Body Builder Balances Military Career
Stars and Stripes | Dave Ornauer
FOSTER, Okinawa — Most competitive bodybuilders engage in that activity
full time, throwing themselves into weight training while counting
calories and carbohydrates as much as they do dollars spent on traveling
though, is the career GI who is employed full-time in defending the
country while finding space on the mantle for bodybuilding championship
does Leo Ingram, a Navy Chief Petty Officer stationed in Hawaii, balance
serving Uncle Sam with building body beautiful?
prioritize. The military career always comes first,” said Ingram,
37, an Atlanta native assigned as an engineer at Pearl Harbor Naval
All-Armed Forces champion and 2006 USA North American amateur champion
spoke with Stars and Stripes on Sunday before the 12th Far East Bodybuilding
Competition at the Foster Theater. About 800 spectators cheered on
47 competitors and Ingram, the event's guest poser.
comes naturally to me,” Ingram said. “Doing this and serving 19½
years in the Navy, you have to find a balance, or you will never be
able to accomplish anything.”
first hit the competitive amateur circuit in 1993, when a friend with
whom he was stationed in San Diego convinced Ingram to join him in
the weight room while the friend trained for a competition there.
inspired me,” Ingram said. “I said to myself, ‘That's something I
later, Ingram found himself taking second place in the All-Armed Forces
competition, “and I've been doing it ever since,” he said. “We all
choose our hobbies in our lives. This just happened to be mine.”
parlayed that hobby into entries in nine amateur competitions since
1993, winning five of them. He took a break after being assigned to
Japan from 2000 to 2004, then hit the circuit again in 2005 after
transferring to Pearl Harbor.
American gold medal earned Ingram his professional card; he said he
plans someday to compete in worldwide events such as Mr. Olympia.
that muscular body takes far more than simply lifting a few barbells
and learning how to flex, Ingram said.
when not training for an event, which takes months at a time, Ingram
says he spends 90 minutes of each day in the weight room, and four
hours when preparing for a contest.
diet revolves around “lots of protein,” Ingram said, while ingesting
“moderate” amounts of carbohydrates and fats.
performing the side- chest flexes, lap spreads and double biceps,
a bodybuilder must shamelessly sell him or herself to the audience,
have to command the stage. The audience can see if you're comfortable
or not,” he said, adding that in his first few competitions, “I was
nervous, didn't really know what to expect. But you get used to it.
It grows on you.”
while, Ingram must remain proficient in his military duties, which
involve repairing and maintaining diesel engines and hydraulics, among
a bodybuilder fits well with the military's growing emphasis on being
physically fit, and Ingram feels that just about anybody can vie to
become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.
a lot of benefit to it,” Ingram said. “You're treating your body in
a beneficial way, doing things that will help you live longer. Anybody
can do it. It's just a matter of doing it.”