Fit To Be June Spotlight - Roger Lockridge June 2, 2014 16:36
We love hearing the stories of athletes who are working towards specific goals. Runners, cyclists, triathletes, CrossFit fanatics...the people who are working hard and training diligently for something special. Every month, we are featuring someone who inspires us and motivates us to be strong. To be fit. To be fast. To be better. Welcome to our "Fit To Be" series.
THIS MONTH: We are featuring Roger Lockridge!
Growing up as “the skinny kid” with violence at home and frequent peer bullying, Roger “ROCK” Lockridge vowed to “get bigger and stronger,” despite doubt and discouragement by many around him. He now pursues a career in fitness that includes training over 500 people, working at two health food stores, and becoming an accomplished fitness writer for Bodybuilding.com, Iron Man Magazine, and Labrada Nutrition.
His work as a bodybuilding/ fitness writer and expert has informed and motivated countless people to better themselves in pursuit of their health and fitness goals, as well as led him to receive several highly-coveted honors in the field. His work as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and especially children has educated numerous people, leading to the creation of protocols for pivotal changes in the system in his home state of West Virginia.
Our Q&A with Roger:
Your story is very inspirational and gives hope to victims of domestic violence. How do you describe yourself and your story of transformation?
I’m someone who was just too stubborn to accept my life as it was and wanted to do something about it. I was told by several people that I was dreaming too big and thought I would be disappointed but figured since I had nothing to lose I had to at least try. I have to be honest though. I never thought my work or recognition would reach the levels it has.
When did you first realize you could change your life and escape the abuse? Was there a specific catalyst of change/transformation or was it more of a gradual process?
Regarding the abuse, I always say my dad was good hearted and we were never neglected but he was an alcoholic and the night we left it was just too much. We were fortunate that police were close to our home that night so that was how we got out and I vowed to never make people I love feel that way. For the record, my dad did quit drinking and we all reconciled a year before he passed.
Changing my circumstances was a gradual process. I told my story for the first time when I was 15. I didn’t start training until I was 17. I got sick of feeling depressed and having no confidence in myself. Most people look back at high school fondly but it was the worst period for me and I didn’t want my life to continue like that so the weights helped me tremendously. I got a job at the same shelter I stayed at a few months after that. The rest of the puzzle kind of fell into place along the way.
What fitness achievements are you most proud of?
As far as my own gains go, I put on 100 pounds of muscle in six years (clean, meaning no steroids). When I first started training, 95 pounds pinned me on the bench the first time I tried to max out. Now I can bench 315 for reps and my all-time best is 430 pounds.
What I’m most proud of is how I’ve been able to help others reach their goals. I’ve helped over 500 people directly over the years and I’ve been published as a writer over 300 times. I was named Bodybuilding.com’s Male Writer of the Year in 2009 and an “Iron Man Expert” by Iron Man Magazine in 2013. To be recognized by companies at that level and to know people from all over the world choose to give me credit for helping them reach goals and change their lives is by far what I’m most proud of.
What's an average day in the life of a bodybuilder/fitness writer, specifically yours?
Well my day is different because I’m also a child advocate by day so here is how an average day goes for me. I’m up at 5:00 AM for breakfast and my pre-workout beverage before hitting the gym at 6:00. I train until around 7:15 or 7:30 and then go home for my recovery meal and to take care of my son when he wakes up. After my wife is up, I get ready for work which starts at 9:00 AM. Lunch for me is at 11:00 so everyone else can go at noon. I live a couple of miles from the office so I go home for lunch to spend that little extra time with the family and to eat a healthy meal. If there are no cases at the child advocacy center, I’m off at 5:00 PM and home to work on writing assignments from 5:30 PM to around 9:00 PM, having a shake and a meal throughout the evening. We try to have our son in bed by 10:00 and I go to sleep myself around 10:30 or 11:00 at night.
How frequently do you work out, and what do these workouts usually entail?
I train 5 days a week and normally it includes a yoga warm up for around 10 minutes followed by 40-45 minutes of weights and 20 minutes of cardio afterwards. I change up the weight training often so I’ve done it all from single set style to 500 rep workouts. I like High Intensity Interval Training cardio which includes alternating speed-walking with sprints.
For you, is there a connection between being physically strong and feeling mentally strong?
No doubt. I’ve seen it work both ways. I’ve seen clients who start training and develop self-confidence that has led to them improving every other aspect of their lives. I’ve also seen survivors who understand the adversity they overcame and want to invest that energy into making their bodies grow as strong as they have emotionally and mentally. So I can’t say that one automatically comes before the other. That depends on the person but there is definitely a connection.
What do you everyday to keep your mental state in tip shape?
I like seeing positive comments from people who email me or reading inspiring quotes from successful people. I also like stand-up comedy so I’m watching Comedy Central whenever I can because that gives me a temporary escape and I think laughter makes any day better.
How do you stay motivated on days when you don’t feel inspired?
There are actually more days like that than people would think because of the long hours of work and still dealing with occasional self-doubt. What helps me is thinking back to when I first started on this journey and asking myself “if I could go back and tell that person how life would be now, would I be happy?” That answer is definitely yes and that gets me going. I also know that someone out there is reading my work or hearing about me for the first time and may be inspired by me. That’s something I never take for granted and after thinking about that, I get moving pretty quick.
What is your philosophy on muscle recovery & how do you ensure your muscles recover well?
So many people are looking for the best pre-workout supplement to take before hitting the gym but I focus more on how I can recover because that is preparing me for the next training session. I do a lot of stretching, deep breathing, make sure I get a healthy meal in, and give myself a few minutes to look back at what I did that day. I also used to do a foam roller until I got an ensō muscle roller. I actually use that now both before and after I train. It’s made a world of difference when it comes to recovery.
What are your favorite pre and post workout meals?
My favorite pre-workout meal is a Lean Body RTD shake from Labrada Nutrition and a banana. Post-workout I love greek yogurt mixed with various fruits like pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and bananas.
How has helping others made you who you are today?
Several ways. It’s inspired me to work harder to reach more people. It’s a great sense of accomplishment to hear others tell me that I can help others in fitness or advocacy. My own self-confidence is now much higher than it used to be and I’m empowered to take on challenges that would’ve frightened me before.
Any words of wisdom for those who feel weak, stuck, or unmotivated? What advice would you give for those suffering with domestic violence or bullying?
As tough as it can be dealing with a domestic violence, child abuse, or bullying situation, you definitely need to look for someone to talk to and find out what resources are available to help you out. I know all too well about the fear and hesitation that is involved but the only way the situation can change is if you try.
For anyone that is looking to change their physiques and fitness levels for the better, I’d say not to see the goal as reaching the end of your road but to take each step one at a time. Those small achievements are what lead to the bigger ones so make sure you appreciate any and all forms of success. Also, failure is certain at some point but that doesn’t mean you have to quit entirely. Find another way to get there and make it happen.