My name is Brandon DaCruz and fitness has not only been my profession for the past decade but it’s also been my primary passion and driving force in life. I am an online Nutrition Coach, National Level Men’s Physique competitor, Internationally Published Fitness Model as well as the National Sales Director and one of the Heads of Research and Product Development at Innovapharm which is a New York-based sports nutrition company whose supplements are carried and sold around the world.
28 years old.
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, United States.
My coaching philosophy is one that centers around taking what I’ve learned through my many years of training, competing and working with clients, and combining it with the information I’ve learned through my researches and studies to create an approach that provides my clients with the results they’re looking for in the most optimal, healthy and sustainable method possible. I’m all about incorporating fitness into someone’s lifestyle and creating positive habits that are integrated into their daily routine so that a person not only gets the results they desire but they also be able to maintain them in the long run.
At this point in my training career, I use what’s called specialization cycles. The goal in using a specialization cycle is to target and prioritize a specific muscle group or two and focus on improving on these 1-2 muscles which may be lagging. I do this by initially de-emphasizing the rest of the body parts I’m not specifically focusing on, and lowering the amount of training I do for them to maintenance volume. This reduction in volume to the rest of my body is done to free up some extra resources both from an adaptation and energy perspective to go towards the training performance and recovery of the priority muscle groups I’m specializing in. Then due to having extra adaptive resources available, I’ll scale up the volume and frequency for the muscle groups I’m prioritizing to ensure they’re getting enough of a stimulus to bring them up. I will then run this specialization cycle over the course of at least 3 consecutive 4-6 week mesocycles to encompass one full block of training.
My nutrition plan is highly dependent on what phase of training I’m in, so I’m constantly changing it in response to my biofeedback, how my body is responding, and what my current goals are. However, there are some nutritional staples I follow each and every day. I make sure to eat 5 meals a day that spaced out 3 hours between each to ensure I stimulate muscle protein synthesis multiple times a day. I rotate between at least 3 different protein sources per day to ensure I have a variety of amino acid profiles in my diet. I eat at least 4 servings of fruit a day and try to make sure each come from a different source so that I can get a wide spectrum of micronutrients, antioxidants, and polyphenols and I make sure that I get in a 3-4 g of combined EPA and DHA from Omega 3 to hit my essential fatty acid requirements.
I’m a big believer in supplements. Having spent the past decade-plus working in the sports nutrition industry but I do believe their place is all dependent on one’s needs. For me, I utilize supplements to first fill in the nutritional gaps which my clients may be lacking and having micronutrient deficiencies as a result. The first supplements, I always prioritize are general health supplements which will hit on the key vitamin and minerals that most individuals are deficient in such as Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, a quality chelated magnesium product like the bisglycinate form which has higher bioavailability, zinc, selenium, and fish or krill oil to hit ones essential fatty acid requirements. From there, I’ll look to add in supplements that will help someone hit their macronutrient requirements such as a quality whey protein isolate powder and a high molecular weight carb to be used Intra workout. My favorite is Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. Lastly, I’ll add a few additional ergogenic aids that have been proven in research to help improve performance and recovery such as creatine monohydrate, l-citrulline, l-carnitine, and caffeine.
What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
Status Fitness Magazine separates itself from the rest with how well-rounded of a magazine it is. I’ve always loved how diversified the topics they cover are which range from bodybuilding and competing to training to nutrition and supplementation to everyday transformation stories. I also feel as though this magazine attracts a like-minded crowd who are all focused on constantly getting better which is what drew me in.
Describe your coaches and the impact they have on you?
I’ve had many coaches and mentors over the years to whom I owe a ton. They advanced my knowledge, shortened my learning curve, and pushed me to my limits. I’ve had the good fortune to be mentored by and study under several Ph.D.’s and researchers who had a great impact on me in areas like nutrition, exercise physiology, and training and who caused me to challenge my beliefs and dig into the research, as the fitness industry is one that’s filled with a ton of myths and misconceptions. By learning to be critical of everything, I hear rather than just accepting information at face value, I’ve been able to differentiate between good information and bad information and save myself a ton of time and potential mistakes.
If you could ask Status Fitness Magazine Editor in Chief Rodney Jang any industry question, what would that be?
I’d love to know what he’d like his legacy and impact on this industry to be by the end of his career. I often find that when speaking with successful entrepreneurs, you learn the most about what they’ve been able to do based on the driving forces fueling the success you see and the reason why they keep pushing as hard as they do to get to that ultimate end goal.
Status Fitness Magazine runs Model Searches across North America including the largest one at the Arnold Classic for the Status cover. As part of the Status family, you will receive a special participation invite. How excited are you about this opportunity?
