👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey! My name is Cody Stover, but I also go by SOS (sauce). I am originally from Middletown, CT, but I’m currently living in Manhattan, NYC.
I attended the University of Hartford and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing. I am an actor and model. I attended the Neighborhood Playhouse of theatre and acting where I studied Meisner Technique.
I am also a personal trainer. In the fitness field, my goal is to have a line of supplements and possibly my own gym in the near future. I am currently single.
I started training at 18 after I graduated high school. Shortly after that, I became interested in bodybuilding. I have been seriously training as a bodybuilder for about 7 years. I used to play baseball, soccer, and basketball when I was younger, but now primarily focus on bodybuilding and boxing.
My accomplishments have stemmed from my passion for lifting and aesthetics. I came in Top 5 in my first NPC Men’s Physique competition in 2015 and have been competing ever since.
Shortly after my first competition, I appeared in my first magazine spread by Train Magazine on my transformation. Shortly after moving to NYC I was asked to be a part of Wilhelmina models for their fitness division.
I have always wanted to be an actor and I decided a long time ago that I wanted a look that was ideal for the type of roles I wanted as an actor. As a result, I was selected by Men’s Health to play Ivan Drago’s son in Creed 2.
I have also created my own logo and have started my clothing line, which I am very proud of. In my free time, I like to sing, travel, collect vintage memorabilia, and cook.
What I like the most about bodybuilding and fitness is the amazing and inspirational people I have met along the way who have become good friends of mine. I truly call them not just friends, but family. It is truly a blessing.
The rewards that have come from my fitness journey have really made all the difficult times I have encountered worthwhile. I’m so glad that I kept going.
I am honored to say I know these people. These are some of the greatest people I know, Erin Duggan, IFBB Pro Jamie Pinder, IFBB Pro Sadik Hadzovic, Igor Celzner, IFBB Pro Chris Tuttle, IFBB Pro Bennett Streets, Christopher Showerman, Kenny Wallach, Will Medina, and Vince Adams.
These guys have helped me in one way or another and I have been very fortunate to know them.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I believe you must constantly be tricking the body for results. I usually change my program every 4 weeks so my body doesn’t get used to the same stuff.
The split I’m currently on now is 2 days on and 1 day off. I do bis and chest, legs and abs, back and triceps, and shoulders and abs. I usually train 5 to 6 days a week for about an hour and a half to two hours.
All workout plans will work to some degree, but the results are really dependent on the diet and whether you are eating enough.
Here’s an off’-season bulking technique: if you are planning a cheat meal, either have it before or after your workout so your body can use the extra calories and nutrients.
For pre-comp fat loss techniques, if your carbs are low, put them before and after your workout and train heavier. Also, it’s a good idea to increase cardio steadily over a period of time and superset exercises.
I train at Montanari Bros Powerhouse Gym in Connecticut and Mid City Gym in Times Square NYC. I train at these locations because they seem to attract the best people: hardworking, humble winners by far.
I feel welcome there whether I’m training alone or with friends. They also have great equipment, especially Powerhouse. Before I train, I have a pre-workout meal that consists of cream of wheat and a scoop of protein.
I wait about 30 minutes to take my pre-workout while I listen to pump up music. I visualize my training and my goals. After lifting, I do about 20 minutes of cardio and take my post workout shake.
My cardio mainly consists of HIIT. I like to add more cardio when conditioning for a show. My favorite exercises are squats, lat pull downs, machine flys, incline DB presses, hammer curls, machine dips, and rope abs.
I don’t use devices to measure training or keep a training log. As long as I go until failure, then I know I am going as hard as I need.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I watch some motivational videos or some Rocky, I put on my gym clothes, and get there. I always project how the future will look if I do what I have to do. That gets me in the right frame of mind.
Once I put on my training boots, there’s no going back! I always set goals because if I have something to look forward to, I mentally push myself to get it done.
It’s always helpful to surround myself with friends at the gym too. Since I don’t have any family besides my parents, training comes first. If there was an emergency that would be different, but I don’t have any obligations to anyone besides myself.
The biggest challenge I faced was my transformation that took a few years. There were many times I felt like quitting, but I kept fighting and always visualizing the way I wanted to look.
Transforming myself after being bullied was the greatest accomplishment I have ever achieved. The fact that I could do that gave me the ability to do anything I put my mind to. It was definitely the turning point in my life.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training is going well at the moment despite a slight shoulder injury.
The good news is since we are in quarantine, I have time to take it easy and let it heal. I am lucky enough to have access to a friend’s home gym.
My goals for the next 5 years include pursuing acting, growing my fitness empire, staying in the public eye, competing in more shows, and being able to help those who seek to better their fitness.
In order to reach these goals, I will be working with my agent and managers, marketing myself, and generally being more active in the fitness world. Another life goal is to eventually have a family and buy a home while I continue working in my field.
If I could change anything, it would be to start younger. It took a while before I met the right people and started training correctly. I would have progressed much faster and had more time to accomplish my goals if I possessed the knowledge I have now.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I try to avoid injuries by using good form, listening to my body, and leaving my ego at the door.
