A transportation supervisor for the U.S. Postal Service, Ronald Gordon is sitting for most of his shift.
He makes up for that inertia with his exercise routine, which apparently is effective: He won fourth place in his first body-building competition, in 1992. Encouraged, he entered the Mid-Atlantic Naturals and won third place. He entered again in 1993 and finished second. In 1995, in the Body Rock Classic, he finished in first place as a light heavyweight.
Now Gordon, 36, concentrates on maintaining his physique - not to mention his ability to bench press 335 pounds - while contemplating re-entering the competitive arena.
"I have two styles of working out," explains the Woodlawn resident. "My off-season training routine, and then the training routine when I'm getting ready for competition or just getting ready to look good for the summer."
In the off-season, he works out four days a week. Mondays, he uses Hammer strength equipment and free weights to work on his chest and triceps. Tuesdays, the same equipment yields results for the back and biceps. Wednesday is an off day, and then on Thursdays and Fridays he works on quadriceps and hamstrings and shoulders and calves, respectively. After each workout during the week, he runs 30 minutes for cardiovascular fitness.
For the in-season regime, he works out six days a week.
The trick, he said, is to hit the gym in the mornings. When he worked nights, he would swing by on his way home from work. Even on the evening shift, he still gets up early and heads to the gym around 8 a.m.
"It has to come from within," he says. "I can always motivate myself. Each day you go to the gym, you know you're accomplishing something. I know I'm getting fit."
He also eats mostly chicken, fish and turkey, with rice and lots and lots of vegetables. He uses hardly any seasonings, perhaps just a little Mrs. Dash, and when he cooks on the weekends, he prepares a week's worth of meals.
A typical breakfast, he says, might include 10 to 12 egg whites, two cups of oatmeal and orange juice to wash down a multivitamin. Lunch is six ounces of chicken, with a cup of rice and two cups of vegetables. The third meal of the day might be fish, broccoli and more rice. Egg whites are part of the fourth meal, and the fifth meal is a repeat of lunch. "I eat five to six meals a day," says Gordon, explaining that body builders need to eat lots of protein and be careful not to lose muscle mass.
To stick to his meal plans, he simply packs up everything and takes it to work, including the bottles of water that help him drink 64 ounces a day.
For him, the payoff is worth the effort.
"My biggest thing is, you look around, you go to a beach, you walk around to the harbor, and you realize how many people are out of shape. I would like them to motivate themselves. I would like them to feel how I feel - you just feel great."