[ Q ] AloneIStand... tell us a little about yourself. You know, your real name, what you do for a living, where you live, that type of stuff.
[ A ] My Real name is John, but my friends call me JD or Rocky. I currently live in Chicago, Illinois. I've been an Illinois school teacher for 12 years. Teaching is a passion of mine, I really enjoy it, and I have to admit I enjoy the extra time off that the job gives me. LOL!
[ Q ] Oh, ok that explains your love for the Chicago area Sports Teams. Man, you've been waiting a long time for the Cubs to win a championship... I feel sorry for you Brother!
[ A ] Oh man, you had to go there! Yes, I am a die-hard Cubs fan, and my dream is to see them win a World Series before I die! I know there are a lot of fans much older than me who have never seen the Cubs win it all, so those are the ones you should really be feeling sorry for... LOL! Barring some freak accident, I figure I got about another 40 good years left in me, so the Cubs better get it done by then!
[ Q ] What got you into lifting weights and what age did you start?
[ A ] Growing up, my Dad was always into bodybuilding and staying in shape. He bought all the
magazines, watched the competitions on TV, and he lifted weights all the time. He was in great shape in his 20s and 30s, and even now as he gets older, he still works hard at it.
Then my older brother started lifting and man, what a physique he had and still has! Anyway, I started lifting weights my senior year of high school to strengthen up for sports, and after high school at age 19, because of my family influences, I just kept at it, and fell in love with it... and its been my addiction ever since. But believe me, I am the hard gainer of the family that is for sure! LOL!
[ Q ] Being that you're the hard gainer of the family, what type of workout do you do, you know like how many days do you train and what exercises do you perform, and what's your sets and reps like, and does it differ from your dad's and brother's workouts?
[ A ] My training is very similar to what my dad and brother do, I just have come to accept the fact that they can pack on the muscle faster than I can. When it comes to lifting weights, I usually follow a 2 days on/1 day off split. Which means I'm hitting the weights about 4-5 times a week.
I train 2 body parts a day... One large muscle group followed by a smaller muscle group. For example, today when I go to the gym, I'll be working out on back and triceps. Most of my exercises are the basic compound movements with either barbells or dumbbells.
I do a lot of presses,
pull-ups, etc. I almost always
pyramid my sets. After
stretching, my warm-up set is for 12-15 reps to get nice and loose. Then I usually do 3-4 working sets with a 10-8-6-4 rep range. Each set is usually done to failure.
Also, I incorporate either x-reps or a drop set or two immediately after my final working set to get that extra burn or pump.
When it comes to cardio, I do it 2-3 times a week first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Like you, Bill, I'm not a big fan of cardio; I keep it to a minimum... usually about 20 minutes. I usually do intervals of walking/jogging/running to really try to burn as much body fat as possible.
[ Q ] With your work schedule how do you fit your workouts in?
[ A ] I really have no excuse not to get my workouts in. I'm usually in the gym after work during the school year by about 4:30 PM. During the summer, I'm usually in the gym at about 10:30 AM. Don't get me wrong, being a teacher keeps me busy, but it does allow me to be flexible enough to get my workouts in.
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[ Q ] Do your family and friends support your bodybuilding endeavors?
[ A ] Yes, they do. My dad and brother both have their own
home gyms, and I lift at a commercial gym, so working out is pretty much a requirement for the men in our family. Most of my closest friends are lifters too. So whenever I get together with family and friends, we end up discussing bodybuilding and training to some extent.
[ Q ] Do you use any supplements, and if so what are your Top Three and why?
[ A ] The only
supplements I use are
protein powder and an occasional
protein bar. I use "
Matrix 5.0" sustained release protein blend. I like it better than regular
whey protein because it stays in your system longer. I usually have 2 shakes a day to get that extra protein my body needs to help repair and build muscle. I also eat an occasional
Met-Rx protein bar as a meal replacement.
[ Q ] How did you find out about BodySpace?
