Ed Cobb asked just two things of me in exchange for his helping me to prepare for my first bodybuilding contest. First, he let me know that I’d soon be getting advice from everyone and to please run it by him before making any changes in my program. The second stipulation was that if I was happy with my results, I’d need to write an article so that others could profit from my experience. Well, here’s my end of the bargain of course, this is going to be lengthy and drawn out, but there is some pertinent information I do not wish to leave out, so I will at least try to make it entertaining.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania; now I’m talking population 70. My two parents, older brother and I were an incredibly active family. I think my love for athletics began when I developed quite a knack for running due to my brother’s favorite sport,
beat the crap out of your little sister.
"Oh, by the way, I placed first in the heavy weight class in the novice division and won the novice overall unanimously. I placed second in the heavyweight open class, missing first by just one vote."
My introduction to weight training was a bit out of the ordinary as well. There was a small 2-story gym in our town called the
Shape Shoppe. Wanda, the owner, hired me as her cleaning lady when I was 13 years old. That was back in 1986. After working there for a couple of months, I picked up my first weight, performed my first set and I haven’t stopped since.
Of course when I first began, my training schedule was insane. I overtrained like crazy, working my entire body everyday for nearly 2 years solid. I was absolutely addicted. Yeah, I was scrawny and ugly and weight training was my outlet. Was it obsessive-compulsive? Yes. Do I regret it? No. God brought me through that ordeal with a greater appreciation of the term
I was so crazy about working out that one day after I broke my hand; I was back in the gym with my hand in a cast on trying to lift. I was scheduled for surgery in 3 days to have pins placed in my hand to set the fracture, but I was going to get my workout in, come heck or high water! I was lucky to have parents that always supported my insanity, but I did notice that they stopped having kids after me. Kinda tells you something about how difficult I was as a child.
My training habits and diet have changed greatly since that first day, but I have been steady and consistent with my training ever since. I don’t think I’ve taken more than four consecutive days off for the last 15 years. When I go on vacation, I make sure there’s a gym within a 10-mile radius of where I am staying. Anal? Yes! But weight training is that important to me, in body, spirit and mind. I’d probably end up a serial killer if I didn’t use the weight room as my stress relief! I feel better when I work out and I’m better able to cope with this crazy world after I pound through the iron for a while.
Traveling throughout the U.S. as a contract Physical Therapist, my work took me to Rockford, Illinois. My first day in town, I walked into Champion’s gym and have not found a better gym since. From day one, the gang there tried to get me to compete in one of Kevin Noble’s bodybuilding shows. Now, you must realize I love to lift weights, but just for my own personal accomplishment, not to stand up on a stage and act like my body is better than anyone else’s. Prior to competing I pretty much felt all bodybuilding shows were just muscle pageants with cocky, oily people flexing for their own personal glory and adulation of the audience. Remember, this was just my opinion before I knew better, so no nasty letters, please.
Finally, I’d had enough. It took three more years for me to finally be convinced, but I decided it was time to see what bodybuilding competition was all about. I began to prepare for the May 6, 2000 NPC Grand Prix in mid January.
I found out quickly that one of my Dad’s saying (well I’ll clean it up a little)
opinions are like buttholes, everyone has got one and most of them stink, was very applicable to bodybuilding. As soon as people at my gym found out I was preparing for a show I had a million expert trainers. All of a sudden, I had advice coming out of my ears. It seemed everyone knew everything there was to know about getting ready for a show. They knew exactly what I should eat, when I should eat, and how I should train. I got so much advice that I was definitely in major overload.
I’d started my contest prep at 15 weeks out and had already fallen flat on my face at 11. I had no energy. I was training three hours a day, eating up to eight meals a day and I was starving. But I was going to see cuts in my legs whether it killed me or not!! Two more weeks went by – I continued to get advice from everyone. But, I just became more confused. My instincts were screaming for change. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t working, but where do I go from here, only nine weeks out from the show?
