Hill athlete shows his strength

Friday , August 06, 2010 - 11:15 AM

Mary Lou Gorny - Hilltop Times Editor

Dustin Biegenwald, 22-year-old Hill Auto Hobby Shop employee, took the 1st place trophy in the Open Middleweight Class at the 2010 NGA Utah Natural Bodybuilding and Figure Championships held in Ogden recently.

His accomplishment was the result of quite a bit of discipline and incredibly hard work. Biegenwald also credits the support he received from his family, his roommates/lifting partners, his girlfriend and the Warrior Health and Fitness Center staff and employees.

His ten-week regimen to get ready took a steady diet of 2 ¬½ pounds of tilapia, 24 egg whites and approximately 2 pounds of broccoli a day. "Every day, no seasoning, no salt, no flavor whatsoever," Biegenwald said. His liquids were 1 ¬½ to 2 gallons of water a day and sips of black coffee.

Then there was his training routine. Every morning between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., depending on his schedule, he would do cardio on an empty stomach. Every evening after work -- weightlifting. Then he would put it another 30 minutes to an hour of cardio.

Biegenwald likes the natural bodybuilding sport with its testing for banned substances. "It's the only way to compete," he said. "It's fun. It's fair that way."

He claims he took up weight lifting because he was a bit on the chubby side in the early part of his high school years.

Biegenwald and his dad spent time in the evenings lifting weights at home in the garage. "I lost all the weight, kept lifting, and then always had a decent physique, a lot of muscle mass, and people would always complement me," he said. "So, one day I decided, 'I want to try and compete.'"

He entered his first competition at age 17 and took third place, so his interest expanded from there.

Biegenwald's initial experiences started with the basic lifts he and his father, Todd, used with the small basic weight set they had. While Dustin's friends were out doing other things, he was working out. "All my friends had other hobbies like skateboarding and stuff like that through high school. I was the only one who was a gym rat, so when they'd be out skateboarding, I was at the gym."

Dustin credits his roommates and lifting partners, his Wingmen, with part of the motivation that kept him going when the going got tough. "They backed me up a hundred percent. Even when Shane (Stewart) went to his tech school in Colorado, he would always constantly text me, all the little follow ups, telling me, 'You can do it.' Same with Blake (Myrick), he backed me a hundred percent."

While his fellow workers weren't always so good about not bringing in tempting goodies before the competition, afterward they made sure to bring in some of the treats he'd been missing out on at work parties and the like at the Arts and Crafts Center and Auto Hobby Shop area.

As for his memories of the competition, well, he was surprised and delighted when they called out his name. "From the outside looking in, everyone looks big. When you're backstage, everyone looks like monsters. You're like, 'Man, how am I going to stand?'

"But when they called out the other guy's name for second, oh yah, I was all smiles and I threw my hands up in the air (knowing I'd won)."

Biegenwald, who was the only competitor from Hill Air Force Base and the Warrior Fitness Center, talked about what the judges look at as they make their comparisons.

"They look for symmetry," he said as he talked about the pre-judging portion of the competition. "That's where the decision is made. They pick the winner in the morning."

The athletes line up and the judge calls out two poses, they all make a quarter turn to the right for two more poses from their left side, another quarter turn takes place as the judge calls out two more poses as they stand with their backs to the judges. Another quarter turn and they pose, right side to the judges for two more called poses. "They compare you," he said.

In the evening portion, it's all about the show. "You come out and the crowd gets to cheer and then the judge will call out comparisons," he said. The quarter turns are much faster. Individual routines follow with music and then ... "They call out the top three competitors ... Those three people do the pose down," he said describing it as a 60-second event where competitors freestyle it and have fun. "(You) push each other around onstage and get in front of each other and just pose against each other."

When the pose down ends and the athletes line up again, that's when the winner is finally announced.

"The thing that shocked them is that I'm only 22 and so I was one of the youngest in my class (the Open Middleweight Class)."

He hopes to do well in the upcoming USAAs at the Davis County Convention Center, another drug-testing competition. If he does fare well, he will qualify for the Natural Olympiad to be held in Reno, Nev., a national competition.

Needless to say, he's been enjoying regular food the last couple of weeks and some of the gift certificates to steak houses he was given after the show.

That is until he has to prepare for the upcoming Davis event.

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