Interview with new IFBB Pro, Walter Martinby Andrew Berry on July 14, 2015
Andrew: Hey Guys. Today we have a special interview with Mountain Dog Client and one of the newest IFBB Pros, Walter Martin. Hey Walter. Thanks for taking the time out to do this. It’s been a couple days now, how does it feel?
Walter: First I would like to thank you and John for this opportunity to tell my story. The feeling is unreal. On one hand a burden is lifted off my shoulders of wondering if I could be good enough to become a pro bodybuilder. But on the other hand there is now a totally different burden of can I be good on the pro stage. But I’m definitely up for the challenge and have more fire in my belly then I ever have had for this.
Andrew: So, for a lot of guys like myself, this is a major dream achievement. Was this a lifelong goal that you had from your younger days as a teenager like Coach Meadows or did you get into competing after a career in a sport like football ran its course?
Walter: As with most kids growing I wanted to be a pro athlete. I didn’t care what sport; I just wanted to be one. (Mostly for the money they make of course). I played everything growing up but after 9th grade I didn’t play anything mainly due getting low grades in school. I was one of those guys who got grades so I could play sports. Without the athletic eligibility, I became interested in bodybuilding about the age 12-14. I went to my first show when it was held around the corner of my house at the Apollo Theater in Lorain, which was and still is the Dave Liberman show called the Natural Northern. It’s held in Lakewood, Ohio now. I remember talking to pro bodybuilder (I cant remember his name), but when I asked him how could I be a bodybuilder he said it will cost you 100k a year! I was shocked and stopped thinking about it right there until many years later.
Andrew: Ok, so you had an early interest in the sport that swindled for a few years when older bodybuilder Can you go over your contest history briefly?
First show Oct 2010 Natural Northern- 4th
Monster Mash 2010- 2nd
West Virginia Wheeling 2010- my first non tested show 5th
Natural Pittsburgh 2011- 2nd
Lakewood 2011- 1st
Mike Francois Classic 2012- 1st and overall
Junior USA’s 2012- 3rd
Masters Nationals 2013- 7th
North Americans 2013- 4th
Master Nationals 2014- 2nd
North Americans 2014- 7th
Team Universe 2015- 2nd earned pro card
Andrew: So what led you to hiring John?
Walter: When I decided to do a show in 2010 I did a ton of research on bodybuilding because I knew nothing besides Arnold, they were big, and they ate a ton. During my research I read about Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, and the Mountaindog himself, John Meadows. So I read about John’s near death story, about how he’s been bodybuilding since the age of 13 and that he coaches other athletes. So I did more research on him as a coach and seen how great everyone speaks about him. I didn’t contact him yet because I had just begun working with a local coach that was actually at the same gym with me and he helped me with my 1st, 6th, and 7th show, which I placed well at. But I’m a guy who constantly wants more and likes to try things for myself sometimes. I went into the 2013 season and looked up John Meadows again and joined the Mountaindogdiet.com site to try and learn as much as I could to give this a go solo. I actually contacted John via Facebook and told him I just became a member to his site and wanted to ask a couple questions on things he wrote about. To my surprise, he answered every one of my questions and spoke to me several times and asked me to keep him informed on how I was doing. So I do Masters Nationals solo in 2013 and bombed it. Right from the start, I messed up. Right after weigh in I went the room and began to eat and eat and before I knew it I was 13 pounds heavier. I laugh about it now but it was horrible. Somehow I still came in 7th. I hit John up and told him about it. He laughed and said, “Yep, no way you can win like that.” So, I still didn’t hire him yet as I worked with a different local coach for North Americans and came in pretty good I got 4th. At this point I wanted to learn more so I went spoke with my first coach about it and he gave me his blessings to work with a previous coach of his DP. I worked with him all of 2014 went to Masters Nationals again in 2014 and got my best ever placing at a national show which is 2nd. We decided I should do North Americans which somehow I bombed looked totally different from the previous six weeks so I decided I think its time to get a coach who is local to me to keep me more motivated and someone who seemed interested in teaching me about this sport and not just giving me a meal plan. So I contacted John sand we had a conversation. I spoke to him about my concerns and he expressed to me that he really wanted to work with me as he could see all the potential I had. He straight up said to me “I will make you a pro this year.” I didn’t fully believe it 100% at the time because you know, with this sport, but was sure hoping that he was right…. and he was!! At our first show together! No time wasted!
