You see a fit body and you think the person must have great genetics or has always been this way. Maybe they even spend countless hours in the gym. To understand how far this man has come, you must first understand his journey. The fact is, fellow NPC competitor Justin Edwards didn’t always have it so easy. The dark days of his past have led him on a journey of transformation mentally and physically to the person he is today and moving into his bright future. Not a simple task, but for him, it has become his recovery and redemption from his dark, drug addicted teenage years. With focus, persistence and determination, Justin strives to better himself by competing in the sport of Physique and aims to inspire others along the way. Consider fitness and health his saving grace.
Off-season weight: 220
Justin Edwards Age: 32 Height: 6’2″ Off-season weight: 220 Competition: 190
TLG: How long have you been working out and where did the initial interest come from?
Justin: During my teenage years, I ended up being homeless and picked up an addiction to drugs. This addiction led me absolutely nowhere, with no hopes or dreams. It was a very dark part of my life and I felt helpless, but I turned to the one thing that was always on my mind, building the physique that I’ve always wanted. As I kept going, it really became a healing process for me. When you are doing those things, you look very unhealthy, so for me this has become a way to gauge just how far I’ve come. I continue to feel that way 11 years later.
TLG: Did you play any sports as a kid?
Justin: When I was younger I played baseball, but I was a shy introverted kid, so I liked to do things on my own.
TLG: What specific goals do you have both short term and long term?
Justin: My goals are pretty straight forward. I want to be the best person I can be. I’d like to earn my IFBB Pro status in May 2013 through competing at the Jr. USA’s. My ultimate plan is to open a gym that is designed to help out future competitors.
TLG: Do you have any children? If so, how do you implement health and nutrition into raising them?
Justin: I have a 10 year old daughter and I don’t try to push anything on her. She eats the same meals as I do on a basic level. I just try to be an example for her the best I can and if she wants to join me at some point, I will be glad to help her.
TLG: How many days per week do you train?
Justin: I try to train 7 days a week, but it typically works out to be 6. I weight train after work and then usually go back for for 45 minutes of cardio around 8:00 pm. Then I do all of my meal prep for the following day after that.
TLG: What does your typical daily diet look like?
Justin: My average daily diet looks pretty bland! I eat lots of sweet potatoes, chicken and oatmeal. I am very strict about my diet during the 12 weeks leading up to my show. The only time I look at calories is to figure out my macro ratios for meals. The time in between my shows I still eat 6 meals per day, but I’m just not as strict. I do stay fairly consistent while being able to enjoy different dinner options once in awhile.
TLG: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Justin: I would say that my strength is my mental outlook. I want to see what I am capable of. I like to push myself physically, but it’s really the mental aspect of it I like. I envision myself on stage and winning so much that I already feel I have won prior to being up there.
I’d say my biggest weakness is time management. I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but family always comes first.
TLG: How did you place during your previous competitions?
Justin: My first competition was in June of 2012 where I placed first and overall at the Sunset Classics in FL. Two weeks later, I did the Dexter Jackson Classics and placed third which set me up to do Nationals in 2012 where I placed 10th out of 43 competitors.
TLG: What are your plans for the future?
Justin: I will compete at the Europa in Orlando in April of this year and then at the Jr. USA’s in May, where I am hopeful to earn my pro status. If not, I’ll be competing at Nationals again. Beyond that, I’ve got my mind on the Olympia!
Best of luck to Justin! He will be a force to be reckoned with this year!
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Photos by Susan Jeffers and Samantha Sherdel