Today I have an outstanding interview with none other than Shomo Das—a champion bodybuilder.
Shomo and I actually know each other from high school. We both went to St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where we weren’t the best or worst of friends.
I’ve since followed his fitness career for years and have always been impressed with the hustle and execution he brings to the table. This guy is the real deal in competitive bodybuilding.
What’s maybe most inspiring is Shomo hasn’t always been the most muscular dude on the block. As you’ll read in the interview below, he started his fitness journey from humble beginnings before he mastered his body and sport.
Let’s get to it. And after the interview, be sure to read my main takeaway from this interview with Shomo Das.
Brian: Who or what inspired you to be a competitive bodybuilder?
Shomo: Believe it or not, I entered high school weighing in at a whopping 85 pounds (no, I’m not kidding in the slightest). It was always rather difficult for me navigating through the social scene of a 1,600 member all boys private Catholic school.
My high school placed great pride upon the school’s elite athletic program, and being the backup for the backup for the backup for the backup of the cornerback for the football team did not exactly give me the chance to shine within this arena! I always remember wishing that I were a bit more muscular so that I could excel in sports.
One day, I was grocery shopping one day with my mom and walked past a section of magazines, where I saw Greg Plitt looking back at me from the front cover of a muscle magazine. I remember thinking to myself, “I want to look like that guy!”. His musculature looked incredible and I remember seeing picture after picture of him next to beautiful girls. This guy was living the life! As I thumbed through the magazine, I encountered guides that promised to help me increase the size of my chest, arms, shoulders, legs, everything! I went back home, scouring the Internet for more information. I was hooked.
The very next day my dad took me to a local gym to sign me up for my very first membership. When touring the free weights section, I remember only being able to curl the ten pound dumbbells. I immediately began following a good training program and a healthy diet. I quickly started to notice my physique changing in front of my eyes. I gained a great deal of confidence and, for the first time, realized that I had full control over my life! A simple hobby evolved into my biggest passion.
What I most loved about fitness was the fact that I had the opportunity to work on myself and improve every single day. So, I knew that, with consistent effort, I could become a competitive bodybuilder and pro fitness model. After 5 years of hard training flew by, and the next thing I knew, I was had won my first NPC bodybuilding show at the age of 19!
Brian: It’s easy for us to make the mistake of seeing your results now and thinking you were always successful. And I hate the words “overnight success” because it’s never true. So please let us in on the how much hard work and commitment it took from when you started in 2007 to today.
Shomo: A lot of the hard work goes on in the background, when nobody is watching. And for this reason, many bodybuilding fans do not get the opportunity to see what a competitive bodybuilder needs to do in order win championships and build a large brand in the industry.
Over the past decade, I have made daily commitment to prep/weigh my meals, train appropriately, travel all over the country for photo shoots, develop valuable content for the fitness community (blogs, posts, etc.), and network within the industry. And what I really want to communicate is that this is not even my full-time job!
When I first entered the bodybuilding scene, I was a student at Duke University, majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomechanics. Since graduation, I have needed to hold all of these commitments while being a technology sales executive.
Has it been easy? Not at all. Has it been worth it? Absolutely. And it’s been a lot of fun too!
Brian: What do you honestly tell yourself (or what do you do) to get to the gym and eat healthy on those days when you don’t feel like it?
Shomo: With regards to going to the gym, the better question would be to ask me how I stay out of the gym on days that I am supposed to take off from weight training! I love lifting, and from the second that I leave the gym after a workout, I find myself already looking forward to the next session!
With regards to the diet, there certainly are more tests. When I’m getting ready for a photoshoot or a contest, my diet consists of meager portions of chicken, rice, almonds, and spinach, so it does take a bit more effort to not join the buddies for pizza and beer night!
But I always stay focused on my long-term objectives. And I certainly understand some of the short-term sacrifices that I must make to get to where I want to be in life.
It’s not a matter of whether it will be easy, sacrifices typically go hand-in-hand with some degree of difficulty, but it’s a matter of whether it will be worth it. And, in the context of my fitness journey, the answer to the latter question is nearly always a resounding “yes”!
Brian: You must share about your collaboration with Nike and how you made history.
Shomo: Being very passionate about the fitness/bodybuilding industry, I have always scoured the Internet, shopping for the best fits of bodybuilding apparel, seeking out the coolest designs, brainstorming ideas of my own.
