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Interview w/ Trey Hodge

Interview w/ Trey Hodge

A casual bodybuilding fan may not have heard of bodybuilding prep coach, Trey Hodge, but industry insiders recognize him as one of the most knowledgeable coaches in the sport; the mastermind behind the success of Olympia caliber athletes like Charles Dixon, Tricky Jackson, and Leila Thompson. Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Trey to discuss life and bodybuilding; you can read it all right here in this Bodybuilding.News exclusive interview.

Q.) As some fans may already know, before bodybuilding you had quite an extensive martial arts background. Do you think the structure and discipline you learned during your martial arts years had any carryover effect to your life in bodybuilding?

A.) First off I feel very fortunate to have grown up with the structure and discipline the martial arts has given me in my life. My father, Grandmaster Derman B. Hodge, raised my brother and me into this lifestyle ever since we were able to walk. He was also raised into this lifestyle by his father. I currently hold a 5th-degree black belt in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Aiki-jujitsu. I have been involved in many instructional seminars and have taught as a master instructor ever since I was 13 years old. Today we still conduct 4-5 seminars per year in different parts of the country. I usually teach the ‘healing arts’ portion of our seminars and get tossed around a great deal by my father! I do know that martial arts gave me a good base in terms of physicality and even mentality to be methodical in my approach to life and even the bodybuilding lifestyle.

Trey Hodge_Martial Arts

Q.) When did you first become introduced to bodybuilding?

A.) My first introduction to bodybuilding was after I had finished high school. I was approached by a trainer who asked if I ever thought about competing. He was telling me some of what bodybuilding was about and that I had the structure and ‘wheels’ to compete. I had been working out ever since I was 12 but never had the mindset for the nutritional aspect. I did my research at 18 in the beginning via and also following guys like Skip Lacour and Layne Norton. I was marveled with both these guys for their approach to their diets as well as their different takes on training. I also admired them for the goals they reached and the amount of knowledge they shared. Both guys were and still are very interactive in the fitness realm.

Q.) Fans know you as the mastermind behind some of the sport’s best physiques, but there are probably very few who familiar with your competitive career as a National Gym Association (NGA) athlete early on. When did you first begin competing? What sparked your decision to step onstage for the first time?

A.) I started off in the NGA for two reasons:

I had been following Layne Norton and knew of his competitive history in the NGA.

I was a natural competitor at this point, and the NGA seemed to be a great organization with great competitors.

My first show was an NGA competition in Marietta, Georgia, and then from there I went to compete in the SNBF in the Steele Jungle show in Asheville, North Carolina back in 2004. I was a light heavy in my first NGA show and a heavyweight in my second show in SNBF. I enjoyed the stage so much then but had to finish my Chiropractic education. I went on a break for about seven years before I returned to the stage, this time in the NPC, competing in the Charlotte Cup.

Q.) You took some time away from the sport to pursue your education, going on to earn your doctorate in chiropractic, and launching a successful practice. Following your sabbatical from the bodybuilding scene, how is it that you came to find yourself suddenly in control of an athlete who would go on to become a top ten Arnold Classic and Olympia competitor under your guidance, Charles Dixon?

A.) Even during my break from competing I never lost sight of my training. I ended up learning more about myself, and educated myself, so much during this time. I know getting my doctorate in Chiropractic was a big achievement, and it also aided my knowledge of the human body. I was able to view it in a different way and apply it to my training and diet. I did later come to find out I was a type-1 diabetic, which led me to take a major interest in endocrinology, and eventually to take some continuing education course on the subject, along with a few on biochemistry as well.

I always find my story on how Charles and I met a funny but cool one. When we first met, I was more of a solo guy who was actively competing in powerlifting. I would come in on my squat day and set up my station with bands. He would always look at what I was doing and say “that is one crazy white guy.” Later, I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, IFBB Pro, Monique Jones. From there we all started to train together, and their journey began.

During this period, Charles was coming off of a two-year layoff from competing, and Monique was recovering from past injuries as well and trying to prep for a show. I noticed he seemed to be struggling some with diet and prep so one day I had asked Monique if she felt that Charles would be open for me to take over his last six weeks of prep. She mentioned to him, and he was excited to start. We only had six weeks but rolled into his first show taking 7th out of 16. He was bitten by the competitive bug and was ready to jump on stage again; his next show was two weeks later in Sarasota, FL. Thanks to Charles’ amazing work ethic he was able to make some crazy changes in those two weeks. Charles ended up taking 3rd at this show, beating quite a few big names. Finally, placing his name back on the 212 radar, and being recognized as a true 212 threat every time he stepped onstage.

