Ken Bragg


What does bodybuilding mean to me? To me, bodybuilding means primarily three things: it is an integral part of my profession, it keeps me healthy and strong, and it is a way of life.

An Integral Part of Me

Bodybuilding is an integral part of my profession not only because I compete as a pro and earn money from my wins but also because it leads to work as a guest poser and it ties into my work as a personal trainer. Because of my bodybuilding success, I have been hired to guest pose at contests during the evening portion of the show. Not only do I earn money from this, but also guest-posing increases my exposure to the public and in turn increases the number of clients that I will acquire. Not too mention the future guest posing that I will be hired for. Most of my clients approach me because of my physical appearance or because they have heard of my personal success as a bodybuilder. In effect, the way that I look is an important part of my chosen profession. Not all personal trainers need be bodybuilders to achieve success but I find that the better I look and perform in contests, the greater number of clients I will have. Since I am a competitive bodybuilder and a personal trainer, many aspiring bodybuilders come to me for advice and hire me to aid them. In fact, I have carved a niche where I specialize in preparing others for bodybuilding, fitness, or modeling events. Also, bodybuilding has put me in the position where I now host a weekly workout television program on local cable in Pittsburgh, PA. Not only does this greatly increase my exposure and in turn create more clients for myself, but also now I can teach others about bodybuilding and its rewards. This program also provides a great venue to mention upcoming contests where I may be competing, guest posing, or judging.

Health and Strength

Being healthy and strong are vital parts of what bodybuilding means to me. I have to say that I absolutely love the way that I feel when I am lifting weights. I train with great intensity and lift the heaviest weights that are possible for me. I take practically every set to positive failure and it feels wonderful! Some may think that this style of training would be hard on the joints but it rarely bothers me. I have been weight training for many years (24) and have suffered relatively few bodybuilding related injuries. Mostly it has just been the usual aches and pains that dissipate with time. Bodybuilding has increased my strength quite a bit throughout the years. For example, when I first started out with weights at the age of 12 I can remember having difficulty in even pressing the bar off of my chest during a bench press. Now, my best bench is a single at 425 and a double at 405. Not only will bodybuilding create strength but also it is also very healthy. Lifting weights will increase a person's bone density, which will help them in later life. In fact, many health practitioners have finally adopted weight training as one of their treatments and preventative techniques for elderly patients. Weight training will help the heart pump blood with more efficiency and may help to lower a person's resting heart rate. Also, weight training will increase the amount of lean muscle tissue that a person has, which will burn more fat calories at rest.

A Way of Life

Bodybuilding is a way of life to me; it encompasses virtually all aspects of my life. It is much more than just a hobby. Bodybuilding affects everything: my daily schedule, my diet, the places and events that I attend, etc. My normal daily schedule is typically comprised of training many clients, my own workout, cardio, tanning, working on my website, writing articles, answering emails, and eating. This doesn't even count any family commitments that I may have for the day along with normal activities such as laundry or feeding the cats. Currently I am on an eight meal a day diet with a meal every 2 hours. As you can imagine, planning is vitally important in successfully following my diet. I have to know exactly what, when, where, and why I am going to eat not only my next meal but also the meals for the entire day. If you do not plan ahead, you are just asking for trouble. It is difficult to resist temptation when you are starving and you do not have your meal prepared!

A Game of Sacrifices

Bodybuilding is a game of sacrifices. This should not be enlightening for those of you who compete in bodybuilding. There are many times when we are faced with making difficult decisions. For example, should I really go to that ball game with my buddies even though I am two weeks out from a show? Perhaps if you have an iron will and could manage to bring your meals with you, you could take in the game with your friends. But if you are like most of us, the temptation would be very difficult to resist. I'm not saying this to dissuade anyone from bodybuilding but rather to illustrate how bodybuilding is a way of life, particularly if you are a competitor. In fact, I view bodybuilding as something very positive in my life. My wife and son work out with weights and this gives us a common bond. I try to lift weights with my wife as often as I can so that we can spend more time together. Also, I train my 12-year-old son at home so that he can learn proper form and technique. Both of them are great supporters of mine and help me tremendously; particularly when I am preparing for a contest. We all try to eat well and view bodybuilding as a family activity since their actions are important in my success as a competitor.

To sum up what bodybuilding means to me: it is an integral part of my profession, it keeps me healthy and strong, and it is a way of life. These three things work synergistically by providing the opportunity to pursue bodybuilding to its fullest. Bodybuilding has been vital in creating the person who I am today. Not just the physical aspect but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual parts as well. Bodybuilding is a very large part of the definition of who I am.

Name: Ken Bragg
Years Bodybuilding: 24
Years Competing: 3
Favorite Body Parts: All of them!
Favorite Exercise: Anything heavy!
Favorite Supplements: MRP, glutamine, creatine
Hobbies: Spending time with family
Favorite Bodybuilder: Skip LaCour
As of 4/11/02
Age: 36
Height: 5'4
Weight: Off season 195, Contest 170
Chest: 47" flexed
Legs: 26.5" flexed
Arms: 19" flexed, 20" pumped
Calves: 17.5 flexed
Waist: 31", 28 at contest


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