Fitness Model Spotlight: Paul Hovan
August 25, 2013 • News
Fitness Model Spotlight: Paul Hovan
My name is Paul Hovan. I’m 22 years young, born and raised on the East Coast in Connecticut. I own my own business called HOV HUSTLE FITNESS where I train clients online and prepare nutritional plans and programs in 12 to 16 week intervals. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Central Connecticut State University. I am a certified personal trainer and certified sports nutritionist. I love helping people find their full potential, which is why I started training clients online, all over the world.
I started getting into fitness modeling about 4 years ago and at this time, I also entered my first Natural Bodybuilding competition, which I am now an INBF Natural Bodybuilding competitor. After competing in my first two competitions as a teenager and placing well, I was noticed by a photographer in the audience by the name of Bill Terry. He saw the potential in me and I traveled to Long Island to do my first photo shoot. I guess you can say the rest is history from there. Bill told me that I had a natural ability in front of the camera along with a well-built physique for the young age of 18. I continued to stay dedicated to eating healthy, lifting with intensity, and never giving up, which has brought me to this very spot today.
I’ve had to overcome many obstacles and challenges to achieve what I have, just like many of you; but the very important thing I did while encountering those challenges was keeping my faith strong and always staying positive. I guarantee that if I approached those painful, challenging times with a negative attitude, I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I am today.
I hope you enjoy the following interview I did for Mr. Correia, and please keep up to date with me on all of the social media sites, which I am very active on. I love interacting with new, positive, like-minded individuals and helping motivated people meet their goals.
1)What sets you apart from others in the modeling industry?
My intellect is what sets me apart from many in the modeling industry. I have met many models that lacked the knowledge of living a healthy lifestyle. Everyone sees us in fantastic shape and thinks that every single one of us knows everything there is to know about nutrition, exercise, health, and the like. That is far from the truth. To be quite frank, I’ve met many models with fantastic physiques that couldn’t tell me the difference between protein, carbohydrates, and fats. You would think someone in that good of shape would know the general macronutrients they are putting into their body, but unfortunately, they don’t. I’ve also met many models that don’t posses a college degree or certain certifications, yet they claim to be an “expert” in the field. That’s not to say that everyone who doesn’t have a degree isn’t knowledgeable; but in fact, I have many close friends who are very knowledgeable in many things totally unrelated to what they have a degree in. I’m simply saying, do your research. Don’t just trust everything you hear from someone who “looks the part”. I’ve gone through four vigorous years of schooling to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I’ve spent months with my eyes in nutrition books, personal training books, food metabolism articles, and the like. I’ve gone through many 12 week courses to continue increasing my knowledge in the realm of personal training, exercise science, food metabolism, muscle contraction, and other relative subjects, and I believe that is why my clients continue to succeed and get fantastic results.
2) What first got you interested in fitness and modeling?
I played football in high school, and believe it or not, I was 250 pounds playing offensive and defensive line. I know, shocking! Once my senior year of playing football was over, I realized I didn’t want to continue and pursue it at the college level. I discovered that my real passion was in the weight room. I decided that I didn’t need all of this extra weight on me anymore. I made the choice to get healthy and started working out religiously. I started researching scientific articles published on Pub Med about nutrition, the best training principles, cardiovascular training, and training splits to increase my knowledge on the subjects. I applied what I learned to myself. In 6 months, I lost 55 pounds (240 lbs. on December 15th, 2008 to 185 lbs. on June 15th, 2009). This was the event that catapulted me into competing. As I followed that 55 pound weight loss journey into the competing realm, I did my first competition a year later in June, 2010.
3) What hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
Despite being overweight in high school, I suffered a very painful injury my freshman year of college. This was after my first two Natural Bodybuilding competitions and shortly after my first photo shoot. I was on a high, looking and feeling great. After placing well in my first two bodybuilding shows and then doing my first photo shoot ever; I was on top of the world, so to speak. About a month later, I woke up one morning in December, and couldn’t even lift my left arm. It was odd because the night before, I was perfectly fine (or so I thought). I trained chest and triceps and did 45 minutes of cardio. I immediately knew something was wrong, but my first thought going through my head was, “I’m never going to be able to lift or compete again.” I ended up having a cyst lying dormant on the nerves of my trapezius muscle and deltoid. I ended up doing 6 months of physical therapy, which I was told would shrink the cyst and possibly make it disappear and that I’d be back to training very shortly which wasn’t the case. I needed to have surgery to remove the cyst and also, have certain nerve tunnels cleared that were filled with scar tissue and damaged cells. I remember going into my first physical therapy session, and my first “exercise” was to lean on a table and move my arm in a circular motion. Needless to say, I fell into a depression and couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head that I would never be back to what I once was. However, I did not give up, and I did not give any more energy into those negative thoughts. I continued going to physical therapy 3 times each week. I did additional exercises when I got home. I approached every session with my physical therapist as I would a session in the gym; with intensity, a positive mind-set, and a chance for myself to improve. It took me 2 ½ long years, but here I am… back, bigger, and better than ever. It’s those types of experiences in your life that develop your strength, faith, and a new type of mental fortitude that other situations just would not enable you to do. This has made me into the person I am today.
