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Miles Stovall

Natural Gym Association


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Miles Stovall Interview

Miles Stovall, 1999 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) Mr. Universe, is anything but your typical bodybuilder.While most bodybuilders began their training and careers in their late teens, Miles did not begin his until he was 25-years-old.The title of "bodybuilder" belies the multi-faceted persona that is Miles Stovall. Miles' first passion in the athletic world was gymnastics.For about as long as Miles can remember, he lived for gymnastics.Although his mother supported Miles' interest in the sport, they could not afford formal gymnastics lessons.However, this did not thwart Miles in his pursuit.He practiced whenever he could, on his own, in the family yard.When he was 14, Miles' family moved to Germany.This provided him an opportunity to further his gymnastics abilities in a more formal setting.He enrolled in a gymnastics program in junior high school.After a year, he joined the German gymnastics club, where he trained 3 to 4 hours everyday.Working out with the German athletes did have a price.The Germans did not see Miles, an American, as an equal."The Germans did not want to spend too much time with me because they knew that I could get up and leave any day", says Miles.If it was the Germans' intention to discourage him, it had the opposite effect.Miles pushed himself and trained even harder.During his senior year, he suffered a setback in his gymnastic career.He tore some ligaments in his ankles-dashing his hopes of receiving a gymnastics scholarship for college. Despite this second financial obstacle, he remained undaunted.He enrolled in Illinois State University (ISU) with the purpose of joining their gymnastics program.Miles received another blow when he found out during orientation that the gymnastics program had been cut.His first instinct was to transfer to another school, but his father convinced him to stay.His father did not share Miles' enthusiasm for gymnastics and preferred a career in track.He advised that Miles' life should not revolve around gymnastics. The lack of a gymnastics program at ISU did not diminish Miles' gymnastic aspirations.He formed a club with the ex-gymnasts and continued to train.Despite the comradeship, Miles knew deep in his heart that he did not belong there.After his junior year, he finally followed his initial instincts to leave ISU.After talking to and training with the coach and other gymnasts at Houston Baptist University, Miles gained their respect.Unfortunately, the coach informed him that he would not be eligible for a scholarship until the next year.The $10,000 tuition for the current year was out of Miles' reach and he had to come up with an alternative plan.Miles knew how to improvise and overcome any obstacle thrown his way. Miles moved to San Antonio and started to work as a gymnastics coach.To help make ends meet, he took a second job working in a restaurant.Not giving up on his childhood dream, he also started to train as an elite gymnast to secure a slot on the 1988 Olympics Gymnastics Team.He worked very hard and successfully juggled the conflicts of working and a demanding training schedule.In 1987, while training for a regional meet, Miles suffered another foot injury.Miles had come to a crossroads.Although he had overcome obstacle after obstacle, he decided it was time to pursue another dream, go down another road of life. The progression from gymnastics to bodybuilding isn't a natural one and not one most of us would think of.However, Miles Stovall needed a training regimen to replace gymnastics.The new regimen would have to equal the effort he put into gymnastics--workouts that took 5 to 7 hours a day.Bodybuilding wasn't something that came into mind.He didn't much care for it at the time and really didn't know anything about the sport.Miles started going to the gym and started to watch what the other bodybuilders did. Miles was unobtrusive and didn't ask others for help in starting his regimen.Instead he turned to the Arnold Schwarznegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding-his first insight to the world of bodybuilding.He quickly discovered that he had the right body for bodybuilding.Gymnastics gave him a good foundation with which he could build from.But Miles also realized that he had to make drastic changes in his eating and training habits. The first order was to ensure his body was getting enough nutrients to fuel his new workouts.This meant he had to change his psyche from eating like a bird to eating like a horse.He eats 5 to 7 meals a day, devouring the typical bodybuilder fare of egg whites, oatmeal, Myoplex protein shakes, and chicken breasts.Miles admits to eating red meat (preferably sirloin), but mostly during the off-season.However, he switches to fresh fish while training for a contest.He is an excellent cook and experiments with different recipes.He always makes sure that all of his dishes have the right proportions of protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fats. The next order of business was changing the length of his workouts.Initially he started working out for 3 hours per session.This was cut down to 2 hours when he realized he could make better gains in a shortened time frame.His pre-contest workout routine is just as intense as his off-season program of 6 days on and 1 day off.He now works to refine his muscles, not to make them bigger. One element that Miles carried over from his days as a gymnast was his strong desire for competition.He asked himself, "Why train if you are not going to compete?"Why not indeed.In 1989, he participated in the South Texas Bodybuilding Championships.He impressed the crowd with gymnastic moves in his posing routine.He did two more shows-the Labrada and the World Gym Classic-before winning the Lackland Classic in 1992.Miles soon saw the ugly side of bodybuilding.He was saddened and dismayed with the number of competitors that were taking drugs. Miles joined the Natural Gym Association to remove himself from this environment and surround himself with others who held the same views.In 1994, he competed in the Muscle Showdown in Las Vegas, winning his class and the overall.This win made him eligible to join the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF).The WNBF requires all of its athletes to be at least 7 years drug-free and conducts intensive drug testing. As a member of the WNBF, Miles is not allowed to compete in other federations.This causes no conflict because he feels the WNBF is the only true natural professional bodybuilding federation with the strongest stance against drugs.Since it takes so much longer for a natural athlete to each his/her potential as opposed to one on drugs, most of the successful WNBF professionals are in their late 30s and 40s.A major benefit to the longer muscular development process is the longevity in the sport.Most of the competitors that beat Miles in his early years have completely dropped out of the bodybuilding scene.Taking anabolic steroids may make you reach your maximum potential very quickly, but you will fall just as fast.Going natural is not only the best way, its the only way to go. As a WNBF professional, Miles did the US Cup, which features natural bodybuilders from all over the world.Miles took 11th place in a competition that was dominated by the East Coast bodybuilders.In 1996, he placed 9th in the WNBF World Championships.Later that same year, he tied for 5th place in the WNBF Mr. Universe, which was an open competition (no weight classes).Miles should have continued his progression in 1997 at the World Championships; however, he made a critical error with his diet and did not place well.Using the experience as a lesson learned, he rectified his mistake by taking 2nd place at the Universe.Although 2nd place is a great showing, Miles felt he should have won it.In 1998, he competed in the World Championships again and placed a disappointing 9th place.He was puzzled by the variance in the judges' scoring; he was placed anywhere from 1st to 14th.The lack of a general consensus as to what it would take to win was frustrating.But Miles was a fighter and he continued his training; in 1999 he obtained one of his goals by winning 1st place in the Universe.Miles is now training to reach another goal by placing 1st in the World Championships. Competing in bodybuild

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