Getting to know IFBB Pro and Animal athlete Joe Mackey

Introduction To the Fans

When I was a kid, I was not the strongest or fastest around. Actually, I was the opposite. I was known as the skinny kid growing up, especially compared to my older brother who was known for being fast and strong. I enjoyed reading books and playing video games.

While the thought of going into a gym made me nervous, my dad was in his element there. He was a big guy and was usually one of the strongest whenever we were in the gym. I can recall him putting on 405 lb and repping it over ten times. Whenever he'd finish he'd look down at me and say, “Joseph, you think you'll ever be as strong as your dad?” I always answered, “Not even close dad.”

Every time we left the gym we had two responsibilities. The first was to drink a protein shake which, by the way, I hated and would sometimes pour down the sink when pops wasn't looking. The second was to take our daily Animal Pak multivitamins. My brother would make fun of me because I couldn't swallow the pills. It’s true, I grew up on Animal products.

As I became older, I started to notice more muscle gain and strength. By the time I was in high school, my arms were 18 inches. I was strong for my age and size even though I was only 170-180 lb. I played football all through high school and college and was a 3-year varsity letterman.

It was at Angelo State University where I became aware of my passion for lifting. I weighed 180 lb going to college and came back home weighing an all-natural 245 lb. I remember telling myself I was going to eat as much as I could to get over 210 lb and, of course, once I achieved that I wanted more. The key to gaining size and weight was food and heavy-ass training. By the time I was 23, I was benching 405 lb and squatting 495 for reps. The key to me lifting heavy weights was my mentality. I went through a bad break up in high school, so when I got to college I used that energy and applied it to my workouts. It worked.

Currently, I'm 36 years old with a 815+ lb deadlift, a 500+ bench, and a 700 lb squat—100% accomplished due to my mentality. Life is hard at times and you have to be able to push through when things get rough. My outlet has always been heavy training. Animal athletes are serious, hardcore lifters that come in all shapes and sizes. This describes everything about my character and lifting style.

When things get challenging as you’re trying to achieve a difficult goal—like breaking a PR in weightlifting, running a faster time in track, or passing a big test that is coming up for school or work—remember to take your mind to a place that allows you to push through. If it was easy, everyone could and would do it.

Bodybuilding has become a profession that I'm passionate about and an outlet that I enjoy doing every day, but don't get me wrong, it has not always been easy. You have to be a bit crazy to be able to get to a pro-level in bodybuilding no matter what people try to tell you. You have to make sure you train heavy, stay focused, and eat a ton of food. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to learn the correct way to get to your goal by hiring someone reputable in the industry who will show you the way.

For information on learning how to grow, gain muscle, lose body fat, or competing, go to and fill out an inquiry and I will contact you shortly.