How Did You Get Started?
I haven't always been interested in bodybuilding or even working out consistently. I spent the first 12 years of my Air Force career as an enlisted aircraft guidance and control technician. At the 10 year mark, I began to seriously consider becoming an officer. In order to qualify for the commissioning program through ROTC, I had to pass a physical fitness test that consisted of a two mile run, two minutes of sit-ups, and two minutes of push-ups (as many as you could do).
The better the run time and the more sit-ups and push-ups that I could do, the more points I scored which made me more competitive for the small number of selectees for the commissioning programs. Once I started training for the physical fitness test, it was game on. I was determined to get into the best shape that I could overall, not just to score well on the test (which I smoked). At that point, going to the gym became a pleasure, not a chore. I looked forward to the burn from lifting heavy and the soreness afterwards.
Civilian Life To Military Life
What Is The Hardest Part?
I grew up in a small town and had never really been away from home. Basic training at a relatively young age of 17 was a real eye opener. But I can honestly say I needed the discipline and also to learn how to be responsible for my actions. It definitely made me grow up a lot faster and, at the risk of sounding corny, made me into a much better citizen with an appreciation for the liberties and freedoms that most take for granted.
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Military Life Has Made Me Into A Much Better Citizen
With An Appreciation For Our Liberties And Freedoms.
The Biggest Obstacle In Leading A Military Lifestyle
Deployments are a big challenge. While it is necessary being in the military to go to places where we may not be welcomed, it is our duty. When deployed the hours are long and the only way to be sure to eek out an extra hour or two in the day in order to get in a good workout sometimes is by sacrificing sleep. That's tough but thankfully the gyms at the deployed locations I have been to have been pretty decent.
I returned from a 6.5 month deployment to Iraq where I managed to continue to have a consistent workout regimen. While there, I also won the female bench press competition in the IZ, not just once but defended my title for a second victory.
It's also difficult to eat clean. Running out to the local grocery store to stock up on lean turkey breast and frozen veggies isn't an option. The chow halls at deployed locations serve a lot of comfort foods and cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and Baskin Robbins ice cream. While tasty, they are definitely not on my "eat clean" diet regimen. One can tire quickly of canned tuna, salad, and protein shakes.
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I Also Won The Female Bench Press Competition In The
IZ, Not Once But Defended My Title For A Second Victory.
Four training days, two cardio days during the off-season. I bore easily so I vary my cardio on the elliptical, stationary bike, treadmill, and stepmill.
I work back twice a week as it's my weakness. I also do abs work between super or giant sets on training days. All sets I go heavy to failure between 9-12 reps. Rest pause as I don't usually have a spotter, then try to crank out two or three more reps for a total of 3 sets. The regimen is changed every 8 weeks to keep my body responding and creating more lean muscle.
Monday - Back Width/Quads/Calves:
- Pull-ups: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Squats: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Hack Squats: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
Tuesday - Chest/Triceps:
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Cable Flyes: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Pec Dec: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Rope Pushdown: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Overhead Triceps Extensions: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Dumbbell Kickbacks: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
Thursday - Shoulders/Biceps:
- Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Cable Side Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Dumbbell Front Raises: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Preacher Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Alternating Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Concentration Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Zottman Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Hammer Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
Friday - Back Thickness/Hamstrings:
- Deadlift: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Bent Over Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Close Grip Cable Rows: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlift: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Leg Press: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
- Dumbbell Step Ups: 3 sets of 9-12 reps
Once I start prepping for a contest, the two-a-days commence. This can be anywhere from 20 to 16 weeks out from the competition date. At that point I bring in Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio keeping the heart rate at about 110 bpm, right out of bed in the a.m. every day.
On non-training days I bring High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for the evening workout. HIIT consists of a five minute warm-up. Intervals are 20 seconds all out with increased resistance, 40 seconds recovery. Average of 15-20 intervals ending with a 5 minute cool down. Durations increase as my body stalls and/or the contest date nears to keep the fat losses happening.
