An Interview With IFBB Pro Yohnnie Shambourger.

An interview with accomplished natural bodybuilder, and IFBB pro, Yohnnie Shambourger. Very few natural bodybuilders have made their mark on the world of competitive bodybuilding the way Yohnnie Shambourger has.

Very few natural bodybuilders have made their mark on the world of competitive bodybuilding the way Yohnnie Shambourger has. In 1995, Yohnnie won the overall title at the team universe Championships and has since gone on to achieve bodybuilding greatness.

At the 96, 97 and 99 Masters Olympias Yohnnie came 3rd, 5th and 5th respectively. A 4th placing at the 98 Masters Arnold Classic secured his position as one of the best natural bodybuilders, and one of the most impressive masters pros, of all time.

An advocate for healthy living and physical fitness, Yohnnie was appointed member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness for the state of Maryland, where he currently resides. He stresses that people need to become more physically active to improve the quality of their lives. For the aspiring bodybuilder he says "push your body to the limit, and do it naturally".


[ Q ] Please provide some background on yourself. Also, why did you begin bodybuilding in the first place?

    Age: 51
    Height: 5'7"
    Weight: 215 off season and 190 contest
    History: Learn More...


[ Q ] What are your current goals? (bodybuilding and otherwise).

    My goal is simple... fitness! For almost 20 years, my professional career was in computer technology with the last 6 of those years, as a senior database administrator (DBA) for one of the country's largest financial institutions. But as a small kid growing up, my passion to excel was always driven by fitness and sports.

    So in 2002, I took a leap of faith and left corporate America for Yohnnex Sports, my hobby and part-time fitness company. My goal then is still my goal today and that's to successfully transition from part-time hobby to full-time business a fiscally solid company staffed with certified professional personal trainers, nutritionists, massage therapists and recreation and physical education specialists.


[ Q ] Please outline your competition history?

    1990
    • USA Championships - NPC, Middleweight, 2nd

    1991

    • World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Middleweight, 2nd

    1993

    • Nationals - NPC, Middleweight, 3rd
    • USA Championships - NPC, Middleweight, 2nd
    • World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Middleweight, 2nd

    1994

    • Nationals - NPC, Middleweight, 2nd
    • Team Universe Championships - NPC, Middleweight, 1st
    • World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Middleweight, 3rd

    1995

    • Jan Tana Classic - NPC, Overall Winner
    • Team Universe Championships - NPC, Overall Winner
    • World Amateur Championships - IFBB, Middleweight, 1st (Mr. Universe)
    • Pan-American Games - IFBB, Middleweight, 1st

    1996

    • Jan Tana Master Olympia Qualifier - IFBB, Overall Winner
    • Olympia - Masters - IFBB, 3rd

    1997

    • Olympia - Masters - IFBB, Masters 40+, 5th

    1998

    • Arnold Classic - IFBB, Masters, 4th

    1999

    • Ironman Pro Invitational - IFBB, 18th
    • Olympia - Masters - IFBB, 5th


[ Q ] What is your fondest bodybuilding recollection?

    Oh, I have many... winning the overall NPC Team Universe Championship in 1995 or travelling to Poland in 1991 to compete in the World Amateur Championship along with team mate Ronnie Coleman (who later became 7 time Mr. Olympia) or doing photo shoots in the streets of Shanghi, China in 1994 for Muscle & Fitness Magazine or winning the Mr. Universe Title in 1995, just to name a few.

    But my fondest bodybuilding moment would have to be placing 3rd in my first competition as an IFBB pro at the Master Olympia. It was mind boggling to be standing there holding a check, the massive Joe Weider Mr. Olympia Medal and the legendary Olympia Sandow Medal; and all, while hundreds of voices screamed my name.

    Also knowing that on that day there were only two other people in the world that beat me (Vince Taylor and the late Sonny Schmidt) and both were pros who I as an amateur had pictures of and admired.

    Knowing that the countless hours of training and discipline all materialized at that moment on stage when a dream that was set as a goal was finally realized. For a guy who devoted a lifetime to healthy living and natural bodybuilding, to now compete against the big boys and win wasn't an idea that I others imagined or quite frankly embraced. But in the end, I proved otherwise.


[ Q ] Touring with Ronnie Coleman must have been a great experience. What was Ronnie like as a team mate. Has he inspired you in any way?

    Ronnie was so much fun as a team mate. He only weighted 217 lbs. when he won the Mr. Universe title, but he looked every bit of 250 lbs. The whole experience was inspiring because my team members (Earl Snyder, Jose Guzman, Ron Coleman ( TwinLab), Ronnie Coleman) and myself were like a college team on a road trip ...nothing but fun!

    Everyone was cool, supportive, and shared training tips. During my years as an amateur, Ronnie often called my home to check see how I was doing and to talk about my progress. We still keep in touch today.


[ Q ] Competing in the Masters Olympia must have been a special occasion. What exactly does the Olympia mean to you? How does it differ from other pro contests?

    The difference is like night and day. The stage is bigger, the audience is larger and all the athletes are at their very best. The only show that can match the Olympia is the Arnold Classic. The Olympia and the Arnold Classic are the same because only the very best in the world are invited. It's always special to be considered one of the best in the world.


[ Q ] Describe your current training regime. What are your training goals?


