Hitting The Big Time:
Rising Champ Wendell Floyd Challenges The IFBB Elite
A passionate elite bodybuilding competitor since 1997 - the year of his first major event, the NPC Junior National's, where he placed 13th as a light heavyweight - Wendell Floyd has, in recent years, made some of his best progress, gains he hopes will boost him higher in the pro rankings come February 19 when the dust settles at the first ever Flex Pro Bodybuilding Championships.
With an excellently balanced physique reminiscent of a younger and lighter Dexter Jackson, and with the kind of symmetry and shape that saw him compare well with the IFBB's best 202 pound bodybuilders at his first pro show - the 2010 Europa Battle of Champions where he placed a respectable 5th in this division - the 2009 Team Universe light heavyweight champ and overall winner is steadily making the kinds of gains that are rewarded at the professional level.
With a new style of training and improvements to his nutritional and supplemental regimen that have enabled him to pack on15 pound of solid mass and achieve the best conditioning he has ever shown two weeks out from any of his contests, Floyd is ready to mix it up with the best bodybuilders on the planet.
He has said that he hopes to crack the top ten at his second pro event and based on his current form he should have no problem doing this; perhaps he will surprise a few naysayers and break through to the top six, a standing that will go a long way toward helping to secure another of his long-term goals: to qualify for the Mr. Olympia.
In the following interview Wendell, 39, explains how he has made his amazing progress and what his major motivation is for extending his potential as a professional athlete.
[ David Robson ] Hi Wendell. How is your training for the Flex Pro going?
[ Wendell Floyd ] Training is going pretty good; I'm doing something totally different now. I now have somebody in my corner helping me out, a guy called John Cook. I have known him for a while and have seen him at a lot of the local shows. We talked and his theories made sense to me so this is the first time in my bodybuilding career that I have gotten someone to help me prepare.
[ DR ] When did you begin working with John?
[ WF ] In November, that is when my prep [for the 2011 Flex Pro] started. We have been together ever since.
[ DR ] That would have been around the time of your inclusion in the 2010 Europa Battle of Champions.
[ WF ] Yes it was, I took a little time off following the Europa then began my prep in November for this Flex show.
[ DR ] What improvements have you made to your physique since your alliance with John Cook?
[ WF ] I think most of the improvements I have made, and which a lot of people will see soon, is that I have put on some size and I think my conditioning is a lot better.
[ DR ] Have you brought any body parts up since last year?
[ WF ] Yes I have. I think my upper body has come up quite a bit. That was one of the things I definitely needed to work on, to bring it in line with my legs. I think as I get older my body is finally trying to respond and fill out right.
[ DR ] How old are you Wendell?
[ WF ] I'm 39, and will be 40 in April. So I'm right there at my best years I would think.
[ DR ] We have seen with men like Ronnie Coleman and Vince Taylor that age is certainly no barrier to pro bodybuilding success. Do you feel that you can continue to improve into your 40s and beyond?
[ WF ] Oh God yes, I honestly think that now I'm only just starting to tap into the potential that my body has. For years I've trained naturally and now it is a whole different ball game obviously so my body has come a long way. It's amazing. I think I now look better than I ever have. I just don't have as much hair [laughs].
[ DR ] This year's Flex Pro will play host to several big name bodybuilders; most notably Dexter Jackson and Dennis Wolf. Do you feel you will present well alongside these established pro competitors?
[ WF ] I have thought about that and I think it is kind of hard to say, but I think what I'll get from it is valuable feedback. It will let me know what I have to do to get better, to be able to step onstage with these guys and compete with these guys. It will let me get some call outs with them. I think coming from the 202 and stepping into the open class; that is quite a big jump.
A lot of guys with my type of physique, you are just kind of in the middle: you are not really a small guy and you are not really a big guy. I know some of the top pros who are in the 202: they will stay there and continue to drop weight to maintain their inclusion in this class.
I feel that I will be better if I just stepped up and went in there with the open guys. I think that this way I won't limit my potential.
[ DR ] And as far as stepping up to the open class is concerned, you will need to show the mass with as well as the class you already have to compete with the IFBB heavy hitters. What kind of look are you hoping to present onstage at the 2011 Flex Pro Bodybuilding Championships?
[ WF ] I am looking to bring a physique that I think will be fuller, better-balanced and symmetrical. That's what I going to go with and I think those are my best attributes, so I will stick with that.
[ DR ] A larger version of what you presented last year perhaps?
[ WF ] Yes, exactly, exactly.
[ DR ] You do already have good symmetry and a nice flow to your physique. You are looking to build on these strengths?
