An Interview With Vinny Galanti: National Level Bodybuilder!
Today, Vinny is training with a vengeance in preparation for the 2006 competitive season, after a four year lay-off and a 5th place at the 2005 Nationals. Learn more about what is next for him...
In 1993, Vinny Galanti demolished the opposition to win the NPC middleweight USA title. Today, Vinny is training with a vengeance in preparation for the 2006 competitive season, after a four year lay-off and a 5th place at the 2005 Nationals. Still undecided as to which of this year's contests he will enter, Vinny says that one thing is for sure: he will be in the best shape of his life, and he will not be competing at light heavyweight.
Vinny is no longer concerned with unduly stressing his system, having struggled over previous years to bring his weight down to light heavyweight from an in-shape 210 pounds. Right now Vinny is enjoying his bodybuilding and has found a system he is very comfortable with. The same thing could not have been said five years ago.
At this time Vinny had become disillusioned with bodybuilding, so much so he felt the sport was no longer for him. At one point, training was no longer an option, and his two daily meals came from the local pizzeria and McDonalds. Tired of his fat gut, and wrestling with the urge to return to the sport that had given him so much, Vinny set about training in earnest for the 2005 season. His spectacular return was rewarded with fifth at the Nationals - a great start to a new chapter in the life of Vinny Galanti bodybuilder. 2006 promises great things for Vinny as he makes his way back to the top.
[ Q ] Hi Vinny. What is happening in your life right now? Any competitions coming up?
Yes I am looking at competing. I didn't compete for four years, but last year I made a comeback. I had to do a local contest (the East Coast) to qualify, which I won. I then went to the Nationals and took fifth in the light heavyweight class. I didn't think I was going to compete this year.
I thought I would take this year off and compete next year in the NPC Masters Nationals, but I have been talking to Wayne Demilia, the head of the new pro organization, who will be running the Night of the Champions this year.
I have been going back and fourth with my family and close friends, discussing whether I stay and try to get my pro card with the IFBB or compete as a professional in the Pro Division Incorporated organization (PDI) (Vince won his class at the 1993 USA, which enables him to compete in the PDI).
I'm not sure exactly what road I will take just yet, but I will be 39 in the next month and I'm kind of up in the air right now. The one thing I can say is I will not be a light heavyweight any more.
[ Q ] So you are making a step up?
Well, it's not making a step up, it's more like not taking a step down anymore. The last couple of times I competed I got in shape at around 205 to 208 pounds, then lost track of what I was doing the last week and messed things up. I'm not going to do that anymore. Whatever route I take, it won't be light heavy anymore.
[ Q ] Is it easier for you to try to maintain a heavier bodyweight and get in shape that way?
Well, during a 15-week pre contest training period I actually grow. Off season I get bigger of course, and train hard and heavy, but usually whatever weight I am at prior to starting a contest diet I only lose maybe 10 to 15 pounds.
So I'm not like someone who comes down from a really high bodyweight. I could be 220 in the off-season, and at 210 I'm in shape. The important thing for me is that bodybuilding has always been a hobby.
I think the fans when they read about a bodybuilder like myself, or someone who is even more famous like Ronnie Coleman, they don't often know that it is a hobby as much as anything for us. I have been fortunate to have competed as much as I have, and I have always had a full time job, never had the luxury of having income generated exclusively from bodybuilding.
[ Q ] Do you receive any income from bodybuilding?
Well I have been fortunate for the last nine years, as I have been with Universal Nutrition. They treat me excellent, I can't complain. I do make a good dollar with them but would I want to rely only on that? No. I also own my own business and life is good.
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[ Q ] You have been training for 23 years, having started in 1983. You have competed for 22 of these years. What drives you to continue competitive bodybuilding?
When I stopped competing about seven years ago (from 2001 through to 2004), I have to tell you I was at my wits end with it. I hated it and didn't want to do it anymore. I lost the passion.
I was approaching each contest the same way. I would train for the Nationals and then I would not touch a weight for a good two to four months. It was a struggle to get back into eating just decently, let along getting back into contest shape.
I found myself going down a road where I wasn't enjoying it anymore and the opportunity to open up my own studio came and I said, "okay that's it, I'm done". I had just lost the enjoyment, I was burnt out. I was struggling to eat my food from Tupperware.
I found myself cheating on the diet more, started eating at restaurants more. In the past I would never do that. I thought long and hard and said "I'm done".
[ Q ] What did you struggle with most, in terms of your commitment to bodybuilding?
The thing is, when you are competing at the National level, and you think that pro card is dangling in front of your face and you place fifth, fourth or third. It seems like you are gaining momentum. You make one wrong move, and the next year you take sixth. It is like, another year of my life is done. I have to wait another year.
[ Q ] But you did make a comeback to compete last year. How are you feeling about bodybuilding right now?
In the position I'm in now with the new organization starting, I have to ask myself do I go for another turn at the USA or North America or Nationals, or do I go for a sure thing with the new organization. This opportunity may never present itself again.
[ Q ] Do you feel you have progressed over the years? Are you still gaining muscle at 39?
Four years ago I actually stopped lifting weights for a whole year. I just didn't even go into a gym, just my own studio where I worked. I lived in McDonalds, and at the pizzeria across the road from my studio. I would eat one or two meals a day, and had a big fat gut.
Then I felt that I was more depressed looking bad than I was trying to stay on a diet. I had some friends training for a contest and that gave me an opportunity - this was from 2002 to 2003 - to just get back on a training regimen, and I did.
I got back into respectable shape - just a comfortable shape to be walking around at. Regarding competition, I still didn't have the bug, it didn't bite me. I still didn't enjoy it as much as I used to.
I liked the training part, but had no desire to step on stage. I got sick just thinking about having to put the pro tan back on. I just lost interest.
[ Q ] So what happened to get you back on track?
Well, my wife and I were trying to have a baby and I wanted my system clean, I didn't want to do anything that would interfere with trying to have a child. We tried for about three years and couldn't get pregnant.
My wife and I were on vacation in January of 2004, and we had a long talk. I said I was depressed because we couldn't have any kids, so we discussed adoption, in vitro, and everything else. We decided we didn't what to go down that road.
| In Vitro:
(Latin: "within glass") An experimental technique where the experiment is performed in a test tube, or generally outside a living organism or cell. An example is in vitro fertilization.
During our conversation I said to my wife, "You are asking me not to compete anymore, and I hate competing, but I have to say if I could get a chance to compete just one more time, maybe I can walk away from bodybuilding."
I was a little more mature, a little older, I felt if I could just get back what I used to have I would be happy. At that stage it was just eating at me.
So I decided that I wouldn't compete in 2004, but would take that year off and dedicate it to good off-season training. Then in January I would decide what to do. That year of training was just crazy man.
I don't know what happened but I just started loving training again. Then somewhere around February I decided I would do the Nationals. And I did, and was very pleased with the whole experience in the sense of how I prepared for it. I wasn't happy with the fifth place, but I think I can do better again. I'm very competitive.
[ Q ] So you are motivated going into 2006?
- 2005 - 5th Place - Nationals: Light heavyweight
- 2005 - 1st place - East Coast Championships Light heavyweight
- 2003 - 13th Place - Nationals Light heavyweight
- 2001 - 6th Place - Nationals Light heavyweight
- 2000 - 3rd Place - Nationals Light heavyweight
- 1999 - 3rd Place - Nationals Light heavyweight
- 1998 - 6th Place - Nationals Light heavyweight
- 1997 - 4th Place -Nationals Light heavyweight
- 1997 - 1st Place - Jr. Nationals Light heavyweight
- 1997 - 1st Place and Overall - Light heavyweight physique '97
- 1995 - 5th Place - Middle Weight Nationals
- 1994 - 5th Place - Middle Weight Nationals
- 1993 - 1st Place - Middle Weight Mr. USA
- 1993 - 2nd Place - Middle Weight Jr. Nationals
- 1992 - 1st Place - Middle Weight Jr. USA
- 1992 - 1st Place - Middle Weight Mr. New Jersey
- 1991 - 15th Place - Middle Weight Jr USA
- 1991 - 10th Place - Middle Weight Mr. New Jersey
- 1989 - 2nd Place - Middle Weight Mr. New Jersey
- 1989 - 1st Place and Overall - Middle Weight Novice Suburban
- 1987 - 4th Place - Light Weight Teen New Jersey
- 1986 - 2nd Place - Light Weight Teen USA
- 1986 - 1st Place - Light Weight Teen New Jersey
- 1984 - 1st Place - Light Weight Teen Jersey Cup
- 1984 - 3rd Place - Light Weight Teen Hudson County
I am leaning towards a contest now, but as of now I really don't want to say just in case I don't do it. It will be this year, and it will be exciting for the fans.
I'm just not 100 percent sure yet, I have to make the right decision. I had spoken to Wayne Demilia and he explained the details of how his organization was going to work. For me personally, I haven't had any problems with politics. When I look bad, I place bad. When I look good, I place good.
I don't think I place ahead of anybody just because I look good. I have always been given a fair shake. Jim Manion and those guys have always treated me fairly, and I always had a good rapport with them.
I don't like people having to read about me, I like people to hear it from me first. So I approached Jim and spoke to him about Wayne's organization and discussed the options, as to whether I will do any Pro Division Incorporated events. But I haven't made a final decision yet.
Vinny's Competiton Record
[ Q ] You will have to keep us all posted. Going back to what we discussed earlier, did you feel it ironic that here you were training your clients when you yourself were out of shape over that one year period? Exactly how was this period for you?
I wore baggy clothing and tried to cover myself up as much as I could when I trained my clients. When I thought that I wouldn't compete again I tried to play some sports for local teams. I played in the men's softball league.
