won't be denied his slot in the elite bodybuilding ranks
You know those stories of bodybuilders who started out as the proverbial weakling, last picked for teams in gym class, bullied by the jocks? Well, Charles Dixon isn't that archetype.
Dixon has always been an athlete, starring in football, basketball, baseball and track in high school in his hometown (and current residence) of Greenville, South Carolina. He blossomed on the gridiron to become a running back for Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, before landing on the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts reserve list for a season.
However, football turned out not to be Dixon's true calling. In the fall of 2001, he was approached by a personal trainer at the Gold's Gym where he trained. Having never given bodybuilding serious consideration before, that instant changed his trajectory, and sent him hurtling toward a date with destiny -- the vaunted IFBB pro ranks.
The 38-year-old single father of three, a certified personal trainer and owner of XFactor Sports & Fitness, is now taking on the challenge every aspiring bodybuilder dreams of: To be one of the five best bodybuilders on the planet. Difficult, certainly, but it's never wise to bet against someone with the courage of his convictions and an insuperable work ethic. Here's his story, in his own words.
Dixon: Coming from a 5'5", 176-pound amateur middleweight to a 200-pound IFBB pro has been the biggest achievement in my lifetime, next to my sons. I'll admit, it wasn't an easy road, but after that first Nationals in 2003, I returned in 2005 with more size and finished second in the light-heavyweight division. That put me on the judge's radar.
In 2006, I came in second again, that time to Stan McQuay, but in 2007 I wouldn't be denied, and I came out ahead of Peter Putnam and Al Auguste in a tough top three. I lost the overall to Evan Centopani, but I had the pro card, and that's what I wanted.
ProSource: Now that you have been in the pros for two years, and have had some success in the 202-pound division with a second-place finish at the 2009 Europa and two 202 Olympia Showdown appearances, what goal is driving you?
Dixon: My goal is to become one of the top five bodybuilders in the country and to win multiple pro shows. That also includes placing in the top five at the Mr. Olympia.
ProSource: What has been the catalyst to put that target within reach?
Dixon: One of the best moves I've made in the sport was getting a bodybuilding coach, Chad Schaive, to oversee my diet and make some tweaks to my training and cardio program. There haven't been any big obstacles to my progress as far as my bodybuilding physique, but if I had to say one thing needed a boost more than any other, it was my diet.
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Dixon: Yeah, definitely. I use NytroWhey Ultra Elite protein powder, ProSource Glutamine, ProSource Mega BCAAs and Supreme Protein bars.
The NytroWhey helps me keep my protein intake elevated. It mixes easily and tastes great, making it an easy protein fix in the morning, afternoons, after workouts, whenever I think I need it.
Glutamine and BCAAs are key for workout recovery. I'm in the gym, battling to break down my muscles for growth, and glutamine and branched-chain aminos help flood my body with those critical nutrients afterward.
As for Supreme Protein bars, I'm always on the go either training my clients, I'm training myself, or I'm hanging out with my kids, so its very important that I have an easy and convenient way to maintain my daily protein requirements in order for me tomaintain my muscle size. That's why I eat Supreme Protein bars several times a day.It's a high source of protein that helps me stay on track.
ProSource: What's your favorite Supreme Protein flavor? Caramel Nut Chocolate? Cookies 'n Cream? Peanut Butter Pretzel Twist?
Dixon: They're all good, although I really enjoy the Peanut Butter Crunch. But to give you an idea, choosing between all of the great flavors available is like being a little happy kid in a candy shop!
ProSource: What solid foods do you rely on most?
Dixon:I make sure to eat a balance of protein and carbohydrates at each meal, keeping fat low. My two main staple protein foods are eggs and chicken.
ProSource: Does Chad have a lot of input into your training, or are you self-directing in that regard?
Dixon:I oversee 95 percent of my weight training routines. My training sessions are short and intense. I'm not a huge fan of rest periods in between sets, because I think they tend to hinder your focus and can make your workouts seem longer, sapping your energy.
ProSource: You've obviously advanced methodically in your career. How did you initially begin your bodybuilding journey?
Dixon:It's a typical story. I was approach by a trainer at Gold's Gym in 2001 about competing. I had a physique that caught attention. But I had to change my training routine and eating habits to take the next step.
ProSource: How did your initial training program develop?
Dixon:I had a personal trainer, who was also a bodybuilder, who trained me. I learned a lot from him. Once I started learning the ropes, I began to research more about the human body -- I read more books, magazines and studied different body types to better understand how I should pursue my development.
ProSource: Outside of your training and business, what would a "perfect day" for Charles Dixon look like?
Dixon: After a day of work, I love spending time with my sons watching cartoons, playing video games and board games. In my job, I just strive to be the best I can be, by helping others in need of fitness advice with the knowledge that I have obtained over the years.
ProSource: Where do you see your life in five years?
Dixon: I see myself being successful, healthy and wealthy!