Giving up junk food to gain abs: What it takes to be a teenage bodybuilder

By Kenneth Reyes, Biddeford HS, Biddeford, Maine

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Junior Mike Cohen poses to show off his hard-earned muscles.

Junior Mike Cohen poses to show off his hard-earned muscles.

While everyone is out chomping on Big Macs, he’s out chomping on sweet potatoes, but it’s for a very good reason.

For every protein shake that he has drank, and muscle that he has toned, junior Mike Cohen is willing to do it all to compete for a bodybuilding contest. The price, however, would be denying himself the sweet taste of what many would regard as junk food. But the question is: why go through all of this?

“I wanted to try something new,” Cohen said.

Bodybuilding wasn’t something that was new to him, though.

“I’ve been going to the gym since I was 13,” Cohen said.

As to how the competition works, there’s a lot more technicality than what it seems.

“You pose,” said Cohen. “They have common poses that you have to go through.”

The price for competing — and toned abs — would be a strict and specific diet, and him staying away from foods such as ice cream.

I saw the movie ‘Pain & Gain’ with Mark Wahlberg, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, then said ‘I wanna look like that.’ So then I started working out.”

— Mike Cohen, junior bodybuilder

“My food has to be very bland and dry,” said Cohen. “For vegetables, I can only eat broccoli and asparagus. For carbs, I’m only allowed to have good carbs, because there are bad carbs, like white bread. For good carbs, you can have sweet potato and brown rice. Meat has to be very lean and packed with protein, like chicken, and lots of eggs.”

Along with the strict diet comes the tiring workouts, and one of them in particular is the toughest in his opinion.

“My leg workout,” said Cohen. “You do your legs and it’s different from the rest of your body, and once you’re done it feels like Jell-O.”

The reward to doing all of this is something that he is happy about.

“People look at me differently, and are intimidated by my appearance sometimes, and it makes me shy,” said Cohen “Then once they finally get to know me, and understand that I’m friendly, then everyone wants to be around ‘the big guy.’”

Out of all the activities to try, what would inspire someone, like Cohen, to start bodybuilding, and commit to working out to this gravity?

People look at me differently, and are intimidated by my appearance sometimes, and it makes me shy. Then once they finally get to know me, and understand that I’m friendly, then everyone wants to be around ‘the big guy.’”

— Mike Cohen

“I saw the movie ‘Pain & Gain’ with Mark Wahlberg, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, then said ‘I wanna look like that’,” said Cohen. “So then I started working out.”

If there’s something, or someone that inspired him to do this… well, the answer is someone not a lot of people would expect.

“And if there’s anyone I’d like to thank, it would be my mom,” said Cohen. “She’s the one that got me into it, and she’s the one that got me to join my first gym.”

Once all of this is over, he doesn’t plan on stopping at bodybuilding.

“My goals after this is to go to the summer Olympics for weightlifting,” Cohen said.

As to his goals at the moment, however, he keeps it rather short and simple.

“I’m planning on winning,” said Cohen. “Once you do something like this, you could do anything. You can do anything you set your mind to.”

View original story