The world of Men’s Physique bodybuilding is expanding according coach Bryce Secondine of Snap Fitness in Navarre, and it’s giving locals like Cozmo DiGiano, 27, a chance to compete at the highest level.
“The show itself, the body building show itself gives everybody the chance to compete at their own level—they go through the stages of training, diet prep and they show up one day and compete,” Secondine said. “And from that standpoint Coz has great genetics, he has everything he needs to be a good pro and with that industry growing in that area — it’s the perfect time.”
DiGiano recently competed in the 2016 Organization of Competition Bodies Tallahassee Winter Classic and won first place in the Men’s Physique Military and Men’s Physique Open. Secondine and DiGiano were expecting to compete in an amateur qualifier event, but wound up entering in a professional open class physique show, where he received his pro card — the third trainee of Secondine’s to receive one.
“His shows [Sly Ajaye] are all under ‘Sly Zone Fitness’ — he’s got them all throughout the year and they are natural body building and it’s under the Organization of Competitive Body Building,” DiGiano explained. “That’s an Amateur Natural Body Building Organization that falls under the World Natural Body Building Federation, which is a pro-natural body building federation.”
DiGiano went on to explain that because the amateur natural body building competition he entered only had seven people competing until a last-minute addition brought the number of competitors to eight, and therefore turned it into a pro qualifying show.
“So, what happens is that in any of those amateur competitions if there is eight or more competitors in a class, that automatically qualifies as a pro show because they are trying to make the natural world body building as big as the traditional IFBB kind of thing,” he said.
Training and Future Plans
DiGiano said he has always liked working out and has been in the gym for the last 10 years, but has never unlocked his full potential until teaming up with Secondine and an online nutritionist to find the right diet for him.
DiGiano credits his fiancé, Suzy Cisneros with being his original motivation behind getting into the sport of body building, saying that she was the first person to see his potential and push him to cut weight and get in the gym. Cisneros is also in the Air Force and is stationed in Korea but will be out of the military in August, where she will also begin training for a body building competition of her own.
“We’ve been together since 2013 and she’s always done macro-counting and she’s always been a health nut and at first we were together and I’d eat my big bowl of popcorn and she’d have like a quest bar at the movies,” DiGiano said. “And slowly she got me into doing macro-counting and we started doing it together and she was the one that got me prepared for the cutting phase — she helped me gain 35 pounds — I was 190 and I got up to 225 before my cutting phase based off of her diet she gave me,” he said.
Training for the competition takes dedication and DiGiano has a relatively full-schedule where he is a special investigator for the United States Air Force and attends American Military University Online — where he is halfway toward his degree Sports and Health Sciences with a specialty in Exercise science.
Twelve weeks before the competition in Tallahassee, Secondine and DiGiano actually began training for the show — focusing on cutting before that point. The workout consisted of a daily 2 1/2-hour workout in the gym that DiGiano fits neatly into his already busy schedule.
“So I can tell you we’ve had to change the game completely as far as what I do in the gym because I’m a complete different person,” DiGiano said. “I can’t do those big heavy compound movements — for example when we come in here to do legs I’ll sit there and do leg press for about an hour, then I’ll do leg extensions and lying leg curls for the next 30 minutes and that’s it, but the amount of time I do that — that time I’m in tension — by the end I’m torn up.
“So even with our traditional things like chest, we literally for the whole 12 weeks for chest did four movements,” he said. “You know a lot of other people are going to do a bunch of other things but we stuck to those four movements and we hit ‘em as hard as possible every time because I already had definition, so we wanted to really define the things I really needed to accentuate while I was on stage.”
DiGiano works full-time at Hurlburt Field, where he gets off at 4:30 p.m., drives to Navarre to train with Secondine after letting his dog out, and then goes back home to meal prep and talk to his son who lives with his mother in Texas, before going to sleep and doing it all again the next day. Despite the long routine, DiGiano said it does not faze him because he loves working out and wants to continue to build his resumé and rapport for his eventual goal of starting his own fitness company with Cisneros, “SuCo.”
“I’m halfway done with my degree in Sports and Health Science with a specialty in Exercise Science and (my fiancé) has the same degree with a focus in Nutrition and so we are going to be the full package,” DiGiano said. “If people have questions about nutrition she can answer that stuff. If they have questions about what they need to be doing in the gym and actual science behind exercising and what’s going to do what for you, I can help them with that.
“So we want to be able to be as full package as possible have as much experience as possible,” he said. “I love it though. It doesn’t faze me.”
Secondine and DiGiano immediately got back in the gym after getting back from the show in Tallahassee and hope to compete in Sly Fitness’ next pro show in New Orleans in September — The Cajun Classic.
If that is not able to be hosted, however, DiGiano said that they will be attending the Fort Lauderdale Hurricane Championships in October.
“I would assume it would be larger show because the one in Tallahassee was the amateur competition so I would assume so, but you never know,” DiGiano said about the size of the upcoming show in Ft. Lauderdale. “We don’t go in thinking about how many people there are going to be, we go in thinking ‘Hey we want to look the best we can look no matter who’s on stage.’
“So that’s what we’re doing. There is only one thing the judge told me I should work on (on Dec. 3) before my next show and I’m going to make sure that happens and that’s just to get my shoulders a little bit wider because the pros are naturally a little bit bigger and their shoulders are a little bit longer because they’ve perfected those things,” he said. “And my only other weak point is my calves, and we’re going to work on all that as well.”