So naturally, when I teamed up with Nike in 2015, I quickly noticed that the #1 athletic brand in the world did not make bodybuilding-specific gym wear! I pitched a few ideas to a few members of the Nike marketing team and was pleasantly surprised to see an extremely positive response.
Before I knew it, we were collaborating on designs and sending skus out for manufacturing! Bang Bang Athletics Apparel was born. I am very humbled and proud to bring to the fitness community the first ever bodybuilding/gym wear clothing line ever produced off of Nike fabric! The most exciting part is that we are just getting started. Stay tuned.
Brian: What does it mean to you that all your hard work is paying off in a monumental way through winning titles, sponsorships, and major collaborations?
Shomo: It means that I am now in a position to build on my successes to date to pursue bigger goals and dreams. It means that I can now inspire, reach out to, and collaborate with more people than I ever have before. It has added fuel to my fire!
Brian: What’s one piece of advice you have for the average guy or girl, who doesn’t want to go to the extreme of being a competitive bodybuilder, but just wants to get in a consistent habit of eating right and going to the gym?
Shomo: The word habit is key here. First, sit down and figure out what your goals are. Want to lose ten pounds? Want to get 25% stronger? Want to gain 15 pounds of lean mass? These are all great goals to have. But you need to figure out what success actually looks like to you in the context of fitness.
From there, sit down and figure out how much activity level it will take for you to get there. Perhaps it is 10 hours of training per week combined with strict dieting that will require you to cook 30 minutes per day. Perhaps it is 20 hours of training that will require you to follow a less strict diet. Perhaps, it will take far less time, or perhaps it will take much more time!
But level set expectations, and then create healthy habits that will get you closer to your goals. It may be hard to stick to your new program for the first few weeks, but I can promise you that if you stick it out, it will become more natural from that point onwards.
If you want to connect and leverage my expertise in developing your personal plan, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com!
Brian: What is the one book (on any topic, you choose) you suggest to Take Your Success readers? And why?
Shomo: I love reading! I would definitely suggest that Take Your Success readers check out The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
“Oh my gosh! Somebody on a website about success recommended that I read a fictional novel, and not a self-development book! Is the world coming to an end?”
Fortunately, the world is not coming to an end, I am definitely not saying that self-development books are not helpful; I usually read at least one per month. However, I do believe that adults should indulge in fiction more than they currently do.
When we’re young, we are encouraged to use our imaginations. But for some reason, this stops once we grow up. I think that it’s crucial to continue to spark our creativity and imagination while we pursue success, whatever that picture may look like for each of us. It’s more fun that way.
Brian: Lastly, where can this community go to connect with you, buy your gear, and follow you on your journey?
Shomo: The online shop at www.shomoshotime.com contains all of my personalized online training/diet programs as well as Bang Bang Athletics Apparel! In addition, Take Your Success readers can continue to follow my journey on social media:
YouTube: Shomo Shotime Das
Thank you in advance for your support everyone! And if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey, please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After doing this interview, I’m most impressed with Shomo’s intentionality. This guy is the opposite of someone going through the motions with no purpose or direction.
Shomo is a man with a plan. And why I believe this is so crucial to his (and your) success is it’s all but impossible to fall into some great achievement. Heck, it’s still not easy to accomplish something when you have a clear goal.
But with direction, you certainly set yourself up for future success and you can enjoy the process because you know each step is helping you climb that mountain. That’s what makes it easier (but still not easy).
It’s the difference between doing something just because, where effort may fail because your mind isn’t convinced. Or doing something with a strong why behind it that pushes you to do more.
In Shomo’s case, his intentionality produces results in the gym, bodybuilding competition, and the marketplace.
So what’s the why behind what you do? Are you living an intentional life? Do you know what your passion and dreams are, and are you pursuing them?
If you’re not, I’m sorry to say that you’re missing out on one of the pleasures of life. But it’s never too late to start now.
And you don’t have to have all the answers. It comes with time.
So make it a goal to seek and live an intentional life. You’ll be happy about how it turns out.
30 Day Plank Challenge: Plank For 5 Minutes On Last Day
Imagine how pumped up you’re going to be after you complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge? You’ll feel like a rockstar, with abs to prove your hard work.
