The 37-year-old Rockingham native will attempt to earn his professional card as a bodybuilder when he participates in the Atlanta Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness Pro Qualifier Championships Saturday in Marietta, Ga.
For Bowden, this will mark his debut in any bodybuilding competition. Bowden said he must finish in the top three in both the novelist and open class divisions to advance to the final round.
But the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Bowden isn’t worried about his lack of experience and is confident he will be successful.
“I don’t have the background, but I have always been a natural athlete,” Bowden said. “I know the competition is going to be stiff, but I don’t believe anyone is going to beat me. The main thing is to impress the judges by blowing them away because I’m a newcomer.
“The thing about bodybuilding is that there’s a lot of politics involved. If it’s close, they’re going to pick one that has been doing it longer. I just got to go out there and not leave it in the hands of the judges.”
Bowden knows the posing portion of the competition is vital to him coming out on top.
“I understand that I can beat myself by not flexing or posing right,” Bowden said. “I know I’m not the best poser in the world. But I have had a friend that has been doing bodybuilding for a little while helping me with my poses. He has shown me how to do such things as holding my feet in the proper place, which is very important.”
According to Bowden, he didn’t get interested in wanting to become a pro bodybuilder until a month ago and added he just started training in August. Bowden admitted that becoming a professional is an opportunity for him to support his two children, Bria and Cornelius Jr. Bowden.
“To be real, this isn’t my favorite sport, but something that I feel, I will be good at and I can make some money to put food on the table for my two kids,” Bowden said. “I know I got to support them and will enjoy the sport, once I get in there.”
Bowden said he will not squander his professional bodybuilding career, if he wins the competition this weekend. Bowden confessed that he made some mistakes in his life, including serving prison for 16 months following a probation violation.
Bowden acknowledged that being incarcerated allowed him to understand that he must change his ways once he was given back his freedom.
“When I was in there, I knew I had hit rock bottom,” Bowden said. “I knew I wanted the best for myself and my family. I came to a realization that bodybuilding was the answer.”
Bowden admitted performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids are rampant in bodybuilding, but said his physique is all-natural and added that he doesn’t feel like he needs to put anything in his body.
“There are a lot of guys that take supplements or other stuff and I don’t consider those people natural,” Bowden said. “I’ve never taken supplements in my life and hard work will always beat out supplements. I’ve been lifting since I was 17 while on the (Richmond Raider) football team.”
When he’s not at the gym, Bowden said he volunteers helping out at the Falling Creek Gym. Bowden added that he tells kids to not allow negative situations to discourage them from achieving their goals.
“I tell them that don’t allow anyone to tell you, what you can’t do,” Bowden said. “I know for myself, I’m not going to listen to anyone tell me, I can’t go down there and win this competition and become a pro bodybuilder. If you want to achieve something in life, you’ve got to go get it.”
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