Leo Ingram won the North American Championships Super Heavyweight and Overall Title in 2006 to earn his pro card. He'll be competing in the IFBB New York Pro on May 10. For more information about Leo, visit his website at www.leoingram.com.
[ Q ] You won the North American Championships in 2006, how has your life changed since you got your pro card?
[ A ] The best thing about that is that I turned my hobby into a job. I am actually getting paid to do something I had done for years for free. I love bodybuilding, and to have it as my job is a dream come true. I also get to make more guest appearances thanks to my contract with
Six Star Muscle. I love the opportunity to interact with bodybuilding fans. And, since I am a huge fan of the sport, I get to be a part of something that I was watching from the outside before.
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Leo Ingram At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
[ Q ] Where do you call home now?
[ A ] Atlanta, GA
[ Q ] How did you get involved in bodybuilding?
[ A ] I had a friend (Bo Jackson) that I started
training with during my first enlistment in the
Navy. At first we would do local
bench press competitions and things like that. Then my
partner decided to do a show. Once he did that show, it
motivated me to train harder and to get on stage myself. I always had aspirations to get on stage, but seeing him do it pushed me. After I saw that he could do it, I knew I could as well.
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[ Q ] You took seven years off from competition, why?
[ A ] While I was on active duty, I took a duty station in Japan. During that time I was forward deployed and my eat/train/
sleep cycle was seriously compromised!
Seriously though, I couldn't eat on schedule, couldn't sleep on schedule, and training was squeezed in when I had a spare moment or two. Sometimes I had to decide between sleeping and training, and to tell the truth, sometimes sleep won! I still wanted to be on stage, I just couldn't put 100% into it, and I knew competition had to take a back seat for a while.
I missed the time I was away, but I know it was for a good cause. I was part of the 9/11 first responders, and that was a job I was called to do, and I had committed to it. So, although I stepped away from competition, I still trained, and dreamed of being on stage, but I had a much bigger job to do at the time.
[ Q ] What was different for you when you came back?
[ A ] Well, honestly, my weight was different! I was a fat-b@stard! I still had "it"... "it" was just buried! So, the word "comeback" was an understatement! It was a total overhaul. I have tried to keep it undercover, but now that I've worked so hard to get it right, I'll tell it... my weight went up to 340 pounds at one point.
As far as the competition was concerned, it was just as tough as always. I was nervous to step back on stage, but I was just like a little kid in awe of the sport. I gave myself a year to train hard and come back, with the Armed Forces Show being my test.
The feedback that I got from that would somewhat be a deciding factor as to whether I had passed my prime or if I still had a shot. I was so glad to see Jon Lindsey at that show. I have always had the utmost respect and admiration from him, and have thought of him as a mentor. When he told me that I looked great, I knew I was on the right track. I won the overall, and I knew I would continue until I earned my pro card.
[ Q ] What attracted you to the military?
[ A ] The number one reason I went into the
military was because I love to travel. I wanted to get paid to see the world! (Sounds like a recruiting poster, but it's true!) I also come from a military family. My dad was military, as many of my uncles and cousins were too. I felt like it was something I could do and be proud of while serving my country, following the traditions that had been set by the men before me in my family.
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[ Q ] How does your military experience influence your bodybuilding?
[ A ] The military instills great
discipline in you. I have used this to benefit my bodybuilding career. I make a plan, and execute it, no matter what obstacles I face. You have to have that mentality with bodybuilding; you can't be a quitter in this sport! I have learned some great time management skills throughout my time in the military. I've had to learn to balance an unpredictable work schedule, a bodybuilding career, and a wife and three kids!
[ Q ] What has been your focus getting ready for the NY Pro?
[ A ] My focus is always to be better than I was the season prior and improving my physique. That is the same
goal I have for this year. I have aspirations to get on the
Olympia stage this year, and this is my first step this season!
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Leo Ingram At The 2007 New York Pro.
View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2007 New York Pro.
[ Q ] What are you doing differently?
[ A ] I went on a good off-season diet using
Six Star Muscle supplements. I bulked up using the right foods and supplements this year instead of just taking time off and relaxing. I have been training for this show since my last show last year, the whole time preparing for the
I added some muscle, kept my body fat lower, and have had a much more regimented, regular training schedule since I retired from the military and moved to my new home. I have a lot more time to make bodybuilding my number one priority. I teamed up with J-Rowe and Roc Shabazz since I've arrived in Atlanta, and it's great to have friends and training partners that can be a second and third set of eyes to see where I'm at condition-wise.
I have been training alone for years, and having someone next to me in the gym, pushing me, has made me realize that I have taken it a little easy on myself, and they have forced me to step up my game. I am getting a lot more rest and
recovery than I was previously, and after these intense workouts, it is needed!
[ Q ] What do you consider your strengths as a competitor?
[ A ] I think the amount of
focus I have is a strength. I couldn't have made it all these years in this sport without it, and a lot of determination, and belief in myself. I started the path to my pro card in 1993, and didn't get it until 2006. Regardless of the obstacles and life events that came up, I never gave up on my dream.
My strengths are also sometimes my weaknesses. Number one being that I come to a show very prepared, but I do this by obsessing before the show, and never feeling like I am far enough along, thus forcing myself to do just a little bit more. The closer it gets to my show, I have to be reeled back in somewhat because I can take my training and conditioning to the extreme. My eye is the most critical when it looks at myself.
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I also think that I am an easy going guy. I truly love the sport, and come to my shows with no ego or preconceived notions about any other competitors regardless of the hype that surrounds many of them. I make new friends every season, and that is one of the greatest things about this sport, its camaraderie, very similar to that of the military.