In 1996, after spending three weeks in intensive care at the University of Utah, receiving skin grafts to 21 percent of his body, relearning to walk during six months of grueling physical therapy, and now living with 20 percent reduced lung capacity, Beau Coplin made a promise to himself to push his body, mind, and overall potential to the limits.
Beau had survived a dust explosion while working at a chemical blending plant in Lindon, Utah. The blast left him with third-degree deep tissue burns to over 30 percent of his body.
"During the mixing process, the magnesium and lime powders either caught a spark or there was some static electricity," Beau recalls. "I remained conscious throughout the exodus of the building (i.e., I ran screaming from it because I was on fire) where a coworker sat me down, extinguished the flames, and cut my clothes from me. I was then transported to American Fork Hospital, and from there Life Flighted to the University of Utah's Burn Center."
Making a Change
Beau says he has never harbored negative feelings from the ordeal. In fact, he feels grateful to have had the experience because of the new perspectives on life he has gained, including the necessity to get more out of this life than he previously had.
"It was in about my third or fourth month of recovery that I decided I didn't want to take any more of my life or my gifts for granted," he says. "I had been blessed with good health, some intelligence, and a lot of opportunity. I didn't want to waste any more of it."
As is often the case, the circumstances and charges of everyday life sidetracked Beau to the point that he found himself at 240 pounds with 30 percent body fat 14 years after his accident. Frustrated and discomfited by the memory of the promise he had made to himself, Beau resolved to make a change.
"We only have so much bandwidth, and we make choices on how we want to spend our time," Beau says. "I chose things that kept me inactive until I became extremely unhappy with my body. I was the heaviest I had ever been, and I didn't have the energy to walk up the stairs or read my kids stories at night. I just wasn't happy and knew I had the ability to change it. So, I did."
Shedding Weight, Building Muscle, and MonaVie RVL
Beau began a rigorous training schedule with Jeff Later as his personal trainer. In six months, he had trimmed down to 190 pounds and only 2.5 percent body fat. In the process, Beau became very picky about what he eats, which for him includes mostly whole foods and nutrition from a variety of sources. Fortunately for him, MonaVie RVL is packed with a diversity of macro-, micro-, and phytonutrients.
"I eat seven meals a day, but I don't always have the time to prepare and/or eat the meals," Beau says. "With MonaVie RVL, I can make a couple of shaker bottles and run out the door. This allows me to maintain a quality diet even if I am pressed for time."
As the weight kept dropping and the muscle kept building, Beau began to receive encouragement from Jeff and others to compete in bodybuilding events. Competitive bodybuilding was something Beau never thought of doing before. And, with extensive scarring on his body from the burns and skin grafts, he was somewhat self-conscious to literally put himself in the spotlight on that level while wearing posing trunks (Speedos), the traditional competitive bodybuilding uniform.
Beau would change his mind about competing in November 2010 when the National Physique Committee opened a Men's Physique class. This category would represent fitness models instead of bodybuilders with an added draw for Beau.
"For this class, I had to wear board shorts instead of posing trunks," Beaus says. "I told Jeff 'Sure, I'll do it.'"
Standing in front of an auditorium filled with family, friends, and fans, Beau thought back on the previous six months of punishing work he had put in. Only this time, he wasn't reflecting on the 4–5 days per week and three hours per day of physical therapy he had endured learning to walk again. On this day, he contemplated the hours, days, and months spent in the gym expelling 50 pounds and 28 percent fat from his body.
He also thought about the many times he almost quit, but continued pushing through with the support of his friend and trainer Jeff, as well as his wife. And, then he says he simply felt elation. He had just become the overall winner of Utah's first NPC Men's Physique title.
"To achieve the goals I set out to accomplish was awesome," Beau says. "It felt amazing."
Beau's first-place finish at the NPC Utah qualified him for the NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 29–30, 2011.