By Rachael Tolliver-IRAHC PAOMay 31, 2017
After traveling across the U.S., to compete in bodybuilding championships, Marcus Jefferson looks forward to encouraging local amateurs by giving them a chance to show off their of their hard work and learn a little about the sport in the first of its kind bodybuilding championship held in Elizabethtown June 17.
Jefferson, who is a material handler and property management specialist at Ireland Army Health Clinic, said the idea of holding a competition in Elizabethtown originated from the fact that Louisville has hosted amateur shows, but nothing has been done closer to this area. And those are the kind of shows where bodybuilding stars like Jefferson get their start.
He said bodybuilding started out as a hobby for him and while he's been in this sport for six years now, when he started out he took the sport by storm and turned pro after his first show as a rookie.
"I'm respected in the sport and I'm considered one of the biggest most symmetrical bodybuilders in it," he added. "The first show I did was the Kentucky State and I placed 3rd--my first time on stage I was nervous and scared. You feel great but when the bright lights hit you its different (your) first time on stage."
But Jefferson isn't the only professional bodybuilder on Fort Knox, or even at IRAHC. He met IRAHC 1st Sgt. Jill Steel at a competition last year during some events in which they both won.
Steele started competing in November 2014--her first was in Louisville at the Kentucky Muscle where she placed second in the physique category. She said after that experience she was hooked and competed some more before turning pro in September 2015. But from that first experience she learned several things.
"Every judge is different--they look for symmetrical body parts," she explained. "They also look for correct posing, smiles, what your suit looks like, how it fits you. It's a plethora of things that are being viewed and judged."
She and Jefferson both learned which important training techniques to address and what some common mistakes are. For example, both say that proper rest and dieting are two very important training tools--people seem to think they are done training when they leave the gym, Jefferson said. But, that is a mistake that future bodybuilders should avoid by using these after-gym tools.
As a result of hard training--in the gym and out--both Steele and Jefferson are rated at the top of their sport and each regularly finishes in the top three.
Amanda Slinker, a registered nurse at IRAHC, also competes as a body builder and has been a professional since 2016. It wasn't until 2014, with the encouragement of her husband, that Slinker started training for bodybuilding.
"Truthfully, I didn't think I was equipped to be a bodybuilder let alone be successful at the sport," she said. "Without his suggestion and support, I would have never fallen in love with bodybuilding. It is possible to be a mother, wife, professional and have time to be a successful bodybuilder."
She said she has learned that the most important thing to do when training is to listen to her body.
"In my experience, training alone did not produce an adequate physique," she noted. "Training along with a proper nutrition plan and adequate sleep did produce a competitive physique. Currently, my training schedule consists of a two days on and one day off rotation, with cardio five days a week. I often train 2-3 body parts per session. We focus on building up body parts that are lagging or lacking definition."
Bodybuilding is a sport that takes a special mindset which includes discipline, patience and consistency. And, Jefferson noted, building the body to perfection requires proper technique.
"I see guys' always lifting heavy and the body never changes," he explained. "What makes muscles grow are contractions and good blood flow. Form is everything and I see a lot of people with horrible form, but I'm that guy who will correct them. Not being disrespectful but because I'm that person who cares."
The Elizabethtown competition Jefferson is helping with is hosted through the Natural Bodybuilding Alliance--an organization that promotes drug-free competitions--and one in which he regularly competes. And as if showing off all their hard work isn't enough--there is another reason for amateur's to compete.
"A true bodybuilder would be interested because it's a chance to turn pro," Jefferson explained. "Once you turn pro, if you place in the top three, you are paid and there is a chance for being known around the world."