[ Q ] Patrick, congratulations on turning pro at the 2004 NPC Nationals. Man, you were diced! Before I get into the specifics of what you did to achieve such a condition and everything else, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in bodybuilding.
[ A ] I was born on December the 20th, 1976 in Sanford, North Carolina. In high school, I wrestled and played many other sports, including
wrestling convinced me of the importance of lifting weights and conditioning.
During high school, I was able to take a class in weight training. I immediately fell in love with it. (I was one of the strongest guys in my school pound per pound!) The feeling that I got from weight training was like no other. It gave me great confidence and self esteem. After high school was over I continued to lift weights but not with the same intensity.
When I was 20 years old I moved to Raleigh, NC. I was trained as a jeweler, repairing and making custom jewelry, and I finally received a terrific job offer in Raleigh. After moving to Raleigh, I noticed how much better all of the gyms were equipped. I also saw how people in this area were much more into fitness and bodybuilding than in my home town.
This motivated me to start training again with maximum intensity. I would diet down in the summer - you have to look good at the beach, after all. Many people would approach me and ask me if I was a bodybuilder and if I competed.
After talking with an older friend who had competed and who agreed to help me with the mandatory poses; I was told by many that if I was going to diet down that much and be that strict on my diet that I should compete, so I decided to give it a shot.
[ Q ] Excellent. What is your competitive history prior to the Nationals?
[ A ] My
contest history is as follows.
|Patrick Richardson Contest History.|
[ Q ] Do you have a contest coach or do you take care of your contest prep?
[ A ] Initially I had to rely on friends who had competed prior to my interest in bodybuilding to guide me through the diet with the basics of
carb loading and dropping
water prior to the contest day.
I then got some help from a friend of mine who had some good theories on dieting and cycling carbs that I have continued to use throughout the past shows.
As I continued to compete I felt that I had a better understanding of my body and what it needed throughout the dieting process. I seemed to take some ideas from here and there and put them together in a manner which seems to work best for me and have managed to sharpen my pre-contest dieting prep.
To what I feel is optimal for myself, I feel that I have learned my body better than an individual looking in from the outside. I know what my body craves and only I know how I feel when dieting, so I feel I know what I need to change along the way.
[ Q ] What is your training philosophy and what does your current training look like?
[ A ] Well, my
philosophy is simple. I think that one needs to strive to lift heavier and heavier in order to make noticeable gains. I always train as heavy and hard as I can to constantly try and take my physique to the next level.
Even training for a show, I train as heavy as possible as I feel it keeps my muscle bellies fuller.
The only time I alter my workout to lifting light weight is the week of the show as my workouts are not really productive anyway. At that point I'm simply trying to deplete my glycogen levels and do not want to risk injury days before a contest.
My training now is a four-day split. I train on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays. I train the same body part on Mondays and Fridays and that body part rotates each week so that I'm hitting a different body part each week twice.
Chest and Arms. I will train my chest doing 3 chest exercises for sets of 10-12 reps, with 2 minute rest between sets.
Same as Monday. I would do the same workout as I did on Monday but change up the exercises.
Take off that Saturday and Sunday to recover.
The following week I would start with Tuesdays workout and then on Friday I would do the same workout as on Monday so this way I am hitting a different body part 2 times each week but it is a different body part each week. Keeps it rotating.
[ Q ] Is this training routine something that our readers can use to gain size or is this something that is more suited for a more advanced athlete? What would you recommend for a beginner who is starting out and wants to design a routine to put on mass?
[ A ] I think that the best routine or split for a beginner trying to put on mass would simply be to train each muscle group once each week with heavy weight. The biggest problem I see with beginners who want to put on size is
over-training. Most beginners do not realize that the time you spend in the gym does not account for the amount of size you're going to put on.
When training, you're simply tearing up muscle fibers. When you supplement with the adequate protein, nutrients, and essential aminos to help aid in recovery along with adequate sleep is when you will yield good results.
[ Q ] Your conditioning for the 2004 Nationals was unreal. Since you came out onstage, it was clear to me that you were the class winner. Could you share with us your philosophy on nutrition for contest prep?
[ A ] I keep my pre-contest diet real simple. I do not have a big variety of foods to eat. I stick to the basics and have learned what amounts to eat and when to eat them for optimal results. I stick to chicken, fish, turkey,
protein shakes, and lean red meats for my protein sources.
My carbs consist of all complex carb sources such as brown rice, sweet potatos, and oats, except for my post-workout shake.
I use a lot of the Prolab Pro EFA caps as well as they are a good blend and very convenient to take.
Keeping the food list simple makes things a lot easier when trying to prepare my foods and when grocery shopping from week to week.
There is not a huge variety of foods one can consume anyway if you are looking to get that freaky look, so why not keep it clean and simple?!
[ Q ] How would you alter that once you are in off-season mode and ready to gain mass?
[ A ] The first thing I would alter would be the amount of meals I consume in the
I might drop the meals down to 5 larger meals daily instead of 7-8 small meals. I feel that this slows my metabolism down a bit so that I am able to put more size on. I will also add more carbs to my diet while decreasing the amount of protein in my diet slightly.
I try to eat about 75% clean in the off-season but have to cheat a little bit so that I do not get burnt out on the type of foods that I tend to eat year round. It keeps me sane and it also shocks the body to a degree.
[ Q ] Do you believe in changing your training prior to a contest?
[ A ] The only two things that change in my pre-contest prep is the fact that I drop
squats out of my training routine about 7 weeks out for fear of hurting myself and fear of the blocky waist look.
I tend to do more leg presses and lunges at that time. I also alter the amount of weight used the week of the show for fear of hurting myself and for the simple fact that I'm simply trying to deplete my body of glycogen.
| What Is Glycogen?
