IFBB Pro Art Atwood
or those of you who are not familiar with me, I would like to take this time to give you a brief history of myself and fill you in on the stepping-stones of my career.
I was born on December 27, 1973 in a small city in Wisconsin. I grew up on competitive sports, mainly football and track. I started training with weights when I was twelve to increase my speed and power. I was very fortunate to have coaches and an older brother who were knowledgeable and committed to intense training. They were my major motivators and taught me the basics of weight training.
After senior year in high school, I focused on college and decided to put more energy into weights. At the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, I met my good friend and “nutritional mentor” Tony Frontier. He told me I had an excellent training program but my calorie intake and nutrition were too weak for the effort I was putting forth. At the same time that Tony had me eating huge quantities of food, he encouraged me to enter the Mr. Wisconsin. I entered the teen division and won the light-heavyweight and overall title, weighing 185lbs at contest time
After winning the 93’ teen Wisconsin, I didn’t compete again until 99’. During those six years: I managed fitness clubs and nutrition stores, learned all the information that I could about bodybuilding, nutrition, and supplements, and went to UWM for Exercise Kinesiology. I entered the 99’ Wisconsin to qualify for a national level show. I weighed in at 236lbs and won the super heavyweight title.
The year 2000 was an eventful one for me. I warmed up with the Mid-Illinois in Ottawa, Illinois. This was my first “big” show to have over 100 competitors. Jeff and Ann Johnson, were the promoters of this well organized and very popular show. I won the heavyweight and overall title at 237lbs. Two weeks later, I made some refinements and won the Jr. USA super heavyweight and overall title beating out heavyweight competitor, Victor Martinez. Eager to keep competing, a few months later, I gave the USA’s a shot and took seventh place. I thought I needed more size to compete at the national level, so I jacked my calories and training up and entered the Nationals at 252 lbs. A disappointing fourteenth place, convinced me to come in super hard like I did at the Jr. USA’s.
The next year, 2001, turned out to be one of the best years of my life. I entered the USA’s at a ridiculously shredded 234lbs. I placed third but knew I made a couple mistakes and that I could come in fuller. I decided to compete at the Nationals only 4 months later. It was here in Atlanta where I finally earned my coveted IFBB Pro Card at a thick 244lbs.
It now was time to become a “Professional” bodybuilder. I didn’t want to be another Pro BB just taking up space in a lineup. I made a decision to become the best! I wasn’t sure where to start on the pro level, so I hired contest prep guru Chad Nichols. With Chad’s help and my pure determination, I decided to try my first “Pro” show that very next year. I just was curious of what would happen! Only 6 months after earning my pro card, I came in at a full, 255 shredded pounds and earned my very first IFBB Professional title, the Toronto Pro. It was a total rush to win my pro debut and beat out veterans like Markus Ruhl and Darrem Charles! After the Toronto, I made a promise to myself. I told myself that I would improve AT LEAST 10% every time I enter a show, no matter what!
Here are the current stats:
Competitive weight: 278 – 287 lbs
Off season weight: 320 – 330 lbs
Current training style: Each muscle is trained every 5 days
Europa Super Show – IFBB, 5th
Montreal – IFBB, 7th
Arnold Classic – IFBB, 14th
San Francisco Pro Invitational – IFBB, 10th
Florida Pro Xtreme Challenge – IFBB, 5th
Hungarian Pro Invitational – IFBB, 8th
Night of Champions – IFBB, 9th
Toronto Pro Invitational – IFBB, 5th
Night of Champions 7th place
Hungarian Pro 3rd place
Mr. Olympia 13th place
Russia Grand Prix 6th place
British Grand Prix 7th place
Dutch Grand Prix 8th place
Toronto Pro 1st Place! (Pro Debut)
Mr. Olympia 12th place
London Grand Prix 7th place
GNC 12th Place
USA 3rd place SHW
Nationals Super HeavyWeight winner (earned Pro Card)
Mid-Illinois SHW 1st and overall winner
Jr. USA SHW 1st and overall winner
USA SHW 7th
Nationals SHW 14th (overlooked & missed my peak)
Mr. Wisconsin SuperHeavyweight winner
Teenage Mr. Wisconsin lightheavyweight and overall winner.
Several things I have learned over the past 15 years in bodybuilding:
Perfect and master the basics of weight training.
Consistently change your approach until you accomplish your goals.
To absolutely NEVER give up!