Michael Hairston: 2004 Natural California Class Winner!

It's been said that the shoulders are the mark of the man. Whoever first said that statement must have had Michael Hairston in mind. When you see Michael your eyes are immediately drawn to the width of his shoulder girdle and his cantalope-sized delts.

From backflips to broccoli protein shakes, this incredible future minister is making his mark in competitve bodybuilding.

It's been said that the shoulders are the mark of the man. Whoever first said that statement must have had Michael Hairston in mind. When you see Michael your eyes are immediately drawn to the width of his shoulder girdle and his cantalope-sized delts. Yep, some guys are genetcally gifted, just like that Reeves guy from the 1940s. Come to think of it, that Reeves guy also had some outstanding calf development-just like this Hairston guy has!

Contest Preparation

I've seen Mike at the gym for about three years now. We'd give each other an ocassional spot and say the customary, "Hey," or "How ya doing?" as we'd pass each other during our workouts. One day, however, I could not stand it any longer.

I just had to know if this kid had ever competed in a contest. So I walked up to him and asked, "Do you ever compete?" Mike's eyes lit up and he answered excitedly, "I'm getting ready for the Natural California in June!"

It was the end of May.

"Your first show?"

"Yes," he replied.

"How do you feel about your presentation and posing?" I asked.

"I have no idea what I'm doing," he said.

After a brief conversation where I explained I had been a competitive bodybuilder, posing was one of my strong points and that I had coached a number of champions, I offered my services to him and he accepted.

Since the show was rapidly approaching, we didn't have any time to spare. We started going over the semi-relaxed round and compulsory poses in beween sets of our workouts.

A few days later we worked on some transitions and picked some music. I suggested the theme music from the Conan: The Barbarian movie. Mike was very eager to use something more classical as he wasn't comfortable using music that may require some type of dance moves. "My legs just don't move that way. I cannot dance."

I found out he could do a backflip because he had a background in gymnastics. Let the other guys dance. My guy was going to do a backflip. I couldn't wait. After several posing sessions to work out the routine to music, Mike was learning very quickly. He was getting leaner every day and I was starting to become confident that he'd place well.

The critical last week was approaching and I e-mailed a day-by-day plan for his diet, training and general contest preparation. He followed that plan and came in the day of the contest lean, hard and dry.

It was already time for the competition!


Mike was competing in the novice under 5-foot-7 division. It was the toughest class of the contest. The prejudging was complete and I knew it was close. He could have either first or second. I told him to not eat much and only eat some complex carbs and some chicken. He agreed and wanted to keep his waist tight.

Mike performed his backflip and transition into a crab most muscular shot and drove the crowd nuts. I heard someone say, "Well that's something you don't see everyday."

The emcee was ready to announce the class winner. She notified the audience that it had indeed been close as the winner won by one point. Mike was declared the winner. His parents, Scott and Suzette, were sitting next to me and Scott went nuts. I'm not sure which one of us leaped higher into the air. Actually, I think it was me.

Mike didn't win the overall title, but he accomplished what few people ever do. He won his class in his first show with only one-month's preparation. Many guys will prepare for 12-16 weeks and still not even place.

More About Mike Hairston

A couple weeks after the Natural California I got together with Mike to ask him some questions about his training, diet and some of his life's ambitions.

Mike Hairston is 25-years old and lives in Palmdale, CA. He began working out and becoming health conscious at about age 16. He was a pudgy 175 pounds at 5-foot-4-inches tall. And he had a terrible case of acne.

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About that time he began seeing Dr. Emard, a chiropractor who would forever change Mike's life. Dr. Emard taught the young Hairston the value of proper nutrition and Mike started implementing changes in his diet. He began to consume lots of high quality foods like fruits, vegetables and high fiber products.

Mike also eliminated dairy foods from his diet and he incorporated as much as three hours a day of cardio work. Within three months Mike's weight had decreased from 175-to-135. And his acne cleared up. For that alone, Mr. Hairston is very grateful to his chiropractor.

From ages 16-to-20 Hairston was in the movie industry for a while. He got noticed because he submitted an unusual photo to his agent. In the photo Mike was doing a spread-eagle karate kick a la Jackie Chan. It never hurts to use some creative thinking along with using your talents of gymnastics and karate to land a role in Hollywood.

Over a period of about three years Mike had appeared briefly in the movie Starship Troopers, the TV show Home Improvement and several commercials. He enjoyed it and the money was good but the industry had a dark side. Mike is a born-again Christian and some of the things he witnessed were not in line with his spiritual beliefs. Still young, he was afraid of being sucked into things he wouldn't be comfortable doing. And so he left. Hollywood's loss would become bodybuilding's gain.

At 20, Mike started going to the local junior college and started hitting the weights with his dad, Scott. Mike's dad had always been really strong and teased Mike about putting on some meat. Scott worked with his son and showed him some of the basics of bodybuilding and soon Mike was putting on some meat. The "meat" first appeared in his shoulders as they responded quickly to training. His triceps and calves responded well also. Within in four to five months he had made some decent results.

How Important Is A Healthy Diet To You?

Very Important - I get sick if I don't watch my diet.
Somewhat Important - I'm changing my regular diet to be healthier.
Not Important - I eat what I want, when I want.

Any stubborn body parts? "My biceps are the most rebellious. They have never liked to grow," Mike explained. But consistency wins out and his arms are up to 16 and one-half inches at a body weight of 175 pounds. He's now 5-foot-6. 30 pounds of muscle in a little more than 5 years of training could be considered "decent."

After junior college Mike began attending Life Bible College in San Dimas, Calif. He went there for a couple years and then began attending King's College & Seminary in Van Nuys, Calif. Currently he's studying to become a pastor, but Mike is keeping his options open too.

When it comes to training, Mike goes for the pump. "The pump is the most important indicator for my workouts. It's more important than weights and the amount of reps," Mike said. And speaking of reps, Mike does a lot of them. He learned high-rep training from his dad and still carries that through in his workouts sometimes today. Generally, Mike will keep his reps in the 6-8 range for mass building, but will increase them to 10-15 for fine tuning. (See his entire training routine below.)



Click here for printable workout.


Click here for printable workout.


Click here for printable workout.


Click here for printable workout.


Click here for printable workout.


Click here for printable workout.


    Relax. Go to the mall. See a movie. Whatever you do on your day off!


Mike Hairston is a great athlete with lots of natural potential. He also has a good head on his shoulders and has a bright future ahead of him wherever God may lead him. Next time we'll discuss in detail Mike's diet plan and supplement regime-including his recipe for broccoli protein shakes!

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