Tim Belknap
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Who Is Tim Belknap?

American bodybuilder Tim Belknap was an IFBB professional from Illinois. He was well-known for being a professional-level athlete who struggled with diabetes all of his life.

Short Career Of Tim Belknap

Tim Belknap was an extremely active child who always loved weightlifting and flaunting his physique. He was also given a diabetes diagnosis at an early age, which meant he would require insulin shots for the rest of his life.

Tim grew attracted by the thought of competing as he improved his physique and read about correct nutrition and lifting techniques.

Early in the 1980s, he would begin competing, coming into the bodybuilding scene with a carefully thought-out diet and a nicely developed lower body.

Tim’s preparation was successful. In his first three competitions, he finished first twice and second once. Before quitting the IFBB in 1981, he won 4 more competitions. Here is his account:

Body Measurements Of Tim Belknap

Full Name: Tim Belknap
DATE OF BIRTH: September 2, 1958
ERA: 1980, 1990
PROFESSION: IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
AGE: 63
HEIGHT: 5’4″ (162.5cm)
WEIGHT: 245 – 255lbs (111.1 – 115.7kg)

Tim Belknap



  • 1981 AAU Mr. America Light-HeavyWeight & Overall, 1st
  • 1981 AAU Mr. Midwest Short & Overall, 1st
  • 1981 IFBB World Amateur Championships Light-HeavyWeight, 2nd
  • 1982 NPC Nationals Heavyweight, 3rd
  • 1983 IFBB Grand Prix Las Vegas 10th
  • 1984 NABBA Mr. Universe Short, 1st
  • 1984 NABBA World Championships Short & Overall, 1st
  • 1985 NABBA Mr. Universe Short & Overall, 1st
  • 1985 NABBA World Championships Short & Overall, 1st
  • 1991 IFBB Niagara Falls Pro Invitational, 10th
  • 1991 IFBB San Jose Pro Invitational, 7th
  • 1992 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational, 14th


Young Years

1958 saw the birth of Tim Belknap in Rockford, Illinois, in the USA. Although he was very active as a child, he always favored games that required power and size.

He used his nutrition knowledge learned from being a diabetic to plan meals for muscle gain as he matured as a weight lifter. He started going to the gym practically every day to gain weight.

Despite his overriding desire to gain weight, he occasionally experienced negative insulin injection side effects. He periodically lost his appetite after these shots, which prevented him from properly eating.

Choosing To Gain Strength

So, at the age of 18, he made the decision that he would just had to eat as much as he could whenever he could.

He recalled that he knew he had “some major genetic potential” as he diligently followed the instructions in Muscle magazine and started to develop size and strength.

After a few years of using this strategy, Tim’s off-season weight was 230 pounds. He decided to attempt to compete after deciding to add a significant amount of muscular bulk to his entire body.


Tim made the decision to begin competing in bodybuilding competitions in 1980. By 1981, he had managed to lose weight and was posed on the stage for the AAU Mr. America Light-Heavyweight & Overall competition.

At 5’4″, this aesthetic was outstanding, and he managed to win this show’s first place prize overall. Additionally, he was able to qualify for the AAU Mr. Midwest competition, which he comfortably won, bringing home the award in the short category.

This was only the beginning for Tim. He went on to win the 1985 NABBA World Championships, the 1984 NABBA Mr. Universe, and the 1984 NABBA Mr. Universe. Throughout his ten-year career, he also qualified for and participated in competitions with the IFBB.

Heart Condition

When he started experiencing severe heart issues, his career was over. Tim was always aware that heart disease might be an issue because it ran in his family, but he put it in the back of his mind.

HIs experienced chest aches and shortness of breath one April in the early 1990s (symptoms of a mild heart attack.) His was 37 years old at the time and found it hard to accept that anything was wrong with his heart.

He claims that throughout this time, “doing the right thing” was all he could think about. He had open heart surgery a month later, which required him to permanently reduce the intensity of his workouts.

Tim Belknap


Heavy Back Approach

Tim put in a lot of effort and used his mind-muscle connection when he was exercising his back. He could be seen performing 10 sets of tension posing after his back workout.

Tim Belknap always did stretching exercises after every session, like dangling from a pull-up bar or pulling against a standstill upright.

He worked out his back for around forty minutes. He always included a chest workout in this session to take advantage of the well-known double-split training concept.

Tim’s back was formerly thought of as a weakness, but with dedication, it was transformed into a strength. When he won the Mr. America competition, he was informed that his back was “outstanding.”

Rear exercises

On a unique rowing machine in Gold’s Gym, he performed five extremely challenging sets of seated rows to begin his back workout. After that, he would complete each rep to his maximum level of contraction.

Four strong pulldowns to the chest with a semi-wide grip would always come next. Due to low energy levels, while eating 900 calories a day before a competition, this can be reduced to 2 sets.

The pulldowns continued after that point. Tim would maintain his tight hold. Utilizing a reverse grasp, pulldown to the chest. The lower lats are burned after 3 or 4 sets of this.

Tim decided to perform three or four sets of wide-grip chins behind the neck as his final pulldown exercise. At the bottom of each rep, he would pause to force the muscle to fully contract. To finish, heavy dumbbell pullovers would be performed.

Known Arms

While competing, Tim’s 18-inch arms appeared to be twice as long due to his diminutive body. His preferred exercise for his biceps was the standing cable curl, which he performed on a regular basis twice a week during his split program.

His triceps were exceptionally well-built, but his biceps were particularly stunning. Close-grip bench presses were used to build these muscles. According to Tim, this exercise is the most effective way to isolate each of the triceps’ three heads.


Following his heart attack, he changed his diet.

Tim Belknap claims that for the majority of his life, he frequently consumed items heavy in fat. While bulking, he thought that this wasn’t a major problem.

He created a suitably balanced, low-fat diet that removed red meat and cheese when he started to experience heart problems.

Exercise Diet

Tim constantly ate high-protein foods to keep and add to his heft during his competition days. Every three and a half hours, he loved to eat eggs, poultry, and cheese. He was able to gain a significant amount of muscular mass by doing this.

Tim would lose as much as 32 pounds in a few weeks during some cutting seasons. He claimed to be “frequently asked” how he was able to shed so much weight so quickly, but he responded by explaining that a large portion of it was water weight.

What can Tim Belknap Teach Us?

Tim Belknap struggled with diabetes since he was a young child, and his career was cut short by severe cardiac issues. Despite the fact that these issues were serious, neither his passion for the sport nor his willingness to compete was ever compromised.

You could find it helpful to use Tim as an example of someone who never gave up if you’re dealing with health problems. Throughout his career, he pursued his goals and was constantly optimistic.