After retiring from top-level gymnastics, emerging amateur bodybuilder Victor Prisk, needed another challenge to help him stay focused on maintaining the skills he had developed as a gymnast. A natural performer with great upper body strength, Victor gravitated toward bodybuilding and soon found himself developing at an amazing pace.
Not long after his first bodybuilding workout he qualified for and entered the 2005 Junior Nationals, placing a respectable third. Last weekend he won the 2007 version. As the new Junior Nationals Welterweight Champion, Victor is now perfectly poised to do some damage at the 2007 Nationals.
His support crew, formidable to say the least, comprises the massive and knowledgeable ex-champion, Dave Palumbo, his fiancé, Jennifer Toth, herself a top amateur bodybuilding champion, and MuscleTech, whom he is sponsored by and works for as a Physician-Bodybuilder.
Victor's physique could be best described as compact, balanced and ripped to shreds, a package that should see him working steadily up the rankings at future contests. Keep a close watch on Victor Prisk.
[ Q ] How does it feel to have won your class at the Junior Nationals after having come so close in 2005?
It was a great relief. I was very happy with my third place finish in 2005. It was only my second show and I was lucky to get my national qualification at my first competition. I had only been training for six months after retiring from competition with USA Gymnastics.
[ Q ] What improvements had you made to your physique between 2005 and your recent win?
I would have to say that I have focused a great deal on my leg development. As a gymnast, I was a still rings specialist during graduate school and medical school. I spent many hours in the gym building my upper-body for strength moves while neglecting my lower body.
When people asked, "How do you do those strength moves?" I would say, "Skinny legs". Also, I tore my right distal bicep tendon on the still rings a few months after the 2005 Juniors while doing a photo shoot in Los Angeles.
The injury gave me some time to build some symmetry. I competed again only six months after the bicep surgery at the NPC Pittsburgh and re-qualified for the Nationals. Going into the North Americans that season, I learned how to achieve a greater of conditioning.
[ Q ] Did you make any changes (compared to previous pre-contest preps) to your training and nutrition programs in the lead up to your recent win? If so, what were they?
I had help from Dave Palumbo with my diet prep leading up to this year's NPC Pittsburgh and the Junior Nationals. He is awesome to work with. I've helped him with orthopaedic issues and I've written articles for MD. The main changes that we made to my diet were in consistency and more fat.
My fiancé Jennifer Toth is a clinical dietician (2007 NPC Junior Nationals class D 6th place) and cooked all of my meals exactly as Dave ordered. I had a much longer period of low to no carbs than my previous preps, while keeping the fats at a higher level. I think this approach does wonders for maintaining muscle mass while dieting down.
[ Q ] Describe your training philosophy?
My training philosophy is best described by "Flexible-Protected-High-Volume Training". I believe this is the kind of training that Jay Cutler embraces. I call this training "Flexible" because I never do the same workout twice. I keep a consistent five and one workout split. However, I change the combination of exercises, rep ranges, and intensities for each workout based on what my body tells me needs to be done that day.
I mean "Protected" because I have a keen sense of injuries and injury prevention at all times while manipulating the weight. I never approach one-rep maxes and try to keep my rep ranges between 8 and 15 (depending on the exercise and the time in the workout).
I typically train with short rest periods to really feel the pump. Also, I train to exhaustion on many exercises, but not all the time. Again, I listen to what my body and the muscle being trained are telling me.
[ Q ] Are you a big believer in cardio? How much of it do you do in the off-season versus pre contest?
There is a time and a place for cardio. Not while trying to grow. I stay lean with a strict diet throughout the year. Thus, I usually start cardio at about 6 weeks out from a show and build up the volume over time. I always keep my heart rate below 130 BPM. I usually walk on a treadmill with a 15% grade at three mph.
[ Q ] How do you structure your diet?
Dave Palumbo and Jennifer structure my diet now! It is a low to no carb contest prep with moderate fats and high protein. We use clean low-sodium foods at all times. I add more clean carbs during the off-season for workout recovery. I usually eat six meals with at least 50g of protein per meal.
I use Nitro-Tech RTD shakes very often when working in the OR. I can drink the RTDs quickly and be back in time for my next case. The carbs and fats per meal vary based on my physique and time-out to the show. When I am very low carbing, I take a single cheat meal per week up to five weeks out to promote my metabolism.
[ Q ] Did you make any changes to your diet this time around?
I think I actually ate more than I had in the past! Otherwise, maintaining the fats up to the last week is something I haven't done in the past. Also, I used to cycle low to moderate carbs in the past. This time it was low to no carbs the entire prep, which went for 12 weeks.
[ Q ] Please provide some background. How did you get involved in bodybuilding and what were your initial goals?
I started bodybuilding shortly after retiring from gymnastics competition. I find I make the most gains in the gym and stay focused when I have a goal to attain. I picked bodybuilding because it allowed me to perform gymnastics moves and choreograph posing routines. I did professional swing dancing while in medical school and enjoy mixing music and being creative with posing.
[ Q ] What are your bodybuilding goals now (contest and physique)?
My main goal is to improve with every competition. Turning pro as a welterweight or middleweight would be icing. I enjoy promoting the sport and would encourage more to get involved. I don't know how long my body will be able to handle competition prep, so I would like to move into judging in the near future. As far as my physique, I need to continue adding size in my legs and thickness all around.
[ Q ] What are your main strengths as a bodybuilder?
[ Q ] What is your role with team MuscleTech?
I have been with MuscleTech for two years as a Physician-Bodybuilder. I review their products, use their products for my contest prep, and represent them at all of the shows that I attend. MuscleTech is a fantastic supplement company that is incredibly supportive of bodybuilding and their athletes.
Paul Gardiner (MuscleTech founder) is a huge bodybuilding fan and has given back tremendously to the sport. Without their Nitro-Tech RTDs, Anator P70, Leukic, Aplodan, and Creakic I could not have won the Junior Nationals.
[ Q ] So clearly you use all these MuscleTech products.
I use the supplements I mentioned above fairly religiously. I drink (at least) three Nitro-Tech RTDs every day to augment my protein intake. I use the Anator during my off-season and early contest prep as a post-workout recovery supplement.
The Leukic I take 2 servings EVERYDAY. Leukic helps to maximize protein synthesis and Aplodan brings out those dormant type II myofibers. The Creakic I use in early contest prep and throughout the off-season to maximize performance and stimulate muscle growth.
[ Q ] How do you balance your job as an orthopaedic surgeon with your bodybuilding schedule? Do the two compliment each other in any way?
My job is most challenging with regards to maintaining the strict diet. Sometimes my cases in the OR can last four or five hours. In which case, I may miss a meal or two. Likewise, my trauma-call nights tend to interrupt my sleep and recovery time.
I try to use my call days and nights as my night off during my five and one training split. The knowledge that I have acquired as an Orthopaedic Surgeon has helped me tremendously in my training and injury prevention. It especially helped me recover from my bicep injury more rapidly and without residual deficits or deformity.
[ Q ] What do you enjoy most about bodybuilding?
Training with my fiancé Jennifer. We train together and diet together. Everyday that we train together (at least 6 days a week) it makes us a closer couple. In fact, I just proposed to her on Saturday between pre-judging and finals!
Performing on stage is a rush also.
[ Q ] Would you like to thank anyone for supporting your in the build-up to your Junior Nationals class win?
I would especially like to thank Jennifer (my fiancé), Dave Palumbo, Gary Udit, Jim Manion, MuscleTech, Ivan Tarkin (my colleague and friend), Gregg Ferringer, Rico Barakat, and Margo Cicci (www.TheSuitChick.com)
[ Q ] Thank you so much for your time Victor and all the very best for the Nationals.
Thank you David