[ WF ] Exactly, yes. That is what I will aim for.
[ DR ] How would you describe your training style?
[ WF ] John and I do what we call a hybrid style of training that is designed in line with the way that my body type responds and the way my muscles respond. We switch it up a lot. We might do high volume, semi heavy, or we might go real light and or increase the repetitions. Sometimes we will go real heavy for five days, just switching it up.
In the past I spent a lot of time training really heavy, but I will get to the point where, yeah I can tell that I worked out but my body would, over time, get used to this approach. So now I can break it down to where I am doing lighter weight for higher repetitions for five days. So we put together a routine which creates change to where my body continues to adapt to the training, which means more gains.
[ DR ] Quite a radical departure to what you are used to doing?
[ WF ] Yes it is, it's one of those things where I trust all of his theories and I see what it has done to my physique compared to last year.
[ DR ] Can you give me a rundown of your current training split?
[ WF ] Usually what I do is begin on Monday and that is the day that we will do chest and front and mid shoulders [the frontal and medial heads of the deltoid complex], and we will add triceps in there. Then on Wednesday we will train back and rear deltoids and we might also do an extra set for quads just to maintain the separation there.
Friday is when we will often do all legs. Here I might add a little bit in - maybe some chest or whatever else I feel needs work. That is what we have been doing for the past six weeks.
[ DR ] How have you structured your cardio this year? Has it changed compared to previous seasons?
[ WF ] This year has been different to where I have done six days a week of cardio. Usually around 50 minutes to an hour in the morning and then the days that I train - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - I do an additional 30 minute session in the afternoon after I am done working out.
Beforehand what I did, believe it or not - and a lot of people freak out when they hear this - is run outside for five miles at a time, four to five days a week. You are talking about 20 to 25 miles a week outside running. But that's what I had to do to make [the] 202 [pound weight class].
I would come in with a nice condition but because I had wasted so much muscle trying to get down there I could never really show the true potential of my physique.
[ DR ] So the cardio you are doing now is both lower impact and you are doing less of it.
[ WF ] Exactly, I will just stay in the fat burning zone [around 150 BPM for a 220 pound bodybuilder] and that's pretty much it. And it is a lot better.
Wendell Floyd's Flex Pro Training Plan
100 reps per exercise - sets are divided by 60-second rests
- Chest Bench Press: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Incline Hammer: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Cable Fly: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Hammer Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Machine Laterals: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Shrugs: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Seated Dips: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Cable EZ Pressdown: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Triceps Kickbacks: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Reverse Pulldown: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Hammer Pulldown: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Seated Cable Row: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Bent Over Rear Deltoid: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Barbell Curl: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Curl: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Cable Hammer Curl: 5 sets of 20 reps
- Standing Calves: 5 sets of 20 reps
Repeat Monday's workout with alternative exercises and with the addition of leg extensions.
Repeat Wednesday's workout with alternative exercises and with the addition of two hamstrings exercises.
Remember: only 60 seconds rest between sets
[ DR ] So how much mass have you added since last year?
[ WF ] Well, for me this year was the heaviest I have got. I actually weighed about 250 in the off-season so now I have brought this weight down and it is looking very good. It's kind of hard to say where I think I'm going to land; I'll just let it fall where it may, but I think it will be in the high teens [between 215 and 220 pounds].
[ DR ] A good 15 pound improvement over last year, assuming it is all quality mass.
[ WF ] Oh year, for sure.
[ DR ] But definitely not 250 onstage, right?
[ WF ] No, not 250 [laughs]. I'm looking probably anywhere from 215 to 220.
[ DR ] How have you addressed pre contest nutrition in preparation for the 2010 Flex Pro? Have made any changes for the 2011 pro season?
[ WF ] I have. As far as my pre contest prep I will still stay with the same high protein, high fat. But this year I added in a few more carbohydrates compared to what I usually eat. Normally I would take in around 75 to 100 grams per days when coming down for a show. But this year I took in about 120 to 160.
With the extra carbohydrates in there I can definitely tell that my physique has stayed a little fuller during the weekend. Usually I will do a kind of super carb load on the weekend; what usually happened then is that my metabolism speeds up and I can continue to burn even more fat.
[ DR ] Are your "super carb load" periods euphemistic for cheat days?
[ WF ] No, but I try to get one, maybe two cheat meals in on the weekend. The reason why I do is for the simple fact that I diet for 20 weeks, and this allows me to have those days to where I can add in those cheat meals here and there. I would rather just diet longer especially given I have a family. It helps to get my through the holidays; I can still sit down and have that Christmas dinner with them, and it [the diet] does not kill me that bad [laughs].
