IFBB Pro Kenneth Owens Cyber Operations Sergeant in the United States Army Takes Aim at New York Pro
You have a pretty big sports background, were you always a meathead in the gym or was that a necessary evil to excel at other sports?
It started off as more of a necessary evil. I played football, baseball, ran track and wrestled so I was always in the gym. In football I always wanted to be able to run through someone’s face, even if they were bigger than me. Overpowered majority of the people in my weight class in wrestling and I was always running no matter what sport it was. Our track coach was also our strength and conditioning coach for football, so he stayed on us hard. I started to focus on building a great physique after I joined the military.
Tell me about your background into bodybuilding. What made you decide to enter your first competition and who were your major influencers?
While I was in AIT (Advance Individual Training) in Pensacola, FL I got to meet Cedric McMillan. I was like, “Shit! This guy is huge!” Ever since that moment I was in the gym trying to look like him lol. I competed in my first competition back in 2014, it was an INBF show in Macon, GA. I didn’t place at all in that show and being it was my first show, I was all hyped to be on stage and at the show I was obviously the driest and most symmetrical. In INBF, that’s not the type of physique they look for. Heartbroken, I took a year break and me and my coach at the time (R.I.P) decided to do an NPC show. I competed at the NPC Boarder Klash in South Carolina. I was nervous as hell leading up to the show. These guys were bigger, dryer and more symmetrical that at the INBF show I did. As soon as I hit the stage all of that went away, I felt at home. I took first place in my class and first place overall and qualified for nationals.
What are your best personal achievements thus far into your bodybuilding career?
I would say currently my best personal achievement would have to be placing top 3 at my pro debut, the 2017 New York Pro. No one knew who I was, I had no hype going into the show and just brought the best package I could at the time. My highest placing so far as a Pro is 3rd at the 2017 New York Pro, if things go as planned at this year’s New York Pro I’ll have my first 1st place finish as a pro and qualify for the Olympia. I turned pro at the 2016 Jr USA’s I got second, and was kind of hurt to earn it that way, but I wasn’t mad I accomplished the goal that I set. Robert Timms looked phenomenal at that show, he deserved the win. I think I’ve beaten everyone who placed over me in that show, worked to make continuous progress on my physique after that show and it paid off.
What made you decide to join the military?
I have family in the military, so it wasn’t really a foreign concept to me. I initially worked towards going to college to play football and pursue my degree in kinesiology. Dislocated both of my shoulders in the last round of my high school playoffs and lost my scholarship. Family really wasn’t in a position to pay for college and didn’t know much about the grants, loans and other things that were out there so they convinced me to join the army and I’ve feel in love ever since.
Have you been deployed and if so, to where and for how long?
I haven’t been deployed yet, I’m a Cyber Operations Sergeant. I help my brothers and sisters down range from this side providing necessary information in real time to help accomplish the mission.
What’s an average day look like for you?
Wake up around 5AM to get my fasted cardio done.
0630-0730 Company formation with my BN or Company
0900-1700(5pm) Work (some days I have to stay until 1900(7pm))
I eat my pre-gym meal right before I leave work, head home, change take my supplements and get to the gym around 630pm-730pm depending on if I have to stay longer at work.
Train for about an hour and a half. Get cardio done and make it home by 930-10pm
Shower, eat my last meal, prep my uniform for tomorrow and I’m in bed by around 11PM.
Get up and do it all over again. I hate rest days, but that’s the only time I can really prep my food.
How do you juggle the diet, training, work, and balance pro bodybuilding? Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to get it all done? How do you deal with the stress and pressure?
You definitely have your moments when things just suck; military training, training for shows, dieting it all gets tiring. In the army, we have this saying, “Embrace the Suck” you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have people looking up to me and that have expectations. If not for myself, I can’t let them down. I might be the only one really giving them hope, drive or motivation so I can’t quit, I can’t give up. When I get stressed & frustrated, I meditate and bring my “why” to the front of my thoughts. I made a promise to my grandmother that I intend to keep, she’s my life-line. She is a huge reason of why I keep pushing forward.
What’s the training atmosphere like in Georgia? Do you have a group of friends you train with? Is everyone in your world supportive of bodybuilding? Is there any military interference?
The atmosphere in GA isn’t like California, but with the opening of the gym we have here (I3sp, made for powerlifters and bodybuilders) and a few others across Georgia, we’re slowly creating an atmosphere that allows bodybuilders to perform at their highest potential. I like training by myself, I’m just more focused that way, but I do have two guys here that I train with. There is always military interference. I try to plan my shows and preps around things that I know are going to go on. We have mandatory training, weeks where we have to go to the field, being an NCO (Non-Commissioned officer) I also have soldiers I have to take care of, but I don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. If I could put all in to bodybuilding and school I would and I slightly envy those who are able to. I’m working to get there though.
Who is your coach and how did you guys link up?
My coaches name is Andrew Friar, we’ve been working together since 2016. He trained a couple of people here in Augusta, GA and we somehow ended up connecting with one another through mutual associates. He lives in Las Vegas, so majority is online. When we can we try and see each other face to face.
What would a win at the New York Pro mean? And what areas of your physique did you improve upon on from your last show?
Man, this win would mean the world, my grandmother has Alzheimer’s and Cancer. She’s at a point where it’s hard to hold conversations, she gets frustrated, angry and is forgetting a lot. One thing she always remembers to say when I see her is, “Have you made it to that show yet”? She doesn’t remember the name, but 3 years ago I promised I’d make it to the Olympia. Hopefully she’s still here to see it when I do. From the last show I just worked on my overall physique, trying to come in a little fuller this time, but I worked on improving as a whole.