With a physique many would consider to be a perfect combination of mass and cuts, a contradiction to the current emphasis on gargantuan size, Jeff Willet is carving a name for himself in the IFBB pro-bodybuilding arena.
At the age of sixteen, Jeff began building his physique with a view to turning pro, after watching his first bodybuilding show and deciding that this was to be the sport he would excel in. " I knew at that moment, with every fiber of my being that I wanted to become a champion bodybuilder", said Jeff.
15-years later, at the age of 31, Jeff is the proud owner of a pro-card and a body cloaked in muscle.
Competing in his first show, at 17, Jeff won both his teen class, and overall teen, at the Novice Mr. Michigan in 1991. After 11-years of building and refining his physique, Jeff's crowning moment came when he won light-heavyweight and overall at the Team Universe championships in 2003. This win secured him his pro-card and reinforced his belief that one should "believe beyond boundaries".
Jeff currently owns a gym, Jeff Willet's Powerhouse Gym, in his home town of Adrian, Michigan and continues to train utilizing the Max-OT principals.
Expect big things from Jeff Willet:
[ Q ] Hi Jeff. You won your pro card in 2003. Describe this experience and the period leading up to it.
From the time I started bodybuilding my ultimate competitive goal was to earn IFBB Pro status. When Bev Francis (MC of the Team Universe) announced my name as overall champion and the newest IFBB Pro on August 9th of 2003 the feeling that I experienced really can't be put into words.
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Let's just say it was an honest to goodness dream come true and I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life.
Thirteen years of hard work, sacrifice, ups, downs, laughter and tears all came together in one magical moment.
[ Q ] When did you begin bodybuilding and what were your aspirations at the time? When did you contemplate turning pro? Why the decision to turn pro?
I began at age 16 and as I mentioned my goal from the beginning was to one day become an IFBB Pro.
When I earned the chance to turn professional there really wasn't a decision to make.
It was what I wanted for 13 years.
[ Q ] Provide some background on yourself Jeff. What is your age, weight and height and what are your key measurements.
I'm now 31 years old, stand about 5'7" and have no idea what my current weight is. I am not a big fan of the scale. The only time I monitored my weight was when I was getting ready for contests and targeting the light heavyweight cut off of 198 1/4 lbs.
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I don't like the tape measure either so I can't offer any measurements. I am very much a visual person and use visual assessments to gauge progress.
The way I have always felt is when you are on the stage the judges don't pull out a tape measure or body fat calipers. They judge you on your appearance so therefore it always made sense for me to judge progress the same way.
People can get too caught up in numbers and numbers don't always tell an accurate tale.
[ Q ] What are your current competitive plans? What other bodybuilding related goals do you have?
I don't have any competitive plans at the moment. I recently opened Jeff Willet's Powerhouse Gym in my home town of Adrian, Michigan. I own and operate the business so as you can imagine my plate is pretty full with that at the moment and my primary focus at this time is building the business.
I am really enjoying this new challenge and new life direction. I still train hard Max-OT style and am having fun working out without the pressure of an upcoming competition.
I had been competing for 13 years straight with only one year off competition prior to turning pro so this is a good change of pace for me.
[ Q ] Describe you current training program and how does it differ from pre-contest to off-season?
I train with the Max-OT (Maximum Overload Training) principles and have for many years. I train 5 days a week and take two days off. The current Max-OT schedule I am following groups chest and triceps on Monday, legs on Tuesday, back and biceps on Wednesday, shoulders and traps on Thursday, leaving abs, calves and forearms for Friday.
My weight training doesn't differ from off-season to pre-contest. I train heavy with 4-6 reps and the Max-OT principles year around. Max-OT is based on training heavy in a 4-6 rep range with compound free weight exercises and a low set volume.
The changes that happen during pre-contest involve cardio and diet.
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In a nut shell it is based on heavy basic compound lifts, low set volume and training in a 4-6 rep range.
[ Q ] Describe your current diet. What is the best way for eating to gain muscle size in your view?
I feel protein is the most important nutrient and I consistently supply myself with quality protein every 2-3 hours. I also feel it is very important to practice intelligent nutrient timing and selection during the vital post-workout time period.
I ingest the majority of my carbohydrates within the 3 hours of post training and I choose high GI carbs at that time.
The rest of the day I eat low GI carbs, mostly vegetables. I keep fat the lowest percent of my intake and get the majority of that through EFA's = CLA 1000.
[ Q ] Do you believe in the value of supplementation? What supplements do you use and what have you found to work best and why?
Yes. Supplementation is a very important part of my nutritional plan. VP2 Whey Protein Isolate, Creatine HSC, Ny-Tro PRO-40 and GL3 L-Glutamine are what I consider my foundational supplements.
I bracket my workouts with VP2 Whey Protein Isolate/Creatine HSC/GL3 L-glutamine. I take this mixture directly before and after training.
I take Ny-Tro PRO-40 an hour after training and use it for two, three or more other meals each day as it provides the perfect blend of nutrients for building muscle in an instant.
[ Q ] What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a bodybuilder?
I think arms are my strongest body part. I'd say a weakness is overall back thickness, mainly in the rear double bicep pose.
