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Hunting For The Big Titles - An Interview With The Shredded Branch Warren!

In the following interview I sought to discover what Branch is really like away from the confines of his hardcore gym, what he does to relax, and how he manages his daily life as a successful pro bodybuilder. Here's what he said:

Presented by GASP

In recent years, massive IFBB pro Branch Warren has succeeded in balancing out his shredded physique to where he is now viewed as one of the few professionals currently possessing a massively compact, yet proportionate and strikingly razor sharp look.

Perhaps not the most genetically gifted along the lines of the Heath's and the Jackson's, Branch more than compensates with his freakiness and hardness, qualities that often set him apart from his closest rivals.

With his recent improvements (most notably in his back and arms) ensuring continued success as one of the top men currently competing, as exemplified with his third placement at the 2009 Arnold Classic, Branch, a fan favorite, is sure to be around for a long time yet. But while most of us know of Branch as a bodybuilding giant crushing his opponents onstage, his private life is usually kept so.

Branch Warren.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Branch Warren At The 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic.

A man of contrasts, Branch, in the gym and onstage, is as hardcore and intense as they come, as hard-edged and menacing as can be seen anywhere within pro bodybuilding circles.

Outside these spheres, however, he is often described as bodybuilding's most laid back competitor, a man who is as approachable, humble and relaxed as he is intense and competitive in the gym and onstage. One word perfectly describes him: 'balanced'. But when he needs to turn it on he can do so at a moment's notice.

In the following interview I sought to discover what Branch is really like away from the confines of his hardcore gym, Metroflex, what he does to relax, and how he manages his daily life as one of the world's most successful pro bodybuilders.

[ David Robson ] After an excellent showing at the 2009 Arnold Classic, many had you to win? How do you feel about the outcome?

    [ Branch Warren ] I thought I should have won the contest; I was in my all-time best conditioning and had brought up everything I needed to bring up. I brought my back up and had better than ever overall balance and proportion. I thought I did everything I could do and as long as you are the best you can be that's all that matters.

[ DR ] What will be your next show?

    [ BW ] My next plan is to compete at the Mr. Olympia.

[ DR ] No prizes for guessing that you will be aiming for first place?

    [ BW ] Absolutely, that's right.

[ DR ] What is your ultimate bodybuilding goal?

    [ BW ] I want to win the Arnold Classic and of course you know what the other one is.

I Want To Win The Arnold Classic.
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I Want To Win The Arnold Classic.

[ DR ] Will you use the Arnold win as a stepping-stone to winning the Olympia or will you take whatever comes first?

    [ BW ] Well if I can win the Olympia first that will be fine with me.

[ DR ] You have proven to be one of the most popular pro bodybuilders in recent times. To what would you attribute your popularity?

    [ BW ] Well Flex Wheeler asked me the same question recently and I told him that some people, I'm sure, like me because of my physique. But I think that people can relate to me more.

Has Anyone Ever Met Branch Warren?
[ Click To Join The Thread. ]
Has Anyone Ever Met Branch Warren?
I'm very curious as to his all his videos he seems very serious and all about smiles or anything...just curious as to how he is in person.
Started By:

    Of all the guys onstage, I think that most fans can relate to me better. I'm not the most genetically gifted; I work a real job and bust my @ss 70 to 80 hours per week. I think the average person can relate to that. I've been competing for about 13 years and have been training for 20 years, something else the average bodybuilder can relate to. To most folks I'm almost like one of them, one that's made it.

[ DR ] That being said, you still place very high up the ladder each time you compete. What is it the judges like most about your physique do you think?

    [ BW ] The very thing that had me win the Most Muscular at the Arnold (Classic) as, I think, the best-conditioned athlete onstage. I think that is what the judges like: my conditioning. When I'm 100 percent, I'm very tough to compete against. And overall I'm very muscular.

Branch Warren.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Branch Warren Accepts The Most Muscular Award
At The 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic.

View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2009 IFBB Arnold Classic.

    I've kept my symmetry and balance since I was light heavy and have brought my upper body up tremendously over the years, so my chest and shoulders are no longer my only upper body strengths now.

