Growing up as a young boy, I never was involved in any sports. Sports didn't interest me as much as cartoons or toys did but as I got older, I noticed that I had a growing interest in the sport of soccer. I was first introduced to soccer at the age of 15. By the time I was 17, I was training with a semi-professional team in Tennessee. All of that hard work eventually paid off as I found myself playing alongside some internationally renowned players at Berry College. I had quite a successful freshman year campaign before being plagued by injuries. I was put on intense therapy for a year to rejuvenate my damaged ankles. I was also thrown in the weight room to keep a decent level of fitness. This was when I was 19 years old. I weighed in at about 145-150 lbs soaking wet at the height I am now. I remember measuring my arms at a whopping 12 inches....flexed!
I reluctantly started lifting weights or what I thought was lifting weights with some of my teammates. We didn't take to it seriously and made it a social event more than anything. It was that summer when I started going to the gym on a regular basis with some of my friends back at home. We would frequent the local YMCA to have bench press contests or squatting contests just to name a few. Then we'd spend hours playing basketball and what not. I came back the following year weighing around 160 lbs. I thought to myself: not bad for spending a whole summer working out and not watching my diet.
I knew that I could really make some gains if I focused my energies towards weight training and dieting. That is when I asked my doctor for assistance. Dr. Dobrowolski was the former world record holder in the deadlift for the under-23 age years ago. He put me on a program and then suggested that I train to be a bodybuilder. I didn't cherish that idea but I followed the program anyways.
I trained on my own for an entire semester making slow but steady gains until I came in contact with my roommate from my freshman year. His name is Chad Mullins and we started training together. We immediately developed the type of training chemistry which propelled our physiques to new levels. He pushed me and I pushed him. He dropped from 225 lbs down to about 175 lbs shredded in the 2 years we spent training together. If you saw the pics, you probably wouldn't believe it because I still have a hard time believing what he had accomplished. Chad and I still keep in touch today.
The summer of 2000 brought about some interesting events. I trained for my very first bodybuilding competition, the NPC GA and the Southern SNBF Open. I didn't have a training partner so I made one. I took my friend and roommate, Greg Bluemling, and taught him the finer points of training. At the time, Greg weighed about 180 lbs. It hasn't even been 2 years yet and Greg now weighs about 235 lbs all natural! With the aid of Greg, I was able to prepare for my first competitions. I placed 4th in the novice MW NPC GA and placed 1st and won the overall in the novice SNBF Southern Open.
Then came a twist of fate in my life. I made an irrational decision to transfer to the University of Georgia. Probaby not the best decision I have ever made but one I will definitely have to reflect on daily. Regardless, I have made some new friends and have learned a lot about myself.
After transferring to UGA, I started training with my friend Israel Tyree. We tried the whole 7 AM training routine for a month and I must admit, I have a lot of respect for those who train in the morning. About 5 weeks before the SNBF Nationals, I made the decision to do a crash diet and prepare for the nationals. I ended up placing 3rd in my height class. Afterwards, I swore I wouldn't do another show for awhile.
After a long semester at school, I made the decision to do another SNBF show in April of 2001. I dieted about 2 weeks for that one. The lesson I learned at this one was that even though I stay relatively lean in the offseason, I need to diet slowly for a competition in order to look my best. I had my head handed back to me and vowed to never walk on stage looking like that again.
Then came the arduous 14 week diet for the 2001 NPC GA. After what seemed like an eternity, I was awarded 1st Place MW at the 2001 NPC GA. Not bad for 22 and drugfree. Then I competed in the 2001 Southern SNBF Open in hopes of winning the overall open title this time around. Unfortunately, I was relegated to 2nd place and was very disappointed. I felt this was the best I had ever looked and to be off by a few hours is really frustrating.
Now I have put away my posing trunks and am concentrating on the joy of training. Training has new meaning nowadays. A meaning which I had long forgotten since the days of hanging out at the YMCA with my hometown friends. I hope that everyone who trains out there doesn't forget that meaning as I had.
Name: Phano Paul Som
Birthdate: March 10, 1979
Contest Weight: ~170 lbs
Offseason Weight: 190-195 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: almost 4 years
Chest - never measured
Arms - 18 inches unpumped
Calves - 19 inches unpumped
Quads - too damn big right now!
Waist - 32 inches
2000 NPC GA - 4th Place MW
2000 Southern SNBF Open - 1st and Overall Novice, 2nd Medium class
2000 SNBF Nationals - 3rd Short Class
2001 Atlanta SNBF - 4th Place short class
2001 NPC GA - 1st MW
2001 Southern SNBF Open - 2nd short class
Career Highlight: LIFETIME DRUG FREE bodybuilder/athlete
Favorite cheat food: Totino's Pizza and Macademia brittle ice cream
Current residence: Athens, GA
Marital Status: single
Hobbies: surfing the web, watching the Simpsons, eating, sleeping, hanging out with friends
First Real Job: Junior Soccer Coach at Berry College
Current Job: Research in biochemistry at UGA and GNC employee
Favorite Exercises: Squats and Rows
Favorite Bodypart to train: Back
Best bodyparts: forearms, quads, calves, triceps
Worst bodypart: chest
The Importance Of Having A Good Training Partner!
If you're like most people, you probably don't like to do things on your own. This holds true in the realm of weight training for most individuals. I'm a person who likes solitude but even I prefer to train with a partner. Why? I am better able to make progress and it's fun. Section:
Eating Intelligently For Mass
To be big, you MUST eat big! End of story! No ifs, ands, or buts about it here. Train hard, train consistently, eat a lot of healthy foods, rest, and GROW! Section:
Dr's Advice: Recovering From Shoulder Injuries
If you are self proclaimed to be a true bodybuilder or powerlifter, then you will have experienced some sort of shoulder problem or injury. Just recently, this condition has resurfaced to plague my training once again. After an informative trip to the doctor's office, I will share with you some of the things that I learned. Section:
New Training Journal
This is a new training journal which I have started to give the readers an insight of mine and Dave's progress as we prepare for the Mr. GA 2002. Some of it may be crude because I'm telling it like it is and read at your own risk. Perhaps you can garner something from this to see how we really train! Section:
New Training Journal
I banged out three sets of 10 reps to get my body warm and my muscles stretched a bit. Next came barbell rows using an overhand grip. Section:
Balancing Weight Training And Sports
I've been receiving a lot of questions lately about how to balance sports and bodybuilding and I have decided to address the issue. If you've ever played sports at a competitive level, then you know how much some sports demand from its athletes. Section:
Simple Formula For Gaining Mass
First and foremost, he should be eating plenty of carbs. Carbs are important because if your body runs out of carbs for energy, it will switch to protein for energy metabolism. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 20!
I was very eager to train today. Mainly because everyone loves to train chest on Mondays and here we were scheduled to obliterate the back. I'm telling you that nothing sets you apart from the rest of the crowd than a well developed back. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 15!
I was skeptical about today s training session because I haven t been able to eat the number of calories that I normally do simply because of my commitment to Dave s contest this past Saturday. Section:
New Training Journal: 14!
I was skeptical about today s training session because I haven t been able to eat the number of calories that I normally do simply because of my commitment to Dave s contest this past Saturday. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 13
Today was my first day of training chest alone and I was actually feeling up to the challenge of not having a spotter. I began with flat bench press to get things going. I put on 135 and banged out 15 easy reps. Then I put on 185 for another 10 reps. Finally, I slapped on 225 for another easy 10 reps. At this point, I thought I was warm but I really wasn't. It takes a lot more for me to get warm than it has in the past. I guess it's because my muscles are stronger now... Section:
Phano's Training Journal 12!
Lately, I've been eating an extraordinary number of calories so I'm feeling much fuller than I have been in the past month or so. I have also been stimulant free for over two months and this has affected my intensity level. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 9!
Even though I was feeling down about messing my right knee up last Saturday, I was glad to be back in the gym and able to train. Today was arms... Section:
Phano's Training Journal 8!
After taking three days off from training because of personal reasons, Dave and I had the job of hitting the quads today. I was feeling good and decided to start... Section:
Phano's Training Journal 6!
It's been a week since our return to the gym and I'm still having trouble finding my motivation and intensity and I can't figure out why. With a lack of motivation and intensity... Section:
Phano's Training Journal 5!
Well, it's been nearly 3 months since we started training seriously again and I can feel my body being broken down to the point of no return. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 4!
Yesterday was my birthday. So I did NOTHING all day and I'm not feeling guilty about it one bit. I didn't even stick to my diet. Yesterday was the first day in an entire week that I actually cheated on my diet. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 3!
Dave and I decided to train today at 4:00 PM. Training time on Sunday always varies because we base training on Dave's schedule during the weekend. Section:
Phano's Training Journal 2!
I didn't feel up to par to train hamstrings today but I went regardless. One good thing about hamstring training is I know it's really simple. Section:
2002 NPC Eastern Seaboard Bodybuilding Championships!
On May 11th, the 2002 NPC Eastern Seaboard was held at the World Congress Center in Atlanta. I normally don't go to NPC competitions in Atlanta but my friends and I made an exception for this particular event. The reason, we decided, was because Ronnie Coleman was scheduled to guest pose! Read on... Section:
If you have taken creatine, ephedra, or any other supplement non-stop for the past year or so, raise your hand? Most serious lifters believe that when they are "off" of supplements that their physiques will literally go down the drain. Section:
Shocking Your Muscles To Stimulate Growth!
If you are one of the many avid lifters who train on a regular basis, then you should be well aware that muscles require a "shock" in order for them to grow. Here is the lowdown on Drop Sets, Super Sets, Giant Sets and Forced Reps. GROW! Section:
Preparing For A Contest!
If you are like most bodybuilding fans, then you probably have thought about competing in a bodybuilding show before. However, the problem with this is that many of us don't know how to properly prepare for a contest. Section:
Today was mine and Dave's first session together since the beginning of the summer. I knew I was in for a kicker because I had just taken an entire week off from all types of training. Section:
If you want eye-popping hamstrings, then you better be prepared to work yourself into the ground. Section:
Next time you set foot in a gym, take a good and long look around you at your fellow gym-goers. Now take note of their physiques. Do you see anything missing? Of course you do. Ok, maybe the guys have some decent pecs, delts, or even biceps. Section:
Success In The Gym!
So ask yourself this question and remember to be honest: What type of mentality do you have going into an intense work out? Are you looking forward to the self-inflicted pain using poundages which are heavy for you or do you go scurrying towards the cardio machine and dinky weights for the next 2 hours? Section:
Q & A: Fat Loss, X-Frame Building!
Hey I was wondering if you could help me out with some aspects of my training. I am 17 years old and have been training for 4 years. I played 3 years of football in high school as a defensive end and many colleges are trying to recruit me. Section:
Weak Point Training!
Let's all be honest for one moment. When you look into the mirror, what do you see? Do you see such mind-boggling symmetry, definition, and muscularity which is nothing short of perfection... Section:
A New Year: 4 Steps To Reaching Your Goals!
A new year has been ushered upon us and we are faced with a myriad of hopes and aspirations. If you are like the average individual, you probably have set forth some new year resolutions. I know I have. The problem now is seeing them through. Get the help you need here! Section:
Q & A: Muscle Gaining!
One point I would like to address is your lack of leg training. You really need to train your legs intensely if you want your entire body to grow and that's the truth. Section:
The Two Most Important Meals Of The Day!
Lately I have been receiving numerous questions on what I eat throughout the day, before, and after a workout. So I will address what I feel as the 2 most important meals of the day. The preworkout and postworkout meals. Section:
My Typical Off-Season Diet!
I have had a request to outline my typical offseason diet so without further ado, here it is: I generally consume 4-6 meals per day in the offseason depending on my schedule. Section:
Why Three Sets?
Ever wonder why everyone does 3 sets of an exercise on any given day of any given week of any given month? Section:
Keep It Simple!
Bodybuilding in its simplest form is actually easier than one may think. Sure, there are probably thousands of biological processes that go on inside of your body to build muscle but the rule of thumb should be this: keep it simple! Section:
Develop Head-Turning Calves!
Well developed calves are one of the deciding factors in competitions and probably one of the most overlooked body parts by lifters. The calves are one of the densest muscles in the body and probably one of the hardest to develop for most people. Section:
Ab Grinder Workout!
Have you ever wanted abs that turn heads everywhere? Well, want no longer b/c they can be yours with some intense training, proper nutrition, and some cardio. Section:
Phano's Training Journal Summer Of '99!
Have you ever wondered how meticulous a person who truly loves weight lifting can be? Well, wonder no longer because I will share with everyone a training log which I kept back over the summer of 1999 when I made some serious gains. Section:
Phano's Training Journal
I tell you, the hardest part about this movement is having to get the weight started yourself. So I spend a lot more energy trying to get that first rep up than anywhere else in each set. Section:
Volume training maximizes growth hormone, and induces a fuel-swapping effect: your body burns body fat as energy while sparing carbs, which leaves the muscles fully loaded with glycogen. Section:
Calf Training Exercises!
Ok. I will concede that I have been genetically gifted in several areas especially my calves. Everyone asks me what I do for calves and I tell them what I do during various phases of the training year. Section:
Building An Extraordinary Back!
It's not unusual to find a competitor with huge arms. It's not unusual to have sweeping quads or a Herculean chest. But to dominate any bodybuilding lineup at any level, the common denominator is always the same. Section:
Are You A Loser?
No one likes to be a loser. That is, unless being a loser means that you're losing unwanted body fat and beginning to take on the kind of shape you've always wanted to have... Section:
What Should I Do?
All of us work to make the best with what we have. You don't have heavy bone mass so set specific goals, work hard at achieving them, and keep training. As a suggestion, learn what foods work to build mass and learn more about diet and how your body responds to different foods.
Holiday Food Traps!
We've all done it. We spend all year vigilantly keeping to our workout regimens and trying to watch our waistlines, then, when the holidays come around, we inevitably fall flat. Section:
Final Week Contest Preparation!
On July 14th, I competed in the Southern SNBF Open in which I won my weight division and the overall novice title last year. I entered the show this year knowing that I was at my best condition to date... Section:
July 7th 2001, The NPC Mr. GA!
On July 7th 2001, I competed in the NPC Mr. GA Junior division. I originally signed up for the Collegiate Division but later found out at the weigh-ins that I would be the only competitor in this division. Section:
Detailed Competition Prep Info!
What you're about to read is what everything I did to prepare for the April 7th SNBF bodybuilding and fitness competition. I decided to try something new but I really wasn't sure how it would have worked considering my 17 day diet. Section:
Guess what? It's time for my contest synopsis. I know everyone's been waiting to read this and I won't keep anyone waiting much longer. Ok....maybe I'm going a bit overboard but at any rate, here it is in full form. Section:
One Week Away!
It has been almost a full 2 weeks since I began dieting and training for the upcoming April 7th show and I must admit, it has been flawless up to this point. No cheat meals, no cardio sessions missed, no training sessions missed, just pure drive to do well in this show. Section:
Two Weeks Out: SNBF April 7th, 2001!
The final decision to compete in the upcoming April 7th SNBF show has been made and I will be competing! I know this leaves me about 2 weeks or so to prepare but I will nail it this time. So what is there to do now that I have decided to compete? Section:
My Current Situation: Precontest Planning!
I appreciate all of the mail I get and do my very best to try to answer all of your questions in a timely manner. It's nice to know that there are actually people out there who admire what I do and some of my training aspects. Section:
The best way to tolerate pain is to work out with a partner or a group. Nothing helps the pain problem more than knowing it's shared. When you're out of shape it takes mental toughness to decide you need to workout regularly.
Rest Between Sets!
Rest time in between sets is paramount in a quality workout. Too much rest and you lose your pump. Too little rest and you quickly fatigue the working muscle. Section:
Training In The ZONE!
Now that you've established the motivation behind your training, you are ready to search out your Section:
Train all of your body parts! I cannot stress this enough. If you are one of the ones
who is guilty of neglecting certain body parts for whatever the reason(s) may be, you
better start picking up the slack. Learn why! BONUS: Here is a sample of my current routine which is
based primarily on putting on quality size. Section:
It's been awhile since my last article update but I've been drowned with school work lately. It's been exactly one month since SNBF Nationals... Section:
Get Your Abs In Gear!
There is always that same group of men and women who do endless ab exercises rep after rep in hopes of getting that sought after etched six pack. Section:
You ever wonder why you don't make the kind of gains you want from your hard work that you've put into your training? Section:
How To Choose A Personal Trainer!
Five Keys to Getting Your Money's Worth: Are you frustrated with your training progress? if so, you probably can use some help in creating an individualized fitness routine. Section:
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or more advanced lifter, there are some rules which are universal. Today, I would like to address the importance of breaking plateaus in your training. Section:
Contest Synopsis, SNBF Nationals!