[ Q ] Is it correct you are a natural bodybuilder? If so, to what do you attribute your amazing gains?
Yes, I am a lifetime natural bodybuilder. I've been training non-stop for a long time. 15 years now. Building quality muscle takes time, especially naturally. Time and consistency with training is one of the biggest factors. Another is training with the Max-OT principles.
Max-OT is the best way to train. The low volume, heavy weights and maximal recovery time between workouts is essential in my opinion for packing on muscle naturally. Another important point is consistency with nutrition with an emphasis on quality protein intake.
All of these factors work together and are compounded over time. Each great day you complete builds on the next. Great days become great weeks; great weeks become great months, etc.
Before you know it you start compiling great years of training and that is when the outstanding results happen.
[ Q ] Who in natural bodybuilding impresses you most, and why?
There are a lot of great natural bodybuilders whom I respect. Derik Farnsworth, Skip La Cour, Earl Snyder, Chris Faildo and Ron Coleman are high on the list for their impressive accomplishments and contributions to natural bodybuilding.
At The Natural Colorado With Fellow Natural Competitor Derik Farnsworth.
[ Q ] Do you bodybuild full-time or do you have some other type of career?
What professions, other than bodybuilding, are you qualified to work in?
Bodybuilding is a full time job that requires around the clock attention. So I think if you are a competitive bodybuilder, you are doing it full time no matter how you slice it. That being said, I have always worked or gone to school at the same time as pursuing my bodybuilding goals.
I have a degree in Exercise Science and a degree in Business Administration. I worked in gyms throughout high school, college and after college.
In August of 2000 I began working for AST Sports Science full time as a Technical Specialist. I did a lot of writing for the AST Sports Science web site, High Performance Muscle Magazine as well as fielding questions via email.
I also assisted in a variety of tasks around the AST headquarters in Colorado.
In June of 2004, I moved back to Michigan to pursue my next goal as an entrepreneur. As I mentioned earlier I recently opened Jeff Willet's Powerhouse Gym.
I bought a great building with a lot of character. It is over 18,000 sq. ft and has 3 levels. I'm really proud of how the building renovations turned out and pleased with the first few months of operation.
[ Q ] What are you non-bodybuilding interests?
I enjoy watching sports, especially college football. I am a big University of Michigan fan. One of the benefits of moving back to Michigan is I get the chance to go to the Big House and watch them play. I love the fall.
[ Q ] Who in professional bodybuilding impresses you most physique-wise, and why?
If I had to pick one physique as my favorite I think it would be Shawn Ray. To me, he presented the perfect balance of size, symmetry and conditioning.
I am not a fan of size at the expense of everything else and Shawn Ray always maintained the balance. Very complete from head to toe and he knew how to present himself with class onstage.
[ Q ] Shawn does have an awesome physique. Did you read the recent interview Bodybuilding.com did with him? If so, what did you think?
[ Q ] How do you feel about the future of natural bodybuilding? What are your thoughts on the current state of bodybuilding as a whole, and its future?
I think that many times natural bodybuilders are their own worst enemies. Often when they see the top natural guys who have done well nationally they assume they are not natural. So rather than learning from these guys and modeling their training and diet plans, they say dismiss them as liars.
Self imposed limitations are placed when they feel they can only be "so good" if they remain natural. You can achieve outstanding things naturally with the right amount of work, dedication, discipline and god given ability.
When I was chasing after the Team Universe, it was always motivating to see someone better than I was. It gave me a new standard to rise to and someone to learn from.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks at it like that. Many times if someone is a lot better than they are, they assume the person is cheating. It's too bad because those people are defeated before they even start. This somewhat limits natural bodybuilding as a whole in my opinion.
I am not sure about the future of bodybuilding. I wish the judging leaned more towards balanced and aesthetically pleasing physiques as opposed to size over everything else. I think this would help the sport gain more wide spread acceptance.
There are certainly some issues that need to be addressed, especially with so much attention on drug use and sports. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
[ Q ] You are still quite young for a pro bodybuilder. What do you expect to achieve before you retire from the sport?
I've already accomplished my primary competitive goal by earning IFBB Pro status. Currently I am focused on growing my business but bodybuilding remains a part of my everyday life with training, nutrition and dispensing advice to my members.
I'm interested in getting more involved with bodybuilding on the state level and pursuing judging, possibly promoting one day.
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I'm undecided at the moment as far as my competitive future. As you said, I am young in bodybuilding terms so I don't need to make any decisions at this point. Again, we'll have to wait and see.
[ Q ] Is there anyone, or anything, you would like to credit with helping you succeed in your bodybuilding career?
My parents have been incredible over the years. They have never missed a contest, even when I competed in Slovakia. Their love and support was paramount in my success, no doubt.
Paul Delia, President of AST Sports Science, has been a tremendous help and influence over the last several years. Paul guided my training and diet including the pre-contest prep for my most successful year, 2003, when I won the overall at the Team Universe and placed 4th in the Light Heavyweight Division at the USA.
[ Q ] If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring bodybuilder, what would it be?
Be consistent both inside and outside of the gym. Also be patient. Great results happen with the continual execution of an intelligent plan.
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