4) For those looking to get in better shape, what advice would you give them?
Four very important words: Patience. Persistence. Commitment. Consistency.
Sometimes I need to remind myself of my own advice! We always want things quickly, but I learned that building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy, are things you cannot rush. It takes time to see results. You’re not going to lose 20 pounds in four weeks, and if you do, that is very unhealthy, and that weight will most likely make it’s way back on your body with an additional 10 to 20 pounds! What you lose quickly will come back just as fast. You need to take your time. Get your nutrition on point, give your all in the gym, and stay consistent. Consistency is so important. You can’t just eat healthy and workout for three days straight and then go eat junk food and not work out for 3 days and expect to get results. It doesn’t work like that. I have to constantly remind my clients of this as well. I work with very dedicated and disciplined individuals who are just like me; they want results, they work hard, and when they don’t see the results coming as fast as they’d like, they get down on themselves and feel as if all of their work is for nothing. This mind set will kill you. Stay positive, stay persistent, stay committed, stay consistent, and be patient! Put in the work!
5) Favorite motto?
“Progress… not perfection.”
This is the saying printed on the back of my first T-shirts for Hov Hustle Fitness, and I found that there were so many people who could relate to it. These shirts sold out in about two weeks!
6) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
I really can’t just pick one word that sums up the person I am, and the person I’ve become. I wouldn’t say I’m anymore talented, gifted, or genetically superior than anyone else. However, I believe that where I excel, is my work ethic. While people are out “partying”, I’m working physically and mentally. While others take days off and don’t make use of the hours given, I’m working and getting ahead of them. While others are sleeping for 8-10 hours, (I will gladly sleep for 4 hours a night if it means achieving my goals in a shorter amount of time). Therefore, my work ethic is what describes me as a hard worker and very dedicated individual.
7) Who inspires you in the modeling industry?
There is no one that inspires me more than my brother and coach Amer Kamra of Hammer Fitness. Amer and I started working together back in November of 2012 and the chemistry we have is incredible. Amer had a similar journey of hitting his own “rock bottom”, so to speak, and his journey is what really enabled me to believe that, “hey, if he can do it, so can I.” He never stopped believing in me, and told me that I could be as successful as I wanted to be as long as I continued putting in the work every second. Amer prepped me for my first photo shoot coming back from my injury in March and continued to prep me for my first competition in June, coming back from my injury. We are mid-way through my off-season and the gains continue coming. I told Amer that I wanted to be my own inspiration. I want to inspire other people and show them that you can come back from rock bottom and reach the top. That is what my journey is based on. Any one can do this.
8) What can’t you live without?
God and my family. I really discovered God and my faith when I was going through my injury. I simply did not have the strength to get through that experience on my own. I started reading The Bible daily. Ever since discovering my faith, my life has never been the same. I learned to trust in God, in all aspects of my life, and that made getting through my injury and all of the obstacles that come my way that much easier. Everything that happens is just a part of His plan, and that keeps me at peace. My family is just absolutely amazing. My parents and sister are my three biggest fans, and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. They help me with getting and preparing my food, provide a roof over my head, support me in everything I do 110%, and believe in me, even at times I didn’t believe in myself. They taught me respect, to stay humble in success, remain hardworking, to be self-confident, stay dedicated, and to know it’s okay to fail at times but to never give up and to never stop believing. I am so incredibly blessed to have such amazing parents and sister in my life. Also, when I say family, that doesn’t just mean blood related. I have so many people in my life who are not blood related to me, yet I consider them my closest family members. I would not be in this position if it weren’t for their constant love, belief, and support.
9) Goals for the remainder of 2013?
To keep improving my physique, helping people transform their body, mind, potential and just how much they are capable of, and to never stop working for what I believe in.
10) Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
Where ever you are in your life is the result of the choices you have made every single day leading up to this present moment. If you’re not satisfied with where you are, it’s time to make some better choices. It’s no one’s fault that you look and feel the way you do; it’s your own. Take full responsibility and take back control of your life. I am not better than any of you. I don’t have more talent. I don’t have more gifts. I don’t have anything that makes me better; I simply make the most of everything I do have, and continue working hard to get better. Never give up on your dreams or your goals. There will be many obstacles and challenges that come your way, but a very important trait of all successful people is that they don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer; they don’t give up, plain and simple. If you never give up on your goals, continue working hard every day, and make choices every day that are helping you get closer to those goals, you will absolutely achieve them. Believe in yourself. You can do it.