How did you get started with bodybuilding?
I first started lifting weights when I was 12 years old after being bullied by an older kid right in front of my house. My father saw the whole thing through the house window and this got him worried. That night he brought me downstairs and showed me how to lift weights and box and every day after school, I would go downstairs and workout. I also remember watching Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk, and then Arnold in Conan the Barbarian, and was always impressed by that look. I later got involved in snowboarding and was doing that competitively until, when I was 18, I broke my left ankle twice in the same year. I then hit the gym again to rehab my ankle and people started noticing my physique changing and started asking me for training advice. I decided I wanted to learn more about proper training and nutrition, and got certified as a trainer and started my personal training business, “Sculpture Physique” back in 1992.
In 1994, some guy at the gym I was working at was getting ready for a competition and stated I should enter that competition since I had the physique for it. I personally didn’t feel ready to step on stage, and the competition was only 5 weeks away, but decided nonetheless to give it a shot. I ended up winning my class, the overall title and the best poser award. I was hooked from then on.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from setting goals and seeing them through. I hate to not finish what I started. Right now my goal is the earn my IFBB pro card, and then see how well I do in the under 202 class. One thing with bodybuilding is that when you put in the work and sacrifice, you visually see the results, and those results are the ultimate motivator. And I have to admit, I love the attention.
When you walk on the beach and the girls look at you, and their boyfriends look at you because they’d like to look like you, it’s a pretty cool feeling. Call me selfish, I don’t care, that’s how it is!
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I usually change my workouts around every 3 weeks, and sometimes train instinctively, but here is what I’ve been doing these last weeks.
Day 1: Arms
- EZ-bar scott curls 4×8-12
- Incline DB curls 3×10-12
- Standing alternate DB hammer curls 3×10-12
- High-pulley rope tricep pushdowns 4×8-12
- Close-grip bench press 4×6-10
- Seated EZ-bar tricep overhead extensions 3×10-12
Day 2: Legs
- Back squats 4×8-12
- Lying leg curls 5×6-8
- Leg press 3×12-15
- Romanian deadlifts 3×10-12
- Walking DB lunges 3x20steps
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Chest/Calves
- Flat DB press 4×8-12
- Incline Bench press 3×10-12
- Chest dips 3×10-12
- Flat DB flies 3×10-12
- Standing calf raises 4×10-12
- Seated calf raises 3×20-25
Day 5: Back/Delts
- Pull-ups 4×8-12
- One-arm DB rows 3×10-12
- Supinated grip lat pulldowns 3×10-12
- Seated chest supported rows 3×10-12
- Standing DB shoulder side raises 3x 12-15
- Alternate DB shoulder front raises 3×12-15
- Bent-over DB shoulder side raises 3×12-15
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Repeat
- Repeat cycle
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Chin-ups – Because I feel they are the best upper back exercise you can do, and they also work your biceps very well.
- Dips – They are what I call the upper body squat. They hit the chest hard along with the triceps.
- Deadlifts – Because they are so demanding, but the dividends are huge.
What is your diet like?
I need a lot of food in the off-season to grow because of my fast metabolism. I make sure to eat 6 to 7 meals a day and get some quality protein at every meal. I aim at 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, and also try to get in some good fats like olive oil, fish oil and coconut oil, and get my carbs from rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, berries and veggies. I measure the amount of protein I eat at every meal, but the carbs are dependent on how hungry I am. I’ll indulge in some junk food like burgers and ice cream once in a while in the off-season only.
Sample Off Season Diet:
- Meal 1: Steak, eggs, oatmeal and berries
- Meal 2: Chicken, rice, veggies
- Meal 3: Haddock, rice, veggies
- Meal 4: Buffalo, sweet potatoes, veggies
- Meal 5: Turkey, sweet potatoes, veggies
- Meal 6: Steak, salad, olive oil
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
I personally do no cardio whatsoever when trying to cut down. I have yet seen someone with a faster metabolism than me, so I end up eating away lean muscle when I do.
For my clients though, I prefer the HIIT method much better than the so called normal form of cardio which your body adapts to very quickly.
What is your supplementation like?
The best looking physique I’ve ever seen is Flex Wheeler’s. His back double bicep pose is the best ever. Too bad he never got a Sandow. Shawn Ray also had a physique I admired in the beginning of my competitive career. Jay Cutler is a super nice guy and a great ambassador for the sport, and a well deserving Mr. Olympia.
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
Photography: Paul Buceta & Alex Ardenti