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photoShull shows the muscle definition that helped him earn second place in his first competition.

Focus and Flex
Bodybuilder Gene Shull

Gene Shull set himself a hard goal: he decided to get his body into great shape, lose almost all of his fat, then strip down and be judged. And he did it. And he’s going to do it again.

Shull suspects that some competitors in the Iron Mountain Body Building Championship in Wenatchee last summer had been taking chemicals such as steroids to increase their muscles. Shull doesn’t. “I do it all natural and healthful,” he said. He wants to be a good role model for his ten year-old son and his seven year-old daughter. He believes that’s more important than winning.

Shull took second place out of three competitors of his division in the Wenatchee competition. He’s starting to prepare now for a June 28 body-building contest in Auburn, where there will be drug testing—and even a polygraph test to make sure that contestants are not using drugs—and critical eyes judging muscle development.

His first preparation step is to stop drinking alcohol. He ramps up the protein in his diet and exercises daily—sometimes twice a day—to get into cardio and muscle building and some fat burning.

“I pretty much stop eating gluten,” he said, and makes sure he is eating only a few healthy complex fiberous carbohydrates —like green beans, for instance.

Once his muscles are bulked up, he goes into what he calls the ‘cutting phase,’ where he does more cardio work to maintain the muscle, but pinches down his diet even more to trim fat away. He takes a multi-vitamin and drinks 1.5 gallons of water daily, plus taking magnesium against constipation.

For his last contest, Shull went from 224 pounds at the start of preparation to 179 pounds during the contest. For the Auburn competition, he wants to tip the scale at about 169 or 170, he said.

photoGene Shull had a softer body before he started into serious body-building.

Shull started working out with weights about 12 years ago, but he has only focused on body building contests for little over a year.

“I’d always kind of thought about it,” Shull said. “I wanted to do something that would be a challenge.”

Twisp River resident and fellow body-builder Linda Dunn—who also competes—guided Shull in his training. “It takes a lot of discipline,” Shull said, and co-trainer Dunn has that. “She’s done it before.”

Shull has pride in his accomplishments. “I set a really hard goal for myself and I achieved it,” he said. It taught him that if he sets his mind to something and sticks to it, he can get it done.

Besides improving his discipline and earning more self-confidence, he said he also learned that, as a culture, “we put our body on the back burner while we take care of other things in life.” Since our body is the basis of how we get everything else done, he said believes that’s a mistake.

And, he said “It was fun to see my body transform into much better condition.”

Shull grew up in the Methow Valley. He is currently a fish biologist employed by the Methow Valley Ranger District.


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Way to go, Gene!!