Joey Flores Bodybuilder: From tiny biceps to big titles
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Joey Flores has always been fascinated with bodybuilding. As a young boy, there are photos of him striking a pose trying hard to show off his tiny biceps.
Last month, Flores, 32, turned professional and has his sights set on the Mr. Olympia competition. For this five-foot nine-inch, 190-pound bodybuilder the road to getting his pro card with the International Federation of Body Building required a lot of hard work and dedication.
His passion for bodybuilding started at age 19 in 2003, when he decided to compete for Mr. Windsor in the Windsor Cup competition. He hit the weights, tried to bulk up, but admits he really wasn’t sure what he was doing.
“I was just at a gym training and there was a big guy there and he said “hey, you should sign up for the Windsor Cup and I did,” he said. “Six weeks later, I jumped into the show and won. I was kind of hooked right from then.”
For the next couple years he competed in close to 20 bodybuilding events. He enjoyed the training and the shows, but really loved the fact “it was actually something I was good at.”
“From 2010 until now has been my highlight,” he said. “I did well as a young bodybuilder but I only won two shows because I didn’t really know the sport. I was still eating fast food and not truly understanding what I needed to do.”
So, Flores decided to get serious and see what he could accomplish. He met different health experts and focused on his nutrition, an area he neglected. He even purchased Riverside Family Fitness, a gym in Windsor which he runs along with his wife, Julie. He wanted to turn pro and start competing in bigger competitions such as Mr. Olympia and follow in the footsteps of greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Windsor’s Fouad Abiad.
“Most people wouldn’t want to do this,” he said. “It’s very hard and you have to follow a very tight training plan for 12 weeks, your nutrition has to be on point, cardio has to be there. Really I just love the challenge and I enjoy sculpting my physique.”
Flores was a strong competitor but it wasn’t until 2015 when the IFBB announced a new division, men’s classic physique that he found his calling. The competitors go for a more sculpted look rather than big bulky muscles and pose in euro-cut shorts rather than board shorts or Speedos.
For Flores 2016 has been a great year. He entered his first competition in the new division and won first overall. Last month he won Canadian championships in classic men’s physique and earned his IFBB pro card.
“It’s surreal,” he said. “It’s something that doesn’t happen to most people because they don’t give a lot of cards. You are picked by a judging panel and you have no idea how it will go. You are with the best of the best and that’s intimidating.”
The road to becoming a pro hasn’t been without sacrifices for Flores. He’s had to put things on hold to fulfil his dream of becoming a pro. He’s been married for six years to Julie and when he’s not training he’s focused on growing his business. But, for Flores he believes the sacrifices are worth it.
“I wouldn’t do it any other way,” he said. “I’ve been successful with my business and have made it to becoming a pro. It’s been worth it. But I definitely want to have a family and that’s our next step. And, I definitely want to step on the Mr. Olympia stage, that’s the Super Bowl of this sport.”
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