He won at the 2005 Border States Bodybuilding and Figure Championship (Light Heavyweight winner) and at the 2005 Tournament of Champions Bodybuilding (Light Heavyweight and Overall winner). Mr. Son is currently making headlines as one of the most promising new men in Asia.
This interview is required reading for people who are interested in Asian bodybuilders.
[ Q ] May you please cite your personal profile?
Full Name: Young-Joo, Son
Age: Top secret
Hometown: Jeju, Korea
Height: 170 cm
Weight: season: 90 kg; off-season: 105~108 kg
Education: Seoul National University (dropped out of school)
Occupation: bodybuilder, personal trainer, fitness model (health and exercise)
Certifications: bodybuilding instructor, lifeguard, sports masseur, etc.
2005 NPC BORDER STATES Champion (Light Heavyweight)
2005 NPC TOURNA MENT OF CHAMPIONS (Light Heavyweight and Overall)
Winner of several bodybuilding competitions in Korea
[ Q ] What are your bodybuilding goals?
Becoming a qualified IFBB pro-bodybuilder is not only my lifelong goal but also serves as my opportunity to take the lead in revitalizing this sport in Korea.
To achieve my goals, I intend to actively participate in many professional bodybuilding shows, and then redouble my efforts to make sure I will become at least a Mr. Olympia runner-up. I'll give my best so as not to disappoint you.
[ Q ] I heard you won at the NPC competition. Is it the first of such an achievement in Korea?
Two years ago, I took part in my first USA show, the 2005 NPC BORDER STATES competition, upon the recommendation of Bred Maxwell, one of its judges. But I had to start from scratch in the USA. Although I won in the show, I was disqualified for the 2005 NPC national because I was not an overall winner.
So eventually, I decided to take on the challenge of joining in the 2005 NPC TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, where finally I gained a title (Light Heavy-weight and Overall).
But I don't think I had come close to my best possible physical condition regarding my performances in these shows, as I believe I still have yet to achieve my full potential. I can assure you that you have yet to see the best of me.
[ Q ] Would you continue to challenge the IFBB pro-card?
Yes, of course. I will work hard and persevere to achieve my goal. As they say, "Age is nothing but a number." Moreover, my physical condition and strength have much improved now, compared with what I had a year ago.
[ Q ] Even though you have a great career as a Korean bodybuilder, you are no longer active in domestic (Korea) competitions. Why is that?
I've stopped participating in domestic competitions because bodybuilding in Korea is still an amateur federation. They set up too many conditions for people who aspire to become professional bodybuilders. The thing is, I only prepare for the NPC shows , that's why I believe I could achieve more if I'd go beyond domestic competitions.
That's all. I have no hard feelings with the KBF (Korea Bodybuilding Federation).
[ Q ] What other sports were you involved in while you were a student?
I was very interested in playing soccer since childhood. I used to hero-worship many world-class soccer players. Maybe it was because at that time, I didn't realize yet any fondness for bodybuilding. These days, though, bodybuilding is the only sport for me.
[ Q ] Can you give me an idea of your weekly workout schedule?
For 15 years, I have been working at fitness gyms as a personal trainer. Because the only time I could work out on my own is after my gym duties, I usually train after work at 9 PM. My split-training program is as follows:
My program mainly consists of free-weight and compound training.
[ Q ] I heard you have a very special career as compared with other competitors. How did you get started in bodybuilding?
Initially, I took up musicology as my major at the university to abide by my father's wishes. When I was young, I felt compelled to follow what my parents wanted. I was not aware of my physical potential until I completed my military service, after which I began taking bodybuilding seriously.
[ Q ] Although your name has become a synonym for 'bulk' in Korea, there are many "monsters" in IFBB. What do you think you can do to measure up to them?
I will place emphasis on symmetry and my special merits rather than simply stressing on mass. I believe the more I focus on bulking up, the more I tend to ruin my chances. On the other hand, I also know it's hard to maintain the proper balance between symmetry and mass.
However, the most important thing is to maximize my original good point. Symmetry may possibly be a redeeming point.
[ Q ] Can you tell me what sort of supplements do you use?
In general, bodybuilders use the same supplements. I use nothing special. In my case, I take casein and isolate protein. I also take amino acid, creatine, HMB, multi-vitamins and minerals, glutamine, and red ginseng. In addition, I take some supplements through the sponsorship of Twin-lab, for which I am grateful for.
[ Q ] Are you going to compete in the 2007 NPC competitions in the USA?
Once my citizenship application is approved, I will be more than happy to participate in the game. As you can see, I have always been readying myself for that moment I get the approval.
Now, I have to endure the grim realities of life in order to become a pro-bodybuilder.
[ Q ] What is your secret of success in NPC shows? Can you explain the difference as compared with a preparatory period of shows in Korea?
When I made preparations for the NPC shows, I tried to take a variety of protein sources, such as lean meat from short ribs, fat-free milk, buffalo meat, and so on. Especially, by strictly controlling my carbohydrate intake is very effective. I would only eat vegetables, which serve as my carbohydrate source, 7 days before the show. It was very hard.
The secret of training is, so to speak, always the same. I painstakingly stimulate my muscles to ensure giving them the best form. I know when I am on top of my game based on the programs I use.
Change or challenge is a superfluous tryout when my workouts are effective.
I believe any successful bodybuilding training must be faithful to the basics.
[ Q ] Lastly, may you please say something to the fans.
I have been bodybuilding for the past 18 years. It goes without saying that I have a lot of fond memories of my experiences in Korea, but I am about to take on a new challenge. It's an IFBB pro-card.
When I won in the NPC competition in the USA, I was aware that it signified an official acknowledgment of my worth as a real bodybuilder.
I would like to see, of course, that the career path I am taking would eventually be a great help to the development of Korea's bodybuilding field. In order to do that, of course, I will give my best to quickly earn a pro-card.
In time, you will see my performance on the Mr. Olympia stage.
Thank you very much for all your support and encouragement.