Sullivan native already looking to next year
by Kirk Whitaker
After several years of training, Sullivan native and EIU junior kinesiology major Alex Wood recently won the annual Mr. EIU bodybuilding competition last month.
“I found out about the Mr. EIU competition my freshman year, in 2011,” Wood said. “I went and watched and knew I wanted to compete before I graduated. I originally was going to compete in 2012, but I decided on waiting so I could improve even more. Winning Mr. EIU is awesome. I can’t really put it into words. People asked me how I felt after the show, and I honestly just couldn’t believe it. It took a few days for it to finally settle in, and it finally hit me.”
Wood said he started lifting weights for the first time as a ‘skinny’ framed eighth grader, and through hard work, learning as much as possible, and continuous goal setting and reaching has he achieved as much success as he has.
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“You can’t go out on the weekends, you have to make sure you get to sleep, you get your meals,” Wood said. “There’s going to be days where you just don’t want to. You have to grind through those days and know it’s going to be worth it. I didn’t really get into bodybuilding until my sophomore year of high school. That was when I really started taking my training and dieting seriously, and I added some solid muscle to my body.”
Wood was a three sport athlete in high school—regarded as one of the top catchers in the area once baseball season rolled around in his time at SHS—and said weight lifting helped in sports and helped him maintain and improve his physique and fitness.
“Once I found out about the competition I didn’t really imagine actually winning it,” Wood explained. “I just thought it would be an awesome experience since I am not currently playing college sports. I had really enjoyed the sport of bodybuilding for a few years, and I am a huge competitor so I decided to compete.”
Wood says he plans to defend his title at next year’s competition and even plans to compete in larger competitions in the future.
“I didn’t decide to compete until January, but I weighed in at 168 (lbs) on stage, and I want to put on another 5-10 pounds before next year’s competition,” Wood stated. “I plan on competing next year and at local shows in the Midwest.”
Multiple bodybuilders have inspired Wood including the likes of Craig Capurso and Steve Cook but none more so than fellow Sullivan native Ben Booker.
“I would love to someday be doing something similar to what Ben is doing with his Second Chance Lifestyle program. I was very lucky to have Ben help me out during my preparation for the show and to be able to come to the show. Craig and Steve are both IFBB Men’s Physique competitors that I follow closely on social media, and they both won the same competition Ben did (Bodybuilding.com Spokes model search) Steve in 2011 and Craig in 2012.”
Wood says he switches up his workouts regularly, and for the show he mainly started with a warm-up incline walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes, followed by 90 minutes of weight training and 25 minutes of cardio. He worked out five consecutive days, followed by a rest day, and followed that pattern until the competition.
“My advice to anyone wanting to compete or just get into better shape would be to stay true to who you are. Set a goal each day and bust your tail to reach it no matter what. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others or what others think. Try to be better than you were the day before. I just want to thank my friends and family for their support and Ben for his advice and tips with my dieting and preparation leading to the show. Without their support there’s no way this would have been possible. I am extremely humbled and honored to hold the title of Mr. EIU and can’t wait to get back up on that stage next year and defend it!”