In high school, I lifted weights for football and by the end of my freshman year I had bigger pectorals than any guy on the team and built a six-pack without training abs. One day after weight training, I walked shirtless through the locker room and my football coach did a double take and said, "Holy crap, Humble, you should be a bodybuilder."
By my senior year of high school (1998-1999), I didn't play any sports. I put all my focus into bodybuilding and worked to pay for supplements and a gym membership. By age 19, I got my first personal training certification and worked at a gym in college to achieve my goal of becoming a bodybuilder.
Looking back, I realize my concept of becoming a bodybuilder was that I had to be as big as the guys in magazines (at that time, the big hitters were Lee Priest and Ronnie Coleman). I thought once I achieved that I would be in magazines, become famous, and get paid to work out.
I trained hard for several years and received three more certifications in training, but never fully grasped or applied the correct dieting concepts for bodybuilding.
Years later, when I was 25 years old, my training drive to become "that" bodybuilder slowly faded. I still worked out, but gave up on the dream. I settled for trying to stay as big and strong as possible, but ate whatever I wanted with no care for my six-pack.
In 2010, I got into powerlifting and trained as a powerlifter for nearly two years. I enjoyed the training, drive, and intensity that powerlifting provided, but still had a nagging voice in the back of my mind to be a bodybuilder. During that time, I met some incredible people who competed in bodybuilding and figure, like Jessica Graham and Mike and Shannon Courtney.
In October 2012, I decided enough was enough. I wasn't going to get old and say that "I wish I had done it," or wonder if I could have ever competed as a bodybuilder. So I contacted someone who knew what they were doing and paid for the training—no more guess work and wasted time in the gym.
I contacted Mike and Shannon Courtney, who provide training and diet plans at Twenty-Four/7 Fit. I started my training the next morning at 5 a.m. (leg day). If you know Mike and Shannon, legs are their specialty. That day, I understood why after several sets of leg presses, squats, and hack squats (21-year-old Shannon continued to superset walking lunges with leg extensions while I panted for air on the floor).
The training for my first show was high-volume. Dropsets and supersets were constantly thrown in to provide shock factor. I lifted as heavy as possible, but with high reps (20, 60, or even 80 reps for some exercises). My weights only lowered when I was on a low carb diet and couldn't lift heavy. A low-rep set would be in the 8-10 range with a 1-4-second tempo.
Each training day was different than the last for each muscle group. I took a randomized approach in training and combined than one muscle group spontaneously. The training schedule was constantly monitored by Mike and Shannon.
A normal week would look similar to this with 1-2 minutes of rest between sets (calves and abs were worked on random days with other body parts).
- 3 warm-up sets of 30 reps, 15-20 reps, and 10 reps; 1 dropset
- 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- 3 sets of 20 reps
- 3 sets of 15-25 reps
- 2-3 warm-up sets
- 4 sets of 20-30, 20, 15-20, and 15-20 reps
- 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- 4 sets of 20, 15-20, 12-15, and 8-12 reps
- 3 sets of 20-30 reps
- 4 sets of 20-30 reps
- 4 sets of 20 reps
- 4 sets of 15-30 reps
- 3 sets of 15-25 reps
Shannon and Mike Courtney monitored my diet closely and watched for changes and how my body reacted. Overall, they kept me on a six meal per day diet with a protein shake post-workout. Note: I ate as many veggies as possible with every meal.
My passion originally developed when I was young and received comments and questions about my physique. As I got back into the sport, my passion rose again. I love training with my coaches and others who joined Twenty-Four/7 Fit. I love the intensity, drive, and encouragement that we give each other. Watching others push their body and mind past what is normal and doing so myself makes me feel driven and amazing.
I love when people message me through social media or walk up to me in the gym and ask for help to get results. No one wants to be in the gym and waste their time. It's a sacrifice to be there for most people in the first place, so you definitely want your gym time to be worth it. People want to see results.
I was originally motivated by muscle magazines, but recently (because I've been out of the loop) I've been motivated by the two bodybuilders I look up to most and highly respect, my coaches, Mike and Shannon Courtney.
I found an inspirational "Transformation" video on YouTube created by J. Barthel of Barthel Fitness. I watched the video often during my first two months of dieting and training, when I constantly had doubts about my body and what a bodybuilder should look like on stage. Watching J. Barthel complete a transformation was evidence for me.
I was motivated daily by my coaches who encouraged me, pointed out my strengths, and reminded me of the slow process. My coaches sent me side-by-side before and after pictures to re-motivate me.
My plans are to get a supplement sponsorship from a trusted brand that I use and know works. I hope to get some pictures and articles into the bodybuilding media to inspire people who are interested in pursuing a journey like mine. I have a decent career, but I hope to get back into the fitness industry in whatever way possible.
Stay positive, know that negativity and stress are your enemy and don't accept them, and stay humble. No matter what you achieve, compliment and celebrate with others on their achievements. In this lifestyle, you find plenty of criticizers and haters. Don't be one of those people.
My favorite bodybuilder, aside from my coaches, is Flex Lewis. I watched some of his documentary videos and love how he works his ass off. He appears to stay humble and kind to everyone wherever he goes. I think his physique is amazing.
Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals with its many articles. I was able to get recipes for protein pancakes and good stuff that fit into my diet before I started a strict prep diet.
I watched videos and read articles on the site of training tips during prep when I was close to a show. I purchased many supplements from the site because it's easy to find exactly I need with trusted companies and better prices than most corporate stores. I even purchased my first posing trunks on the site, which I used for my first show.
- "Finale" by Madeon
- "Started From The Bottom" by Drake
- "Weatherman" by Dead Sara
- "White Washed" by August Burns Red
- "Chalk Outline" by Three Days Grace