Glycogen is the principal stored form of carbohydrate energy (glucose), which is reserved in muscles. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they look and feel full.
I do not feel that in those few days before a show I'm going to gain any more muscle by training heavy nor do I feel as if I'm going to lose any muscle either for just training light in those few days so I keep it simple, smart and light.
[ Q ] How important are supplements in your bodybuilding program and which supplements do you use year round?
[ A ] Well, I feel as though
supplementation is a huge part of my program.
I find it almost impossible to get everything one needs from day to day to make adequate gains without supplementation.
I am sponsored by Prolab and use many of their products year round.
I use the Prolab Lean Mass Complex (their MRP), I use the Prolab Isolate Protein both pre and post workout and the Lean Mass Protein component before bed.
I use the Prolab Glutamine at least 3 times a day to help aid in my recovery and to increase cell volume.
Finally, I also take Prolab Training Packs for my multivitamin/mineral needs.
[ Q ] What supplements do you feel are essential when doing a bodybuilding show?
[ A ] I personally think that a good protein supplement such as a good meal replacement and a good
whey powder are most important to ensure that you get your adequate daily protein to rebuild muscle. I also feel that one should use a good amount of
L-glutamine to help aid in recovery as well for its anti-catabolic effects.
They also seem to help keep your energy levels up while on such a low carb diet as well and accelerate fat loss.
[ Q ] What do you think about the future of male bodybuilding? Do you think that the judging will steer towards the more symmetrical physiques or will the mass monsters still rule the land?
[ A ] Hmmm, Well I would love to see the judging steer towards the more symmetrical, conditioned, and aesthetically pleasing physiques, which used to be the criteria that determined who had the best physique. Now the rule seems to be "the freakier, the better".
I agree that it is impressive to see a near-300 lb man on stage who is solid muscle, but does that mean he is the best looking guy on stage? I don't think so.
It is not even possible for the majority of the bodybuilders today to ever even get close to the 300lb mark shredded to the bone. I know that I will not ever be a 300lb man and will never be able to compete with several of the monsters out there for this reason.
I would really like to see the IFBB implement the over and under 200lb class at least.
I think there are a lot of incredible physiques on the pro stage today that are being overlooked just because they are not 250+ lbs. I think this is a shame. It says you're being judged on your conditioning and your balance and your symmetry as you look over the judging criteria.
If this is the case, I think that many of the athletes on the pro stage deserve to be looked at a little bit closer. They are presenting the package that they were told they were going to be judged on but are being overlooked because of their weight and not their lack of conditioning or symmetry.
[ Q ] I absolutely agree with your assessment, Patrick. For instance, look at Darrem Charles in this past Olympia. Ninth place?! I felt that such a physique deserved at least a 5th place. Moving on, what are your immediate and long-term goals?
[ A ] As we speak, I am in the process of trying to get my own supplement store open. I have been a manager of a local supplement store for the past year and a half and love what I do. I have always wanted to own my own business and have always enjoyed helping people to reach their personal goals in the gym.
- Weight Loss Management Nutritional Counseling
- Body Sculpting and Toning Counseling
- Supplementation Advise
- Personalized Training Packages
- Sport Specific Training Packages
- Competition Preparation Consulting
- Posing Instruction
- Guest Posing Services
Long term, I would love to own a chain of supplement stores and hopefully a gym to do personal training in. Also, currently I have my own web site, patrickrichardson.net, and I offer the following services:
[ Q ] When will you compete for the first time as a pro?
[ A ] I am looking to do my first Pro show at the end of next year if things go right. I have been trying to get over an injury now for the past 8 months and am still hurt but am working through it. It set me back quite a bit as I had to sit out for a good 20 weeks and not lift at all.
I hope to add about 10 lbs of lean muscle by the end of next year before stepping on the pro stage for the first time. I have made some good gains since the Nationals despite my injury and am looking to add quite a bit more before next year. I'm currently looking at the Europa Pro show or the Charlotte Pro.
[ Q ] I wish you the best of luck with that. Looking at your present condition, it is hard to believe that you did not touch a weight in 20 weeks! Anything else that you would like to add Patrick?
[ A ] I would just like to thank all of my fans and supporters. I love this sport and the way it brings us all together with one common interest. I will be updating my web site soon with new pics and also with a link to my new supplement store once I get it open. I will be doing internet orders and would love to earn my fans' business.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement, and God Bless You all and best of wishes!
[ Q ] How can people contact you?
[ A ] I can be contacted via my web site:
Thank you for such a great interview, Patrick, and I wish you the very best in your professional debut!
About The Author
Hugo Rivera is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist and Computer Engineer graduate from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of hrfit.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website and guide for bodybuilding.about.com, an About.com web site owned by the New York Times Company whose goal is to help beginners start a safe and healthy weight-lifting program, choose the right gear for their needs, and offer motivation to help users meet their personal goals.
Hugo is author of a self-published bodybuilding e-book called "Body Re-Engineering" geared towards the natural bodybuilder and co-author of one of the most popular Men's Health book in the country (according to Barnes and Noble) entitled "The Body Sculpting Bible for Men" and the very popular "The Body Sculpting Bible for Women".
Hugo also just released his new book called "The Hardgainer's Bodybuilding Handbook" in March 2005 and also serves as a nutrition consultant to several professional football players and other elite athletes. Hugo serves as business consultant to many personal training studios as well and offers personalized diet and training programs through his web site.
Hugo continues to publish several articles on the subject of health and nutrition in several magazines and web sites, appears on several radio talk shows and has been with Prolab Nutrition for over three years. Hugo competes as drug free NPC athlete at the National Level and his core supplementation has always consisted of Prolab products.