Years ago, when I was at the beginning of my bodybuilding days, a handful of athletes showed that it was possible to train naturally, develop outstanding physiques and compete at the national level. Three who had a great influence on me during that time were Skip La Cour, Chris Faildo and Earl Snyder. When I became a part of Team AST in 1999, I was proud to be added to a list of athletes that included both Skip and Earl.
Earl is an IFBB and NGA (National Gym Association) pro, and his list of accomplishments includes being an NPC National, NPC USA and NPC Team Universe class champion. Earl has represented the USA in international competitions all over the globe. He's won medals three times at the IFBB World Amateur Championships and placed first in the European Championships.
He earned his IFBB pro status by winning the Bantamweights at the '98 NPC Nationals. His pro status was recognized by the NGA, and he started competing as an NGA pro in 2001.
The NGA is a drug-free organization and has five levels of competition, ranging from novice to pro. Earl has done quite well at NGA events, including a victory at the Pro Battle of Champions in Stafford, Texas, on August 14.
JW: Congratulations on your latest win. How did you manage to beat guys who out-weigh you by quite a bit?
ES: Thanks. One thing I did was start bracketing my workouts with Creatine HSC and VP2 Whey Isolate. I also increased my GL3 L-glutamine and added CLA 1000 for the first time. I was able to come in to the show bigger and better than ever before.
JW: What's different about competing in the pro division rather than as an amateur?
ES: There are no weight classes, so I don't have to worry about the scale and don't have to suck down to 143 pounds anymore. I weighed about 150 at the contest. Other competitors' weights ranged from 185 to 220 pounds. The added size made a huge difference. I was able to hang with the big boys and knock off the contest favorite.
JW: Sounds like you put that nutritional advice to good use. The fact that you continue to make improvements after so many years speaks volumes for the effectiveness of your strategies. How many years have you been training?
ES: I started lifting in 1980 for high school wrestling. I earned a full wrestling scholarship to Drake University in Iowa, where I continued to hit the weights. All the time I was training for wrestling I was interested in how far I could take my body, so when I graduated in 1986, I entered my first bodybuilding show, and the rest is history.
JW: How do you keep it all straight'train like a madman and maintain your full-time work schedule?
ES: I have a great support system. I attribute a lot of my success to my wife, Tara. She does so many things to help me out, and you need that type of support to be successful. I also have support from you and Paul Delia at AST Sports Science. I can call you guys if I need advice or a little extra motivation. That camaraderie is so helpful, and we're able to learn from each other.
JW: That's true. I learn from you too. One of the things I admire about you is your attitude and the balance you keep with your life.
ES: Balance is important. You need to have other areas in your life besides bodybuilding. My life is like a chef's salad. There are a lot of ingredients that make it up, not just plain lettuce. I have a social life, a gym life, hobbies. I love to hunt, I spend quality time with my wife and daughter, and I have my job. I'm a drug and alcohol counselor at an adult prison boot camp, and I teach classes on health, nutrition and well-being.
If you're one-dimensional, you'll be unhappy. If you make life enjoyable and don't make bodybuilding a grind, you'll find more opportunities, and you'll perform better all year long.
I love bodybuilding, and I like to work with people and help them achieve better results. I do consulting on contest preparation, and I work with numerous clients from all over the east. I've even had one client make a five-hour drive from Washington, D.C., to my home in Pennsylvania. My clients come to the house and we work on all areas of preparation'posing, diet, supplementation and tanning.
All of my clients have either won or placed in their shows. No one has ever come home empty-handed.
I also have an instructional video that's now available.
Team Universe Champion
Editor's note: For more information on Earl Snyder's services, send e-mail to [email protected]. For information on AST sports supplements, visit www.ast-ss.com.