SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - At one point, we've all aspired to be fit like magazine models. Some have turned that dream into a reality and are showing their hard work off - on stage.
For each competitor on stage at the Southern Isles Body Building, Figure and Wheelchair competition in Savannah, this is their moment to shine. They are at the peak of their game, adrenaline is pumping through their veins as their family and friends cheer them on. Each person has a story to tell.
"I grew up a little bit overweight and fell in love with exercising lifting weight," said Cody Hinely. "Last year, some guys came up to me and asked if I was going to do a show. I had always dreamed about it, so I set my goal to do it and got good help along the way."
Hinely was just like many in this audience, a spectator, wishing he could be dedicated and motivated enough to show off a physique he could be proud of. It wasn't until he finally made the commitment to his dream that he truly realized his potential.
"Every day you wake up and see your body change," said Hinely. "It's motivation. It drives you to keep going and it's real exciting, you get a drive from it."
It takes weeks of strict dieting and training. It can be quite taxing on the mind, body and soul, but the rewards are well worth the struggle to get to the stage.
"People don't know," said Southern Isles Promoter Tonny O'Connel. "I personally start 16 weeks out for a show - egg whites, oatmeal, turkey and rice and water period for 16 weeks. It's crazy."
One of the beauties of this sport is that almost everyone can enter - just put in the work and ask for advice.
"Talk to people in the gym, network, be open-minded, try different things and find out what works out for your body," advised Hinely. "Never give up, just never give up."
It's that attitude that gained Hinely the Overall Heavyweight title. It's also more ammunition to continue achieving his dreams, while inspiring others in the crowd to do the same.