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Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Rob Villa

Amateur Bodybuilder of the Week: Rob Villa! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

I played competitive hockey throughout my life and through my later years I was always the shorter player. Being a defenseman, I always wanted to be the thickest guy on my team in order to compensate for any lack of height. So when training began for hockey, I was always the guy that worked the hardest and put the most time in the gym. In doing this, I noticed the passion I had for lifting and overall training in general. It must have also helped that I was always one of the strongest on my team and my body structure allowed me to lift more and more as I grew older.

Once I decided to stop playing hockey and pursue university without any other obligations, I noticed I had a lot of free time that had been left open without being on the ice 6 days a week any longer. So I quickly got a membership at my local gym and continued to lift and eat. I took the knowledge I had from my hockey training and attempted to combine it with anything I would learn over the internet or magazines with regards to gaining muscle. It's funny, because I still remember my first split, it was 3 days on with a break in between each day and all I did was upper body.

Funny thing is that I actually grew a lot right away and I loved the fact that people noticed it and took me more seriously because of the added size. From that point on, I became like a sponge and absorbed as much knowledge as I could in order to maximize my potential and grow. I am a 4th year kinesiology student and this has definitely aided in my transition into bodybuilding. My exercise physiology and nutrition background have allowed me to modify my training and diet in order to lay down the proper path for growth.

Although it began as a hobby and love for growing my body past the idea of the status quo, I quickly realized that without hockey, and being the true athlete that I am, I needed the competitive drive and battle that comes with that. So with the help of my family and girlfriend, I made the decision to pick a show, and attempt to compete as a bodybuilder. I had bulked up to a whopping 215lbs of fat and muscle (which I will never do again) and then modified and learned my body over a long period of almost 8-9 months to prepare for the show on November 27th of 2010.

Around 14 weeks out my diet really got serious and I have to say that I was as obsessive as a competitor can be with regards to my diet, not allowing myself to cheat once from the 12 week out mark. I feel this was crucial in my development and show since I was told I was one of the most conditioned athletes on stage.

Come show time, I was more than excited and have to say that I enjoyed every second of being on stage under those lights. I got my fix of the competitive juices again while hitting the poses in the prejudging and night show. I even got a taste of being in the overall round since I placed 1st in the lightweight division. After this show, I realized that bodybuilding was something I loved to do and will continue to pursue.

I need to be pushed and I loved the self-restraint and dedication needed to battle through the endless weeks of a contest prep. To walk around in a sense of meditation with only the end result being your primary focus for weeks on end; and subsequently to then be able to reveal something as beautiful as the finished product come show time is an amazing journey.

Rob Villa
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Rob Villa

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

Over the years of training and learning, my approach to the sport has altered significantly. I've tried numerous training protocols and methods and have had mixed results with all of them. At this point in time, I feel that as a natural competitor, it is imperative that one switches things up constantly and ensures your body cannot adapt to a particular workout.

My training partner and I have developed a system that for each body part we have 3 different routines (workouts A, B, and C) where we simply have switched the order of our most effective exercises. Each week we systematically alter each workout so we never do the same one twice.

I also truly believe that we are all much too fixated on the idea of overtraining and have been scared into believing we always are. Although this is a simplified way to look at it, I feel you cannot over train, only under eat and under sleep! The body can only adapt to constant stimulation and with higher volume intense training, adaptation is inevitable given that proper rest and nutrition is in line. Here's a sample week of training:

Day 1: Quads
Day 2: Chest/Calves
Day 3: Off

Day 4: Back/Calves
Day 5: Hamstrings/Biceps
Day 6: Delts/Triceps
Day 7: Off

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Given my background in human nutrition and kinesiology, my views on nutrition have changed over the years. I currently feel that moderation with anything makes the most sense. In the most basic of terms, I like to follow a mentality where I break my day into energy expenditure requirements. If I am more active, my meals contain more carbohydrates, if I am simply studying or relaxing at home, my meals are higher in fat and have little to no carbohydrates.

Protein is simply broken up evenly throughout the day over 7 feedings. I keep my carbohydrate meals around my workouts and breakfast, consisting of mainly high fiber sources (except for post workout). I tend to have higher carbs on Back and Leg days while cycling to lower carbs on other days and the lowest on my off days. I typically see-saw carbs and fats enabling my calories to remain where they need to be. Here is a sample meal plan from a moderate carb day during my offseason.

Meal 1:
Meal 2: Intra/Post Workout
Meal 3:
Meal 4:
Meal 5:
Meal 6:
Meal 7:

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

Personally, I'm not too big on supplements. I'm a firm believer that anything you want to achieve in bodybuilding can be backed through a proper and consistent diet regimen. With that being said, I do consume 2 out of my 7 meals' protein sources from my whey isolate protein powder.

This was due to the fact that I am a student and money is tight, so buying strictly chicken and fish can get very expensive. Also, I prefer an isolate post workout since it acts synergistically with the insulin spike induced as well as the protein metabolizing effects caused by a fast digesting carb and protein source when consumed together at this time.

