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Trainers Profiles

STANLEY JOHNSON

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I was born in Canton Ohio. My parents moved to California when I was just 5 years old. My father was laid off from his job in Canton so he came to California and when he found a job he sent for us. I’ve lived in California ever since. Beautiful weather, nice people. I’ve met great people along the way.

I was actually a fat kid growing up until the age of 14. I was the kid in the community swimming pool who never took off his shirt. I still remember those three rolls of fat on my stomach. Not to mention, I wore glasses and had a speech impediment. Adolescence is so great.

I was about to go into the ninth grade when the freshman football coach asked me to go out for the team. I said no thanks. I think the F word came to mind. He came to me because all football coaches like fat kids to be linemen to block for their stars. I wanted no part of that. But when he said if you don’t like it you can quit, that was the moment I said I’ll do it just to get him off my back then I’ll quit.

It sounded easy enough. It sounded easy enough until an overweight fat kid carrying 20 pounds of gear in the middle of summer doing two-a-day workouts while breathing terrible smog every day tried doing it. At the end of each workout when I was just about to quit he would yell “a winner never quits and a quitter never wins” I’m 14 and that was my first time ever hearing that phrase. It changed the way I thought about discipline. I never quit, I didn’t want that label. I couldn’t go back to regular PE (physical education) classes because now I was an athlete. My report card said competitive Athletics and I always got an A.

High School Football was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I played all 4 years and when I say the coaches taught us discipline, that would be an understatement. Even years after high school whenever I had a difficult task I would tell myself it wasn’t as hard as high school football. One thing I remember is we didn’t get a whole lot of water breaks and we had the waterboy go and soak a couple of bath towels for us to suck water out of. You’ve got 50 guys sucking on a couple of towels. We would take turns passing it around. I think coaches would be fired for coaching that way today. After High School, I decided to take martial arts. Bruce Lee was a big deal at the time. Actually today he is too! The greatness of that man will never die. I earned my black belt 4 years later and competed in many tournaments in that time.

I always wanted to lift weights but I was always too tired after karate practice. We lifted in high school so I missed the pump and the feel of weights so I joined a gym. A friend of mine was competing and I went to go watch and decided I wanted to do a competition myself.

In my first show, I almost took last place I didn’t know how much more dieting they did than I did. But I vowed if I did another one THAT would never happen again. If they beat me it’s because they were better not because I wasn’t ready. In my next few shows, I took second place. I finally took a first the following year.

Here’s what I’ve done since 2018.

1st: INBA 2018/2019 So. Cal. Masters and Grand Masters

1st: INBA 2018 Las Vegas Pro/ Am Grand Masters/ Ultra Masters

1st 2021 AAU Men’s Bodybuilding Masters Overall. Men’s Physique Masters Overall and best male athlete award.

Photo By: Lorenzo Gaspar

I have three more shows scheduled before the end of the year then the season is over. Actually the 3 biggest shows of the year. I just turned 65 so the fact that I even have a season makes me grateful. I want to thank all the promoters who give us the opportunity to do what we love.

Age:
65

City:
Orange California

Country:
USA

In your opinion, weight loss is more of a fitness issue or health issue and why?
Everything boils down to a health issue first and foremost. You need to get healthy so you can feel like losing weight. If you don’t feel healthy you’re not going to exercise and give it the effort that it’s going to take. EVERYTHING stems from health the rest you can acquire.

Also, I’m an advocate of the scale. I think we’ve gotten away from using the scale and just being comfortable in our clothes and people are just buying bigger clothes. That’s the problem we can always find comfortable clothes. The scale is not going to lie to you. That’s just my opinion.

If you have 100 tokens in total and you could apply them to the following categories how many would you apply to each?
As I’m 65, I might have viewed it differently if I was in my 20’s. I would apply most of them to health again if you have your health you can get fit more easily. It’s never easy either way but it’s easier if you’re healthy.

My thoughts on HIIT, Powerlifting, TRX Yoga, bodybuilding, others?
HIIT is an absolutely amazing way to get fit. Probably one of the most efficient ways to train. You can get so much in a short amount of time.

Powerlifting: is great as well as long as you train safe, you’re careful, get the right amount of rest and listen to your body.

TRX: This is great if you’re not trying to put on any muscle mass especially women who are self-conscious of that. Using your own bodyweight is a great way to train, it’s been used for decades. Just look at some old Jack LaLanne footage.TRX is just a better more hi-tech way to do it.

Yoga: Everyone who does yoga swears by it I haven’t met one person that doesn’t love it. The muscles have to be stretched and yoga way is a perfect way to do it.

Bodybuilding: Bodybuilding is an all-around perfect way to shape, tone and build muscles. People will stay in the gym for hours just because the endorphin rush is so amazing! Your body totally responds to resistance training.

Others: I would have to add martial arts in there. When you start to learn the mechanics of how to punch and kick and you start to develop speed and power it is so good! I recommend all women should take a self-defence class. People say a woman can’t beat up a man. I disagree.

Every time I talk to a gymnast or someone doing ballet I tell them they would be great at martial arts because they’re already limber. That’s half the battle.

A special thanks to Travis Mayfield, Vietnam veteran and owner of NextLevel fitness Center in Irvine for his support and accommodating my crazy workout schedule

How did your passion for fitness start?
I would have to say it started with martial arts. I didn’t start till after high school and I was almost 18. That’s actually late when you think of a lot of black belts who are a really good start when they’re like 8 years old.