[ Q ] You say you train heavy all the time. Do you, on occasion, add lighter sessions for recuperation purposes?

    No! But at the end of each contest season, I take 3 weeks off from weight training. When I start back training, I'll train lighter until I can go heavy again.

    In my training video "Building Muscle ...Unleash the Winner in You",I talk about my training philosophy.


[ Q ] Describe your current diet. How does it change pre-contest?

    My Current Diet

      Meal 1

      Meal 2

      Meal 3

      • 2 cup Rice
      • 1 cup vegetables
      • 8 oz chicken breast / lean steak
      • 2 Fat Breaker

      Meal 4

      • 2 scoops Maximum Muscle Intensifier
      • 1 cup rice and black beans
      • 2 L-Glutamine

      Meal 5

      • 8 oz Fish
      • mixed green salad with low-calorie dressing
      • 2 cup vegetables
      • 2 Fat Breaker
      • 2 L-Glutamine

    Take micronized creatine monohydrate - 1 hr. before and after workout.

    Take 3 Full Rack at bed time.

    During contest time, I reduce the carbs and add in Fat Reducer Plus along with an increase in protein.


[ Q ] What is your view on supplementation? In your opinion, what works and what doesn't?

    As a natural athlete, you can't compete at the highest levels of competition without the aid of supplements. You can't eat enough food and it's almost impossible to recover between workouts without them. I'm not big on many of the new products because it's more hype advertisement and less product quality.

    I tried a lot of supplements over the years and talked to many natural athletes and we can tell a good product from a poor one. That's one of the main reasons I started my own supplement company.


[ Q ] Was there any person or event which inspired you to become a top bodybuilder?

    In 1990 after placing 2nd at the USA Championship. That was a major accomplishment for me at the time and I felt that if I trained harder and smarter, I could possibly one day win the Mr. Universe title.


[ Q ] You appear to be blessed with great symmetry. What do you consider to be your strongest point physically? Any weaknesses which you would like to improve on?

    My strongest body part has been my back. My weakness as a pro has been my size. I compete at 190 lbs. I hope to compete at 200 lbs if there's a Master Olympia this year.

Symmetry: Why It Is Important, & How To Achieve It.
Developing a symmetrical physique entails focusing on all muscle groups equally through the employment of a variety of exercises...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    I have increased my size by 10 lbs and started training for the 2005 contest season. So hopefully the extra 10 lbs. will make the difference.


[ Q ] How do you manage to stay in excellent shape, despite your age? Do you have to work harder to maintain your physical accomplishments?

    I try not to gain too much weight in the off season. I do have a sweet tooth and from Thanksgiving until New Year's I eat a lot of cookies, cake, and ice cream. But during that time I will also do a ton of cardio to keep my body together. I also like to train heavy all the time.


[ Q ] What other hobbies and interests do you have?

    Swimming and hiking with my family and friends.


[ Q ] Where are you living Yohnnie, and what is the bodybuilding culture like there?

    Maryland. The bodybuilding culture is changing we have a strong collection of amateur athletes but the large collection of pros we had ( Kevin Levrone, Don Long, King Kamali, Willie Stalling, Jack Smith, Teresa Hessler, and Susan Meyers) has moved on. But don't sleep on this area because many of our young amateurs have the potential to become future pros …and I'm training a few of them!


[ Q ] Which gym do you train at? Do you have a training partner? What is your view on training partners as a way to enhance quality of training?

    The gym is Olympus Fitness & Aerobics, 5470 St. Barnabas Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland 20745.

    Recently I have been training alone, but during contest preparation, my training partner is Donald Wells. Having a good training partner is very important because I enjoy training heavy and pushing my body to new limits and that's crucial to a competitive athlete.

    Motivation I have a good training partner is someone who can match your level of determination.

A Good Workout Partner: A Key To Muscle Gain.
A good workout partner can separate a man from a champion and an ordinary lift from a personal best...
[ Click here to learn more. ]


[ Q ] Who do you think has the greatest physique on the planet currently (natural or otherwise)?

    The greatest physique on the planet in Big Ronnie Coleman. The greatest physique over the age of 50 is me!


[ Q ] You are an appointed member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness for the state of Maryland. Describe this role.

    As a member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness for the state of Maryland the mission is to educate, advise, and encourage the citizens of Maryland to gain health benefits and enhance the quality of their lives through regular physical activity.

    I help with various activities we promote across the state including speaking, workshops, games, and help gather information to help the Council provide a clearinghouse for information on physical fitness.


[ Q ] What message would you give society in general with regards to the importance of weight-training?

    Weight-training keeps you looking and feeling young. It's an activity you can do to reduce stress, increase physical performance, prevents injuries, increase bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis.


[ Q ] What is your view on drug use in sport?

    I believe that drug use has killed the sport of women's bodybuilding. Just check out the covers of the major bodybuilding magazines. They don't use female bodybuilders on their covers and the figure and fitness women have taken away all their supplement contracts and appearances.

    The men, I'm not to sure of, but more and more of the top guys are ending their careers early because of health reasons. Something needs to change.


[ Q ] What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring bodybuilder?

    Take your time enjoy your bodybuilding experience and the wonderful people you will meet along the way. Push your body to the limit and do it naturally.