Kaufman takes interest in bodybuilding


Elly Green, Print Production Manager

Bodybuilding first became popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the emergence of strength and agility competitions around the world. However, the first official bodybuilding competition was held in 1891 and called The Great Show, created by Eugene Sandow. Since then, bodybuilding competitions have become extremely popular and will continue to grow as physical extremes are pushed, according to A History Lesson In Bodybuilding

Senior Clayton Kaufman has recently become interested in professional bodybuilding and has since worked towards creating a new body for himself while also preparing for foreseen bodybuilding competitions. Kaufman began lifting in the spring of 2020, which led to an interest in specifically bodybuilding in the spring of 2021. Kaufman says that the best part of bodybuilding to him has to be the lessons it teaches.

The best thing about bodybuilding has been the lessons it’s taught me about the difference between discipline and motivation,” Kaufman said. “Most people give up the gym after a couple of months because that’s when the motivation runs out, it’s a lot harder to stick with it when discipline is the only thing keeping you there.”

Along with lifting weights, bodybuilding includes a wide variety of other components of health. Kaufman says that bodybuilding is 40% lifting, 50% diet and 10% everything else.

“Bodybuilding has definitely led me to be very conscious and disciplined about my diet,” Kaufman said. “I’ve gained a ton of knowledge on proper nutrition and that has helped a ton.”

Along with help from fitness friends such as seniors Joey Thiessen and Colin Bybee, Kaufman looks to the bigger names in the industry for inspiration. The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) is an organization that oversees many bodybuilding international events. It also houses many of Kaufman’s role models.

“My main influences have been IFBB pros like Chris Bumstead and Logan Franklin but also a lot of smaller influences on social media like Weston Garland,” Kaufman said.

On Oct. 2, Kaufman made his way to his first bodybuilding competition in Nebraska at the National Physique Committee (NPC) Nebraska State Championship. The agenda of a bodybuilding competition consists of firstly standing on a stage with the other competitors in your division and judges who will assess the competitors in five mandatory poses. The night show then has the athlete show the same five poses to a crowd and perform a 60 second free routine. The winners are announced the following evening. At the competition, Kaufman took first in teen classic, first in teen physique and second in true novice classic. Kaufman says that depending on the circumstances, he could still bodybuild for the rest of the season. 

“I’m still undecided if I will try and compete in the spring,” Kaufman said. “It depends on how my body looks coming out of wrestling season.”

While the sport can be extremely rewarding physically, other factors make the experience difficult at times. Kaufman says that for him, being a teenager, the worst part about bodybuilding is missing out on social events and experiences.

“I’ve missed a lot of things in the nine weeks preparing for my show because I either couldn’t eat the food people were eating or I needed to lift or I simply didn’t have the energy,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman says that bodybuilding has not only made him confident in his body, but also his mentality. Meaning that Kaufman is now able to feel confident in the discipline and mental strength required to change his body shape. Along with this, Kaufman enjoys the idea of being able to change his body however he wants.

“I wanted to start bodybuilding because I loved the idea of being able to control my body to look a certain way,” Kaufman said. “I think of it as art but your body is the canvas and you work to change the muscles to look a certain way.”