Bodybuilding.com Fit Team Member Spotlight: Joshua Dakin Pushes Human Limits

Some people were just born to build muscle. At Bodybuilding.com, Josh has taken his genetic strength to a whole new level.

Look at him now and it's a hard sell to believe that Joshua Dakin was bullied as a kid. Just imagine the pills of those bullies if they tried that trash today! Now that he's a strapping hulk, crushing massive weight in powerlifting's core lifts, no one gives him anything but compliments.

But back in middle school Josh was overweight, and bullied for it. He avoided sports and didn't start a regular exercise routine until he was in high school. The gym gave him an escape from the trash talk, but he also found that in the weight room, he could achieve impressive feats and take control of his body for the first time.

"I had to find out how to train properly through trial and error," Dakin says. "As high school progressed, it became clear I was abnormally strong—especially with deadlift and squat—compared to the other athletes and football players. I leaned down as time went by and became more interested in fitness because I liked that I wasn't looking chubby anymore. I looked better, and as a result, I felt better."

With his new physique and strength, Josh enlisted in the Marine Corps. Everything was progressing well until boot camp, when he fell ill with a severe case of pneumonia. That's not the sort of environment where quitting is acceptable, so he refused to stop training. "I completed a 3-mile run with a 109-degree temperature, before finally collapsing, not responding to anyone," Josh says. "That's the last I remember before waking up in a hospital."

The heatstroke caused by the fever damaged his internal organs. "They pretty much all were literally boiled internally," He says. The incident and the damage to his vital organs led to a month in the hospital, another two months in rehab, and, unfortunately a medical discharge from the corps.

"When I came home after being discharged I was incredibly weak," Josh says. "I dropped more than 30 pounds in the month after the heatstroke occurred and could barely stand for more than 30 minutes at a time before feeling like my legs were going to give out. This was the most depressing time in my life. I had to rebuild my body from scratch."

He did just that, and three years later, Josh tested his hard work when he competed in his first powerlifting competition in Idaho. He didn't know what to expect, but he ended up taking first place overall. That victory, and his new passion for powerlifting, set him on a course to join Bodybuilding.com and further advance his career in and out of the weight room.

Q

What is your position at Bodybuilding.com? How long have you worked here?

I am currently a customer service representative in the call center. I have been here just over a year, and honestly I love every minute of it. We take care of our customers.

What was your fitness level before working at Bodybuilding.com? What is your competition history like?

I was pretty active. I was lifting daily and sticking to my training routines. I will admit that my nutrition wasn't that great though. I will say that I've significantly improved since I've been working here.

"To date, I have competed in four different powerlifting events. I also utilize some strongman exercises for conditioning, and I have my eyes on doing a bodybuilding show within the next year."

To date, I have competed in four different powerlifting events. I also utilize some strongman exercises for conditioning, and I have my eyes on doing a bodybuilding show within the next year. I don't really like to flaunt my strength. I try to not look like I'm searching for attention when I train.

What is it like working at Bodybuilding.com? How does it create a helpful fitness environment?

Honestly, it's awesome! I love coming to work—even on my days off, just to train. The environment here is unlike any job I've had. Everyone is extremely supportive of their peers—especially the people competing or who have physical goals. We keep each other motivated and offer a hand to help one another out when possible.

What do you think of the new gym in the corporate office? Is it missing anything you need?

The gym is pretty sweet. I think we need more cowbell, j/k. But we could maybe use a prowler sled that we could push in the parking lot and a tire to flip when the weather warms up. Those are great conditioning tools; I found that they actually make conditioning fun, opposed to being on a stair-stepper for 30 minutes.

How does the Bodybuilding.com environment influence your health, fitness and appearance goals?

Our environment provides the support we need when we begin to feel overwhelmed. It's honestly very cool that we have a job that supports its employees in this field.

Do you get asked for advice in the gym often?

I get asked about how to squat or deadlift properly almost daily actually! I don't mind coaching anyone seeking help on their form. I actually take it as a compliment that they trust my opinion.

You're still pretty young Josh, and are years from your prime. Do you think you're on pace to maybe go pro some day?

In powerlifting, I honestly think I may have what it takes. I have some goals I've set this year and they appear to be on the horizon of being met very soon. If I meet them I may be able to compete on the pro level. If this happened, it would only be more motivation to train harder and continue to improve.

"I have some goals I've set this year and they appear to be on the horizon of being met very soon."

Can you point out a moment in the gym when a co-worker asked you for advice?

What is your strategy when you are contacted by a customer? Honestly, paying full attention to the customer, just showing them we are here to help them to the best of our ability. Not a lot of companies allow their employees to do this and tend to be completely policy-driven. We legitimately care about our customers and will take care of them.

What is more important to you: looking good or being strong?

I like to try to balance it out. I'm not as ripped as some of the guys here, but I'm working on it. Being strong is a priority to me because it's what I do, but I won't use strength training as a reason to diet poorly and neglect basic conditioning. I want to try bodybuilding out because I believe these two goals can be balanced and will benefit each other if you know what you're doing.

