Head To Head: Bodybuilding’s Strongest Athletes, Ben White And Stan Efferding, Discuss Their 2010 Mr. Olympia Face Off!

Ben White is ready to come back from his second place finish last year and take on Stan Efferding in the 2010 Olympia's Strongest Bodybuilder Competition. Read what these two competitors have to say about the contest and facing off against each other!

Article Summary:
  • Ben White came in 2nd last year and hopes to take the top prize.
  • White's strongest competition comes in the form of veteran pro Stan Efferding.
  • Efferding is getting back into the sport after an 11 year hiatus.

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Ben White And Stan Efferding Discuss Their 2010 Mr. Olympia Face Off!

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For the second year running, the world's greatest professional bodybuilding event - the IFBB Mr. Olympia - will see the world's strongest bodybuilders swapping posing trunks for power suits to determine who the best powerlifter is in a face-off that is guaranteed to attract many fans of both the physique game and a sport that has given many a pro bodybuilder their first taste of the iron.

In 2009 the Mr. Olympia World's Strongest Bodybuilder title - the Duel in the Desert - was won by Johnnie Jackson with his bar-bending 523-pound bench press and equally impressive 815 pound deadlift, while bench specialist, Ben White, placed second. This year White will be back to avenge this loss but he will again have a tough challenge ahead in the form of 2009 NPC National's Masters champion and America's number one ranked raw - non-assisted - powerlifter, Stan Efferding.

While White says he is up to the task of defeating Efferding and has not been quiet in proclaiming victory three weeks out, Efferding has said all the talking will be done on the day of the event. In the following interviews Ben and Stan discuss their plans for powerlifting domination and how they expect to win the 2010 version of the Mr. Olympia World's Strongest Bodybuilder event.


Ben White

White Says He Is Up To The Task Of Defeating Efferding And Has <BR>Not Been Quiet In Proclaiming Victory Three Weeks Out
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White Says He Is Up To The Task Of Defeating Efferding And Has Not Been Quiet In Proclaiming Victory Three Weeks Out.

He calls himself The Showstopper and that is exactly what he did earlier this year as he fended off some pretty formidable competition to win his first professional bodybuilding event, the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Tampa Pro Championships. Formerly known as one of the world's strongest bodybuilders, Ben White, an outspoken athlete who has a reputation for backing up his words, is now considered one of the best bodybuilders around. And at the 2010 Tampa Pro he - with his best ever combination of cuts, conditioning and muscle mass - showed the non-believers what can be done with a relentless work ethic and a strong sense of self-belief.

Now, after taking seven weeks to build back the size he dropped for his earlier 2010 bodybuilding competitions, White has reinvented himself as a powerlifting champion to contest the World's Strongest Bodybuilder event at this year's Mr. Olympia. Currently weighing 285 pounds of solid muscle at a scant 10 percent body fat he hopes to hit the 300 pound mark come 3.00pm, September 25, 2010, and blow-away his power lifting and fellow pro bodybuilding rival, Stan Efferding.

In 2009 White contested this event - then named the Duel in the Desert - along with another of his fellow pro bodybuilders, Johnnie Jackson. And although Jackson was the eventual victor with a 523 pound bench press and 815-pound deadlift, Ben came close. He did, however, seek, and gain his revenge on the bodybuilding stage in Tampa, pushing Jackson into third at this event. This year he hopes to prove that not only is he the best bodybuilder of the three - comprising himself, Efferding and Jackson - he also aims to power his way to the top to show he is the strongest.

I spoke with White recently and in his uniquely outspoken way he filled me in on his plans for September and what he has in store for all of his future competitors.

Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions. Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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[ David Robson ] Hi Ben. You will be competing in this year's Mr. Olympia World's Strongest Bodybuilder competition? What weight are you now and what will you weigh come show time?

[ Ben White ] I'm currently at 285 and hopefully I'll be coming in at about 300 pounds.


[ DR ] Will you compete in the open bodybuilding class at the 2011 Mr. Olympia.

[ BW ] Yes, I will compete in this class next year.


[ DR ] You won the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships earlier this year looking your best ever, but one week later, at Europa Battle of Champions, the tables were turned and you fell into third behind Ed Nunn and Troy Alves. What happened?