That summer was an eye opener for me, to see how fat I had gotten. I was very athletic as a young kid, and was shocked at how out of shape I had gotten when I played softball - I couldn't even breath when I was running, and I had a hard time holding my stomach in.
I actually tore my hamstring playing in one of the games. I went to bat, hit the ball and when I ran to first base my hamstring just popped (tore).
[ Q ] So you had little structure in your life at this time?
Nothing was planned at that time, I was just living life. Being a bodybuilder, everything is always planned. Your meals are planned, your workouts are planned. Bodybuilding is a very organized and meticulous sport.
If you are not organized, you are not going to become a champion. That was the first time in my life where I wasn't organized. My business was organized, but personally I was not. I would get up and go from six o'clock in the morning to noon without eating. That is crazy for me, I don't ever do that.
[ Q ] Did you find this a welcome break from the rigidity of a bodybuilders life?
Absolutely. It was great because I needed that. I needed to get away from it. When I look back now, I don't think that I actually hated bodybuilding, I think I just needed a break from it, and I didn't know how to differentiate the two.
I didn't think bodybuilding consumed me as much as it really did. I am really happy now. I competed last year at the Nationals and from this time to now I have eaten decently.
I am not ripped, nor am I fat. I can see my abs and the small waist is there. I'm comfortable. If I go out for dinner, I go out for dinner. It is not a big deal. I am regimented again, but with a little leeway because I know what I can accomplish. It is more of a better off-season this time.
[ Q ] So you will present a bigger version of yourself next time around?
I am not really concerned about trying to get bigger, I am more concerned about not sucking down to 198 pounds. All I am concerned about is training, eating six meals a day, and doing whatever it takes as far as cardio goes.
I will get in shape at probably 210. I decided that whatever contest I choose to do I will add a couple of weeks to the preparation, so that way I can be in contest shape maybe two to three weeks out, then eat my way up again.
[ Q ] In terms of your physique, are there any areas you feel you need to improve on?
The feedback I have been getting from every contest is that my legs are flat and it pisses me off because my legs aren't flat a week before the show. But when I try to make the weight class my legs disappear.
[ Q ] Why is this do you think?
Well I think that just is my weakest body part. I think your weaker body parts go first. That is the only thing I can come up with. But I do have a sweep to my quads, they are deep and striated in the weeks before the contest. Right now they are that way and I'm not dieting. The only difference is they are just hairy right now.
[ Q ] Your calves were always one of your better body parts? Are they still good? Do you do anything special to train them?
In the past I never really trained them, but in the last year I have paid attention to training them. I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but I do at least four or five sets at least once or twice a week. My calves have always grown quick.
[ Q ] Is there anything else you are looking at bringing up for the next show?
Really, what I will be focusing on most is trying not to suck down to too small of a bodyweight. I will never be a massive guy, but I do want to present a quality physique.
[ Q ] What is your current approach to dieting?
I have found that I'm okay with carbs, until its contest time. In the past I could eat carbs, but now I look much better with a very low carb diet. I like high protein and moderate fat intake, with extremely low carbs.
[ Q ] What is your view on supplementation? Which ones do you use, and what ones work best in your opinion?
[ Q ] How would you describe your current approach to training?
I train for the pump, and am not concerned about how much weight I'm moving. I try to go heavy, but if I can't get blood in the muscle, that shows to me the weight is too heavy.
[ Q ] Moving on to your role as a personal trainer. What got you started in this business?
I found I had the capacity to teach people how to "feel" what they were training. Most people who are not addicted to the gym will give up if they don't know what they are doing. I have been able to keep client's over a long time, and some I have had for over six years.
[ Q ] How is your personal training business going?
This is going really well. I train a broad range of people, including one person with breast cancer and another with multiple sclerosis. My studio has been going for over four years now and we are now expanding into boot camp training. Right now we are getting ready for a mothers day make-over event.
[ Q ] How do you train someone with breast cancer? What is done differently?
I have to ensure she is not training as hard as a typical trainee. We have to make sure the set is stopped before a sweat is broken. I had to do a special course to qualify as a specialist trainer for cancer patients.
[ Q ] What in your view makes a good personal trainer?
You need the right personality. A trainer can have the greatest knowledge base in the world but if he or she is not liked by their clients they will not keep them. Being well trained in anatomy and physiology is important but attitude is even more so.
[ Q ] Is there anyone you would like to thank? Who has supported you over the years?
Lance Collertti was my first trainer back in 93 and 94 and without him to teach me what I know today, I'd be lost. He was awesome. I have never met anyone since then that helped me establish a the love for bodybuilding.
[ Q ] To wrap up Vinny, what message would you like to give your fans?
I would just like to say that I will bring my best possible package to the stage the next time I compete. I will be competing at over 200, and there will be definite improvements. I would like to thank my supporters for there help, and thanks to you David and bodybuilding.com for this interview.