[ DR ] What do you do to get away from it all and relax outside the competitive arena?

    [ BW ] Anything outdoors man, I love to hunt. Me and Brian Dobson and a few guys from Metroflex (gym), we hunt everything; we hunt wild boars with dogs and knives. We hunt deer and elk. You name it.

We Hunt Wild Boars With Dogs And Knives.
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We Hunt Wild Boars
With Dogs And Knives.

[ DR ] Does your hunting in any way support your bodybuilding efforts as far as eating what you catch goes?

    [ BW ] Yeah, we never kill anything that we don't eat. Actually when I was dieting for the Arnold I ate a lot of venison. A lot of the wild boar we catch we donate to an outreach program Brian Dobson has going at the church. So it is going to a good cause.

[ DR ] How much of the venison would you eat per day building up to a contest?

    [ BW ] I would probably eat a pound to a pound and a half a day of venison. As far as getting into condition it is a lot better than beef.

[ DR ] At your size, do you encounter any problems getting around the bush and navigating some of the tracks when hunting?

    [ BW ] Not at all - for my size I'm pretty athletic. I'm in good shape and pretty strong; I'm not a block. Being strong comes in handy when hunting and trying to carry things out.

Being Strong Comes In Handy When Carry Things Out.
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Being Strong Comes In
Handy When Carry Things Out.

[ DR ] I guess for me it is the thought of someone over 250 pounds walking long distances through the bush.

    [ BW ] I hunt with a couple of guys who are pro football players and one of them weighs 310 (pounds) and one is 250 also; and they are awesome athletes. Having the extra size just gives you an advantage when carrying your kill out.

[ DR ] Obviously the way you look significantly departs from the norm. How does the general public tend to perceive you when you are out and about?

    [ BW ] Well, everybody stares. You walk into a restaurant and everyone stares and looks. For the past three to four years I haven't really noticed it that much, but it's hard for me to go somewhere without somebody recognizing me.

    I was in the bank recently and the banker - a random guy I didn't know - said, "Hey it's Branch Warren." So most places I go I get recognized now. It is just because it is different; you don't see people like me walking down the street every day. But the attention is mostly positive; people are really cool with it.

[ DR ] So the attention is not, as you alluded to, negative. People appreciate what you have worked hard for.

    [ BW ] Yes, most of the attention is positive. Guys will ask how I got so big or will ask, "How much do you lift" and "what do you eat?" This kind of thing - it is just all part of it.

Branch Warren Shoots For Redemption.
Branch is of the breed that lets his body do the talking. Will Branch satisfy his need for perfection by showing up with a perfect package?
[ Click here to learn more. ]

[ DR ] I understand you have a couple of business interests. Can you tell me about these?

    [ BW ] Yes, my wife and I opened up a long distance freight company about four years ago; we do international freight and all over the States. That has gone very well for us, especially over the past two and a half years.

    I had a gym for about five years. I sold my gym back in July and got out of the gym business, which was a very good decision. Now I'm getting into some other things: I have gotten together with a couple of other guys and we are buying up foreclosed homes and we are selling those.

[ DR ] You would be kept pretty busy with that job considering the current economic climate.

    [ BW ] Yes, there are a lot of opportunities right now.

[ DR ] How do you balance all of your business interests considering you are also a full time professional bodybuilder?

    [ BW ] For me it is like, how many hours per day can you workout - two to three hours' maybe? So what are you going to do for the rest of the day? I'm going to eat anyway. I have to stay busy; I'm always doing something around the house or with my businesses.

    I know some guys who sleep all the time, and basically don't do anything else. I would go insane bro. And I would be divorced on top of that. The thing with me is that not only do I have to stay busy, but also bodybuilding will only last so many years.

Branch Warren Appreciation Thread!
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Branch Warren Appreciation Thread!
The man trains like there's no tomorrow. He redefines the term hardcore. He's torn many bodyparts training for the love of it.
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    My theory is why not have a successful business and everything you make from bodybuilding you save and put back? It is way less pressure trying to pay your bills and mortgage when preparing for your competition if you have something to fall back on.

