How did you get started with bodybuilding?
I was in the army reserve a few years back, and began weight training as part of our fitness protocol. Once I began to see tangible changes in my strength and muscle mass I was completely hooked.
I started off on kind of an indefinite “clean bulk” which lasted a solid 5 years or so before I finally decided it was time to compete.
Where does your motivation come from?
Myself. Weightlifting has become my passion and way of life. I think a common mistake that a lot of wannabe bodybuilders make in terms of attitude is that they are primarily motivated to impress others. This reason for training will very quickly result in loss of motivation and stagnant progress due to lack of an internal motivator to train. When you train for yourself, it is easy to get your ass into the gym every day because you want to. The thrill of seeing myself transform, not to mention the confidence, satisfaction, and general sense of well-being and health gained through strength and hypertrophy training, to me is extremely addictive. I love the iron and what it does for me.
It’s the perfect mental escape, the ideal stress outlet, and the ultimate physical all in one. What’s not to love?
Photo Credit: Justin Robbins
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I’ve had a lot of success with various splits, all of them working each body part once every 5-7 days. My current split is a fairly standard weekly rotation that I used for the later portion of this off season as well as my contest prep.
Here is an example of a typical week.
Day 1: Deadlifts/Hamstrings/Calves/Abs
- Deadlifts 3×1-8
- Hamstring Curls 3×7-10
- Calf raises 3×15-20
- Cable Crunches 3×12-25
Day 2: Chest
- Incline Barbell 3×4-8
- Incline Dumbbell 3×4-8
- Weighted Dips 3×5-7
- Cable Crossovers 3×8-12
Day 3: Back/Forearms
- Barbell Rows 3×4-8
- Weighted wide-grip pull-ups 3×5-10
- Cable Rows 3×6-9
- Forearm Curls 3×10-20
Day 4: Quads/Abs
- Squats 4×1-8
- Leg press (single leg) 3×7-10
- Walking dumbbell lunges 8 reps each leg
- Leg extensions 3×7-10
- Ab roll outs – 3×12-20
Day 5: Shoulders/Traps
- Dumbbell shoulder press 3×4-8
- Military press (behind the neck) 3×5-10
- Upright rows (dumbbells) 3×5-7
- Reverse flies 3×7-10
- Side laterals 3×6-10
- Barbell power shrugs 3×6-12
Day 6: Arms
- Close grip bench press 3×4-7
- Barbell curls 3×5-10
- Overhead tricep extensions 3×6-10
- Dumbbell hammer curls 3×5-8
- Tricep push-downs 3×6-10
- Isolation curls 3×6-10
Day 7: Rest
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Incline dumbbell press – In my opinion the best upper body compound pressing exercise for bodybuilders. I’ve always found incline pressing to fully stimulate the chest muscle much more effectively than flat bench which does not target much of the upper chest area.
- Squat – Another great compound mass builder. More quad dominant compared to deadlifts, both of these exercises are a staple in any routine where the goal is to pack on quality muscle and overall strength.
- Deadlifts – Hands down the best CNS stimulator and overall compound exercise. It just targets so many muscle groups and is a great way to put on quality back thickness and overall body mass.
Off Season Power Training – 700lb Deadlift @ 231lbs
What is your diet like?
This might be a typical off season diet day:
- Meal 1: Oats, whey protein, skimmed milk, peanut butter in a sludge mixture (delicious!) with a banana
- Meal 2: (Pre workout) Two whole pitas with chicken breast & cheese
- Meal 3: (Immediately PWO) Whey protein shake / protein bar
- Meal 4: (30 min PWO) Oats, whey, milk, peanut butter
- Meal 5: Whole grain pasta with extra-lean beef pasta sauce
- Meal 6: Low fat cottage cheese on rice cakes
- Meal 7: (Before bed) Casein shake
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
Both HIIT and LISS have unique benefits and I incorporate both into my prep. LISS will burn more calories during the actual cardio, but HIIT will elevate the metabolism to burn more calories later throughout the day, as well as provide more of a training stimulation for type II muscle fibers.
One thing to note is that if I am doing any lower body lifting I will do LISS cardio in the morning as it is less strenuous and glycogen-sparing and will not affect weightlifting performance as much as a HIIT session might.
What is your supplementation like?
In the off season it’s just the basics: Whey protein, Casein, Multivitamin, Creatine monohydrate, BCAAs, and a Pre workout stimulant. During prep, my supplementation is much more involved and I take a plethora of supplements for fat loss purposes and to replace missing vitamins/minerals in the diet during prep from eating such a narrow range of foods.
Some of the key supplements I will throw in to my regiment on a prep would include Fish Oil, CLA, Calcium/Magnesium, Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, Natural Test Boosters and Cortisol Blockers etc.
Evan Centopani, Brandon Curry, Arnold (of course!), Flex Lewis, Shawn Ray
“Those who say they can and those who say they can’t are both usually right.”