What I appreciate about the plank is that it’s totally a matter of willpower when it comes to who is willing to get on the ground and do it and who is not.
You don’t need to be tall, fast, strong, or have any physical quality to do this activity. It just comes down to are you a hard worker or not?
This choice alone separates successful people from others in this physical arena and all areas of life, honestly—which I love.
It’s also always wise to test yourself every once in awhile. Since the last personal challenge on Take Your Success happened eight months ago (the gratitude challenge), there’s no more time for slacking.
So for this edition we’re going to be tackling the plank exercise for an entire month straight.
Before we get into the specifics of this challenge, you first need to know the many benefits of planking.
Health Benefits Of The Plank Exercise
I doubt you’re informed about all of the various ways your body thrives when you plank on a consistent basis.
Let’s change that and boost your motivation by learning the pros of staying in the plank position.
Strengthen your core – Planks are arguably the safest and best exercise to strengthen your body’s core since it activates all muscles in this area. Do this exercise enough and you’ll build strong inner core muscles that will pay off for daily function and a sexy appearance.
Flatten your abs – Not everyone wants a glorious six pack, but we could all use a more tightened stomach and abs for when we take our shirt off. Of course diet is more than half the battle for a smooth stomach, but don’t discredit the power of planking to flatten your abs and bring you more confidence about your physical appearance.
Better your posture – By planking, you improve the alignment of your spine, joints, and bones. This helps your body move more efficiently and healthy during every day activities. And better posture improves the first impression you give to others, your body’s energy, and, heck, sitting straighter at a work meeting could be the signal of confidence that persuades your boss to give you a raise.
Reduce back pain – We just covered how better posture improves how you present yourselves to others and feel every day. Though a straightened spine also means less back pain. This study finds that almost 80% of Americans will have back pain sooner or later. That’s a warning sign that we all should plank more often to reduce this nagging affliction.
Become more athletic – With a more stabilized core, your body’s coordination increases allowing your athleticism to improve. You don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate some extra athleticism whether it’s needed at the gym, a sports league with your friends, or some random work event that uses your core muscles.
Speed up your metabolism – Want to lose weight and burn more calories? The plank also delivers in this area, and does much better than crunches or regular ab exercises. The best part of this movement is that it forces your body to continue to burn calories long after you’re done with it, so you get to enjoy a sped up metabolic rate the rest of the day—even when you’re sleeping.
Decrease odds of injury – Doing the plank is wonderful from an injury-prevention perspective because it strengthens your body’s core while not putting too much pressure on your hips, spine, and back muscles. Plus a stronger core means your body has a bigger shield, in a sense, to prevent bodily injuries.
Improve your mood – When you exercise your core with a long and hard plank routine, you release stress from the nervous system to improve your overall mood. That’s why planking can ease your mental worries and lighten your depression since it gives your body an outlet for feeling mentally and physically weighed down.
How can you say you don’t love the plank exercise now? Make this exercise a part of your daily routine and all of those benefits come to you.
To help you follow through, follow an official daily schedule for one entire month.
30 Day Plank Challenge Rules
The goal of the regimented schedule below is to both build up the strength of your core and hold you accountable.
Stick with this schedule without missing a day and you’re going to be shocked at what you can physically accomplish in just one month.
Here’s the daily schedule to complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge:
- Day 1: 20 seconds
- Day 2: 20 seconds
- Day 3: 30 seconds
- Day 4: 30 seconds
- Day 5: 40 seconds
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: 45 seconds
- Day 8: 45 seconds
- Day 9: 1 minute
- Day 10: 1 minute
- Day 11: 1 minute
- Day 12: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 13: Rest
- Day 14: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 15: 1 ½ minutes
- Day 16: 2 minutes
- Day 17: 2 minutes
- Day 18: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 19: Rest
- Day 20: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 21: 2 ½ minutes
- Day 22: 3 minutes
- Day 23: 3 minutes
- Day 24: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 25: 3 ½ minutes
- Day 26: Rest
- Day 27: 4 minutes
- Day 28: 4 minutes
- Day 29: 4 ½ minutes
- Day 30: 5 minutes
Don’t be frightened by the thought of planking for 5 minutes on day 30. By that point you’ll have significantly strengthened your core and trained your mind to stick in there when things get tough.
