We found out about barihunk Nathan Rodriguez on Twitter when his friend hunkentenor Michael Merullo posted a picture of the two them with the message "#littlewomen rehearsal with my favorite #barihunk @n-rod1." Of course, we had to check it out and discovered another amazing bari-chunk to bari-hunk transformation. He lost over 40 pounds and went from a 36' waist to a 31" waist. Most importantly, he addressed some potentially serious health issues. We think he turned out pretty damn sexy! You'll want to read our interview with him about his transformation.
1. You're new to Barihunks, so tell us a little bit about your background.
|Besties: Michael Merullo and Nathan Rodriguez|
was born, raised and went to school in Connecticut. I moved to Boston a
couple years ago to start grad school at a conservatory, but decided to
hold off and do my own thing. I wanted to take advantage of performance
opportunities in the city while working to support myself and trying to
avoid adding a mountain of debt. It has been a very friendly place and I
have a bunch of upcoming engagements, including John Brooke in
MetroWest Opera’s production of Little Women
, The Miller in OperaHub’s
touring production of El Gato con Botas, and Mr. Lundquist in Nextdoor
Theater’s production of Little Night Music. I’m excited for the next
audition season and learning new roles in both opera and musical
2. We found about you because your friend tenor Michael Merullo
tweeted about you with #barihunk. Did you know that he was going to do
|Barihunk Nathan Rodriguez & Hunkentenor Michael Merullo|
Michael is a very talented, young tenor and a close friend.
I met him through singing here in Boston. He’s super supportive and has
really encouraged me in my singing and fitness endeavors. He's even
trained with me for running races. I knew he was taking a selfie in
rehearsal, but didn’t know about the hashtag. We’ve always joked about
my #pathtobarihunk but I didn’t think it would actually happen. He
called me at 1am one night and said “Dude, Barihunks just reached out to
me on Twitter about you, it’s real!” I hung up thinking he was kidding
and it was way past my bedtime.
3. What got you interested in singing and where are you with your studies/career?
was always musically inclined. I sang in choirs, performed in musicals,
and played viola for years. I was initially going to start a musical
theater program for undergrad but decided to go to my state school that
had a classical music program. “Not interested,” I thought. I majored my
first year in Romance Languages and International Affairs. A friend in
the music program convinced me to audition for voice since I’d be
singing in the languages I was learning and so that I could receive more
scholarships. The school also had an alliance with the Met and we
attended shows frequently. After getting into the program and going to
the Met for the first time, I was hooked.
Now I sing in the
Boston area and have had some awesome opportunities here, particularly
working with an incredible up-and-coming conductor, Lidiya Yankovskaya.
Next season, I’ll be taking the YAP plunge and auditioning alongside all
the other super talented, young opera singers. See ya then Opera
America, fingers crossed.
4. Tell us about your process from being overweight to getting in
shape. How did being overweight effect your self-esteem, confidence and
|Nathan Rodriguez: Before & After|
I had many weight fluctuations post college. I had
always tried to be somewhat active, but was very inconsistent. I let my
schedule dictate my level of fitness. The busier I was, the less I
exercised or focused on what I ate.
I also had a heart condition
that reached a peak last year. I wasn’t allowed to exert myself for
over 8 months while doctors figured it out and came up with a game plan.
I gained weight, lost stamina, and was even having trouble singing.
Being 205lbs at only 5’7” was a definite low point for me. I looked in
the mirror and wondered how I’d be considered for roles in my voice type
(e.g. the strapping brother, the handsome soldier, the sly best friend)
if I wasn’t convinced myself, physically or in terms of vocal
confidence. After recovering from multiple cardiac ablations that
thankfully fixed my issues without having to implant a defibrillator, my
cardiologist gave me the “all clear” to get physical again (like Olivia
Newton-John). I had NO EXCUSES.
I sought an online trainer who
provided a nutrition and workout plan, a 12-week program of lifting,
cardio, and meal prep. It was up to me to execute it. Over the summer, I
lost 25lbs, but more importantly 12% body fat. I was becoming leaner
with more muscle. I took up running again and trained for a
half-marathon, finishing in less than 2 hours, which felt fantastic. A
friend of mine also introduced me to yoga, which has made a huge impact.
With all that I lost almost 40lbs over 6 months. I went from a size 36
waist to a 31. Now, I feel great and ready to tackle new projects with
5. What is your workout routine and do you workout with someone?
|Nathan Rodriguez finishing a half marathon|
I do a combination of everything. I lift and do more full-body
workouts. I run when the weather is nice out. I do yoga 3-4 times a
week, and I watch what I eat. I stick to proteins, veggies, fruits, and
complex carbs for the most part. Do I have occasional pizza, ice cream
and beer? Heck yes! But it’s all about balance.
I also enjoy the
process of getting in shape and appreciate the philosophy that something
is always better than nothing in terms of getting workouts in. I love
to challenge my body and don’t focus as much on results, but rather
making physical activity a part of my daily routine, a definite
priority. I look forward to trying new forms of fitness. I might try
crossfit and have always wanted to row so those are on my list. I’m not
opposed to a workout/running/yoga buddy, but I usually make exercise
into “me” time. It helps regulate my stress-level, helps me to assess
and prioritize my goals, and I avoid competition that can get in the way
of my own fitness achievements. However, someone to hold me accountable
is always welcome and I love encouraging others get to their own
fitness happy places :)
6. What would be your dream role to sing in opera?
|Nathan Rodriguez as Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore|
would be an epic win. I’d also love to sing some Verdi roles
one day… I’ll give it a decade or so. I don’t limit myself to opera and
would love to do crossover and be the emcee in Cabaret
or a Sweeney
. The list is endless, really. I like it all!
7. Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with opera or fitness.
|Nathan Rodriguez trying on an old pair of pants|
many singers have day jobs to sustain themselves. I’m fortunate to work
at an incredible genetics research institute and I’m looking to grow
into grants administration. I take classes in non-profit management on
the side and would love to eventually use this skill-set to help
non-profit arts organizations secure and manage funds. I’m a big
advocate for singers developing other professional skills. Focusing on
what can benefit the world of arts and music is crucial for our