Big Cat

Background

Everybody makes mistakes, but only if they try. You'll never get it right the first time around, but if I can teach you anything, it is to think for yourself. You may not always be right, but at least you thought for yourself, instead of being told what to think.

I'm Peter Van Mol, but am more commonly known as the Big Cat. Its an old nickname my friends gave me in college, on account of the fact that every time they came by, I was either eating or sleeping. Like a big cat. I started using it as my internet nickname as well, and now apart from my family and one or two close friends, people just call me Big Cat.

I have been with Bodybuilding.com for a long time now, almost from the very beginning when I was just a kid with a mind of my own who wanted to help others on some starting internet message board. I was asked by the owner of Bodybuilding.com, Ryan Deluca, if I was interested in writing a few articles for the site and that's how it all started. Since then I have written over 80 articles for this site and continue to do so today. In that same time Bodybuilding.com has grown to become the number 1 internet resource for bodybuilders, with a wealth of information and a superstore that offers most available supplements at the most competitive prizes.

And me? I'm still doing my thing. I've grown considerably, not so much physically as mentally. I started out as a psychology student only to end up being a physiology enthusiast with a background in molecular biology, who is currently studying medical lab technology and physical therapy. Along with my unchanged zest for helping others, I now possess an exponentially increased amount of knowledge about almost everything.


(Left to right) Jay Cutler and I at the ISS booth at FIBO 2002, Me with Ed van Amsterdam at FIBO 2003, Me with two of my most talented athletes: Estelle Moreau, world champion figure fitness in the medium height class, and Philiep Van Nuffel, three time Belgian and European champion.

As readers will note when reading my pieces, the earlier work isn't entirely devoid of error and I did seem to have more of a passion for adjectives in the past than I do now, but they are all still valid as rough guides and introductions to the matter discussed. As one progresses through my reading, especially towards the steroid profiles, the articles on vitamins, and my most recent work you will also notice that I have a high standard of writing and attach a lot of attention to both common sense and scientific proof. Two things that are utterly useless without each other. In essence I'm still that kid that just wanted to help people though...

Who is the Big Cat as a bodybuilder? Three times nobody. I have made remarkable changes to my body, starting out at a mere 153 lbs at 6'1 to a top weight of 225 lean pounds an 6'2 when I still thought I could be a competitor. But I simply don't have the heart of a competitor. I currently maintain a weight between 210 and 220 lbs at 8-10% body-fat without too much difficulty. I am well aware that with what I know I should be able to compete at a much, much higher weight, but I will be honest with you all: I lack the work ethic and the will-power to compete. I also don't generally call myself a bodybuilder, but rather a bodybuilding enthusiast.

That's why I am a trainer. I love to work with athletes of all kind, to help them achieve a higher level, better performance and appearance. A lot of these athletes are active on an international level and do very well in their sports. As far as bodybuilding is concerned, I work with, among others, Philiep Van Nuffel, 3 time Belgian and European champion bodybuilding, who will hopefully make a throw at the world championship this year, and Estelle Moreau, world champion figure fitness in the medium height class.

Make no mistake, these athletes are the best of the best and to work with me requires more work ethic and stamina than you can imagine, I demand a lot physically and psychologically of them all. My assistance may be very valuable in achieving the level they must achieve to excel year after year, but don't let that fool you for one second, I don't know many people who work harder than they do. They can't do what I do, and trust me, I couldn't do what they do.

So who influenced me so much that I still strive to be better, still strive to help others to the best of my ability? Well not many people. If you ask me who I admire, I will gladly say my parents and the few good friends that stuck around, I admire them all for sticking it out with me. I seem difficult sometimes, the truth is, I'm much worse in reality. But other than that I don't admire anyone. And that's a tip I give to you all: Don't aspire to be like anyone. Rather than that, look towards their positive traits and adopt them, make them your own.

Because when you merely aspire to be like someone, you only aspire to be as good as them. And if you want to have the heart of a bodybuilder, then you must aspire to be the best. To be better than those you admire. You can't do that focusing on the other people, only by focusing on yourself, beating yourself. Every day waking up realizing what has to be done, and going to sleep knowing you've done all you can do. Because if you try your hardest, it will always be better than the next guy. And eventually that pays off.

So why should you read my articles, or listen to what I have to say? Well honestly, you don't. My only aim is to educate and inform consumers of how to maximize their training, nutrition and supplementation and to invest wisely in what they seek to accomplishments, both time-wise and finance-wise. I work very hard for this, while I work with several supplement companies I never accept a percentage of sales as payment, because having a vested interest corrupts my ideals.