Charles Dixon_Trey Hodge

Q.) Given your sabbatical from the sport, what made you so confident that you could take Charles from an athlete who was a relatively innocuous at the time, and turn him into one of the most dangerous athletes in the 212 division?

A.) To be honest, I had no idea what all I could accomplish with his frame, but I knew that by me stepping into the mix and taking over his prep I would be able to help. Even with the short amount of training we had together up to that point I could see his body changing rapidly, just bursting with so much potential. We tried new exercises together, and I could see his body wanting to change. He just didn’t have the guidance on the nutritional and supplemental aspect of his game in order. Once we connected all the dots together, needless to say, his body just cranked up to 500 horsepower and was ready to roll. It’s funny how even today his body astounds me by the way it’s always getting better. Every prep we do things slightly different to help bring up his weak points, and I can say currently his body is very complete. In the near future, I can see us jumping into an open show and seeing how his frame with the muscle carries with the big boys.

Q.) As Charles Dixon has grown into a top tier 212 athlete, your reputation for being one of the bright young minds in the industry has grown with it. You seem to have a unique ability to breathe new life into veteran physiques that have been through their fair share of battles; working with athletes such as Tricky Jackson, Leila Thompson, and Bill Willmore amongst others. What is it about your approach that allows you to turn around their physiques so quickly?

A.) I enjoy working with all my athletes, especially the ones who have competed for a few years. The ability to change their physiques to be even better than what people remembered is a major accomplishment for me. We have done this with Leila, Tricky, and especially Charles. Those three had amazing physiques already, but if I can improve them even more and make it the Olympia stage then I feel I’ve done my job. Even Bill has made some crazy improvements, and we’re hoping to have him on stage for a few shows coming in 2016.

Q.) Unbeknownst to some, you had three athletes – Charles Dixon, Tricky Jackson, and Leila Thompson – competing in this year’s Olympia. What did it feel like as a coach to experience the success both you and your athletes had over the course of the weekend?

A.) I’m still so thankful and appreciative for all three of them. They are all around great people with class. I had such a blast prepping all three for the Olympia, and was incredibly proud of what they all brought to the big stage. Sometimes I look back at the beginnings for each of them and get amazed by what they’ve accomplished during this 2015 season. Charles competed in three shows; bring home a 5th place finish at 2015 Arnold’s Sports Festival, a win at the Saint Louis Pro, a win at the Europa Phoenix, and a 7th place finish at the Olympia. Tricky competed in four shows – Omaha Pro 2nd, Dallas Pro 4th, Chicago Pro 2nd, along with making it to the 212 Olympia stage yet again. Leila [pictured below] also competed in four shows, the St. Louis Pro where she took 4th, the Orlando Pro where she placed 10th, and received her 2nd career pro victory and Olympia qualification at the Omaha Pro. I would say all three of them deserve a nice tropical vacation for at least a week somewhere!

Leila Thompson_Trey Hodge

Q.) Although it’s early in your career when it’s all said and done, what would you like your legacy to be in bodybuilding?

A.) I really would love for my name to be that of someone who was an easy going and personable guy, who helped all his athletes improve and perform at their personal best. I don’t need to have the luxury life or anything that exceeds a standard; if anything, I want to be known for my positive impact in this sport. I have a ton of respect for many of the coaches who have been doing this longer than I have been out of my diapers. I always want to grow within this sport and further my knowledge to best serve my clients.

Q.) For people who would like to follow you, your athletes, or find out more about your services, where can they find you on social media, and what’s the best way to contact you?

A.) For anyone who wants to contact me you can email me at I’m also on Facebook under name Trey Hodge and Instagram @drtreamhodge. I am developing a YouTube channel that I will be launching late 2015 or early 2016 for more insight on my current workout programs. I do have my Chiropractic office and head quarters inside Powerhouse Gym in Greer, SC. If you would like to either train or stop by you can contact Andy Nix (owner) at 864-801-2480.

-Interview By Corey Young


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