[ DR ] Many competitors actually feel that in order to be competitive they must devote their whole existence to bodybuilding, meaning they sleep, eat and training bodybuilding 24/7. For you this is obviously not the case at all, and you are one of the most successful pros out there.

    [ BW ] Yes. I eat six meals a day, every day of my life; from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed I make sure I get all my meals in. It might be every two hours or every three and a half hours depending on what my work schedule for the day is. But I always get my six meals in.

    I guess I am kind of a freak in some ways because I can only sleep for five or six hours a night - that's all. I can't do any more than that. And as far as taking naps? Dude, I never take naps. I just can't do it.

[ DR ] The fact that you always have something to do with your time helps you rather than detracts from your training efforts?

    [ BW ] It definitely helps me. When I was prepping for the (2009) Arnold, for example, being busy helped me to stay focused. I was so busy every day that I was not constantly thinking about eating, about when my next meal would be. It took my mind off these things.

Being Busy Helped Me To Stay Focused.
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Being Busy Helped Me To Stay Focused.

    I have so much in my day that I cannot think about bodybuilding all of the time. Though I do stay conscious of it and get all of my meals in and train hard every day. Staying busy like I am is a positive for me; I've learned over the years that the busier I have been the more successful I am with bodybuilding. My whole day is not consumed with bodybuilding; my mind is kept off of it.

[ DR ] I hear you read quite a lot as well?

    [ BW ] Yes. I read all kinds of stuff, especially when I'm preparing for a competition and doing cardio. I will take a book and step on the stepmill, or whatever I'm on.

[ DR ] What are some of your favorite book subjects?

    [ BW ] I just read an awesome book about Mossad (The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) and one about the secrets of the CIA. That was a really cool book. I also just finished reading another about the Delta Force Counter Terrorism team. Those are the most recent I've read, but I read anything from current events through to history. You name it.

[ DR ] I understand you listen to heavy metal music while training. Maybe this is partly responsible for the fact that you train so hard?

    [ BW ] No. I'll train hard regardless, even if they didn't play any music. That is what it is (the training), but in Metroflex, where I've always trained, they always played loud music. And I like that. The louder the better.


Metroflex Gym: See The Power
Episode 2: Grunting In The Gym!

Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas is the "most famous hardcore gym in America." Listen in as Brian Dobson, owner of Metroflex Gym, discusses grunting in the gym, lifting music, the trap (hex) bar, chains, and sled conditioning!

Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
Or Download Here:
Windows Media (18.8 MB) - Video iPod (68.8 MB)
[ Metroflex Gym: See The Power ]

[ DR ] You strike me as being a man of contrasts. In the gym you are very intense, but outside you are quiet and relaxed. Do you feel this is a correct assessment?

    [ BW ] Yes, definitely. I think I'm very laid back and pretty easy going. But when I need to turn it on, I can turn it on.

When I Need To Turn It On, I Can Turn It On.
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When I Need To Turn It
On, I Can Turn It On.

[ DR ] Other than hunting, what else do you do to get away from the daily grind?

    [ BW ] My wife and I spend time relaxing around the house. I travel so many weekends now it's not very often we get to just relax. We also have a farm up in Texas and we like to go there and just relax; it's just quiet and peaceful.

My Wife And I Spend Time Relaxing Around The House.
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My Wife And I Spend Time
Relaxing Around The House.

[ DR ] I imagine much of your travel would be guest posing related.

    [ BW ] Yes, I've got the next seven weekends starting this weekend. I'll have a break for a couple of weeks, and then I'm back out again. It's pretty much like that for the rest of the year, except for August and September when I will start preparing for my competition. Other than that I stay pretty busy.

[ DR ] Does guest posing enhance your ability to maintain a certain level of conditioning leading up to your contests?

    [ BW ] It definitely makes you stay in better shape throughout the year. As far as helping with my competitions I don't really think so, but I don't think it hurts me either. But that's the general rule in the off-season: I tend to stay in a little better shape than I would if I wasn't guest posing.

Just Watched The 3 Part Series On Branch Warren On YouTube.
[ Click To Join The Thread. ]
Just Watched The 3 Part Series On Branch Warren On YouTube.
Pretty inspirational stuff. Not just to do with weight lifting but his entire life, he worked very hard.
Started By:

[ DR ] I understand GASP clothing sponsors you. How much of this clothing do you wear?

    [ BW ] I wear this stuff every day. They have street clothes and gym clothes. The cool thing about GASP is that I've never been able to buy a pair of pants off the rack, so this is the first time I've really been able to wear jeans and cardio pants. The waist fits, the legs fit and the length is right so this is a big benefit for bodybuilders.

    This is the first time I've had clothing that fit as good. It is the first time I've had pants that fit just right, so that was really cool. And, of course, when I work out that is all I wear: GASP tank tops and pants. And they have the coolest styles. That is good for guys like myself. It is difficult to buy clothes that fit and look good because nothing fits right on us. So for bodybuilders it's perfect.

Ribbed Longsleeve Shirt GASP Presents:
Ribbed Longsleeve Shirt

We didn't really design this garment for heavy duty workouts, but it's all up to you! It has the fit, the flexibility and the design to become "your favorite" street wear.

[ DR ] I know you just touched on it but exactly how difficult has it been for you in the past to buy clothing that fit properly?

    [ BW ] It's been hard to find nice button down dress shirts. So that's why it is so nice being in collaboration with GASP. I think we are coming out with the Branch Warren Signature Series. There is going to be some pretty cool stuff in the future. Not only do GASP have tank tops, shirts and pants, they have straps, weight belts and other lifting gear.

[ DR ] Does training in GASP clothing improve your workout performance?

    [ BW ] I just love the clothing. I have worn GASP clothing before I began collaborating with them and I like the way these clothes fit when working out. They fit well and look good too, so this would be a first for me. It's an attitude.

They Fit Well And Look Good Too.
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They Fit Well And Look Good Too.

    When you dress right and have clothing that fits well and looks good, it improves your self-confidence and this helps with training performance. If you feel good about yourself your performance will improve, so wearing GASP clothing will improve your workouts this way.

[ DR ] How would the general bodybuilding public benefit from wearing GASP clothing?

    [ BW ] They will have clothing that fits them better than other brands and they also have the latest fashion for male bodybuilders. And it is kind of a niche market, like owning a Porsche.

    You will set yourself apart from others and it will make you feel better. And you will improve your self-confidence when you are in the gym training. That is what it is all about for bodybuilders' right? And trying to buy nice clothing off the rack is very hard for bodybuilders. How often do you see bodybuilders dressed nice? You see them in T-shirts, sweatpants and shorts. Nothing fits. So to have a line of clothing that fits and looks good is a first.

[ DR ] GASP clothing is not exactly cheap to buy. You are buying quality though, correct?

    [ BW ] Yes. GASP is a little high end, but it is very high quality clothing. It is not cheap, and it will last. It's like a Porsche: it is high end, but it is high performance too. And it will set you apart from everybody else. And as bodybuilders you will look good in them. So GASP gives you the opportunity to wear nice, quality clothes and look good doing it.

It Is High End, But It Is High Performance Too.
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It Is High End, But
It Is High Performance Too.

[ DR ] You would also wear GASP clothing, for example, out to dinner?

    [ BW ] Yes, they have a full line of clothing. I wear their jeans every day almost. They have nice button down shirts that feel comfortable and look good. You can take your wife or girlfriend out to dinner and look good.

[ DR ] You say finding the right clothing has been an issue for you in the past. What are other problems associated with being as big as you are, especially in the off-season?

    [ BW ] Airplanes man. Travelling first class instead of coach is much better.

[ DR ] When travelling to a guest posing spot do you request first class or are you placed where the promoter says?

    [ BW ] This year I have been put up to business class, which I appreciate tremendously. This was not at my request. I usually just request to have an isle seat, as I would rather the cart hit me than be squashed against the window. If I'm up against the window I feel trapped. At least in the isle I can lean out and rest a little bit. But I have been pretty fortunate.

GASP Clothing!
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[ DR ] Well I wish you the best on your future travel Branch. Thank you for this interview. Hope to talk again soon.

    [ BW ] My pleasure.