[ BW ] What happened was I actually switched my diet to come in a little bigger and I was bigger there, but not as hard as a week earlier. So I had to go back to the drawing board.


[ DR ] You actually missed the mark for the Europa Battle of Champions?

[ BW ] I was happy but I knew that those who placed in front of me had just dialed it in more and for me to get in there and dial it down like that [for the PWW champs a week earlier] and then hold it over like that, I've never had to hold it over like this before for another week. I know there were certain things I should not have done, like drink as much water as I did, and I could have done more cardio. But to qualify twice, I'm happy with it.

Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions. Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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[ DR ] Had you competed at the Europa in the same shape you were in for the Tampa Pro would you have won?

[ BW ] Yes, I would have won it because I actually looked better two weeks before the Tampa Pro than I did on stage at this show. When I look at the Tampa result I feel I could have been fuller; two weeks before I was big and full but once I had done with the water and sodium [depletion] to dry up I actually came in flatter with a loss in muscle size.


[ DR ] For that first pro win you were quite clearly at the top of the class. What did you do to achieve such great shape?

[ BW ] Dave Palumbo put me on a ketogenic diet and I basically did his diet all the way through which got me into the right condition to win the Tampa show.


[ DR ] What made you decide not to compete in this year's Mr. Olympia following this earlier success?

[ BW ] Based on my pictures and the top five guys that I looked at I knew I needed to pull up certain areas of my body. They let me know at the [2010] Arnold what I will have to do at the [2011] Olympia.


[ DR ] So what improvements will you specifically need to make to prepare for next year's Mr. Olympia?

[ BW ] My glute and hamstring tie-in will need to tighter. My lower back, calves and shoulders will also need to be brought up.


[ Q: ] This is to say that you have it pretty well-covered in all other areas?

[ BW ] In the majority of other areas, yes, because everybody has strong points and weak points. But I still can bring some parts up.

Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions. Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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[ DR ] In previous years you have competed in great shape but this year you looked especially good. Considering you have in the past used similar nutritional methods to achieve your conditioning what did you do differently this year?

[ BW ] Actually, before this year I was training with Jeremy Freeman and he had me doing more carbohydrate loading and eating more carbohydrates than less. So when I switched to Dave he had me doing a strict ketogenic diet and my body proved to respond better to less carbs than to more.


[ DR ] Did you do anything differently the final week prior to the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly show?

[ BW ] No, basically this whole year was just going back to lifting heavy weights and my body responded; I put 20 to 25 pounds on in a year.


[ DR ] Can you into more detail on how you are preparing for the World's Strongest Bodybuilder event?

[ BW ] In prepping for this show I really trained on my own. My basic program consists of going back to heavy lifting. After my two successful placements this year, I was able to go back and lift heavier for this show. I am back to lifting 405 with sets of eight and pulling over 700 in the rack.

For my bodybuilding shows I was on the keto diet which worked very well for me, but as for dieting for powerlifting, I know my body well enough to know that sticking to high protein - to keep lean - and super high carbs to keep me full as well as strong works the best.


[ DR ] Now that you are closer to the 300 pound mark are you looking to retain as much of this mass as you approach the 2011 competition season?

[ BW ] I definitely plan on doing this. I'm sitting right on 285. If you see me you will see that I'm probably about 10 percent body fat.


[ DR ] Do you think such a low body fat percentage will affect your performance in your power lifting event in three weeks from today?

[ BW ] This will be my last year doing the World's Strongest Bodybuilder competition because with my win in Tampa that has made me decide to focus more on bodybuilding. This is basically my farewell, whether I win or lose. This is for the fans and everyone else, but I won't let them down the next time they see me on stage at the Arnold.

Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships. Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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[ DR ] With the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic events being a major step-up from the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships, what will you need to do differently to compete in these larger shows?

[ BW ] Instead of coming in at about 245 [pounds], I plan on coming into the Arnold at about 265.


[ DR ] And what is your height?

[ BW ] My height is 5'8".


[ DR ] Two sixty five is a lot of weight to be carrying at your height. Do you think you will carry it well on your frame?

