To Top

Staying Ripped

How do I do it? Well, my answer to that question is always the same: consistency. There’s no substitute for it. I don’t miss workouts, I train hard on the basic exercises, and I eat very clean—and I do it consistently.

Q: I had the pleasure of seeing you guest pose at shows in Ohio and Indiana many years ago. I just saw a clip of you on Facebook guest posing at the ’09 NPC Texas Natural State Championships in July. It’s been 10 to 12 years since I saw you pose in person, and you look like you’re still in ripped condition—but bigger. That’s impressive! How old are you now? How do you stay in such great condition all the time? And why is it that you’re in fantastic shape for appearances, but most of the IFBB pros I’ve seen guest pose look 30 to 40 pounds out of shape?

A: Thank you for your kind e-mail, and thanks for keeping up with me. Those appearances in Ohio and Indiana were 12 or 13 years ago! Boy, how the time flies. I turned 50 this year, and although some days my joints feel like they’re 60, my body is still as good as ever. From watching my guest-posing video, I’d say I’ve put on some muscle size since last year.

How do I do it? Well, my answer to that question is always the same: consistency. There’s no substitute for it. I don’t miss workouts, I train hard on the basic exercises, and I eat very clean—and I do it consistently.

Now, I want you to know that I’m not in ripped condition all the time. Nobody is. I give myself an off-season, during which time I eat the tortilla chips when I go to a Tex-Mex restaurant or the bread when I’m at a steak house. But I eat desserts only a few times a year (my mom’s apple pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, for sure!), and I don’t let things get out of hand. I rarely get more than 10 to 15 pounds out of contest shape—and to me even that looks bad. I still have abs—I’ve never in my life been so fat that I couldn’t see abs—but I don’t really look very muscular at that level of bodyfat. I certainly don’t have photos taken with my shirt off when I’m soft, and I absolutely don’t guest pose then. Therefore, people who don’t see me with my shirt off in the off-season think I’m ripped all the time. Trust me, I’m not. I am very human!

Now, to answer your question about my guest-posing condition compared to others: The big thing for me is that I’m not a very big guy. At 5’7” I usually compete at about 170 pounds. I’m blessed with small joints and full muscle bellies, so I look considerably bigger onstage than offstage. Some IFBB pros who are my height compete at 250 to 280 pounds. Those guys are so enormous that even at 30 to 40 pounds out of contest shape they’re still impressive onstage because of their immense size.

At 12 to 15 pounds out of contest shape I look like crap. I wouldn’t think of taking a promoter’s money for guest posing looking like that. I diet for my guest appearances because I want the promoter and the fans to get their money’s worth. And I take a great deal of pride in how I look. I want the fans to see the Texas Shredder, not the Texas Cream Puff.

Another thing that people don’t understand is how busy some of the top IFBB pros are. I recently judged at the NPC Branch Warren Classic and had the opportunity to speak with Branch after the show. I asked him how many guest-posing appearances he does per year and how he handles all the travel. He told me that he guest poses at about 35 shows per year and that he takes off for at least eight weeks before the Olympia. That doesn’t leave much downtime.

I usually get four to eight guest-posing appearances a year, and I don’t mind doing it close to my competitions. So when you see me onstage, either I’ve dieted specifically for the appearance or I’m getting ready to compete. Either way it’s a blast for me to get onstage and perform, and I get to meet a lot of great bodybuilders and bodybuilding fans all over the country.

As I write this column, I’m preparing for my next guest-posing appearance at the NPC Capital of Texas Roundup here in my hometown of Austin. Here’s hoping someone has posted my routine on Facebook or YouTube (because I’m nearly computer illiterate, I can’t count on myself to do it). I’m opening my routine with some actual singing and guitar playing. I’m just hoping I don’t end up looking like a dork. By the time you read this, people will think I’m either a multitalented guy or a complete idiot for attempting to pull together my musical talents and my bodybuilding skills in the same act.

Thanks for reading IRON MAN and for keeping up with my natural bodybuilding career. Train hard, eat clean and keep in touch. IM

Editor’s Note: See Dave Goodin’s blog at Click on the blog selection in the top menu bar. To contact Dave directly, send e-mail to

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Contest Prep

  • Peak Week

    Learn what a top competitor goes through in the final days before a contest. By Mike Carlson Most of us have...

    Sharon OrtigasDecember 17, 2016
  • NPC West Coast Men’s Physique Results

    Click on the link to see all the results: WC_16__Final-Mens Physique Men's Physique Class A   Men's Physique Class B Men's Physique...

    Iron Man MagazineJune 27, 2016
  • NPC West Coast Men’s Bodybuilding Results

    Click on the link to see all the results:  WC_16__Final-Bodybuilding Master Men's Bodybuilding over 40   Master Men's Bodybuilding over 50...

    Iron Man MagazineJune 27, 2016
  • The Advent Of Classic Physique

    A new NPC category will breathe competitive life into athletes who are stuck between divisions.

    Iron Man MagazineDecember 26, 2015
  • Blurring The Lines And Birth Of The Hybrid Training

    The classic era of bodybuilding and weightlifting undoubtedly occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, gyms weren’t deemed “hardcore,”...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 8, 2015
  • The Future Of Men’s Physique

    The relatively young sport is only in its adolescence, but it’s experienced explosive growth. What will the division look like 10...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 5, 2015
  • Go Pro – Thinking Outside The Gym

    Training outdoors can provide a valuable mental and physical boost. We go to the gym, we work out, and we move...

    Iron Man MagazineSeptember 14, 2015
  • Water Manipulation for Cuts and Striations

    I’m often asked how to manipulate water prior to a contest or photo shoot to get as ripped and hard-looking as...

    John HansenFebruary 17, 2015
  • Staying Motivated for Competition

    Q: I’ve just started to learn about natural bodybuilding, and after being a tad disappointed when coming across a lot of...

    John HansenNovember 21, 2014