Hard work pays off for former Hope resident

Athlete, raised in Hope, looks toward the national finals

Former Hope resident Cody Amey won the men’s overall bodybuilding championship at the Ontario Physique Gala in November. Amey now lives in Toronto and plans to compete at the Nationals in Winnipeg next July.

A dream that began in Hope about 15 years ago is coming to fruition for a former resident.

Cody Amey was born in Ontario but attended Hope schools for his K-12 years before moving back to Ontario in 2004.

Amey began lifting weights in Hope’s Reflexions gym when he was a quick-footed defenseman for Hope’s midget single-A Panthers and later, the junior B Hope Icebreakers.

What was once a hobby has now grown into a lifestyle for the 31-year-old, who won the men’s overall bodybuilding championship at the Ontario Physique Association’s Gala Championships in Toronto on November 28.

It was Amey’s first big win in what he hopes to be a long career. He plans to compete at the Nationals in Winnipeg in July, 2016.

Here’s a question-and-answer interview conducted via e-mail:

Q: How did it all get started, in Hope?

A: To be honest, it was Patrick [interviewer’s son] who got me started lifting weights. At the time he had all the muscle mags at home. When we’d hang out, I’d flip through them and I thought to myself ‘one day, I would love to look like that.’ But I had no idea what it took… the diet, the training, the dedication.

When I started lifting weights, I just did what I knew at the time. I would do a lot of chin-ups, bench presses, curls… the basics. The more I lifted, the more advanced my training would get. The only knowledge I was lacking back then was the diet. I wish I had been eating a lot more.

Q: I imagine you were 170-180 pounds back in the day? What would it be like to have your current body and play hockey? Hard on the sticks, I’m sure! Have you thought about ‘what if’ you had this body back then?

A: When I played junior, I was 180. My current body would not be suitable for the ice. There’s too much muscle and the heart would have to work too hard to pump all the blood to the muscles. My body is used to pumping lots of blood into the muscle for growth. For hockey, you need the muscle more for endurance than just strength.

What I wish I knew back then, more than anything, is how important nutrition is — and eating what and when — and how the body uses nutrients at certain times of the day. If I would have changed anything back then, it would’ve been eating more and regularly. I did eat but only when I was hungry, as opposed to getting in the proper nutrition I needed daily as an athlete.

For me, now, gaining muscle is not easy. I have to eat every two hours. My diet consists of chicken, egg whites, flank steak, protein powders, oats, white rice and veggies. It’s very simple but very effective.

Those are the basics. In the off-season: just eat more of it. Competition time: just eat less… with added cardio. Getting in shape for me is very easy… easier than trying to bulk up, so I can’t miss meals or training.

Q: Any guilty pleasures?

A: My cheat meals are relatively good: burger and fries or sushi.

Q: What is your training schedule like?

A: I start really focusing for a show, 10 to 12 weeks out. When all is running smoothly, training is 6 days a week and on my off day I’ll still do cardio if need be.

Rest, though, is just as important as the food. People think you grow in the gym. No: you grow at home when you’re resting and eating. In the gym, all you’re doing is breaking down the muscle.

Leg days are my main focus. This is what separates the men from the boys, my workouts are very grueling, no matter what I’m training — but leg days are no joke. My last training session, I did one set on the leg press which consisted of 2 minutes. It was a drop set, starting at 8 plates a side. I did 10 reps, then stripped off 2 plates and so on, down till there were 2 plates left. My legs were so full of blood, walking was not an option till I recovered.

Q: Tell about some of the weight you’re pushing.

A: The guys I train with (Fouad Abiad and Dorian Hamilton) have 30 to 50 pounds on me. I walk around at 225 pounds and my friends are 260-280. But when it’s go time, I lift what they do if not more. This is where my mind takes over and I get into a mind-set not many guys can do. We’ve all heard it: mind over matter. That’s what I do. For me, I treat bodybuilding as if I were playing hockey. The harder I work, the more it will benefit me.

Everyone always asks ‘what do you bench?’ That’s not important. It’s time under tension. There are not many people that understand bodybuilding unless they’re in the sport. I’m not a power lifter. Weight that I throw around though: bench, 365 and squat, 500.

Q: Can you see a time when you’ll tone it down, or do you just want to keep it at max for whatever age you are?

A: I will do this as long as possible; if my health and finances are good then I don’t see why I can’t. There are a few bodybuilders in their 40s in the pros and they’re very successful.

Q: Is there a “life after bodybuilding” plan?

A: After bodybuilding, I would like to give back and coach or train up-and-coming bodybuilders who want to pursue their dream just like I was.

Q: Closing words for the people of Hope?

A: I’m happy that I was able to grow up in Hope. Every time I come back to visit, I really miss my childhood. Everyone is still very friendly and the community really comes together when need be.

* * * * *

For more on the OPA Gala 2015 results, see Muscle-Insider.com.

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