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Lee Banks

Full name: Lee Angelo Banks

Date of birth: September 26, 1971

Height: 5’8”

Off-season weight: 255

Contest weight: 220

Current residence: Jacksonville, Florida

Years training: 20

Occupation: Owner of two Super Duck Early Learning Centers

Marital status: Married to Michelle

Children: Son, Levy, age 10

Hobbies: Playing the Wii and Playstation 3 with my son; fishing; and dressing up for the kids as Super Duck, the mascot of my day care centers. They completely flip out seeing a 250-pound superhero with a duck’s head.

How did you get into bodybuilding? I was very much into martial arts, and just before I earned my black belt at age 15, my cousin kicked my knee from the side. The injury was so bad that my leg was in a cast all summer. I started doing curls out of boredom, and I got really excited when I noticed my arms were growing. My father had passed away when I was only two, but he’d competed briefly in bodybuilding, and in the back of my mind I always thought maybe I would do that too. He certainly passed on some good genetics to me.

Who inspired you when you were starting out? In the very beginning I would say Arnold, like just about everybody else, but once I started competing, I was very inspired by the physiques of Shawn Ray and Flex Wheeler.

Top titles: ’04 All-South Championships, light heavyweight, 1st, and overall; ’07 All-South Championships, heavyweight, 1st, and overall; ’08 IFBB North American Championships, heavyweight, 2nd; ’09 NPC USA, heavyweight, 2nd; ’09 NPC Nationals, heavyweight, 2nd

Favorite bodypart to train: Quads—they’re a challenge.

Favorite exercise: None

Least favorite exercise: I’ve never liked lunges.

Best bodypart: People usually say my arms.

Most challenging bodypart: Quads

Obstacles overcome: I’ve now taken second place three times in a row at pro qualifiers. It can be discouraging to come so close and just miss reaching the goal you worked so hard for. I believe in myself, though, and know I’m more than capable of winning, so I keep moving forward.

What philosophy do you try to live by? You can do anything you set your mind to; whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

How do you stay motivated? I know I belong on the pro stage with those guys. It’s my destiny. Also, the fans are very positive and encouraging and have helped lift my spirits when I was feeling down.

How would you describe your training style? I consider myself a very instinctive trainer. I constantly switch up my workouts and don’t have a set plan with them. I do what I feel is hitting the target muscle most effectively. Sometimes I go in and train something other than what I’d intended to that day. I use the FST-7 training system for some ­bodyparts, mainly my quads.

Training split: Monday: a.m., shoulders, calves; Tuesday: a.m., quads; p.m., hamstrings; Wednesday: a.m., chest; p.m., triceps; Thursday: cardio; Friday: a.m., shoulders, calves; Saturday: a.m., back; p.m., biceps; Sunday: off

Favorite clean meal: Chicken and rice

Favorite cheat meal: Whopper with cheese and fries from Burger King

What is your favorite MuscleTech Hardcore Pro Series supplement, and why? I have two, actually. I take Creakic Hardcore first thing in the morning when I wake up and again right after my workout. The fullness in the muscles and the increased work capacity are worlds apart from any other creatine product I’ve ever used. I also love Gakic Hardcore (by zachary at testsforge). I take that 45 minutes before every workout, and the strength gains I’ve seen are crazy—especially when you consider I’ve already been training for 20 years. I’m not supposed to be getting stronger, but I am.

Goals in the sport: I want to go as far as I can in bodybuilding. Ultimately I want to win the Arnold Classic and be top five at the Mr. Olympia. IM

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