Five-foot-six and currently weighing in at 195 pounds, NPC Bodybuilding Kentucky State Champion Kevin Johnson stands out in a crowd. The Voice-Tribune caught up with the muscle-clad fitness expert to find out what it takes to be a
â€“ Interview by Aimee Jewell, Contributing Writer
Have you always been interested in fitness?
Iâ€™ve always been active; I always ran track and played cross-country. Itâ€™s just something Iâ€™ve always enjoyed since a very early age. I mean, I have magazines from when I was in middle school and high school. I still collect them. It was just interesting for me to see muscles and people in shape. I would read articles. Iâ€™ve been like that since a child. Iâ€™ve always wanted to be bigger. I know I canâ€™t grow taller so I want to be wider and bigger.
How did you get into bodybuilding?
It was kind of by accident. I was always smaller. … In 2002, which was when I went to UofL for my first year, I started weight training and I noticed that… my body was changing faster (than those of others training). … So somebody told me about an AAU competition called Mr. UofL in 2004 so I did that for the first time and placed second, and then I came around in 2005 and did the Mr. UofL, and won that one. I did the Mr. Kentucky Muscle Show, which is the one we have at the Convention Center every year in November, I won Menâ€™s Lightweight Novice and I won the Menâ€™s Open welch weight and itâ€™s been full steam since then.
Do you ever have a cheat day when you can eat anything you want?
Yes, I actually contacted the guy who handled my prep, Steve Lineburger. We started off nine weeks before the competition. So for the first six weeks, one meal a week, we had a cheat meal. …It depended on how I looked, he told me what my cheat meal was going to be. And that was crazy. A cheat meal is needed to increase your metabolism. So if you keep eating clean and youâ€™re taking in fewer calories than youâ€™re burning, your body will stop responding to it. So the cheat meals actually trick your body into shooting your metabolism up a little bit higher.
What was it like at the State Championship?
August 4, it was in Frankfort, Kentucky. That was the state show and thatâ€™s considered one of the most prestigious shows because everybody wants that state title. … I placed first in the Menâ€™s Light Heavy Division, I got Menâ€™s Best Chest Award, and I won the overall trophy for the whole show, which means I beat not only my weight-class, but the other competitors in their weight-classes. … I talked to my prep coach and weâ€™re looking at a national show early next year in the spring, so weâ€™re going to do Jr. USAs.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
I would say the state title. … I trained so hard for that. I donâ€™t really care about the trophy or the placing, I was just really happy that Iâ€™ve made it through the 12 weeks of prep, I got down to the weight I wanted to get down to, and liked howÂ I looked.
What are three improvements people can make in their lives to be healthier?
Be more active. … If you do anything more than you do on a daily basis, thatâ€™s a big plus. Take the stairs, instead of taking the elevator. Walking to the convenience store instead of driving. If itâ€™s going to add more steps in your day, thatâ€™s where most people need to start.
Secondly, make better choices. …You know that fixing your food at home, rather than going to McDonalds is a better option. Or you know that drinking water is better than drinking a pop.
Third thing is educating yourself. Donâ€™t get caught up in propaganda and fads. Thereâ€™s no magic pill and thereâ€™s no magic protein shake. … It always starts in the kitchen and ends in the gym. Anything in between wonâ€™t help you in theÂ long run.