Growing up I was never too active in bodybuilding, but this all changed when I hit middle school. I always loved the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies growing up — all these incredibly fit individuals; it always baffled me how they looked like that ... being the naive kid I was I figured it was easy, "LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS!" Right ... ?
Crudely shot down with this analogy I gradually started to become educated on how to achieve and maintain an amazing physique, it goes well beyond "lifting heavy weight." It requires self sacrifice, dedication, discipline and in my opinion the most important, GOALS! I was always a very creative/artsy sort of kid, drawing, painting and sculpting. This slowly changed into a different sort of art though, I began to work on my body - to sculpt, mold and morph it into how I saw fit in my mind, and from that point on I've been doing just that, determined to attain a sense of entirety with my body.
Toward the end of my senior year I was starting to dig pretty heavily into the whole scene of bodybuilding, fitness, nutrition and how things actually worked — I found all of this a bit mind-numbing at the time, since everyone seemed to have their own ideology on the matter and what works best, but over the years I've read, read and read some more. Scientific studies, magazines, health books, nutritional books; the whole lot — by this time I was completely emerged in the world of nutrition and turned it into a science, you truly need to understand your body and how it reacts to certain things, nutrition and fitness is not as black and white as people make it out to be, there are giant grey spots everywhere — what works for one person will not necessarily work for another!
After trying an assortment of training styles and rep schemes I've come to a happy medium in terms of conditioning and progressive workout regimen, I plan to keep this training style since it's given me the best gains and keeps me pumped to train, which is something we all need right? No one should dread having to the hit the gym to knock out an hour plus of weights! You need a PLAN, especially one that keeps you interested and seeing results!
Essentially my workout routine is a variant of the PHAT training style. (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training - 3 Heavy days & 3 Hypertrophy). It consists of power days to keep me advancing in strength, but also hypertrophy days to keep the bodybuilding aspect in view to add that definition and depth to the muscle, with the addition of the power days this allows me to increase my overall strength which in turn increases weight; more weight during hypertrophy days leads to even better definition and size.
Hypertrophy days will be more focused on the speed of each set from the 8-12 rep range, with a minimum of 1-2 minutes rest between sets. Power days will focus on heavy weight and form with each set in the 5-8 rep range with up to 3-4 minutes between sets. Heavy weight calls for more rest between sets — I follow a 6 on 1 off workout schedule, but my day off can be anywhere within the week, I listen to my body ... and when it needs a break, it needs a break!
Now, cardio ... cardio is a different monster depending on what my goals are ... dialing in for a competition or just keeping the fat down in the summer this is done through different methods. Typically I do HIIT (High Intense Interval Training) twice per week or low intensity cardio 2-3 days per week mixing and matching. HIIT is usually my go-to method, seeing as it will elevate your metabolic rate and allow you to burn fat throughout a 24-hour period in addition to being much more muscle sparing than long interval cardio, not to mention a heck of a lot more challenging!
Truly the most apparent reason to why I love bodybuilding is what it can do for YOU! Not only will it give you a kick a** body, but in addition it'll provide you with discipline and strength — it'll will give you a strong sense of self-control and commitment. Another great thing is you can apply the same focus and intensity you put forth into bodybuilding into other aspects of your life to help overcome and conquer — be it your work, family or other goals you have in your life. Just look at some of the greatest bodybuilders in the world today: their sense of discipline has brought them success on every level. Above all else, you're only given one body — I think everyone should have the chance to see their body in peak condition.
Another big reason I love bodybuilding is the fact that it is so challenging; the very nature of the sport is so demanding. It's a 24/7 thing: everything you do, eat and think is in some way related to achieving your goals — and what can I say? I love a good challenge!
Many things motivate me - myself, friends, family and my love for fitness. You have just one body whether you like it or not, you're stuck with it for the rest of your life so why not make it something worth keeping? Treat it right and it'll treat you right as you age, I want to stay strong physically and mentally for the rest of my life, so I work toward that each and every day, you see so many people today who are sick, overweight or unhappy, much of which can be fixed with a healthy change in lifestyle. I love to help others who want to reach their goals and live healthier lives, which alone gives me the motivation for not only myself, but others who may need that thrust in the right direction.
What really pushed me into achieving my goals would be seeing all these extremely fit people; each and every one seems happy and dedicated — all with a different body size and type. So, no matter whom you are, with the proper dedication you can accomplish anything and create a muscular and chiseled physique. Also, taking a look around I always wanted to stand out, have people hurl a second glance your way when you're out in your daily life.
One thing that I'm excited for is the class "Men's Physique." It's such a great addition; it's about how great you can look NATURALLY. It's about being aesthetic and healthy looking. I've recently been pressing into this field and placed for nationals at my first Men's Physique competition in 2011. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to nationals due to unseen events. This year I'm starting my stride toward getting my Pro Card then taking a step up in intensity to bring home my first Pro show 1st-place trophy!
From there I imagine I'd focus on my body, fixing lagging areas and supporting the industry in any way I can. I love helping people with achieving better bodies and promoting the sport.
The most important tip I'd give any bodybuilder or someone new to the lifestyle is there are NO cookie cutters, everyone is different and what works for the person next to you won't necessarily work for you, stay dedicated to your goal and plan out a nutritional diet, keep a log of your workout and weight to help you push for more each and every workout, always strive for something better than last time. If you want it bad enough, you'll get it.
Also, don't compare yourself with someone else, look at yourself and make gradual improvements, set realistic goals that you can complete in a rational amount of time and lastly don't be discouraged if you're making slow improvements, great things take time and commitment to build — stick to your guns and your goals are sure to follow!
Tom Platz, Jay Cutler: Legs
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Chest, Arms
Dorian Yates: Back
BodySpace without a doubt! It's a great way to stay motivated and inspire the other individuals here for the same purpose, everyone gives each other support and shares knowledge, and it rocks! I'm also very fond of the "customer reviews"; it's great to see feedback from actual people on products that everyone uses, not to mention honest opinions.
Just a special thanks to my Photographer Timothy Frazier, owner of www.Fantim.com. My beautiful girlfriend Nicki who has supported me in every aspect of my fitness lifestyle and my wonderful friends, family and watchers who encourage and support me.