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Its natural for Manteca bodybuilder
Paul Alberts strikes a pose a day before heading to Sacramento for his fourth ever professional bodybuilding event. Alberts was a hit on the amateur circuit, and subscribes to a “drug free” training regimen. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Paul Alberts didn’t see any need to turn to the needle when he decided to embark on his bodybuilding career almost a decade ago.

In a sport where drugs have almost become commonplace, Alberts made an agreement with himself that he’d follow the moral compass that has guided him his entire life and never take a turn down that road.

And he’s done quite well since committing himself to what has become a lifestyle.

“I enjoy the journey of the entire experience – watching yourself progress from when you start training to when you’re up on there on the stage for the judges to see,” Alberts said. “Once you perform that’s kind of the culmination of everything that you’ve worked so hard for.”

Today, Alberts will participate in his ever event on the West Coast when he takes the stage at the Crest Theater for the World Natural Bodybuilding Foundation Pro Natural US Cup. It gives his friends and family the chance to see him compete in person for the first time.

For the last several days, Alberts has been on the home stretch of a diet that he started five months ago when he began training – a regiment that consists of lifting weights three times daily and a daily cardio workout that ranges from 30 minutes to an hour.

While his small stature – Alberts measures up at 5-foot, 7-inches and weights only 140 pounds – seems to mislead just about everybody, his body fat count is only at three percent. His lean physique has helped his professional bodybuilding career and even propelled him past contestants that had as much as 60 pounds on him.

“When people see me on the street or at work and I tell them that I’m a bodybuilder, none of them believe it,” Alberts said. “But when I get bronzed up and take the stage it makes people understand a little bit more about what it is that I do and why I do it.”

While he’s a full-fledged WNBF Professional, Alberts almost stumbled into the entire scene by accident.

It was at a barbecue that he learned his brother had started to get into the sport, and at his urging he decided to give it a shot on his own.

He had lifted weights in high school, and considered himself to be in pretty good shape.

But when it came time to develop his own workout regiment and concepts to get himself in peak physical shape, Alberts – known as “Little Shredder” in bodybuilding circles” – prefers a high-intensity workout with plenty of time to let his muscles rest rather than the bulk heavy lifting that most people would think would be standard in the sport.

Once he takes the stage in Sacramento today– his third professional event (his 18th overall including amateur shows where he placed in all but one) – Albert takes solace in the fact that he’ll be up there with a group of like-minded individuals that want to build their bodies without pumping them full of chemicals.

“It’s a moral decision for me not to use steroids or things like that, and I think that people who use them are doing so because they can’t achieve what they want without them,” he said. “I just simply couldn’t feel proud holding a trophy up over my head knowing that it wasn’t all me that earned that.”

According to Alberts’ wife Tina, it was only several years ago that she caught him looking at a bodybuilding magazine and admiring the professionals that he had looked up to at the time – wishing that someday he’d get the chance to be the same plane.

Once he got his pro card, he was able to do just that.

And for the 43-year-old warehouse worker, the bodybuilding lifestyle is more than just the glory or the way that the crowd reacts to the poses on the night of a competition.

“I just generally feel healthier,” he said. “A lot of people don’t believe that I’m 43 years old, and I think that by keeping myself in shape like this that been able to keep myself healthier than most people.

“This is a lifestyle that definitely has it’s difficulties – the work, the hours, and especially the diet – but knowing when you’re up there that you did the work that other people are admiring is what it’s all about and keeps you going.”