I cannot wait! I have been waiting to be able to partake in one of the Status Fitness Magazine Model Searches since I first met the team at the 2019 Arnold Classic so this has been a long time coming.
Future fitness goals and plans?
My future fitness plans are divided into both competitive and career-oriented goals. On the competitive side, I want to continue to develop and improve my physique with the goal of attaining a pro card in the men’s physique category of the IFBB. My current plan for this year is to take the next 12 months and devote it towards having a productive improvement season, where my aim is to add 6-8 lbs of lean tissue onto my previous stage weight at my last show. From there, the goal is to compete again in 2022 and get back on the national stage which I haven’t competed on since 2018. On the career side, my main goal is to continue building and growing my online coaching business so that I can help as many people as possible when it comes to their body composition, fitness, and health-related goals. I want to do that not only through improving their approach to nutrition and training but also through improving their mindset and psychological relationship with food so that they can develop skills that will serve them well past our time working together.
If you could inspire one person, who would that be? And why?
I don’t have a specific person I wish to inspire as my goal is to inspire as many people as possible. I want to show people that you can become successful by taking the lessons you learn through fitness and the qualities you need to develop your physique such as discipline, work ethic, consistency, organization, and adherence, and applying them to other areas of your life.
Who inspires you? And why?
My mother is the person who has inspired me the most. I’ve never met a person who’s stayed as positive and focused through adversity and challenges as she has and I know I wouldn’t be the man I am today without her.
Your transformation story:
Fitness and bodybuilding have been major components of my life since I was a teen. When I first discovered both the physical and mental benefits that initially came from the training itself, I always say that I found the gym at a moment in my life when I truly needed it most. I grew up as a very competitive athlete and was active in every sport I could fit into my schedule as a child. As I got a bit older, I gravitated towards martial arts and endurance sports like cross country, track and narrowed my competitive focus on these 3 sports. Engaging in these activities builds a great foundation for hard work, self-discipline, and determination. However, the competition aspect of them came with some drawbacks as well. Seeing as both sports have a weight restriction aspect to them as they require you to be light and agile, this caused me to become extremely conscious of my weight at an early which eventually lead me to develop an eating disorder. This is something that plagued me for years and caused me to be constantly be watching and moderating my food intake and under-eating to ensure I’d be able to stay in my weight class. Eventually, this over-restriction lead me to develop some injuries due to being deficient in several key micronutrients. It was during the time I spent rehabbing my injuries under the guidance of a PT, I was introduced to weight training as a way to rebuild my body. Luckily, when I found the weights, I also learned that I must fuel my body through proper nutrition to see the results of the work I was putting in the gym, which entirely changed my relationship with food. Eventually, my love of training sparked an even greater interest in both nutrition and supplementation. As a result of loving these topics and wanting to immerse myself in them, I started my first part-time job in the supplement industry in high school and it’s an industry I’ve continued to work in some capacity in throughout the past 12 years.
I trained diligently and seriously through high school, and into college but it wasn’t until I was approached by a large New York-based fitness modeling agency mid-way through college that I really decided to push my limits and see what I could do with my physique. Up until that time, my goal in training was simply to get as big and strong as possible. What started out as just a single shoot scheduled so that I’d have a clear cut date to get into my best condition for, has transitioned into a hobby where I’ve done hundreds of shoots and have grown to love. Since that time, I’ve had the honor of working with some of the largest fitness and fashion publications around and I’m proud to add Status Fitness Magazine to that list as I’ve been a fan of their content for quite some time. In addition to both modeling and working within this industry, I became an active competitor in the Men’s Physique division of the NPC in 2015. In that time, I have competed 13 times including twice at the National Pro-Qualifier level. Competing has caused me to find an even greater love and appreciation for the sport of bodybuilding, and the depths I need to take myself during prep to get into stage conditioning which has pushed me to transform my physique even more. Fitness has truly been the greatest blessing in my life and has given me so many opportunities which is why I’m so personally and professionally invested in it.
5 things people don’t know about you:
- I struggled with an eating disorder early in my childhood which led me to find fitness and developed my passion for nutrition and training.
- I’m an only child.
- My favorite sport is MMA and the UFC is the only athlete endeavor I actively follow and watch besides bodybuilding.
- Although I’ve spent the past 12 years working full time in the fitness and sports nutrition industries, I went to university to study law and got my bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies as my initial intention was to be a lawyer after college.
- I cut off my cable service in college and haven’t watched a single TV program in the past 8 years, which has been the greatest decision I’ve made in terms of my productivity and mental well-being.
“How you do anything is how you do everything”
Photos By: Gennaro Brigante Ryan Gulledge Jimmy Murtaugh