How One Man Makes Fitness His Specialty In Pharmacy
National Physique (Pharmacist) Committee Athlete: How One Man Makes Fitness His Specialty in Pharmacy
by Dr. Joshua Stoneking, PharmD
Before Pharmacy School
My fitness journey began as my athletic journey came to a close. This happened my freshman year of college at West Virginia University. I no longer had the structure of after school sports practice or the sense of belonging. I was struggling with managing my time, now that I had so much free time, and how I would usefully spend it. At this time of crossroads was when I decided to get into the gym and start training!
My goals then were just to improve my physique and honestly, keep myself busy outside of the classroom. I changed my major to exercise physiology shortly after (maintaining my pre-pharmacy curriculum of course) and became enamored with the science behind the human body and the benefits of exercising.
Once I got into my senior year of my undergraduate program, I really learned and understood how to train and diet correctly. Now having this new knowledge I was able to change my physique to reach my personal goals as well as start helping other achieve theirs. This became my passion and I wanted to help others with my new found knowledge, so I was able to be hired as a personal trainer at the student recreational center. I was fortunate enough to train many different clients to help reach their fitness and health goals.
During Pharmacy School
Once in pharmacy school, the gym became my place of escape from the high stress curriculum and amount of time my studies demanded. The gym helped me more mentally during those 4 years than it did physically. During those 4 years I trained more for mental therapy than I did for bodybuilding results. My goals were all directed toward the school of pharmacy and becoming the best pharmacist I could be.
After Pharmacy School
Once I graduated from pharmacy school, I was matched at a small community hospital in Florida to start my PGY-1 residency. I moved almost 1000 miles away from home with just a car full of clothes and small items- I knew no one.
I joined a local mom and pop gym because they gave hospital employees a discount on membership. This turned out to be the turning point in my fitness career. This small local gym had a fitness team- which I had never heard of before. The owner of the gym was a successful bodybuilder and celebrity trainer. He was kind enough to talk me into doing a local fitness competition… which I initially told him no. I thought there was not a chance I would be able to step on a stage and display my physique to a crowd of random people, let alone a panel of judges. He told me he would coach me through it and was doing the same competition.
So, after some coaxing I gave in and decided to do it! I told myself it would be a one-time deal and a ‘bucket list’ type of activity. Well, 5 years and over 10 fitness competitions later, I guess it is safe to say I enjoy competing in the NPC. If anyone would have told me I would have fallen in love with this sport and continue to compete at a national level for 5 years I would have politely called them crazy. There is nothing like balancing the difficult schedule of a pharmacist with the eating and training habits of a bodybuilder!
This leads me into what it means for me to be a “FitPharmacist”.
"I believe being a FitPharmacist is leading by your own personal example. We are educated to help heal and improve the health of our patients. So, I believe we should be an example of how to lead a healthy lifestyle ourselves. I was taught “practice what you preach”, and pharmacists preach health."
Personally living a healthy lifestyle and having the knowledge to educate your patients can be motivating to them! I enjoy not only helping them with their medications, but also their diet and exercise regimens.
"We all are aware that first-line therapy for many of our nation’s most common disease states is proper diet and exercise. Having an in-depth knowledge of these two topics can vastly improve patient outcomes. This is what I am truly passionate about."
About the Author:
My name is Joshua S. Stoneking, Pharm.D., and I am the Regional Director of Oncology & Hematology at Avella Specialty Pharmacy. I grew up in West Virginia and attended West Virginia University where I earned my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology and Doctorate of Pharmacy. I currently reside in the greater Washington D.C area where I compete in the Men’s Physique division in the NPC.
Where I can be reached: