The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 29, 2012

Strike a pose!

Ashtabula’s Jim Smith is proof that training the correct way does a body (very!) good

JEFFERSON — A second-place finish provided plenty of motivation for Ashtabula’s Jim Smith, who recently won a natural bodybuilding contest.

Smith finished second in the 2011 Northern States Super Natural Bodybuilding and Figure Championships American & Canadian Challenge and focused his training to come back and win first place at the Buffalo competition.

“I trained harder than ever because I was so determined (to win),” Smith said of his recent victory against 22 other bodybuilders that compete in a drug-free environment.

“I started dieting for this show the day after Christmas,” Smith said of efforts that took him from 210 pounds to 185 the day of the show.

“My goal is two pounds a day,” he said of the time leading up to a contest.

Smith won his light-heavyweight division and then was crowned overall champion, earning him a “pro card” that will allow him to compete for money. He hopes to compete in his first professional show in September in the Buffalo area.

Less is more for Smith, who says he doesn’t like to compete that often.

“I take one show a year,” he said. “If you do any more than that, you won’t come in at your best.”

Smith participated in his first contest in 1989 and competed into the early 1990s before taking a break for 15 years and coming back in the “natural” competitions in 2005.

Reading books and learning from experience are Smith’s keys to success.

“I’ve studied every book out there,” he said. “You have to experience (different training techniques).”

Smith said the sport is very challenging and takes a lot of heart.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said.

The super natural bodybuilding series insures fairness. He said the winners are drug tested and everybody is administered a polygraph test, with questions regarding use of steroids or other illicit drugs.

Smith works out six days a week, averaging about 90 minutes a day.

“I try to go as heavy (weights) as I can,” Smith said of his lifting philosophy, which includes four exercises for chest and four for back several days a week. He switches muscle groups during the week so his body has a chance to recover.

Smith said his leg work is a key to his success, which is fueled by a regimen of eight to nine sets of squats with as much as 500 pounds on the bar.

In the pro division, Smith will now enter pro contests that can have prize money up to $1,000 to $2,000.

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