LEMONT – Having decided to compete at the National Physique Committee Universe bodybuilding and fitness competition in New Jersey one final time, Adam Weinberg almost saw his dream of reaching the World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships derailed by a delayed flight.
But after jumping in a car with a friend and driving 17 hours, the Lemont resident was able to register with 20 minutes to spare.
Competing in the bantam division (under 143 pounds) against men of all ages, the 40-year old and 20-year veteran of the sport went on to finish in first place in the competition on July 4 and 5 after a pair of runner-up showings in previous years.
"I've been doing this for 20 years," Weinberg said, "and I've been competing at the national level since 1996. For the longest time, my goal was to place [in the top-five] and I probably had a dozen competitions where I took seventh. It was frustrating ... but I would get the itch and kept coming back.
"In 2009, I went out and competed and took second, that was my breakout year. Then last year I competed and thought I had walked away with the win but again took second. This year I managed to stay healthy and I think that's what made the difference."
Courtesy of his first-place showing earlier this month, Weinberg will head to Brazil in November to compete against the best amateurs in the world.
"It will be a great experience," he said. "I will be competing against the best and whatever happens, happens. It will definitely be the highlight of this year and definitely in the top three in my life."
Weinberg began lifting weights for wrestling in high school before an interest in bodybuilding was sparked after participating in a Greek Physique competition among fraternities at Northern Illinois University. A year later came his first sanctioned event and now that number has ballooned to more than 30 competitions.
Working for Capital One currently, Weinberg trains five to six days a week in his basement while also maintaining a strict diet. He eats six to seven meals a day.
"I eat a lot of chicken, salmon and green vegetables," he said. "It's a year round process and it takes six months to prep for something like this."
Now as for the question of whether the World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships truly will be Weinberg's swan song, he says that is the current plan.
"I'm 99.9-percent sure I'm done after this," he said. "This allows me to retire from the sport on my terms and not out of a sense of frustration. It says something about retiring at the top, especially when money is not involved. But I guess you never say never."
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