BodySpace Member Of The Month: Big Frank

Throughout the course of our lives, our bodies will change, usually in modest ways. Big Frank's change was so drastic that a new lifestyle manifested to match his physical change!

Name: Frank Budelewski
BodySpace handle: AskBigFrankB
Age: 41
Weight: 280 lbs, 260 contest
Height: 6'4"
Occupation: Federal Detention Officer
Education: BS Business Mgmt & Economics/ AS Criminal Justice/ Personal Trainer Certification
Contest History: Several NPC shows always placing in top 3, before earning Pro Card in WBFF
Athletic Background: Football/Wrestling/MMA
Super Powers: Inspiration, Dedication, and Transformation
Ultimate Goal: To be the best father I can be to my two sets of twins. That comes before anything. I have a saying that holds true for me, "I would rather be known for what I did for you than what I did for myself." I did what many said I couldn't. Am I the greatest bodybuilder in the world? No. I am limited by genetics and injuries. However, I am blessed with super strength. And I mean on the inside, not the outside. And I have the ability to pass my strength onto others. I have started Ask-BigFrank.com as a way to reach people and help them to transform. I am not out to get rich. Instead I do this for something worth much more to me. Respect and admiration. I will help as many people as I am able to, because I believe my life was spared in an accident for a reason. And God gave me the strength he did to prove what the human spirit is capable and to pass that strength onto others. So my goal is to help as many people as I can and be remembered for doing that.

Our transformation features expose strangers looking at web pages to the remarkable images and stories of change from people who came before them. That inspiration works both ways. We select people who were inspired, because they inspire us and we wish to share it with anyone willing to listen.

Frank Budelewski has lived on all three sides of this inspiration continuum. He first visited Bodybuilding.com more than a decade ago. He felt the inspiration and made a change. He lost 130 pounds.

His transformation was featured; his story became a part of our story. And now, as a competitor in the WBFF, and a BodySpace stalwart, Big Frank serves as an intermediary between the site that helped him change and the millions of people on Earth in search of inspiration.

We thank Frank, and congratulate him for another honor. He is this month's BodySpace Member of the Month!

Q
What led you to the decision that you needed to get in shape?

After my car accident, every move I made caused pain. My metabolism crashed and I was gaining fat at a rapid rate. I gave up and gave in.

I was killing myself with food and alcohol. I grew a beard to cover my face and took pain pills like PEZ just to function. In a one year, four of my best friends lost or had taken their lives as a direct result of alcohol or pain killers.

I shaved my face and looked in the mirror. I didn't get sad, I got mad! I asked myself when I became so weak! I took that anger and utilized it. Do I suggest everyone Hulk out? No, but it worked for me.

I went to hypnotherapy to learn how to block my pain with my mind. I stopped all pain meds cold. I stopped drinking. I started going to a gym an hour from my house, because I didn't want anyone I knew to recognize me.

I was a shadow of what I was when I played football. I lost 130 pounds. I stripped everything off, then rebuilt myself. I believed if I built enough muscle it would support my injuries and I could avoid more surgeries. Well, it worked.

Your transformation was significant. Do you feel like a different person now?

My transformation did not make me a different person, because no matter how I changed, I still saw the same guy in the mirror. Some people see that as sad. But, it's just another blessing from god. It keeps me humble. I pride myself as one of the most approachable professionals in the industry. When someone writes me, I write them back. If someone needs me, I am there. I try to pass that on to all of my clients.

This sport is individual. Want to win? Get out. You are missing the whole point of competing. People don't realize the movie Pumping Iron was FICTION! For a MOVIE they wanted good guys and bad guys. In reality, they were all friends and supported each other. We need to go back to that.

That is a huge reason why I am so proud to be a representative of the WBFF. In the WBFF we are a family. We support and promote each other. You see athletes spending more time promoting others than themselves. We are all after the same goal. We want to grow together. We are all winners from first to last.

You may have someone who places first onstage, yet the person who placed last has a great story and is marketable and gets a magazine cover or mainstream endorsement contract. The WBFF are my brothers and sisters and I love each and every one of them and would do anything for them.

Do you still struggle with body dysmorphic disorder?

