Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Justin Swinney

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Justin Swinney! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Justin Swinney
  • E-mail: rjswinney@una.edu
  • Age: 24
  • Where: Florence, Alabama
  • Height: 5' 6"
  • Weight: 205 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :3
  • Favorite Bodypart: Back
  • Favorite Exercise: Old School T-Bar Rows
  • Favorite Supplements: Protein Powder, Pre Workout Product, Basic Vitamins

How Did You Get Started?

My dad started bodybuilding in the 70's and I was born in 1983. I was born into the sport. My dad has been a nutritionist and trainer longer than I have been alive. He has worked with many great professional athletes and he was also the Maryland NPC state chairman and national level judge. I didn't have a choice but to be an athlete.

I was always interested in bodybuilding, but I wanted to play every sport growing up. My favorite sport was football. I had a very successful high school football career as a running back and linebacker. I entered three powerlifting meets when I was in high school and I won first place in all three. Then I started college and began playing football but I had some nagging injuries with my knees. It seemed like it would never get better and I did not want to play if I couldn't play at full speed. I decided to take a year off from football and recover from my injuries so I could go back the next year.

While I was taking time off of football, I needed some sort of athletic competition to keep me motivated. I picked a bodybuilding show. It was the Greater Knoxville Classic in Tennessee. I won the middleweight novice and the overall novice. That show was amazing and it was run very professional. The rest is history. I was bitten by the bug.

Once I won that show, I received tons of positive feedback. My next goal was to qualify for Nationals. I set my sights on the 2007 NPC Mr. Alabama in Birmingham, AL. I won the middleweights in the Mr. Alabama in August 2007. I have now achieved my goal of qualifying for nationals.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Arrow Sample Training Week:

  • I DO NOT TRAIN ARMS, TRAPS OR ABS. The only time I train arms is the last 4 weeks before a show. I want to stay proportionate and my arms and traps grow fast when I train them.
  • I NEVER DO CARDIO.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

This is the diet I used for the 2007 Mr. Alabama:

Arrow Sample Meal Plan:

    Meal 1: 8oz liquid egg white, 2 scoops whey, 1 cup oatmeal
    Meal 2: 8oz chicken, 8oz sweet potato
    Meal 3: 2 cans tuna, 1 cup brown rice
    Meal 4: 8oz liquid egg white, 2 scoops why, 1 cup oatmeal
    Meal 5: 12oz sirloin, 4 plain rice cakes with sugar-free jelly
    Meal 6: 12oz turkey breast and salad-no dressing

I have a super fast metabolism and I have to consume a lot of carbohydrates. I did not do any cardio for my competition, I never have. I get lean by eating clean and working out.

My nutrition is about to change drastically when I start my new diet from Dave Palumbo.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Protein powders and meal replacement bars save my life. I am currently in graduate school at The University of North Alabama pursuing a master's degree in Human Performance and Health Promotion and I miss a lot of meals. I'm lucky to get 2 real meals a day, but bars and shakes hold me over.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love the fact that if I win it is because I earned it. In team sports, a person can do their best and still lose because someone else messes up. In bodybuilding it is all on me. If I lose it is my fault not my teammates.

I am lucky to have a team around me that supports bodybuilding. I have the best granddad in the world. He fixes pounds of chicken and sweet potatoes for me every Sunday after church. I have a great Aunt Kim and Uncle Jeff in Birmingham that keep me focused on school and a positive future. My Uncle Shane is the best student minister to ever live; if I call him with a problem he always has an answer. My dad set the bar high, and I strive to achieve those goals every day. My mom, sister and step-dad always give me positive motivation. My fiancé Leah is my biggest fan and is brutally honest with her physique critiques.

I am lucky to have an awesome room mate who I get along with great and he does not tempt me with junk food while on my diet. I have the best friends in the world. They all think bodybuilding is cool and they come to my shows. I am blessed to be surrounded by this net of people to keep me on the path to success.


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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

My best friend/brother from another mother (Dan Puckett) died last month and he was a not only a great bodybuilder, but a great friend. He was the type of person we all need to strive to be. I am dedicating the rest of my bodybuilding career to him.

My next show is going to be Jr. Nationals in 2009, maybe 2008 if I am ready. I want to take a year off and moving up to light heavyweights. Then I will do nationals and USAs in pursuit of an IFBB Pro Card. I would like to turn pro in the next 3-5 years.

I just started working with Dave Palumbo this week and I am excited to see how his program is going to work. He has had great results will all of his clients at the National and IFBB Pro level. Hopefully I can be one of his next successful clients.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

I would tell them to work hard and if it is meant to be it will happen. Bodybuilding is a sport that genetics play a big factor. I would say 70-80% is determined by your genetic ability. You have to figure out your body before you can be successful. There is no one size fits all program. Find a nutritionist and a trainer that will customize a program for you. Bodybuilding is a marathon not a race. You can't rush perfection. BE HUMBLE and RESPECT fellow competitors!!! Don't be arrogant and give the sport a bad name.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Kevin Levrone. I have known him since I was 9. My dad started doing his nutrition and training years ago. He is a great role model. I consider him my Uncle. He calls me and keeps me motivated. He is not only one of the best bodybuilders to ever live, he is my role model. If I could accomplish half the things he did in bodybuilding, I would consider myself the luckiest person alive.

I've met Phil Heath on a few different times at nationals and Mr. O. He has a great attitude and is a great representative of the sport. Johnnie Jackson is also another bodybuilder who I met a few times, he had a great personality and was real cool.


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I met Gustavo Badell twice and both times he was very nice and a positive role model for the sport.


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When I met David Henry, he was super energetic and very humble. Vince Taylor is a great person and very supportive of young competitors. I met Will Harris at the Mr. O athletes meeting and he was real cool too. I talked to Mark Dugdale at the Mr. O and he is a great example how bodybuilders can be successful outside of the sport.

I have a lot of favorite bodybuilders, but it is not only because of their physique. I just listed a few. I pick my favorites from how they look and treat the fans too. I have met a few pros that are great athletes, but could use an attitude adjustment. If I picked my favorites just based on physiques, I would pick someone along the lines of Dexter Jackson, Johnnie Jackson, Silvio Samuel, Kai Greene, Gustavo Badell or Phil Heath. I don't like the look of tall bodybuilders. I like bodybuilders with small joints, good lines, and real thick muscles.