Pumped And Primed For The 2010 PBW Tampa Pro: An Interview With The King Of Posing And Presentation, Tricky Jackson!

Tricky Jackson is known for outstanding posing abilities and fantastic overall presentation. At 42, the show's not over! He's poised to make a big impact at the 2010 Tampa Pro, and find out more in this exclusive interview!
Article Summary:
  • His goal is to break the 25 year record for competing; he now has 20 years under his belt.
  • Tricky Jackson gets motivated by analyzing the competition he faces on stage.
  • Tricky feels like his weak areas are his biceps and traps, and he continuously works on them.

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    Pumped And Primed:
    An Interview With The King Of Posing And Presentation, Tricky Jackson!

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    Although he is known more for his outstanding posing abilities and some of the best overall presentation the sport of bodybuilding has ever seen, Jacksonville, Florida's Tricky Jackson has also shown that he has much more to offer in the form of his phenomenal physique and is proving his worth as a top-line pro with a list of recent high placements and his first professional win.

    From 17th at the Europa Pro Supershow in 2006 - his rookie year - to winning this event's 202-pound-category in 2009 and placing seventh at the Mr. Olympia - a show he has in the past struggled to qualify for - later that year, Tricky showed that perseverance pays off. Today, at age 42, and having added an astonishing amount of muscle to the physique that regularly contested Bantamweight classes between 1989 and 1992, he is poised to make a major impact in his first pro show of 2010: the IFBB PBW Tampa Pro.

    Having found his home in the relatively new 202-pound pro category, and in successfully negotiating the fine art of maximizing muscle size without sacrificing hard earned symmetry and proportion, Tricky is always in the hunt for any 202-pound title. And with a remarkable 23-year competitive history behind him he certainly has the experience needed to bring his A-Game whenever he steps on stage to show his yearly improvements.

    In competing every year for over two decades - a feat that would have long ago spelt burnout for most of his peers - Tricky has not only stayed in the game longer than most, but has continued to improve, something almost unheard of in professional bodybuilding. In the following interview he provides a detailed insight into how he currently trains and why he feels he can break the competition record (with 25 years being the target) to become bodybuilding's longest survivor.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    [ David Robson ] Hello Tricky. How are you feeling six weeks out from the 2010 IFBB PBW Tampa Pro?

    [ Tricky Jackson ] To be completely honest with you, David, it has been kind of a rough prep for me. I just finished doing a guest appearance about seven weeks ago at the Jacksonville Physique Contest that Dexter Jackson runs. I started coming down slow to prepare for that appearance but I wasn't actually on my contest diet.

    So I kept my contest diet kind of short this time: instead of a normal 12-week diet it has been ten weeks. I felt that because my diet was short I needed to get ahead of the game fast. So I pushed everything up two to three weeks and what I found was that my body started looking really flat, though it was also getting leaner. I started getting nervous about that.

    But this last week I have been able to tell that the muscles are fuller and the skin is thinner. So now I am starting to get the look I normally get about four or five weeks out.


    [ DR ] Would you like to predict how you will look come the day of the Tampa Pro?

    [ TJ ] Here's the catch-22. What I found last year is that I have a tendency to look better with each show. Whether it is because after the first show I have the body fat off and the skin is much tighter, I'm not sure. The other thing is you kind of allow yourself to tweak for each show because year to year you can't necessarily do the same diet because you are older and you have added more muscle that you have to account for. So you have to do a few shows to really tweak to find out what is working best for you to peak.

    The basic part of the diet - the first eight to nine weeks - is about the same because you are just aiming to get the body fat off. Then in the last couple of weeks tweaking it may be a little bit different because of those factors. So my goal is to be as lean and tight as possible for this show - like it was my third show. Because I know that I'm going to have to try and do that.

    I'm the type of athlete who always aims to become familiar with my competition as well. If I know who is in the show it kind of motivates me to push myself harder. I know that Jose Raymond is doing this show - I believe it is his fourth show of the year, which tells me he is going to be pretty much on the money. That means I'm going to have to bring the conditioning I normally do after two or three shows for this first show.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
    View More Pics Of Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.


    [ DR ] Who else do you feel will provide tough competition for you at this year's Tampa Pro?

    [ TJ ] Well, Jose, of course, and Roc Shabazz; then you can't count out Steve Namat.


    [ DR ] You are saying the four of you will be in the top mix?

    [ TJ ] Yes, I believe so.


    [ DR ] What makes you a contender for the top placements at this show? What can the fans expect to see from you come contest time?

    [ TJ ] Well, I definitely think my balance is one of my assets. And over the years I've always tried to bring my upper body up to where it matches my lower body. What happened for me was a few years back I had a back injury, which happened to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me to back off my leg training and be cautious when training this body part. This allowed my upper body to catch up to my legs. So my physique is very balanced and I think that I will bring a good amount of detail as well, in particular in my back, chest and triceps areas.

    I have had a couple of people tell me that I have one of the best backs up there in the 202 right now, which compares well even to David Henry, which was a great compliment. It is interesting to me when I hear a lot of times that maybe I need to be a tad bit bigger. The thing about it is that at last year's Olympia I competed at 196-197 pounds, after filling out, so I am not far from the top of the class. So from that standpoint if I am able to step on stage this year at 198 you are talking about a three to six pound difference to a lot of the guys weight-wise; that is a lot.

    RELATED VIDEO: Tricky Jackson
    Tricky Jackson 3 Weeks Out From 202 Tampa Pro

    Check out Tricky with three weeks left before the Tampa Pro. Watch as he busts out some shoulder presses.


    [ DR ] Do you have to drop much weight from the off-season to reach 202?

    [ TJ ] Each year, Dave, my goal is to try and get a little bit bigger - about five pounds more than the previous year - while keeping my body fat about the same. I did accomplish that this year: I went from 227 (pounds) the previous year to 232 in the off-season this year, and I was actually relatively lean and could still see a four pack in my abs. It's still a little early for me to determine if I have added the quality muscle I wanted to - right now I have been fluctuating between 210 and 212.

    The body fat right now is about five percent. So I'm pretty close to right there. I think I'll be at least about the same or two to three pounds heavier than I was at the [2009] Olympia.


    [ DR ] So the goal for you right now, Tricky, is to maintain what you have while slowly gliding into contest mode without needing to make any drastic changes.

    [ TJ ] Exactly, over these next few weeks I may lose about a pound to a pound and half per week. But the other fortunate thing for me is that I'm coming in shape, but I'm not really eating as much as I have done in the past.

    I have a lot of stressful things going on in my job and in my personal life and have lost my appetite somewhat. Now it is starting to pick back up. So I may end up eating into the show, like I did at last year's Olympia, which may allow me to be right at the 202 mark if I can really push myself to get these calories up.

    Last year - for the first three shows I did - the Jacksonville, Tampa and Europa - I was right in that area between 190 and 192, but on the Olympia stage I was actually six pounds bigger and tighter. So I think that is the direction I'm going in with this show; if I can force myself to get these clean calories back up now that I have my body fat down I may just end up eating into the show and being bigger.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    [ DR ] All going well, do you feel you will compete at just below the 202-threshold at this year's Olympia?

    [ TJ ] All going well for this first show or two, which allows me a little more time between those shows and the Olympia - maybe eight to ten weeks - I don't see any reason why I can't get on stage at right about 200 to 201 come Olympia time.


    [ DR ] Are there any problems for you inherent in packing on as much mass as you can, given your frame and any possible genetic limitations? Do you think you may distort your balance if you continue to add size year after year?

    [ TJ ] Not really because I know there are certain areas that I can continue to build on; I always strive to get my traps a little bigger, my biceps larger. As long as I focus in the off-season on bringing those areas up I think that's where the gained muscle will come from. So my goal in the off-season is to work on those areas that I feel can be a little more complete, so my muscles will be just that more balanced with those improvements.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
    View More Pics Of Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.


    [ DR ] What adjustments will you make to your current program to ensure you arrive in Tampa on point and ready to dominate the field?

    [ TJ ] My training is pretty basic. A few years back I changed my training to a different style - right around the time I turned pro - to break the monotony and mix things up. But I'm a firm believer in the basics and the notion that if it ain't broke, then don't fix it. I take three or four basic movements for each body part, ones that I have found to work best for me over the years - that give me the best pump - and I stick with those.

    As I get closer to an event, obviously my weight becomes more moderate and I focus more on volume training; I think that also has something to do with age. One of the things I have paid a lot of attention to now that I am getting older is that I don't want to contribute to injury.

