On any given day, you’ll find Mike Castelo DPT ’12 hitting the books as a doctor of physical therapy candidate at University of the Sciences or training clients at the University of Pennsylvania gym or pumping iron in his garage. He literally eats, sleeps, and breathes a healthy lifestyle.
With his enviable focus on fitness and health, it’s no surprise that Castelo took home first place in the 18th Annual Mr. & Ms. Penn Bodybuilding Contest. During the Nov. 10, 2009, competition at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Castelo out-flexed more than 21 of Penn’s finest undergraduate and graduate students, and as a representative of Penn Recreation, placed first in the Short Class and overall competition.
While Castelo is no stranger to working out, the event was only his second time in a bodybuilding competition – he participated and placed second in the same event in 2008 – and his training program was rigid.
“I usually work out five or six days a week anyway, but while training, my diet was drastically different,” said Castelo. “For seven weeks it was all high protein, low carb, the same thing day in and day out. It was monotonous.”
To track his progress, Castelo relied upon on University of the Sciences’ BOD POD. The state-of-the-art machine housed within the Exercise Science and Wellness Management program is the most accurate way to test one’s body composition. With the help of Program Director Karin Richards, Castelo climbed inside the space capsule-like structure once a week to make sure he was moving in the right direction.
“Last year when I was in the competition, Professor Richards helped track my progress using calipers, but this year I was really excited to use the BOD POD because it so much more accurate,” said Castelo. “We’re so lucky to have access to a tool like that, and to be able to use it.”
As only one of three in the tri-state area, University of the Sciences’ BOD POD provides a much sought-after value to the University community. While students, staff, and faculty can utilize the machine for personal health and wellness, for students in the Exercise Science and Wellness Management program, it is an advanced learning tool.
“Using the BOD POD in my training and working with Professor Richards was motivational and a great experience,” said Castelo. “The BOD POD enabled me to see the steps I was making toward my goal of five percent body fat. As a student, I think it’s really important to tie in the health promotion and wellness into physical therapy. All students should know that these tools are available and how to use them.”
Seven weeks of hard training, eating nothing but chicken, and a few coats of fake tan later, Castelo strutted his stuff to the tune of Saliva’s hard rock hit Ladies and Gentlemen
, and in front of an audience of 1,000, secured a much-deserved first-place trophy.
Since the win, Castelo’s tan has faded and he is back in his grueling routine balancing personal training, schoolwork, and working out. The trophy has found a comfortable home next to others on the shelf in his Center City Philadelphia home, but he doesn’t plan to add to the collection any time soon.
“The pace of school has gotten crazier, so I don’t plan on entering the competition next year. Right now, I’m focusing on my classes, figuring out the future, and of course, getting back to eating everything in sight.”