Name: Robert Shields
BodySpace handle: airborne81
Weight: 180 lbs, 164.25 lbs contest
Job Title: Distribution Center Manager
Date of Hire: March 2013
Sports initially spurred Robert Shields to try weightlifting. Then the Army taught him dedication. Now he works with Bodybuilding.com to help build his body and this company. Both are growing at incredible rates!
Shields says his wife may get her pro card before he does, but he has the motivation to get his as well. Even with amateur status, Robert has gone pro in the supplement industry as the distribution manager for Bodybuilding.com's Pennsylvania distribution center.
See how he learned to make bodybuilding his way of life at work and at play.
What led you to the decision to start training seriously?
I've been involved in physical activity my entire life. But after college, I was no longer involved in competitive sports. I continued to weight train vigorously, but I desired a training purpose. Sure, it feels great to be in shape, but I wanted more. I wanted something to train for.
I entertained the idea of stepping on stage for quite some time before actually taking the leap. Seeing my wife on stage solidified my decision to compete. I must give credit to a few people who acted as bodybuilding inspiration: Ike Krocos, Chris San Juan, and Jason Theobald at Scooby Prep.
You were a wrestler and a boxer before you started bodybuilding. Can you compare the levels of competition of those three sports?
Wrestling and boxing are very intense sports that require extreme dedication and discipline. However, bodybuilding is in a league of its own. Every meal, training session, night of sleep, cardio session, etc. can have an impact on how you look on that stage. It requires the ultimate me-versus-me mentality.
During the final weeks of contest prep, each workout is a battle. At times I'll be in a significant calorie deficit so I have to fight through every set and rep despite being mentally and physically exhausted.
Were you a bodybuilder before you joined Bodybuilding.com, or did we convert you?
Robert Shields' Contest History
- 2010 2nd place open men's lightweight NJ Gold's Classic
- 2011 2nd place men's lightweight NPC Junior USA
- 2012 3rd place men's lightweight NPC Junior Nationals
- 2012 11th place men's lightweight NPC Nationals
- 2013 3rd place men's welterweight IFBB North American Championships
Yes, and I was a loyal customer as well. In 2010 I was featured as one of the military bodybuilders of the month.
I'm pleased to see the progress from those pictures to now. I stumbled on the opportunity to work for Bodybuilding.com, but I can honestly say that I love my job. I also love when people ask me where I work.
What would it mean to you to win your IFBB pro card?
That is probably the goal of every national-level competitor. However, I'm more attracted to the constant pursuit of a better me. Each time I step on stage, I hope to blow away my last showing.
I would love to achieve pro status, but I still have some growing to do. In all honesty, my wife will probably be an IFBB pro much sooner than I will.
What is your favorite feature on Bodybuilding.com?
The contest coverage! I was glued to the live feed from the Olympia contest. Perhaps someday I can make it out to Vegas to see it live. Hint, hint!
What is your favorite muscle group to train, and can you give us a sample workout?
- Lying Leg Curls
2 warm up sets, 3 working sets of 12 reps, 1 dropset with partials to finish
- Leg Press
2 warm up sets of 15 reps, 4 working sets of 10 reps. Last two sets are supersets with lunges
- Barbell Walking Lunge
2 sets of 20 steps each leg
- Leg Extensions
4 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Squat
2 warm-up sets, 3 pyramid sets of 8 reps
- Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift
4 sets of 10 reps, emphasize the stretch
How have you grown with the company as you've been working at Bodybuilding.com?
I've been with the company for only eight months now, but I have already witnessed dramatic change with our continued growth. It's exciting to be a part of it, and I look forward to what the future holds. Growing pains are inevitable, but I've noticed significant operational improvements in the short time I've been here.
What training mistakes did you make when you first started?
I didn't implement a training split/program that was conducive to muscle growth. In addition, my dietary habits lacked strategy. Combined, those two inhibited my development.
Regardless of your physique goals, I think that your nutrition strategy has the most significant impact on results. I don't like to use the word "diet," because there is too much negative stigma associated with it.
Eating strategically and nutritional patterns are much better phrases. Most people associate dieting with starving themselves. I've gotten super lean while eating a ton of food by being strategic with nutrient timing.
What are your favorite supplements?
You have some serious muscle. Any tips for amassing such a build?
Train hard and eat strategically to support muscle growth. Don't be afraid of carbs! To quote Ike Krocos, "Carbs are not the enemy."
What is your favorite way to spend a rest day?
Visiting the Gettysburg battlefield with my wife and kids. I'm not a huge history buff, but some of my fondest childhood memories are from time spent on that battlefield with my parents and brothers.
Did someone from Bodybuilding.com inspire you to reach your goals?
Sean Sullivan offered significant insight and advice during my most recent contest prep. Who knew meatheads were that smart?!
How does Bodybuilding.com help you in fitness and life?
Our site is my one-stop shop for everything health and fitness. In addition, I now work for a company that allows me to merge my passion with my occupation. The company sponsors me for bodybuilding competitions, and I also find great motivation is seeing before-and-after photos on the site. Seeing someone else's progress inspires me.
Bodybuilders have school, day-jobs and families, and still dedicate hours in the gym each week. How do you strike a balance?
My weight training sessions are fast and furious. With the exception of training legs, I typically limit my sessions to between 45 minutes and an hour.
I try to perform my cardio first thing in the morning so I can spend time with my family at night.
Being tired is a given in this sport. I simply focus all energy and attention on one workout at a time. Also, I'm not one to miss workouts very often.
For me, training also supports my mental health. It is my complete stress outlet.
What are your future goals? Do you think working for Bodybuilding.com will help you reach them?
I hope to find as much job satisfaction with Bodybuilding.com as I experienced while serving in the Army. I want to excel at my current position and continue to climb the professional ladder.
In terms of bodybuilding, I really want to win a national title. I've placed 11th, 3rd (twice), and 2nd at the national level of competition. I'm incredibly hungry for that top spot. I'm setting my sights on Junior Nationals in Chicago, which takes place mid June.