Member of Dover Gym shares story of winning debut bodybuilding competition.

Quintin Richardson’s New Year’s resolution for 2018 was simple.

“I just wanted to be as fit as possible,” the 32-year-old Milford resident said. “My main goal was to be healthy and confident.”

He’s since shattered his goal by winning his first bodybuilding competition in June. The National Gym Association second annual in Maryland was his debut in the sport.

Looking shredded on stage like a Spider-Man super villain, Richardson placed first in the categories of novice, debut and open.

At the top of the year, Richardson weighed 245 pounds. For the seven-and-a-half weeks of training he did for his first show, he cut down to 179 pounds.

According to a 2015-2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71.6 percent of adults are overweight or obese. 

Leading up to the June competition, Richardson said, what kept a flame lit under him was a haunting comment his coach and fellow bodybuilder John Vickers would make.

“You don’t want to be the fat guy on stage,” said Vickers, explaining that was a key phrase he’d use to motivate Richardson to take his training and nutrition seriously, since he’s seen guys embarrass themselves by showing up to contests with big bellies.

Nutrition is ‘90 percent’ 

Richardson has been into fitness since he began martial arts training at around age 8.

But learning the importance of proper nutrition helped him transform his physique into a chiseled one, something Vickers has been schooling him on for over a year.

“I didn’t know anything about what to fuel your body with. I just knew that people said if you want to get big, eat a lot. But I didn’t know what to eat a lot of,” Richardson said.

Vickers taught him good nutrition is the hard part to developing a shredded body, not lifting weights.

“Ninety percent of this is about what you stick in your mouth,” said Vickers, 49, of Middletown. “You can’t gain weight if you don’t eat excess calories.”

Vickers, who’s trained bodybuilders for four years, told Richardson the average person should eat six small meals a day, rather than three big meals, because it helps prevent you from overeating. Everyone should eat every two-and-a-half or three hours, Vickers said.

An example of a nutritious meal people could eat every day is 5 ounces of chicken (3 ounces for a woman) with a half cup of rice and 5 ounces of broccoli, similar to what Vickers and Richardson eats, the Middletown bodybuilder said.

You can eat the same meals throughout the day or sub out chicken with fish, swap out rice for a sweet potato or replace broccoli with a different vegetable.

It’s good to eat carbohydrates such as rice sparingly and before workouts, since excess carbs will get turned into fat.

Sugar is undoubtedly one of the worst foods anyone can eat and should be avoided, because it also turns into fat. While many fruits are full of natural sugar, it’s still not a good idea to eat an excess of that either, since it’ll turn into fat too, Vickers said.

Richardson had a bit of a sweet tooth before he met his coach. These days, he’s learned to curb his desire for cakes and junk food by using healthy substitutes such as half a grapefruit or a handful of nuts.

The Milford resident said he’ll enjoy two or three slices of pizza on the weekend when he’s not training for a competition. But for the most part, he keeps his distance from cheat meals.

“You have to look at things and realize a plain cheese pizza is an hour on the treadmill,” Vickers said.

Picture success

To help Richardson reach his goal in the seven-and-a-half weeks of training for his first competition, Vickers had him weigh in three times a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“We’d take pictures Saturdays and hold old pictures next to the new one so we could see if we’re getting better or if we’re doing anything wrong,” Vickers said.

Richardson and Vickers each work out six or seven days a week. They work out together two or three days a week at Dover Gym.

They hit different body parts each day. On Monday, they’ll work out their chest and triceps. Tuesday is back and biceps. Wednesday is leg day. Thursday is chest. Friday is arms. Saturday is a back workout. Sunday is leg day.

Student becomes teacher 

Richardson has taken the fitness knowledge Vickers taught him and now he’s helping others.

Ashley Starke, who’s known him since they were fifth-graders at North Elementary School in Smyrna, has been working out with him for three months.

She’s lost weight and hopes to lose 15 pounds and then tone up.

Starke said she’s confident her old friend Richardson will help her reach her goals, because he’s invested in her well-being.

“Every Monday he’s messaging me, and I believe other people as well, asking you to weigh in, because he wants to know what your weight is that Monday, that way he can keep track if you’re plateauing or if you’re gaining weight,” she said.

“Then he wants to talk to you about changing up something in your workout, because he wants you to meet your goals,” Starke said.

Ciara Harris has known Richardson for nearly a decade. She’s been working out with him for seven months. She decided to reach out to him three months after giving birth to her second daughter because she got fed up with the baby fat and wanted to get healthier, Harris said.

Even though Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Delaware State University, she said it was important to link up with the bodybuilder because she needed someone to hold her accountable.

Harris said Richardson helped her drop from 160 to 135 pounds. All she needs to do is lose five more pounds to reach her fitness goal.

Richardson is inspiring because his focus is primarily about being healthy, and not about how many likes he can rack up from Instagram, Harris said.

Richardson said working with others who are committed to a healthy lifestyle, such as Starke and Harris, is rewarding.

“It means the world,” he said. “How I felt when I got off stage is how I want others to feel.”

Looking ahead 

After winning his first bodybuilding competition, Richardson plans to enter more. In fact, he and his coach will compete in one together in May.

The Milford bodybuilder, who’s in the best shape of his life at age 32, is optimistic he’ll capture lightning in a bottle twice.

“I’m excited because a lot of people say you get better as time goes on,” Richardson said. “Before, I didn’t know what to eat. Now it’s been a whole year of me eating protein [and proper nutrition].”