Depending on the injury, I take time off to recover and train around it. I’ve had a few injuries such as a couple of chest tweaks and a shoulder injury. Nothing very serious, however once I feel something wrong I stop immediately.
The worst thing you can do is push through it; you will only make the injury worse. Playing it smart in the gym has helped me avoid some potentially dangerous outcomes. It’s great to push yourself, but you must do it in a safe way. The risk of getting seriously injured could mean months of losing gains. That is not worth it.
I feel my best when I get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night. Of course there is travel and changes to the schedule, but I try my best to plan ahead. Sometimes, you have to roll with the punches. I don’t use any supplements for recovery. I feel that just getting enough rest is best for me.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet requires me to eat a great deal of food right now, but when leaning out, I restrict myself to about 1700 calories a day split into 7 meals.
I do not focus on macros. I am very strict with exactly what I am to be eating each day. I don’t have exact times set for when I eat, but it’s usually every 2 hours and I have my post workout shake within a 40 minute window.
My diet changes depending on whether it’s off season, I’m leaning out, or I’m bulking up. While cutting, I have a very strict diet of primarily protein to maintain my muscle mass with fewer carbs and fats. It varies depending on my body’s response to it. I typically have one cheat meal a week.
I don’t take many supplements, just the basics: Protein, Pre-workout, BCAA’s, and glutamine. I also take fish oil, but any brand is fine. I like Kagged muscle and Gat primarily because their products seem to be the most pure and work best for me.
While dieting for a show, I can get extremely hungry. So, I have to be creative. I use orange creamsicle flavored aminos and add extra things like spinach to fill the void.
The junk food cravings tend to be much worse as I get closer to the show, but I use all my will power to get through it.
I do drink coffee and tea. I prefer green tea and I only drink on occasion.
I don’t use a fitness tracker. I track my progress through weight and pictures.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
When I first started lifting, my friend suggested I get The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I started using it as a reference. The book gives you great insight into workout programs and nearly everything you need to know about bodybuilding.
I would also recommend the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding-The Complete A-Z Book on Muscle Building.
I really didn’t know much about bodybuilding when I was younger and never even thought of competing. Soon enough however, some people I knew from the gym suggested I do it.
That’s when everything changed. I got a coach, diet, proper training, posing practice and boom! It happened.
Along my journey, the Rocky movies definitely played a part in my motivation. I started watching them after a friend of mine at the gym called me Rocky every time I came in. I was instantly hooked and hearing the music in the training montages gave me an uplifting feeling and the motivation to keep going.
I credit Stallone for his creativity and realism in his works because it is that genius that affected me and countless others to believe in yourself and never give up.
My friends at the gym also inspired and motivated me. They stayed with me through the hard times, believed in me, and helped me to feel truly blessed to have them in my life.
I also follow Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, the Rock, Arnold, and Ross Dickerson because I like their style and motivation.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
It’s always great to want to improve yourself. Life is about continual learning and progressing.
If you are new to fitness and bodybuilding, it’s important to have a goal in mind. For example, a certain way you want to look physically, the ability to compete in a race or competition, or even something as simple as losing some weight to be healthier.
Some people require little to no medication once they improve their health.
The strangest thing I have ever seen in the gym is a guy who rode the hip abductor machine backwards like he was riding it at a rodeo! My jaw literally dropped.
So, always ask if you are not sure about something when you are new to the gym. This can affect the results of your workout.
However, I feel like the main reason why people often don’t see improvements is because they are not doing something right outside the gym, namely the diet. Sometimes, doing certain exercises incorrectly can affect the results, but mainly it comes down to diet.
I like to combine my strength that I get in bodybuilding with boxing. My boxing coach says I should aim for power versus speed due to my size.
Doing bodybuilding full time (which is definitely a commitment) does make it more difficult for life outside the gym because of all the meals I have to eat.
Some advice for coping with that would be bringing food prepared ahead of time or going out to eat somewhere where they have options that fall in line with your diet.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am currently taking clients. I take clients who want change and have a positive attitude. They need to be able to adjust to better lifestyle choices such as a diet and to bring intensity while training.
I can show them the correct door, but it is up to them to walk through it.
Generally speaking, I have not had it easy through my fitness journey. I do not have the best genetics and I had to find the right things that worked for me. The same training and diet will not work for everyone.
Not only have I had personal experience working through these issues, but I’ve also worked with some great fitness leaders and have had plenty of study in the field.
A client can see results as soon as the second week, but they will likely see the most change in a course of 6 months.
I take in-person clients as well as clients over the internet. I offer skype sessions for people who are far away, so they can ask and be shown how to perform certain exercises and do workouts.
The most common question I get is “I want to tone up, how do I do that and how long will it take?”.
First, I always tell people that gaining muscle while achieving a lean body isn’t scientifically possible.
You have to increase calories to gain muscle then decrease them to lean out or the other way around. This will make the muscles appear harder and more defined.
Some people are genetically gifted where they can stay lean and gain muscle, but most people cannot. Then, I say it varies for everyone, but you need to decide whether you want to be leaner or gain some muscle first.
No matter what you do it’s a process, but you can do it!