As a Spanish born kid I grew up playing football (soccer) my entire life and it was my initial ambition to become a professional soccer player that got me interested in fitness. After immigrating to Canada and eventually representing the Canadian youth national team I was scouted to play in England. So I made the jump across the pond at the age of 15. I played in England and The Netherlands until, 19 years old, due to various circumstances, I decided to return to university. I continued training while studying Aerospace engineering at the Technical university of Delft. Eventually there came a time where I missed the feeling of training towards a goal and the fire of competition. It is then that I found out about a natural bodybuilding circuit called Musclemania, and I knew it was time to achieve something that would be considered impossible. 10-hour study days Monday to Friday were the norm, and a job at a nightclub on the weekends meant I needed to be as efficient as possible. Starting approximately a year and a half ago, I knew I wanted to become a fitness model and natural bodybuilder, no excuses.
Like the majority of people starting out in the gym, my ego tended to get the best of me and I was trading technique and efficiency for too much weight. Luckily, studying Aerospace engineering meant I knew how to do my homework when something wasn't working. I looked up absolutely everything I could on training and diet, and quickly found out that technique was a very important variable.
I also had to deal with the issue of consistency. The secret behind consistency is planning and making everything as easy as possible for yourself. If it is easy, there is no reason it cannot become a habit and a part of your lifestyle. If you are still struggling with consistency even after planning and simplifying the process, then you have to look in the mirror and remind yourself what your goals are. For example, people look at me now and ask why I train at such a cheap gym. Simple, it’s close to home. How did I prepare all my meals in the morning for a 10-hour study day? I didn't, I left protein, oatmeal, bread, peanut butter and other foods in a locker at school. If you know you want it, you can do it.
Living in The Netherlands I get spoiled with some of the best house and progressive music in the world. I also throw in some Heavy Metal and Dubstep when it’s time for Beast mode. Some of my current favorites are:
If it’s going to be a set to failure I crank the music, close my eyes, pray if I have to, then block everything out haha.
I believe free weights should be the staple of any successful training program. This is because of the supporting muscle stimulation, in the movements. It is extremely important to develop the supporting muscles. Not only because of the risk of injury, which can grow from the presence of muscle imbalances, but also because you are only as strong as your weakest link. I always use free weights when I'm doing any low rep heavy lifting, and then move on to high rep drop sets with machines. Machines play an important role for me whenever it’s time to shock any muscle group with intense high rep drop sets or deplete glycogen for contest prep.
To date, my proudest moment has been taking first place in the junior bodybuilding category, and second in the fitness-modelling category at the 2012 Musclemania Britain. I had never done a show before and to come in and take the bodybuilding and then come second to the legendary Ben "the blue print " Noy was an absolute honor. There is no greater feeling than one of reaching your goal and exceeding your own expectations when the obstacles were so great and many.
Due to my soccer background I have always stayed quite lean. Once the heavy lifting started I still did not exceed 8% bodyfat at the peak of my bulking phase. After gaining approximately 8 kg of lean mass in a year you can imagine I'm a huge believer in the clean bulk. If you give your body what it needs to recover and just enough extra to grow, there is no need for excessive fat gain.
Nothing gets me cut up and ready for a photoshoot faster, or more efficiently while sparing muscle mass, than HIIT. There is truth in the correlation between how a sprinter looks and how a marathon runner looks.
Tavi Castro's 6 day a week workout routine here: Workout-Routine-Tavi-Castro
When trying to reach peak condition for a shoot or competition I extend the length of my low carb days on my normal carb cycling diet. So for example, if my normal 4-day carb cycling split goes 250 gr, 150,100, 50 I may add an extra day or two of where I consume only 50gr. So the split would turn into 250gr, 150gr, 100gr, 50gr, 50gr. Then I add more cardio sessions according to how fast I need to be ready.
Carb sources become purely low glycemic with brown rice, yams, and oatmeal as the main sources.
Protein sources stay the same until the last few days arrive, and sodium needs to be in check.
Favorite bodybuilder has to be Phil Heath, had the pleasure of meeting him and I kept trying to take off the 3D glasses, which were not on my face haha. Ulysses Jr and and Roger Snipes are also huge inspirations for me. Their supportive comments after my wins in my first competition have really inspired me to be like them. Favorite fitness models are Greg Plitt (epic talent for motivation) and Ben Noy (great guy with unbelievable condition).
1. Humility grows curiosity, curiosity grows intellect, intellect grows MUSCLES Keep that ego in check!
2. How often have you passed an exam without studying? Do your research, learn how your body works, if you leave nothing to chance, success is inevitable.
3. Keep your head in the sky, your feet on the ground, your heart on your sleeve, and some whey in your hand!
Born: 1990 (22 years old)
Weight: 80kg competition (bf 4.6%)
Tavi's Facebook fanpage: