2008 Mr. Olympia Rookie Leo Ingram Discusses Prep As Dream Comes True!

I recently spoke to Leo and he filled me in on how he has prepared for one of his most important contests to date... Here?s a look at his background and training as his dream finally comes true!

Article Summary:
  • Leo won his pro card at the 2006 North American Championships.
  • He qualified for the Olympia by placing 3rd in the Houston Pro.
  • Leo hopes to break the top 6 at this years Olympia.
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    An Interview With Mr. Olympia Rookie, Leo Ingram.
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    On paper, new pro bodybuilding warrior Leo Ingram could be considered a professional rookie. However, given his competition record stretches back to 1993, the year he took the Heavyweight and Overall titles at the Gold's Gym Classic, Leo is one of bodybuilding's longest serving veterans.

    A very driven man, Leo, 38 (years young!), trained for over ten years with a view to competing as a pro and never lost his focus, even when away from his normal training environment and stationed on the USS Vandergrift as a military engineer for the US Navy between 2000 to 2004.

    Rather, he continued to train with great ferocity, a move that was eventually rewarded with a pro card at the 2006 North American Bodybuilding Championships, a contest Leo took the Super-Heavyweight and Overall categories in.

    Having been deployed on numerous freedom fighting and counter-terrorism missions with the US Navy, Leo is no stranger to various war zones. With his latest mission being a top ten finish at the 2008 Mr. Olympia, Leo is well equipped with a full arsenal of ripped to shreds, balanced muscle, and with the attention to detail and undeniable will to win he is known for he is likely to make good on that aim.

    Leo Ingram Leo Ingram
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    Leo Ingram At The 2008 New York Pro.
    View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2008 New York Pro.

    With a very impressive Olympia-qualifying third at the Houston Pro earlier this year, Leo presented one of the freakiest physiques seen in a long time, complete with ultra thick back development, flaring thighs and paper-thin skin sick vascularity at 5'9" and over 250 pounds. And the scary thing is, he will be making even further improvements for the Olympia.

    Now he will bring his best size and conditioning ever to contest the biggest show of them all. Will he have what it takes to throw down against some of the more established pros? He's certainly another guy you would not want to bet against.

    I recently spoke to Leo and he filled me in on how he has prepared for one of his most important contests to date and what makes him such a popular competitor.

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    [ Q ] What can the fans expect to see from Leo Ingram come the 2008 Mr. Olympia?
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      [ A ] A bigger, leaner, fuller, more conditioned version of myself. I anticipate that I will be at my all time best at this show.

    RELATED ARTICLE

    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Leo Ingram Interview!
    Leo Ingram won the North American Championships Super Heavyweight and Overall Title in 2006 to earn his pro card.
    Author:
    P. E. Rienzo

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    [ Q ] Have you done anything differently to prepare for this show, training and/or nutrition-wise?
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      [ A ] Yes. I went back into muscle-building mode. My diet has remained essentially the same, but I have re-emphasized supplementation using Six Star Muscle products to get my body back into an anabolic state.

      My training now is focused on attention to the smaller details in my physique that I have overlooked in the past. I have added weighted movements to my abdominal exercises. I've had the opportunity to train with Joel Stubbs in preparation to the Olympia, and he's helped out a lot by showing me some training techniques that will help me display my physique at its all time best.

    Joel Stubbs Joel Stubbs
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    Joel Stubbs At The 2008 Europa Super Show.
    View More Pics Of Joel Stubbs At The 2008 Europa Super Show.

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    [ Q ] What are these training techniques Joel Stubbs has shown you?
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      [ A ] Joel has been helping me specifically with targeting my waistline. My abs have been a problem for me for some time, and his extra input is making all the difference. Because I was so concerned with increasing my waist size, I avoided doing any weighted exercises for my midsection.

      Since working with him, I have changed that aspect of my routine to include weighted rope crunches, and trunk twist movements to target my obliques and intercostals. We have also targeted my lower back by adding hyperextensions.

      Joel has done much of his training for the Europa and the Atlantic City Pro in Atlanta. This has given us the opportunity to train together quite a bit over the last couple of months.

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    [ Q ] How would you describe your training style?
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      [ A ] I would describe it as instinctive. There is nothing in my routine that is written in stone, it is always subject to change based on the way I feel. I also alternate between that and heavy, basic compound exercises to keep my body guessing. Heavy basic exercises are the foundation of my physique, how I initially started weight training, so I always keep those in my routine.

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    [ Q ] How would you describe you diet pre-contest versus off-season?
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      [ A ] Earlier in my career there was a huge difference between off-season and pre-contest. Back then I didn't realize the importance of off-season nutrition when it came to adding quality muscle. Now my diets' are very similar. My protein intake always remains high throughout the year.

    Leo Ingram Leo Ingram
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    Leo Ingram At The 2007 Colorado Pro.
    View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2007 Colorado Pro.

