Five years ago, Bobby Cameron took his training in the gym to a new level. Already a state record holder in powerlifting, the then 43 year-old took the suggestion of two of his friends, and began competing in body building.
“Timmy Gillard from Ripley and Mitch Rutherford got me into it, which I was already lifting weights, as I started out doing powerlifting,” Cameron said. “I currently hold the state record for lifters over 40, and no one has broken that, so they kept talking to me and got me into body building. I got first place both my first and second years, and this is actually the first year that I’ve gotten second.”
Now at 48, Cameron is still working hard in competitions, which involve training four to five months in advance.
“We start doing our diet about 14 to 16 weeks out, lift weights and getting ready,” he said. “The week before the competition, we cut out our carbs and up our protein while drinking as much water during the first half of the week, cutting water out on Thursday. We just go to every show trying to look our best.”
Like with powerlifting, there are several weight classes, as well as master classes for specific age groups. In the two recent competitions, Cameron competed against seven others at the Southern Classic in June and five in the Mississippi Show this month.
Especially in the master classes, Cameron noted how difficult it is to know exactly what a judge is looking for, as there are various weight classes competing against one another.
“The judges are looking for the best symmetry, who has the most striations, shreds, when you flex, you can see every fiber in your muscle. That’s pretty much it,” he said. “They judge every competitor, looking at who has good abs, arms, back, so it’s probably 10 judges looking at you, one might like you, one might not, so it’s almost like a beauty pageant.”
“With the master classes, you have all of the guys in their 40s against one another, another class for people in their 50s and so on. So you could be 178 pounds competing against someone that’s 260, and you never know what the judges are looking for in that situation. It’s sometimes frustrating, but all you can do is try to keep your weight down and look your best.”
Having already placed in several competitions, Cameron’s next step is to work toward his pro card, which can earn him sponsorships as well as a spot in bigger competitions.
“I’m going to Pittsburgh next year, and hopefully I’ll be able to place in a grand prix so I can earn my pro card,” he said. “After that, you can compete in any IFBB competition, including the top ones, like the Mr. Olympia.”
While he’s not training for competitions, Cameron is well known in the community as an instructor at the Baptist Memorial Healthplex. Working there for the past 12 years, Cameron’s goal is to not only help locals get in shape, but also inspire others to take up the sport of body building.
“It’s a good sport to get into, especially young guys,” he said. “Just stay drug free, come in to the gym and work hard, set your goals, and eat clean. Anyone can make it, if you work hard. I try to help a lot of young guys and get them focused on doing something like that.”
“I would like to see a guy from New Albany actually make it. You look at it, I’m 48, so my time is just about over, but I would like to get a 20 year old started and by the time he’s 25 or 30, he could be Mr. Olympia. I would like to be able to say that I helped someone accomplish that.”