Bodybuilder Returns - by Diane
After more than a decade of non-participation, Chris Toland of Dundalk
came out of retirement to compete in several contests. The 2006 Dundalk
Sports Hall of Fame inductee won the Masters 35-40 division, the men's
open light heavyweight division and the overall title at the 2009
Baltimore Natural Bodybuilding Championships on Nov. 21 at Parkville
High. With this string of successes behind him, Toland is now eligible
to compete professionally.
“Bodybuilding is not weight lifting,” he explained. “Contests are based
on muscle development, leanness, symmetry and posing. It's strictly on
your physique, how your body looks, not on strength.” His body weight,
175-190 pounds, is what places him in the light heavyweight class.
Although the years' leave of absence from his favorite sport was due to
a full time job elsewhere and helping to raise two children, now 13 and
6, Toland said, “I got bit by the bug again and wanted to achieve my
As with any sport, self-discipline is mandatory with bodybuilding.
Toland puts diet at the top of the list; no dairy products, no sugar,
fat avoidance, healthy vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and
turkey breast. He eats six meals a day. When he travels, he brings a
cooler containing his own healthy food.
Cigarettes and booze are to be avoided. Toland is proud of the fact
that all the contests in which he participated are drug-free. Working
out means 50 minutes of weight training first thing in the morning and
45 at night. Aerobic exercise includes use of a step mill and an
elliptical trainer. Perhaps what differentiates bodybuilding from other
sports is the need to spend 35-40 minutes at a time posing in the
Toland became interested in bodybuilding through magazines he read when
he was growing up. Early on he realized he was a competitive person. He
won the Teenage Mr. Maryland (bodybuilding) Contest in 1993. His father
helped by opening a gym with two other partners, Maximum Fitness.
There, Toland became certified as a personal trainer. While completing
his AA degree at CCBC-Dundalk, he played soccer and baseball and went
out for wrestling. “I was always an athlete,” he observed.
Recently he took his kids to the gym so they could watch him work out.
“They could see what it took to achieve this goal,” he noted. Future
plans are to continue helping other people with nutritional and
training goals, which he has been doing since 1992. He has no plans at
the moment to compete again.