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Doing things the right way

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness, People in the News

Published on August 08, 2012 with No Comments

Bodybuilder Eric Gibson preaches no-supplement weight training

Eric Gibson never was a skinny 98-pound weakling. His was the opposite body style.

“When I was 16 and playing football, I was 252 pounds,” he remembers. “I’m only 5’ 5”, so that was kinda big.”

He’s not weighed that much since.

Gibson began a personal search for ways to get healthier through weight-training and then bodybuilding. The success has brought him championships. More importantly, he has learned to be as healthy as he can be.

“When I was playing football, it was in Noblesville, my hometown,” he said.   “I started competing in bodybuilding at Ball State.”

He is part of the Northwest Indiana region now because his fiancée, Sidney Wieland, landed a job at Arcelor Mittal. He works at Express Employment in Valparaiso and is also a rep for Top Secret Nutrition.

His own nutrition is anything but secret. He belongs to that group of bodybuilders who does not get tested for supplements, including steroids, because they are pledged to natural foods.

“Whatever you become, you do it on your own,” he said. “It fits with how I was more or less going on my own.  (I) started doing research on my own and was certainly mostly self-taught, especially in high school.

“I liked the way weight lifting made me feel and it still does,” Gibson continued.  “I decided to not use supplements, based on what I had read about long-lasting effects. I cannot respect someone who uses enhancements to build their body. I like that I learned how to change my body. It made me a better player, but it also has made me a better person using just plain work.”

He trains now at Body Max Fitness in Merrillville. His coach and mentor, Austin Doffey, is based in Indianapolis, never more than a phone call away.

“My first competition was Indianapolis,” he remembers. “I saw a promoter in my gym (at Ball State) and he made an off-comment about his next show. I said, ‘I gotta show up.’ He said, ‘Come on, then.’ I won my weight class, Novice Light, 154 pounds and under.”

Gibson was hooked.

He is now affiliated with the International Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (INBF). That’s also how he came to represent the Top Secret line of natural nutrition.

Until the first competition, he didn’t even know there was a non-tested side of the sport. You cannot belong to the INBF without passing rigorous requirements.

“I didn’t even know there was a natural side,” he said. “But it absolutely felt good to be good at something. I was always a fat kid and was pretty amazed at how you could transform your physique.”

He said the appeal to all-natural bodybuilding is “a level playing field, drug-free. Obviously, if I was ever gonna have success . . . I mean I am not ever going to be going competitive against a 235-point ripped guy.

“Our rules are very, very strict, but simple: Anything you can’t use in the Olympics, we can’t use either. I don’t even like to take Advil.”

His style of bodybuilding is work intensive with time and dedication paying off, he said.

In the off-season from competition he admits he will eat junk food two or three times a week.

“But I was a fat kid and I know how that feels and I really don’t like even a little bit of that feeling coming back,” he said. “I would say the majority of the success comes down to diet and proper weight-training, especially when I am getting ready for a contest. Most people should do a cardio workout and I have to do it for myself as well. I am big at cardio workouts, building up endurance and burning extra calories.

He works out for all but six weeks year-round. “I keep as low (weight) as I can,” he said. “I consider most of my time contest prep. It makes the process a little faster.”

Just as his coach mentored him in bodybuilding and still overlooks all his nutrition, Gibson said he would love to help starting bodybuilders in ways he never had when he learned on his own.

“I really don’t know a lot of people here yet,” he said. “But what I would like to do is take what I have learned and pass it on to someone else. In the gym, I will answer questions if anyone asks.”

He will, of course, preach natural tactics, especially to beginners who may be pressured to take the shortcut of advertised supplements.

“A lot of what it comes down to on the natural side, sure, a big part of it is genetics,” he said. “But dedication and determination, the ability to sacrifice physically to make the right changes to your body, is what pays off.”

One of his best successes in competition came in one championship. He won his weight class, then was stunned to learn he had been judged overall champ against other weight-class winners.

“Doing things the right way just pays off.  Forever and in life,” he said.

All-natural bodybuilder Eric Gibson keeps what he calls his “fat pic” around to remind him of where he started. He was 16 and weighed 252 pounds.

All-natural bodybuilder Eric Gibson in competition.

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About Mike Siroky

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the chronicleNWI.com

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