Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Tom Saling

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Tom Saling! - Pics and info and more!
  • Name: Tom Saling
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 20
  • Where: Marlton, NJ
  • Height: 5'8"
  • Weight: 158 Lbs Contest 210 Lbs Off
  • Years Bodybuilding :2
  • Favorite Bodypart: Shoulders
  • Favorite Exercise: Dumbbell Military Press
  • Favorite Supplements: Body Fortress Premium Whey Protein

How Did You Get Started?

Throughout high school I did lift weights for wrestling, which gave me a good base for bodybuilding. My local gym, Kings Grant Fitness Center, had everything I needed, and 2 people Rob and Sean, taught me a lot about exercises. After wrestling I had no intention of doing bodybuilding competitively, only to stay fit. Then in my second semester of college I met Brandon Bissell at WVU.

He already had one competition under his belt and was preparing for his second. I had a gained a lot of knowledge watching him cut weight from the show, and what to expect as far as mood swings, and the other aspects of life on a calorie restricted diet had in store. Then I did a bulking phase with him in the fall semester, and we started cutting weight at the same time.

This is when he asked me if I wanted to do the show with him he said, "You're already cutting weight you might as well just do this show with me." It took me a couple of weeks to make this decision because I knew what I would be giving up. I would be kissing college nightlife, most foods and beverages in the world, and even relationships goodbye. But I knew if I turned down this offer I would regret it for the rest of my life, so I agreed to do it. I placed last in all of my classes I entered, but this gave me the motivation I needed to place 1st in the Novice Tall Class at the NABBA Natural Mid-Atlantic Bodybuilding Championships.

Tom Saling.
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Tom Saling.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I'm a big fan of balance in my workouts. I like to think of how I lift weights as an equation that needs to be balanced. For example, if I do one exercise where I utilize an explosive style of lifting weights or where I may cheat a little and use low reps, I would have to balance this by doing 2 exercises where I use strict form and high reps.

For me 5-6 reps are used for explosive movements, 8-10 is high, while 7 reps are neutral. I rarely go above 10 reps for anything but traps, calves, and abs. I also switch my grips or feet positions every few weeks to hit different muscle fibers. I also believe in rest-pauses because they are great for getting a few extra reps out.

Drop Sets - Also known as strip sets, drop sets involve the immediate reduction of weight between sets with no rest. This will thoroughly burn out a muscle.
Failure - That point in an exercise at which you have so fully fatigued your working muscles that they can no longer complete an additional repetition of a movement with strict biomechanics. You should always take your post-warm-up sets at least to the point of momentary muscular failure, and frequently past that point.

Day 1: Legs/Abs

Day 2: Biceps/Chest

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Back/Hamstrings/Calves

Day 5: Delts/Triceps/Traps

Day 6 And 7: Off

Tom Saling.
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Tom Saling.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I followed this for when I was 10-7 weeks out from competition, after this I would reduce protein one week, the next week carbs by 5gs each week until peak week. Generally I always keep my carbs fairly high and my protein pretty low. I find the less carbs I eat, the worse my body responds.

Meal 1:

Meal 2 - Pre-Workout:

Meal 3 - Intra-Workout:

Meal 4 - Post Workout:

Meal 5:

Meal 6:

Meal 7:

Tom Saling.
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Tom Saling.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I use a multi-vitamin and Premium Whey Fortress Protein Powder

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I love bodybuilding competitions, because after wrestling ended in high school I was left with nothing. So I just worked out for a year with no intention of doing bodybuilding competitively. Then the next year I met my friend who got me into it, and I discovered I could sculpt myself, stay healthy, and compete. It's not about beating someone on stage it's about beating the previous you who was onstage last. You are your own enemy. If you made the improvements you said you wanted to make, then you can't be mad about the placings.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

Aside from competing, I know diet combined with exercise is the fountain of youth. I have seen 25 year olds look like they were 40 because they shove burgers and beers down their throats and consider cardio to be getting up to the fridge to get more burgers and beers. On the other side, I know 40 year olds who look like they are 25 year olds because of diet and exercise. I also don't want to be a statistic for anything that relates to overweight Americans.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

After this last competition looking at some pictures of me and other pro natural bodybuilders at my age, I don't think I'm that far off from how they looked. I feel with another 5 years of bulking I would be within striking distance at the age of 25 or 26. My previous life goal was just to stay fit. However, with this new goal I will see better results in the gym and I love everyday of it.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I will take 2-3 years off while staying at 12% body fat. I need to add size to my legs, traps, and come in with better conditioning, striated glutes is the goal. Then take 20-25 weeks to cut down for a regional show, possibly doing a local show as a warm up show. I plan on competing in the USBF, NABBA, and NPC. My overall goal is to go pro.

On a side note, one of the judges told me I had bad leg separation so I will be pounding my legs into oblivion these next 2-3 years.

Tom Saling.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Tom Saling.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Take a monthly progress picture of yourself whether you are cutting or bulking so you can go back and compare them to previous pictures. This way you will know if you are on pace or not and won't be stressing about coming in off. Likewise, if you are bulking you can adjust your exercise program if you see an area lagging behind.

If your just starting off, set small goals for yourself. Your goal shouldn't be adding 25 pounds of muscle by summer when it's March, because that just won't happen. A better goal would be adding 10 pounds of muscle in a year or maybe increasing all of your lifts by 15lbs by the end of the year. If you set your goals too high you might be tempted to be someone who quits and says, "Anyone who benches 315lbs is on steroids." Don't be that guy; be the guy who is doing more than 315lbs.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

In no order Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Layne Norton, Jim Cordova, Franco Columbu, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kai Greene, Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, and Branch Warren. Any time I watch one of their videos and don't want to work out, I'm instantly ready for some heavy sets.

What Features Do You Use On

I buy all my competition color and supplies here. I also use the forums to learn more, and keep me motivated.