Yes, I have written several articles on this disorder at fitandfirmmag.com. The disorder goes undiagnosed because it is essentially reverse anorexia, and men are stubborn and unwilling to go for help. I was so screwed up for so many years that even during the hottest summer days I would wear layers and layers of clothing to look and feel bigger. I stuffed myself with food to "feel" big.

I weighed approximately 330 pounds, but in the mirror I saw a tiny guy looking back at me. The mind can do a job on us. Some magazines make it worse. I give all professionals every bit of respect they deserve, but I fear that our sport in other organizations goes too far. Do I love to watch it? Of course I do; I love muscle. However, the mainstream public does not, and we are in danger of slipping into obscurity.

I love the growing popularity of the new muscle divisions in all organizations. It's new and fresh and allows children and adults in the gym to believe that look is obtainable. If you constantly stare at the biggest bodybuilders, it can do a job on your head, and it certainly took its toll on mine.

I learned to stop looking at them, and start looking at myself, recognizing my own changes. It wasn't easy, but I eventually overcame the disorder. I am passionate about helping people with eating disorders. We have a lot of experts who can speak about anorexia. Very few can speak about dysmorphia. Those people need help from someone who has been there and defeated it. It took me 15 years. If you need help, contact me at ask-bigfrank.com.

How did you discover BodySpace?

I have been a BodySpace member for more than 10 years. It has changed tremendously! When I joined years ago, I noticed groups of people who bashed each other during the uprising of the natural federation movement. I think people forgot that members of different divisions were all after the same thing. I saw a lot of that and I also saw plenty of ... flirting going on.

Then something changed. After speaking to the incredible employees who have contacted me from Bodybuilding.com, I can see why. The flirting changed to motivation. The hate ended at the hands of moderators and switched to inspiration no matter what size, strength, or division you were in. The store started having amazing deals that made supplement store prices look ridiculous.

Bodybuilding.com started featuring shows, and then the amazing happened. They started showing professional competitions (The Arnold and the Olympia) for free. I may be a die-hard WBFF rep, but I am also known for being a fan of the athlete, no matter which stage they walk across. I was able to kick back and watch the shows I used to pay to go watch. It made Bodybuilding.com number one with me.

Of course Bodybuilding.com also recognized the WBFF as a legit organization and featured our athletes. A common misconception is that we are another Bodybuilding federation competing with the others. We are not. We are more about the show than anything. We entertain. We have evolved from typical competitions. We keep changing.

How has your affiliation with the WBFF helped your career?

When I competed in the NPC, it was not a bad experience at all. You have more of a sense of solitude there. It is more a 'you against them' feeling.

But I've always been an athlete so that didn't bother me. The biggest reason I moved to the WBFF was opportunity. In other federations top pros get absolutely nothing. I don't just mean the men, because the mainstream public may not like their look. I mean across the board.

WBFF owner Paul Dillett (who was once an IFBB pro) is constantly looking for more opportunity for his athletes. I swear, if the guy could single-handedly get every single athlete signed, he would. I have never seen a company owner do more for the people than he does. I competed against many guys in the NPC who went on to be pros in the IFBB.

At 6-foot-4, I do not fit the cookie-cutter image of the typical bodybuilder. That always worked against me, yet in any other sport, besides being a horse jockey, it is an advantage.

In the WBFF, they like my look, and apparently so do the fans around the world who contact me constantly. This led me to many magazine opportunities, commercials, and I am in discussions for a movie role. Big things are happening for Big Frank and I have the WBFF to thank for that, for allowing me the platform to launch myself!

How do you think BodySpace has helped you reach your goals?

BodySpace at first served as a source of inspiration for me! I saw so many transformations and competition pictures and results, featured athletes, etc. Recently, Bodybuilding.com featured me in the We 'Mirin feature twice and I received the Over 40 Transformation award. The audience I have been able to present myself in front of has increased significantly.

I received so much positive feedback. Not one single negative comment. It has just been amazing! My goal as I told you is to help as many people as possible and BodySpace is allowing me a way to get my story and services in front of a vast number of people who all have similar goals. To be the best they can be!

Male Bodybuilders receive negative feedback for being vain or meatheads, do you have to battle that negativity? How so?

