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Willis lifts his way to Instagram fame

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Willis lifts his way to Instagram fame

Senior Austin Willis runs a bodybuilding account on Instagram. Willis is pictured above lifting in the South weight room.

Senior Austin Willis runs a bodybuilding account on Instagram. Willis is pictured above lifting in the South weight room.

Lexi Cornett

Senior Austin Willis runs a bodybuilding account on Instagram. Willis is pictured above lifting in the South weight room.

Lexi Cornett

Lexi Cornett

Senior Austin Willis runs a bodybuilding account on Instagram. Willis is pictured above lifting in the South weight room.

Eli Chafin, Staff Photographer

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Senior Austin Willis has been making waves in Bloomington High School South with his popular bodybuilding Instagram page: @austinlifts19.

“It started out as a joke and it still is kind of a joke, but then it just kind of went from there,” Willis said.

Willis has been devoted to fitness since last November when he began training seriously.

“I thought it was cool and it was something I could do to relieve stress and something that could get my mind off of things,” Willis said.

Willis’s routine consists of working out six days a week, for roughly one to two hours each day. The workouts themselves vary depending on whether he is “bulking,” consuming excess calories and lifting heavier weights in order to create more muscle mass, or “cutting,” dieting and cutting down body fats.

I thought it was cool and it was something I could do to relieve stress and something that could get my mind off of things.”

— Austin Willis

Inspiration to begin bodybuilding came to Willis after watching George Butler’s 1977 documentary “Pumping Iron,” which depicts competitions and profiles on professional bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For now, bodybuilding is mainly a hobby for Willis, but it might not always be that way.

“I would like to potentially compete in at least one competition. I’m still kind of in the amateur stage, but eventually I’d like to,” Willis said.

Since Nov. 5, he has been selling “Austinlifts19” merchandise, which he designed in collaboration with fellow senior, Bruce Furr. The shirts can be purchased for $25 via Instagram DM.

For anyone interested in starting their own bodybuilding career, Willis says that consistency is key.

“You just have to go out and do it. There are a lot of people at the YMCA that you can talk to if you’re not sure what to do,” Willis said.

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Willis lifts his way to Instagram fame