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Military Amateur Bodybuilder Of The Month - Joseph F. Yezzi!

Joseph started entering military shows in Hawaii and because local bases were very supportive of military bodybuilders. His dedication to the military has also played a role in his success as a bodybuilder. Learn more!

Joseph Yezzi

Vital Stats:

  • Name: Joseph F. Yezzi (Joe)
  • Email:
  • Age: 41
  • Height: 66" (5'6.5")
  • Weight: 170 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding: 16
  • Additional Info: Hawaii State Level (Open) and Masters Competitor. All Forces National competitor.
  • BodySpace: yezman

Military Background:

  • Branch Of Service: USAF
  • Years Of Service: 19
  • Rank: Lt Col

How Did You Get Started?

By entering military shows here in Hawaii (i.e. Hawaii Armed Forces Championships at Pearl Harbor-1994/5). The local bases (MWR) and NPC authorities (downtown Honolulu) are extremely supportive of military bodybuilding.

Civilian Life To Military Life
What Is The Hardest Part?

This question is good, but it has been a while for me. I went to the United States Air Force Academy for college in 1986 (Graduated in 1990). Ironically, the separation from family and the "familiar" home environment is commonly more difficult than adapting to the disciplined lifestyle.

The Separation From Family And The Home Environment Is More Difficult Than Adapting To The Disciplined Lifestyle.
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The Separation From Family And The Home Environment Is
More Difficult Than Adapting To The Disciplined Lifestyle.

This lifestyle begins with basic training, progresses with making increased rank, and is punctuated by answering our country's most significant calls to combat duty. The latter has been particularly exacerbating to all military families in the political-military environment since September 11th, 2001. I've personally deployed 3 times (to the Philippines, Iraq, and Afghanistan) since then.

The Biggest Obstacle In Leading A Military Lifestyle

Finding the time to be consistent with both diet and workouts to include cardio and resistance training. My recent deployment to Afghanistan for six months led to unwanted fat build-up.

It is virtually impossible to be discretionary about diet in such situations. However, the military certainly instills a discipline factor which counteracts the negative aspect by reinforcing and practically teaching time management and priorities.

Workout Plan

The best combination for maximum lean muscle growth is a powerlifting-like routine and a nutritious diet with sufficient protein. I recently applied a routine recommended by IFBB power house Johnnie Jackson (w/some modifications) as follows:

Pyramids - Increasing the weight with each new set while decreasing the number of reps. The weight is then reduced and the reps increased.
Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Rep Ranges - Perform the number of reps that corresponds with the current set you're on. For example, Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 8, 6, 4 reps. Your first set will be 8 reps, the second set will be 6 reps, and the third will be 4 reps.

Monday - Heavy Chest/Biceps

Tuesday - Heavy Legs


    Rest and/or some cardio only depending on my look.

Thursday - Heavy Delts/Triceps

Friday - Heavy Back


    Rest and cardio as required.

This workout allowed me to separate heavy back and legs days which I used to do consecutively. This was vital for growth/injury (to lower back) avoidance. Stretching and warm-ups are not all included here but are necessary. Abs and calves were done each day in alternating fashion. Cardio also done for 20 minutes in conjunction with morning workouts.

Joseph Yezzi.
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Joseph Yezzi.

Nutrition Plan

First, diet does not mean cutting calories the majority of the time. Proper caloric intake with proper timing (i.e. post workout) is vital. My normal diet is about 2500 - 3000 cals. per day.

My cut diet is as follows:

Timing is everything! I eat little to nothing before morning cardio during my cut phase , but take in a good mix of calories afterwards. In addition, I primarily focus on eradicating low-quality carbs (some whole form fruit in the morning is OK for me), and saturated fat from my diet. I don't worry about sodium intake until 1 week out from a show.

I Primarily Focus On Eradicating Low-Quality Carbs, And Saturated Fat From My Diet.
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I Primarily Focus On Eradicating Low-Quality
Carbs, And Saturated Fat From My Diet.


I primarily take multivitamins, creatine, and L-glutamine with my protein shake every day within 15 minutes of my workout. I increase supplementation significantly coming up on a contest to compensate for reduction of calories. Some add-ons include thermogenics, tribulus, and chondroitin/MSM/glucosamine-sulfate as required.

Future Bodybuilding Plans

I wish to maintain an extremely healthy, natural lifestyle with as much additional muscle as I can get for as long as I can keep it! I also plan to model sports attire and do niche training as part of my side business post retirement.

My training focus will be military bodybuilders and the retired elderly. I will consequently compete in the NPC amateur ranks for the next few years. I am not shooting for any titles but feel they will come as part of persistence, if I am consistent.

I'm Not Shooting For Any Titles But Feel They Will Come As Part Of Persistence.
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I'm Not Shooting For Any Titles But Feel
They Will Come As Part Of Persistence.

Favorite Bodybuilders

Old-school bodybuilders Ed Corney & Clarence Bass. Also, recent pros - Phil Heath, Clifton Torres, and Chris Faildo. Everybody knows and appreciates the first two, but Clifton and Chris are unique due to their size, structure, and weight class. Chris has set a phenomenal example as a natural competitor who rose to the IFBB pro ranks.

One Tip For Other Bodybuilders In The Military

Make small improvements in diet, cardio, and resistance techniques each year. These will have an immense cumulative benefit over the long-term, especially if they are consistently incorporated into your lifestyle!