Julius Reynolds: a ‘natural’ bodybuilder

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2002

Features Editor

Four years ago, a severe chemical burn to Julius Reynolds’ left forearm caused him to put his dream on hold.

For a while, he thought he would have to forget his dream altogether, but he couldn’t shake the dream and, today that dream has come true.

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Reynolds walked away from the American Classic Body Building Championship in Birmingham, last weekend with the second place trophy in the lightweight division in his hand.

"I’ve had a dream of being a strong bodybuilding competitor since I was about 13 years old," Reynolds said. "I’m not sure how I got interested in bodybuilding. That was 23 years ago. I just know it has been a dream of mine for all these years."

Reynolds began to "get serious" about bodybuilding as a teenager. He stayed away from the pitfalls that derail the dreams of "too many" young athletes.

"I realized that if I wanted to be a bodybuilding champion I had to take care of my body," he said. "That meant staying away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco."

For Reynolds ‘staying away" wasn’t a difficult. He had his eye on a goal and he was ever mindful of the pitfalls that could keep him for achieving it.

"I put as much importance on what I put inside my body as I did on training," he said. "I stayed away from fats and sweets just the way I avoided drugs. I ate a lot of fish and chicken and I trained every day. Seventy percent of the key to training is nutrition. I also had a set training program where I exercised each part of my body on a regular schedule. Everything was going good for me."

Then, an accident at work set Reynolds reeling.

"I got burned with chemicals and I couldn’t use my arm and I thought my training days were over and my dream was gone," he said. "But, I couldn’t give up. It was something I wanted so bad."

After four years away training, Reynolds began to train again and found that the desire to be a champion bodybuilder was as strong as ever, maybe even stronger.

"When you want something so bad and lose it – if you can get it back – that’s real good," he said.

He committed himself to a nutrition and training program and didn’t stray from it.

At last, he was ready to compete. He finished fifth in an earlier bodybuilding competition this year and went to Birmingham with hopes of a top finish.

"But I knew it would be tough because there were a lot of bodybuilders there who use body enhancers and I’m a natural," Reynolds said with a smile. "All natural. I came in second and that was a big thing for me. I hope this will show young people that they can accomplish their goals without using body enhancing drugs – that they can be champions by having good nutrition habits and exercising and training. That’s the best way and the only way you can be a champion. You might win a championship using enhancing drugs, but you won’t have the good feeling that you get from knowing that you did something on your own. I want to compete in bodybuilding on the highest level and I don’t need any drugs to help me do it."