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Coast Character: 24 years later, Saucier man sheds and shreds to see the bodybuilding stage again

GULFPORT -- In November 1991, 21-year-old Jimmy Bryan was trim, tanned and posing on stage during the Gold's Gym Classic bodybuilding competition.

Twenty-four years later, Bryan will for the first time take the stage again, three days after his 45th birthday.

He is competing in the NPC Mississippi competition in Jackson on July 18.

"Since I was younger, I've wanted to do it again," he said. "I just never took the time to actually do it. I'm just trying to stay competitive in something."

Four more than four months, Bryan has been training at two separate gyms in South Mississippi. He began at Wolfpack Athletics in Gulfport and recently transferred to Southern Elite Fitness in D'Iberville. Four days a week, Bryan gets to the gym right after work, puts on shorts and a muscle shirt, slips in a mouth guard, and gets to work.

Depending on the day, he exercises his arms, legs, shoulders, chest and back. With each rep Bryan completes, the veins in his arms protrude, and his tattoos glisten with sweat. He softly grunts sometimes at the end of a challenging set, as the weight gets heavier and heavier.

The music from his earphones is loud, as the beat can be heard by passerbys as they ready equipment next to the machine that Bryan is using. Six days a week, Bryan does cardio at his Saucier home before he leaves for work -- at 4:30 a.m. A trainer helped develop his diet of carbs and proteins.

"I eat six meals a day, mostly proteins like eggs, chicken and shrimp," he said. Oats, rice and potatoes are the starches that are allowed. In the morning, Bryan mixes oats and raw, pasteurized organic eggwhites to make a breakfast shake.

Since he began the journey, Bryan has dropped 42 pounds.

But the road hasn't been easy.

Bryan has faced a nasty stomach virus in the beginning of his journey, and toward the end, as his diet gets stricter and the workouts get more intense, he's had some trouble sleeping,

But he can see the end of the road, and he wants to take home a trophy.

On July 26, Sun Herald will publish a multimedia story that details the last four months as Bryan shed weight, gained muscle mass, and cut out nonsense to get on stage again.

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