I got started at 16-years old, when I was getting sick of being overweight. Between ages 12-and-18, I would play MMO's like WoW for hours on end every day, with friends. And these have certain tendencies attached to them, such as sugary energy drinks, large amounts of fast food, and complete sedentary living. I remember looking down one night, it was probably 3 a.m. after playing for several hours and a pizza or two, I grabbed my stomach and I couldn't even fit it all in my hand.
This is when I said to myself, "This is it; I'm done." I started to look on YouTube for exercises, and I found scooby1961 who had instructional videos and workout programs. Although I will admit I still love pizzas, poutine and ice cream.
Once I got started, I lost weight quick; going from 205 @ ~25% body fat to 155 @ ~7% over 6 months. However, at this point I didn't have a great understanding of nutrition and eating right - I just wanted to be slimmer. So, I didn't eat properly, my immune system went to the toilet, and I would get sick. Moral of the story: Don't put yourself through malnutrition to see results; they're subpar results and unhealthy.
I've always loved using volume in my workouts, as you can see. I believe in hitting muscles in every angle possible, using a bar, dumbbells and cables for each body part. I progress as such; start with a warm up on first exercise ONLY, then go from 10 reps, to 8, to 6, to 4. This is for the first compound movement of every body part. I then move to next exercise and aim for 8-10, then the one after is 10-12, utilizing every rep range. And every last set of each exercise is a dropset.
Resume regular sets
Abs Circuit: 2 rounds, 1-2 min rest
Resume regular sets
For cutting down, this is what has worked best for me. It revs your metabolism into overdrive, and when you do have cheats, they are absorbed 100% and utilized. My philosophy is at that point your body is scavenging for nutrients, so this will give it what it needs. Conversely, if you do it too much, your body goes into survival mode and stores it.
- Calories: 2160
- Protein: 240g
- Carbohydrate: 145-150g
- Fat: 60g
I absolutely love the compartmentalization bodybuilding brings; the ability to time manage, to work out a schedule, to prepare ahead of time and to be focused on the task at hand. I learned while doing my contest prep, with 2 workouts per day for \5 weeks, fitting in also work, university life, family life and a social life. The skill set I gained from competing is absolutely essential, but also very beneficial. Besides that, bodybuilding has given me a fantastic lifestyle: eat/live healthy, enjoy food you eat, be patient, and of course be generous and give back. But the lifting itself is my favorite. I love volume workouts (as you can see) and it gives me a stress release, and lets me just unwind and have a good time.
Now because I have a much greater understanding of exercise, physiology and nutrition, I love helping my friends, family and people I meet achieve their goals. I give them my honest opinion, I'm not one to sell-out opinions or do broscience; I need factual evidence to support my claims, and not deter people from results because of some ego-check. This is where giving back comes in, because I did absolutely everything myself - reading journals, reading magazines, going online doing research, researching ingredients, and trying supplements to find what works well. Although I'm a huge proponent of thinking critically and being autonomous, not everyone has that ability and need some assistance, and that's where I love to play a part.
Lifting and eating right. Seriously. I love lifting and trying to see how far I can push myself, to maximize results in the end. It's about focusing on form, rep-tempo, contraction and absolute power to me. There's no reason why you cannot be your strongest in this sport. Eating right provides me with a sense of control, the ability to control my intake, become healthier and better at what I enjoy. Because I love cooking, eating right is easier, and motivates me to continue doing so. Besides ... cooking's fun, right?
Music pushes me to give my maximum effort in the gym. I love my default punk-rock and various forms of metal. But recently I've gotten into reggae, ska and electro and its branches. Music has always been a big part of my life, and having that "punk attitude" of "do what makes you feel good and is right, no matter what others say." Well composed, lyrically proficient and progressive music is what I enjoy. Such as NOFX, Pennywise, ISIS, Cult of Luna, Neurosis, Sage Francis, Misery Index, Baroness and so on.
Being overweight was my motivator. I was tired of being lethargic, stuck behind my computer desk (more than I needed to) and eating like garbage. As I got slim, my goals changed - get big. Then I focused on proportion, symmetry, aesthetics; I was greatly motivated by the figures in pumping iron. However being aesthetic was not my only goal, I wanted to be strong; so I mixed in heavy lifting into my bodybuilding routines, which I've seen gains in hard, dense muscle.
I would want to compete in provincials in 2013, and hopefully nationals after that. After competing this past March, it blew my mind; the atmosphere, the friendliness of competitors, the adrenaline rush.
I also plan to become ISSA certified in exercise and nutrition; I love to do both. Training and advising people is something I really enjoy doing, because helping out is rewarding to me. If I had someone like myself motivating me when I started out, I would have gotten there much faster, and felt better about it in the end. I really consider the role reversal strongly, so it feels good and right to give back in this way. Last, become a sustainable bodybuilding writer. I'm finishing my second year in environmental studies focusing on environmental economic policy and law. After the fact that steak is more harmful in the long run than driving your car, I want to do something about this. I want to compromise; I don't want to give up bodybuilding, or my environmental career. Helping people switch from eating 2 pounds of beef every few days to something more sustainable is not only healthy, but also beneficial to food and ecological systems globally: agriculture has a great impact on methane production as well as the intensive energy required for its use.
Don't stress too hard during prep, or any other time. Stay focused, and most importantly think critically. Critical thinking is a skill many overlook and do not have, and it is useful in planning meals, time management, workout philosophies and your overall progression. So don't let too much emotion get in the way - keep a clear, conscious head.
The guys from the 70's and 80's, but primarily Arnold. I can identify with his physique, so I modeled after him, Mike Mentzer, Ken Waller and Frank Zane. They were true bodybuilders who focused on aesthetics, proportions and clarity of each muscle group, and I really respect that because they're not going for overall mass monster type physiques. They had full-time jobs outside the sport, so they had a balanced life in my opinion. But Kai Greene I love his mind-muscle connection and philosophy, one great guy to get motivated from, but also the technical mind-muscle connection such as squeezing ham curls like piano strings. Works great.
BodySpace is fantastic for tracking progress, meeting new people and having the opportunity to help each other out.
The SuperSite helps me with articles - writers like Jim Stoppani and Layne Norton I love to read from because they have Ph.D.'s in their respective fields, and can provide concrete evidence on their words. Not just broscience, but actual science.
And of course, the store. I love the goodies Bodybuilding.com has, and the deals it provides. Bodybuilding.com has a great atmosphere so I will continue to be a part of it, and use it in my bodybuilding efforts.