Tony Giles wins at Europa

Tony Giles
Tony Giles

If you’re gonna compete in a bodybuilding contest, here’s a good pieces of advice: Talk to me first.

Earlier this year, I profiled porn star Mark Dalton prior to his competing in the Ronnie Coleman Classic, a well-known muscle show here in the Metroplex, and Dalton won first place in the novice heavyweights category and best overall novice.

Then a few weeks ago, I profiled Tony Giles, who models as Tony DaVinci, as he prepared for the Europa Supershow event, which took place last weekend in Dallas. And how did he do? Best novice middleweight, best novice overall and best open middleweight — the most medals of anyone there. Not bad for first-timer. (Dalton also competed at Europa, in the light-heavyweight category, but failed to place.)

Great results for Giles, though it was, he admits, different that what he expected would happen.

Giles had planned to compete as a light-heavyweight (Dalton’s class), but the day of the weigh-in — following a water fast and taking diuretics — he had dropped too many pounds to qualify.

“On Thursday I weighted 182 and by weigh-in on Friday I was 176,” he says. That was too low for light-heavyweight and the lightest he could be and still qualify as a middleweight. It may have been a blessing, though. “It was actually a good thing because those guys were huge.”

Tony Giles
Tony Giles

Even Giles admits the loss of fat — and water — made him look gaunt if not actually unrecognizable, so the first thing he did was eat: A cheeseburger, french fries and carrot cake, followed that evening with pizza. No food ever tasted so good. The proof? In less than a week, Giles has bulked up again by 29 lbs., clocking in at 205.

Despite all the torment, he plans to compete again. He’s on vacation this week and will skip the next season, but plans to be back for the Junior USA contest after that. He’ll need to change the regimen for that one, though: He needs to gain 15 pounds of muscle.

Piece of cake. Carrot cake. And only when he’s done.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Suffering for a body of work

Fitness model and trainer Tony DaVinci comes out — as a bodybuilder. Don’t envy him

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

BEFORE AND AFTER | The difference between a fitness model and a bodybuilder is evident from DaVinci’s physique above, taken in March, and at right, taken in July. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Convention Center
650 N. Griffin St.
Aug. 13–14. $20–$100.
For schedule, visit

While attending a bodybuilding show earlier this summer, Tony Giles realized it was time for him to come out of the closet.

Giles — known in the adult fitness model world as Tony DaVinci — isn’t gay, but he’s long denied what he really was: A freakishly over-muscled bodybuilder trapped in a disgustingly well-built man’s body.

Giles has spent literally half his life working out, and most of that time training his clients about how to get their bodies in shape. But “in shape” is one thing; a muscle-bound mass of twitching protein is another. But just two months ago, it’s what he decided to do. He’ll compete in the Europa Show at the Dallas Convention Center next weekend.

“I was at the Lone Star Classic on June 3 and I realized it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but suppressed because of what I knew it would take.

Bodybuilding is a different world from fitness modeling: It’s expensive, time-consuming, self-absorbing and addictive. It’s a lot of suffering. I’m hungry all the time and have to do lots of cardio.”

The training is much more intense than typical fitness-model hunkiness. It’s harder to lose body fat than to put on muscle, and bodybuilders must do both. And the time frame of has to be telescoped into about two months to maximize effort. It isn’t easy. Or cheap.

“I had to hire a coach to tell me what to do — you see yourself different. I had to hire a posing coach. I get a massage weekly,” Giles says.
And there’s the food: Lots of protein shakes, very rigid intakes of specific proteins (dense beefs early on to pack on muscle, leaner poultry as posing day nears). There’s even a lot of fat in the diet.

“I eat four tablespoons of peanut butter every day. I packed on meat to get to 195 — now I have to lean down to 187. And I will make that weight.” He’ll compete in two classes with crossover weight ranges: Novice middleweight and open light heavyweight.

And for what: A fleeting moment of glory.

“You spend eight to ten weeks to spend two minutes onstage to prove yourself standing next to ten other people,” Giles admits. “Bodybuilding is an illusion: If you’re a good-looking guy, bodybuilding likes that.”

Judges rate contestants on how aesthetically: For posing, muscularity and symmetry.

“I’ve learned a lot about my body, about training styles and broadened by experience and personal training. My clients have noticed a huge change in my physique in five to six weeks.”

Does he have any — ahem — chemical support for his regimen?

“A lot of people ask if I take steroids. If I say no, people will assume I am anyway, so I just leave it at that,” he says.

Even without steroids, though, bodybuilding ravages the body as much as it sculpts it. Seven days out from the competition, Giles will cut out carbs completely and drown himself with water — two gallons a day. Three days out, he reverses the process, carbo-loading. The 12 hours before he takes to the stage, no liquids at all. And as soon as it’s over, he’ll gorge on a burger and cheesecake.

“You have to make sure you have a balance. Mentally, it can mess you up. And the condition you have to be at is very unhealthy,” he says. “You can only be at 3 to 4 percent body fat for a day — 12 to 15 percent is average for a man.” He’ll be under 5 percent on game day.

Although the Europa Show is a qualifier for the national title competition in October, Giles isn’t sure he’ll continue on with bodybuilding once this cycle is over.

“And there’s no money in it until you go pro, though it could be beneficial to my training career,” he says.
So why do it?

“It’s ego,” he says. “I’m in it to win it. If I went to the gym and saw a guy that I thought, ‘He will beat me,’ I’d drop out.”

Yeah, like that’ll happen.
For training and nutrition consultation, call 469-835-5964.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas