Twenty-year-old personal trainer and gym instructor Kireem Charles exudes radiant health. His impressive physique balances functional muscle with symmetry and proportion with ten per cent body fat. The wide shoulders and small waistline accentuate the distinctive v-taper and his muscular figure looks like it has been carefully carved.
At 163 pounds, Charles can deadlift 455 pounds, squat 405 pounds and bench press 285 pounds.
It is hard to believe that six years ago he was an obese youth who weighed 220 pounds, was bullied in school and had low self-esteem and confidence.
Charles' incredible transformation was done through intense sessions with the iron, insane cardio workouts, eating "clean" and no supplements or fat burners.
His goal is to learn as much as he can about training, health and nutrition to help people in the gym who are going through the same health challenges he did six years ago.
Charles said he wants to make the world a healthier place and help people overcome depression as he did because he now has a positive image.
Guardian Media sat down with him to find out how he morphed from fat to fit, the lifestyle changes he made, the challenges, his motivation and aspirations on his journey to health and fitness.
Speaking at his place of work and workout at D Dial Fitness Club in Arima, Charles said "Throughout my whole life I've been obese up to when I was 14, 220 pounds overweight at 5 feet 5 inches.
"I had it hard, people used to look down on me, they said I was so unathletic, I couldn't do things because of my size, I had no self-confidence, my grades were low I didn't want to go to school because of the bullying.
"I started doing some cardio and a little basketball to jump-start my life-changing lifestyle in 2014 and I noticed a little weight loss. During the August holidays I woke up at 4:30 am and went to the Maloney Savannah to run, I ate clean; steam vegetables, steam chicken, water."
Within three months he lost 20-30 pounds. Later that school year he reached 170 pounds. "I was still overweight but I started to feel better about myself."
The Red Hill, D'Abadie native said he eventually came down to 150 pounds and began training with his uncle Keston Toppin.
Charles said he didn't drink coffee, but lots of water, blended fruits and vegetable juice, he only used protein powder in his bulking up phase in 2018 and stopped to get "ripped" or definition.
He said he used to spend five or six days in the gym weight training and one day of High-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardi. As he dropped the excess pounds he found he did not get tired as before.
Charles said he left his tech-job to do a personal training course in Cunupia when he was 16. He wanted to be a personal trainer since he was 15 and he achieved that goal at 19.
He said when he was 18, he fine-tuned his diet and exercise to develop abdominals, he wanted to have functional muscle, not just for show, flexibility, strength, speed and agility.
Charles said when he was overweight he cut out all junk food and soft drinks, he didn't even care for them, his body adapted to the training and needed "clean" food as fuel.
He said the results on the scale and the mirror were added motivation to cut out junk food. He said he eased up a little when he reached 150 pounds.
Asked about indulging in chocolate, Charles said the key was moderation. He said chocolate was good for you, especially the dark variety.
His youngest client at the gym is 14. Some teenagers, he said, are trying to build muscle or wanted to be fit and look a certain way. The 20 to 30 year olds work hard and want to change their lifestyle. His mature clients, who are in the gym to maintain their health, are in their 50s and 60s.
Charles's advice to people who come to him about how to lose weight or with other health-related issues is that if he can do it, anyone can do it.