commitment it is indeed. With great potential glamour comes great diligence and responsibility. According to Boston, the art of bodybuilding is incredibly contingent on intense self-discipline and precision.
One must meticulously monitor their nutritional intake, and missing days at the gym can be catastrophic if it becomes habitual.
A typical day in the life of Branden Boston and his diet consists of five essential components: 1) A low-carb breakfast with some kind of fatty meat, eggs, and a healthy fat, like avocado. 2) A light protein snack, such as a shake, eggs, or cheese sticks. 3) An after-workout snack rich in carbs and protein. 4) A fat and protein heavy dinner, similar to the breakfast, and 5) A light meal of vegetables, fruit, and a few additional sources of protein. During training season, he consumes anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 calories.
While it’s easy to point to vanity as the primary impetus for pursuing an Olympian caliber body, Boston contends that his motivations stem from a desire to be a high-functioning, healthy individual. For him, a healthy body directly correlates with a healthy mind.
“The light you bring from being healthy is radiant and contagious. The warmth that it brings, that satisfaction of not having to worry about obesity or high blood pressure down the line, all these preventable things. I want to share that message with people around me and tell them it’s possible,” he said.
Beyond eating healthy, pushing personal limits at the gym, and maintaining a stringent routine, it all comes down to resilience for Boston.
What you don’t see, while he curls a 100 pound dumbbell with ease, is the myriad of allergies and debilitating conditions that hinder him in his daily life. He has a heart condition, severe allergic reactions, and an inability to consume caffeine. If his potassium levels go unchecked, he’s dramatically at risk for a heart attack.
As far as the future goes, Boston has no plans of taking his love for extreme fitness to the professional level, but the discipline and healthy habits he gleaned from his time as a regimented bodybuilder will never forsake him.
He encourages everyone to take up the challenge, firmly believing that attaining exemplary workout results all comes down to the approach.
“As a personal trainer, I want to share with the world that the body type that I’m seeking is achievable by almost anybody with the right mindset.”
Griffin Guinta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org