How did you get started?
I got started in the iron game in the fifth grade when my Father Mike Leahy bought me my first weight set from Dunham’s Sporting Goods and it has been a love affair ever since. I can remember getting those first pumps from the plastic weights in my basement. To this day I am addicted to the feeling of the pump. My neighbor John Doria was a college football player and the biggest guy I had ever seen so he took me under his wing and taught me to train with correct form and intensity.
Where does you motivation come from?
My motivation comes from losing my father in 1992. My father was my best friend and the greatest man I have ever meet. He taught me to always keep trying to achieve something even if it is a minor goal. My father told me that, “a man without a hobby is lost,” and to this day I believe this to be true. I feel if more people had a hobby in which they held dear to there hearts the world would be a much happier place. All my shows are in his honor win or loose. I have also lost several close friends and I think of them everyday. I can hear them say, “live your dreams Joe.” This drives me to leave it all on the playing field.
What is your training philosophy?
I believe in high reps and a lot of sets. I like to pyramid the sets. For example I will start with a set of 20 good reps to get the blood into the target area. I will then add weight and lower the reps. I am a very high volume trainer. I have been known to do as many as 25 sets for each body part. This style keeps me lean all year and close to contest shape. I also like the added fact that it helps me to remain injury free. I.F.B.B Pro Lee Priest and Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler have a similar style. I enjoy a lot of blood volume. My rest breaks are around the 45 second range or just long enough for my partner to complete his set.
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
Sticking with the basics is what truly builds a solid physique. If I had to choose what three exercises are the most important I would go with free weight squats for legs, incline dumbbell press for chest, and dead lifts for the overall body. Answering this question made me realize how much I love all the variety today’s gyms offer. I enjoy all the free weights and machines available today!
What is your philosophy on nutrition?
I am known for staying close to contest shape all year. I eat a lot of chicken, fish, steak and hamburger in the form of sirloin. Even in the off-season I go low on the carbs. I get my carbs from fast acting white rice directly after I train. On the typical day I may only eat twenty grams of carbs in the form of oatmeal with breakfast. I am a 7-Keto dieter. I love animals fats. You will find me snacking on almonds, cashews, mixed nuts and all natural organic peanut butter. I would rather have a steak and some nuts then carbs. I find this keeps my muscles looking hard and really helps me to carve in the cuts.
What are your favorite meals?
My favorite meal is my post workout meal which consists of 7 whole eggs, 2/3 cup uncooked white rice and 7 slices of turkey bacon. This is my favorite off season meal and I have been known to eat it up to seven times a day. Plenty of protein, good fat and fast acting carbs in this meal. Pre-contest my favorite meal is 10 egg whites and a packet of plain oatmeal with 2 packets of splenda. I keep it simple with my nutrition and I don’t try and rewrite the book I just make sure to eat plenty of clean protein.
Favorite cheat food?
My favorite cheat meal would be any kind of corn. Canned or corn on the cobb is heaven! I also enjoy a few peppermint patties on occasion. I am not a big cheat meal eater. Taco’s are an off-season must have. I make them with 2 lbs of ground sirloin and plenty of CHEESE!!!
What supplements do you use ?
I recently achieved sponsorship from LGSciences and it has been a blessing! Scott Conroy totally takes care of me. I am loving the E-911 energy booster pre-workout. T-911 and the Formadrol Extreme are a must have. These are both anti-estrogen’s and are amazing products. I truly believe in LGSciences. I was honored to be sponsored by the company I believe in the most. I feel all bodybuilders need a solid anti-estrogen. What good are high test levels when the body is over run with estrogen. As we age we must fight the estrogen. Thanks Scott of LG for everything my friend!
Which era of bodybuilding had superior physiques? Yesterdays Bodybuilders Or Todays?
The 80’s and 90’s were the best of times for bodybuilding. It was amazing to turn on ESPN and watch the Arnold Classic or to see a professional I.F.B.B show on ABC. You could also go to the mall and buy bodybuilding clothes from a specialty store dedicated to the bodybuilders needs. Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone and Chris Cromier all had there own training camps and it was truly exciting times. Today guys come from all over the world so there is really no Mecca of Bodybuilding anymore. I am truly a fan of the game so even to this day I am loving the rivalry’s of this awesome sport.
Flex Wheeler without a shadow of a doubt in my mind was the greatest, ok, maybe Shawn Ray too. Then again Levrone, lol.. The list goes on and on for me. I liked them all.
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all,” Vince Limbardi.
I love this quote because when people get tired they fall apart and make terrible decisions. When the diet gets rough guys will get tired and cheat. When work hours are long they will skip there training. When fatigue hits I must not turn into a coward and fall to pieces.