by Remy Hogan
photography by Molly Garry
It is date night at Monaco’s Pizza in Rancho Cucamonga. A couple sits across from each other at a candlelit table, laughing and reviewing their week. The food arrives; Loren Dyck has three full plates placed in front of him. An entree size plate awaits him that is piled high with a chicken caesar salad, a deep bowl of linguine drenched in clam sauce and a large, cheesy pizza. His wife eats only two small slices of pizza.
Date night is one of the few times a month that Loren allows himself to stray from his very strict meal plan. Loren is in training; he is, after all, Mr. Los Angeles, having placed first overall summer 2018 at the highly respected and widely attended competition known as the National Physique Committee’s (NPC) Los Angeles Championships. But by day, Loren Dyck, Ph.D., is professor of management at the University of La Verne.
Loren is originally from Canada, where he met and married his wife. In their 30s, they decided to reinvent themselves and move to Hawaii. He attended Hawaii Pacific University where he earned two graduate degrees; one was a master of business administration and the other was a master of human resource management. After graduating, Loren took on some consulting throughout the Hawaiian Islands. “It was as cool as it sounds,” he laughs. He lived there for three years before deciding that he wanted to pursue teaching as a profession, so he moved to Ohio to complete his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University.
He says his life mission is to improve the human condition, specifically in organizational life. This continuing examination drives sustained, desired change in his teaching, research and service. But this mission also translates into driving his own sustained, desired change as it relates to his own body and health. In the classroom, he is professional, quiet and easygoing as he works alongside his students to explore topics such as transformative cooperation, building relationships, and the positive emotional attractor. In the gym, he listens to heavy metal music like AC/DC and spends hours pumping iron and pushing himself to work even harder with an intense ruthlessness to achieve his fitness goals.
His students play a large role in fueling his motivation. Loren recalls teaching a graduate human resources class in 2014 that met at night. Holding to his strict six day meal plan, he would bring a few plates for dinner and snacks to eat throughout the class in order to maintain his routine and energy. At semester start, a student approached him after class to ask whether he could bring his own food and eat during class. Loren quickly agreed and recalls thinking that this was the kind of question a fellow bodybuilder might ask. His curiosity was piqued, but he did not ask his student any further questions.
The weeks went on, the semester flew by, and Loren found himself at his next bodybuilding competition. As Loren was walking around backstage preparing for his welterweight competition, he bumped into a person preparing for his own lightweight competition. As he jumped to apologize, Loren looked up into the eyes of the very same student who asked whether he could bring his own prepped meals to class all those weeks and months ago. “That moment,” Loren recalls, “reinforced for me the importance of sticking to your goals and giving each day your 110 percent.” He and his student had supported each other all through the semester without really knowing their hidden connection. They each stuck to their own meal plans, they remained faithful to their workout routines, and they trained as hard and as efficiently as they could for this fateful competition. But what ultimately tied them together? The need for sustained, desired change. “I find that you have to have the raison d’être, or reason for being, and that purpose becomes your driving force,” Loren reflects. Loren says his physical goal, as far as it relates to bodybuilding, is to perfect his body lines to achieve symmetry and muscle flow in order to enhance his muscularity, or size and definition, which qualifies as judging criteria for competitive bodybuilding. To achieve this, he actively finds ways to keep himself motivated to stay healthy and in shape.
As a suited up college professor, he is of modest 5 foot, 10 inch height and stature. Nevertheless, dressed in black dress pants and a blue button up shirt, his physique is very clearly toned, and the muscles of his arms stretch the fabric of his shirt just a little.
Beyond that, his professional attire, humble demeanor, and eloquence of speech do not give any indication that he has spent 45 years competing in a hardcore sport that requires total focus, daily effort, and many, many meals. Rather, it is his quiet confidence and the way in which he carries himself that give away the fact that he competes in a sport that challenges his mind and pushes his body to the brink of what it can achieve. “Competitive bodybuilding is the hardest sport in the world; it’s 24/7,” Loren says. He eats approximately six small, healthy meals a day and works out vigorously for hours at a time. For the last 45 years, the 60 year old has spent many of his days meal prepping, perfecting his workout routines, and participating in bodybuilding competitions. He trains four times a week, all year round, but the intensity and frequency of his workouts increase as he gets closer to his competitions, held an average of four times per year.
The ruthless discipline with which Loren keeps himself in check permeates every aspect of his life. His office is clean and tidy, filled with pictures of him and his wife, thank you cards from past students, article clippings about him competing, and his unusually large lunch bag that contains his meals for the day. He starts his day around 8 a.m. by training, and then he has a protein shake. His next meal is shrimp, followed by oatmeal with protein powder, berries and nuts. He then devours a big salad with 8 oz of tuna before enjoying salmon with vegetables. His last meal of the day is pudding, and Loren always makes sure to indulge his sweet tooth a little bit everyday with a piece of dark chocolate to keep muscle inflammation down. “It’s a good anti-inflammatory, it tastes good, and it helps curb cravings,” he says. He rarely eats junk food, and he thoroughly enjoys his weekly meal prepping. His main food consumption is centered around lean meats and seafood as well as healthy carbs like potatoes, yams and rice.
A weekly meal prep typically involves Loren bopping around the kitchen while listening to smooth jazz and baking or grilling three and a half pounds of salmon, seven pounds of chicken, two pounds of beef, and four pounds of potatoes. “I transition from beef-based meals to more seafood as I get closer to a show because seafood has a lot of good calories and good fats,” Loren says. His current favorite meal consists of 8 ounces of shrimp with vegetables, a cup of rice and some watermelon. “What I eat today will fuel me tomorrow,” Loren quotes, adding that “a lot of times what people think is that to get in shape you need to stop eating. Actually, what I find is that people don’t eat enough.”
Moreover, Loren finds that staying motivated is part of the reason that some people struggle to eat well and work out enough. “Excuses and results don’t go together,” he says. Loren is ruthlessly disciplined, and his focus and determination to improve is what ultimately led to the opportunity for him to build his own gym. He needed a place to work out with no distractions, somewhere that he could blast his heavy metal music to get him in the zone. He dedicated several months to converting his three-car garage into his own personal gym. He started by gutting the entire space, repainting it, and then painstakingly selecting his equipment and machinery. Since he has been competing since age 25, he knows his body and what works for it, so putting the effort into his gym has brought him the focus and motivation he needs to continue giving bodybuilding all of his time and energy.
Minimizing distractions has helped him immensely; before being able to train at his own gym, he would train at a nearby gym for a few months until a competition grew closer. Then, he would switch to another gym where nobody knew him and his workout routine and were therefore less likely to interrupt his training and ask him questions. In 2005, he started noticing that he was not getting the results he needed, so he worked with a trainer for a few months to hone his body. This dedicated bodybuilder recalls his trainer telling him, “Do you see that woman over there? She can do 100 sit ups nonstop. Do you know how many you can do? 27. And you stopped twice. If you want to compete on my stage, you need to up your game.” That spoke to Loren, whose sense of competition and excitement for his sport propelled him to reach a staggering 505 sit ups nonstop on an incline board.
His training progress is a testament to just how much he loves bodybuilding, and how far he is willing to push himself to crush his goals. “Bodybuilding is an art, it’s a science, and it’s also a competitive sport. But at the end of the day, what makes it so rewarding is that your No. 1 competitor is yourself.” ■