Meet the Y: Clarence

Clarence Wilson is a fitness staff member at the East Communities Y and has been a member here for almost 10 years. In his free time, he trains for body building competitions. After months of training this year, he competed in the Adela Garcia Classic bodybuilding competition in June and had great success! He competed in the men’s physique category and got 1st place in Masters, 2nd place in Novice, and 3rd place in Open.

We are so proud and impressed by his accomplishments that we wanted to share them and learn more about how he does it. So I sat down with him to learn a little more…

Q: What first drew you in to fitness and body building?

A: I was slim, I was real thin. And I kept thinking that I needed to work out. So at the beginning of the year, as my new year’s resolution I went and got a gym membership. And I can honestly say that to this day, I haven’t missed more than 7 days at the gym in 20 years. And that time I missed 7 days was because I got the flu. Other than that, I’ve been working out at least 5 days a week for 20 years. I keep coming to the gym because I know that if I stopped for any length of time, I’d probably never come back. Signing up for these competitions gives me extra motivation to keep it up and keep improving too. Because I’m not getting any younger! This’ll keep me healthy.

Q: How long have you been doing body building competitions, and how many have you competed in?

A: I’ve been in three competitions now over the last 5 or so years, and I’m training for another competition in August.

Q: I understand that it’s important to eat well and maintain a strict diet to get in the right shape leading up to these competitions. How do you make sure that you’re maintaining healthy eating habits?

A: What I tell people is, that if you change your diet and start eating clean, your body’s going to change regardless. I don’t care how much you come in and work out- if you aren’t eating clean and eating right, then nothing’s going to change no matter how much you work out.

So, I made sure I wrote down in detail, everything I ate. Before this competition, I wrote down what I ate, but it was kind of vague. I would just write down, “chicken, vegetables,” whatever it was. I’ve got years’ worth of notebooks of what I ate. Now, leading up to this last competition, I wrote down the exact weight and amount of everything I ate; 3 ounces of this, 8 ounces of that, etc.

I had a lot of help to figure out what I should be eating to get in the right shape for this competition. I got with Shane, the nutritionist here at the Y, and he came at me with so much detail! He was so detailed and knowledgeable and broke everything down for me. Leslie (our Family Engagement Coordinator) helped me out; she helped me find some products I needed online. And I just asked a lot of questions along the way. My buddy in Houston who competes in the same category as I do gave me a lot of advice too. Stuff that’s more specific to body building.

Bridget (our Fitness Coordinator) helped me out too. I lived through her. After every weekend I’d come in and ask her what she ate that weekend. She’d tell me and I’d ask about the dessert and just live through her.

Q: The YMCA is probably not the first gym that people think of when they think of body builders, so why the Y?

A: Well, I’ve been a member here at the Y for at about 10 years. In fact, they told me last year that I was the member who came here the most- more than any other member. But the equipment is all the same. If you know the equipment, the YMCA is just fine. It doesn’t have to be Gold’s Gym, or 24 Hour. If you know how to use the equipment, you can achieve the exact same results.

Q: I understand that soon you’ll be a personal trainer here at our Y. What interests you about being a personal trainer?

A: Yes, I’m trying to get my test done by August so then I’ll be certified. I want to help other people. I know how important it is as you get older to stay active and in shape. I want to focus more with older adults. Because I know that someday we’ll all be there. And people want to stay in good condition; it’s very important to stay mobile and maintain your independence. Plus, I think older people are nice. They aren’t going to stress you out too much about wanting to look like this or that. They’re just here to stay in shape and maintain their health and happiness. We’ll all be there if we live long enough. And I just hope somebody else will want to take the time with me and say, “Well, you lifted some heavy weights back then, but go on, just lift some light stuff and we’ll get on through.” Just to keep me going.

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