By Marty Gallagher

Cole Vaughn is a promising 29-year old bodybuilder that has all the earmarks of a man destined to go far in the sport. Cole was bit by the bodybuilding bug many years ago. He had been throwing the shot put as a high school athlete when he first began serious weight training. “I was a track and field athlete for Grissom high school in Alabama when I met two seniors; they convinced me to work out with them at a commercial facility called Don’s Gym. I started working out at Don’s and soon discovered that I built muscle very quickly and relatively easily. I was cole-vaughn-three-picshooked.” He was a bodybuilding natural with a good structural frame and a strong athletic gene. As Cole got more and more serious, he became more and more aware of the wider bodybuilding world. “One day while at Don’s gym I went into the daycare room for some reason. They had hung up a giant poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a muscular pose. It was the first time I had seen the poster: it stunned me and inspired me. I made it my bodybuilding goal to attempt to build a physique like his.” Arnold’s body inspired teens around the world to get into bodybuilding for the identical reasons that Cole Vaughn experienced gazing at the Arnold poster for the first time. Cole would follow any system of training and eating that would move him closer to achieving the physical ideal exemplified by Arnold.

With his natural bodybuilding instincts, superb genetics and tremendous work ethic, Cole progressed so quickly that he began seriously thinking about competing in a bodybuilding competition. He reasoned that this was the logical way to take his physique to the next level. “My competitive career started in 2012. My first show ever was a big one, the Alabama State bodybuilding championships. I won the light-heavyweight division and placed second overall.” What a fabulous debut. Cole naturally redoubled his training efforts and tightened up his diet. The following year he entered one of the top local competitions and he stole the show. “In 2013 I competed in the Rocket City Classic; I won the Mr. Huntsville title in the light-heavyweight division. I was also named the overall champion.” Cole was now on a roll and redoubled his already redoubled efforts. Late in 2013 Cole unveiled the latest version of his fast-evolving physique, he was radically improving with every outing. “I entered the Alabama State competition and placed second in light-heavyweight class.” Cole decided to test the waters nationally. He had a good feel for how he stacked up locally, statewide and regionally – but he wanted to see how he’d fare nationally.

“In 2014 I went to my first national show, the NPC Junior National championships. I placed 10th out of 23 competitors in my class.” That same year Cole had a particularly gratifying experience when he was cole-vaughn-with trophiesasked to guest pose. “I was invited to pose at the Rocket City Classic in 2014. I posed and was well received. I was also asked to hand the trophy to the overall winner – a man that I personally helped prepare for the show. In a way, I felt like I had won twice.” Cole then took two years off from competing to “regroup.” This young man had burst onto the scene and his immediate and well deserved success caught everyone by surprise; he had gotten real traction and improved to a substantial and dramatic degree. His sensational debut was in 2012, and after being on the competitive rocket ride for years, it was time to take a break from the unrelenting circuit he had been on; he would relax, take some time and ponder his next move. He would heal up, physically and psychologically, He wanted to absorb what he had done and what he had learned and then decide his next move. Cole Vaughn is a big man: he stands 5’9” and in the offseason walks around carrying 245 pounds. He slices down to 220 to compete. He has the frame to carry even more muscle. One could easily see a mature Cole competing at a shredded 240 – and in the foreseeable future. All this shifts from possible to probable when you learn the Cole has been working with Parrillo super-trainer Todd Swinney.

Todd just happened to live in the same generalized Alabama neighborhood as Cole and it seemed only natural that their paths would cross. Todd has worked with more card-carrying pros than you can shake a stick at, including bodybuilding hall-of-fame member Kevin Levrone. It seemed logical that Cole and Todd would work together. cole-vaughn-and-todd-swinneyAfter Cole’s layoff from the competitive grind, he felt fresh, rested and excited to jump back into the competitive mix. Now Cole had a seasoned pair of eyes to check out his physique, someone to visually monitor his progress, week in, week out. Cole and Todd had a synergy. “I worked under the guidance of guru trainer Todd Swinney and in 2016 won the heavyweight class and the overall title at the NPC Clash of the Capstone.” Now that is a fantastic way to announce your return. Todd has a talent scouts eye for spotting promising bodybuilding prospects. Todd saw that indefinable something in Cole, that spark that separates a pro-level bodybuilder from the rest of humanity. “I met Cole several years ago and I instantly recognized his potential. Cole is as driven and focused as anybody I have ever worked with. If I suggested he do xyz, then he’d do xyz, without question or hesitation. I worked with him for nine weeks and he came into the show in the best condition of his competitive career.”