[ A ] I was a regular visitor to BB.com for a couple of years, without ever even checking out the
Then one time I decided to click on the BodySpace link. When I saw it, I was amazed! Here were regular people just like me, many who had these incredible physiques. It was total inspiration!
I lurked around on it for a while, and knew it was something I had to become a part of, so I joined.
[ Q ] I got to ask because I'm a Big Sylvester Stallone fan myself. Why do some of your friends call you "Rocky"?
[ A ] LOL! As a kid growing up, I always loved the Stallone movies. I watched them all the time. I would constantly quote lines from the Rocky or Rambo movies, so my "Rocky" nickname obviously comes from Stallone's most famous film character, Rocky Balboa. I love those movies!
Because of Rocky III, I also became a huge fan of Hulk Hogan. I was always one of those "Little Hulksters" he would talk about in his promos. I used to sweat bullets and bite my nails while watching his matches, hoping he would pull off the victory... and somehow he always did! I totally ate it up! LOL! He's still the man in my eyes to this day!
[ Q ] What was the difference maker for you? What made you finally decide to transform your body?
[ A ] The difference maker for me was looking in the mirror everyday, and not liking what I saw. I was in my mid-30s, and I knew I had never reached my full potential.
At the time of February '07, my body measurements were consistently around 227 lbs. with a 43.5 inch waist. Too much pizza, ice cream, and pop for me! To be honest, joining BodySpace has a lot to do with my transformation.
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Without the encouragement and comments of my fellow
BodySpace members and friends, I don't really know if I would have kept it up.
I lifted for about 15 years, my weight had fluctuated back and forth, and I built a "decent" physique at best. But I never got the definition I was looking for. When I saw how all these other regular people who were able to do it, I said to myself, "Why not me?"
I started researching, asking questions, and learned that while my training habits were good, my eating habits were terrible! So I finally decided to make the sacrifices necessary to start my transformation.
But believe me, I'm still a work in progress... I still have a long way to go before this transformation is complete.
[ Q ] What do you like best about BodySpace and which Features do you use the most?
[ A ] Truly what I like best about BodySpace is the friendships I have made. There are a lot of great people on this site. Most of us deal with the same issues everyday... working jobs, raising families, etc.
But the real cool thing is what drew us here in the first place... the desire to get in and stay in shape!
The feature I probably have used the most is the Over 35 forum section. The people there are really laid back, and I really enjoy them.
The Over-35ers bounce different ideas off each other ranging from bodybuilding ideas to personal issues, and everybody is usually very supportive!
[ Q ] Have you made any friends here?
[ A ] I consider myself a private person, but yes, I have made a few close friends around here. A couple of them I keep in touch with on an almost daily basis. They are great people whom I would like to think I have built genuine friendships with.
[ Q ] Ok let's get back to this Sylvester Stallone thing again. Why are you such a Big Fan?
[ A ] It all started with the Rocky movie. When I saw it as a young kid, I couldn't help but root for the Rocky character. And then by the time Rocky III came out, Stallone totally changed his physique, and in my mind it looked perfect... I was no longer just a Rocky fan, but a Stallone fan.
I like almost all of his movies, and I own most of them either on DVD or VHS. Have you seen the new Rambo movie yet? That movie was awesome! I loved it!
I've always wanted my physique to look as close to his as possible. I still watch his movies with amazement. He is well-built and shredded, yet still athletic looking.
I've always admired that type of physique the most... I call it the Stallone or Frank Zane look.
[ Q ] Tell me about your slogan "No steroids, no hgh, ... Just me, busting my @ss!"
[ A ] It's totally a personal choice. First of all, I do not believe in using any illegal substances just to improve my physique. If it's illegal, you are breaking the law.
In my mind, if you are taking steroids or HGH, you are taking a short cut and cheating in a way. I know I may sound like a hypocrite because I like Stallone and Hogan, both who have been linked to steroids and HGH. But believe me; I was disappointed, but not exactly shocked, when I learned about their usage.