I am stereotyped. I am a big guy. I have been told that my pictures are deceiving until someone meets me. You can go to my BodySpace page and see me next to some IFBB pros and maybe gauge my size that way. I just am, and always have been a big person. My father stands 6-foot-6 and weighs more than 300 pounds and my brother who may not have the height, certainly has the size. He was an all around sports star, and could have been an even better bodybuilder than me if he put his heart into it. He still trains and is an animal in the gym.

When people see my size and tattoos and shaved head, they automatically think they have me figured out and they couldn't be more wrong. I am humble, I have a huge heart, I love my kids more than anything, I volunteer for organizations such as Make A Wish. You know people see someone who looks like me, training a female in the gym and what do you think they assume.

One negative aspect of this sport and industry is jealousy. I am so humble, that it took people telling me this for a long time for me to realize it, but people get jealous of other's accomplishments and in a way to discredit or take away from that person; they will make up lies or rumors or whatever. It's sad, but it happens all around the world. A friend in South Africa who is a WBFF Pro just wrote me today and he deals with the same thing. Maybe when I was younger, I may have taken offense, and gotten mad, but at my age, and place in life right now? I just let them talk.

Recently a trainer in a nearby city was making up lies about me. I never even met the guy. Why was he doing it? His clients were starting to contact me, and he wanted to make me look bad. I didn't even bother with it. A younger Frank may have handled it differently, but there is enough negative in this industry. I thought about it and figured this guy needs to feed his family and pay his bills, so if bashing me to retain clients is what he needs to do, so be it.

I suggest more people think that way. It just isn't worth it to fall into the trap of negativity! We are better than that. I have zero interest in taking clients. I help people all around the world, and I also suggest other coaches and trainers all around the world. Like the philosophy we follow in the WBFF, we are all brothers and sisters in the same industry. We should work together, not against each other.

What is your favorite feature on BodySpace?

Absolutely, without a doubt, it's the transformations. I am a sucker for a transformation. Pro card, magazines, endorsements, commercials ... nothing beats that original transformation, the one that nobody believed you could make! I love seeing others do what I have done. I even had some of my clients featured through the years. It's a huge honor for me to share my story with the world.

What is your favorite muscle group to train and can you give us a sample workout?

Everyone who sees my arms think that they are my favorite to train, and they aren't. My favorite to train was my absolute worst body part at one time. I had no chest at all; it looked like a cheese pizza with two pepperoni nipples.

It took years to build my chest into what it is now and I love training it because I get a pump from head to toe when doing it. My chest workout is always different. I never do the same workout two weeks in a row.

Big Frank's Chest Workout

And I am still sore … 3 days later.

With all your recent success, how do you plan to stay motivated for the long term?

I stay motivated by the negativity of some and the support of others. Those who tell me I cannot do something always motivate me to do exactly what they said I couldn't.

The people around the world who get behind me, believe in me, and respect how blunt and honest I am push me and my goals even farther. Dare I say the word 'fans'? That sounds so surreal to me, but they are incredible. They write to me, share stories with me, and tell me how I impact their lives. This all is surreal to me.

I will be in pain every day for the rest of my life, but these people make it so amazing that I would gladly go through it all again just to get the chance to impact them the way they say I have. I wear my pain like a badge of honor.

When the doctors told you that you wouldn't run again, did you ever think of giving up?

I did give up for about six years. I sat back and watched people live their lives as I ate pizza and drank beer. I gave up on myself. Then when a few of my best friends all died in a year, I stood up and said that won't be me!

I just kept saying it's not going to kill me. No matter how much pain I am in, it will not kill me. Doing nothing was killing me. We are more in control of our bodies and minds than we give ourselves credit for!

Are you bothered by some of the stereotypes of bodybuilders? What can you do to offset those opinions?

I used to let it bother me, but then I pride myself on breaking every stereotype of the bodybuilder. I attempt to speak the truth in my column and show my intelligence hidden behind wit and humor. Life is way too short to let the opinions of others keep you down. If they weren't jealous of you, they wouldn't talk about you at all.

What are your favorite supplements?

Whey protein is a big one. I use Dymatize whey. It doesn't bother my stomach and mixes instantly. I am lactose intolerant so a lot of proteins bother me. I have no trouble with Dymatize; I am not sponsored by or affiliated with Dymatize. Those who follow me know I will never compromise my integrity. We see a lot of that in this industry. If I believe in something I will say it. If not, I won't.

