Written by Ron Harris
17 November 2020




Bo Knows Bodybuilding!

Dectric ‘Bo’ Lewis Is Roaring Up the 212 Ranks



Those of you who were around in the late 1980s will recall Nike’s “Bo Knows” campaign for their cross-training shoe. It featured legendary musician Bo Diddley and Vincent “Bo” Jackson, the only man in history to be named an All-Star in both pro baseball and football. Now, in our own sport of bodybuilding, a new champion is rising in the 212 division. At 42 years old, Dectric “Bo” Lewis is still a rookie, having turned pro in July of 2018 as a Master at the NPC Universe. He could very well have been like the legions of men who turn pro as a Masters competitor – destined for obscurity with nary a chance to ever make any impact on an IFBB Pro League stage amongst the younger athletes who earned their pro status at tougher events like the USA, NPC Nationals, Amateur Olympia and Arnold Amateur. Bo Lewis would be one of the rare few to break that cycle. With a dense, complete physique featuring thick pecs, melon delts and monster arms, Bo recently returned with major improvements to take a close second place to George “Da Bull” Peterson as the former Classic star made his debut as a 212 at the Tampa Pro. Though George was the man most fans were waiting to see in the 212 class there, it was Bo who became the talk of the weekend. Who is this guy? It is now my pleasure to tell you all about Dectric “Bo” Lewis.


The Tennessee Titan

Bo grew up in Memphis, the same city that spawned blues and rock and roll music. He played several sports well, but was best at baseball and basketball. In baseball, pitchers would intentionally walk him because as he says, “If I made contact with the ball, you could kiss it goodbye.” And despite being a hair under 5-foot-7, he followed in the footsteps of his aunts and uncles on the basketball court as a point guard. “I could dunk, and still can believe it or not, and could rebound with the best of them.” 


His introduction to weight training came not from sports, but from an uncle who had a weight set in his back room. One day when Bo was only 10, he told the child to “go back there and lift some weights.” Dectric saw the bench press with a bar on its racks, and proceeded to do his first set ever. “My chest got this tight feeling, and I ran out to show my mom,” he laughs. Around this time, he found a TV show on reruns called The Incredible Hulk. “It was on at 3:00 p.m., and I used to run home from school every day to watch it,” he tells us. “Seeing Lou Ferrigno all painted green and hitting those poses, throwing people around like dolls, flipping cars over – man, that made me want muscles!” 




Bo asked for his own weight set to train at home with, and on every birthday and Christmas his gift request was always the same – more weights, please. “These were those concrete weights with the plastic over them where you had to use a wrench for the collars,” he says. In junior high, a friend invited him to a local YMCA weight room, where an older member urged him to try his hand at the bench press. He did 135 with ease but got stuck when 45s were added to each side to make it 225. “That really bothered me,” Bo says, which led to his long foray into powerlifting. He bulked up to 250 pounds thanks to eight or nine meals a day that were often mostly fast food, and posted lifts of a 765-pound squat and deadlift as well as a 525-pound bench press.


A Bodybuilder at Last

There is a good chance the tremendous physique of Bo Lewis may have never been seen, buried under layers of body fat forever. Then one day in the gym, someone asked him if he was a pro bodybuilder. Taken aback, Bo replied that he had never even competed. This gentleman told him to consider it, as did more and more gym members not long after. IFBB Pro DeShawn Glass and Dwayne Hampton, who is still his trainer, were the two men who finally convinced Dectric he would do very well. But first he had some shocking news for Bo.  


“It was February of 2017, and I was 250 pounds,” he tells us. “The local show he wanted me to do was in June, and he told me I would be about 180 pounds by then. I just laughed at him because it sounded ridiculous.” But sure enough, Bo weighed in at 185 pounds and won the whole thing. He capped off that season with two class wins at his state show, then another overall at the Flex Lewis Classic. At this point, his physique was decidedly top-heavy. “I could squat 765 for a single and do 500 for 20, then do a drop set to 405 for another 20 reps, but I had no legs,” he recalls. It was a conversation with Flex Lewis that made all the difference. “Flex told me to stop squatting and do deep leg presses,” he says. Bo did just that, and by the time he won the Junior Nationals the following spring, he had added a full 4 inches to his thighs. 


Bo had also met Kevin Levrone in 2017 at his first contest. Dectric was a bit starstruck, as Kevin was his favorite bodybuilder and a massive inspiration to him. When Kevin showed up at his gym one day out of pure coincidence, he immediately took Bo under his wing and decided to help him reach his goals in the sport. “Kevin was huge – I think he was training for the 2018 Arnold Classic in Australia. He would put me through posing practice sessions that were as tough or tougher than any workout,” he adds. By the end of the summer of 2018, Bo would be a pro thanks to not one but two overall wins at the NPC Universe, in the Over 35 and Over 40 divisions. 


His Pro Career Thus Far

Unlike so many other newly minted pros, Bo didn’t sit out for a year or two before putting his pro card to use. The Chicago Pro was just a week after his NPC win, and Shawn Ray urged him to compete in it. “Looking back, I should have done that show,” he notes. Instead, he headed down to Tampa where he placed 11th in a 212 class won by Nicolas Vullioud.


“My body wasn’t responding very well to diet and cardio by that point, because I hadbeen in prep for about seven months by then,” he shares. “But I am a competitor, and I wanted to get up on a pro stage as soon as possible to see where I stood. I wasn’t upset about my placing at all. I took it as a learning experience.” 


It’s quite common for bodybuilders to bitch when they don’t win and blame it on incompetent judging and/or politics. What they should do is exactly what Bo did, which was to seek out expert opinions on what aspect of their physique needs improvement. “Don’t tell me I look good,” he explains. “That’s what my friends do. Tell me what I’m lacking so I can get better.” 


Bo earnestly asked myself and several others what to work on, and I told him shoulders, quads and especially hamstrings. The area I saw the most dramatic improvement in was hamstrings, and Bo gives credit to the aforementioned young Mr. Vullioud from Switzerland. “That guy has some crazy hamstrings on him, so I did his workout,” he tells us. That involved both barbell and dumbbell stiff-leg deadlifts, seated leg curls, standing single-leg curls, and leg curls with a dumbbell heldbetween his feet. I can honestly say I have never seen a man bring up his hamstrings to the degree Dectric did just from the start of 2020 until the Tampa Pro in early August.


The 2019 season was a step up the ladder for Bo, as he made his way to Chicago to place seventh before taking runner-up to 212 veteran Eduardo Correa in Puerto Rico. From there, Bo adopted the Ronnie Coleman training split of six days a week, hitting body parts twice weekly. He was determined to win a contest in 2020. Of course, the COVID-19 situation played havoc with his competitive designs. 


“I wanted to do the Indy Pro, which got canceled,” he says. “Boston and Puerto Rico were also on my schedule, but Puerto Rico was canceled, and Boston got pushed back from June to October (note: it was eventually also canceled for 2020). In prep since late January, all those changes in the IFBB Pro League calendar pointed him right back to Tampa, the scene of his pro debut in 2018.


The Surprise of the Show

As we headed into the Tampa Pro, the first event to feature open and 212 bodybuilding since the Arnold Classic, all the talk was about two men: Hunter Labrada in his pro debut, and George “Da Bull” Peterson; making his highly anticipated debut as a 212 competitor after killing it in Classic for the past three seasons. Fans were anxious to see how he would look with more than 15 pounds extra on his aesthetic frame. When the 212 men filed out on Friday morning for judging, Peterson did not disappoint. But immediately all in attendance took notice of competitor number 21, Dectric “Bo” Lewis. It was clear to all with experienced eyes that Bo was the only one who was going to give George any real trouble for the win. The judges saw it the same way, and placed the two side by side for comparison after comparison. In the end, as had been expected weeks before the show even took place, Peterson was awarded first place. But Bo was the talk of the show, that guy nobody really had noticed until now but who would certainly be on our collective radar from now on. With shapely mass, balance and condition on his side, Lewis had served notice that newcomer or not, at 42 years old he was just getting started.


Next Up


Several weeks before the Tampa Pro, Bo had secured a contract with Blackstone Labs, after having been in contact with owner PJ Braun for the last two years. “He had been sending me product and knew I loved the line and was getting great results,” Bo explains. “It was just a matter of getting him to take a chance on a guy like me who hadn’t proven himself yet.” 


Lewis also pledged to make PJ proud. “I know some guys get a contract and they start to kick back and relax,” he tells us. “That’s not me. If anything, it just makes me want to work that much harder to show PJ he made the right choice going with me.” 


Why Bo?

Dectric’s nickname has nothing to do with Bo Jackson or any other Bo you may know. As a muscular teenager, he had two nicknames; Rambo and Rocky, both of which were tough-guy film characters portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Dectric liked the Rambo nickname so much had had it tattooed across his upper back. Over time, it got shortened to just Bo. Now you know!





From speaking with Bo after the Tampa Pro, I knew he was dead set on qualifying for the 212 Olympia and getting on that Las Vegas stage in December. Exactly four weeks later, he was back in Tampa, this time for the New York Pro. This time, nothing would stop him as he dominated the 212 division and earned his spot at this year’s Olympia where he will stand on the stage with the world’s best 212 athletes like Kamal Elgargni, Derek Lunsford, Shaun Clarida and the rest. “I know it’s the Olympia, but I will be going there to win,” he says. “I’ve been an athlete all my life, and I don’t train for second place. I respect all those guys of course, but we all do this to win.”




Rarely have I met a man as determined as Bo, who not only seeks out critiques but also follows through and works until the needed improvements have been made. Honestly, I believe we are watching the rise of another 212 star in Bo Lewis, and I feel privileged to be able to follow his journey. 


Contest History

2017 Volunteer State


Light Heavyweight and Overall


2017 Flex Lewis Classic


Light Heavyweight and Overall


2018 Junior Nationals


Light Heavyweight and Overall


2018 NPC Universe


Over-35 Light Heavyweight and Overall


Over-40 Light Heavyweight and Overall


2018 Tampa Pro


11th Place, 212


2019 Chicago Pro


Seventh Place, 212


2019 Puerto Rico Pro


Second Place, 212


2020 Tampa Pro


Second Place, 212


2020 New York Pro





Bo’s Blackstone Labs Stack


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Apex Male

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For more information, visit blackstonelabs.com

Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram