discipline. Don follows the Parrillo training and nutritional precepts. He first learned about Parrillo eight years ago in St. Louis from an elite personal trainer named James Murray. Don High is soft spoken and articulate and related that when he started working with James he was an out of shape individual coming off a horrific injury. “When I started bodybuilding I had zero weight training experience. I had been involved in a freak accident while playing racquetball and broke my leg in two places. By age 39 I had ballooned up to 215 pounds; mostly fat. Way back in 1982 I weighed 165 pounds and while in the Marines ran three miles in 16 minutes and 50 seconds to win first place in my 300 man company. By the year 2000 I had put on fifty pounds of fat and knew I needed to do something about my out-of-shape body.” James Murray was a personal trainer at the fitness club Don’s wife Debra belonged to. “I began working with James and immediately got traction: in six months time, using the Parrillo approach, my bodyweight dropped from 215 to 175. My body fat percentile dropped from 22% to 8%. I was shocked and amazed.” And hooked!
Don relocated from St. Louis to Noel. “At James’ urging I purchased the Parrillo Training and Nutrition Manuals along with the BodyStat Kit. I began a new phase in my life and decided to enter my first bodybuilding competition.” Don entered a local show and despite finishing 6th, fell in love with the whole bodybuilding experience. “I found out that I loved competing and I loved being onstage. I adopted a bodybuilding lifestyle and I was fired up. This caused me to redouble my efforts.” Since his first competition in 2000, Don High has competed in over thirty shows. In 2008 Don competed in twelve national bodybuilding shows in eleven different cities and captured the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s prestigious Grand Prix title. In order to win the Grand Prix, bodybuilders from around the country earned points competing in one of sixteen national events. Don competed in twelve contests and placed high enough at each outing to secure the overall Grand Prix title. The open mens division is the toughest of all competitive divisions and the 46 year old bested men half his age to win the inaugural Grand Prix title. “Winning the Grand Prix was easily the highpoint of my bodybuilding career. The judges felt that I looked better in my 12th and final show than I did at my first Grand Prix competition. Whereas most of my competitors were wilting a bit as the sixteen-city event rolled on, I got better the deeper we got into the Grand Prix season. I attribute a lot of that to my friend Fred Rowlett and the expert use of Parrillo supplements.” Don’s physique took a quantum leap forward when in 2008 he began incorporating training and nutritional tactics gleaned from Midwestern bodybuilding training Guru Fred Rowlett.
Don and Fred teamed up early in the Grand Prix season. “Fred came up to me after one particular Grand Prix event early on and quizzed me as to why I had looked so much better at the previous show: this was both deflating and encouraging. I had experimented with some carb-loading tactics at this particular show and Fred, with his eagle eye, had detected that my procedure had flattened out my muscularity. This began a partnership where Fred and I would converse each week about my nutrition and training. Our conversations really helped. The fact that the judges uniformly felt I looked better at the end of the Grand Prix season was in no small part attributable to Fred’s input.” Did we mention that Don is also a grandfather? How does one man cram so much activity into one life and not end up losing his mind? “I love what I do and have always had an innate ability to balance and compartmentalize the many pursuits I undertake.” One would mentally picture this Brady Bunch computer expert as a cross between a nerd scientist and a dull statistician: to the contrary this soft-spoken Clark Kent-type guy morphs from mild into wild when he steps onstage. His posing routines are becoming legendary. He discovered late in life that he was a natural showman. “Let’s see now…at one physique show held Halloween week I walked onstage wearing a monster mask and had a plastic skeleton “chained” to my ankle. I posed to the song ‘The Monster Mash’ and when the singing chorus came on after Boris Karloff’s spoken part, I started doing the twist. The crowd loved that!” At a mixed pair competition with female partner Liz Young, the duo posed to the Georgia Satellite’s “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” with Don lip syncing to great comical effect. That would be considered tame by Don High standards.
At another mixed pair event “Liz and I constructed a two minute routine in which she was dressed as “Jane” and I first appeared as a witch doctor. A Tarzan yell was spliced into our music and when it occurred I rushed offstage, changed into a Tarzan outfit and rushed back onstage to pose. Then after King Kong’s roar occurred deeper into the routine I rushed offstage yet again. This time I reappeared in a full Gorilla outfit, I was King Kong and chased Liz around carrying a banana. Needless to say the crowd went nuts.” In another solo routine, Don sauntered onstage wearing a “fat suit.” As the music played he dropped off the suit to ultimately reveal his tanned-and-ripped physique. Don was so famous for one particular posing routine that deep into the Grand Prix, the judges approached him and in not-so-discreet fashion asked him to please stop doing the routine. “Do you remember a few years back there was a pop song called ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’ that actually went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts? In the song’s video the band members would break into this weird hillbilly line dance routine. I expropriated the song and the line dance routine. Let me tell you without bragging – when I posed to that music and suddenly broke into that line dance, the crowd would go insane. People would actually come to the bodybuilding competition to see me do the Cotton-Eyed Joe routine.” After seven or eight shows it started to grate on the judges nerves. While the promoters looked forward to having Don do the routine, eventually it became too much for the judges to bear. “Basically, in the best of humor, some of the judges approached me – remember most of the physique judges travelled from show to show – they asked me, they begged me to retire the Cotton-Eyed Joe routine. One judge told me if he had to hear that song played one more time at top volume he would have to be put under suicide watch.” Don graciously complied.
Don and Liz choreographed a magic routine where he would pull a rabbit out of a hat and for the grand finale Don made Liz disappear onstage. “They loved that routine. People think we must practice all the time but actually Liz lives two hours away from me and we only see each other at the shows. I have worked out this weird way of developing and practicing our routines. I break the song into 8-10 seconds bites and identify the poses for a particular routine then e-mail this snippet to her. She practices it and adds to it. We “build” our two minute routines in this fashion and practice our parts separately. At the competition we arrive a day ahead of time and spend the day before the event practicing together for the first time.” Don is also famous – or notorious – for entering up to five different divisions in the same bodybuilding competition. “I will enter the men’s open division, the men’s master division for ages 45 to 54. I will enter the men’s open master’s division for men over 40. Often I compete in the Mixed Pairs competition with Liz. My most controversial entry is when I enter the collegiate division.” As a fulltime student at Missouri State, Don is technically eligible to enter the collegiate division. A lot of eyebrows are raised when he does this and on more than one occasion promoters have challenged him and made him produce proof that in fact he is a college student. “A lot of my collegiate competitors are less than thrilled with my participation in their division and I have to put up with a lot of ‘what’s up with grandpa competing in our division?!’ comments.” To maintain his fulltime student status once a semester for a week of intense learning Don travels to the college campus and takes mandatory classes. The rest of the time he schools himself online. When he attends the all day campus classes he totes into the classroom his Parrillo BarsTM, bottled water, a jug of Parrillo Hi-ProteinTM and his beloved Parrillo muffinsTM. “The college students try and rib me about being so old and rag me about my ‘weird foods.’ I good naturedly counter with ‘Don’t laugh at my food and I won’t laugh at your physique!’ That shuts them up.” Don says Fred Rowlett once told him, “Don, you’d enter the female figure competition if I’d let you!”
Don High shows the rest of the world how to cram a ton of living into our short life. Don wanted to thank Fred Rowlett for putting on the great shows and providing him the great advice. He particularly wanted to thank his wife and kids for their undying support. “My kids help me in every conceivable way: they help me make my multiple meals, they help spot me and give me forced reps when I train. They are indulgent with my