Ken "Skip" Hill - NPC Judge

An interview with Ken "Skip" Hill
July 2017

1. Thanks for joining me, Ken. Could you start by telling me a little bit about yourself, how long you have been involved in bodybuilding? When did you start judging?

Ken: Thank you for having me. I have been involved in bodybuilding for almost 34 years. I started judging in 2008 and these days I don’t judge very often but still get out of state to judge a show or two every year. I have competed for over 25 years in bodybuilding and am one of the first prep guys to build a name online and make a living doing so. I own TEAM SKIP nutrition consulting and contest prep and I write am Coach and Columnist for the last 4 years with I have written for MuscleMag and FLEX both online and the print magazines in the past. I have been married for 25 years and we have 4 children and 2 grandsons. I’m not that old… until I look in the mirror. We live in the mountains outside of Denver, Colorado for the last 20 years but I am originally from southwest Michigan (and so is my wife).

2. What is your vision of perfect presentation?

Fluid posing with fluid transitions. Not dramatic but NATURAL and polished. Effortless.

3. In which division - Bikini, Figure or Women's Physique - do you find it more challenging to decide who the best competitor is? Why?

It isn’t the division that makes it hard, it is hard to place competitors at lower level shows because competitors at lower level shows don’t typically do enough work. It is common to have one guy in bodybuilding that has more muscle and a great structure but isn’t ripped and then you have another guy who is shredded but narrow-shouldered and an “unpleasing” physique. I like to reward people for doing their homework and outworking other competitors but when push comes to shove, bodybuilding is a muscle competition, first.

Bikini is tough, as well, because at the lower level it sometimes comes down to “who is hotter?” I don’t mean that in a man-pig way but in bikini, the total package is typically quite hot or attractive.

A post shared by Ken "Skip" Hill (TEAM SKIP) (@intensemuscle) on

4. Let's talk about a prevalent decision: switching from Bikini to Figure. How does competing in Bikini contribute to success in Figure?

Other than stage experience, I don’t feel it does contribute. These are two entirely different physiques.

5. How does setting goals help to predict one's competitive success? Is "dominating the Olympia stage" a realistic target for a beginning athlete?

Rarely. These types of goals are fine and goals are individual but this is analogous to putting the cart before the horse. Your goals should be incremental so if your long term goal is to win the Olympia, good for you, but keep your mouth shut about it because if you have just started out, no one wants to hear you talk about what you are going to do in 10 years.. Put your head down, do the work and let the work speak for itself. Of all of the guys (just speaking of bodybuilding for a moment) that have said they would dominate the Olympia stage, only what? 13 have done it and 2 would be questioned as to whether they “dominated” the Olympia stage (Dickerson and Bannout). That leaves a lot of people that were wrong.

6. When preparing female athletes for competitions, which diet methods do you prefer to use? Why?

I don’t have one specific “method” for dieting. Everyone is different so some will be able to handle carbs, others cannot handle many carbs, at all, while others need a lot of carbs. The only method that I do use, typically across the board is Skiploading. This is usually a once a week high carb day where the higher intake of carbs offsets the metabolism and “resets” it for the following week.

7. Difficulties during prep - physical, mental, etc:

I can say that where some people struggle during the actual prep, others do just fine and struggle post-show with the lack of structure (relatively speaking) and lose motivation. Hell, I personally am one that struggles with post-show training and I almost have to force myself to do it because I thrive on the high structure of a prep phase. I could prep 12 months a year and love it.

The psychology because staying focused during a prep is the biggest challenge because the mind plays with you. You can be shredded but if you are run down and flat, you will feel small and if you fill out from a cheat meal or Skiploading, the mental aspects of that can be tough, as well, though a necessary evil.

8. So what do you prefer to judge or compete?

I have always competed as a bodybuilding but if I am being honest, I would have gone with physique had I started training within the last 10 years instead of 30 years ago. I do not like the wide and thick waists in the bodybuilding and would prefer to be jacked and have a physique competitor’s waist.

As for judging, I don’t have a preference. I enjoy judging all divisions but can say that I am very happy to see classic bodybuilding as a division now.

9. If you had to pick one memorable story in the years you've been competing, what would it be?

That’s an easy one: I took a break from competing of almost 10 years when we moved from Michigan to Colorado. In that time, I started a business and we had 3 more kids so when I got on stage again in 2001, it was emotional for me to look out from behind the curtain and see my kids sitting in the first row smiling and waving, waiting for Dad to come out on stage. I will never forget that moment.

10. Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?

Absolutely: Have fun with it above all else. Everyone wants to win but everyone can't win. If you aren’t having fun not only with the day of the show but with the day-to-day process of preparing, find something else to do. The journey should be as satisfying as the day of the show.

Also, I tell people all the time to focus only on being better than you were instead of worrying about who you are competing against. You have no control over who shows up so control what you can and that is what YOU look like. Even if you aren’t good as a bodybuilder, work your ass off and you will eventually get good.

11. What would you like to see happening with the sport in the future?

What I would like to see is already happening: different divisions to involve more people in the sport. As I stated earlier, classic bodybuilding is the best division to come around since any of the new divisions have been implemented.

12. What most people don't know about you?

People know a lot about me because of my years of writing and doing podcasts, but I would say that people might not know that as much as I love to train, I love to ride motorcycles with my wife equally as much and I love being at the ballpark watching baseball. Both are incredibly relaxing and therapeutic for me. I love good food. I consider myself and my wife “foodies” in that I have come to be very pretentious when it comes to food. We know burgers and breakfasts so if you are ever in Colorado and want to know where the very best burgers and breakfast are, just ask. I also love cats. Lol I have a Savannah cat and badly want to get a serval. Big cats are awesome.


5 inch Clear Competition Shoes