The Ageless Francis Benfatto To Return In 2010: Exclusive Interview With Pro Bodybuilding’s Mr. Symmetry!

Making a comeback! Professional bodybuilding's Mr. Symmetry speaks out on how he will achieve his best shape at age 52, and how you can achieve bodybuilding success and longevity for the rest of your life!

Article Summary:
  • Francis Benfatto, who made is comebach in 2006, plans on competing in 2010.
  • Benfatto strongly believes in the importance of symmetry, conditioning, and definition.
  • At age 52, Benfatto is in the best shape of his career.

At an age where many men already face an ongoing battle against time, where scaling back the body fat and upping the cardio to fight various health problems is commonplace, professional bodybuilding great Francis Benfatto, age 52 in June, aims to be in his best ever shape.

Known for his perfect physical development and reputation for intelligent training and nutritional planning, Francis has dug deep into his muscle building bag of tricks and will present, in 2010, a personally unprecedented combination of size, shape and conditioning to better the stunning physique that signified his bodybuilding comeback at the 2006 Australian Pro.

But what more could you expect from a lifelong devotee to the bodybuilding lifestyle and its inherent physical and anti-aging rewards?

It has long been thought that achieving an optimal shape as we age becomes much harder, to the point where losing the pounds presents an uphill struggle that, considering the time and effort needed to make the smallest of gains, is not worth beginning in the first place. Many give up in frustration at the mere thought of fighting against an increasingly sluggish metabolism intent on stifling weight loss progress. These people are clearly not bodybuilders.

As a bodybuilder, and an elite one at that, Francis knows how important a lifestyle predicated on correct training and nutritional principals can be when aiming to offset the aging process. He, along with countless other bodybuilders - amateur, professional and recreational alike - have found a veritable fountain of youth within the muscle building process, and many like him seem to get better with time.

Francis, Along With Countless Other Bodybuilders - Amateur, Professional And Recreational Alike - Have Found A Veritable Fountain Of Youth Within The Muscle Building Process
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Francis, Along With Countless Other Bodybuilders - Amateur, Professional And Recreational Alike - Have Found A Veritable Fountain Of Youth
Within The Muscle Building Process.

So, while the general population continues to rely on weight loss and anti-aging advice from doctors ranging from the appallingly overweight to the seemingly undernourished - who clearly do not adhere to a natural bodybuilding lifestyle themselves - bodybuilders like Francis will continue to defy the aging process while providing pointers, and examples, we can all follow to achieve our own health objectives.

While we cannot categorically assert that all bodybuilders are healthy and able to maintain an optimal muscle/body fat ratio, the majority are and do, so much so that those best qualified to offer weight loss advice often are members of the iron fraternity.

With an extensive pedigree as a qualified trainer and nutritionist, Francis, as one of these experts, has many pearls of wisdom for those wanting to pursue lifelong bodybuilding success. Of the many insights he gives in the following interview, and as applies to his own development, is the insistence of shape and proportion over sheer size and extreme muscle mass.

While throughout his career Francis has pursued shape over size primarily for aesthetic reasons, paying attention to developing all muscle groups to their fullest so as to avoid any muscular imbalances is excellent general health advice.

Staying within realistic weight parameters can also be an effective way to avoid unnecessary strain on the joints surrounding each muscle group. In the following interview Francis gives his take on how to best utilize bodybuilding as an anti-aging tool and what he considers the ideal bodybuilding physique to entail. He also outlines the training principals he has used to craft his own world-class body.

[ David Robson ] You yourself provide living proof of bodybuilding's profound anti-aging benefits. Exactly how does bodybuilding offset the aging process, Francis?

[ Francis Benfatto ] I am convinced that bodybuilding is the best anti-aging approach there is because I am experiencing unprecedented positive results in longevity. I have more than ever before noticed an incredible difference between the bodies of some competitive bodybuilders ranging in age from 30 to 50 years old including myself.

This evident fact makes me acknowledge my lifestyle and how it promotes longevity. For over a decade I have learned more about the bodybuilding lifestyle and longevity and detected even more fundamental principles that have resulted in the creation of a new longevity program. In fact, when we want to obtain positive results in building an aesthetic body, which represents harmony, symmetry and definition with just enough muscle mass, we have to elaborate an accurate bodybuilding aesthetic preparation plan to reach this goal with no guesswork.

Now if our concern is to maintain this aesthetic body intact all year around we have to follow specific bodybuilding lifestyle programs towards this goal. If these bodybuilding lifestyle programs are also designed with our health in mind then we now have a longevity program. It's important to bear in mind that it's impossible to succeed with a longevity program if we don't have accurate knowledge and experience that can allow us not only to get in great aesthetic shape and condition but also to become perfectly healthy and happy.

Today I am living this longevity program 24/7, and I can see for myself the evidence for its validity every day of my life, all the positive benefits of it, all the positive things that have happened to me lately like improved energy levels, well being, and mental and physical ability with every single element part of my life like my relationship with my clients and partners, people and friends, family members and my loved ones and in a more personal level through my work as a coach, my creativity as a writer for bodybuilding publications. All of this has come through following the bodybuilding lifestyle.

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Benfatto: I Am Convinced That Bodybuilding Is The Best Anti-Aging Approach There Is Because I Am Experiencing Unprecedented
Positive Results In Longevity.

Bodybuilding longevity success comes from a bodybuilding lifestyle and preparation, which means that if we decide to become a successful bodybuilder our whole life must change and be organized toward a specific bodybuilding preparation.

If bodybuilding becomes our first priority then we have more chance to succeed. Concerning training and nutrition they are only two elements of bodybuilding preparation that are both important. In fact, training is the most important element of bodybuilding because it stimulates muscle growth and creates the need for adequate nutrition that produces muscle growth during rest; training frequency helps to overcome a weak-point either in development or refinement with specific training methods.

Also, appropriate nutrition can allow bodybuilders to refine all our muscles to an inordinate level of definition or to gain lean muscle mass. The better we understand training and nutrition the better we can progress and the more chance we have to actualize our full potential in muscle size and quality. This refers to the necessity to have or gain knowledge and experience in training and nutrition.

But training and nutrition is not the whole picture in bodybuilding success for longevity. There are also other elements that we have to consider too. Like for instance, the genetic potential you have to determine yourself in exposing your muscles to progressive increases in intensity levels with different training programs and cycles - that must be from one to the next in constant evolution - in order to actualize your full potential.

Ambition, intelligence and patience are also other traits that come into play for bodybuilding success, as well as the drive and determination to adopt the hard training you have to follow for the length of time needed until you reach bodybuilding success. Finally it's usually those who want it the most that make it to the top and achieve greatness in the field of bodybuilding.

[ DR ] As a bodybuilding competitor you were known for your great symmetry and proportion, which accentuated your size and gave you a unique look in a sport dominated by monsters. How were you able to create such a look?

[ FB ] It's true that I am known for my symmetry and proportion, but it's also true that over recent years people have come to know me now also for my lean muscle mass. I believe that even if the sport is still dominated by bodybuilders that are huge, it will be the best bodybuilder representing the ideal body that will win. Dexter Jackson, who possessed a total package at the 2008 Mr Olympia, triumphed over monster mass by representing the ideal body with a unique assemblage of physical attributes, great muscle proportion and symmetry, muscle density and definition, just enough muscle mass, and moreover, aesthetic muscle lines and good separation.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.

Dexter and I have similar physical attributes; we both represent the aesthetic side of bodybuilding and onstage the artistry. From the very beginning of my competitive bodybuilding career I could place in front of bodybuilders that were much heavier and bigger than I was, because I realized that I could only be impressive when I was shredded, and I must admit that I wasn't the only one who understood this obvious fact.

When I was competing as an amateur it was only the bodybuilders who were in top condition that won the trophies. As far as I can remember I always trained with almost perfect form, working along the line of pull, at a relatively slow rate of speed without momentum, jerking or sudden bursts. My training programs were made to stimulate all different parts composing a muscle group in order to have proportion and harmony within each muscle as well as for my entire body. This training method created a more impressive shape for each muscle and for all of my muscles.

The way I displayed my body and flexed my muscles onstage also was the key factor in creating a more impressive look. Most people thought that I was up to 20 pounds heavier than I really was. Another interesting element that created such an onstage look was my preparation backstage: my warm-up was taken seriously.

I had a scripted training session program that intended to give me the greatest possible muscle pumps. Most of my fellow competitors never paid much attention to me as a serious threat, not only as an amateur but also as a professional.

Backstage at the 1990 Olympia, Lee Haney, who was warming up with Albert Beckles, did pay attention to me because I was the most conditioned bodybuilder that day, and I was also getting bigger and bigger during my warm-up training session. Today nothing has changed, but I will say that with my experience and some new elements that I have recently incorporated to my pre-competition training session the illusion I can create is simply unreal, the more refined and the more impressive I get.

My bodyweight is not at all relevant to me: the mirror is the tool that gives me an accurate idea about my condition, shape and overall look. The essential muscle quality that a bodybuilder must have while competing is definition; again, the judges should seriously consider this quality much more than they actually do.

I Believe That Even If The Sport Is Still Dominated By Bodybuilders That Are Huge, It Will Be The Best Bodybuilder Representing The Ideal Body That Will Win
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I Believe That Even If The Sport Is Still Dominated By Bodybuilders
That Are Huge, It Will Be The Best Bodybuilder Representing
The Ideal Body That Will Win.

[ DR ] How important is the mind and its role in building the physique? What are some mental strategies you use to a) create the necessary focus and intensity for your workouts and b) foster a winning attitude?

[ FB ] The mind can be a very important factor and can play a major role in building the physique, but only if it undergoes some specific procedures. This is where personal knowledge that comes with experience will help in most effectively using the mind; I believe that the mind can become, in some cases, and especially before working-out, a simple instrument that we can well utilize.

Most people think that the mind has the ability to analyze, correct, and modify everything, or in our case a training program that will give all accurate answers that we are looking for in order to build the perfect physique. And yes it's true, but my personal experience has taught me that the mind can't have all the answers without the consent of the most important element in building the physique: the body itself.

In other words, the mind depends on the body, but the opposite is also true. Again, when it comes to training, we have to pay attention to our body and its numerous actions and reactions that cause multiple effects while we are going through the process of a training session; if we do so we will become better in using all our mind's ability to positively enhance our training sessions and we succeed in using it to its best advantage.

A specific warm-up phase (of several light sets of key exercises to be performed combined with stretching) will help all of us trainees and bodybuilders to be prepared and ready to perform. I am sure that most of us warm-up, but I am also sure that only a few of us take the necessary time to appropriately warm-up to a point that no one training aspect of this is ever missed.

In fact most trainees and bodybuilders neglect this crucial part of a serious training, so much so that most of them end their training session with a strong discontent and unsatisfactory feeling of having lost their time and energy in an unproductive workout. Afterwards they may be conscious that they haven't reached their full potential simply because they weren't focused, and that's precisely why a specific warm-up must take place at the beginning of each serious training session.

Focus is the essential mental condition to look for when we begin training in order to always succeed with all of our workouts. If our expectation is to build the desired physique, focus is an open door to reach our full potential, and again if I keep on insisting here in saying that the only way to focus is to follow a specific warm-up with a specific training method, it's to cut through heavy layers of mental resistance and to reach that place within you where you can be at your very best physically, where you know you can progress.

Benfatto: Focus Is The Essential Mental Condition To Look For When We Begin Training In Order To Always Succeed With All Of Our Workouts
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Benfatto: Focus Is The Essential Mental Condition To Look For When We Begin Training In Order To Always Succeed With
All Of Our Workouts.

The best training method to improve quick focus is to use perfect form: perfect form means using a full range of motion, from a full extension to one full contraction, at a very slow rate of speed. It should take at least 10 seconds to correctly execute a one full repetition - 4 seconds to move the resistance up, 2 seconds to maintain a static-contraction at half repetition and 4 seconds to move the resistance down to the starting position.

Using perfect form also means that only the muscle involved during a set of repetitions moves the resistance and not some external forces like, for instance, momentum, bursts or any other cheating methods or favorite strategies used to lift more weight and feed our ego. Using this method of training with a good form will always keep you trapped into the ideal training scenario that is the mind-muscle connection, but be aware that this training scenario will become a training challenge, that is to never, ever escape or lose the mind-muscle connection that you have nicely created during your warm-up in phase 1.

Now that you have created the mind-muscle connection you just have to firmly maintain it during the training in phase 2, and keep it tight all the way until the very end of your workout - just keep performing with perfect form all the time when you train. If you respect the appropriate warm-up protocol you will succeed with all of your training-sessions because you will always be focused.