I use a trainer for my diet, Jason Theobald at Nattynutrition.com. Jason has brought me in at my best for my all six of my competitions at 5% body fat. I can honestly say that I wouldn't have been able to achieve the peak physique if it hadn't been for his assistance, daily monitoring, and constant adjustments to my diet and cardio to keep me burning fat. I even managed to gain 10 lbs of lean muscle mass while on a strict pre-contest diet.
I measure everything that I eat on a food scale in grams. There is no room for error on my contest diet. I eat 1-2 cups of green veggies with meals 2 and 4, but I can add more to the other meals if I am extremely hungry. Diet is adjusted by Jason in order to prevent stalling and keep the fat losses happening. Here's a sample diet:
Meal One - 0630:
- Egg White: Training Days 200g, Non-training Days 210g
- Egg Yolk: Training Days 15g, Non-training Days 20g
- Oats: Training Days 41g, Non-training Days 30g
Meal Two - 0900:
- 99% Lean Turkey Breast: Training Days 110g, Non-training Days 110g
- White Potato (with skin): Training Days 175g, Non-training Days 130g
- Fish Oils: 1 caplet
Meal Three - 1200:
- Bev Int'l Muscle Provider: Training Days 35g, Non-training Days 37g
- Oats: Training Days 36g, Non-training Days 25g
Meal Four - 1500:
- 99% Lean Turkey Breast: Training Days 110g, Non-training Days 110g
- Sweet Potato (with skin): Training Days 145g, Non-training Days 110g
Meal Five - 1830:
- Top Round: Training Days 125g, Non-training Days 125g
- White Potato (with skin): Training Days 250g, Non-training Days 130g
Meal Six - 2100:
- Muscle Provider: Training Days 33g, Non-training Days 37g
- Oats: Training Days 15g, Non-training Days 26g
It is imperative that you use good quality supplements to build and keep lean muscle mass while losing fat. I use Beverly International supplements, they are tried and true.
Future Bodybuilding Plans
My first contest I entered was the NPC Monster Mash in Cincinnati Ohio on 25 Oct 2008 where I placed first in the Novice tall division and also won the overall. My second competition was the OCB Yorton Cup in Washington DC on 15 Nov 2008. I placed second out of 9 in the Master's Division, won the Open Tall Division, and placed second overall. This was a super pro-qualifier and I earned my pro card through the IFPA as a result of my Open Tall Division win.
I took a short hiatus and allowed myself to eat for the holidays. Within 30 days I was back up to 10% body fat, and it was as that point that Jason reined me back in. I had been bitten by the bug and loved being onstage and the euphoria when I placed well. What started as just doing two competitions, quickly turned into four:
- NPC Northern Kentucky Competition - Mar 14, 2009 - 2nd place HW division
- NPC Southern Indiana - March 28, 2009 - 1st HW, Overall
- NPC Natural Ohio - April 4, 2009
- NPC Cincinnati - April 11, 2009 - 2nd HW
I have taken a 19 month break to allow my body to recover from the damage of doing so many competitions in a short 6 month span. I have put on 9 lbs of lean body mass since April and will begin dieting down for the next round of competitions in May. Now it is time to take things to the next level and compete in the pro division.
I will be competing at the IFPA/OCB Cape Cod Classic on 9 Oct and the IFPA/OCB Yorton Cup on 23 Oct. With the help of Natty Nutrition I know I will bring a competitive physique to the stage and hope to place in the Top 3 at both competitions.
I honestly don't have a favorite. I have a deep respect and admiration for my fellow military bodybuilders who work hard to achieve their bodybuilding goals. I also have a sincere appreciation for my trainer Jason Theobald who also competes in bodybuilding and is currently prepping for the NPC Jr Nationals. He has helped me tremendously with my diet and posing. This sport requires an incredible balancing act that demands a lot of sacrifices, determination, drive, and of course sweat.
One Tip For Other Bodybuilders In The Military
Continually set goals, both professionally, personally, and physically. Competitions are one of the biggest physical and mental challenges that you will face but it is also the most rewarding and a huge achievement. If you are thinking about it, now is the time to stop thinking and start acting. Train smart, eat clean, and take a good quality supplement. Don't say "I can't" say "I will."
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