MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- It’s almost show time - men and women line up against the walls backstage, fine-tuning their poses and perfecting their physiques with liquid tanning products. As the clock ticks, Sgt. David Hamptonfurr prepares to take the stage; he lifts weights and eats his last rice cake to pump up his muscles before making his professional debut.
“Bodybuilding is the only hobby I have,” said Sgt. David Hamptonfurr, administrative specialist, Security Battalion. “At first, it was just something to make me feel safe. It kept me from falling back into my past environment. It kept me off the streets.”
Raised in Plainfield, Illinois, Hamptonfurr left his parents’ house and moved to Chicago at the age of 17. Living on his own was difficult and adapting to school was almost impossible; Hamptonfurr struggled both socially and academically. While many of his peers fell into the wrong crowd, he was determined to take a different path.
“I struggled with being social in high school,” said Hamptonfurr. “I couldn’t play sports because I was too small, I barely got through my classes for the day, and I didn’t have good enough grades for college. I’d use the high school gym after school before the football team came in so I could be alone.”
Running away from his past, Hamptonfurr looked for new opportunities to build a better life.
Now an administrative specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps and a dedicated athlete stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Hamptonfurr has created his own path to success. Inspired by the Marine Corps to continue his fitness goals, he entered his first Organization of Competitive Bodybuilding competition in 2021.
After four years of total self-dedication, consistently lifting heavy weights, eating well-balanced meals, and maintaining his drive and hunger to be the best version of himself, Hamptonfurr received his OCB Pro card Nov. 12, 2021. The card gave him access to compete in his first pro-level competition.
“It was overwhelming,” said Hamptonfurr. “Being up there is a beautiful feeling in itself. When I was called for first place, the reaction from the crowd was something out of a movie. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening, being considered good enough to compete in the pro league was a milestone that some don’t ever achieve.”
Taking first place in the 2021 OCB competition led Hamptonfurr to his professional debut on Aug. 13, 2022. He was one of 12 athletes who showcased extreme discipline, self-control, and dedication to health and fitness at the 2022 OCB Presidential Cup in Maryland.
The bodybuilder lifestyle is not easy; it takes hard work, a strict diet, and thousands of hours in the gym. When it comes to bodybuilding, Hamptonfurr agrees that one of his most challenging hurdles is the constant urge to want to eat during his cutting phase. During this part of preparation, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts reduce their body fat percentage to produce a lean physique.
“Bodybuilding is probably one of the hardest sports in my mind,” said Hamptonfurr. “It takes a toll on me because not only am I dealing with the hunger every day, but I’m also responsible of my junior Marines. I constantly push myself to my limit and I believe if professional bodybuilders can do it, I can too.”
To prepare for his competition, Hamptonfurr had to stay in top shape, relying on go-to meals like chicken breasts, rice, and asparagus, as well as conditioning and precise workouts to bring his body fat percentage down to nearly 4%. He also had to find time to work out multiple times a day, which meant he had to do cardio before work and during his lunch break.
Not every day is competition prep, but it’s such a big part of his life that even when he is not in competition mode, Hamptonfurr still craves clean and healthy meals.
“Definitely my favorite meal would be Atlantic salmon and rice or cream of rice with blueberries,” said Hamptonfurr.
Although Hamptonfurr has kept a very high-protein, low-fat diet, he placed 6th at the 2022 OCB Presidential Cup.
While he didn’t place where he had hoped at his professional debut, he plans to continue to work on perfecting his physique. Through this experience, he gained the knowledge necessary to compete at a professional level. Hamptonfurr also inspired his peers to become bodybuilders and compete in future shows.
“Overall, it was a humbling experience,” said Hamptonfurr. “It was challenging mentally and physically, but if there was something to take away from it, it was to stay consistent. At the end of the day, bodybuilders in the fitness industry eat and work out for a living, so why can’t I?”