Troy Davis needs his coffee. And not just because he puts in 12-hour-plus days.
Davis, along with his wife, Karina Davis, and their friend Nicole Willis, are all in the final six weeks before getting on stage to compete in the NPC Tahoe Show, a bodybuilding qualifier show.
On Aug. 17, hundreds will compete at the National Physique Committee show in Stateline, Nev., vying for a chance to earn their pro cards, and qualifying for International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) competitions.
The competition will be Karina Davis’ second go at the sport and Troy Davis’ first shot.
“On this diet right now, I’m exhausted,” Troy said with a chuckle. Still, he and his wife stay on track. “We got serious about this in December. We’ve all been training for a long, long time. My wife … was at Tahoe last year. She took fourth place in (the Bikini category).”
Both the Davises are competing in similar categories. Karina will compete again in the Bikini category, the smallest for women, meaning less muscular, but still very defined. Troy will compete in Men’s Physique, which, for men’s categories, is comparable to Bikini for women. Their teammate, Willis, will be competing in Women’s Physique, a step below bodybuilding, according to Troy.
Training has been rigorous, what with exercising, sticking to a very strict nutrition regimen, learning to pose and remaining mentally and emotionally prepared - and getting enough rest.
It doesn’t hurt that Troy and Karina own Olde Iron Fitness in Angels Camp. The gym, Troy’s retirement job, allows the team to put in the right amount of exercising, including the necessary cardio that most competitors dread.
The diet is one of high proteins, high fats, low carbohydrates, no sugars and no alcohol. Troy has lost 30 pounds during the course of his training, bringing his body fat to about 7.5 to 8%.
His workout starts in the morning with 40 minutes of cardio, while wearing a 30-pound backpack. He’ll then weight train for two to 2.5 hours. He’ll top it off with another 30 minutes of cardio in the afternoon.
It’s a challenge he had to take on.
“I coached my wife for a year, preparing her for Tahoe Show last year. I got to go behind the stage as her coach and find out more about the competition. That kind of spurred my interest,” said Troy, who will turn 58 in August. “I’ve always been the kind of person who likes a challenge. I love it. The bigger you fail, the better the success.”
He went on to say that the competition seemed something that was insurmountable at his age. But he was encouraged by Karina to tackle the challenge.
For Karina, she is doing it for similar reasons, but she also wants to compete for additional reasons.
“I want to be an inspiration for other women,” Karina said. “It’s a part of learning and growing as a person, more than showing how a body looks is how our minds can be at a stage where we can approach anything our put our hearts, our minds, our souls into.”
Karina said the sport is super challenging and takes a lot of sacrifices. When it comes to getting on stage, however, she admits to being at home, having danced on stage in her youth.
One thing the sport does is keep the couple accountable.
“Even when nobody is watching, you gotta make sure you’re not cheating (with your nutrition,” Karina said. “Your coach is not there watching what you eat.”
“You can’t sneak behind your own back,” Troy said.
With the help of fitness and nutrition coach Lulu Tesisteco in San Diego and posing coach Trish Wood, owner of Iron Addiction Gym in Roseville, the team is buckling down and continuing to pursue their goals of professional standings within the sport.
Even though it started as a bucket list item, it’s quickly become a passion.
“I got to be better, I have to do this again. I know I can be better,” Karina said. “It’s part of my fitness life. I just love this sport. I definitely want to get my pro card, and, with that, be able to help other women.”
For Troy, he sees life as a movie.
“It’s the why. Take your life and play your movie to the end,” Troy said. “What do you see at the end of the movie? Was it a movie where you said, ‘Wow, that was frickin’ awesome!’ Or was it a movie that you could up in the middle and way away from because it was so boring? What do you want your movie to look like?”
Karina said some days are harder than others, but she will push through, even if she doubts herself some days.
“Grab that fear with one hand, walk with it, and let’s do this,” Karina said.