Todd is a well-spring of bodybuilding knowledge in all the interrelated practices that make up bodybuilding at the competitive level. ”I shared with Cole tips and tactics on training, nutrition, supplementation and generalized contest preparation procedures. To say he is a quick learner would be an understatement.” Todd Swinney has been a Parrillo advocate for decades. Todd is totally versed in the unique Parrillo cole-vaughn-liftingapproach towards weight training for bodybuilding (high intensity, high volume,) Parrillo cardio (sweaty, intense) and Parrillo nutrition and supplementation (high protein/high calorie/clean calorie.) Todd introduced Cole to the wide universe of Parrillo products, sometimes with amusing results. “I’ll never forget when I had Cole take his first taste of Parrillo Contest Brownie Mix™. He was insistent that it tasted way too good to be ‘legal’ insofar as acceptable bodybuilding nutrition.” During his layoff Cole made the decision to become a full-fledged heavyweight; he could not have found a better advisor for adding quality lean muscle mass than Todd Swinney.

“I loved working with Cole for the nine week lead-up to the 2016 Clash of the Capstone. I assisted him with all manner of contest prep.” As Todd got to know Cole better, he became impressed with the man and his family. “Cole is very refreshing to work with; he has a natural drive, he is committed and he seems unstoppable. His support group is amazing: I love his sweet mother to pieces. Janice is the bomb and we all have a ball when together.  Y’all keep your eyes on this young man!  Cole Vaughn is going places!” That is an unqualified endorsement from a man that has worked with the best. Cole offers an equally unqualified cole-vaughn-flexendorsement of Parrillo products. “I was introduced to Parrillo products through my trainer, Todd Swinney. I use several Parrillo products in my career as a bodybuilder. I highly recommend CapTri®, the Parrillo Protein Bars and Parrillo Contest Brownies™ are my absolute favorite.” Like a lot of super hard training bodybuilders his body takes a beating. “I use the Parrillo Joint Formula™; it helps tremendously in alleviating my reoccurring knee pain.” Cole works as fitness professional. “I am a certified personal trainer at Riviera Fitness Center. I do customized workouts and create meal plans for both men and women. I also train people looking to compete.”

Asked about future plans, Cole was very specific. “I will be doing two shows in 2017, the NPC Southern Classic and then the NPC Team Universe.” With Todd’s able assistance, there is no limit as to how far Cole Vaughn can go in bodybuilding. A pro card seems not a matter of ‘if,’ rather ‘when.’ Asked for final thoughts, Cole added, “I would personally like to thank John Parrillo for putting products on the market that truly work; products that have aided me in my prep and helped me get leaner. I would like to thank my parents who have been supportive of my goals as a bodybuilder. They have not missed a single show of mine.” Asked where he could be contacted, he related, “For those who wish to follow me on social media, I have an Instagram page where I post inspirational quotes and updated progress pictures. I have a personal trainer page on Facebook called Cole Vaughn Personal Trainer for those who would like to inquire about personal training or just have a question they would like to have answered regarding fitness.” We will keep our readership up to date on Cole’s progress. We will no doubt be hearing much more from young Mr. Vaughn as he pursues what promises to be a very promising career as a pro bodybuilder.

Training Split

  • Monday chest and triceps
  • Tuesday back and biceps
  • Wednesday quadriceps and calves
  • Thursday off
  • Friday shoulders, traps and calves 
  • Saturday hamstrings and calves
  • Sunday off

“I stay lean easily during the offseason and have struggled maintaining mass. I try not to do too much cardio in the offseason. My main methods of staying lean in the offseason are limiting my cheat meals, implementing supersets, limiting my rest periods between sets and lastly having two leg days a week. My target rep range is between 6-10 reps during the offseason. I build both size and strength that will carry over into my contest prep. My most notable lifts during this offseason are 500 for 6 on squat, 315 for 11 on incline bench press. I have deadlifted 545 for 6 reps. In the flat dumbbell bench press I’ve been able to do sets of 20 reps with 120-pound dumbbells – we don’t have anything heavier at my gym.”

Off Season Meal Plan

  • Meal 1 12 egg whites, 8 whole eggs, one cup of oats
  • Meal 2 Chicken breast, brown rice and one cup of greens
  • Meal 3 Parrillo Optimized Whey™ protein, one cup of oats 
  • Meal 4 Turkey breast or turkey burgers, sweet potato, one cup of greens
  • Meal 5 Chicken breasts, brown rice, one cup of greens
  • Meal 6 Steak or ground beef, 2 cups of greens