Most athletes have the luxury of something called an â€˜offseason.â€™ You know, the winter in baseball and the spring for football. A time of the year to recover from all the work that you put in. That is the case in most sports.
Not in bodybuilding, which is a 12 month, seven days a week commitment. To prepare for a competition, especially one with the magnitude of Mr. Olympia, there isnâ€™t a day to waste. Kevin English has to get down approximately 70 pounds to his contest weight of a little over 200.
â€œUsually when people see me on stage they think that Iâ€™m about 20 pounds heavier,â€ the 5â€™4â€ Great Neck, New York native said. No wonder with the mass that he possesses.
In September, he was on bodybuildingâ€™s largest stage at the 44th Mr. Olympia contest, which took place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. It was Englishâ€™s rookie â€˜O,â€™ and he finished 16th out of 19 competitors. Earlier in the day, he was the first runner-up in the 202 Showdown, which pitted the smaller bodybuilders against one another.
Two days prior to the show, English felt confident that he was going to do well. â€œMe being a newcomer, I sat back for many years and observed,â€ he said. â€œIt took much to get here so Iâ€™m not here just to compete. Iâ€™m definitely here to place well.â€
English trains at Bev Francisâ€™ Powerhouse Gym in Syosset. The former female bodybuilder and powerlifter runs a place that local lifters are honored to work out at, and she is also a promoter for the New York Pro, the contest in which English finished second this year, giving him his Olympia qualifier.
Earlier in the year, English took first place at the Shawn Ray IFBB Menâ€™s 202 and Under Pro, which was a great accomplishment for the 34 year-old. Realizing that even an individual sport such as bodybuilding requires a â€˜teamâ€™ concept, English said, â€œIf you look at any sport, teams have coaches and a staff. I got myself a phenomenal trainer named Dr. Michael Camp and a nutritionalist. We came up with a great plan about a year ago to get ready for this show (Mr. Olympia).â€
Being the only competitor of the 19 from Gotham City, English knew he had a big responsibility to his hometown. â€œNew York pride means everything,â€ he said. â€œI have to come in here and I have to represent at the same time.â€
Being one of the shorter men on the stage does not bother English. In fact, he views it as an advantage. â€œI feel that me having small joints and a tiny waist, I think that whole illusion is going to make the appearance of me looking a lot bigger that what I actually am.â€
Being bigger is the name of the game, and height is not really an issue. Of the 19 men who competed, only one was six feet or taller. Standing tall in bodybuilding holds a different meaning. One that English has done extremely well in a short period of time.
â€œI donâ€™t just want tom walk on the stage,â€ he said of contest time. â€œI want to do damage and place well.â€
So far, so good.