HOLIDAY — Nick Demellis has always been involved in sports.
In addition to playing ice hockey, the 2011 Mitchell High graduate was a four-year varsity soccer player. Despite an active lifestyle and excellent conditioning, Demellis was dissatisfied with his physical appearance.
“Four years ago, during my junior year, I was very skinny and weighed about 135 pounds,” Demellis, 20, said. “Because of soccer and ice hockey, I had strong legs. but my upper body looked pretty pathetic, with no muscle development whatsoever. At that point, I decided to do something about it.”
His father, Dennis, was member at the LA Fitness gym in Palm Harbor, so Nick tagged along, first as a guest, then as a member. He began bodybuilding on a regular basis, with emphasis on different parts of his upper torso and changed his eating habits.
“Up until age 18, I ate whatever I wanted, including cheeseburgers and other greasy, high-calorie foods,” Demellis said. “I can remember eating big pieces of cheesecake or junk food just before going to bed. Even though I had been working out for more than a year, my body was not looking any better. I realized then how important nutrition was to my health and my physique. Now, my diet contains no processed foods.”
Demellis didn’t starve himself or go on binge diets. Rather, he ate smaller portions throughout the day. His diet consists of plain Greek yogurt at every meal, combined with green vegetables, particularly broccoli and asparagus. At least once a day, he consumes four ounces of chicken or fish, grilled or baked in olive oil. For additional protein, he eats egg whites 2-3 times daily. His bread contains no flour, preservatives or shortenings.
Over the past year, friends and workout buddies encouraged him to enter bodybuilding competitions. Looking at the photos of the previous year’s competitors, Demellis felt confident he could compete, so he took posing lessons and selected music that worked well with flexing his muscles.
On Oct. 5, Demellis competed in his first competition at the 2013 St. Pete Classic, a bodybuilder contest held in the Caladium. Against a field of two dozen, he finished in third place.
“It was a great feeling to hear my name announced and have the medal placed around my neck,” Demellis said. “This has motivated me to train even harder and to enter into more bodybuilder contests, including at the national and professional levels. I’m confident I can compete at a higher level.”
His two-hour daily workout includes stretching, 20-30 minutes on the treadmill, then alternating between weights and resistance machines. Demellis can bench press 315 pounds twice and 225 pounds 20 times. In addition to working out, he’s attending USF to finish nursing school and will obtain his RN designation, but plans to get a Master’s Degree to become a nurse practitioner. Demellis works at the Trinity Medical Center.
Demellis continued his daily routine to compete again, his focus never wavering.
“I don’t compare myself to others and how they look,” Demellis said. “I just compare myself to how I used to look. I also imagine how I can look. It frees me mentally from the burden of comparisons to others. I’m happy to look like I do.”
Correspondent Cliff Gill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter@ReporterCliff.