That’s when I got on the Internet. I typed in a search for
natural bodybuilding. I was directed to www.bodybuildingworld.com, which turned out to be the Beverly International No Nonsense newsletter home page. I read some of the testimonials and thought,
Sounds good on paper, but is it too good to be true? The supplement prices seemed a little higher than some other brands I had used while shopping price. But did the prices reflect higher quality or just a rip off? I asked around the next day at the gym and everyone I asked who knew about Beverly said they are the best supplements on the market! I was really surprised. Even Kevin Noble, the promoter of the show in which I was going to compete, said Beverly is the best product line out there, what they say is in their products is legitimate. No fillers and no sunshine shoved up your nose, what you see is what you get. Where do I sign up?!
I got Ed Cobb’s e-mail address from one of the articles on the web. (It’s [email protected] if you’re interested.) I e-mailed Ed and he responded within 24 hours with such enthusiasm, I could not resist. He found out the pertinent information to get me started on a diet and supplement program and that is basically where my perspective on bodybuilding changed. After one week of being on the diet and supplements, my energy levels shot up and my bitchy attitude was almost alleviated. This really threw the other
so-called experts off.
Up until I started working with Ed everyone had been telling me that if I wasn’t miserable and suffering then I wasn’t doing something right. Their advice was to do at least 1 ½ hours of cardio every day to decrease my bodyfat. Diet advice was eat 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Don’t eat sugar, eat more carbs, don’t eat tuna, lift light weights with lots of reps, don’t do squats after you are two weeks out, don’t sit down to urinate, you’ll burn more fat standing. The list was endless and I’d had enough! Ed and his beautiful wife, Slavica were my saving graces.
Within one week of starting my diet and supplement program, I lost 2 percent bodyfat and maintained my bodyweight. I was not starving and I was doing significantly less cardio – maybe four times a week for thirty minutes. I could feel a tremendous difference with the Beverly supplements in all aspects of my life. I had more energy for my workouts. I was able to train heavy right up until the day of the show. I did not feel run down or starved between meals like everyone else and believe it or not, I actually smiled a couple of times during the eight weeks I was dieting!
Ed had Kevin Noble at my gym monitor my bodyfat every two or three weeks and we’d send Ed the results. Each week, I lost more bodyfat yet retained my lean mass. I kept in constant contact with Ed (I called him at least twice a week) and let him know how I was feeling, where my bodyfat, energy level, and weight were. Anytime I ran into a snag or as often happened, when I got some comments/advice from the other
experts in the gym, I always ran it by Ed. He’d listen with an open mind and make adjustments if needed. I felt completely confident with his program and was able to call him at any hour with any problems or crisis that I was having. Ed made it so easy. He did my diet and supplement program; I just had to follow it and workout. It made bodybuilding easy.
The day of the show, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I wanted to have a good time and I wanted the audience to enjoy the show. I made it a point to talk the other female competitors into hamming it up onstage. Heck, we had just dieted and suffered for three months, this was supposed to be the fun part, let’s make the most of it. Which we did – and everyone had a great time.
In hindsight, God had brought me through an incredible experience that has forever changed my life. With support from my parents, friends, and the gym, I’ve accomplished something that I had never dreamed possible. I really do owe a lot to Ed. I recommend Ed to all my friends, both young and old, bodybuilders or not, because he knows what he’s talking about. Guess what? Through all the work we had done together Ed had never laid eyes on me before the day of the show.
Am I going to compete again? Yes. When the time is right and I feel the desire, I will be ready once again to put my heart and soul into it, but for now, I need to pay attention to my neglected dog and focus on gaining some size for the future. All I know is that I will be using Beverly International from now on – both on season and off.
Oh, by the way, I placed first in the heavy weight class in the novice division and won the novice overall unanimously. I placed second in the heavyweight open class, missing first by just one vote. My only regret is that my parents weren’t there to see me compete. They are truly my heroes and I owe them everything. It would have been nice to be able to hand them my trophies as I walked off stage.