- Name: Michael Baltz
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Age: 44
- Where: Carbondale, IL
- Height: 5'9"
- Weight: 192-195 Off 185-187 Contest
- Years Bodybuilding :12
- Favorite Bodypart: Arms
- Favorite Exercise: Deadlifts, Burpees, Jumping Rope
- Favorite Supplements: Whey Protein
How Did You Get Started?
I was 13 and my dad asked me if I would be interested in going to a local gym. I joined with a buddy and we started Olympic lifting eventually going to the Junior Olympics. However, I quickly got more interested in growing muscles than anything else and started down the bodybuilding path. I started competing in bodybuilding shows when I was 15 and "retired" when I was 19.
Then, after an almost 20 year break from any kind of regular training, I started training again when I was in my late thirties. I wasn't even sure I could still build muscle, but had been telling myself for years that I would compete again when I turned 40. My body's response exceeded my expectations and I have been competing again in drug-tested natural bodybuilding shows since turning 40.
What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?
I am constantly changing my workouts, and my workouts usually include non-traditional bodybuilding exercises (think CrossFit), however several things are constant. First, I do almost exclusively multiple joint exercises. No preacher curls for me! Second, I do most sets to near form failure (after warming up, of course). Third, I emphasize the negative portion of each rep. Finally, I rest no more than 90 seconds between sets (I time the rest with a stopwatch). Total workout time is usually less than 30 minutes.
I only work each body part one time per week and average 3-4 weight lifting sessions per week. I will work legs one day, calves another day, and either separate upper body into push days and pull days or superset pushes and pulls on the same day. Total sets per workout (excluding warm-ups are usually less than 12)
Regarding cardio, I usually either ride a bike, jump rope, or run (recently). All cardio sessions are no more than 30 minutes and at relatively high intensity. I average about 2 cardio sessions per week.
The last week's workouts were:
- Burpees: 1 set of 100 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets of 12 reps
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- Pull-ups: 4 sets of 20, 13, 10, 9 reps
- 2 Mile Run
- Jump Rope For 23 Minutes
What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?
I pretty much eat the same thing year round. My diet is just stricter as I prepare for a show. Thankfully, I don't get tired of eggs, tuna, or chicken. The meal plan below is pretty much a contest diet. In the offseason I would include more variety, especially in Meal 6, and more 'cheat foods' in general.
- 1 Clif Bar
- 1oz Almonds
Post Workout Meal:
What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?
I've only consistently taken whey protein as a supplement to my diet during the last several years. Before my last show I took BCAAs and I think it helped me retain muscle as I dieted down for the show.
Why do you love Bodybuilding?
With respect to traditional bodybuilding, I love the fact that I can continue to improve my physique at this age. At 44, I have a better body than I had at 40 or even at 19. Certainly, there are few athletic pursuits where 40-somethings can consistently out-compete significantly younger men.
I also love the outlet for creativity and self-discovery that bodybuilding represents. My body is a work of art in progress and every day represents an opportunity to add some clay here or some brush strokes there. Every workout has the potential to be a combination of exercises, sets, and repetitions that has never existed before. With bodybuilding, every day I have the opportunity to challenge myself and see how I respond.
Finally, if one takes a broader view of bodybuilding and considers any effort toward body improvement and/or maintenance as bodybuilding, I love the fact that I can use weight lifting and physical exercise to extend the quality of my life long after I stop competing. Again, I can think of few other athletic pursuits that can be done at any age that provide the kind of health benefits that weight training can provide.
What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?
There was an advertisement in Men's Health magazine a few years ago that captures much of what motivates me. The ad said, "You're born small and weak and you die small and weak. How you look in between is up to you." I think the bible says somewhere that we are "once a man; twice a child." Same concept. I can imagine that life sucks at many levels when you are figuratively or literally small and weak. I was there once and I'm in no hurry to get back.
Being a role model for healthy living for my kids is a huge motivator, too. Kids tend to emulate their parents and few fit people have unfit kids. Simple. I feel strongly that one of my most important jobs as a parent is to do what I can to ensure that my kids will become healthy adults.
Finally, I believe that the human body is meant to be in motion and that the body is 'masterpiece beautiful' when the owner is fit. In many ways, I can't imagine not being active and eating right. I can't imagine over-riding the urge that I have to keep working out. I can't imagine essentially working to despoil the masterpiece that is within me by sitting on my butt all day and eating crappy food.
What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?
What is life without goals? Seriously. I can not imagine not having a working list of personal goals that I update regularly. And although goals like "be a good husband and father" are perhaps the most important goals a husband and father can have, success on those fronts can be hard to quantify. Athletic goals, on the other hand, are much easier to measure.
As I type this I am looking at pictures of me from two different shows doing the same pose. I can clearly see how I improved from one show to the next. I've also started running/biking/swimming as part of triathlon training and my progress on those fronts can be measured to the nearest one hundredth of a second. That's cool. The fact that I can keep getting better and that my progress is so tangible is what I love about athletic goals.
What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?
I can see myself continuing to compete in bodybuilding shows until I am at least 50. I hope to earn a natural Pro Card before it's all over. I also really dig the idea of competing in a show with my son who will be 13 when I am 50.
I have also started dabbling in triathlons and yoga and can see myself getting much more involved in those pursuits in the coming years. I want to be a sort of renaissance bodybuilder. I want my body and my accomplishments to cause folks to rethink their stereotype of bodybuilders.
What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?
'Less can be more' when it comes to workout volume, especially as you get older. The key to building muscle is intensity. I believe that most guys are doing far too many sets per body part and often aren't giving their muscles enough time to recover. A handful of intense sets per body part once a week has done the trick for me. Remember, almost all the guys in the magazines are on steroids, etc. Theirs are not real bodies governed by the natural laws of physiology. As such, their workouts and their workout volumes will not work for most people.
Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?
Of course, Arnold. Looking back at pictures of Arnold from the 70s, and watching Pumping Iron, Arnold's physique has stood the test of time. And of course he's the reason that I got interested in bodybuilding way back when.
Mike Mentzer seems to have been a real thinker. I dig that and agree with most of what I've read that he wrote. I aspire to be a literate, thoughtful bodybuilder like Mike Mentzer.
Other favorites would be anyone from the pre-steroid era. Steve Reeves and Jack LaLanne come to mind as names that people would recognize.
One of my favorite bodybuilders on the scene today is Dave Goodin. He is an inspiration for older, natural guys like me.
What Features Do You Use On Bodybuilding.com?
I love BodySpace. First, it has offered me an outlet to share my story, pictures, and thoughts with other likeminded people. The feedback that I have received from folks is a source of motivation to me.
Second, the site has introduced me to so many inspiring people. There are, of course, the men and women that are already accomplished as competitors. But some of the most inspiring people are the ones that have transformed themselves right before our eyes; Fern Assard (aka MsFitFern) comes to mind. Other members are dealing with huge obstacles and are still walking the walk. Dawn Melanie inspires me in this category.