    I don't focus as much on heavy weights as I used to, but more on volume, on doing more reps and exercises and using different methods. For example, I do more drop sets and rest/pause to saturate the muscles with blood. I tend to use more of a moderate weight because it is safer rather than pushing it to the extreme.

    Training Split


    [ DR ] How is your nutrition structured for this contest?

    [ TJ ] A couple of years ago I worked with Dave Palumbo and started becoming accustomed to using a form of the keto diet [ketogenesis: where fat, in place of carbohydrates, is used as the body's primary energy source], so this approach is what my diet is based around now.

    But what I do is set my diet up in four-week phases. The first four weeks I clean it up and add quality carbohydrate, protein and fat sources. Then in the next four weeks I start to zigzag those carbs and pull them out so I am eating anywhere from two to three carb meals per day.

    Normally, during the last four weeks, is when I go straight to keto and cut the carbs out - here I will carb-up on the weekends. So that is where I am at now: I am in a keto phase, which is actually a bit early for me. As I mentioned I started my diet ten weeks out instead of 12, so I had to push everything up. Right now I am eating no carbs, other than fibrous types, during the week. My protein and fat levels are high at the moment - and I carb up on the weekends.

    Meal 1:

    • 5 Whole Eggs (make sure to buy Omega-3 Eggs from the supermarket. They contain virtually no saturated fat and tons of good Omega-3 fats.)

    Meal 2:

    Meal 3:

    Meal 4:

    Meal 5:

    Meal 6:

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    [ DR ] Do you find this approach to work well for you, to where you are able to effectively use fat as an energy source?

    [ TJ ] That's exactly right, and obviously I also use the stored fats. And that is what I was referring to before, about pushing my calories higher. I can even take in more fat than I'm eating right now, as well as protein. I just have to make myself do it.

    Right now my portions are smaller than I'm accustomed to: I'm eating about five meals a day. As an example, I used to do seven meals a day in the off-season and come diet time I would go to six meals a day, not including three shakes. Whereas I found myself a couple of weeks ago only able to get in four meals a day - and my three shakes - and so the body fat was still coming down, but I was getting a flat look.

    So I upped the meals to five about a week ago [seven weeks out] and am feeling a lot better, so the goal is to up them back to six meals next week.


    [ DR ] And will you cut back on the shakes at this time?

    [ TJ ] I will not cut the shakes back (laughs). That is something a little different for me; I keep my shakes in until a week out from the show. That is something I can do; some people can't. I can assimilate a lot of protein. I keep the protein shakes in until about the Tuesday out, until my last training session.


    [ DR ] What are your shakes comprised of?

    [ TJ ] My first morning shake is two scoops of Probolic, usually with a tablespoon of peanut butter. For my pre-workout shake I will add creatine; I use a version called Trac from MHP. My post workout shake is again two scoops of Probolic with glutamine, along with some flax oil.

    Daily Supplements

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
    View More Pics Of Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.


    [ DR ] What other supplements do you use?

    [ TJ ] I'm using two products right now pre-workout: one is called Anadrox - by MHP - a fat burner that also helps to increase your pump. And also I have used for the first time called NO-Bomb by MHP. Those combined really help me to get an amazing pump during my workouts, especially given the fact that I taking in no carbohydrates. That NO Bomb has really been a lifesaver.


    [ DR ] How big of an impact does including few carbohydrates in your diet have on your ability to achieve a muscle pump?

    [ TJ ] Your body kind of gets used to it after a certain number of weeks. People's systems usually get used to using carbs for energy so it takes a certain window of time for your body to begin not using carbs for an energy source, but rather fats.

    Once it starts getting used to that there are no problems. They say that fats are the most efficient form of energy, anyway. Once your body starts adapting to that, your energy levels begin going up. In the beginning it's very tough because during the course of the year I've had those carbs in there as an energy source. But once you go through that transition, after about four to five weeks your body just adapts to using fats as an energy source.

    Then I start feeling better. It's that mid-range area in your diet that is the hardest part. The beginning is not that bad because you still have the carbs in. Once you start dropping those carbs and increasing the fats that transition point is usually the hardest part. Once I have my fats real high and my carbs out - during the last four weeks before a show - I begin to feel real good.

    I don't see how these guys can do the keto diet straight off the bat (laughs); that would really crush me. The fortunate thing for me is that I don't have as much body fat to bring down so I don't have to do anything drastic, or go on the keto diet that quickly.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    [ DR ] You are known also for your posing abilities and your presentations skills are up there with the best. Do you have any surprises in this department for the Tampa Pro audience?