      The main difference is during the off-season I tend to eat an abundance of carbs as well, to assist in muscle building, whereas during pre-contest I limit my carbs to maximize fat burning. Any simple sugars also have to be eliminated at certain stages pre-contest.

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    [ Q ] Ultimately what do you hope to achieve in competing in this year's Mr. Olympia?
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      [ A ] I hope this is my time to shine and that this will put me on the map with the big boys. I know that I'm considered somewhat of a rookie as a pro, but this isn't anywhere near the beginning of my career. I've been at this a long time, and I want to be seen as one of the best in the sport.

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    [ Q ] Do you have any predictions in terms of where you will place?
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      [ A ] My goal is to be in the top 10, my dream is to break the top 6.

    RELATED POLL
    Do You Think Leo Ingram Will Make The Top 10 At The Olympia?

    Yes
    No

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    [ Q ] What motivates you to continue improving as a bodybuilder?
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      [ A ] My goal is to get bigger and better, for every show, throughout every year. My motivation comes from seeing my competition. I know that my physique still hasn't reached its peak; it is still changing and improving after all these years of training. If you ask a lot of people I know, I have a serious case of "bigorexia" - I never think I'm big enough!!

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    [ Q ] And just how big is big enough for Leo Ingram?
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      [ A ] That is a good question, because I really don't know. Like I told you, call it "bigorexia" or "Shallow Hal" complex, I don't see a big guy in the mirror. I think a lot of us competitors are that way, and it just gives us the fuel we need to try to continually get "bigger and better"!

      I am still seeing improvements and gains, so I continue to do what I can to add size. So far it has done my physique justice, I guess if that point comes where it is deforming it and I have body parts that are growing too quickly, I'll have to reassess at that point.

    Leo Ingram Leo Ingram
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Leo Ingram At The 2007 New York Pro.
    View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2007 New York Pro.

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    [ Q ] What is the hardest aspect in preparing for a contest as big as the Mr. Olympia?
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      [ A ] I am engaged in a high-pressure version of my normal pre-contest routine. Everything is similar, but not the same. The timing of everything is amongst the hardest aspect. You have to make sure all your ducks are in a row - everyday - for things to go the way they are supposed to. I have set high expectations for myself and I'm striving to meet or exceed those expectations.

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    [ Q ] Fans tend to place so-called rookies outside the Olympia top ten based on their supposed lack of experience and/or refinement. To your mind what does a newcomer to the Olympia stage have to do to really get noticed to warrant fair comparisons?
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      [ A ] A newcomer has to be at his all-time best in order to receive a fair callout. They can't come with anything less than their best.

    IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Leo Ingram!
    IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Leo Ingram!
    Leo Took 3rd At The 2008 Houston Pro!
    Photo Courtesy Of Six Star Muscle.
    Week #125 - 8/12/2008
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    [ Q ] How do you deal with the pressure associated with training and dieting for a major contest?
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      [ A ] I use the pressure to help me focus on my goal. I use that as a driving force for my training.

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    [ Q ] What does the Mr. Olympia contest represent, to you?
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      [ A ] Mr. Olympia represents the best of the best. It is the Super Bowl of bodybuilding for me. I have dreamt of being on that stage since I was a boy and now it is a dream come true for me.

    Leo Ingram Leo Ingram
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Leo Ingram At The 2007 Keystone Pro.
    View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2007 Keystone Pro.

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    [ Q ] What are your long-term bodybuilding goals?
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      [ A ] I plan to keep competing until I can no longer improve my physique. At this time, I am still making changes and improvements, so I don't see that coming anytime soon. I want to make the rest of the years I have in the sport count.

      I want to win a few shows, and make a name for myself in the industry. I would love to put on my own show someday and I want to continue having an active role in the sport long after I retire from competition.

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    [ Q ] What will be your bodybuilding plans following this year's Olympia?
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      [ A ] After the Olympia I'll have a good gauge as to what improvements need to be made for the 2009 season. Once I have that clarification, then I will be able to do some reassessment and plan my attack for next year; and, most definitely, to work on getting bigger and better.

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    [ Q ] And what is your game plan for getting bigger and better?
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      [ A ] My game plan is to continue to do what's working. At this point Six Star Muscle has contributed vastly to the gains I have attained. The supplement program that they've given me has made a dramatic impact on my size and condition.

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      I could go on about the difference it has made since starting the regimen, but in all honesty, a picture is worth a million words in my case! If you take a look at some of the photos from before I signed with them until today, you'll definitely be able to see what I'm talking about!

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    [ Q ] You mentioned before that you have been aiming for the pro division for some time. How old are you and how long have you been trying to turn pro? And did you have complete faith that you would someday turn pro?
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      [ A ] First off, I am 38 years young; don't feel a day over 25. The joke at my house is that I am still 18. I have been trying to go pro since 1993. I took a hiatus due to my military obligations for 7 years in that span however. I never doubted that I wanted to go pro, however, my return in 2005 was my gauge to see if I still had the capability to obtain pro status.

