Rutgers student talks passion for fitness, seeks to inspire peers
Student Spotlight – Roman Miranda
While many of us hit the gym to prepare for summer, train for an event or just get in shape, Roman Miranda, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, was inspired to pursue a life of health and fitness by a drastic change in his life.
Before his grandfather passed away from cancer, Miranda distinctly remembers one of their last exchanges. He made both Miranda and his younger brother, Reid Miranda, promise to never stop exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle.
This promise would result in one of the most impactful mental, physical and emotional changes in Miranda’s life.
During high school, Miranda enjoyed drawing and was in the National Arts Honor Society, but his real passion was basketball until he had suffered from a related injury at the age of 12. It left him weak and depressed, so he began lifting weights. He now sees his injury as a blessing that led to a new chapter of his life.
“I wanted to have confidence,” he said. “I wanted people to look up (to) me as a role model.”
Miranda admits that he received a lot of taunting and was even bullied by other boys for his lack of strength when he first began working out.
It was at the age of 16 that Miranda made the decision to pursue professional bodybuilding.
In just three short years, Miranda underwent an extreme physical transformation and found himself front and center at the 2015 NPC Gold Coast Muscle Classic, where he placed as “Novice Overall Winner in Men’s Physique.”
Only his second time ever competing, Miranda said the win was a dream come true.
“You work so hard for these contests, but you get what you put in,” he said. “There’s no such thing as putting in too much work.”
He was featured on Bodybuilding.com in 2013 as “Teen Amateur of the Week”.
Receiving attention from modeling agencies, Miranda signed with Silver Model Management last year.
“I think it’s awesome,” he grinned. “You work so hard, it’s good to show off.”
Even with all of the achievements and attention, Miranda still remains grounded with the support of his family.
His younger brother, Reid Miranda, who accompanied him to the interview, shared what a blessing it has been to have an older brother who is perpetually bettering himself everyday.
“He’s a real inspiration for me,” Reid Miranda said.
The two brothers shared a moment of mutual respect and love that spoke volumes about their relationship.
Roman Miranda added how he and his younger brother sometimes train together to push each other to do better.
He said how great it is to have a family that appreciates what he does and shared how excited his whole family was to fly out to California to see him compete in his last show.
“If I can make my parents happy, whether I do become a pro and can fly them out to different type of shows, do well and represent them, that would be great,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in the spot I am today without them.”
Although he has done the majority of his training on his own, Miranda also credits his trainer for his assistance in preparing for competitions. He explained that by training with a trainer he is able to push past his limits.
By having a second pair of eyes during workouts, he can know that he gave it his everything, Miranda said. He expressed how much he trusts his coach and loves the environment at Diamonds Gym in Irvington, New Jersey.
During his off-season, Miranda works out six days a week at the College Avenue Gym. You can probably find him there deadlifting, which is by far his best and favorite exercise to perform.
He admits that his least favorite exercises are bicep curls, because he finds them boring and feels as though he is just wasting time.
While most of us rely on a high-energy playlist to get through a workout, Miranda prefers to focus entirely on the workout and tune out any distractions.
Consuming more than 5,000 calories day, I was not surprised when Miranda arrived for the interview, lunch box in hand.
“I cook everything myself,” he stated. “Everything is very clean and basic.”
His diet consists of proteins like chicken, steak, fish and turkey, all of which he cooks with PAM. His carbohydrates include white rice, sweet potatoes and sometimes a liquid carb for faster absorption. He added that he will sometimes have some honey following a workout.
When asked what his favorite “cheat food” was, he laughed and quickly replied, "everything," but said it would either have to be sushi or donuts.
While he tries to avoid fatty foods, Miranda knows that his physique will inevitably fade with time –– So, he felt as though he needed another source of fulfillment other than bodybuilding.
“You have to end up giving back to people,” he said. “… If I can change someone’s life, I would definitely do it, there’s only so much you can do in bodybuilding for yourself.”
Because of his love for fitness and desire to help others achieve their goals and live happier, healthier lives, Miranda decided to pursue a major in Exercise Management.
As of right now, he trains his friends free of charge, something he might have to reconsider soon, he joked.
Miranda expressed that in order to be successful in the fitness industry, it is very necessary to build a client base, give as much information as possible and make your self well known.
He revealed that apart from the obvious working out and healthy dieting, washboard abs can be achieved with the help of a few tricks: like tanning, going to the sauna and Preparation H.
“Not many people agree, but take Preparation H, rub it on your stomach and wear a wrap to get rid of the water under your skin.”
For those looking to get started, Miranda advises that you not get discouraged and have goals because working out will become a remedy.
“Don’t be intimidated to go to the gym,” he said. “ We all start from scratch … every pro was once an amateur.”
His main focus as of now is on becoming an IFPB Pro, and while he would like to pursue a career as a sports director in the future, he really just hopes that he will enjoy what he does and avoid falling into the motions of dragging himself into a job he doesn’t enjoy.
“I want to be doing something that I’m gonna enjoy doing for the rest of my life, I want to wake up saying ‘Yay, it’s a new day, let’s kick this day's a**’.”