[ BW ] I think I'm doing it well right now; I'm just walking slowly and breathing hard. Other than that I'm carrying it well and not spilling over and I'm still symmetrically even.


[ DR ] Again, the Olympia and Arnold are a big jump from the so called smaller shows. How do you see your chances of making the top ten at next year's Mr. Olympia
?

[ BW ] As long as I do my homework and worry about myself and come in the best I can I see myself cracking the top-five.


[ DR ] At this year's World's Strongest Bodybuilder event you will of course need to be at the top of your game to fend off your challengers. Have your lifts been improving?

[ BW ] Since I got back from the Tampa show and put my weight back on I have been working out with 400-405 on the bench press and have still been going over 700 [on the bench press] in the rack. In three weeks time I'll be ready.

Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships. Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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Ben White At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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[ DR ] What powerlifting titles do you currently have?

[ BW ] I am one of the few people to have benched over 700 pounds and one of the few to do an over 600 pound wall bench press. I'm about tenth in the world.


[ DR ] And you will be looking to surpass these poundages in three weeks time?

[ BW ] Right, but in saying that if I sit there and focus on powerlifting I can make it go up but I am an IFBB Pro bodybuilder, not a powerlifter anymore. So I really had to decide whether I wanted to keep powerlifting or train for bodybuilding. I decide that bodybuilding is where I'm going to go but I will keep incorporating my powerlifting while I continue to train [for bodybuilding].


[ DR ] Do you think it is possible to successfully compete in both bodybuilding and powerlifting or is it best to sacrifice one for the other?

[ BW ] You can do both as long as you are off-season and have a couple of months in between, but in actuality you can't really compete in both because one demands that you have low body fat levels and with the other you must be higher in body fat to give you greater leverage when lifting heavy weights and to better maintain the tension on the muscle.


[ DR ] Did reaching your current 285 pound bodyweight take a lot of eating?

[ BW ] Actually it was pretty easy because I was eating brown rice and yams, which have high fiber starches in them and when I switched over to white potatoes and white rice my body just ballooned up from all of the glycogen and sugars in them.


[ DR ] So you didn't have to adopt a super high calorie diet to reach your current 285 pounds?

[ BW ] No, I'm probably doing about a 2000 calorie diet.


[ DR ] That's pretty low for a big guy like you. You have never had a problem increasing your bodyweight?

[ BW ] No, and doing the ketogenic diet I went from three or four meals with about seven ounces and now I'm up to around 14 ounces [per meal] it was just an increase in the stomach capacity. But other than that I'm feeling great.


[ DR ] What supplements do you take and why?

[ BW ] I'm sponsored by Nutrabolics. I'm using their regular Isobolic protein and a weight gainer - Isogainer - protein and I've just upped my creatine; I'm using their Waxybolic, their Amino Cell and their Glutabolic. Just the basic foundation of aminos and everything else, that's what I have been taking in.

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[ DR ] And you have improvements in muscle mass using these specific products?

[ BW ] Definitely, because their weight gainer has just the right amount and when I mix it with the peanut butter, bananas and Waxybolic you are looking at an almost 1500 to 1600 calorie drink. I rely on Nutrabolics. They have a superior product line that helps to keep be fueled and energized. Here are just some of the products - including the ones I have just mentioned - I use: Isogainer, skin bursting stack, Glutabolic, hemorush, Amino Cell, as well as hemotest. You can find these products and more at Nutrabolics.com


[ DR ] Is all of your competition been confirmed for this year's Olympia World's Strongest Bodybuilder competition?

[ BW ] Well, Stan Efferding is who I will be up against. And he is really no competition for me as the title is "World's Strongest Bodybuilder" and you know and I know and everybody else in bodybuilding knows that Stan is just a powerlifter, he is not a bodybuilder. Give him the opportunity to step on stage with the Showstopper [Ben White] then we will see.


[ DR ] Stan has a great physique but it might appear he is no match for you as far as bodybuilding competition is concerned.

[ BW ] Right, I'm never going to see him onstage with me in bodybuilding so this will be the only opportunity for him to go one-on-one with the great one.


[ DR ] So as far as becoming the World's Strongest Bodybuilder for 2010 it is a given in your mind that you will win?