I recently found a company using my before and after pictures. I was upset and contacted them. They said if I sold their product I would make a fortune because people loved my transformation pictures. I told them to take the pictures down or deal with my attorney. I don't need to be rich, especially by lying to people, making them think I used something I didn't.

Besides whey, I always use a good multivitamin and mineral, coral calcium; I use Xtend during my workout; and during my offseason I take 5 grams of creatine per day. I do not do loading.

What has the biggest impact on muscle growth and recovery?

Nutrition comes first. You can train your butt off in the gym but without ingesting what you need to grow, you will go in reverse. There are the same people in the gym day after day, year after year who never change. Second would be training. Third would be rest. Last would be supplements, because as the name says, they are meant to supplement everything else!

What type of music do you listen to in the gym?

This is the part that people laugh at me for. I listen to everything besides country and R&B. I have a strange sense of humor. I love to laugh. Laughing makes me feel solid inside. I will listen to hard heavy music on my iPod and then all of a sudden ABBA's "Dancing Queen" will come on and I will start cracking up. If you see me smiling in the gym it's because I just lifted a Volvo, or something stupid like The Partridge Family came on.

You have some serious muscle, any tips for amassing such a frame?

If you think you have to lift heavy all the time, you will get hurt. That's a guarantee. If you do the same workout every week you will get stronger because your body will adapt to anything. I could poke you in the chest repeatedly; eventually you won't feel it. Your body adapts.

The same goes with following the same workouts. You will get stronger because your body adapted to a certain workload, but strength doesn't necessarily correlate with size. And this is where people point to me and ask, "what about powerlifters?" What about them? It wasn't the weight that made them the size they are. It was the three Big Macs they ate after. When the typical powerlifter switches to bodybuilding, they quickly learn they need to train like a bodybuilder.

What is your favorite way to spend a 'rest' day?

Rest day? Do those exist? Remember I have two sets of twins! I take two days off from the gym every week, then I will spend the entire day playing with my kids. We'll see a movie. I live life and do my best to enjoy it.

Someone will read this feature and consider joining BodySpace. Why should that person become a part of the largest fitness social network?

Because you have the answer to every single question you will ever have at your fingertips. Workouts, diets, meal plans, sports info, supplement suggestions, encouragement, etc. You can meet people like me who can take you farther. You can find inspiration. You can see others who were like you and did what YOU want to do!

Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow BodySpace members? Have any of them made a special impact on your life?

Every single BodySpace member who has written me has impacted my life. Some of my inspirations are WBFF Pro Jen Jewell and Micah LaCerte, who touch so many lives. If it wasn't for BodySpace I wouldn't have met Steph Nichols, who designed my webpage. To every person who takes the time to read this: you are making a man realize his dreams are coming true! A 'thank you' isn't even strong enough.

Do you stick to one type of training, or do you vary your exercise attacks?

No workout is ever the same, ever!

We included you in our photo feature, We 'Mirin, a couple times. How did that inclusion make you feel?

Words could not describe what that did to me. I never submitted a single thing. One day someone wrote me and said congrats. When I saw what they were talking about I was floored; not once, but twice. The people at Bodybuilding.com and their receptiveness to me has been ... I honestly don't have the words to show my appreciation!

Bodybuilders have school, day-jobs and families, and still dedicate hours in the gym each week. How do you strike a balance? What happens when you get tired?

I have a full-time job as an officer, four children, training, and clients. I don't have time to be tired. The best I can do is to stay positive. People ask how I do it, and just like when they ask how I transformed myself, I say ... I just do it!

How can your fans find you on other social media?

Anybody who would like to contact me, I have my website at www.ask-bigfrank.com, and I am on Facebook. You can read many of my blogs at www.wbffshows.com and my monthly column Ask Big Frank can be found at www.fitandfirmmag.com.

I hope this article spoke to at least one person out there and leads to them take their life into their own hands and make their dreams come true. You can't wait for someone to do it for you! Chances are you aren't going to win the lottery, but you have the power to make anything you want to come true. Believe that and make it happen! If you need help, people like me are out there waiting for you to ask!


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