Andrew: That’s really amazing that John was able to make good on that promise the first time around. Now, I’ve been in the situation where I was prepping a guy who was going to be in the same show as me, not the same class but where we could potentially be battling it out for an overall title. Was it hard for you to trust that John was going to do everything he could to make you look your best, knowing that you were going to be in his class?
Walter: I had my times where I questioned it because when I told others he would be in my class they expressed their concerns and made a few jokes. I was a little conflicted because on one hand, I was such a fan of John’s story and I knew his heart and conscience would never allow himself to hold me back. But on the other hand, I also knew how badly he wanted to win and if it took beating a client its what he would do. He told me straight out, “I want to win.” I respected that so I put full trust in what his plan was for me and never questioned it again. And it worked out exactly as he planned
Andrew: And tell me a little about your emotions when you saw that John had won the 40+ class and gotten his pro card?
Walter: When john went out for the Masters 40+ class I was watching him like a hawk to see what that outcome was because I knew if he won this class, I was going to be getting my pro card! I actually got an email from John two weeks before the show saying fyi: the 40+ class goes out first so I’m going to win that and you’re going to win the 35+ class. So when they announced him winning the 40+ Masters class I began screaming and clapping my hands hard as hell because I knew that I was getting my card. There is a rule that the 2nd place guy gets the pro card if the guy who would have taken 1st already wins his in a previous class. In John’s case, he just won his pro card in the Masters 40+ class and me knowing I was 2nd to John in the 35+ class…I knew. I was a crazy happy guy at that moment.
Andrew: That must have been an incredible feeling to see it all play out in front of you like that especially with a guy that you are a fan of and respect yourself. Tell us a little about what you do for work, family etc. How do you juggle it all while prepping for a major show like the Team Universe?
Walter: I am a personal trainer. I gave up a 90k job per year doing machining because I had to work too many funky hours and it directly affected my eating and workouts. I got an opportunity at the gym I worked out when some friends bought the gym. I am married and have been with my wife for 11 years I have two sons ages 9 and 6 and both are named Walter. I also have an 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship as well. It was great that all of them were there for me at the Team Universe. All I could hear was my family when I was onstage. It really was magical! My wife and I work as a great team as she competes as well so she knows when to talk to me when to relax me and when to make me go to sleep before I drive her crazy!
Andrew: So, what’s next? What show will be your first professional show?
Walter: Right after we won our pro cards I was initially thinking about going into an offseason. At the venue, I ran into a guy who had turned pro the previous year at the Team Universe. His advice to me was not to wait to get on stage as a professional. So when I walked back over to John before I got to say anything he asked what I wanted to do and he told me he was doing a 212 show. Since I weighed in at 220 we thought it would be a great move for to do Phoenix Europa in Oct.
Andrew: Is there anything in particular that you are looking to improve on for this show?
Walter: I want to improve on everything… No joke, literally everything… But the main focus is conditioning… I want that conditioning that people talk about seeing the day after the show
Andrew: Ok, are you working with any sponsors or companies that you would like to send a shout out to? Or any one you would like to thank?
Walter: I have to thank my wife for putting up with all my craziness and sponsors Tym and Gloria Switzer of Switzer Performance in Oberlin, OH. They do so much for me and ask for nothing. They build racecars and just want to help me because as they said they know how expensive this sport is and they see how hard I work and wanted to make it easier for me… You wont find better people. We are so close and they are family now. They are legally both my sons godparents. And of course I would like to thank John Meadows as he made my life so much easier and had no problem teaching along the way. I am learning what a true professional is supposed to act like
Andrew: Walter, thanks a lot for taking the time out of your day to do this. It was exciting to see you and John battling it out onstage at the Team Universe. Maybe be will get to see you guys rub shoulders on the professional stage.