Abe Cruz – From Incarceration To Transformation

Abe’s roller-coaster story saw him land in hot water but through faith and fitness, he’s turned his physique, and life around. Here is the inspiring Abe Cruz transformation.

 

Abe Cruz transformation – from humble beginnings

I was raised by a single mother in LA County (East LA) with my brother and sister. My family struggled to make ends meet, but my mom did the best she could. I developed a love for sports at an early age and by 7 years old people started noticing my talents, especially in American football and basketball.

Fast forward to college and I helped my football team at the University of Wisconsin to their first ever conference championship. At the same time I was involved in network marketing and bringing in $5000 a month at only 19 years old, leaving my difficult upbringing in my rear view mirror.

To take my income to the next level, I left college and my love of football to pursue my business full-time and unfortunately, that’s when things started to crash and burn, starting with the network marketing company. I moved back home and got 3 jobs, while trying to building an acting career. This took a toll on me and it culminated with me falling asleep at my wheel one night, crashing into another car.

This started major money troubles for my family and I, which lead to me making a terrible mistake that landed me in prison for 4 years. I hit rock bottom with depression – my mom told me to pray and not lose faith. I also turned to my love for fitness, but this was difficult since weights were removed from the prison due to inmates using them as weapons. Using my creativity with trash bags, water and inmate shirts attached to brooms, I worked around this alongside 1000 pushups a day, 200 pullups, lunges and squats with someone on my shoulders.

 

Zero to hero – after prison

I always felt like god was watching over me and I planned my comeback while still in prison. When I got out, I was going to start a clothing line, land magazine covers, work on TV/movies and become a motivational speaker to inspire millions. I’m happy to say I’ve achieved these goals but always striving for greatness and continue to serve as many people as I can. I even have my own fitness TV talk show airing soon but, most of all, I’m just grateful for every day and enjoying the little things I didn’t have while incarcerated

My meal plan

I stay on a strict, ‘clean’ diet almost all of the time. The foods stay very similar across all days including lean meats (chicken, turkey and fish), minimally refined carbs such as brown rice and sweet potatoes. Green veg are also a staple of my diet – I rotate brocolli, green beans, asparagus, kale, spinach and others. If I wake up at night hungry, a protein shake hits the spot.

My cheat day, I only have once every 10 days to 2 weeks but when I do, I go big time – pizza, sodas, Reeces peanut butter cups and ice cream. Then it’s back to my normal diet.

Supplements

Morning : Fat burner (specific?), glucosamine/condroitin for my joints
Post-workout : Whey protein shake
Pre-workout : TC1 topical pre-workout gel (stimulant free)
Bedtime : Healing supp (specific?), testosterone booster (specific)

Vital stats

Before
Height 5’9
Weight 165lbs
Body fat 9%

After
Height 5’9
Weight 180lbs
Body fat 9%

The Abe Cruz Workout

I use the principle of training each body part hard once a week, providing plenty of rest and recovery before the next time I hit that body part again. I believe in using strict form, so will opt for more reps over heavier weight.

Daily

I do fasted cardio and ab training. My ab routines are intense and varied – anything you can think of, I’ll do it for abs. Some of my favorites are:

4-5 Sets each, 25 to 30 Reps each Set
Hanging Knee Raises
Dip machine knee raises
Good old fashioned sit-ups
Scissor bench kickouts etc.
Monday – Chest
Bench Presses (flat/incline/decline)
Dumbbell Incline Presses
Pec-Deck Flyes
Cable Flyes
Push-Ups

2 warm-up sets
4 working sets at 80% of max weight
9 to 12 reps per set

Tuesday - Back
Wide-grip seated pull downs
Close-grip seated pull downs
Seated rows - narrow width grip
Reverse flyes
Optional : Bent-over barbell and dumbbell rows

2 warm-up sets
4 working sets at 80% of max weight
9 to 12 reps per set

Wednesday - Leg Day / Traps Day
Squats
Leg press
Lunges
Hamstring curls
Leg extensions
Superset db and bb shrugs between sets of leg exercises

2 warm-up sets
4 working sets at 80% of max weight
9 to 12 reps per set

Thursday - Shoulders
Smith-machine behind-neck seated press
Smith machine front presses
Seated db Arnold presses
Dumbbell lateral raises
Dumbbell front raises
Cable upright rows

2 warm-up sets
4 working sets at 80% of max weight
9 to 12 reps per set

Friday - Biceps / Triceps superset
Bench close grip press | standing wide grip barbell curls
Seated db overhead extensions | standing close grip barbell curls
Decline bench skull crushers | dumbbell hammer curls
Rope pull-downs | standing cable curl
Seated 1-arm overhead extension | 1-arm concentration curl

2 warm-up sets
4 working supersets at 80% of max weight
9 to 12 reps per set

Saturday – smaller details (Calves, forearms, etc)

Sunday – Rest (Jacuzzi Day!)

 

For more stories like the Abe Cruz transformation, click here for more in our Transform section

Altug Kop

Written by

TRAIN Digital Editor, contest prep coach and WBFF Pro fitness model.

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