Using perfect form will also help you to completely isolate the exercised muscle, and to better direct and control your energy expenditure in a very effective and productive way, not to mention that isolating a weak body part will give you a sure advantage over it and a solution to overcome this weak point.

Another plus coming from the utilization of training with a good form is that your muscle sensation will increase your muscle pump beyond your own expectations and these two pleasant phenomena will become your best training guides during your entire workout. Working out with sufficient muscle sensation will create a greater endorphin flow to your brain, making your mind even more alert and accurate. You will be completely focused and in tune with all your training needs and requirements but also with your mental and physical capacities.

Now that you are alert and accurate, you know which training methods to use and when to utilize them in sequence, and moreover you will know precisely when to end a set that you have successfully conducted to a point of muscle failure, a point where one more rep is impossible to perform with good technique despite your greatest effort. You will also know how many sets or how much volume of work to perform when you train a specific muscle.

Or more importantly, you know when it's the perfect time to end your training session in order to avoid overtraining. You are effective and productive because you know how best to train and no one else other than yourself can tell you better. I like to compare bodybuilders to elite athletes because this comparison allows me to better understand the pattern of performance and how we bodybuilders can also have access to our best performance in order to stimulate muscle growth and progress.

All elite athletes warm-up for different reasons like, for instance, to avoid injuries, to prepare their bodies for specific types of effort and more importantly to focus and direct their full attention to specific technical skills and physical tasks.

We bodybuilders perform when we exercise our muscles with different movements, moving a resistance from a full extension to a full contraction along the line of pull with an appropriate number of repetitions that constitute a working-set - a set that is effective and productive and that really counts in our training.

Most bodybuilders use the overload system in order to stimulate muscle growth; I have personally chosen to use perfect form with all exercises, training methods and techniques. Whatever training preferences we have, we all have to train hard and intense if we want to progress, therefore we all have to be mentally and physically ready to perform to our highest possible levels, and it happens that if we really want to succeed with all our training sessions we have to be 100% focused with an appropriate warm-up.

Another Plus Coming From The Utilization Of Training With A Good Form Is That Your Muscle Sensation Will Increase Your Muscle Pump Beyond Your Own Expectations
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Benfatto: Another Plus Coming From The Utilization Of Training With
A Good Form Is That Your Muscle Sensation Will Increase
Your Muscle Pump Beyond Your Own Expectations.

[ DR ] What are key attributes needed to succeed in bodybuilding?

[ FB ] A winning attitude comes only step by step, one day at a time, by regulating our bodybuilding lifestyle and preparation including training, nutrition, supplementation, and resting; I call them the four attributes of bodybuilding preparation, and they are complementary and equally important. You will possess a winning attitude when you give nothing less than 100% during your bodybuilding preparation. In doing so you will regularly acknowledge positive results and feedback that you constantly need to become certain you are on the right path.

This certainty will become a deserved reward from your mental discipline and from your accurate bodybuilding preparation; this certainty will give you a humble winning attitude that is one quality of a true champion. Like we all know, building a physique doesn't only happen in the gym where we stimulate muscle growth; producing muscle growth happens while resting in between our training sessions.

The mind plays an important role here because in order to produce muscle growth we have to design and remain motivated and focused in following a personal nutrition and supplementation program during the recovery process. Also, if we don't have access to the proper knowledge and experience to positively progress your mind will become powerless and can even jeopardize a winning attitude. Champions are not born; they are made.

[ DR ] As we know, supplementation is of critical importance when aiming to build muscle and get in one's best shape. What supplements do you personally take and how do they benefit you?

[ FB ] I always say to all my clients and students that supplements should be part of any sports preparation and program when all the aforementioned people involved in different type of sports, bodybuilding and lifestyle are able to create a need for them.

In other words it's only when we train efficiently and productively that we create a requirement for supplements. All sportsmen, bodybuilders or people who choose to follow a bodybuilding lifestyle I work with start using supplements from the beginning because I teach them how to train to stimulate muscle growth in order to progress.

Therefore all of them require a supplement program accordingly to their goals. It's true that quality supplements make a difference and help us to positively progress without side effects. Of course only quality supplements are best. Appropriate supplements raise energy and reduce recovery time, while others improve muscle production and increase hormone levels.

Supplements should match your personal goals in order to get leverage in your training. Below is a list of goals to keep in mind when designing a supplement program.

