Phano Paul Som


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. Probably 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 drug-free. 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.


  • Ten Quick Tips For Building Muscle!

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  • Mentally And Physically Prepared For Competition!

    For the majority of bodybuilders, you don't just decide to do a show without first properly planning. Ever heard the term: he who fails to plan, plans to fail?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • New Training Journal!

    Check back weekly to see my training routines and how they went...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Phano's Training Journal 10!

    Today's session would prove to be quite brutal despite my poor eating habits lately.

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cycling Supplements!

    When our bodies are exposed to exogenous substances such as supplements, alcohol, drugs, etc, it builds a tolerance.

  • Shocking Your Muscles To Stimulate Growth!

    Remember, shocking principles should be applied when you have hit a plateau. If you are just beginning to lift weights, then straight sets is all that your body will require.