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Build Up (Austin Kjergaard)

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Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week used to wrestle and play football, but his new sport isn't that mainstream.  Jason Anschutz tells us why Austin Kjergaard prefers a different type of competition.

Most athletes view their time in the gym as a means to an end.  Put the time in working out and it will pay off on the field of play.  After wrestling and playing football throughout high school, Austin Kjergaard of Sioux Falls realized he was just the opposite.  For him, the pay off and the enjoyment came from the workout itself.

"I just like being in the gym," said Kjergaard.  "I like learning about what I can do with my body, how I can change it, how I can help other people too in changing their bodies."

Kjergaard now competes on stage instead of on a field or a mat.  He is a natural bodybuilder who has soared in his first few years in the sport, winning regional competitions as well as his first national event.  Last November, Kjergaard won the novice division at the Vegas Classic and finished second overall.

"You bust your butt for 14-16 weeks and you win," said Kjergaard.  "I come off the stage at least with a first place trophy.  I get to go celebrate with friends and family and just take it in."

It takes a lot of training and self-discipline to succeed in bodybuilding.  Kjergaard is up at four a.m. to work out and he works a different group of muscles each day.  His diet is incredibly strict.  In the eight weeks leading up to a competition, he eats oatmeal, talapia and egg whites.  And that's it.

"It's kinda like sculpting," said Kjergaard.  "You build something up and then once you take that step back to see what that end result looked like, it's like a pat on the back."

Kjergaard says he wants to build a career out of his passion.  He wants to own a gym, turn pro and earn money at competitions and photo shoots.  All the while enjoying a sport that requires a whole lot of hard work.

"No matter if it's sports, life, anything.  If you put the time and effort into what you want to do, the end result will be great."

That applies to Austin Kjergaard as well.  A natural among bodybuilders.
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