I want people to be able to speak freely about the things I work on, and not have to give a damn when their comments are not to my liking. I speak my mind about everything, and in the process I don't pull punches. That makes me an easy target for some less than scrupulous people in the supplement industry, and not having a vested interest keeps me honest. That will ALWAYS put me one step ahead of the pack.

I currently reside in Oostende, Belgium and continue to study. I have studied in Brussels, Brugge, Edinburgh (Scotland) and Gent. I have lived in Ohio for a while and finished High school both here and there, and have travelled extensively across the United States (Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York and Illinois) and Europe (Germany, Holland, France, Scotland, England). I have had the pleasure to work and train with many a talented athlete. I have taught them a great deal, and they in turn have taught me a great deal as well. More than trainees, they are above all my friends. Training and nutrition are my life, but apart from that I enjoy playing snooker, basketball, American Football, I'm a big movie buff and enjoy pretty much all kinds of music (except that techno crap).

As I write this (early 2004) I am coming off a 10-month absence here at Bodybuilding.com. I have had an extremely difficult year that left me single after my girlfriend of 3 years left me for someone else, in poor shape after a motor-cycle accident, and relatively broke since most of my savings were in that motor-cycle and I going to college is not a cheap experience. I've lost friends, and stand to lose more to terrible illnesses, and got stabbed in the back a few times by people pretending to be friends. And some more personal stuff I would rather not discuss publicly.

Things looked pretty dire for a while, including three suicide attempts. But don't feel too bad for me. I made it through, and what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and believe me I'm stronger. And while my situation hasn't improved much, I feel lucky because I do have some friends that are true friends, and not many people can say that (thank you D-man, briny, Dr J, Philiep). I have a loving family that always gave me a second chance and I'm thankful for the success my athletes have enjoyed and will hopefully continue to enjoy in the years to come. And of course I always had a home in Bodybuilding.com.

This just goes to show you that bodybuilding is more than a sport, more than a lifestyle. It's a community, and the bodybuilders, a breed of their own. It gives you incredible mental strength, so much support from all you brothers and sisters and it is so rewarding to be healthier and look better than 95% of the people around you. I guess that makes it so much easier to do what I do, to continue to spread knowledge and help others, without having to ask insane amounts of money in return. I may be broke as hell at the time of writing this, what bodybuilding has given me is a debt I can never repay, and it is my honor to help others in that regard.


(Left to right) Jeremy Freeman and I, with superstar Monica Brant, with Jeff Long.

So as of this year, I'm proud to announce I am back as a Bodybuilding.com writer, starting with a weekly column called Big Cat's Corner, which brings you unique editorials and cutting edge information, and as time allows hopefully more feature articles. Feedback is always welcomed. And keep sending your questions. I get an immense amount of them, in excess of 100 emails per day, still. And I am lucky if I can answer even ten of those per day. So the odds are against you, but don't let that keep your from asking. You may get an answer, and if the question is interesting enough, you may see it end up in my column and then it will help so many more people.

With a health to all my brothers and sisters in the bodybuilding community, may we prosper and grow in the years to come, together. And may they be better than the past years.

Articles

  • Top 10 Supplements For Bulking!

    If you estimate what is left of actual bio-active nutrients in today's series of processed foods you can also figure out that you'd need to eat a massive amount of calories to get the necessary building blocks for growth.

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 8!

    Big Cat touches base and gives us a little information on some new discoveries to ties between obesity and GLP-1...

  • Big Cat Meets Ernie Taylor: The Ernie Taylor Interview!

    Find out what is next for bodybuilding superstar Ernie Taylor. Learn about his amazing triceps, what contests are next, if he will fight Guy Grundy, tips for beginners and more...

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 7!

    Read about how estrogen can be anabolic, if testosterone is crucial for muscle growth, if DHEA is good for fat loss and more...

  • The Physiology Of Fat Loss Part Five!

    We have arrived at part 5, the last of the purely theoretical parts. This time around we are discussing the various sex hormones like DHEA, testosterone and estrogen.

  • The Physiology Of Fat Loss Part Four!

    Ok, we are nearing the end of our theoretical ordeal. Today we are going to be covering, briefly, Growth Hormone, appetite regulation, cortisol and TNF-alpha and how they may relate to our fat loss efforts.

  • The Physiology Of Fat Loss Part Three!

    In part three of this article I will try to tackle fatty acid oxidation, the whole body beneficial effects of alpha2 adrenoreceptor stimulation and the effects of thyroid hormone.

  • The Physiology Of Fat Loss Part 2!

    I hope you have had the time to reread the first article and comprehend it fully before starting here. This time around we will discuss insulin resistance and how it works to our advantage.

  • The Physiology Of Fat Loss!

    The first article is related to lipolysis and non-shivering thermogenisis. To not complicate things too much, I will stick to discussing only the local effects on fat cells and their adjacent nerves in this first instalment.

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 6!

    Read an interesting take on the Ironman, learn all about vitamin A supplementation and much more!

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 5!

    Read an interesting take on the dedication of a bodybuilder, learn all about vitamin D supplementation and much more!

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 4!

    Find out what makes a champion, learn all about branched chain amino acids and much more!

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 3!

    Find out what the latest supplement bandwagon is and all about Leptin and what it can do for you!

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 2!

    Find more about the way supplement companies hype up products, all about topical fat loss, essential fatty acids and all about vitamin D supplementation!

  • Big Cat's Corner: Issue 1!

    Read more to find more about the ephedra ban, all about fibrates and their benefits and the advantages and disadvantages of estrogen control!

  • Big Cat's Corner! Latest Research.

    Read more to find more about the ephedra ban, all about fibrates and their benefits and the advantages and disadvantages of estrogen control!

  • Big Cat's Building A Pro Series - Part Two!

    This time I would like to take the time to tell you the story of our first mutual endeavour. This will give you some background on how we started working together and how we decided that he had the ability to become a pro.

  • Getting To Know Philiep!

    In this new series I will be detailing the training of a promising athlete, as I guide him to getting his pro card. It's a daring experience, because it's not about getting a fat guy in shape...

  • In Depth Testosterone Enanthate Profile!

    Testosterone is the prime male androgen in the body

  • In Depth Winstrol Profile!

    TThis is another one of the popular ones. Next to Deca and D-bol the third most abused substance among athletes is stanozolol, as documented by the many positive drug tests.

  • Building A Professional!

    Over the next 14 months, following my advice and that of his coach Pierre De Bont, we will turn Philiep into a Pro!

  • I.C.E. Program #21 - Listening To Your Body!

    Learn about breathing, time under tension, lifting in a natural arc, compound movements, isolation movements, increasing strength while decreasing risk of injury, strength-size relation, and much more!

  • I.C.E. Program #20 - How Natural Are You?

    Being natural does not just translate in staying out of illegality, it means you have to apply a natural touch in nutrition, supplementation and even training. Oh, and sleep of course.

  • I.C.E. Program #19 - Anabolic Nutrition!

    There is something you can take though that is more anabolic than the strongest steroid. Carbs are basically sugar. You have simple sugars or saccharides, double sugars or di-saccharides and multiple sugars like oligo-saccharides.

  • I.C.E. Program #18 - Safety And Adverse Conditions!

    Find out how to prevent injuries and stay healthy and find out what to do if you do get injured. These tips could save you a lot of pain.

  • I.C.E. Program #17 - Training The Forearms!

    The most complete forearm building article ever. You will build huge lower arms quickly!

  • I.C.E. Program #16 - Training The Trapezius!

    So you've got a gigantic chest, you've built cannonball delts and your lats stretch so far your 20 inch guns can't reach your side anymore.

  • I.C.E. Program #15 - Training The Midsection!

    So you've managed to build a respectable X-frame. Now what? Well, why do you have an X-frame? To focus visual attention. And since attention is eventually always drawn to the center, that means you are putting your midsection on display.

  • I.C.E. Program #14 - Training Arms Synergistically!

    This section of training does provide several benefits and it is a practice that is gaining a lot of popularity.

  • I.C.E. Program #13 - Training The Triceps!

    Many people consider the biceps the what-all of arm training. When someone asks you to flex your arms nobody will give them a triceps shot.

  • I.C.E. Program #12 - Training The Biceps!

    When someone asks you to flex, what do you do? You immediately roll up your sleeve and flex a Bi. A lot of the attention that was formerly on shoulders may have shifted to chest, but none of that has taken away from the fascination with the biceps!

  • I.C.E. Program #11 - Training The Hamstrings And Calves!

    It may look like the quads are all there is to leg training you'll notice that the quads hardly equal the only muscle on the leg.

  • I.C.E. Program #10 - Training The Quadriceps!

    But you know what looks really stupid though? A guy with 18-inch guns, a barrel-shape chest, flaring lats and cannonball delts that suspends his body on toothpick legs.

  • I.C.E. Program #9 - Training The Chest!

    Slowly but certainly the focus when training the body has shifted from muscular shoulders and a tiny waist, to building a chest that resembles the armour of a mythical soldier.

  • I.C.E. Program #8 - Training The Back!

