Twin Army Cooks Featured in Fitness Magazine
By Staff Sgt. Jack Siemieniec
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 5, 2000) -- You know "Cookie," the fat Army mess sergeant from the "Beetle Bailey" comic strip?
Well, these guys are nothing like that.
Meet the brothers Davis: both Army cooks, both bodybuilders, and with the May 2000 issue of Muscle and Fitness, both will be known to readers of the national magazine.
The brothers appear in a pictorial article titled "Military Muscle."
The two 34-year-olds are identical twins and veterans of 16 years in the Army. Natives of Gloucester, Va., they enlisted together and have served together their entire careers, ending up in the Pentagon for the last four years.
Master Sgt. Ronnie Davis serves as the mess steward of the General Officers' Mess.
Sergeant 1st Class Rennie Davis is the purchasing agent for the Secretary of Defense's Mess.
Both are testimonials to natural bodybuilding.
"No question. When you look good, you feel good, and that motivates you, your body, your mind, your soul. You want to strive for higher goals and achieve higher goals. Also, it motivates the people around you," said Ronnie.
Ronnie, competing at 143 pounds, outweighs his older-by-sixteen-minutes brother by three pounds.
The seventh and eighth of nine children, they said they have been athletic all their lives.
"We enjoyed football and basketball growing up. We were little but we thought we were tough," said Rennie.
The two men have been bodybuilding since they came into the Army, only choosing to compete for the last five years.
In that time, their biographies show a steady upward climb in final standings as their experience has grown from local to national competitions.
In last year's National Physique Committee Team Universe competition, Ronnie and Rennie finished 5th and 7th in their class, respectively. They describe the contest as the pinnacle for natural bodybuilders, with the winners representing the United States in a world competition.
Natural bodybuilders use only natural substances to develop their physiques - no steroids or artificial chemical stimulants. Contestants agree to urine testing.
The Davis' are adamantly against steroid use and said anyone would be who saw its effects up close.
"It'll turn you off. You don't want to take your body to that," Ronnie said.
"From the crowd, you see these guys looking bronzed, they look good, but back stage, ... The young guys, they want to get that look in their early twenties, they have body acne, you can see how it's messing up their skin when you get up close. They go through drastic mood swings," Rennie said.
Ronnie explained steroids also have serious side effects on women. With extended use, it may cause them to take on a somewhat masculine appearance. And, in addition to the physical changes one can see, the drugs can also cause biological changes, he added.
"Guys who are on the circuit who are natural, in their twenties, they can't compete with guys like us who are in our thirties, who've been doing this for so long. So that's why they go to the drugs," Ronnie added.
Now, the brothers said, their year is divided into two seasons. The bulk of the year, what they call the off-season, is their "weight-gaining phase."
They said they train up to three hours a day, three times a week, working their entire bodies.
"Since we're soldiers, we want to look fit year-around, so we use moderate to heavy weight (for training). We don't go heavy to add mass, we do it because we want to have a year-round, chiseled physique," said Ronnie.
Then, nine weeks before a competition, they move into what they call their "dieting phase," dropping ten to 12 pounds in weight and training six days a week, alternating between their upper and lower bodies. They work on their abs (mid-sections) everyday.
The brothers are their own trainers and self-taught, gaining knowledge through experience and conversations with others. They said they use only multivitamins and protein and creatine supplements, along with a healthy diet, to build their bodies.
"The mistake some people make when using protein drinks, is they don't train properly, so the drink that is supposed to help them hurts them and causes them to get a little thick around the middle," Rennie added.
They said they'd like to motivate soldiers to get more interested in fitness and educate them more about supplements, so that others don't spend so much money on things that don't work.
The brothers said they have focused on only two competitions the last few years, the Team Universe -- this year set for August in New York City -- and the Nationals Championships. The Nationals is not a drug-tested event and the Davis' said they like to see how they stack up against that type of competition.
To say they are carbon copies of each other is an understatement. Their close-cropped mustaches are even identical. The similarities finally got to the judges at their competitions.
"Usually, until the last couple of years, we'd be right beside each other. So now they say, 'Naw we're gonna split you guys up now,'" Rennie said.
"Actually, we've really been blessed to have been stationed together all these years. Whenever we meet other twins, and ask if the twin is local, they'll say, 'No, I've got a twin in another state and I'm in D.C.' To us, that sort of breaks our heart a little bit. Because you know, twins have a real special bond," Rennie said.
Speaking with the brothers, although one is struck by their obvious passion for natural bodybuilding and fitness, a listener realizes it's rivaled possibly only by their devotion to the Army.
They take it as their mission to convert anyone they speak with to the positive effects of better fitness and a life in the Army.
"If we could get today's soldiers to look at the military the way I saw it, it would motivate them to want to stay 20 years. Protect and serve. Be proud, serving your country. That's the way I saw it. I saw myself as an athlete," Ronnie said.
"Soldiers are the only year-round athletes. To be honest, we don't have any off-season. Anytime you're told to take a PT test, you have to be able to do it. Anytime you're told to jump over that wall, you have to be able to do it. We're year-round soldiers, I mean athletes. Soldiers really have to understand that," Ronnie said.
Speaking for the two of them -- as each takes his turn doing -- Ronnie summed up their feelings: "I love the Army, I love its way of life, I love what it has done for me and what it's doing for me. It's paying me to stay in shape; who wouldn't love that?"
An ArmyLINK news story, dated April 5, 2000