An Interview With NPC National Level Competitor, Sebastian Zona.

Sebastian is a Health and P.E. Teacher and NPC Competitor who stands at 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs in at 223 lbs. I've put together this great interview where he shares his personal goals, his lack of fear of failure, and views of bodybuilding.
Sebastian was born on November 29, 1973. He is a Health and Physical Education Teacher, as well as an Amateur NPC Bodybuilder.

What Does NPC Stand For?
NPC stands for "National Physique Committee, Inc." Visit their website at

He stands 5'8" with a competitive weight of around 223 pounds, and in the off-season bulks up to around 270+ lbs. His success and training secrets are hard work, commitment, determination, self-discipline, belief in oneself, willingness to learn, no fear of failure, taking risks, and a positive attitude.

Sebastian Zona Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
NPC Competitor, Sebastian Zona.

The Interview

[ CS ] Where did you grow up?

    SZ: Upstate New York, in the very small, rural, farm town of Romulus. Smack dab in between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, right in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Trail. Very small! I graduated from Romulus Central School in 1992 with a class of about 50 kids.

[ CS ] The Finger Lakes Wine Trail is a great place to go for a vacation and visit. Anita and I have done it several times and will probably again this year! What did you want to be when you were a child?

    SZ: Like most kids, I wanted to grow up and be just like my dad. He worked road construction and was a heavy equipment operator. Drove big trucks, bulldozers, loaders, etc. I had all the Tonka toys and would work my own construction jobs in the sand box.

    Later, I contemplated a career in the U.S. Air Force and had dreams and aspirations of athletic super stardom - I thought I was going to the NBA. LOL! Obviously, none of these early dreams came to fruition.

Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
I Thought I Was Going To The NBA.

[ CS ] Where do you live now?

    SZ: I have lived in the town of Brockport, NY for 14 years now. I attended college at SUNY Brockport and got a job in the area so decided to stay... It's a nice suburban neighborhood on the west side of Rochester, with a great school district for my son. It's a good place to raise a family!

[ CS ] What are your goals in this industry?

    SZ: Hmmmm... That's something I have been contemplating a lot lately and is difficult for me to answer. I will put it like this... I definitely have unfinished business when it comes to bodybuilding. I know I have not yet stepped on stage at my personal best. If I am able to accomplish this, it is then and only then that I will be content in my journey - win, lose, or draw.

[ CS ] How do you train? Give us a workout for the week.

    SZ: For the 2005 Nationals, I split my training like this:


    All workouts are preceded by 10 minute warm-up on the stationary bike followed directly by stretching and 2-3 warm up sets of the first exercise only. I then go directly to my heaviest weight for the first work set. I like to keep a fast pace so my rest periods between sets are 45-60 seconds.

    I also train in a somewhat instinctual manner. I have a plan in place of what I am going to train and what exercises I am going to perform when I arrive at the gym, but if something isn't feeling right, I switch it up... exercise, reps, whatever.

    Day 1:

    With leg training, I have found that my legs respond better to 2 sessions per week. I also tend to do slightly higher reps on my leg movements in the 15-20 range. All exercises are performed with a very narrow stance.



Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
I Definitely Have Unfinished Business
When It Comes To Bodybuilding.


      Seated Calf Raise - I usually go by feel with calves. I like to really get them burning so I just stick with one exercise, but blast them. I might do 3 sets, or I might do 10 - it varies by feel.

    Day 2:


      Dips - 3 work sets*
      Incline Flyes - I like to do these really heavy - 3 work sets*
      Incline Bench - Barbell or dumbbells (switch up frequently) - 3 work sets*
      *Not including warm-ups.


    Day 3:


Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
I Train In A Somewhat Instinctual Manner.

Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
My Wife Started Chasing Me In 6th Grade
And Didn't Stop Until She Caught Me.

[ CS ] You are married and have a son right? How long have you two been together?

    SZ: Yes. My wife, Amy, and I have been married 14 years this July 18th. We have been a "couple" for nearly 18. She started chasing me in 6th grade and didn't stop until she caught me... LOL! My son Sebastian is 15 and the greatest kid I could ever have hoped for!

[ CS ] How long have you known Jeramy Freeman?

    SZ: I met Jeramy and his wife, Kim, in 1997. I would count them amongst my closest of friends. They are both great people! I have learned a lot from both of them.

[ CS ] Do you like training in Rochester or would you prefer to be at 'the Mecca' in California?

    SZ: I have been to California enough times to know that I have no desire to live there. I have lived in Upstate New York my whole life and have no plans on moving anytime soon. Rochester has quite a bodybuilding legacy and I am happy to be just a small part of it.

[ CS ] What does it mean to you to turn pro?

    SZ: When I started competing, it was never a goal of mine to necessarily "turn Pro." Initially, my aspirations were only so lofty as to simply get a picture in a magazine. Obviously by continuing to compete - one would think that was my primary motivation. Not necessarily so.

Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
I Push Myself To The Limit To Be
The Best I Know I Can Be.

    I am not one who has wrapped his entire life around this sole achievement, nor will my life be defined by this one accomplishment. I am not just Sebastian Zona the bodybuilder. If it is meant to be, then fantastic! If not, then I will move on to the next chapter of my life.

    I will not be one of these guys who doesn't know when to let go. When I stop making improvements at each competitive outing... I will know it's time to walk away. But until that time, I will be pushing myself to the limit to be the best I know I can be.

[ CS ] Do you feel today's bodybuilder should revert back in time like most are screaming and be small or continue to grow? The freakier the better?

    SZ: Well, if you look across the board at all sports in general, athletes as a whole are bigger. That is progress, especially as it applies to bodybuilding. I don't think it's possible to revert back completely because once you have seen something achieved, it's natural to want/expect more.

Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
You Have To Play The Genetic
Hand You Are Dealt.

    We are all dealt a different genetic hand, so to speak, and you have to play the hand you are dealt. Not everyone can be a Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray, or Phil Heath, just as not everyone can attain the size of a Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, or Gustavo.

    You have to recognize the tendencies of your own physique and choose the path most suited for you individually. I like seeing the freaky mass, but also have an appreciation for the classical lines of a Flex Wheeler or Darrem Charles.

[ CS ] Do you think the new owners of the Olympia will take bodybuilding "down the tubes"?

    SZ: It does seem like there has been a decline in the amount of coverage dedicated to what is supposed to be "The Super Bowl of Bodybuilding." I remember two-hour Mr. Olympia specials playing on ESPN not that many years ago. Now there is little, if any, coverage... or it's on PPV [pay-per-view] or online - which again limits exposure to only its existing market (people who are already fans).

    I am not sure what the answer is, but something has to be done to increase the entertainment value and marketability of the sport. Does this mean changing the physiques? I don't think so. If hotdog eating contests, spelling bees, and rock-paper-scissors championships can get coverage and an audience, I think bodybuilding certainly can as well!

[ CS ] Thanks, Sebastian, for talking with us about bodybuilding and your trek towards that pro card! Good luck, big guy, at the Nationals!

Sebastian Zona
+ Click Image To Enlarge.
Bodybuilding Certainly Should Get
More ESPN Coverage!

    Sebastian Zona's Competitive History:

    • 1997 Mr. Buffalo; Light Heavy & Overall
    • 1999 North American; Light Heavy, 6th
    • 1999 Nationals; Heavyweight, 15th
    • 2001 Mr. Rochester; Light Heavy & Overall
    • 2001 Mr. New York State; Light Heavy & Overall
    • 2001 Junior Nationals; Light Heavy, 1st
    • 2001 Nationals; Light Heavy, 5th
    • 2002 Nationals; Heavyweight, 5th
    • 2003 Nationals; Heavyweight, 6th
    • 2004 North American; Heavyweight, 1st
    • 2005 Mr. USA; Heavyweight, 9th
    • 2005 Nationals; Heavyweight, 4th

    Sebastian can be found online at these locations:

    Additional Photos Of Sebastian:

    Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3