Esteban Vargas was born in Medellin, Colombia, when it was considered the most dangerous city in the world. Home of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, Vargas’ hometown was one whose citizens lived in constant fear of violence. Luckily, Vargas and his family escaped Colombia in the late ’80s, landing in Jersey City, N.J.
The move allowed Vargas to better focus on his love of martial arts. As a freshman in high school, he added wrestling to his combatives resume and, like many teens, eventually found a fondness for weight training.
“It wasn’t long before I decided to focus all my energy on weight training,” Vargas says. “My goal was to gain as much strength as possible, and my body reacted very well to the training. I felt like a human experiment because I would try different routines and diets that would get me drastic results.”
He may not have realized it at the time, but this resistance-based epiphany would eventually steer Vargas to a career in fitness.
How did you transition to bodybuilding?
I saw that my body was reacting really well without the need of drugs, so in 2008 I decided to compete in an NPC drug-tested bodybuilding show called the Gold Cup, where I placed first in my weight class. The rest is history.
How did you find Athletic Edge Nutrition?
After that natural show, I began to knock on doors in the sports-nutrition industry to see if I could get a sponsorship. God blessed me with great genetics to be able to take it to the next level, and I wanted to work with a company that believed in my vision of staying drug-free so that I could relate to the customers who wanted to stay natural. That’s when Sebastian [Balcombe], the CEO of Athletic Edge Nutrition, gave me an opportunity to work with him as a demo representative. Then I became their regional sales representative and eventually they sponsored me as their athlete.
How do AEN products fit into your training program?
The first AEN product that I took was PreSurge, a preworkout supplement. That product helped me push myself to the limit. Last year, we released APE (Alpha Performance Enhancer), our natural testosterone booster. I started to take it for my show last year, which helped me become leaner and stronger. I also use IntrAbolic for recovery. That product is amazing because it keeps building my endurance, and my recovery is way faster than before. I could honestly tell you that I’m feeling way better since I started taking AEN products. They put a tremendous amount of research into the products, and all the ingredients are very carefully chosen.
What do you do when you’re not competing?
I dedicate most of my free time to spiritual growth because I believe that life’s not only about the physical but also about the spiritual. Right now, I’m in school to become a pastor. I also love to help people with their fitness goals. I like to go out to restaurants with friends and ignore the fact that I’m dieting. I like visiting and spending time with my family.
Here’s an example of the type of chest routine Esteban Vargas uses to prep for a shoot.