Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: James Kohler

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: James Kohler! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I became a Wisconsin State Tae Kwon Do champion when I was 15, weighing only 125lbs. I wanted to start working out with weights, but I didn’t know how to train correctly. After meeting a local man known for his supreme strength and masculine build, a deal was struck. In exchange for training this man in Tae Kwon Do, I was taught how to be trained with weights. My strength and size increased dramatically. I gained 25 pounds during my first year of training. One day I discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. It was after reading this book that I became fascinated with bodybuilding and began to work out religiously.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

  • Mon: Back
  • Tue: Chest, Abs
  • Wed: Hamstrings, Calves
  • Thr: Biceps, Triceps
  • Fri: Shoulders, Abs
  • Sat: Quadriceps, Calves
  • Sun: rest
My arousal levels decline after about an hour. So I like to keep my workout to about 60-75 minutes at a time to get the most out of my workouts. Splitting up your body parts in this way allows you to complete your workouts intensely in about an hour. Training with high intensity is the key to making good gains.

Training with the basic movements has worked best for me. My workouts consist of primarily free weights, using both compound and isolation movements to work the muscle groups at every possible angle. Each day I train with a variation to what I had done previously to prevent a plateau and boredom. I either switch the order of the exercises, the exercises themselves, or both.

I do 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week during the off-season. When I am preparing for a competition I bump it up to 30 minutes 4 times a week. I think cardio works best for burning fat at 65-75% of your max heart rate. I never do cardiovascular training on leg days.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I have 7 meals a day, eating every 2-3 hours. I currently have approximately 380g of protein, 600g of carbs, and 90g of fat per day during the off-season. Bodybuilders should have at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight a day. I get my protein through chicken, fish, egg whites, turkey burger, and Whey protein shakes. My carbs come from clean sources: brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, oatmeal, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.

When I am preparing for a show, I start carb cycling. Sunday is my lowest carb day and then it builds up throughout the week slowly. Friday and Saturday I have high carb days, what I would have normally during the off-season. I have low glycemic carb sources up to Friday and Saturday as well.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Creatine always gives me good strength and size gains, but you tend to hold a little water when you are on it. Ephedra products are great for burning fat and increasing your energy- too bad they are now banned! Andro products worked well for me as well, but they’ll be banned shortly also. L-Glutamine is great for recovery and Whey Protein is essential for muscle growth. The newest supplement I have tried is NO2, it gives you an excellent pump and size/strength gains.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding has given me a tremendous amount of self-confidence. It has taught me how to set goals and think positively, which is important in all aspects of my life. I love the way bodybuilding makes me look and feel, it keeps me healthy.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I competed in my first national bodybuilding competition this year in Miami and took 3rd place. I plan on competing in two more national competitions in November, the Musclemania World and OCB Championships.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

There are no secrets to bodybuilding, consistency and perseverance is what makes bodybuilders successful. As soon as you believe in yourself, your dreams can become a reality.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Arnold Schwarzenegger (of course) and Ronnie Coleman are the best of the best!