  • Enhance your training performance with a supplement that will give you stamina or the ability to keep-up physical and mental effort over a long period.
  • Reduce your recovery time with a supplement that will allow you to train more often.
  • Produce muscle growth with a supplement that will allow you to gain lean muscle mass.
  • Take a supplement that will allow for healthy hormone levels.

Supplements will only benefit you if you are capable of training in an efficient and productive manner. They must be manufactured with the best ingredients accordingly to accurate scientific formulations and procedures. Look for quality when you are ready to make the best use of supplements.

Benfatto: Supplements Should Match Your Personal Goals In Order To Get Leverage In Your Training
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Benfatto: Supplements Should Match Your Personal Goals In Order To
Get Leverage In Your Training.

[ DR ] In 2006, at age 48, your goal was to make one of the best comebacks ever seen in bodybuilding history. One could say you indeed achieved this with an excellent showing at the 2006 Australian Pro. In achieving sixth place, do you think your physique was appropriately awarded at this contest?

[ FB ] Concerning my comeback at the Australian Grand Prix in 2006 I would like very much to modify this question and say that I did the best comeback ever seen in bodybuilding history. In fact, very few pro bodybuilders who made comebacks did so in great competition shape, and no one has yet improved their best ever competition shape and conditioning.

This personal statement seems pretentious but it's the honest truth. I spent diligent time researching which pro bodybuilder did his comeback in his best ever shape and condition and found that no one had done so. Vince Taylor and Gary Strydom did come back in great competition shape in 2005/2006 but both weren't at their respective pinnacles.

After 14 years of retirement I came back at 48 years and far surpassed my best ever competition shape and conditioning, I presented a polished stage presentation, a rare level of muscle definition, detail and separation combined with appropriate muscle size and density all in good proportion, symmetry and in parity with my entire body.

Today most pro bodybuilders are huge and very dense but overall they aren't well refined, they still hold subcutaneous water because the judges allow them not to be well refined by judging them mostly toward their level of development in size. I invite anyone to carefully look at pictures from the 2008/2009 Mr Olympia or Arnold Classic in order to verify that this lack of muscle definition and detail is the actual tendency among the new professional bodybuilding generation.

Only very few pros can manage to compete with a total package, and unfortunately no one seems to pay much attention to clear muscle definition and detail, the two muscle qualities that should be part of a complete bodybuilding judging criteria, especially in major bodybuilding competitions like the Mr. Olympia or Arnold Classic.

It's unfortunate that the judges don't consider more elements when judging the pro bodybuilders, because in integrating muscle quality (muscle definition, separation, symmetry, proportion and beautiful/pleasant lines) into bodybuilding judging criteria the judges will have a leverage and will only reward bodybuilders that can represent the very best bodybuilding total package that can only be obtained with accurate bodybuilding preparation.

[ DR ] Can you provide me with an example of such judging practices?

[ FB ] The judges always begin calling out the freaks first in the comparisons because they present an impressive figure when in relaxed poses, but my question is: are they all in excellent condition and shape? I would find it hard to tell for sure which bodybuilder is in excellent condition in a relaxed pose.

The problem here is that this way of judging will always give an advantage to the freaks with no chance given to those more representative of the ideal physique. Another tendency among our judges is to systematically call out for comparison the champions with names and images who had competed and been seen recently especially in major competitions, even though those champs are completely out of shape. Why?

Instead, let's honour the bodybuilders that come in top condition, those who prepared themselves with accuracy but who do not yet have names, images and titles, but who deserve to be called in the first comparison simply because they offer more than just muscle size and density.

Benfatto: Only Very Few Pros Can Manage To Compete With A Total Package, And Unfortunately No One Seems To Pay Much Attention To Clear Muscle Definition And Detail
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Benfatto: Only Very Few Pros Can Manage To Compete With A Total Package, And Unfortunately No One Seems To Pay Much Attention To Clear Muscle Definition And Detail.

The judges have the power to place a more aesthetic/more-refined bodybuilder ahead of a massive one especially if this one has a lack of muscle quality. Aesthetics accompany beautiful and pleasant muscle lines in perfect harmony and symmetry with sufficient muscle mass and quality that includes definition and separation, and these two fundamental muscle qualities are very difficult to obtain because they can only be achieved with draconian nutrition.

