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Webb chooses lifestyle over medicine
Webb chooses lifestyle over medicine.jpg
Wendell Web strikes a pose July 25 in Chattanooga during a Tennessee State Championship body building competition where he captured five medals.

Five years ago, Wendell Webb had some bloodwork done that showed he had prediabetes. “I wasn’t in the best of shape back then,” said Webb.

His doctor prescribed metformin, a drug used to control high blood sugar. Webb refused to take it.

“My wife couldn’t believe it when I told her I wasn’t going to take the medication. She asked me what I was going to do and I told her I was going to get to work. Start exercising. Change my diet,” said Webb. “So many aspects of our lives we put in the hands of others. I felt like this was something I could take care of on my own.”

Webb’s wife, Sharon, had been taking metformin for 8 years and he was leery of the side effects from the medication. Among other things, metformin can cause stomach pain, heartburn, and digestive issues.

Webb immediately eliminated sugar, bread, pasta, and white potatoes from his diet and joined a gym. 

That was in 2015. Last month, Webb entered his first bodybuilding competition at 52 years old and won medals in five categories.

Webb said seeing results from changing his diet and exercising wasn’t immediate.

“Like most things, I kind of stumbled around in the dark before I figured out the way to really do it,” said Webb. “It took some time. I had to try a couple of different gyms before I found the one that was the right fit for me.”

Webb attributes the success of his physical transformation to the workout facility, his circle of friends, and his coach, Cody Mackie.

“I didn’t start at USA Gym but it’s turned out to be the perfect fit for me,” said Webb of the facility on South Chancery Street. “The gym you choose needs to offer the machines and weights for what you’re trying to achieve.”

Webb considers himself fortunate to have a circle of people willing to sacrifice time sculpting their own bodies to advise him on how to achieve the goals he has for his own.

“I can’t stress how important it is to have the right group of people around you. I’m in a unique situation right now that you don’t find often in life. Every person that’s around me right now is just as invested in my success as they are their own,” said Webb. “They’ll take time from their own workout to help coach me on my own. That has helped me so much.”

“Then there’s coach Cody Mackie. Between him and Daniel Hullett, I went from being the most uncoordinated individual you’ll ever find. They taught me how to eat and how to pose. Posing was the most difficult thing. It’s the hardest thing you do.”

Webb’s weight during the competition on July 25 was 160.2 pounds. He was 157 pounds at weigh-in the day before and coach Mackie thought he looked a little flat. Mackie instructed Webb to get up at 4:30 a.m. the day of the competition and eat three meals before the contest started.

Webb placed second in the novice body building and the novice lightweight, third in masters 50 and over, fourth in men’s classic physique, and fifth in masters men’s classic physique.

Webb doesn’t know how many calories he consumes a day, but when he’s trying to bulk up he eats five times a day.

“Bless my wife’s heart, she’s just about cooked herself to death,” Webb laughed.

Webb’s first meal of the day is served at 6:30 a.m. He has ¾ cup of oats, six ounces of beef, and three egg whites.

He eats his second meal at 9:30 a.m. Nine ounces of beef, six ounces of sweet potatoes, and one cup of vegetables.

Webb’s third meal is at noon. Seven ounces of chicken and one cup of vegetables.

The fourth meal is at 2:30 p.m. Nine ounces of beef, six ounces of white potatoes (Webb can have white potatoes again since he began training), and one cup of vegetables.

Webb’s fifth meal of the day is eaten at 8 p.m. and consists of ¾ cup of oats and seven ounces of chicken.

Webb weighs 175 pounds now. “I put on a little weight after the competition because I started to eat a little more,” said Webb smiling. “The judges want you to be as lean as you can possibly be so that’s why I was at 160 pounds.” 

Webb’s next competition will probably be in the fall of 2021 and he plans on competing for as long as his body will allow. “Some people compete into their 70s,” said Webb. “I never thought when I first started all this that going to the gym would turn into something I just couldn’t do without. It’s something that just becomes so much a part of you that you just couldn’t do without it.”