Six year ago, Daniel Hullett decided he wasn’t going to be the little guy any longer. Nowadays, he’s one of the most sculpted body builders in Tennessee.
Hullett recently competed in the NPC Battle at the River in downtown Chattanooga, where he won the master’s body building for ages 35-40, finished second in open heavyweight body building and third in open classic physique.
It’s been a six-year transformation for Hullett, who weighed 165 pounds before he started working out at a high level. In Chattanooga, Hullett strolled onto the stage at a chiseled 205 pounds, a crowning achievement which takes year-round dieting and a 12-week, cut-down process before the big show.
“Contest prep usually begins anywhere between 12-16 weeks before the show,” said Hullett, who advanced to the highest level – open – this year after winning novice and intermediate competitions the last few years. “When I started prep, I was 250 pounds. I train six days a week, with a one-hour weight training, then roughly a 40-minute cardio later. I diet all year long and it changes when I’m doing prep.”
Hullett’s training isolates a body part each day, a meticulous process which leads to big gains. He’ll eat six meals a day – featuring a carb and protein source – and drink over a gallon of water a day. A few weeks before the show, Hullett begins a flattening-out process that cuts carbs.
The 48 hours leading up to the show can be the most grueling, where Hullett reintroduces carbs to his diet, but eliminates water.
It all pays off when Hullett takes the stage. With a touch of sugar as last-minute fuel and a year’s worth of training taking over, Hullett transforms when the lights are the brightest.
“You’re always nervous the day of the show,” said Hullett. “It’s like any sporting event – once the ball is tipped or the gun goes off (for the race), the nerves go away. The lights are so bright you can’t see anybody in the stands. You can see your competition and the judges.
“Muscle memory for the poses takes over. They tell you to hit the pose and you just do it.”
Hullett works almost every day year-round on posing. Added to his isolated muscle training, Hullett is trying to make his body a work of art.
“We’re artists – we’re sculpting our body to be the best it can be,” said Hullett. “The posing is an art form. You’re wanting to be symmetrical and lean. I was less than five percent body fat at the event.”
After the event, Hullett was able to enjoy a few days of cheat meals. His go-to? Large supreme pizzas – he took down two in two nights after the competition.
It was just a short hiatus from his diet though. What began as a hobby has become a lifestyle for Hullett. And he won’t stray far from it.
“If I don’t have my meals, or if I don’t go to the gym, I feel like something is missing in my life. This is all work ethic – when you work hard, people can see it,” said Hullett. “I like doing this. I have a 10-year-old girl and I want to show her your mind is your strongest muscle. If you stay the course and don’t give up, you can go anywhere you want to go.”
Hullett’s newest goal is to bulk up to 265 pounds before next year’s competition season. It will takes months of six meals a day, where Hullett will consume nearly 5,000 calories a day. If he shows well again, an invitation to the nationals could be waiting.
If the last six years are any indication, it’s another barrier the muscle man will break through.