Teen Amateur Of The Week: Shredded Muscle, Embedded Confidence!

The weight room gave Ethan the ability showcase his power on the football field. Now his energy is focused on bodybuilding shows that reward hard work!

How Did Your Bodybuilding Journey Begin?

From age 11 to 17, I struggled with my weight. My dad always said we needed to diet and work out together, but I always shrugged his words off because I was involved in sports and thought my weight wasn't an issue. I was best at football and believe that my athleticism clouded my vision to reality. I was fat, out of shape, and got winded much faster than thin kids. When I reached high school, I was still athletic, but discovered I was also strong in the weight room.

At age 15, I weighed 200 pounds and lifted with older kids on the football team. My coach always subbed me in as a lineman or linebacker and the attention and playing time made me fall in love with football. My sophomore year, I started at fullback and looked fit, but I still weighed 225 pounds with 15-20 percent body fat.

I set a record for incline bench press and got close in the squat and bench press, but I broke my leg and it all went downhill. I had the appetite of a young football player with no activity for half a season and a whole winter. Not only did I pay for it, but my team did too. My junior year of high school, we went 1-7. My weight at 250 pounds and 33 percent body fat played a huge part in our inability to perform. On offense, I was in such terrible shape that I got moved down to a lineman.

I had to lose weight, so I joined swimming and dropped my weight to 235 pounds. When swimming ended, I dedicated myself to the weight room to improve for football. My two best friends and I woke up at 5:30 a.m. every morning to lift and did another session after school. We trained, but it wasn't to improve. It was more to make us feel like we were.

I bought two trials sizes of BSN N.O.-Xplode 2.0 after swimming and took it after school before a lifting session. The pump and the rush was the best feeling. From that point, I loved to train. When school ended, I turned it up and lifted for two hours per day, ran a mile at minimum before bed, and did agility drills, plyos, stairs, and sprints. The entire summer was a nonstop workout for my brain and body. My coach said reading would give me the focus to be great, so I read, and between every chapter I did bodyweight workouts.

For three months, I practically closed myself off from the world and it was well worth it. By the end of summer, I could see my abs and was down to 190 pounds. It was my best season of football. I received all-conference and all-state honors and played in the Shrine Bowl. I had the strength of a lineman and the speed of a running back. But three months of being shut out from the world burnt me out from the sport I loved.

I still needed something to work toward and was more involved with supplements after ordering from Bodybuilding.com, so I took a closer look at the site. I read about good form and correct reps and sets for certain goals (I always argued with my coaches about form once I learned about it). After I graduated, I had another summer of training with no real improvements, but I stuck with it.

When I got to college, I went to the two gyms in Rock Springs, Wyoming. One day, a guy asked if I had ever thought about bodybuilding and asked if I'd like to join his team and go to Utah for an NPC show. It took me a while to warm up to the idea, but eight weeks out I made my decision and started my cut.

How Did Your Passion for Bodybuilding Emerge?

Seeing how big some men get amazed me. It showed that our bodies aren't limited. The only one who is accountable for your failure is you. No one can lift the weight for you. If you screw up, there's no teammate to pick up your slack. It's you versus you.

What/Who Motivated You to Be a Bodybuilder?

My father. He isn't a bodybuilder, but no one in this world pushed or helped me more than him. He never let me stray from my path and was always the first to give me credit for my work. He taught me how to have a good work ethic and be a strong man physically and mentally.

Where Did You Go for Inspiration?

I look to my friends and family members who have so much faith in me. They have always held me to a high standard and I couldn't stand to let them down.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I plan to continue bodybuilding until age 20, and then possibly switch over to physique. I would also like to get to the point of staying cut year round.

What Is the Most Important Bodybuilding Tip?

Dieting is key. What you use to fuel your body will show when you perform in the gym and on stage.

Who Is Your Favorite Bodybuilder?

Kai Greene. He faced all hardships head on. He inspires me in the gym and in life.

How Did Bodybuilding.com Help You Reach Your Goals?

The articles and workout programs got me started. I have yet to follow a program fully, but they give me a good idea of how and what I should do. The articles are always a good read and give me ideas in my own workouts and diets.