Huitt, 34, invested 15 months into a training program to get ready for the 2013 Oregon Ironman Bodybuilding Championships in Lincoln City.
Jon Huitt of Molalla wanted to make sure he was good and ready before he took the plunge into competitive bodybuilding.
He stayed disciplined through a sometimes grueling 15-month workout program to achieve the show-quality physique the sport demands and ended up striking gold -- literally.
Huitt claimed first place in the bantamweight division in his competitive bodybuilding debut at last months Oregon Ironman Bodybuilding Championships at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City.
It was definitely one of the most fun things Ive ever done, said Huitt, the 34-year-old remodeling department manager with Roth Heating & Cooling.
A former high school wrestler, Huitt said he didnt get serious about bodybuilding until February 2013. At the time, he was carrying 155 pounds on his 5-foot-5 1/2 frame.
I dont know what my body fat was, but I remember thinking, Man, Ive got to start working out, because Im getting a little chubby, he said.
Two of Huitts workout buddies, Kenny Early and Eric Stafford, also happened to be veteran bodybuilders, who each had previous experience competing regionally. They suggested that Huitt gear his training toward preparation for the Oregon Ironman -- and not the 2013 event, but 2014.
That was the goal the whole time, said Huitt, who did the majority of his training at Cutting Edge Fitness in downtown Molalla. The plan was to put on as much muscle as I could and got to look as good as I could with that show date as the end goal. Eric and Kenny helped guide me through the whole process.
Sheldon Sanders, the general manager at Cutting Edge, said it was fascinating to watch Huitt transform his body.
When Jon started, he had an average build, Sanders said. But anybody who works out with Kenny and Eric has no choice. Theyre going to get bigger, because they train hard. I worked out with Eric a few times in the past and I just about passed out.
Jon gained more muscle mass and got a lot bigger. His arms, shoulders, chest and legs all gained size. And then as he got closer to the contest, he started working even harder.
Cutting Edge normally opens at 5 a.m., but Sanders said there were days when Huitt was there at 4:30 a.m. to work out before going to work, and then he would return at the end of the workday and get in an evening workout with Early and Stafford.
Huitt went from his starting weight of 155 to a high of 178. Then he had to cut weight to get below the bantamweight limit of 143 1/2 pounds.
I started watching what I ate at the beginning of this year, so my diet was pretty consistent over the five months leading up to the show, Huitt said. And the workouts just changed in the last month, with and even stricter diet and more rigorous workouts.
The last two weeks before the competition, Huitt eliminated all carbohydrates from his diet and ate only lean proteins, mostly chicken, and leafy, green salads with no dressing.
In addition, he did two hours of cardio exercise and at least an hour of lifting weights every day.
I wrestled in high school, and the preparation for this was as hard as the preparation for a wrestling season, in terms of the dieting and workouts, Huitt said. It was definitely a physical challenge and a mental challenge, but it was all worth it.
I had a blast on stage. Once you get out there under those lights and you get to show the crowd what youve been working on, and then to have them respond the way they did was really awesome.
With his victory in the Oregon Ironman, Huitt is qualified to enter next months National Physique Committee USA Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas as well as the Nov. 21-22 NPC National Bodybuilding Championships in Miami, but he may pass on those.
Im not really interested in competing nationally as a bantamweight, Huitt said. I think Im capable of more than that. In fact, I know Im capable of more than just competing at bantamweight.
My goal now is the next Oregon Ironman, but Im going to compete at 154 pounds in the lightweight division.