[ DR ] How do you address supplementation?
[ WF ] I am sponsored by MHP [Maximum Human Performance] so I have been taking their supplement line and I can tell you that I have really noticed the difference in my physique. Their Probolic-SR and the Cyclin-GF and their BCAA's just add so much to my training regimen. A couple of their top products - Dark Matter and Dark Rage - are just great. I had never taken a post-workout product before, but now I really see the difference.
[ DR ] Do you take glutamine and creatine along with your current products?
[ WF ] Yes, all from MHP. The Dark Matter has creatine in it. As I get closer to the show I have to cut those out. And the glutamine is awesome too.
[ DR ] How do you address post-training nutrition, other than your inclusion of Dark Matter? What do you do following your workouts to commence the re-building process?
[ WF ] As I say I'll take my Dark Matter and then when I get home I'll add in some L-glutamine. Then at night before I go to sleep I will add in some Cyclin-GF by MHP. This has ZMA in it and it helps the muscles to restore, and it raises your IGF-1 and testosterone levels.
Wendell Floyd's Flex Pro Nutrition Plan
- 1 cup of rice 'n shine
- 12 egg whites
- Supplements: MHP Products DREN and Activite 4 tablets
- 8-10 oz of chicken
- 1 cup of veggies
- 1/4 cup of brown rice
- 1 tbsp MCT Oil
- Supplements: MHP BCAA 3300
- MHP Dark Rage
- Training session
- MHP Dark Matter post-workout
- Salmon (8-12 oz)
- 1 cup of veggies
- 1 tbls of MCT oil
- Steak or fish (8-10 oz)
- 1 cup of veggies
- 1 tbsp of MCT oil
- MHP Probolic-SR 12-hour protein shake (2 scoops)
[ DR ] With your previous schedule of five mile running sessions and your 20 week diets you seem to be pushing yourself hard. Certainly you are disciplined.
[ WF ] Yes, it is a dream of mine and I love the sport - I started in '96 - and it has done so much for me mentally, and obviously physically. But it is that burning passion. Once you see your body in that type of shape and you have made changes for the rest of your life and will always chase your goals then you know that you are a true bodybuilder at heart.
[ DR ] From the impression you give I suppose getting fired up for training sessions is no problem for you.
[ WF ] No, not at all; my day starts at 3.00am - while most people are still sleeping - and I'm on the treadmill. Once I'm done with my cardio I'll come back home and spend time with my son and get him ready. I will also get ready for work - I own a personal training studio. He motivates me too [Wendell's son] because every time I go into the gym it is for such a different purpose now that I have a family.
This is another opportunity for me to provide for my family. So you just never know how it is going to turn out. It is just another opportunity and looking at him provides me with the extra motivation that I need. It is just an awesome thing.
[ DR ] How much sleep do you get?
[ WF ] I get to bed about 8.30pm so on a week night I will get anywhere from six to seven hours sleep and that's usually pretty good for me. If I get any more it kind of makes me feel groggy the next day. My life is pretty regimented, trying to run a business and do this [bodybuilding] too. There is not much time to do anything else after that [laughs].
[ DR ] Is being in a gym environment for much of your working day conducive for helping you to build your physique?
[ WF ] Yes it is. I train a lot of corporate clients, and this keeps me motivated. Obviously what I'm trying to do is much higher than what they are trying to accomplish though.
[ DR ] Do you have any predictions in terms of what placement you might be awarded at the Flex Pro come February 19?
[ WF ] No I don't really, but I am hoping to land somewhere in the top ten. I don't know exactly how many guys are going to be there, but we will see. Somewhere not too far outside of the top five, I hope. But if it doesn't happen that way it will be a great learning experience for me.
I'm just starting out and you have to start somewhere. You look at a lot of these guys and who are at the top of the sport and they took some whippings too. It's all part of the game, and you have to pay your dues. And I'm paying my dues.
[ DR ] But you do someday hope to qualify for the Olympia, to be amongst the sport's best at the highest level?
[ WF ] That's my next goal and hopefully I get fortunate enough this year to pull that off; that would just be a blessing to me, to have the opportunity to be onstage with the best in the world.
[ DR ] What message would you like to give your fans that will be coming to watch you compete at your best two weeks from now?
[ WF ] I would just like to thank my fans for all of their support and just bear with me; I'm trying to get better. Every show you see me I want to be better than the last show. Just continue to support the sport so guys like me can continue to do what we love with bodybuilding. And last but not least, just tell them God bless, man. Without him you can't make it; he needs to be a part of everything.