BY MELANIE BUCK –
Training to be a member of the world’s class of Men’s Physique is something most people would start in their early 20’s and work years to become. However, for Clint Pannell, starting at age 40 seemed to be perfect timing. Pannell has only been in the world of bodybuilding for 3 years and has already hit goals that would seem impossible to most in such a short period of time. Pannell stated, “I’ve been serious about working out the past 6-7 years. But then, as I turned 40, I wanted to challenge myself to be in the best shape of my life at 40.”
Men’s Physique is a branch of bodybuilding. Pannell explained that some people don’t have the desire to get as big as the largest body builders and others just aren’t genetically able to. “We (Men’s Physique) strive to have an aesthetically more pleasing body, rather than the ‘big’ bodybuilding guys. More people are able to enter the field. You still have the same dedication, lifestyle, diet, and cardio,” stated Pannell. He admits it’s not always easy. Pannell eats the same 6 meals, 6 days a week, having one ‘cheat day’ where he can stray from his normal menu, and spends an hour or two each day working out. Pannell is also a personal trainer.
What began as a challenge to himself has turned into a new competitive lifestyle. “My first show was the Northwest Arkansas show and I placed 2nd and then I did the 2012 Arkansas Classic and I won my division, the Masters, and that fueled the fire for me to keep going,” said a smiling Pannell.
“In May of this year, I went to Dallas and did a show there and placed 5th which qualified me for the national show. So, I went to Pittsburg in July for the National Masters Event and placed 3rd.” He missed getting his International Federation of Bodybuilders Pro card by one point. Reaching pro status means the competitor moves from ‘amateur’ to ‘pro’ and can begin earning bigger prizes for the win. In August, he traveled back to Pittsburg for the American National Championship and competed with the country’s best. He finished 1st in his division gaining his pro card. Pannell, not only is the first IFBB Pro from Arkansas, but is also the first American Indian in the country to gain the rank. “A lot of people work their whole life and never make it to the pro level. I’m really blessed,” Pannell said. “It’s a different level. You’re in there with bigger, better looking people, so it’s more competition.”
Pannell has a heart to show others how to live a healthier life. “I really want to help push physical fitness and health in the Indian community. American Indians statistically have higher obesity rates, higher heart disease. I can be a voice of promoting health within my culture.”
Pannell moved to Mena in December with his wife and daughter, from his hometown in Little Rock. “Us moving here with my father-in-law being terminal, gave me the inspiration to get up and do what I had to do and stay focused on my personal goal. I dedicate my victory to him, Richard Shull. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with cancer on August 8, but he gave me the inspiration to keep going.”
Pannell, whose ultimate goal for himself is to win Mr. Olympia, will wait until late next spring to enter his next competition. In the meantime, he’ll continue to train not only himself, but others as well.