Name: Todd Cook
BodySpace: Alpha Wolf
Location: Milton, FL
Weight: 216 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 25
How did your fitness
I have always been into some sort of sport growing up: soccer, football, track and martial arts. I took karate for nearly twelve years, earning my 2nd degree black belt. Unfortunately, as soon as college started, karate classes became more difficult to commit to. Between work, college classes, and other activities, regular karate training fell by the wayside.
I had always been interested in weight training since I had participated in varsity sports in high school. In 1990, when Pensacola's first Gold's Gym was opened up here, I started to lift weights seriously in place of karate training. As it turned out, weight lifting became a passion.
The weight lifting lifestyle worked for me: I never had classes I had to attend and, more importantly, it fit into my schedule no matter the time. Needless to say, the gym became a huge part of my life. This love for weight lifting only grew even more over time. I remember getting up at 3:45 in the morning to get a pump on before work at 5:30, and then return to the gym after work for another body part or some simple cardio.
Looking back, I would certainly make a few changes to my whole regimen. Chief among these changes would be to lift "smarter." As a youngin', you tend to think you're bulletproof, but aggressive and careless exercise could do bad things to your body. Specifically, two herniated disc surgeries after improperly loaded deadlifts, torn labrums in my shoulders from huge military presses, and just general wear and tear on my joints.
To this day, I still lift religiously and hope to continue lifting into my 80s! I'm truly amazed that there is so much information available, like on Bodybuilding.com, to help people with their fitness goals and dreams. I love when I can help people work toward their own fitness goals, providing advice from my own experiences and helping to motivate them. I know what it meant to me. I spent a lot of time learning from the process, failures, and successes. We are all the same; some started their journey before others. Helping people and being positive are mandatory.
How did your passion for fitness emerge?
It was a way to stay motivated, healthy, and help others. Fitness just so happens to also have an amazing "side effect" of getting you in better shape, looking better, and feeling great. Once you commit yourself, it becomes a lifestyle. You actually look forward to it; I can't wait for the next workout. If I don't work out, I feel as if something is missing. Plenty of people share the same mindset out there and want that energy in the gym. My favorite motivational saying to my workout partners is: "Go ahead and quit. It's easy being average."
What or who motivated you?
I am a very self-motivated person, but I also have a competitive spirit and want to work out with friends who are bigger than me. Always keep the bar high because "it's easy being average." Someone with whom I really enjoy working out is my wife. Not only is she my best friend, she's a great motivator, but that doesn't mean she lets me slack at all! She's actually kind of scary...
Where did you go for inspiration?
I have been doing this for so long that working out is just part of me, part of something I do. Fitness is totally my life. The efforts you put forth to achieve your ideal physique and health should be all the inspirational fuel you need. Funded Olympic athletes from Yugoslavia have a saying, "Your body is its function." I interpret it as their working out so much - oftentimes multiple times a day -- that when they compete they don't even need to warm up because their body is used to it. When I apply this principle to myself, I can motivate myself to keep working out because working out and bettering myself are things I'm used to. I firmly believe that there is always room for improvement.
What are your future fitness plans?
I am currently thinking about competing in my first "Over 40" show this year. Other than that, I train to maintain my health and fitness to continue being fit and exercising well into my senior years. I would also love to help others out with their own workout and supplement programs.
What is the most important fitness tip?
My favorite is to stay consistent and have respect for others. There is much hard work that goes into your fitness program. Keep at it and keep plugging along. If it were easy, everyone would be in shape. Those few that stick with it deserve their reward. Bodybuilding is not an easy sport. Being a bodybuilder myself, I understand what is needed to achieve that ideal look. Your appearance is a statement of who you are and the dedication you've put forth. This discipline requires a good attitude, respect for others, and modesty.
Who is your favorite bodybuilder/fitness athlete?
I have had the opportunity to meet a few top bodybuilders, but the one that stands out to me is Vince Taylor. I liked that he seemed very open and actually took the time to talk with people.
How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?
There are a myriad of websites out there on fitness, nutrition supplementation, and so on, but Bodybuilding.com is the best I've seen. From articles on training to blogs to the supplement store, you can get lost among 10,000 pages of fitness information! If you want motivation by seeing the success of others, of people like you, BodySpace and the robust photo gallery are two great motivators.
Todd's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "Paradise" by Within Temptation
- "Freak like Me" by Halestorm
- "Trooper" by Iron Maiden
- "Thorns" by Demon Hunter
- "This is Gonna Hurt" by SIXX AM
I have competed in three shows so far. My first was the Capitol City Classic in Tallahassee, Florida. I came in second place. The next was in Panama City, which I won in light heavy and novice categories. In The Heart of Dixie, I took third place. I'm quite proud of my accomplishments!