    Wide shoulders are the first element of an X-frame that makes for the superior view in a front relax pose.

  • I.C.E. Program #7 - Training The Shoulders!

    The shoulders are the key element in building an impressive physique. Every element holds its own in the whole that forms the amazing bodies that bodybuilding.

  • I.C.E. Program #6 - Progression Of Training!

    You start as a beginner and progress until you are an advanced bodybuilder. How do you know where you are right now? What should you do during each stage in between?

  • I.C.E. Program #5 - Exercise Cycling!

    This is going to be a very short article, sort of as an additional remark, for when you start putting together your workout. Exercise cycling is a collection of different approaches I use to provide variety in to a muscle.

  • I.C.E. Program #4 - A Question Of Intensity!

    What is intensity and how can you achieve maximum intensity during your workouts?

  • I.C.E. Program #3 - The Keys To Success!

    Learn the keys to success in bodybuilding, getting fit and staying that way! This article details patience, the pump, motivation, range of motion, free weights vs. machines and more!

  • I.C.E. Program #2 - The Sets And Reps Of It!

    With the idea of I.C.E. freedom of choice in the back of your head it's time to set out on a program outline that will work for you. To help you, I've gathered all the info I could get on training habits that will be of most use to you.

  • I.C.E. Program #1 - Training Program Unbound!

    After having enlightened you with some information on nutrition and supplements, that leaves me only with training information left to give.

  • The I.C.E. Training Program!

    After having enlightened you with some information on nutrition and supplements, that leaves me only with training information left to give.

  • The Latest Studies On Supplements And Training Plus My Review!

    This is the first issued of a new column called Science and Performance in which I will discuss clinical studies and trials as they relate to exercise performance and supplementation.

  • Supplement Stacks And Final Remarks!

    I can understand that these stacks don't work as well as intended, I will never accept that they do not work. Such a thing is only possible when you are not taking care of odds and ends. But to make a long story short, here are the stacks.

  • Protein Breakdown: Learn Which Type Is Best For Your Goals!

    Selling a bodybuilder on protein is like selling an Eskimo ice cream. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Learn about the different types of protein

  • Creatine Updates! May 2001.

    Much to my dismay, new studies and reports on creatine are flowing in. Magazines publish updates every other month, science conventions overflow with documentation on the subject.

  • 10 Nutritional Commandments For Cutting!

    Well, we've already determined that dieting can be an arduous process, and most certainly restricting your caloric intake when you are used to eating massive meals takes a lot of determination and some planning.

  • The 10 Nutritional Commandments For Bulking!

    The world of bodybuilding is a confusing one, that is pretty much all the experts will agree on. There are so many different ways of approaching every single aspect of the game. Some things however are etched in stone.

  • The Stack!

    I'm writing this article in response to the back and forth bickering between Stephen Andersen, Callum Mahoney and Todd Torns. I will tell you the TRUTH regarding these supplement stacks.

  • Diet Information!

    If you are one of those consumers who believes that there is or ever will be a pill or whatever that can rid you of bodyfat without having to do anything, dream on.

  • Sugar Does Not = Suicide!

    I believe this article to be a potential threat to the growth and even health of several beginners that may come across this text. Of all the articles on this site, this is the only one I have found that could be truly harmful if interpreted literally.

  • Life Of A Bodybuilder: The Story Of Me!

    Big Cat's Life Story - The Life Of A Bodybuilder. How did he do it?

  • Water-Soluble Vitamins For Bodybuilders!

    Get the low-down on water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, folic acid, thiamin, and more!

  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Minerals And Trace Elements

    I started at 153 lbs. and have worked my way up to a competitive 218 and hope to be on my way to 225-228 by November.

  • Amino Acids Guide!

    Learn the FACTS about Glutamine, BCAA's, Arginine, Lysine, Methionine, Carnitine, Cysteine, and HMB.

  • Milk And Bodybuilding - Do They Mix?

    Some claim they get fat, others claim it is too expensive (???) and still others complain of gastro-intestinal disorders. But in my eyes anyone who is not lactose intolerant is selling his gains short if he is not supplementing with milk and a lot of it.

  • Creatine, Ribose And Insulin Potentiators!

    No doubt creatine was the revolution of the industry, a big boost for supplement companies and a credit to science.

  • Lower Back Safety!

    Lower back safety is an important issue. More to us than to others because a healthy lower back keeps us successful in our sport and lifestyle, but also in every day life if, and I'm sure most of us do, we plan to stay active well into old age.

  • Bodybuilding Nutrition!

    I started at 153 lbs. and have worked my way up to a competitive 218 and hope to be on my way to 225-228 by November.