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    Masters of Social Work student defends his world championship title

    Masters of Social Work student defends his world championship title

    Photo By Jose Rodriguez | CPT Johnny Dotson displaying his award from the 2018 Drug Free Athletic Coalition...... read more read more



    Story by Jose Rodriguez 

    U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence

    Three years ago, when CPT Johnny Dotson was a First Lieutenant, he was approached by someone at Fort Leonardwood’s main post gym and encouraged to look into becoming a competitive body builder. Though he hadn’t ever thought of doing competitions, Dotson took the stranger’s suggestion and began the research that propelled him into competition lifestyle.

    Since then, Dotson has won 23 trophies and medals. Last month, he successfully defended the World Title in the Men's Athletic (Physique) class at the 2018 Drug Free Athletic Coalition (DFAC) World Championships in Miami, Florida; the pinnacle of natural bodybuilding. Dotson was the defending 2017 title holder.

    Dotson is a student at the Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S) Health Readiness Center of Excellence (HRCoE) in the Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate program where he serves as the assistant class leader. He frequently scores 300 on the biannual Army physical fitness test and most recently scored a 316 on the extended scale. As his program director, COL Nathan Keller, Director Army MSW Program said, “CPT Dotson’s APFT scores are not surprising for someone who has won two back-to-back world titles”.

    Dotson has served in the Army for 10 years, previously as a company executive officer and company commander before being accepted into the highly competitive MSW program. Dotson believes social work is a perfect fit for him because he understands that Soldiers come into the Army as a unique package. Dotson said, “Soldiers have a human element, and I get that. I feel I am well equipped to execute the mission of the Social Work Corps.”

    For an Army Captain, competing in the DFAC is a natural fit. “I've been competing in the DFAC for less than 3 years,” said Dotson. “I began preparing for this competition in June 2018. Preparation included dieting, high intensity cardio and intense strength training five to six days a week.” Dotson received professional coaching from Ryan Sullivan who specializes in training physique competitors. All this to spend an intense 20 minutes on stage is time well spent. The professional men's athletic category included athletes from the United States, England, Canada and Cayman Islands.

    Dotson competes in male physique competitions, which emphasizes an ascetic look, and is different from traditional bodybuilding. Competitors in the Men's Athletic, traditionally physique category, are judged on three elements, muscularity, symmetry, and presentation. Dotson’s natural charisma connecting with the audience and judges allowed him to excel in presentation round.

    Run purely for the good of the natural athletes, the DFAC is not about making profit. Their aim is the development of natural bodybuilding as a sport. Every athlete finalist is polygraphed, and all class winners are urine tested. The DFAC adheres to stringent drug testing and adheres to World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) regulations.

    Dotson believes his training will also help him prepare for new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) that began fielding in October and will be fully implemented by October 2020. He said, "I feel that a lot of what I do for my competition career can translate to the new Army Combat Fitness Test,” said Dotson. “For example, one of the ACFT exercises is similar to a dead lift, that’s something that I stick to.”
    He believes the cardio on the running event on the ACFT should not be an issue since he does a lot of cardio. “A lot of things I do for power training the off season along with cutting and shredding during the competition season I feel translates to the new ACFT,” continued Dotson.

    Soon Dotson will complete classroom studies and enter the clinical portion of his Master’s degree. He plans to continue competing, striking a balancing with his Army career. Dotson also encourages others to try bodybuilding. “My advice to others is the same exact thing that man told me back at Fort Leonard Wood, you should try to compete,” said Dotson. “It teaches discipline, commitment, and gives Soldiers something to focus on outside of the Army. You can add something else to your toolkit. Give it a shot.”

    For more information on the AMEDDC&S HRCoE Masters of Social Work and other graduate programs, please contact the Graduate School, Bravo Company, Medical Professional Training Brigade at 210- 221-6457/7582 of visit For information on the ACFT, visit



    Date Taken: 12.04.2018
    Date Posted: 12.04.2018 16:48
    Story ID: 302204
    Location: FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, US 

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