The science of bodybuilding

How Emily German discovered the right chemistry to fitness


Whenever she walks down the corporate hall in her white lab coat and work glasses with that focused look that tells everyone she is working while she’s walking, no one is surprised that Emily German, who started out as a research chemist, is now the Quality Manager at Lonza in Charleston, one of the world’s leading and most trusted suppliers to the pharmaceutical, biotech and specialty ingredients markets.

No one is surprised that the girl who came in with a masters degree in business administration from Bryan College, and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Tennessee Wesleyan University is working for a company that harness science and technology to create products that make people’s and animals’ lives healthier and enhance the overall quality of life.

It makes perfect sense because living a healthier life is what Emily German is all about. Underneath her white lab coat and business exterior is the chiseled physique of a beautiful bodybuilder who puts a premium on health and fitness.

The 34-year-old Cleveland native explained, “I have always been very active in middle school and high school. I participated in cheerleading, cross-country and softball. I gained a greater interest in health and fitness during my college years. I had been naturally lean growing up, but soon realized that you cannot continue to stay lean unless you eat healthy. The quick stops at fast food restaurants between college classes began to show.

“When I noticed some weight gain, I soon realized that I needed to make some changes. My main focus at that time was running and improving my endurance to run longer distances. I competed in the 2010 Cohutta Springs Sprint Triathlon, which consisted of a half-mile swim, 18 mile bike ride and a four mile run. My final time was two hours and 17 minutes. I was very proud of that achievement.”

During that time German said she was losing weight but noticed she was also beginning to lose muscle. That’s when she said she started to research and educate herself on the importance of weight training. The discovery changed her life.

“It really is a balance of incorporating both cardio and weight training as well as healthy eating,” she said. “I began bodybuilding in early 2016. I am a member of the Grit House gym in Cleveland. The owners, Nathan and Dawniel King, inspired me to compete. I had never known much about bodybuilding competitions before becoming a member at Grit House. I began training with Nathan and he provided me with a very specific meal plan and workout regime.”

According to German, competing is quite different from simply working out.

“You have to decrease your body fat percentage as much as possible before you hit the stage. It is not a physique that you can realistically maintain year-round,” German explained. “I began a 12-week training program in order to compete in the October 2016 NPC Music City Muscle competition.”

The National Physique Committee is the premier amateur physique organization in the world. German competed in two classes at the NPC Music City Muscle competition — bikini novice and bikini open, with amazing results.

“I placed 2nd in novice and 4th in open. For my first competition, I am extremely proud of this achievement!” she said. “I then became sponsored by ‘Oh Yeah! Nutrition.’ They invited me to represent them at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. While I was there, I got to meet the man himself — Arnold Schwarzenegger! I also met the Hulk, Lou Ferrigno! It was very cool to meet them in person. I also had the opportunity to attend the Arnold Classic and watch the professional body builders and bikini pros compete while I was there.”

German said the event provided her with extra motivation for her upcoming NPC competition this year. The Bradley Central High School graduate is a mother who has her priorities in order as she aims for a personal best in bodybuilding.

“My number one goal is to be the best mother I can be to my son,” German said. “I want to teach him the importance of commitment and that you have to work hard to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Other goals are to compete on a national stage and earn my pro card. My short-term goal this year is to win first place and qualify for a national show. I plan on competing in three NPC shows this year, Battle at the River, Knox Classic and Tennessee State. Hopefully, I will bring home a first place trophy this year and qualify for a national show. I am also hoping to have more opportunities for fitness modeling.”

Another impressive goal she has is to become an inspiration to other young women who might follow in her footsteps.

“I hope to be an example to young women, to show them that you can have that technical job as well as glamorous hobbies such as bodybuilding and fitness modeling. It is possible to go out there get that degree and create a successful career for yourself. All it takes is commitment and drive. Our community and surrounding areas are thriving with opportunities in technical careers such as chemistry and engineering. The sky is the limit!”

When asked if she had any advice for females interested in getting in shape or bodybuilding, German advised, “Set your goals and fully commit to your program. In order for the process to work, you have to follow all aspects of your plan. My advice is to find a fitness coach who can guide and motivate you along the way. Without my coach and gym family at Grit House supporting me and motivating me, I would not be where I am today. If you aren’t ready for a coach, find a friend or family member to work out with you. It really helps to have someone who will hold you accountable. Just get out there and get active!”


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