The more refined you are the more you will start noticing all of your body imperfections and weak points, but also the more refined you become the more illusionary effects you will create while contracting your muscles. Muscles are greatly magnified with extreme definition.

But the judges and the crowd are so impressed with body weight, phenomenal muscle size and density that they all together forget the lack of balance, symmetry and definition, even weak body parts are forgotten with the novelty a freaky body presents.

But please don't take my words for granted. Look by yourself at the conditioning that most pro bodybuilders display while competing in our best pro events. Like we can see in one picture of this article where Vince Taylor, Branch Warren and I were together in comparison contracting our rear-back muscles with a back double biceps pose. Branch Warren lacked complete-full back development as well as appropriate back definition but instead he displayed huge glutes, hamstrings and calves.

The judge's put Branch just one place ahead of me, Vince Taylor came in third place; and Vince Taylor, too, wasn't as conditioned as I was. Despite my extreme definition at the Australian competition (in 2006) I stepped onstage and competed at a significant bodyweight of 200 pounds or 90 kg 900grs at only 5 foot 6 inches tall, and that for a relatively small frame and narrow hips and bones.

All this means that I came back competing in my best ever conditioning and shape with an additional 20 more pounds of muscle in comparison to 180 pounds or 81 kg 800grs when I competed back in the '90s and in my 30s.

[ DR ] So why did you not place near the top, ahead of some of the mass monsters that did not show the kind of definition you had?

[ FB ] For my comeback I was too different compared to my young fellow competitors that represent the elite bodybuilders of a new era. Today the judges don't consider all these physical attributes part of a total package: aesthetics, proportion, symmetry, and definition don't appeal to the judges, the media and the crowd anymore.

I worked hard most of my life to represent the aesthetic of bodybuilding, symmetry, well defined muscles, all in perfect proportion, and I will keep on working even harder toward the same ideal perfect physique for my clients and students, and also to promote this side of bodybuilding, the side I like the most about bodybuilding.

While mass is important, we must realize that its value does not exceed the value of symmetry, proportion and deeply striated muscles, not to mention beautiful lines and pleasant physiques that represent the aesthetic of bodybuilding. It's quite regrettable that knowledge and experience aren't really required to the extent they should be in today's bodybuilding preparation in order to reach the perfect body shape and conditioning, symmetry and balance.

Even a more polished stage presentation or a graceful posing routine don't influence the judges in choosing a more symmetrical, proportioned and well-refined aesthetic bodybuilder.

[ DR ] Can you outline the exact approach you took to get into your best condition ever at age 48?

[ FB ] Training with the goal to come in my best ever competition shape gave me the belief that I haven't yet attained my full potential. While strategizing the A.R.T (auto-regulation-training) System™ training principles I never lost sight of the balance that shapes the perfect form, and to achieve the best possible aesthetic physique required commitment and dedication and also using both the artistic as well as the sport sides of bodybuilding.

Benfatto: While Mass Is Important, We Must Realize That Its Value Does Not Exceed The Value Of Symmetry, Proportion And Deeply Striated Muscles, Not To Mention Beautiful Lines And Pleasant Physiques That Represent The Aesthetic Of Bodybuilding
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Benfatto: While Mass Is Important, We Must Realize That Its Value Does Not Exceed The Value Of Symmetry, Proportion And Deeply Striated Muscles, Not To Mention Beautiful Lines And Pleasant Physiques That Represent The Aesthetic Of Bodybuilding.

In following a personal and suitable bodybuilding lifestyle all year around and since the very beginning of my bodybuilding career without a break and for more than 35 years now has always given me a solid understanding of how my body reacts and responds to all different training principles.

When I started my long-term goal preparation for the Australian Grand Prix I was already trained and in good conditioning and shape, but I was very excited to utilize all of my knowledge. The very first thing I usually do before getting into top condition - even for pictures or exhibitions - is to go through an Evaluation Test, this ET™ gives me the necessary training information required to be able to create, with maximum accuracy, my first training program. This evaluation test that I personally organized was composed with a 3-phase method:

  • Phase 1: physical or muscle quality evaluation - tests for strength, power, endurance of strength, and strength of endurance.
  • Phase 2: Muscular control evaluation - tests for good form (full range of motion along the line of pull with respect to precision, speed control, done with constant muscle tension, and maximum focus).
  • Phase 3: Mental and physical capacity through effort - using all training elements in phase 1 and 2, plus several other specific training elements to judge the ability to struggle and endure through effort.

