It’s All About the Battle
No Nonsense Magazine Vol 21, #1
By: Hondre McNeil
At a Glance: Hondre McNeil
Occupation: HRIS Coordinator at Fairfield Medical Center, Gym Founder and Owner of SWET Fitness LLC
Education: Wofford College, Spartanburg SC (BA in Computer Science and Mathematics), ACE-CPT Personal Training Certification, TRX Level 1, CrossFit Level 1
Current Residence: Lancaster, OH
Weight: 212lb (Off-Season), 197-202lb (Contest)
Favorite Fitness Meal: 1½ cup oatmeal mixed with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 whole banana.
Favorite supplements: I could say all the Beverly products I use, but I guess I have to choose. Here are my top four favorites.
UMP Protein. It tastes great and it’s quality protein!
Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. Bulk Season! This combination put 10 pounds of lean muscle on me. I use it in the off-season to take my muscle size to the next level.
For someone who has never used Beverly before: My one word to describe Beverly is “quality”. They mean what they say and say what they mean in this company. All the products I’ve used have done just what it says they will do on the label. With other supplement companies, you may not be positive that you’re getting what it says on the label. With Beverly, there is never that fear.
Music: In the gym, I need some “crunkness”. I usually go with Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, or MGK!
Most Inspiring Book: This is easy, The Bible.
Hobbies: Reading fitness magazines of course!
Words to live by: Success is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!
Fitness has always been a major part of my life. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve liked the way working out makes me feel. When I played Pop Warner Football I would wake up early every morning before school so I could do push-ups and sit-ups to get “strong and tough”.
My mom and dad also helped me make exercise a lifelong habit. Growing up in Lake View SC, there wasn’t a fitness center nearby, so my mom worked out at home. I would copy her as she did her routines. Every Sunday my dad and I would play a couple of hours of basketball at our local park.
In high school, I was a running back for the state champion, Lake View Wild Gators, and won all-state honors. After graduation, I accepted a 4 year football scholarship to Wofford College. At Wofford, I became interested in learning more about athletic conditioning and training. After college, I pursued a career as a fitness trainer and have been helping people reach their fitness goals ever since.
My personal workout focus had never been about developing my physique. It’s always been about improving my physical performance and putting my all into every workout. At my gym you’ll frequently hear one of us hollering, "Bout That Battle!” In other words, it’s all about the battle within yourself to keep pushing through a workout, pushing your limits when you want to quit.
My Introduction to Men's Physique
My journey of competing in Men’s Physique is different than most. It started when one of the trainers at my gym said he thought I would be a perfect fit for it. At first, I laughed it off. I told him I wasn't really interested in getting on stage. He explained the rules to me and said that basically it was just about being in tip-top shape. That caught my interest, but I still wasn't ready to say yes. It wasn’t until about a year later that I finally followed up with him.
At my gym we focus on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), core training, and strength work. The only mirror you'll find is in the bathroom. However, to compete in Men’s Physique, I needed to round off some of my rough edges and learn how to pose. So, I contacted Matt Packer from Healthier U, another gym here in town. I had just 4 weeks to get ready for my first show, the Natural Ohio Bodybuilding Association contest in Newark OH. Matt put me on a strict diet, and worked with me on posing. I continued to do my workouts at SWET during the week and met with Matt on Saturdays to get the poses down. With his guidance, I took first place in my class and second overall! I loved the adrenaline rush when those stage lights hit me! I had definitely caught the contest bug!
Next, I added some sculpting days at Healthier U to my normal workouts at SWET. At SWET, I kept working on strength, Olympic lifts, core work, and pushing myself to my anaerobic limit in our HIIT sessions. At Healthier U, I did more traditional bodybuilding exercises and focused on muscle development. This proved to be a perfect combination for me. I was able to feed my competitive energy and football background as well as catch a great pump all during a week’s workouts.
3 Beverly Supplements and a 10-lb Gain
I was introduced to Beverly International products at this time. The first products I purchased were Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. Wow! I'd been weighing around 195lbs for 10 years, ever since college. I could never break 200lbs. By taking Beverly supplements the right way, I gained over 10lbs of muscle at 34 years of age and found myself weighing 212lbs! Beverly definitely had my attention from that day forward!
My next competition was the NPC Natural Cincinnati presented by Rick Ruether and his team. I weighed in 6lbs heavier and leaner than at my NOBA competition. I took first place in my class and first overall! Then I went to Chicago for the NPC Jr. Nationals. Now here was a different breed! I recall telling my wife, "We're not in Kansas anymore." The results from this competition didn’t end close to where I’d hoped. I was in the 3rd call out! Even though I was in a huge class with extreme competition, I was not happy with myself about this finish. I’d have to go back to the drawing board before my next national contest.
For the IFBB North America, in Pittsburgh, I kept my off-season process of using Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. I also added Beverly UMP Protein. I have never had a better tasting protein in all my years of training. Another change I made for this show was to further tighten my diet. For the Pittsburgh show, I weighed 202lbs! This was still a lot more weight than my first ever physique show. Now 202lbs is my “light weight”! I have to thank Sandy and the Beverly team for that! Also, I went back to my normal split of Olympic lifting, HIIT, and body building being evenly dispersed through the week. For the Chicago show I had thrown off this balance. I did a little too much bodybuilding and not enough conditioning. My results were better in Pittsburgh! I finished 6th in my class, just 4 slots away from getting an IFBB pro card!
A Lesson Learned
I learned a ton from this experience. The main thing was to just be myself. For Chicago, I had gotten too uptight. I broke my own rules and starting paying attention to other Physique guys on the web. That's not me. My motivation is internalized. When I stopped caring about what others were doing, my results were significantly better! I was much more relaxed and conditioned, and this reflected on stage at the North America. Let that be a lesson to you. Make a goal and go for it! However, whatever you do, don't worry about what others are doing or thinking. Everyone has their own opinions. You can't worry about that though. Take strategic steps to achieve your goals and never lose focus. Keep those around you that help motivate you and don’t pay attention to those who might discourage you.
Now, I'm beginning another year of competition. I'm 35 years old and feeling better than ever! I call this my sophomore year since it is only my 2nd year in the game. Whatever the results, I plan on being myself and having fun throughout. I am also making sure not to neglect my loved ones, my beautiful wife Jennifer, my son Gabe, and my daughter Grace. If my ambitions ever get in the way of my quality time with them, it's time to hang it up. It's up to me to be proactive and keep this balance. Also, I have to keep my eyes on the Man upstairs. God is the reason I'm here. With Him on my side, nothing or no one can be against me.
“Operation Shred” Meal Plan
This is my meal plan 4 weeks out from a show. I call it “Operation Shred”.
Meal 1: Protein Shake - 2 scoops UMP mixed with almond milk, 1 tbsp of flaxseeds
Meal 2: 8oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, or fish), 6 egg whites, ½ grapefruit
Meal 3: 8oz grilled chicken and a large salad
Meal 4: 1 can tuna, 2 egg whites, 1 tomato
Meal 5: 8oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, or fish), 2 cups steamed vegetables
Mondays and Thursdays: I add 1 and ½ cups of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of butter, and a banana to meal 5 with the lean meat and vegetables.