"Being strong is a priority to me because it's what I do, but I won't use strength training as a reason to diet poorly and neglect basic conditioning."

Have you participated in the employee transformation challenge? How did that experience affect your life?

I am actually currently participating in it at the moment. I get compliments daily that I am looking way more lean and defined than prior. It honestly keeps me going, knowing I'm making progress. I've never made so much progress before, and it's because of this support. It's awesome.

Gym Rat Josh's Lifting Regimen

Monday: Legs
  • Front Squat (Clean Grip) Front Squat (Clean Grip) Front Squat
    2 sets of 10 reps (warm up); 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat Back Squat
    10 sets of 3 reps
  • Good Morning Good Morning Good Morning
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Leg Extensions Leg Extensions Leg Extension
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise
    4 sets of 25 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
    4 sets of 25 reps


Tuesday: Chest and Triceps

I warm up on chest day with pull-ups to activate my lats for the bench press.
Warm up:
    • Pullups Pullups Pull-Up
      3 sets of 10 reps
 
  • Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press
    10 sets of 3 reps
  • Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press Incline Dumbbell Press
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Press Standing Dumbbell Press Standing Dumbbell Press
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Flat Bench Cable Flyes Flat Bench Cable Flyes Flat Bench Cable Flyes
    4 sets of 15 reps
  • Dips - Chest Version Dips - Chest Version Dips (weighted)
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown
    4 sets of 12 reps


Wednesday: Shoulders
    • Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise Dumbbell Lateral Raise
      4 sets of 12 reps
    • Front Two-Dumbbell Raise Front Two-Dumbbell Raise Dumbbell Front Raise
      4 sets of 12 reps
Superset
    • Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Barbell Front Raise
      4 sets of 15 reps
    • Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Barbell Front Raise (palms up)
      4 sets of 8 reps
 
  • Face Pull Face Pull Face Pull
    4 sets of 15 reps
  • Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise Standing Low-Pulley Deltoid Raise Cable Lateral Raise
    4 sets of 12 reps


Thursday: Legs and Back
  • Zercher Squats Zercher Squats Zercher Squat
    5 sets of 5 reps (no belt, pausing on the floor)
  • Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift
    10 working sets of 3 reps (after warm-up sets)
  • Barbell Squat Barbell Squat Barbell Squat
    5 warm-up sets of 5 reps; 10 working sets of 3 reps
  • Good Morning Good Morning Good Morning
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise Glute Ham Raise
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
    4 sets of 25 reps


Friday: Back and Biceps
  • Pullups Pullups Pull-Ups (wide grip)
    3 sets of 10 reps
  • Pullups Pullups Pull-Ups (weighted)
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row
    4 sets of 12 (heavy); 1 set to failure
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
    5 sets of 15, 12, 8, 8, 8 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows (close grip)
    4 sets of 12 reps; 1 set to failure
  • Underhand Cable Pulldowns Underhand Cable Pulldowns Underhand Pulldowns (close grip)
    4 sets of 12 reps; 1 set to failure
  • Barbell Curl Barbell Curl Barbell Curl (seated, strict form)
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Standing Biceps Cable Curl Standing Biceps Cable Curl Cable Curl (close grip)
    4 sets of 12 reps
  • Hammer Curls Hammer Curls Hammer Curls
    4 sets of 8 reps


Saturday: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
  • Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press Wide-Grip Bench Press
    3 sets of 8 reps
  • Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Bench Press
    6 sets of 6 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Press Standing Dumbbell Press Standing Dumbbell Press
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Dips - Chest Version Dips - Chest Version Dips (weighted)
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise Dumbbell Lateral Raise
    4 sets of 8 reps
  • Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Standing Front Barbell Raise Over Head Barbell Front Raise
    5 sets of 20 reps
  • Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
    4 sets of 8 reps


Sunday: Off

Nutrition: Sample daily meal-by-meal breakdown

Meal 1: Pre-Workout
  • Almonds Oatmeal
    1/2 cup
  • Almonds Whey
    1 scoop
Meal 2: Post-Workout
Meal 3: 1-2 Hours Post-Workout
  • Almonds Ground Beef (93/7)
    1/2 cup
  • Almonds Oatmeal (or varying complex carbohydrate)
    1/2 - 1 cup
  • Almonds Broccoli (or other vegetables)
    1 cup
Meal 4
  • Almonds Baked Teriyaki Chicken Breast
    12 oz
  • Almonds Broccoli
    1 cup
  • Almonds Whey
    1 scoop
Meal 5
  • Almonds Baked Teriyaki Chicken Breast
    12 oz
  • Almonds Steamed Vegetables
    1 cup
Meal 6
  • Almonds Ground Beef (93/7)
    1/2 cup
  • Almonds Steamed Vegetables
    1 cup
Meal 7: Before Bed

Josh's Supplement Stack

Pre-workout
Intra-workout
Post-workout
Before bed