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Name: Justin Bowling
Starting Weight: 232
Ending Weight: 200
Location: Elizabethton, TN
Check out our Q/A with this year’s champion:
Muscle & Fitness: What motivated you to take on the Rock Hard Challenge?
My motivation in anything that I do is always my children. I have two beautiful little girls, Briley and Aislynn that are my world. I want to be someone that they can look up to and be proud of. I want them to see if they work hard for something and never give up they will get there no matter what. And also when the boys come knocking in a few years, that daddy means business.
M&F: Did you make any adjustments to our recommended plan? If so, what else did you add to your workout and nutrition program?
I thought the training program was really great and I stuck with a lot of the exercises. My body responds the best to training with heavy weights and focusing on compound movements, so that was the basis of my program. The breakdown of the nutrition plan I thought was great as well. I do a really good job at keeping up with my macros, and making sure those were on point was actually more important than the training. One thing that I made sure of was keeping my sodium levels low and water intake high.
M&F: What was the most difficult part of the challenge for you?
The most difficult part of the challenge was the diet without a doubt. Walking in to the gym and bench pressing 400lbs was easy compared to making sure all my macros were in check. I love food and typically crave bad food, but I kept telling myself you have a cheat day coming soon, stick to the plan and it will pay off for you.
M&F: How has your exercise and diet regimen changed since you completed the challenge? Do you hope to continue your transformation?
I think the thing that really changed the most for me as far as my workouts and diet was really paying attention to how my body responds to different training techniques and to different foods. I can see a huge difference in the way I look and feel when I have too much sodium in my diet or when I don’t have enough water. After doing this challenge it became a habit to check labels for sodium and make sure that I’m always eating the right foods. I am even leaner now than I was at the end of the challenge, so the goal is to keep going as long as I can. I’m a teacher and I have a lot more free time in the summer so it’s a lot easier to make sure that I stick to my diet and training.
M&F: What are your overall fitness goals?
My overall fitness goal is to never be content with where I’m at, in always trying to better myself. If you’re not working towards a goal then how do you know when you get there? I wanted to break the Tennessee state record in bench press last month and I did, now I want to break it again. For my the key to success is to never get complacent and to never settle. I’m the strength coach at Happy Valley High School and I have a lot of athletes that look to me for training advice, so to be able to help them reach their goals and continue on a fitness journey with them is enough motivation to always want to push to get better.