The hardest part will be to actually get started and then maintain proper form while planking. The latter is what I’m going to cover next.
What’s Proper Planking Form?
You’ll defeat the purpose of this challenge and lose out on the physical benefits of planking if your form is terrible.
Keep it right and tight to maximize the core gains that are sure to come after you do the following routine, step-by-step for the next month.
This is proper plank form:
- Get into push-up position.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line.
- Look at the floor and relax your head.
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate.
See what I mean that anyone can do it?
It’s a simple exercise when you consider the fact you need no gym equipment, no weights, no workout partner, and no specific environment to start planking and strengthening your core.
Exercises like this don’t discriminate from the poor who can’t afford fancy gyms, so no one has an excuse for why they can’t plank to get better.
Take It 1 Day At A Time
Like any great individual journey, you’ll perform best if you stay laser focused to take this challenge one day at a time.
It does you no good to worry about how you’re going to plank as long as you need to reach next week’s time when today is the only mission that matters. Stick to today, worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
If it helps, know that I’m going to be busting my tail to complete this 30 Day Plank Challenge as well.
We’re in this together. You got this, I got this, and we got this!
How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!
Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.
It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.
Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:
In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:
- Get into push-up position
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
- Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
- Look at the floor and relax your head
- Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
- Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate
That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?
Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!
How often do you plank?
What’s your experience with it?
For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?
Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.
Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?
It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!
111 Reasons To Exercise
Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.
You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.
After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.
But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.
Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.
Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!
The Benefits Of Exercise
- Betters your quality of life
- Gives you more energy throughout the day
- Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
- Works to prevent the common cold
- Boosts productivity all day
- Improves your blood flow
- Provides endorphins to feel good
- Fights against depression
- Improves your social confidence
- Extends the amount of years you live
- Stimulates mental focus and concentration
- Lowers your body fat and weight
- Strengthens your immune system
- Presents opportunities to make new friends
- Increases testosterone
- Lessens risk of joint pain
- Tones and strengthens your skin
- Enhances your endurance
- Protects you against heart disease
- Lowers risk of some cancers
- Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
- Fights against dementia
- Motivates you to eat healthier
- Burns extra calories
- Provides a creative outlet
- Helps you feel sexier
- Drives more romance in your relationship
- Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
- Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
- Decreases your resting heart rate
- Instills discipline and self-control
- Teaches your kids to exercise
- Increases your work performance
- Adds a challenge to your day
- Strengthens your bones
- Develops your athletic ability
- Pushes you to take more risks
- Digests your food better
- Lowers risk of diabetes
- Lowers triglycerides
- Aids your immune system fighting infections
- Improves emotional stability
- Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
- Alleviates constipation
- Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
- Improves oxygen movement to the body
- Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
- Speeds up your metabolism
- Helps remove lactic acid in the body
- Develops a mindset of self improvement
- Straightens up your posture
- Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
- Develops flexibility and range of motion
- Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
- Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
- Helps you think positive
- Saves you doctor bills down the road
- Increases creativity
- Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
- Makes you drink more water
- Protects your eyes and eyesight
- Creates a mentality of respecting your body
- Builds muscle tone
- Provides opportunities to test your willpower
- Fights against allergies
- Makes you look younger than you are
- Prepares you for change
- Increases fertility for making babies
- Improves body control
- Allows your brain to think more clearly
- Helps your body store glycogen
- Boosts your body’s production of good fat
- Gets you comfortable handling pressure
- Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
- Adds muscle strength
- Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
- Takes away guilt when you do relax
- Increases the odds you make more money
- Reduces blood pressure
- Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
- Alleviates back pain
- Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
- Improves breathing ability
- Gives you a chance at a six pack
- Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets you ready to run a marathon
- Improves your business network and connections
- Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
- Improves reaction time
- Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
- Makes for a free social activity
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Fights against feelings of boredom
- Protects against age-related muscle loss
- Gives you a pretty mirror view
- Raises your sexual performance
- Allows you to eat more food
- Makes you a more interesting person
- Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
- Builds muscle size
- Adds a glow to your skin complexion
- Teaches you the value of hard work
- Gives you a reason to manage your time better
- Protects your body against injury
- Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
- Encourages the people around you to exercise
- Adds to your first impression
- Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
- Increases compliments you receive from other people
- Gives your body what it loves, a good workout
If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.
Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.
And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.
There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.
So snap out of it. Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.
You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.
And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.