If you haven’t heard Mason’s name yet, you will! Meet Mason Caminiti, the strong, inspirational, humble and kind-hearted transman taking the bodybuilding world by storm.
Mason was drawn to bodybuilding at a very young age, but was never quite sure how he could make it work as someone who knew they were trans from a young age. As an alternative for the time being, Mason was obsessed with the hulk and embodied that as a child.
When he moved to Cleveland later in life he thought it was finally his chance to do something with his dreams of bodybuilding. He got a second job and hired a personal trainer to begin his journey toward his goal. Although at the time his main focus was being able to eat again, his coach encouraged him to keep going with mainstream bodybuilding.
Mason was very open with his coach about his trans identity and explained nervously that he had scars on his chest from top surgery, to which his coach explained that he had scars to and so does every other person. It was through this encouragement that he was able to jumpstart his bodybuilding career.
Mason competed in the Gate Games in August 2014, as well as the National Physique Committee Competition in November 2014, and has competed in 2-3 competitions a year since then.
Unfortunately, Mason cannot compete this year due to a torn rotator cuff and bicep tendon, but has plans to compete for his Pro Card in Pittsburgh in July 2020. Despite having sustained his injury trying to start a seized mower, we agreed we are going to pretend it was from benching 500 pounds. Even with his injury, Mason spoke with his doctor and was able to keep training and compete in Nationals before having surgery.
Mason was nice enough to break down his lifting and eating routine as he prepares for competitions for me. As competition time nears, the goal is to stay as lean and hard as possible, while preventing injury and retaining muscle mass. Lifting shifts to a focus on the contraction and the negatives. Mason typically starts at 30 minutes fasted cardio in the morning, a lifting session after work, and another 30 minutes of cardio right before bed. He amps this up 5 minutes or so every few weeks until he is doing an hour of cardio in the morning and another hour of cardio before bed.
His nutrition plan consists of carb cycling and eventually cutting back on carbs as he nears competition. Mason will have several low carb days followed by a couple high carb, “cheat” days to restart his body. It’s during these weeks that Mason enjoys living vicariously through Food Network programs, since he is so regimented in his nutrition program.
When asked if he had any tips for transmen looking to start bodybuilding, Mason had the following to say: first and foremost, you can do it. Make your dreams as big as possible, but just be realistic about how you’re going to get there.” He followed this by stating that he highly recommends getting a personal trainer, even if it means getting a second job like he had to, as it can be dangerous without the proper plan due to how tough it is on your body since you are getting down to 4-5% body fat.
Mason’s overall experience with bodybuilding over the last 6 years has been very positive. He has only encountered one negative experience with competitions, in which he was refunded his money and asked to leave because he was transgender and they viewed his taking of testosterone as cheating. However, Mason says that ultimately, everyone is just in the zone backstage and no one really cares at all that you are transgender and are much more interested in the fact that he is a gym rat like them.
As someone who transitioned later in life, I thought it would be interesting to ask Mason what advice he would have given to his younger self. Mason said he would remind himself to be more confident and listen to himself more, as he knew from a young age that he was transgender and let his confidence slowly erroad as he listened to negative outside factors. He also emphasized the importance of holding onto who you are and be humble, but don’t let others tell you who you are, and don’t let anything hold you back. Lastly, he wanted to reiterate that younger generations shouldn’t think that they can’t do something, like bodybuilding, just because of their trans identity.
“Don’t let others tell you who you are, and don’t let anything hold you back.”
Mason is incredibly grateful for how things are changing and younger generations are coming up more educated and open than the last, and are able to educate older generations thus turning them into allies.
Mason is doing amazing things in the fitness world and is truly in inspiration to transmen looking to pursue competitive bodybuilding.
He was a pleasure to talk to and has some great things coming his way, so go check out his instagram @masoncaminiti!