That was their personal choice to use, and it's mine not to use. Also, I work out alone at the gym. That's why I chose the BodySpace name AloneIStand... No partners, no spotters, and rarely any conversations with anybody. Just me, my headphones, and the weights.
I know I'm not the biggest or strongest guy in the gym, but I bust my @ss as hard, if not harder than most guys in there. I pyramid my sets and my last rep of each set is usually to failure, and then I incorporate an extra drop set or two, or x-reps that most people at the gym don't want to do because it requires you to really push yourself.
I know a lot of people on BodySpace work just as hard, or even harder than me, but I believe we are in the minority when it comes to that type of training.
[ Q ] What are x-reps?
[ A ] X-Reps are another name for partial reps.
Iron Man Magazine does a feature on x-reps in almost every issue. X-reps are great to use once you have reached failure on a particular set, and you want to work the muscle beyond that. They are ideal for someone like myself to use, because I work out alone.
[ Q ] You've seemed to make dramatic changes to your physique since you incorporated some type of low carb regimen. Care to give us the low down on that?
[ A ] Sure. I've been on a reduced
carb plan for about the last month or so, and it has helped me shed a lot of body fat.
I have not eliminated carbs by any means. I just have learned to eat the right type and proper amount of carbs that works for me.
The only starchy carb I usually eat is dry oatmeal on a daily basis. It's so convenient to use. I usually just sprinkle a 1/2 of a cup on my protein source and vegetables with my meals, and I'm good to go.
I eat about 100 - 125 grams of starchy carbs a day, and eat all the green vegetables I want. So I still get plenty of good carbs.
With my goal of shedding body fat, it has worked wonders for me, and I still have tons of energy for my workouts. I have to give credit to "oldsuperman" and "Beka" for getting me on the right track when it came to my new eating habits.
Bill, you were the one who taught me that eating is 99% percent of the battle. And I learned the hard way that you were correct.
"oldsuperman" and "Beka" were kind enough to advise me with the correct way to incorporate carbs into my system with just a couple of simple personal messages.
[ Q ] So where do you go from here? What are your short and long term goals now?
[ A ] I really want to take my body to the highest level that is naturally possible, without sacrificing my health to get there. I actually just started my own personal challenge to get myself in the best shape of my life by June 1st. It's a 15 week personal challenge that I have set for myself, but I now have another BodySpace member who has decided to take me up on this challenge! So now it's turned into a friendly competition between friends.
I am currently in the middle of the 3rd week, and I am more motivated than ever. If anyone wants to keep tabs on it, I update my Blog every week on my progress. My short term goal of this challenge is to get my body fat to about 8% body fat, while maintaining my lean muscle mass. I'm getting closer to my short term goal everyday, but I'm not there yet.
In the long term, my dream is to continue to improve my physique. I want to show people that through a good workout/eating program that you truly can age more gracefully. Twenty years from now, I want people to see me, and be surprised when they find them how old I am!
[ Q ] Do you have anything else that you would like to add or say to your fellow BodySpace Members?
[ A ] Definitely! First of all, I joined
BodySpace because I wanted to achieve with my body what so many of you have already done with yours. To see that was total inspiration for me, brother! So thank you to everyone for the inspiration!
At the same time, I have to say thank you to all my friends and anyone and who has ever sent me an encouraging word. Your kind words have really helped keep me motivated since I have been here. You guys rock!
[ Q ] Ok Brother! Let's see who's going to make it to a Rocky type of physique first.
[ A ] You're on, Big Bill!
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[ Q ] JD give us an update on how your 15 week Personal Challenge is going.
[ A ] My current personal challenge transformation has been going great! I have been on it for almost 11 weeks now. I have seen by body fat drop from 12.7% to 6.8% during this time.
I have also seen my waist drop from 35.75 inches to 32.5 inches. My weight has dropped from 194 to 184 during this time as well. It's been a huge success as I am currently in the best shape of my life!
[ Q ] JD you're Kickin' A$$!! Brother!