Jimmy Canyon will be competing at the IFBB New York Men's Pro on May 10th, 2008 in the under 202 lb class. He is the first NPC competitor to win 3 national titles in one year; in 2003 he won the middleweight class and overall at the Jr. Nationals, his class at the USA Championships, and finally at the Nationals where he won his pro card. You can get more information about Jimmy at www.razorbodybuilding.com.
[ Q ] How did you get started in bodybuilding?
[ A ] While I was in the
Army, stationed in Germany in 1991 the Armed Forces Woman's Bodybuilding Champ saw me at a photo studio in Vilseck, Germany where I was stationed and urged me to compete. I did and won my first three shows. I got to admit though; I didn't have a clue about what I was doing back then.
I was 157 lbs and soft, couldn't pose, my skin was pearl white and I got on stage in my Fruit of the Looms. But I had good
symmetry and that got me by. She was a captain in the army and her name was Linda, but I don't remember her last name, but I want to give her a shout out for encouraging me.
[ Q ] Why did you join the Army?
[ A ] I needed some direction in my life. I was getting in trouble, petty stuff, and I knew I was going down a path that wasn't going to end well for me. So in 1990 I joined up.
Before I knew it I was shipped off to the first Gulf War. I was right in the middle of the 4 day ground war, the first ground units to go in. I was in a tank armor unit, an MI A1 heavy metal tank.
After that I was stationed in Germany and then back in the US to Fort Riley, Kansas. I served for 3 1/2 years all together.
[ Q ] When did you get serious about your bodybuilding career?
[ A ] The first Team Universe that I did in 1999 was a turning point for me. I met
Tricky Jackson and he became my mentor. He was an NPC judge, was a well known competitor and even promoted his own show, the Kentucky Blue Grass. He lived in Kentucky at that time which was just 90 minutes from Cincinnati, where I lived.
That Team Universe was the show that Marvin Ward won the overall as a bantam and he was encouraging to me as well. Tito Raymond was the one who said to start dieting tomorrow for next years show, starting now. It was the first time I dieted for the whole year. That's what really gave me my 8-pack.
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Jimmy Canyon At The 2007 IFBB Atlantic City Pro.
View More Pics Of Jimmy Canyon At The 2007 IFBB Atlantic City Pro.
The next year I went from 11th to 2nd behind I believe three-time lightweight champ Derrick Farnsworth (I say I beat him that year, but that's what every second place guys says).
Ronnie Coleman made a big impact on me as well. When I had the opportunity to meet him he was very encouraging and took the time to talk to me. In 2002, I got his unbelievable video and that changed my training. Ronnie says, "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift heavy @ss weights."
I saw the importance of pushing heavy weights and doing power movements like
deadlifts. Ronnie moved 2 and 3 times his bodyweight, so I did the calculations for myself and I started moving the same kind of weight for my size. That led to my 3 NPC titles in 2003 and IFBB pro status. Thanks Big Ron, you are the greatest!
[ Q ] You're putting together your own DVD now?
[ A ] Yes. I want to cover all the things that have worked for me. I won many titles back home - city, state and regional titles with out anabolics while most of my competition was anabolic.
I want people to see that bodybuilding can be a healthy lifestyle if you create the proper environment inside of you. For me it's been prayin' sleepin' eatin' trainin' supplements, in that order. Its taken me years to understand that. So I'm only sharing principles that have made me who I am today.
[ Q ] You have made some steady gains since you turned pro.
[ A ] I wouldn't say steady. I took 7th at the
Europa last year, in the 210 and under class, but I was giving up as much as 40 pounds to some of the guys there. That's because I had to start over. I let the challenges of life suck the life out of my dream. Since then I've made some steady gains.
I feel like I've been able to recapture my dream and by focusing on the principles that I mentioned before. I decided to put on some more mass to so I could compete at the highest level. Now I knew I would sacrifice conditioning to come in bigger, and I expected to be criticized for it, but I felt like it's the right move long term. I didn't care if I finished last; it was something I knew I needed to do.
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Jimmy Canyon At The 2008 Iron Man.
View More Pics Of Jimmy Canyon At The 2008 Iron Man.
[ Q ] Why did you make a move to Las Vegas a couple of years ago?
[ A ] I am the first and only IFBB pro bodybuilder in Cincinnati, so there was no one for me to chase. I realized that I need that to improve. So I packed up some clothes and a couple of hundred dollars and made the move to Vegas. Vegas is an
Olympia environment. I see
Jay Cutler and
Gustavo Badell training and that's
motivating. Jay's offered a lot of encouragement too.
[ Q ] Are you still doing personal training there?
[ A ] I'm still doing some, but I'm trying to concentrate on competition and move my business more to the internet. I'm offering online consulting and soon I'll be introducing a line of clothing call Canyon Wear. And even my own
[ Q ] I understand that one of your sons has had some recent success as well.
[ A ] Yes, my oldest, Darren Barnett is now a New York Giant. He was on their practice squad last year and this year he got an
NFL contract. He's a defensive back and wide receiver out of Michigan State. I'm really proud of him.
My youngest son Jimmy P. Canyon Jr. is my inspiration though. Unfortunately he got involved with some of the wrong people and activities and he's incarcerated now. But it's shown me the importance of sharing the many struggles in my life and how I used the dream the gifts and talents GOD gave me to turned my life around.
I was challenged with many of those same issues so it's important for me to share my success with young people and try to make a difference.