Lancaster News – Jenny Arnold, Staff Writer
Kennett Washington, a 1994 Lancaster High School graduate, placed first in the Men’s Open Light Weight division of the Super Natural Bodybuilding Show in Asheville, N.C. Six months before the contest, Washington started a rigorous training and dieting program to help him get into shape.
A former Lancaster High School athlete recently returned home with a first place trophy he won in a bodybuilding contest.
Kennett Washington, 28, placed first in the Men’s Open Light Weight division of the Super Natural Bodybuilding Show in Asheville, N.C. Washington, a 1994 graduate of LHS and wrestling standout for the school, also played football and ran track.
His interest in health and fitness continued after high school. He is now pursuing a degree in health fitness, with a focus in athletic training, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He also participates in martial arts.
Maybe it was the definition of Washington’s muscles that led to his win. Maybe it was his smile, or posing, as he also took home the Best Poser award. I smile all the time,” Washington said. Or maybe it was the pink bikini he wore. First of all it’s not a bikini, they’re posing trunks,” Washington said, with a good-natured grin. “You can talk about the pink bikini if you want to – it paid off.”
Whatever the case, the inspiration behind Washington’s win is his mother, Linda Brown, who lives in Maryland. Washington, who has competed in several bodybuilding contests, wasn’t sure if he would enter the Super Natural this year. When he told his mother about the contest, she was so excited he felt like he had to enter.
And so began the rigorous training and dieting that every bodybuilder faces when entering a competition. Washington usually starts training about six months before the contest date. For a light weight competitor, the most intense part of training is maintaining a proper diet.
While he’s in training for competition, Washington may eat six to seven meals a day and work out for an hour-and-a-half four days a week.
Seventy-five percent of it is diet,” he said. “The rest is physical and mental. You can train all day but if you go eat hamburgers after you leave that gym, it’s not going to make any difference.”
The diet is so stringent that Washington considered not going to his family reunion on July 4, a week before the competition. But his grandmother had his best interests at heart and baked, not fried him some fish for the get-together.
Washington just started his own business, Healing Strength Personal Training, and has clients in the Charlotte and Ballantyne areas. For the July 12 competition, he trained with his brother, Donnie, a former Lancaster police officer.
Washington said he had to dig deep to find the strength to go through with the competition. He was worried about his mother who began having heart problems a week before the contest.
A day before the competition, Brown underwent heart surgery, suffering from heart valve complications due to her diet and lifestyle, Washington said. But he realized that he had come too far to quit now and he wanted to compete, to perhaps inspire her to take on healthier habits.
As I sat and thought what I could do to inspire someone who has inspired me my whole life, the answer was pretty simple,” Washington said. “Do the best with your diet and training, compete in the show and win.” And win he did, taking the first place trophy in his weight division and falling just a few points short of winning in the overall final round. He had his performance videotaped so his mother could still experience the competition.
Since the Super Natural, Washington said his mother has been eating healthier.
She’ll call me up and say, ‘I baked that chicken like you told me to,’” he said. “She’s still inspiring me every day.”
Washington would like to obtain his college degree and wants to help people, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics who traditionally have high fat diets, to live healthier lifestyles.
I enjoy helping people,” Washington said. “It doesn’t feel like work.”
What’s his secret?
Bodybuilder and personal trainer Kennett Washington said the most important aspect of preparing for competition isn’t pumping iron, but maintaining a proper diet. He usually gets up at 4 a.m. and walks or runs and eats a breakfast of oatmeal, three egg whites and 4 ounces of lean beef or chicken by 5 a.m. Another meal, usually chicken breast or lean cut steak and a Gala apple, follows at 8 a.m.
At noon, he may eat a meal replacement shake or have a large salad with romaine lettuce and 8 ounces of chicken breast.
If he doesn’t have the meal replacement shake at 12 p.m., Washington will drink one at 3:30 or 4 p.m. Dinner consists of ground beef or tilapia (a fish) and fruit, except for bananas and grapes which have higher sugar content. After 8 p.m., he may have a serving of broccoli, brown rice and a chicken breast. When he’s not training for an event, Washington follows a sensible diet that includes oatmeal, egg whites, lean ground beef, tuna, white rice flavored with a dash of red wine, meal replacement shakes, chicken and fruit.