The only other supplements I believe have some merit are a good BCAA product that can be used throughout the day which will further increase protein synthesis within the muscle between meals. I also supplemented with normal generic grocery store brands of vitamins throughout my prep since when on such a strict diet, fruit is taken out, and your body becomes very nutrient deprived so I felt that in order to keep my immune system strong, the extra vitamins were needed. This must have worked because I did not get sick once in the entire prep phase.

Upon Waking:
Upon Waking & Post Workout:
Upon Waking & Before Bed:
Throughout Day Between Meals:
  • BCAA: 40g spread over 4-5 servings in water
Three Times Daily With Meals:
Post Workout:
Before Bed:

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

There are so many things that can be said about the bodybuilding lifestyle. It is impossible for someone outside of the sport to understand what it truly takes to be a bodybuilder. This fact that it is not something normal, and it is not something that the ordinary person can handle is what drives me and attracts me to it so much. So many times through my prep I had to remind myself that, "hey... if it were easy, then everyone would be doing it."

And that's just it; bodybuilders are of a different breed of man. The dedication and self control that is needed cannot be compared to anything else. I have played hockey my whole life at the top caliber level, and the extremes that I was faced with both mentally and physically throughout my prep were 10 times harder than anything I had ever encountered in my minor hockey career. I love that once a person is able to look at themselves in the mirror and say that they can and will accomplish something, the battle is already half done.

I feel that whatever someone's mind can believe and conceive, their body can achieve. Bodybuilding is a training ground for life; when a person is able to battle through the struggles of their diet and training and organization that comes with the lifestyle, they can be confronted with anything else in life and already be prepared to deal with it because it is nothing in comparison to what they have already faced. To all the bodybuilders out there, you are a true testament to fighting for what you believe in and never choosing the easy way out.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

All too often bodybuilding is portrayed in a negative light because of steroid use or poor health conditions. It's a bit ironic since bodybuilding should actually represent the picture of ideal health and fitness, when we all know in many of the extremes of the sport this is not the case.

What I have grown to learn is that natural bodybuilding in reality is truly a great representation of good health. Sound eating principles, proper cardiovascular health, and an overall complex understanding of one's own body. Natural bodybuilding requires that the athlete eats clean year round, there's no such thing as an offseason, or sloppy bulking phase. This is a lifestyle that I can carry forward with me into my older years, and continue to live life healthy, long after my competitive days.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

As I previously stated, there's no questioning or hiding my competitive drive. I've played competitive hockey at the highest caliber throughout my youth. Once I began university and stopped playing competitive hockey; that drive still lingered within. The gym became my sanctuary and a place where I could let go, where my inner aggression and passion could be channeled. Once I had considered bodybuilding, there was no middle gear, I can either completely commit to a goal and challenge or I won't bother at all.

The fire had been lit, and I knew my training was a manifestation of my dedication, ambition, and competitive drive; all would eventually come together to be revealed on stage. The thought of being able to channel my passion every hour of every day into a real tangible goal is what appeals most to me about this sport and lifestyle.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I plan on having a very productive and clean offseason where I will be bringing up many of my lagging body parts as well as my overall physique and size. I will be aiming to bring up my legs, specifically my hamstrings and calf development. Also, I will be looking to increase my overall size with the hopes to step on stage next time about 5 lbs heavier than I was this last show while still maintaining or improving my overall symmetry and proportions.

I will keep this offseason very clean and will not allow myself to jump any higher than 20-30 lbs over my contest shape. I will be looking into Natural shows for mid to late 2013, enabling me sufficient time to make the adjustments I feel are necessary.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

I feel the main thing would be to have passion and enjoy every minute of your journey. Before you know it, it will all be over and you'll be waiting for the next show and next prep period. Don't cut any corners and don't do anything halfway, allow yourself to have the right to look back and say "I truly could not have done anything any better". Give it your all and your complete focus and passion.

Don't feel sorry for yourself about your diet, your training and your lifestyle, instead, look at it as a privilege that you've been given the opportunity to grow to your fullest potential and you will be rewarded and able to reveal your art work at the end of it all. Show compassion for your dedication, not pity. It's all the power of the mind, if you believe you can achieve your goal, you will do it. Do it for you and enjoy the ride.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

I have to say that I have always looked up to and respected Kai Greene. I have been a huge fan of his for the past few years and I strongly believe in what he preaches - the idea of the mind providing the power to motivate and propel the body into success.

"Champions are an example of what happens when you aspire to leave the plane of average thinking. When you dare to dream and dare to go after that dream you make these thoughts and ideas become more than just a dream." - Kai Greene.

I am also a huge fan of Doug Miller, Layne Norton, Phil Heath and Dorian Yates.

What Features Do You Use On

I enjoy reading the articles posted throughout the site. I am a big Layne Norton fan and love the work that he has done and posted within

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