It's been a week since the SNBF Nationals and I've had time to reflect on the entire show. Before I begin discussing the SNBF Nationals weekend, I want to address a particular issue... Section:
4 Weeks Out Contest Prep Update!
Have you ever wondered how a competitive bodybuilder prepares one week out from the contest? Get an exclusive look at each day of Phano's final week prep before the SNBF Nationals on Oct. 28th... Section:
Currently 4 Week's Out Competition Prep!
I'm about 4 weeks out from the SNBF Nationals and training has been going extremely well. I have been getting more than enough of my daily dose of weights and cardio and it's starting to take it's toll on my body. Section:
Currently 5 Week's Out Competition Prep!
It's Phano once again and this time around, I will give detail out my last 5 weeks of contest preparation for the SNBF Nationals which will be held at the Gwinnett Civic Center in Duluth, GA on October 28th. Section:
Here are some pics of my current condition. I am retaining quite a bit of water. If the last few days proceed as planned, I will lose most of this water and go into the show ripped as ever. Wish me luck! Section:
Phano's Bodybuilding Update!
This is Phano and I am going to try to bring those of you who are interested in bodybuilding up to speed with things. I have brought my bodyweight up... Section:
Your Mind Is Your Most Valuable Training Tool!
Most weight lifters spend a majority of their time looking for one training, nutrition, or supplementation strategy that will miraculously catapult their mediocre physiques into a new level of growth. The fact of the matter is... Section:
You've heard it once and you've heard it again, INTENSITY is crucial in bodybuilding success. Now while all avid gym goers believe that their training intensity is good enough, I can almost assure you that it is not. Are you training with intensity? Section:
Forced Reps For Results!
I'm back and this time I will share with everyone an interesting theory of mine. The theory is basically applying forced reps to each and every set to gain strength, confidence, and muscle mass. Section:
I have recently joined the Bodybuilding.com Team and have been asked to write an article for their website. They have allowed me the freedom of writing about whatever I wish that is bodybuilding related. Section:
A Little About Me!
I'm 21 years old and am currently attending Berry College in Rome, GA. I will be transferring to the University of GA in the fall though. See his struggles and how he got to where he is today. Section:
Overtraining And Recuperation!
I am going to address the idea of overtraining and recuperation because it is actually one of the major aspects of bodybuilding. It's simple, the harder you work your body, the more time it takes to recover and recuperate from training. Train SMART! Section:
Super High Intensity Training: If you're like nearly all seasoned lifters, you're probably always searching for a better way to produce the most gains in the least amount of time. Here are the 10 guidelines for my SUPER program! Section:
You always hear about "form" when discussing how to correctly perform an exercise. "You must use strict form", "form is everything", "no cheating". I believe this to be wrong, wrong, wrong! Learn how to use cheating to your advantage! Section:
Lagging Body Parts!
Unless you are Flex Wheeler or Ronnie Coleman, whenever you look into the mirror, you can't help but notice that your physique has its strengths and weaknesses. Bring up your lagging body parts! Section:
Here are THIRTEEN things that may be holding you back. Learn what they are and how to overcome them. Watch your results skyrocket! Section:
Dealing With Adversity!
If you have been training regularly for a substantial amount of time, then you will know first hand that there are many different obstacles to overcome. Adversity can take many forms such as an injury, family related problems, job related problems, school, etc. However, the biggest problem to the seasoned weight trainer is none other than injury. Here's how to deal with it. Section:
Cycle Your Training!
Simply put, big strong muscles are the result of lifting big heavy weights. They are not, however, the result of lifting heavy weights only. Section:
There are so many fad diets out there today that a person could get really confused on what really does work. Section:
Don't Buy In To The Hype!
You're sitting in the dining hall at school or entering a gym filled with self labeled hardcore lifters and all you hear is talk about this new supplement which is hot on the market right now. "Oh man, have you heard about so and so." "Yeah man. That stuff is supposed to help you put on 10 lbs of solid rock hard muscle... Section:
What Drives You?
Have you ever wondered what drives you to slave in the gym day in and day out? Sometimes I start pondering why I do what I do in the gym and I've come to a few plausible conclusions. It's about challenge and improving myself. In this article, I will talk a bit about motivation. Use this checklist as your guide! Section:
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