Portraits of a Body Builder / by Denise McMahon

We're just going to continue and end this month's trend of sharing new kinds of sessions I've been doing - with a body builder beach shoot! I wrote too much but if you're interested in a peek into the life of a new body builder, please read on. If not, I forgive you, scroll on by :)

Adam was, and still is, one of the most driven individuals I have ever met. We both went to UMBC (go dawgs! 16th seed upset!) and we were self-proclaimed "social butterflies" at school. We ran in similar circles and in extracurriculars (social clubs, fraternities/sororities, student government, and even residential life). I bumped into Adam often and it was always fun chatting about almost everything, from how our classes were to where we thought we'd be years later. And now look at us, both working towards making our dreams come true.

Adam drove from Raleigh NC to Nags Head in the Outer Banks for a 10 AM shoot. Talk about a trooper. To be honest though, early mornings are more of the norm for him these days rather than not. Adam's forage into the body building world stems from his drive to be healthy, fit, with the right mindset on life, and in his words, "so I can live to be 100". But..."why body building of all things?" I had asked. Simply put, he said, "Because I've always wanted to be one". And so began his journey to become one. I never knew him at his heaviest when he was younger but he has come an incredible way from 250 lbs. I cannot help but be blown away and impressed with the daily and long-term decisions and dedications he's made to improve his life and to become a body builder. A little snippet of what I caught as his daily routine: morning start at 4 am, gym at 5, countless meals during the day (roughly 7 I believe?), meetings all day (he's the Transit Planning Advisory Committee "TPAC" Administrator for Wake County - aka he listens to and speaks on behalf of the advisory board day in and out), nutritionist and doctor visits to understand the science behind his body's inner workings, and meal planning. Body building is not a small undertaking, to say the least. It truly is a way of life.

Obviously, as a portrait photographer for families, maternities, and children, this shoot was way out of my norm and my comfort zone. But you can't grow if you just stick with what you are comfortable with, am I right?! I loved getting a chance to do something different and think outside the box a bit. This shoot was a lot of fun and learning for me. This was also something relatively new to Adam - getting in front of the camera to literally "show off what you got". I believe that photography has the power to build confidence and see the progress one has made. And let's be real, Adam did a lot of work to get to where he is now - that's totally worthy of "flaunt it if you got it"!! At the time of this shoot, Adam was the trimmest I have ever seen him. On purpose to see what he looks like at his leanest - and from here on out? I believe the hopes is to build the bulk and more muscles on top of a solid foundation. I wish you luck and excitement on your journey, Adam! 

My utmost respect and hats off to you, my friend.