In May of 2015, I decided to take my love for fitness to the next level by committing to my first physique competition. Five contests later, I've taken the opportunity to document my fitness journey through an Instagram account to give my followers an "inside look" at what my training and diet is like. I post progress pictures, transformation "then" versus "now" photos, and stage footage while using my experience and degree in exercise science to talk about the "truths" of the fitness industry. Over time, the inquiries and DM's began to flood my inbox. How can I lose 15 pounds? How do I get toned and skinny? How do I make my abs show? How did you do it? Can you give me your diet plan? What's your secret? Well, today's the day. I'm ready to spill my biggest and most effective secret to getting your dream body.

It doesn't exist. There isn't one.

Do you really want to know how you do it? Here's the real, honest, and unfiltered truth. You follow a diet that you don't cheat on. You hit the gym and you hit it hard. You give your all during cardio sessions. You don't skip the gym because you're tired. You don't try to outwork a bad diet. You don't make excuses for yourself.

You make the effort. You make the commitment. You make the choice. Wait -- who makes the choice? You. You make the choice to eat well, work out, and make proactive decisions that align with your goals to move you forward.

But if I have to choose the things that carry the most success with them, it's sacrifice. You make sacrifices. That's the "secret" you need to understand first. You can't have the rockin' bod you want so badly and come home drunk from the bar and eat half a pizza, an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's, and a small child with your friends. Now listen, that's not to say you can't have a good time and go out with your squad, but that is to say, you know, maybe you don't have to drink every weekend. Maybe you don't have to eat this and have to eat that. You have to develop self-control and the ability to make the choice. You can still make unforgettable memories without the things that will derail your progress and goals. As sad as it is, I often hear an excuse along the lines of, "...but my friends don't get it and they'll judge me and they'll get mad at me and blah blah blah." If your "friends" judge you for working towards a healthier and happier you, and for some outlandish reason don't support that, are they really your friends in the first place?

The second and often underrated concept is consistency. You can't hit the gym only on your "good" days, throw your diet out the window on weekends, or pick and choose when you want to "do it". Day in and day out, you have to work towards whatever your heart is set on. You work hard, keep your eye on the prize, and stay patient. You aren't going to have ripped abs or bulging quads in a month. It takes years. Yes, years, to change the composition of your body. If you give up after not seeing progress in four weeks, you'll never know what you could have looked like in 6 months. Or in a year. Or in two years. If you commit to creating a better, faster, and stronger body and stay consistent, you will be rewarded. You will achieve your goals -- but every day (not just when you feel motivated) you have to be willing to push your limits and stay focused. The grind doesn't stop or slow down. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon.

Here's the thing, guys. This isn't a quick fix. There isn't any magic here. The "secret" is sacrifice. The "secret" is hard work, dedication, discipline, and consistency. The "secret" is passion. You have to make a choice. What will yours be?