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Each person experiences their fitness transformation in their own unique way. For Raul Arroyo, a 31-year-old truck welder/mechanic from Illinois, going to the gym had always been part of his life. But it wasn't until three years ago that he decided to amp up his focus and embark down the path of competitive bodybuilding.

Raul had always wanted to make the change from scrawny and weak to strong and healthy, but roadblocks seemed to pop up time and time again. Bodybuilding is a very competitive sport and it took him many long nights of staying up late and researching what he needed to do. “The more I learned, the more dedicated I became and the more motivated I was to prove to myself that I could do this," Raul explained.

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Raul's biggest roadblock was working 60 hours a week, working nights, and helping his wife raise 6 children. He pointed out that while he will never be able to totally “overcome" this roadblock, what it has done is teach him time management, as well as enforced his belief that anything is possible through hard work. “I tell people all the time that work, kids, and money are just excuses, because I'm living proof of it," Raul stated.

“A busy schedule makes it hard to prepare meals and find time to eat, but wherever I go I take my 6 Pack Bag with me."

In fact, Raul's 6 Pack Bag enables him to stick to his diet all year round. “The diet depends on [whether it's the] off season or I'm prepping for a show. I calculate my intake very specifically and weigh all my food. I consume 7-8 small meals a day. While working 12-hour shifts, my 6 Pack Bag keeps my meals cold all day long," Raul explained.

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6 Pack was a huge help to Raul in his fitness transformation by allowing him to carry his many meals with him all day without the need of a fridge. “The other cooler lunch bags were either too small or only lasted a few hours," he explained.

“Diet is an important factor in bodybuilding for the muscles to grow, so I am forever thankful for my 6 Pack Bag. It's money well invested!"

When it comes to his biggest inspiration, from the beginning of his journey to this day, Raul is quick to cite his wife and kids. “My wife always believed in me and saw the strength and determination I had before I even knew it was there," Raul elaborated. “My children inspire me to succeed [so that I can] give them the example that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to with hard work and dedication."

In three years, he has progressed more quickly than he thought possible by sticking to his diet and training schedule. “I've heard that consistency is key, but seeing it is so rewarding," Raul said. Since 2014, Raul has completed two Ironman shows, landing an impressive second place at both! He also competed at the 2016 Illinois State Bodybuilding show this summer, and from there plans to continue training and growing.

“These shows are valuable to me because it's a time where my hard work goes noticed and is appreciated."

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A fitness transformation has a huge effect not only on someone's body, but on their mind as well. While Raul pointed out that his body is constantly improving, with muscle growth as well as the maintenance of symmetry and proper proportion, his mind has grown clearer and calmer as well. “I release stress on a daily basis at my second home, the gym. I feel healthy and have great energy levels," he stated.

Raul's advice to others seeking to begin their own fitness transformation gets straight to the point. “It won't be easy, it may be one of the hardest things you ever do," he said. “There will be times when you cry, there will be times you want to quit. But your body is only as strong-willed as the mind. If you can control the mind, you control the body."

“Through all the harsh times, you'll grow into a better you, the best version of you that you can be, and no one can take that away from you."

It's important to Raul to always aim high. A positive attitude is the key to making it past those difficult times, so that you can become the person you have always wanted to be. It took him years of studying what to do – and making mistakes in the process – before he finally got his dieting and training right. We're proud that 6 Pack was able to play a role in his successful fitness transformation, and pleased to know one of our meal management bags – Raul rocks the Innovator 300 – will continue to be at his side every step of the way!

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With an open mind and determined approach, your fitness transformation is only as far away as your first trip to the gym. Check out our entire line of original meal management bags, gym backpacks, sports duffle bags, and gym totes to find the perfect match for you as you begin your unique journey toward your best self yet. Need more motivation? Our Transformation Series is full of inspiring individuals from all walks of life who overcame various setbacks to pursue happy, healthy existences with more energy than ever before!