All the positive information that I have collected during my personal evaluation test helped me in creating my first training program. Now here is the real caveat: my first training program became another evaluation test that keeps me regularly informed with constant feedback and valuable training information that I regularly verified and analyzed in order to correct, modify or change if needed or if necessary something about my current training program.

This was done with the positive idea to improve or perfect the actual program as well as all the others that came in succession until the very end of my long term Australian preparation. I worked on increasing the degree of intensity from one training program to the very next with specific strategies, using for instance variable training methods and techniques, exercises, schemes of sets and reps, different angles of work for each individual workout and all those to come, in order to induce maximum possible muscle stress and stimulation.

Working toward improving my weak points in order to bring them to parity with my whole body was one training challenge that I had to overcome and that I successfully accomplished only close to competition time, again at the very end of this long term goal preparation.

In regard to nutrition I had two distinct nutritional programs; my first nutrition program was designed in order to gain additional lean muscle mass, my second nutritional program intended to improve my muscle definition. Both programs were flexible in duration as well as in specificity in regard to my progression.

In other words, if after verification I concluded, for instance, that I gained too much bodyweight too fast and I wasn't maintaining good enough definition during this process then I quickly modified and changed my lean muscle mass nutrition program to something more suitable to my initial goal, which was to only gain lean muscle mass; likewise with my second nutritional program: if I didn't improve my muscle definition then I quickly modified and changed my muscle definition program to something more appropriate.

I have a very personal and particular approach concerning bodybuilding nutrition. For example, I don't believe in overeating in order to produce muscle growth and I don't believe either in a high protein intake while dieting for competition. Furthermore I don't believe in keeping a relatively high/moderate daily/caloric intake while working on improving muscle definition.

To me all these practices are responsible for the lack of muscle definition and muscle quality in today's pro competition. Moreover I don't believe in cardio training to get rid of fat cells but instead I use training frequency with adequate training methods and techniques in order to refine specific muscle groups that are not yet refined, in comparison to others that are already well refined.

[ DR ] How does your physique look today and how do maintain your conditioning as you age?

[ FB ] After spending a good part of my life in learning the best possible way to get in top condition and shape for myself, and later on for my clients and students, I made my own conclusion and I integrated all of my bodybuilding knowledge and experience in writing my own training system which I have called the A.R.T System™, the A.R.T System™ means A = Auto = Self, R = Regulation = Regulating, T = Training = Methods.

The A.R.T System™ captures my will and drive and motivation to make my physique today look better than ever before.

Today at 51 years old I still maintain the edge doing exhibitions in great competition shape and condition, perfectly happy and healthy as I age. The A.R.T System™ combines all training methods, techniques and exercises, scheme of repetitions and sets.

The A.R.T system™ training principles are:

  • Principle 1: Maximum effort over a short time period.
  • Principle 2: Maximum work over a short time period.

Be aware that these two A.R.T™ training principles create both a high degree of intensity in order to maximally stimulate muscle growth with zero risk for health or any sorts of injuries.

It's a safe training system, ideal for longevity purposes like, for instance, in developing aesthetics, health, well being. The A.R.T System™ fundamentally is about personalization; it's a suitable training system that will help people whose concern is to improve their lifestyle in general. Today my physique looks very good, young and, more importantly, healthy.

Today At 51 Years Old I Still Maintain The Edge Doing Exhibitions In Great Competition Shape And Condition, Perfectly Happy And Healthy As I Age
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Today At 51 Years Old I Still Maintain The Edge Doing Exhibitions In Great Competition Shape And Condition, Perfectly Happy And Healthy As I Age.

I intend to be in my best shape in 2010 after a shorter layoff that lasted only four years this time, in order to compare well with the best pro bodybuilders that represent bodybuilding today; my idea is to be in better shape and condition than I was at my 2006 Australian Grand Prix competition.

I have made a passionate commitment to reach the upper limits of my genetic potential that I haven't yet reached even if I thought I had for my last comeback. In working toward the best lifestyle program ever designed at present time I will reach this ambitious goal with no guesswork; this lifestyle program is based on my personal bodybuilding career and, furthermore, because I am very much concerned about longevity I have added an essential component that is already part of my actual preparation - this is to progress with zero risk.

Note: Francis is available for Lifestyle Coaching.

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