INTERVIEW BY BEN YOSEF | MICHAEL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
“WINNING MY LAST SHOW WAS MIND BLOWING, BUT SHOWED ME AND HOPEFULLY OTHERS THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS IF YOU STAY ON A CONSISTENT GRIND.”
New IPL Men’s Athletic Pro, Justin Lee! Three was the charm for Justin Lee at the 2019 4th Annual IPL Arizona Championship on May 25th in Phoenix, Arizona.
The perennial runner-up, Justin first hit the IPL stage at the 2018 Southwest Grand Prix. At that contest he placed 2nd in Men’s Athletic Open behind Julliaan Irvin after battling it out in a pose down to break their tied scores.
Following that contest Justin hopped onto the APEX stage where he once again found himself in 2nd place Men’s Athletic Open.
Six months later Justin would return to the IPL stage for the third time. And this time he struck gold, placing 1st in Men’s Athletic Open and earning his IPL Pro Card.
In this exclusive GAINZ feature Justin talks about his experience on the IPL stage and turning Pro.
BEN YOSEF: You did it! Congrats on killing it at the AZ Championship! Three shows in, and you got the win. What does it feel like?
JUSTIN DUDLEY: It feels amazing! I put in a ton of work to even be able to step on that stage. Just before prepping for my first show I was 250 pounds and around 30% body fat. I was already on a journey from almost 300 pounds. At that time I didn’t see myself as a serious contender. I just needed to push myself to the next level. I ended up doing that and more. Winning my last show was mind blowing, but showed me and hopefully others that it is possible to achieve your goals if you stay on a consistent grind.
BEN: That’s awesome, man. What was your stage weight?
JUSTIN: For the first show I was around 190 lbs. The last show I was closer to 198 lbs.
BEN: Nice! So, you have been making some serious GAINZ!
JUSTIN: Yes sir! The focus for my third show was muscularity and symmetry.
BEN: So, let’s take it back to your first contest. The October 2018 3rd Annual IPL Southwest Grand Prix. At that contest you placed 2nd in a very competitive Men’s Athletic Open class. You actually tied for 1st with the ultimate winner, Julliann Irvin. It all came down to the pose down between you guys whereJulliaan prevailed. What was it like fighting for that 1st place spot? And what was it like narrowly missing it?
JUSTIN: I’m going to be completely honest here. I didn’t expect to place in that show. My expectations were to push my results and boost my confidence. Which were both achieved before the night show. So, when they called a tie for 1st place and a pose down, I was caught completely by surprise. But I did step up and do my best. I felt on top of the world after that. It really didn’t feel like a loss to me. It made me feel like a real competitor.
BEN: That’s awesome, man. That contest qualified you for APEX III, which was just one month away. What was your game plan as you prepped for APEX?
JUSTIN: Yeah, that was amazing! I focused on continuing my journey. I jumped right back on my plan and showed up with better conditioning. And not only that, I needed to see myself as a true competitor, as well as a winner.
BEN: At APEX you landed in 2nd place once again. However, you actually defeated Julliaan Irvin who had just beaten you a month prior. How did it feel earning another 2nd place spot as well as defeating Julliaan this time around?
JUSTIN: [laughs] Like a bad dream, involving another pose down. Just kidding, but this one did hit me in the gut a little. It showed me the importance of posing and presentation. This is going to sound crazy, but that few seconds of this pose down felt like a real fight. I could feel the confidence and intensity Ricky brought to the table. He won that round hands down, but also showed me what I was lacking most. Julliaan is still a beast, so a 2nd place win didn’t sting as much. It’s amazing how much we could all improve in such a short period of time.
BEN: What a great end of the year for you. Back-to-back shows and you made improvements in your physique and placements. Heading into 2019 what was your thought process and game plan as far as hitting the stage?
JUSTIN: Getting my Pro Card was my main focus. I also wanted to learn how to train efficiently to achieve my goals. Posing also became a big part of my regiment. Doing things that could set me apart from my competition.
BEN: By the time the 2019 AZ Championship rolled around, you seemed revved and ready to go. How were you feeling the day of that show?
JUSTIN: I was nervous, but feeling more confident than in previous shows. I still had competition, so I knew I had to step my game up. I will say that when I stepped off stage after Prejudging I felt amazing! I was ready to knock out my Model Walk.
BEN: Your stiffest competition at that contest was Mark Grosklos. You ended up placing 1st with 206 points out of 240. Which is a very impressible score by the way! He came in with 195. He actually tied with you in the conditioning round as well as the Model Walk at Finals. However, you beat him in all the other rounds. What was it like competing against Mark and how much of a threat did you feel he was?
JUSTIN: I definitely felt that he was a threat and I didn’t feel like I had the show in the bag. He was really conditioned and I felt he had me in certain areas of muscularity. I was also very conscious of the fact that I had been on that stage twice and put everything I had into training for symmetry, posing and conditioning.
BEN: When the dust settled, you took the show and snagged that Pro Card in the process. What was that moment like for you?
JUSTIN: Almost unbelievable. I could feel my heart beating through my chest as they called 2nd place and then my name for 1st. I felt a surge of love erupt from the crowd. It really made all the time and training worth it.
BEN: Sweet! When will we get to see you make your Pro Debut?
JUSTIN: I plan on making my Pro Debut the first half of next year!
BEN: Awesome, Bro! I look forward to seeing that! Any final thoughts?
JUSTIN: I started competing to push my fitness and training to another level. I never thought I would be standing on a stage posing in front of a crowd. Now, I have three competitions under my belt. The last one granting me a Pro Card with the IPL. I am also fortunate to have a spouse that fully supports my lifestyle choice. So much so that she decided to complete in her first show.
I also had major support from Nutrition Head to Toe and the Smoothies N Blenderz team. Herbalife allowed me to create that link with Vince and Tawnya Cline, ultimately changing my life. Lastly, I want people to remember that anything is possible and never quit on yourself. GAINZ