Interview by Ben Yosef
Being a natural bodybuilder and prep coach I have had the great opportunity to see many top athletes up close. A few years ago, I was backstage at a show putting the final touches on a client when a commotion began. As I looked to see what the fuss was about, I noticed a group of about eight people gathered around a man. His back was to me so I could not make out who it was.
With that, I turned back to my client and continued with our stage prep. As minutes past, the group grew larger and louder. I looked back again. Upon my second glance, the man was now shirtless and stripped down to a shiny pair of posing trunks and a pair of gym shoes. The adoring crowd seemed excited.
Suddenly, the man pivoted toward my direction, in order to display himself to another section of the onlookers, reminis-cent of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s presentation at Terminal Island in the legendary film Pumping Iron.
“It was as if he was celebrating a new level reached in his personal leg development.“
He extended his leg in a manner that one would do when the head judge calls “extend and display your right quadriceps please.”As he flexed and rotated his thigh, I found myself sucked in to the spectacle. The group cheered and cajoled in appreciation.
This guy’s legs were incredible. I was particularly compelled by the manner in which he was displaying them. It was as if he was celebrating a new level reached in his personal leg development. And, his upper body was equally as impressive. He had the group in the palm of his hand.
This man was WNBF professional bodybuilder, Clarence McGill. I recently had the opportunity to interview Clarence for NMI and found myself sucked into the spectacle once again.
BY: Hi Clarence! You are a living legend in the natural bodybuilding game! It feels like you have been away for a while. What was the last show you competed in?
CM: Hey Ben, thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate them. My last show was the 2010 WNBF Pro Masters Cup. I won the lightweight class, and the overall.
BY: We have missed seeing you rock the stage since then. What have you been up to for the past three years?
CM: My wife, Njeri McGill, won her WNBF Pro Card in 2011. She has been super supportive of me in my career so, in turn, I have been her prep coach during my time away from the stage.
BY: I actually had a client, Carly Pisarri, compete in the show where Njeri won her pro card. It was the 2011 INBF Natural Northeast America, and the figure class was stacked nine girls deep. Carly placed third behind Robin Scott (2nd), and Njeri (1st). Njeri came into that show looking like she was there to win. Needless to say, we were happy to place as well as we did. So far, what has been Njeri’s biggest moment as a WNBF Figure Pro?
CM: She placed second in her pro debut at the 2011 WNBF Figure Universe, and she also placed second at the 2012 WNBF Worlds.
BY: What’s next for Njeri? And, are you a prep coach for hire or are you only working with your wife?
CM: She’s undecided on which show to do next, but she’s training seriously for the up- coming season. I also train a couple of up and coming natural bodybuilders. As for me, I’m preparing to make my return to competition in 2014.
BY: That is all exciting news. And, it will be great to see you back on stage. Clarence, what would you say was your best ever onstage look so far?
CM: The 2010 WNBF Pro Masters Cup was my best condition by far. I think that I pitched a perfect shut out. I won the lightweight class with perfect first place votes, and I won the overall with seven first place scores.
“I think that I pitched a perfect shut out”
My second best condition was at my WNBF pro debut in 2006 at the U.S. Pro Cup in Augusta, Georgia. I won the middleweight class. I then went on to face Dave Goodin (lightweight winner) and Rodney Helaire (heavyweight winner). I received five first place votes for the overall victory.
BY: You definitely achieved something very special in the conditioning department at the 2010 Masters Cup. What makes the package you brought especially impressive is that you were able to maintain fullness and roundness in your muscle bellies. You had it all. What would you say was the main factor that helped you to come in so hard, dry, and full for that show?
“I injured my shoulder. My training intensity suffered, but I managed to train through the pain.”
CM: After winning the worlds in 2009, I made it a pri-ority to stay as lean as possible while preparing for my attempt at defending the title. I trained smarter and ate clean all year long.
My plan was to do the Pro Masters Cup as a warm up show, then come into the World Championship at my all-time best. But, while training for the P.M.C., I in-jured my shoulder. My training intensity suffered, but I managed to train through the pain. After wining that show, the injury worsened. I had to pull out of the 2010 Worlds.
BY: That must have been a tough pill to swallow. Are you completely healed and healthy today?
CM: Yes, my shoulder training is back on attack. It feels good to be able to train hardcore again. The only thing that I do differently now is make sure that my shoulders are thoroughly warmed up.
BY: It’s great to hear that. Clarence, you have had such incredible success as a competitive body-builder. You have won titles at the pro level, including the most coveted honor; becoming a WNBF World Champion.
Considering your planned 2014 return to the stage, what do you feel you need to improve on, and what is left for you to achieve or accomplish?
CM: Honestly Ben, I’ve been really blessed. When I first decided to compete with the INBF, my goal was to get a picture of myself in contest condition in the magazine, so that I could share it with my family and friends.
In 2003 I won the middleweight class and the overall at the Hercules International, where I also earned my WNBF Pro Card. After that, I remember saying to myself, “the WNBF is really competitive. Maybe if I train hard and diet smart, I just might be able to win at least one show.” So, my journey began.
I targeted my first show and trained like a champ. It all paid off when I won the overall at the U.S. Pro Cup in 2006. After that, I was hooked.
I wanted to win the Worlds, and hopefully make the cover of the magazine. My dreams came to fruition when both of those things happened. Now my goal is to just keep on improving my physique from show to show.
BY: Great story. Lots of inspiration there. What is your age now, and how many more years can you see yourself competing?
CM: I’m forty-eight years old. I’ll be forty-nine in June, and I feel great. Natural bodybuilding is the key to good health. Competing in the WNBF is always exciting, and the level of competition is extremely tough. Hopefully I can continue to improve. If I can, then I’ll compete in at least four more shows. That will give me a total of ten WNBF Pro competitions.
BY: What’s great is that you hit a peak and achieved your best-ever look well into your forties. This is incredibly inspiring, and is a fantastic example of what is possible when you stay natural, and live a clean, healthy lifestyle.
It will be a while before we get to see you back in action. However, I have no doubts that you will make an incredible splash upon return, and shake up the industry once again. In 2014 we may just see the best Clarence McGill yet.
CM: Absolutely, Ben. That’s my plan. When I make my return to the stage I’ll bring the best and most complete Clarence McGill that anyone has ever seen. My training is going very well, and the fire to get back in the mix is starting to burn again.
My wife’s passion to improve keeps me involved with what’s going on in the sport. She’s always been my biggest fan. She was always there by my side as I prepared myself for competition. Now it’s my turn to be the wind to her wings. She has what it takes to be successful in the WNBF.
WNBF Pro Masters Cup – Lightweight 1st place & Overall Winner
WNBF Pro World Championships – Middleweight 1st place & Overall Winner
WNBF Pro Universe – Overall Winner
WNBF Pro World Championships – Middleweight 4th place
WNBF Pro U.S. Cup – Middleweight 1st place & Overall Winner
WNBF Pro World Championships – Middleweight 2nd place
INBF Hercules International – Open Middleweight 1st place & Overall winner (earned WNBF Pro Card)
INBF Naturalmania Nationals – Middleweight 2nd place
NABBA USA Junior Nationals – Medium class 1st place
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