Growing up on a farm in Indiana was the furthest thing from the world of bodybuilding, but in a way, it turned out to be the perfect foundation. I was raised by a single mom and grew up working the field, tending to the animals, and doing all sorts of physically taxing chores.
I did have a connection to muscle, however, because my Dad was a bodybuilder. Looking at pictures of him, I knew that there was something extraordinary about his body. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that, in an effort to become more popular at school, I tried out for sports. As it turned out, I immediately took a liking to athletics and realized I could excel. Upon trying out for track and field, I ran faster than anyone else on the team. I gave the discus a go, and before long I set a state record. When I played football, the coach had me playing both offense and defense in the same game. It was around that time that I started seeing changes in my body, and that’s when it became obvious that I had inherited my father’s genetics.
What proved to be a major turning point was meeting my friend William Read. While on vacation I saw this huge muscular man eating at a diner. Other than Dad, I’d never seen anyone like that before. I started a conversation with William and asked him how he built his body. He taught me the ropes, taking me under his wing and showing me how to train. I loved the results. There was no turning back, and I was on my way — or so I thought.
Barely one year into my weight training I was in a terrible car accident in which I suffered multiple severe injuries, leaving me in a coma. It looked like I wasn’t going to make it. After ten days I snapped out of the coma, but recovery was a long way off. I had to begin therapy just to be able to walk again. The doctors attributed my survival and consequent rehab progress to my conditioning. That sealed the bodybuilding lifestyle for me. It literally saved my life. And that’s why I’ve never missed a workout since.
After moving to New York City in 1995, I decided to cash in on my physical status by doing some modeling work — fitness mags, romance novel covers, and some small acting roles. It paid the bills, but I felt I was limited in regard to how far it could go. Through doing that, I got encouragement to compete in a bodybuilding show — the NPC Eastern USA. I won my weight class as well as the overall.
As rewarding as that was, it soon became apparent that bodybuilding competition is an expensive hobby. It was time to concentrate on a career. I started OMNI Solutions NYC Recruitment & Placement Services. We are contracted by government-funded workforce centers to assist unemployed New Yorkers with finding new jobs.
I never stopped training, and I continually strove to develop more mass. At 43, I decided to try another bodybuilding competition — the NPC Masters USA, which I won. It was right after that when IFBB Pro Victor Martinez suggested I try for professional status by entering the Nationals Masters. For all of my competition prep, I incorporated the help of IFBB pro trainer Capriese Murray. This definitely helped me earn my pro card.
My philosophy on training is simple — train hard without overtraining. I like to work quickly, keeping the pump so I burn fat while building muscle. I find that working one body part a day works best for me, but I’d would advise that everyone try several methods to find what works best for them. If I had to give one bit advice to anybody looking to improve their bodybuilding progress, it would be:“Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat!”
As for diet, I keep it simple, eating good, wholesome food while avoiding junk, though I will cheat now and then. Of course, prior to a show I make sure my diet is perfectly clean. I try to get protein every three hours, mostly in the form of easily digestible liquid protein.
As for the future, I feel like I’m on the right track. I’m going to keep my commitment to constantly improve my physique, continue to enter bigger contests, and take bodybuilding as far as it will take me. There are no limitations if you don’t allow obstacles to get in your way.