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Health & Fit How Ultimate Men’s Health Guy Otis Hooper Powers Toward His Goals

19:45  19 september  2019
19:45  19 september  2019 Source:   menshealth.com

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Otis Hooper is no stranger to pressure. You get familiar with it quick when it’s your job to safely get the most important people on Earth wherever they need to go.

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“I was director of operations for a VIP airlift unit in Washington, D.C. that flew VIPs all over the world—congressmen, senators, the First Lady,” says Hooper, or “Hoop,” as he prefers. “It was my job to make sure we operated efficiently and effectively.”

That was after an Air Force career where Hoop flew more than 1,000 hours in combat— no one could question his nerves of steel. His abs, on the other hand...

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“I was focused too much on the professional side and started to lose focus on my personal health,” Hoop says of his time at the airlift unit. He was chained to his desk, and the only souls brave enough to point out the former Air Force pilot’s growing spare tire—literally, they poked it—were his four sons.

“They made me realize that what they were seeing was not what I was seeing in the mirror,” Hoop recalls.

Inspired, Hoop started a serious training and diet regimen, dropped 50 pounds of fat, added 25 pounds of muscle, competed for Mr. Olympia, and became an Ultimate Men’s Health Guy finalist. All while working a full-time job and helping his wife raise their sons (of which, it bears repeating, there are four.)

Today, Hoop is 42, with plenty of experience to look back on and draw lessons for a life best lived. Here’s how Hoop reached his peak, and how he stays there while managing a dizzying daily grind.

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Put your trust in someone who knows you

Like so many on weight loss journeys, Hoop didn’t know where to start. So he entrusted a buddy who did.

“I reached out to a friend of mine from the Air Force who created workout and diet plans that were specific to my body and the goals that I wanted to achieve,” Hoop says.

One of the most important things I learned about being a Pro, is the importance of giving back. We can all do it in different ways, but Ive found that the most successful (and happiest) people... ALWAYS find a way. • In my opinion, being an #IFBBPro isn't about the muscle, or the posing... its about giving more than you received - in Everything. Its a lifestyle, an understood code... and an Honor. I was fortunate to learn from one of the best @teamgilesfitness, and Im grateful for the lessons I've learned along my journey in #MensPhysique. So when you get to "the end", understand that its only just the beginning; you might be surprised at how much more there is to give. ???????? In service, #TeamHooper - #TeamGiles #NoExcuses #NoDaysOff #IFBB #IFBBProLeague #NPC #Service #Gratitude #Leadership #Respect #Loyalty

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A post shared by Otis "HOOP" Hooper (@teamhooper6) on Jul 8, 2017 at 4:10am PDT

“It started off really slow, but he helped me and then I was able to start making some significant changes.”

Yeah, swapping 50 pounds of fat for 25 pounds of lean muscle is fairly significant, as is the impact of a friend, trainer, or anyone you can trust to keep you honest.

Just start moving

Hoop loves to use the word “efficient,” and it’s easy to see why: The guy wastes absolutely no time. “Usually I’m up at 5:00 a.m. and immediately, within the first five to ten minutes, I go downstairs or go into my five-year-old son’s room and knock out pushups and sit ups for 30 minutes,” he says.

“I then do what’s called fasted cardio,” he adds. “Easy cardio on an empty stomach that’s designed to burn fat."

Hoop says this jumpstart revs him up for the rest of the day and sets him up for productivity and success, but he adds that the specifics of what he does are less important than the simple fact that he's doing something. “The key, for me, is creating movement and action first thing in the morning before I can talk myself out of it.”