FATE

It must have just been fate. I worked with a guy who was taking Lima Lama. A Polynesian martial art from Samoa. He always bragged about his instructor and his instructor’s instructor. One Saturday I was driving down the road and I saw a sign that said Lima Lama and I pulled in and low and behold the instructor that taught his instructor taught there. Not only that, the school was doing a demonstration at the Long Beach Internationals karate championships the next day so I got to sit and watch the entire demonstration before they performed it the following day. I’ve never seen a 5 man attack in slow motion put to music. Then they stopped the music and did the same 5 man attack at regular speed. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was all choreographed of course but it was a thing of beauty. I signed up that Monday and I stayed until I got my black belt.

Photo By: Noel Daganta

Yes. I think that’s where my passion for fitness started. Once you get out of that awkward stage which you’re in when you’re a white belt it really starts to be fun.

What was the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey?
I have had a couple. In 2020, all the gyms were shut down and no one was able to train we were to train at home. Everyone who likes to work out was beginning to lose their mind. I didn’t want to purchase a home gym for $5,000 that I probably would never use. Even a $5,000 gym is rickety. And you know the gyms are going to re-open at some point.

Luckily, I found Next Level Fitness, a personal trainers gym which the owner happened to be a Vietnam Veteran who opened up early just for me so I could train. He still opens early for me so I’m the only one in there. Thank you, Travis.

Also in 2020, I had a non-invasive surgery that kept me out of action for 4 months.

I was thinking this season might be lost as well. But you fight back! That’s what it’s all about.

And of course, it’s always a battle when all friends family want you to do is eat.

Nutritional Plan
Personally, I can’t eat every 2 or 3 hours my metabolism won’t let me and I can’t eat if I’m not hungry when I try to force-feed myself like that I tend to gain weight I can eat every 4 hours that seems to work for me. I do watch my carbohydrates. Do carbs taste good? Yes absolutely they do but it’s all about self-discipline. Discipline determines destiny.  More protein and low carbs. And easy on the good fats as well. Nuts, avocados, etc.

Supplement Plan:
I take a multi-pack every day and a good BCAA supplement. Protein shakes are a great way to supplement your diet as well if you can’t get a meal in. Either shakes or bars will do. See which one your body responds to best. They will put weight on if you over-consume so be careful.

If you’re looking to bulk up those are great options. If you’re trying to be lean and ripped, that might make it a little more difficult with the shakes and bars just keep tweaking your diet until it comes in. If you’re what’s called a hard gainer, a person who has trouble putting on weight and it’s hard to gain muscle mass then there’s a whole different set of rules for you.

Do you prefer to take and recommend all-natural (no sugar, no artificial colours/flavours/sweeteners) supplements or supplements with artificial flavours and sweeteners? And Why?
Most artificial sweeteners have a horrible aftertaste, especially protein shakes. Sometimes your body doesn’t know what to do with it so it stores it may store it as fat or maybe makes you retain water or it will make you feel bloated and gassy.

Most people in the gym are NOT showing their best physique, Why?  They’re just not paying close enough attention to their diet. Also, you end up eating more when you buy a lot of low-calorie items. You tend to eat more just trying to squash those cravings.

I would prefer the all-natural no sugar added and no artificial colours or sweeteners. It’s just a little more expensive to eat healthily. You might find if you have a heavy leg day and then you ingest sugar you end up cramping that night. If you can find low sugar items that are always good. I don’t mean 25% less sugar. That’s not what I call low sugar.

Photo By: Noel Daganta

Please describe the importance of mental health
This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart my best friend was mentally ill. He was on all kinds of medications until he recently passed. We were friends since high school at 17 he began hanging around the wrong people, started using drugs that altered his brain cells and he was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. We knew something was wrong when he stabbed his father. His father recovered but my friend’s life was changed forever. So mental illness is a real problem in our society especially among the homeless. My friend had a whole kitchen table full of medication. That’s how they treat mental illness. It’s a shame.

Take us through a typical day in the life for you
I go to work at my engineering job and I have a rental property that I’m renovating putting in new everything. It hasn’t been updated since the 1970s. I love the look of a freshly renovated home. It gives me a lot of joy to see the finished product and the look on someone’s face when they want to live there.

Right now, I’m typical day for me is trying to get this rental property move-in ready. I’m also preparing for the last 3 upcoming competitions. I also just received 2 registered trademarks for my brand so I can put them on clothing items. Very excited about it. All that keeps me pretty busy and I still train 6 days a week. Trying to get enough sleep can be a challenge sometimes but I have to push forward. No one is going to do it for me. I’m just trying to do the most I can. When I retire I can devote all my time to real estate. And working out of course.

As you get older you realize how valuable time is. Something I’ll never forget my mother told me when I was having fun and she told me to do something and I said I’ll do it tomorrow she would say “tomorrow is not promised to you” talk about a buzz kill. But it taught me to get off my butt. I value those words now more than ever since she’s gone.

What separates Status from other fitness magazines?
First of all, let me say when I first heard the name Status Fitness Magazine I thought “what a great name.” In this world of social media, everyone is trying for some sort of status. When you have status you have a certain level of respect. You can hold your head high. To be in Status Fitness Magazine is something special.

What makes Status Fitness Magazine different?
I really believe you care about hearing my story and Status cares about the drug-free athlete. Other publications try to make you think they do. But they don’t! I’m lifetime drug-free and will always be that way!

Connect with Stanley: IG | FB
Photos By: Noel Daganta | Lorenzo Gaspar

I am a content and talent manager of Status Fitness Magazine. If you are looking to share your story or get featured in Status, contact me.

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