Reflection on One of My Greatest Accomplishments - CoryG Fitness

*Originally written in May 2020

In June 2013 I was on the cover of Fitness RX with all three of my kids. Up to this point, I’ve never seen something like this in the history of the industry.

It’s funny because this part of the photo shoot wasn’t planned at all. This just goes to show that some of the greatest things in life can happen on accident. It’s up to us to put ourselves in a position to make them happen.

15-16 Years Old

I became obsessed with the idea of being on a magazine cover at the age of 15-16 years old… especially back in the day before the internet takeover. One of the few resources available for learning about fitness, training and nutrition were muscle magazines. At this point in my life, being on a fitness cover was the end all, be all. Making it on a magazine cover meant that you “made it” in the fitness world.

Fitness RX

Fitness RX stood out as one of my favorites due to its more hardcore nature. They cater to the more aggressive fitness readers, while Men’s Health gravitated to the general population as a whole. Fitness RX maintains a high level of content while bringing out a crazier side of the Men’s Health kind of guy.

It became my obsession. Not only to be on the cover of a magazine, but to be on the cover of a big-time publication.

At this time in my life, I was building MusclePharm, working a million hours, incurring a ton of risk, and was stressed out. Not to mention the needs of a family of a wife and three kids. I was four covers deep, but I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet.


The Diet Phase

I specifically remember this diet phase because I felt out of balance. This feeling eventually led to the birth of Anabolic Fasting. At the time, I was sticking to a low carbohydrate diet and doing a ton of cardio. I felt a little flat for my liking, but I was in great condition.


The Shoot

So, here I am with one of the top photographers in the industry, Per Bernal. Just to give you an idea of Per’s skills… he’s shot for both Greg Plitt and The Rock. To have a photographer of that caliber in my own gym is surreal.

He traveled to Columbus, OH for what they call a “cover try” shoot at Old School Gym. “Cover try” refers to there being no guarantees in the event they don’t get a good cover photo.

Eight hours pass and I absolutely murder the photo shoot. The content is unique, the gym in the background looks dope, and the lighting was on point. I peaked well coming in, and my abs were looking crazy. I’m feeling confident.

At the end we were having a bit of trouble landing a cover shot due to not being as sharp as I was in the beginning. As we were going through various cover tries, you could tell that Per was happy with a few of them, but nothing was a home run yet.

My Wife Arrives

All of a sudden, here comes my wife Rachel with a box of cookies because she knew I was just about done. That was the thing about the old lifestyle… experiencing hard falloffs because of the dramatic swings that a hardcore diet brings. This is another reason why I was seeking another lifestyle like the one I created with Anabolic Fasting later down the road.

In comes my wife and kids. I proceeded to ask Per if we could get a few family photos to document the experience. After less than 20 pictures after an eight-hour shoot, the quick photos with my kids becomes the cover.

I never planned or anticipated that it would work out this way. I had no clue that it was even a possibility in this industry because it’s usually all about big tough-guy stuff.

Per Bernal

I commend Per because he knew it was the right thing to push to the magazine. He called me a month later and said, “I did it man. I pushed for almost a month. They’re going to put the picture with you and your kids as the Fitness RX cover for June.”

I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it, and almost started crying. It was something that I couldn’t have dreamed would happen. The first time I laid eyes on the cover at the airport, I was in complete disbelief.


Going to Kroger

I remember going to Kroger with my family to pick it up and telling my younger kids what was going on. AG looks at me and goes, “We’re on the front?” I said, “Yeah buddy, we’re on the front.” Almost started crying again because of the buildup of emotions.

My whole life… the trailer, pumping iron, shoveling coal, moving to Columbus, starting businesses, and dreaming about who I could become. It actually fucking happened. It materialized in an even more valuable way than I imagined.

I didn’t get paid. It has nothing to do with money. I consider this as one of my greatest accomplishments, and I will cherish it forever. A special moment I was able to share with my kids.


The Arnold Meeting

The same month the issue came out we had a business meeting scheduled with the GOAT, Arnold Schwarzenegger… and I forgot to bring it with me. Luckily, one of the guys in the investment group bought it at the airport and brought it along.

The investor threw the magazine over to Arnold during the meeting. As Arnold looked through it, then over to me, all I could see was instant credibility He opens the magazine, sees my gym, and asks where it is.  I tell him Columbus, OH, and that it’s modeled off the legendary lifters of the 1970’s.

He said he needed to come check it out one day. Then he’s like, “Is this mine, can I keep it?”

He goes on to tell me that my abs look like Frank Zane’s. I damn near had to knock myself upside the head to bring me back to earth. Is this even real? My idol in front of me, looking at me on the cover of a magazine with my kids, and he’s talking about how I look like some of the guys he used to train with. I could feel a sense of mutual respect growing between us. We both understood the discipline required to get in shape, and the mindset of where I come from. To this day we’re still friends.


Showcasing Discipline

Choosing against the road of discipline doesn’t yield me this opportunity. No opportunity = no chance. It truly changed the course of my life.

Not only was it a huge deal to accomplish this feat with my family, but it also gave me the nod to stand next beside, work beside, and learn from the greatest bodybuilder who ever lived.

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