[ BW ] Given he is not the same bodybuilder and if you look at the past year at what he, myself and Johnnie [Jackson] did, I beat both of them so I should automatically be the World's Strongest Bodybuilder.


[ DR ] So this will indeed be the outcome for you come late September?

[ BW ] Right, yes it will be.


[ DR ] Will anybody else be stepping up to take on the Showstopper at this year's World's Strongest Bodybuilder event?

[ BW ] Well if there is it won't have any effect on me. To be honest me, Johnnie and Stan are the strongest in the IFBB. But if we go back to the lifting part, Johnnie is stronger than me in the deadlift and I am stronger than him in the bench press. Stan has yet to be proven.

Ben White At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo. Ben White At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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Ben White At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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[ DR ] In saying this do you feel Stan could pose a legitimate threat to your being judged the strongest?

[ BW ] Well, he should be strong because he has had ten months to train for this. I have only had a short period to train for this, so he should be further ahead in his prep than I am. He has had basically the whole year to train for this.


[ DR ] And exactly how long have you trained for this year's World's Strongest Bodybuilder?

[ BW ] Well after the Tampa show and the Europa and in coming off my diet and everything I probably had only about six or seven weeks to train. And I now have three more weeks to train for it.


[ DR ] And as we know when one is dieting their calories must be reduced and consequently their weights must be lowered.

[ BW ] Yes, and that is what we have been focusing on [lowering the weights] this time so as to not get injured; so I have been playing it safe. I just planned to go out there and do my best and everybody knows that when I do go out there I always give 100 percent.


[ DR ] And next year when you are on the Olympia stage as opposed to the lifting platform you will be again giving it your all to win.

[ BW ] Yes, and next year when him [Stan] and Johnnie Jackson are going at it and I'm on the Olympia stage then we will see what the talk amounts to.


[ DR ] So from next year onward it will be strictly bodybuilding for Ben White.

[ BW ] Yes, strictly bodybuilding and I will be competing for the first time at the Mr. O.


[ DR ] But first you will need to re-qualify at an earlier show.

[ BW ] That is right, but I don't think I'm going to have any problem re-qualifying.


[ DR ] In what show will you aim to qualify for the 2011 Mr. Olympia?

[ BW ] The Orlando Pro show, so that way I can get it [qualification] out of the way and add more quality for the Olympia later in the year.


[ DR ] And in keeping with your competitive nature you will aim to win the Orlando Pro, not just qualify for the Olympia?

[ BW ] Right, and that's the whole purpose. Since I've been competing I've been placing in the top ten; I have never placed outside of the top ten. And each time I get up on stage I get better and better. So this time the judges are going to see a much better physique. For the Orlando we will have a 97-98 (percent) physique and we will leave the 100 (percent) for the Olympia.

Ben White At The 2010 Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships. Ben White At The 2010 Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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Ben White At The 2010 Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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[ DR ] A good realistic goal for you would appear to be top ten at the 2011 Olympia if you can put it all together and show obvious improvements.

[ BW ] My ultimate goal is to break Ronnie Coleman's record and win the Olympia nine times.


[ DR ] Yep, that would be a pretty good way to end one's career.

[ BW ] It seems everyone is getting a shot. Dexter won it one time. That's why Jay Cutler is still doing it because if Ronnie can tie with Lee Haney why can't Ronnie be beat? He's just like everybody else, but it will take a significant athlete to do it [beat Ronnie's record]. I think I have the genetics to do it. I just need to do some more training and prepare some more. People who know what is going on the sport will help to get me up there.


[ DR ] But in saying that we have some pretty formidable competitors knocking on the Olympia door. Kai Green, for example, is right there, as is Phil Heath. These guys are not stepping stones. If you plan to realize your goals you will first have to go through them.

[ BW ] Well, I'm basically doing what Kai Greene did. He was off the radar for a while and then all of a sudden he just exploded. I'm just going a little slower but I'm about to explode.


[ DR ] You are actually suggesting that at some point you could reach Kai Green's level of development?

[ BW ] When you see me at the Olympia this year and see the size I am carrying you will know what I am talking about.

Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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Ben White At The 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
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[ DR ] Well it all sounds positive for you Ben. Here's hoping you get to the top. In concluding this interview, is there anyone you would like to make a shout out to?

[ BW ] I would like to thank Teresa for supporting me for all of these years, Nutrabolics for sponsoring me, RX Muscle for giving me a lot of publicity on the radio, GASP clothing because without them I would be naked out there and of course bodybuilding.com for publicizing me and having me on their radio shows. I would like to thank y,all.


Stan Efferding

At 43 years old, American raw (no assistive clothing worn) powerlifting legend Stan Efferding feels he is getting stronger by the day, and who can argue with a man who has hoisted a combined weight of 2,221 pounds of cold steel at a sub-ten-percent body fat weight of over 280 pounds.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Efferding began competing in bodybuilding in 1988 and in 1992 placed sixth at the Junior USA, thus, with his size and shape, signaling his arrival as a potential future professional force. However, after placing second in the NPC Emerald Cup in 1997 he decided to call it quits and retired from bodybuilding and power lifting, the latter of which he began in 1996, achieving a massive 2,000 pound total in the Pepsi Region 8 challenge, in which he also dead lifted 782 pounds, raw. Returning to bodybuilding competition in 2006, Efferding, 38 at the time, capitalized on his early potential to win the Seattle Emerald Cup Super Heavyweight Class. Then, stepping it up a level, he added the muscle needed to fill out his massive six foot frame and entered the 2009 NPC Masters National Bodybuilding Championships at 259 pounds ripped. This secured him a coveted pro card and a shot at professional glory.

Despite his bodybuilding success, Efferding has not forgotten the powerlifting so integral to his style of lifting: a hybrid of power movements combined with those of a "traditional" bodybuilding type to maximize strength, size and power. And he has, of late, used his power credentials to good effect, winning a 2009 SPF Sanctioned Raw Power lifting meet in Sacramento California in which he totaled 2,221 pounds in the 275 pound weight class (the highest raw total in the world of any weight category).

Despite His Bodybuilding Success, Efferding Has Not Forgotten The Powerlifting So Integral To His Style Of Lifting
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Despite His Bodybuilding Success, Efferding Has Not Forgotten The Powerlifting So Integral To His Style Of Lifting.

One year later and Efferding is again ready to demonstrate that his muscles are not only for show and that he is legitimately one of the strongest men in the world and the strongest bodybuilder walking the planet. He recently told me that he will win the Worlds' Strongest Bodybuilder competition, held at this year's Mr. Olympia. In the following interview he discusses how he will do this.


[ David Robson ] Hello Stan. Being America's number one raw power lifter, how do you see your chances at this year's World's Strongest Bodybuilder competition, held at this year's Mr. Olympia weekend?

[ Stan Efferding ] I think it's good; I think Ben and I have a similar bench. But Ben doesn't powerlift in the traditional sense, he's only a bencher. So he's never been a squatter and a deadlifter and that's why Johnnie beat his last year and that's why I will beat him this year.


[ DR ] Ben has recently said that he is the world's strongest bodybuilder by virtue of the fact he has bested you in bodybuilding competition. What would you say in response to this claim?

[ SE ] Well, Ben has got a lot of excuses for why he should get a ribbon, but the fact of the matter is the guy who lifts the most weight at the Olympia gets that title, period. But if he wants to justify it by somehow making himself a winner too, well that's good for him.

Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions. Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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[ DR ] Of course you, like Ben, are a bodybuilder as well as a powerlifting champion. Do you feel one can successfully do both sports?

[ SE ] Yes, I do but you have to change your training a little bit eight weeks out. For a bodybuilding competition you will have to drop calories and lean out; eight weeks before a powerlifting meet you will need to increase calories, reduce your rep ranges and go for higher weights.


[ DR ] Obviously powerlifting is a priority for you right now. But following this year's Olympia will you go back to bodybuilding competition?

[ SE ] Well I've always been a bodybuilder and have done twice as many shows as Ben and half as many powerlifting meets as Ben. I've been competing in bodybuilding since 1988 so I just use the heavy lifting as my method for gaining size, so I'll always lift heavy.


[ DR ] Do you have any specific weight targets in mind for this year's Olympia?

[ SE ] I have a few goals; one of them is to beat last year's numbers. See, Ben's been training: he's been powerlifting and has done some deadlifting meets. He passed entering the [2010] Dallas Pro so he could train longer for this meet.


[ DR ] But Ben recently said that you have had longer to prepare for this event than he has. Is this true and how will this impact the result?

[ SE ] No, again last year I won the Masters Nationals and six weeks later I set the current highest raw powerlifting total in the world. That was a little tight in terms of the timeline: eight weeks is ideal, it is plenty to reach full strength as anybody knows. And those all excuses - I don't listen to excuses. What I do know is that Ben has been powerlifting in the off-season and that he passed on the Dallas Europa just so he could train longer for this event. He is coming to win, he wants to win. He is making all of these excuses to make himself feel better afterward but he is coming to win and I'm glad about that. I don't want it to be a walk away for me. I want it [the outcome] to beat last year's numbers; I want it to be close. I think Ben is the second strongest guy in the IFBB so I hope it's going to be a tight event. After day one we should be only a few pounds away from one another on the bench press. We are both in the powerlifting bench press hall of fame with a 605 plus pound bench press at 275. There's only five or six guys in the world who have done that and Ben and I are two of them. On deadlift day I will step away with an 800 dead and he may top out around 740-750, which would be great because it would beat last year's numbers at that total and then I will put that total way out of reach for everybody with a 1400 plus.

Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions. Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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[ DR ] On paper you do seem to be the stronger bodybuilder going into this year's Olympia event. What are you looking to accomplish as far as specific lifts are concerned?

[ SE ] I'll bench over 600 and deadlift over 800; I'm going to try to do it raw [without the aid of supporting clothing]. I'm a raw lifter and the meet is going to be the same as last year. [In 2009] they used an old polyester '80s style blast shirt and deadlift suit. I'm supposed to wear those for the promoter. But I haven't decided yet; I have never used that stuff. But I will try it once this week to see how I feel. But either way I'll get a 1400 total; I'll bench 600 and deadlift 800.


[ DR ] Do you feel it is possible to successfully compete in a power lifting event and then follow this with a good showing at a bodybuilding competition?

[ SE ] Yes, within eight weeks. I always stay very lean and never get over ten percent [body fat] even when I'm powerlifting. So it's easy for me to switch over and body build. I did a powerlifting meet eight weeks before I won the [2009] Master's Nationals. Then I did a powerlifting meet six weeks after. It's just what I enjoy doing; I enjoy lifting and lifting heavy. I think it's conducive for both. There are minor changes that I make both in diet and training to optimize one or the other sport. But I think they go hand in hand. I think that's always been the fallacy about bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bodybuilders do lift heavy weights and they do need to lift heavy to get big. I've just always done that.


[ DR ] What will you weigh at this year's Olympia?

[ SE ] Well, I usually end up in the off season at somewhere close to 285 to 290. Last year I dieted down to 270 when I set my record because I wanted to make sure I was in the same weight class as Ben and Johnnie so they didn't squawk about the numbers [for the weights lifted at this event]. I wanted it to be apples for apples. It really doesn't matter to me. I'll be strong at 275; I'll be strong at 285. It doesn't matter.


[ DR ] How do you know if you will compete first or second on each event and how big of an impact does the lifting order have on your performance?

[ SE ] The only issue is what you open with. The lighter guy goes first: if Ben opens with a 550 bench and I open with a 575 then I'm going to go second. And then after he does his 550 he gets to call his next lift. Say he jumps up to 600 and I pick 605 then I'm going to go second. So it is progressive based on weight on the bar.


[ DR ] Will you compete in bodybuilding in 2011?

[ SE ] Yes, I should compete again in 2011; I'm not sure if it will be early in the year or over summer. I just got back into competing two years ago and it took me a year to win my pro card and a year to set the world powerlifting record. So I'm still fresh. I took almost 11 years off competing - from 1997 to 2008. I'm just fresh back into the game so I still think there is a lot of progress I can make - I'm getting bigger all the time. So I'll compete next year. I did my first pro show after only a year and a half of being back into competitive bodybuilding after an 11 year layoff. I'm not concerned about my historical placements. I'm still making progress so will compete this coming year. I'm sure I will do better than I did previously.


[ DR ] What was the reason for your 11 year layoff?

[ SE ] I just stopped competing back in 1997 to start my business and so have just been running my company for over ten years. Then I had some free time and things changed for me and I was able to put more time and energy back into training.

Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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[ DR ] Do you have any specific bodybuilding and powerlifting goals or do you take a year-by-year approach?

[ SE ] I take it year-by-year. I'm almost 43 now so the window of opportunity is narrow for me and I'm just going to do as much as I can over as short a time period as possible while I'm healthy. As long as I continue to improve I'm going to have fun with it. And that's the primary thing for me: I enjoy doing this. Nobody pays me to do it and I do it for fun. Between bodybuilding and powerlifting I've done a meet every 90 days for the last two years so I've been really actively competing in both arenas.


[ DR ] To be able to adopt such a heavy workload at your age your recovery abilities must be pretty good.

[ SE ] Well, it has been hard and it's pretty exhausting at times. When I'm bodybuilding I'm training with Flex Wheeler and he's pushing me as hard as possible and when I powerlift I train with a powerlifting coach like Eddy Coan or Mark Bell from Team Super Training here in California. Those guys will push me as hard as I've ever been pushed. It takes a lot of recovery and focus on diet and rest and rehab. I'm really disciplined about that so I'm able to stay healthy and continue to improve.


[ DR ] What kind of diet do you follow? And how do you change it from bodybuilding oriented and back to one that accommodates your power lifting objectives?

[ SE ] About the only thing that will change is that I'll bump the fats up significantly when I powerlift, with monounsaturated fats like olive or macadamia nut oils so I can get in an extra 1500 calories a day to try to bring my weight up. But the basic foods are the same. I'm always eating lean red meats and complex carbohydrates over seven meals a day. So that doesn't change.


[ DR ] Do you have a specific macronutrient ratio that you aim for each day?

[ SE ] When I'm bodybuilding it's usually 30/30/30 [proteins/fats/carbohydrates] and when I'm powerlifting I bump the fats up to 50 percent.


[ DR ] And how many grams of protein do you consume per day?

[ SE ] Two grams per pound is fairly typical.

Stan Efferding At The 2008 Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships. Stan Efferding At The 2008 Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships.
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Stan Efferding At The 2008 Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships.
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[ DR ] How do you incorporate supplements into your daily program?

[ SE ] Yes, I use supplement protein with my meals if I can't eat enough; I'll throw in a whey protein isolate. And I live in the Northwest so I take vitamin D and multivitamins and minerals up here as we don't get a lot of sun. Creatine is another daily for me. I don't eat a whole lot of vegetables so I supplement fiber; also fatty oils - essential fatty acids. I'll put those in three times a day, 10 grams per day, broken up into my meals. And that's the bulk of it.


[ DR ] Are you purely power-lifting at this point or do you continue to incorporate what might be described as traditional bodybuilding movements into your routine?

[ SE ] It's a hybrid for me. When I powerlift my first exercise will be my major lift: if it's chest day I will do the flat bench. And when I powerlift I'll bring those reps down; I'll do doubles, working my way up. That's powerlifting. But as soon as I'm done with bench press I'll do what I call ancillary exercises: incline press, incline dumbbells, dips. And those reps will climb; I'll work between 8 and 12, progressively increasing weight. So that goes back to sort of a bodybuilding style. But you can't differentiate between the two. If you read The Powerlifting Edge, Ed Coan's book, that's how he always trained as well. He would do his main powerlifting move first then he would throw in what would be called traditional bodybuilding exercises in bodybuilding rep ranges to get all of the supporting muscle groups strong and to continue to build muscle.


[ DR ] There is the notion that by doing ancillary movements such as the incline bench press a powerlifter will build many more muscle groups and consequently become stronger overall. Is this the way you operate?

[ SE ] Yes, that's how I operate. I think you are only as strong as your weakest link and that's why bodybuilders have the potential, I think, to increase their strength more than your typical powerlifter because they [the bodybuilder] work such a large variety of exercises and all of their supporting muscle groups are strong.


[ DR ] You appear to be very well-rounded on the big three lifts. Is this something you train for or are you just naturally strong?

