NPC Michigan State Championships

As many of you probably ended up hearing already, I took second last night. It was a huge disappointment for sure, but has motivated me more than ever. We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes and I definitely feel this is the case here.


First, my legs suck and I've known this and was working on it, but now I'm determined to improve them dramatically before my next show. My quads lack a lot of size compared to my upper body and have zero sweep. Getting them way bigger and bringing up the sweep will be my main focus. My hamstrings improved a lot since my last show, but still need to improve a lot more. I also lack detail in my upper inner thighs. For whatever reason, I tend to store the most fat here and it's the hardest area for me to get cut up. I will address this by working hard to add more muscle to my inner thighs (which will make it much easier to see the detail) and by getting into better condition next time. Second, I made a rookie mistake and didn't get dark enough. I had no idea until after pre-judging when everyone told me my color was way too light and made me look smoother and washed out. Last time I used some gel-type stuff over the ProTan to make me look much darker, but I thought it made me look a little blotchy and covered up some fine details, so I went without it. I added a different kind for the evening finals and I think it helped a lot. I learned my lesson here and won't screw up my color again. Third, I may have over-cut my water a bit, as I was cramping on stage and in weird spots. All throughout the day, my toes and feet were cramping up hard. After posing for a bit on stage, the muscles around my ribs tightened up hard and I couldn't even expand my lungs to take in air. After the second round of comparisons I actually felt like I was suffocating for a bit, and thought for a moment that I might black out. Fortunately, I was able to relax myself and after a minute or so it relented enough so I could breathe better, but it stayed tight like that for the remainder of the day and night.

Future plans

I need to bring up my legs to match my upper body before I'll be capable of placing in any national-level show. For this reason, I'm going to forgo Junior Nationals and instead do the Junior USAs next May. There's no point for me in competing in five weeks if I'm not capable of a top placing, which with my legs in their current state, I am not. To bring my legs up I'm already formulating a plan which will include training them every 4-5 days with a lot more squatting, heavier weights and a lot more volume. I just purchased a safety squat bar (from elitefts™ of course) and will be using that to focus more on my quads and less on my hips/glutes. I'm also going to incorporate some of John Meadows' techniques as well. All of these things combined, plus training like madman will improve my legs dramatically by next year. One more important thing that I'll be doing is working with Shelby year-round and treating my off-season diet with just as much discipline as my pre-contest diet. While I didn't eat bad before, I'm going to take it to a new level this year, which I'm certain will make a big difference in my overall size and conditioning.

Thank You

In closing, I'd like to thank Shelby Starnes for getting me into great shape once again and my beautiful wife, Lauren, for doing over 90 percent of my food preparation (which is a ton of work) and for always being there to support me 100 percent. Not many guys are fortunate enough to have a woman in their life as supportive as my Lauren is and I will never take that for granted. I also want to thank everyone that came out to support me, my brother Kurt and his girlfriend Malisha, my good friends and long-time training partners Josh McMillan and his wife Brandi, Ken Richardson (thanks Ken for taking all the pics and posting them much appreciated), Tony McGinnis, Justin Healy, Dana Woodson, Evan Weber and his girlfriend Kate. Evan was a big help to me backstage and I really appreciated that as well. And thanks to everyone else that came out to see me or supported me in any way. That means a lot to me and truly is appreciated. I included a couple of pics of myself and eventual winner Lucian Costea in this article. Lucian has a great physique and a ton of potential and is a really good guy. We "B.S.'d" a bunch back stage and it was nice getting to know him.