Sponsored Coach/Athlete - Saul Montalvo
IFBB Pro Saul Montalvo
Bay Area, California
Hi my name is Saúl Montalvo. I am 22 years young, born and raised in the Bay Area. Currently I am a full time student while at the same time working to build for my next show to compete in, men’s physique bodybuilding. It wasn’t until I competed in 2019 where I found my new passion in my fitness journey.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to have strong support from my family to pursue anything I set my mind to. In fact at home is where my fitness journey began. When I was young, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. At a young age I didn’t know what that meant, but all I did know was that I kept seeing my mom getting weaker. I saw how my dad, older brothers, my tia’s and tio’s step in to help, through it all my mom still worked everyday of her life to give me and my little brother and sister the best life we could have. I may not have known what she was going through and what all this all meant, but what I got out of it as a kid, was there’s no one stronger than my mom. By the grace of God, she beat breast cancer and now has been 15 years cancer free. That sparked something in me. To stay strong and stay healthy. Mentally and physically. Seeing her strength inspired me to be mindful of my body.
Then it began, I wanted to try something new, different, something where I felt connected to it. So I started Kung Fu at Tomizaki’s Champions Kung Fu Institute in Concord, California. That was my life all the way in high school until I received my Black Belt in Choy Ley Fut Kung Fu. In High School I wanted to try more. I did Football, Volleyball, and Cross Country. Through all of this I still managed to be part of my high school choir. But in all of these activities, it was the mindset from Kung Fu, the weight Training from the sports and the performing on stage from choir that felt right. It was as if certain parts from each activity felt right going together, but none of them were part of the same group. At 16 years old I discovered what was Men’s Physique bodybuilding. I was always a fan of bodybuilding, but dealing with my own insecurities of my body at the time, I basically told myself I wasn’t meant for it. However after seeing what Men’s Physique was, I started to think, “maybe I can.”
Thanksgiving of 2018 I decided to take a chance. I announced to my family that I wanted to compete. Through my friend Isabelle, I found my current coach Davin Sugz. Once we met, it was off to the races and I made my dream come true.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from my three biggest values in my life. God, everything that I have is by the grace of God. My family/loved ones, how each and every one of them have picked me up and opened the doors either I couldn’t or never knew that were there in my life. Without them, I’d be missing a part of me. And my last piece of inspiration is the future me. Honestly, the person we all wish we can become, WE CAN BE THEM. To use the tools God put in me and around me, and have my family to keep me grounded, all I have left to do is work at myself to be a better me.
Favorite body part to train:
That’s a tough one, because for me everyday and every body part has a different mind set and feeling going and coming out of it. Even different music sometimes. It has to be a split between Chest or back….. Or a good leg day…. Can’t forget about arms, How about a 4 way tie.
Best advice to give someone on their fitness journey:
There’s no secret to success. If you’re wishing to step on stage in bodybuilding, run your first marathon, or try to burn off those extra pounds from Thanksgiving, you have to make your dreams into a goal. Create life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals and even daily goals. Create a plan where you can accomplish at least one thing every day. So when you look back at the end of next year, that’ll be over 365 daily goals accomplished. You decided what those goals are. But to achieve these goals, you must apply discipline and consistency.
What does Level Up mean to you?
“Level up” to me means having the intention and action to be 1 percent better each day. It’s this continuous effort and pressure on yourself that’s going to change your daily habits which will soon change your life. This becomes a nonstop marathon in life, continuous effort with your best intentions leading you to become your better self.