Toronto-based hair and makeup artist, Tony Masciangelo, is at the top of his field, having styled models and celebrities such as Coco Rocha, Daria Werbowy and Taylor Swift for fashion magazines ranging from Elle to Vanity Fair.
The 42-year-old owner of Alcorn Hair Salon lost 75 pounds (34 kilograms) over four years. Two years ago, he also started exercising, but he wouldn't shower at the gym because he was too embarrassed by his body. So even in winter, he would put on his coat over his sweat-soaked clothes and head out into the cold. "I began at 260 pounds (117 kilograms) with 30 per cent body fat and absolutely zero muscle tone – I had never ever even touched a weight. Now I am 185 pounds (83 kilograms) with 13 per cent body fat and lean muscle mass of 170 pounds (77 kilograms)."
To be strong. My legs are shredded, my calves are popping out, my shoulders are bigger, my biceps are slowly getting bigger. I'm not chasing perfection. If my best means not having six-pack abs, but I'm lean and can wear stylish clothes, I'm happy!
I do high-intensity anaerobic workouts consisting of compound exercises performed with minimal rest in between moves called metabolic training with Aldo Frixione of ManTraining.ca.
Circuit one is sandbag jump squats, rope slams, push-ups using suspension training tools, rope ripples, and kettlebell swings with 50 pounds (22 kilograms). I do four plyo/weight workouts four times a week with my trainer, one weight workout at home, and two hours of cardio on the elliptical machine or running.
I started this program four months ago and I went from doing no push-ups to 300 a day in sets of 30 with a minute rest in between sets, so my chest is massive right now. And this is me, who was a size 32 pant at my first communion. My mother said to me that summer, 'What happened?'
On days I do weights, I get up at 5 o'clock and I barbecue a six-ounce (170-gram) hormone-free strip loin steak to eat with 12 almonds or cashews and I take fish oil. I feel like I'm an animal when I work out at 7 a.m.
While I exercise I have a bottle of branch chain amino acids with protein powder because BCAAs are known to alleviate deficiencies.
After training, I have one cup of coconut water mixed with a 400-calorie protein shake made from whey from New Zealand. I am taking Bulgarian tribulus as a natural testosterone booster hoping to get more strength.
Around 10 o'clock I have protein: nuts, a piece of salmon or scallops.
At lunch, I have four fish oil capsules with protein, broccoli or asparagus or salad with olive oil and balsamic dressing.
At 3, I have nuts and chicken breast. For dinner I have lamb chops and a salad. As a snack, I have almond butter mixed with coconut oil and coco powder into a paste and lick it off the spoon.
My original motivation
I started therapy and as I got comfortable with who I am, I wanted to live in a healthy body. It took another year to understand my eating habits, so I went to see Peter D'Adamo, a naturopath and author of Eat Right for Your Blood Type.
My poor health got to the point I would take a bottle of extra strength pain reliever a week to fall asleep and it wasn't even a good sleep. In the first two weeks of taking me off gluten, dairy and other inflammatory foods, I was sleeping seven hours, naturally.
Then walking past a neighbourhood gym, I mustered the courage to walk in. I bought a membership and I go every day. A gentleman in the change room noticed my dedication and asked me why I was so religious about my workouts and I said, 'Because I can!'
Watching my body get stronger.
Macarons from Nadege.
Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite.
Energy – I work hard, play hard and train hard, so some days I'm dragging my butt.
John-David Kato, clinical exercise physiologist and chiropractor in Toronto, advises that healthy muscles should be strong and lengthened for proper alignment and injury prevention.
"Given Tony's occupation and workout routine, he should be sure to include stretches for pectorals, hip flexors, calves and upper trapezii," Mr. Kato says.
Mr. Kato suggests Mr. Masciangelo eat dark leafy greens and orange-coloured vegetables. "These will not interfere with his anti-inflammatory and gluten-free diet restrictions; however, they are important for their vitamins, minerals and fibre content."
Mr. Kato adds one final comment: Tony's determination has made him "carved," not the supplement Bulgarian tribulus. "Half a dozen scientific studies published since 2000 conclude it does not improve strength, muscle mass, athletic performance or elevate testosterone levels."
This interview has been condensed and edited.