Shelby, what changed between your old power lifting days and now as a IFBB professional bodybuilder?
What made you shift from one to the other?
I was into bodybuilding for a handful of years before I got into powerlifting. I got into powerlifting as a change of pace, to try something new. I did it for a few years, made some pretty solid progress (and learned quite a bit), but decided to get back into bodybuilding and compete for the first time.
Bodybuilding and powerlifting both involve lifting weights, and progressing, but they have a lot of differences too. I think the intense “lifestyle” nature of bodybuilding is what draws me; I have somewhat of an obsessive-compulsive personality, and bodybuilding fits that well.
You are educated in psychology; how has that affected your approach to competition and does it help you with the discipline that comes with being a world-class bodybuilder?
I’ve always been interested in how the mind works, how we create our own reality. Knowing this and being aware of it is helpful in pretty much any endeavor in life, especially one as demanding as bodybuilding (and dieting for a contest). The mind is everything – you can either be mastered by it, or you can be the master of it.
You’ve been dubbed “one of the best contest prep coaches” by many over several bodybuilding forums and websites. How does it feel and what does it mean to you?
I try not to pay attention to that kind of stuff. I just do my job as best I can, and am always trying to improve. It’s great to have a positive impact on people’s lives though.
What sort of goals have you set for yourself in the next few years and how important is goal setting for you? How often do you do it?
Honestly, I try to focus more on actions than results. Goals can be helpful but many get too caught up in them and lose the value of the day to day struggle. You can plan your life out as much as you want, set all sorts of goals and such, but it never turns out how you expect it to. A better approach is to be prepared for the future, not to plan it. Do your best and the rest will fall into place.
You have trained hundreds of people and transformed their bodies and their lives: Has the biggest issue your clients face with their weight loss been a mental or a physical one? How do you help them fix it?
Other than knowledge, the biggest issue is consistency. Many know what to do, they just fail to do it every day. A large part of the value in hiring a coach is the accountability it builds, by having to report to them on a regular basis.
What are your top 3 body transformation tips?
Start today, don’t stop, monitor and adjust
If you could pick one piece of advice to give to others who dream of the same success as you, if not more, what would it be?
I’m an IFBB professional bodybuilder, powerlifter, nutritionist, and trainer who has helped hundreds of athletes reach their fitness goals. My personal bodybuilding and powerlifting accomplishments include:
2011 NPC Jr Nationals Light Heavyweight 1st place
5th place Light Heavyweight – NPC Junior Nationals, 2010
2009 NPC Central States Championships – 1st place Middleweight and Overall
2nd place 198-lb class – 2004 APF Michigan State Powerlifting Championships
Overall Novice Champion – Motor City Bodybuilding Championships, 2005
2nd place open middleweight- Motor City Bodybuilding Championships, 2005 (nationally qualified)
5th place middleweight – NPC Junior Nationals, 2006
Going forward, my personal bodybuilding goals include moving up the competitive ladder as a light heavyweight, and also possibly competing as a heavyweight someday. I’ve placed in the top 5 at the national level in three different weight classes (welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight) and adding heavyweight to that list would really round out my competitive resume.
I am also part of Team EliteFTS (www.EliteFTS.com) and keep a training log and answer questions on their website. I’ve written nutrition articles for websites like T-nation and Wannabebig, and also some of the top physique magazines like FLEX and Men’s Health.
I am a Biotest Athlete and T-Nation writer. I’ve trained in a variety of methods over the years, and also competed in powerlifting in the APF in 2004-2005. My best competition lifts were a 600 squat, a 440 bench, and a 600 deadlift, all in the 198 class.
– Shelby Starnes
(article from Ultimate You Magazine July 2013 Issue)