    [ TJ ] I don't think it will be much of a surprise because I think the expectations now is for me to come in and put on a show, so that's what I plan on doing (laughs). What I normally try to do is put on a good show at all of the regular pro shows and usually try to bring out something special for the Olympia.

    In the future I may only compete in shows that give out a best poser award because that is an extra incentive for me. If I can be fortunate to make the top three and take the best poser award, as well, it makes more sense for me to do those shows as a first option.

    One of the things I really hate is that it seems that the league is - in my eyes - getting away from the importance of presentation and posing, whereas this could actually add more to the sport if we put more of an emphasis on it. I hear people time and again saying they are bored at pro shows. They come to see a particular person and the rest of the time they are bored because the routines are bland and boring and there is no excitement.

    I just wish they would add some kind of scoring system to the posing routines so that people would put more effort into this area. I really think if they scored the posing routines the true athletes who want to be number one will figure out a way to bring better posing routines. Right now there is no pressure on people to do this.

    And as far as the best poser award people think if Melvin Anthony or Darrem Charles is in the show then that's who is going to win so they don't worry about it. There is little incentive because you know that certain guys are going to win that award.

    Another thing I think might be a good idea is instead of giving out a cash award to the top guy, maybe award the top five posing routines. That way, if a person comes in they may not feel they can beat Melvin Anthony, but they might consider themselves good enough to get one of those next four slots.


    [ DR ] Given that bodybuilding competition is as much performing art as it is athletic event this would definitely make sense. And it could potentially increase bodybuilding's profile in mainstream society.

    [ TJ ] Exactly, to be honest with you our performance is based on our diet and efforts in the gym. So this the fans cannot see, but they can see us present the physique we worked hard for. But we have to do it in such a fashion that maintains their attention. So not everyone will be the best dancer or pop locker in the world, but if you can hire a coach to help you with your training and nutrition you can do the same in order to develop a nice routine.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    [ DR ] For guys like yourself and Dexter - natural athletes who move well - this would probably be less of a concern, but for someone like Markus Ruhl, it might be. Could you imagine him pop locking and dancing onstage? But what he does do works well for him. The basic poses he does seem to best accentuate the more massive physique he has.

    [ TJ ] Yes (laughs) but remember Dave Palumbo when he used to compete? He put on an entertaining routine and he's a big guy. He would make his music in such a way that it would fit his physique. I remember one year he came out to a song called The Freaks Come Out at Night. He mixed it with a song called Baby Got Back. He came out robotic and at some point in his routine he turned around and flexed his glutes. He really got the crowd excited. Now here's a big guy.

    It wasn't necessarily what he did onstage as far as dancing or anything, but he did different movements and played to the song. Look at Andy Haman. I heard about him getting all of these appearances and wanted to know what this guy did. I looked at his routine on YouTube. Now his routine is nothing like mine or Kai's or Melvin's - he doesn't dance in this way - but he is animated, he has fun and he draws the crowd into it so that they have fun. Here is an example of a guy who can entertain the crowd. He does the unexpected.


    [ DR ] How old are you now Tricky?

    [ TJ ] I'm 21.


    [ DR ] Times two.

    [ TJ ] (Laughs) Yes, times two. I'm actually 42 years old.

    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo. Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Europa Super Show & Supplement Expo.
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    [ DR ] I certainly won't call you an old man yet. Pro bodybuilding competitors nowadays tend to peak well into their 40s. How long so you see yourself competing for?

    [ TJ ] Yes, you are seeing a lot of guys competing into their 40s. There is Troy Alves, Toney Freeman, Dexter, and Melvin Anthony. I think it all boils down to how the body feels joint-wise and how healthy you are. I've had some injuries that have made it hard to train, but if I felt that I was going backwards then I definitely would think it is time for me to hang it up.

    Right now I'm debating what to do after this year; I'm not 100 percent sure. My goal was to compete and have 25 years on stage. I don't know how many athletes have done that but if I can it means I have competed for 25 years straight and have done at least one competition every year over this period.

    Another thing I wanted to accomplish when I was an amateur was to win all the National titles, which I did. So I try to think about these things because from a marketing standpoint those are the things that set you aside from other athletes. So right now my goal is to do two more years competing so I can reach that 25-year mark. I'll have to re assess that at the end of this year (laughs).

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