      After my return I knew that I wouldn't stop until I earned my pro card, and I did just that the following year. I have continued to have the same dream since I began my bodybuilding career 15 years ago, and I am getting ready to live it come September 25-28.

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    [ Q ] What message would you like to give those fans watching the 2008 Mr. Olympia?
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      [ A ] I would just like to thank the fans that believed I had the making of an Olympian. Although it took many years for me to get to the pro rankings, and a long time to step on stage, I did it. So, I would say that with determination and perseverance, you can live your dreams if you put in the work! Never give up!!!

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    Bonus:
    P.E. Rienzo's Interview With Leo Ingram

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    [ Q ] How do you feel about 2008 so far?
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      [ A ] I feel great about this year. Roc (Shabazz) and I have been talking about this being 'our year'. I have been at this for a long time, and I haven't got one complaint.

      Of course it's human nature to want everything NOW, but, in my case I have to say that everything has happened when it should, not on my time - which I'm ok with now looking at the big picture.

    RELATED ARTICLE

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    Roc Shabazz Interview!
    In this great interview Roc Shabazz says he will do very well at the Iron Man. On February 17, he will be out to prove he is among the sports very best.
    Author:
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      This year is proving to be the culmination of all the hard work and dedication I've given the sport. The best is yet to come, but I am more than satisfied with where I am today.

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    [ Q ] Tell me about what went through your head when you learned you'd qualified for the Olympia?
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      [ A ] It was literally like having your ultimate dream come true. I realized that I've been doing things right, and that the judges and fans are starting to take notice.

      I have a reputation sometimes as the underdog, and that may not continue to be the case. I accomplished my ultimate goal by earning that qualification, but now it's time to make new ones!

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    [ Q ] What's going to be the best thing about stepping on the Olympia stage for you?
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      [ A ] Just being there! I have dreamed of this from the time I was a kid! This is the Super Bowl for me... it doesn't get any better.

      I've said it a thousand times, but I am huge fan of the sport, that has never changed for me. I'm going to be competing in the same competition that made my hero Lee Haney a household name. Just getting the approval of the judges that I am good enough to be in this contest is a thrill!

    AWESOME MUSCLES PODCAST
    Lee Haney Guest: Lee Haney
    Date: 09/21/06
    (Radio Show 13)

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    [ Q ] What are your expectations going into the show?
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      [ A ] Ya know, my goal has always been to just get here. My wife will tell you that I have to be reminded to enjoy the moment before its gone, win, lose, or draw. I would love to say I am just focused on looking good and getting up there and enjoying it, but honestly I'm not wired like that.

      I am training harder than ever because I am going to make this show count. I have a good feeling going into this show. I am ready to go out there and give the fans and judges what they want and I think that if I do it as planned, my placing will show the work that's been put into my preparation.

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    [ Q ] Tell me about your prep strategy.
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      [ A ] After my qualification at the Houston Pro my brother Mike put on a huge party at my Mom's house for me. We all had such a great time, and it was a great way for me to finally take a break from my diet and just let loose.

      I let myself enjoy that weekend and it was right back at it for me. Most of the year has been training and dieting with very little down time. I would say in total after the last show I only took about a week off.

    Leo Ingram Leo Ingram
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    Leo Ingram At The 2008 Houston Pro.
    View More Pics Of Leo Ingram At The 2008 Houston Pro.

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    Leo Ingrams Training Split
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    dot Key Notes dot

      The pyramid principle is utilized on all exercises working up to 80-90% of MAX.

      I usually train in the gym in the evenings, around 6:30 PM and get back home around 10 PM. During this session I usually do whatever body part I am working that day, as well as a second round of cardio. My first cardio session is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, usually in my garage.

      That cardio session is either an hour on the elliptical trainer or treadmill, depending on how I feel that morning. Closer to contest time I give up my morning garage routine in favor of hitting the gym for cardio where I utilize the stair mill to tighten my gluteus and hamstrings.

      My Training routine consists of working out one body part daily, utilizing the heavy basic exercises', utilizing the pyramid principle, ascending, descending, and forced reps. I also change my grip for many exercises to change the target of the specific muscle.

    VIDEO GUIDE


    What Are Forced Reps?

    A spotter is used to provide enough assistance for the trainer to be able to complete the rep.

    Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
    Or Download Here:
    WMV (.7 MB) MPEG (5 MB) Video iPod (.7 MB)

      Training only one major body part per day gives my body the maximum amount of rest and recuperation between workouts. Cardiovascular exercises are done three times a week offseason and daily precontest. Abs are done daily, I do this by using one exercise listed each day, not all together.

      This forces me to focus on one group of abdominal muscles at a time. I add the abs exercises to the end of my workout and the end of my morning cardio. In addition, Calves are done several times thought out the week in the AM.