By HERB BENHAM, Californian columnist firstname.lastname@example.org
Bodybuilder Kameron Bailey is not always the "killer" his nickname, Killer Kam, suggests. But then again, he's been eating nothing but fish and raw broccoli for weeks now, so it might not be a good time to get sideways with him.
Bailey, 21, is two weeks away from competing in the physique category of the 2013 NPC Junior USA Bodybuilding Championships in Charleston, S.C., and he's "tapering," a bodybuilding euphemism for starving. On top of his fridge are large white plastic tubs filled with supplements from Max Muscle, his sponsor. At this point, everything looks like a pork chop or a jelly doughnut to him, and he's been dreaming about fast-food burgers.
But gorging on jelly doughnuts and burgers won't help Bailey win the kinds of contests he wants to win, and so he remains disciplined and committed to the goal, character traits he has honed his whole life.
Last year, in his first bodybuilding competition in San Jose, he won his class and was judged best overall at the show, winning an invite to the USA's in Las Vegas. Bailey came in fourth out of 40. He was the youngest in his class.
Always a committed student, now at Bakersfield College, Bailey works as a personal trainer -- providing his clients with inspiration or inferiority complexes -- at Body Xchange. He demonstrates how it's possible to train, go to school, work, prepare to enter the police academy and stay in tremendous condition.
Killer Kam has lived his entire life in the same house down the street from North High with his parents, Kelley and Kenny, whom he calls role models, an older sister, Kayla, and a cousin, Heaven.
Do you like pain?
Bailey : You've gotta love it. If there's no pain, you aren't working hard enough. I practically crawl out of the gym every day."
If I asked you to drop down and give me 50, could you do it?
Bailey : Could I? Yes. Would I? Most likely not!
Why are you doing this (and do you realize you're making us feel like slackers)?
Bailey : I love fitness; it's a passion. People buy nice houses and cars. You can't buy a great physique. You earn it with hard work and it's something to be proud about. Plus, girls dig muscles."
Have you ever seen a guy who was so ripped that he made you want to put your shirt back on?
Bailey : Heck no. I see ripped guys all the time. It makes me work harder so I can get to their level. You bet they'll be on my brain the next few workouts."
How many hours a day do you spend on your bodybuilding activities?
Bailey : Probably eight hours a day. I wake up every morning and do 30 minutes fasted cardio -- which is cardio on an empty stomach. Then I cook breakfast. I train my clients and during the day I hit the weights for two hours and do 30 minutes of cardio again.
I eat every two hours (eight meals a day); each meal consists of chicken, carbs and veggies.
Do you like your fellow bodybuilders or are they nuts?
Bailey : I love them! When your body is shutting down and you want to quit it's always comforting to have one of them tell you, you're looking great and how what you're feeling is normal.
At the competitions, people talk about how horrible they feel and we share recipes, since eating right is such a big part of this sport. There is also a lot of sizing people up.
Have you ever been attracted to a female bodybuilder?
Bailey : Noooo. I like a girl that can't kick my butt!
Is steroid use still rampant?
Bailey : People use steroids -- it's no secret. Everyone is looking for that edge. I don't use them. My category is physique, which is more about symmetry and proportion, unlike bodybuilding, which is more about size. An amazing physique is 100 percent possible without them.
Are the few days before a competition hell?
Bailey : Misery is an understatement. Fats and carbs fuel your body. Before competition, you have neither. Imagine working out with nothing in your system. Dehydration is a killer also. I drink less than a bottle a day those last couple of days.
Mood swings are ridiculous. My girlfriend really loves that.
Have you won any money?
Bailey : Not yet. It's like trying to become an actor/singer. You sacrifice to make it big. Once you become pro there is money, but not millions. If anything, you receive small prize money checks, sponsorships, and endorsements. It's more for the love of the sport.
Who is your hero?
Bailey : Ronnie Coleman. The guy was an animal, a legend and an eight-time Mr. Olympia. He was 280 pounds after cutting weight. Sometimes, when getting pumped before a set, I'll mutter to myself, C'mon, (do it ) Ronnie Coleman style.
What do you eat after the competition, when all the judges have gone home and you can be really bad?
Bailey : This time, I've been dreaming about a Carl's Jr. Bourbon Burger, so that's the first thing I'll eat. Then I'll gorge on maple bars, custard-filled donuts and soda, and I don't even like soda. I'll gain 15 to 20 pounds in 24 hours, much of it water weight. I'll probably feel sick because my stomach has shrunk but for two weeks I'll eat anything I want."