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#TBT - Having a #goal (with an end-date) can be a powerful motivator! If you are trying to improve (in any facet), consider attaching a specific goal - that's aligned with your objective - as a part of your Final destination. - ▪️It doesn't have to be a physique show or a race. It could be something as simple as a scheduled photo shoot or maybe a 5k, with your spouse... or completing an obstacle course, with your kids. Whatever it is you choose to do, the KEY is: ✳️ Take IMMEDIATE ACTION once the idea forms in your head. - For some, it's telling someone you respect. For others, it's announcing it on social media. Each person is different... but we are all, by our very nature, goal-oriented. So, pick a goal that is slightly "scary"... and just ???????? Go For It. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. - #GoalSetting #Transformation #FitOver40 #FitDad

A post shared by Otis "HOOP" Hooper (@teamhooper6) on Mar 8, 2018 at 7:03am PST

Simplify your diet

A simple Google search will reveal more fad diets than you can count, but for Hoop, the best plan is the one you stick to. “For me, that means simplicity.”

Hoop set up a food bank for himself, comprised of pre-set proteins (fish, chicken, steak), veggies (green beans and broccoli), and carbs (sweet potatoes and jasmine rice). Every meal he made for himself used a variation of those ingredients.

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Of course, his gang of kids made for a different dietary challenge.

“Those Oreo cookies are staring you in the face in the pantry!” Hoop says. “I had to trick myself into not seeing them. I would put all the kid food at kid eye-level, and my food at my eye level. That’s the first thing I would see [when I opened the pantry] and I would grab that.”

Supplement smartly

On such a strict diet, it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need—especially if you have a serious daily grind. Hoop supplements his diet with whatever he’s not getting.

a close up of a bottle: Hoop© mitoq.com Hoop

Buy It Here

“When you’re on a diet as strict as mine and you’re not supplementing it with, your energy levels are going to drop,” Hoop says. “So supplements are important.”

Some of the supps Hoop takes include multivitamins, fish oil, Vitamin D, and MitoQ, a supplement that aids the reduction of oxidative stress on the body and helps enhance energy by targeting a cell’s mitochondria to support their function while also helping to neutralize free radicals.

“I take MitoQ first thing in the morning before my fasted cardio,” Hoop says. “It helps me start my day, gives me that stable, consistent energy, and works for me throughout the day.”

Incorporate family into the process

“Dad” is a full-time job for the father of four. Rather than segment or skirt his responsibilities, he brings the family into his health and fitness regimen.

“I started this early morning routine because my son, who is now five, would wake up early in the morning. Instead of me doing these pushups and sit ups by myself, I would go into his room and do them.”

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Through that, he accidentally created an accountability buddy. “He would expect me to come into his room,” Hoop says. “There were days I wouldn't want to get up and do my pushups and sit ups, but he encouraged me.”

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Family fitness isn't limited to just the boys in the Hooper household, either. “My wife and I may go work out in the gym together on a Friday night,” he says. “Although that may not sound like a fun date night, it can be made fun. You've got to be creative with it and incorporating my family has been important.”

Movin’ some weight on a Veterans Day morning with my young Lion @izaiah.hooper! #HappyVeteransDay to all those that have served!!! ????????

A post shared by Otis "HOOP" Hooper (@teamhooper6) on Nov 11, 2018 at 10:08am PST

Forget tunes, work out to tubes

Yes, that’s right, YouTube. Instead of cranking up rap or heavy metal to drive his early morning routine, Hoops like to hear an inspirational speech.

“I listen to or watch motivational YouTube videos while I’m working out for that first 20 or 30 minutes,” he says. “It sets the tone and pace for the day, and I start my day off with a lot more energy than I had in previous sessions.”

Thank you for coming to his TED Talk.

Start big goals with small steps

Big, lofty goals are important to everyone’s sense of self, but to achieve them, Hoop recommends breaking them down.

“After you’ve identified realistic goals that are both short-term and long-term, you’ve got to break those goals down into small, manageable steps that are defined and that you can measure,” Hoop says. “Even if it’s one workout in the gym, I would log every set and every rep.”

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That might sound tedious, but that's also how Hoop became a bodybuilder while working a desk job. Might be worth meeting the devil in those details.

“As I write these goals down where I can see them, whether I'm in the gym or I'm traveling, as I complete small steps, my confidence starts to increase, giving me a sense of incremental progress going towards the long-term goal," Hoop says.

“For me, progress drives motivation, which in turn drives greater future progress.”

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