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The Couple That Lifts Together . . .

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Most married couples have something in common.

But Robin and Todd Pitcock’s something is a bit unusual. In fact, they’ve been told they’re the only husband and wife bodybuilders in the state.

“I think a lot of times, bodybuilders get a bad rap, especially women,” said Todd, 39. “A lot of guys get turned off because they’re intimidated by women being more physically fit . . . or even stronger than them.”

Todd, on the other hand, encourages his wife to stay muscular and buff. The Winchester couple work out together at Gold’s Gym on Berryville Avenue and adhere to a strict high protein diet to get their bodies in top form for several annual amateur bodybuilding competitions.

They attended the NPC GNC Live Well BodyRock Bodybuilding Championships at George Mason University in Fairfax on July 12, where both won fourth place in their classes.

More than 150 athletes attended the competition, they said.

At 127 pounds, Robin competed in the women’s middle weight class. Todd, who’s exactly 100 pounds heavier than his wife, competed in the men’s super heavy weight class.

Robin, 43, is particularly proud of her award, since she placed eighth at the same competition last year, and competed against much younger women.

“Most women are in their 20s. It’s very rare to see a female bodybuilder that is married or even has a boyfriend,” she said. “I have three kids.”

The couple met in 1991 while Robin was working a temporary job at General Electric, where Todd still works full time.

His first bodybuilding competition was the Winchester Open in 1993.

Robin has lifted weights on and off for about 15 years, but her first competition wasn’t until two years ago.

“I was really pressured into it” by a friend, Robin said. She didn’t follow the strict, low carbohydrate diet to prepare for the competition and, as a result, wasn’t in the best shape.

“When I saw the (video) tape later, I was like ‘Oh my gosh.’ I couldn’t even stand to watch it. I looked like a blimp,” she said.

Afterward she became highly motivated, dieting and working out religiously to prepare for the next competition in Virginia Beach in September of 2001.

She lost 30 pounds by the time the competition rolled around and took second place.

“It was like night and day,” she said. “The judges couldn’t get over the change.”

Many bodybuilders aren’t prepared for their first competition, Todd said. After the first show, they often know whether they hate it “or it’s going to spark a fire and you would like to do more,” he said.

Todd and Robin start dieting about 15 weeks before each show, cutting out sugar and all carbohydrates except rice and potatoes.

They eat about seven times a day. Meals consist mainly of lean meats such as chicken. When they’re on the go, they supplement their diets with high-protein nutrition bars and shakes.

In the last week before a show, they start adding carbohydrates back into their diets to draw water into the muscles, making them larger, Todd said.

While preparing for competitions, they lift weights three days a week and do cardio and abdominal exercises two days a week. (If they’re not preparing to compete they skip the cardio and crunches.)

They’ve made a lot of friends at the gym, although few people are as interested in bodybuilding as they are.

“A lot of people come up to us and tell us how much we inspire them,” Robin said. “A lot of people come up and ask about diets and training.”

Clay Ellis, a Gold’s Gym employee, said he thinks seeing the Pitcocks motivates people who work out at the gym.

“They show a lot of dedication and I think it makes people work harder,” Ellis said. “(Todd) looks like the Incredible Hulk walking through here.”

Of the couple’s three boys (the two oldest are Robin’s from a previous marriage), the middle child, 13-year-old Shane, enjoys attending his parents’ competitions most, Todd said.

The oldest, 15-year-old Justin, likes bodybuilding, but not the competitive aspect, and at 6, Coby isn’t old enough to go to the competitions, where his parents would have to leave him periodically unattended.

Todd’s mother, Jean Pitcock, often stays with the children when Robin and Todd go out of town to compete.

One of the best parts of the competitions is meeting famous professional bodybuilders, such as Gunter Schlierkamp and Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray, Todd and Robin said.

Todd hopes to be five pounds heavier when he competes in the JanTana Classic IFBB Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships Aug. 16 in Charlotte, N.C.

“When I look at some of the photos from (BodyRock), I see myself not as full as I could be,” he said.

They also plan to go to a Labor Day weekend competition in Norfolk.

Robin said she likes bodybuilding because it keeps her in shape. For Todd, lifting weights is a stress reliever, and competitions are just the next logical step.

“I just enjoy lifting so much. I have for years,” he said. “I figure, if I’m going to be here anyway, why not compete?”

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