[ SE ] It is something I've trained for. I've always focused heavy on all of the basics. A lot of people bench because it is easy; it is a fairly typical exercise. Very few people deadlift. I've had the dead lift as a staple lift for over 20 years. But it was never genetic for me; I was 145 pounds out of high school and I couldn't bench 135. In my first bodybuilding show in 1988 I was 21 years old and I only weighed 160. So I used these powerlifting movements to build muscle as a young bodybuilder and they worked for me so I continued to increase my weights in the power lifting movements year after year and I gradually developed strength. But I didn't neglect any of the exercises and I think that is one of the reasons people don't get strong on all of the exercises - because they find there are some that they don't like. People don't like to squat and people don't like to dead lift so they won't do those exercises.

Stan Efferding At The 2008 Emerald Cup Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships.
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[ DR ] You seem also to have gotten progressively stronger as you have aged. For most people the opposite is often true. How do you do it?

[ SE ] I feel fortunate just to have gotten this far without being injured and I think part of that is the fact that I have taken ten years off training. Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has said that there is a 100 percent chance that you will get injured as a power lifter. And that's because as an elite lifter you are always pushing the envelope, always pushing yourself until something breaks. That's what you do. You are doing one rep maximums, as much as you can in competition. I haven't done that for over ten years so my body is still healthy. I'm actually about as strong as I was in 1997 when I finished powerlifting so my bench is much improved now probably by 50 pounds; my deadlift is probably about the same as it was in 1997. My squat is pretty close to the same as it was in 1997. For me, that is success: 13 almost 14 years later to have the same strength as I had when I was 30 years old.


[ DR ] Is it correct that your current raw lifts are 606.3 pounds on the bench, 821.2 for the squat and 793.7 for the deadlift?

[ SE ] Yes, they are and you must remember that these are raw lifts and Johnnie lifted in the dead lift suit at the Olympia when he pulled 815. My lift in a deadlift suit is 825. So there's not a single lift that either Johnnie or Ben has ever done that I haven't beaten.


[ DR ] And you will obviously be looking to continue that trend come this year's Olympia?

[ SE ] Correct. I'm going to try to follow suit. My goal is to beat last year's [Olympia] numbers by 100 pounds. If I can bench 620 then I will beat last year's two lift total by 100 pounds.


[ DR ] And of course going into an event such as this there will often be mind games and smack talk between the competitors. You don't let this affect your preparation?

[ SE ] No, I've been through too much and I'm too old to worry about all of that. And it's all done, the talk is almost over. It took me a year to get here. Nobody wanted to challenge me last year, I had to jump up and wave my hands around and jump onstage and scream into a microphone and still nobody wanted to lift against me. So I've been begging for this, I'm here and as far as I'm concerned the only talking that needs to be done now will happen on stage.


[ DR ] In saying that will there be much pressure on you going into this event?

[ SE ] What I'm saying is I think it will be closer than last year when Johnnie beat Ben by a pretty huge total because Ben hadn't practiced his deadlift. I think that Ben will beat last year's total of 1338. I think Ben will bench 600 and will dead lift probably 740 or 750 so will probably put up a 1350. But I'll still beat him by 50 pounds because I'll pull 800 on the deadlift so it's not going to be that close but it will be closer than last year and we will both beat last year's numbers. The competition's progressing and it will get harder and harder to win this title and beat these numbers.

Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions. Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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Stan Efferding At The 2010 Europa Show of Champions.
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[ DR ] Will you focus on both bodybuilding and powerlifting next year or concentrate exclusively on one or the other?

[ SE ] I'll always do both. It's not detraction for me because I train the same way; my only change the last six to eight weeks is to reduce my rep range on my first exercise down to doubles. Everything else is the same.


[ DR ] Do you think you will ever have the edge over Ben as far as bodybuilding competition goes?

[ SE ] I never made that claim and I never made that claim against Johnnie Jackson, either. Again I'm almost 43 and I've been bodybuilding for two years after my layoff. Being behind as I am it might take me a couple of years to get to where I can be in the placements in a pro bodybuilding event. But at my age and considering the short time that I've been back at it I'm extremely proud of what I've done and I'm still having fun doing it. I'm not afraid to get up there and stand next to anybody. I'm six foot and 275 pounds onstage so I'm certainly not going to be shy.

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