25 years ago, a guy who trained in his garage and ate whole raw eggs would have remained unknown if they were not a top-level competitor. In years past, it was only top amateurs and professionals who would grace the pages of a muscle magazine.
The sport of bodybuilding, however, is changing, and so is our means of communication. Enter the Internet, which opened up a whole new world of publicity opportunities.
Not long ago, Bodybuilding.com came up with the "MySpace of the fitness world" and called it BodySpace. In its relatively short life, BodySpace has grown by leaps and bounds. Many of its members have received an extraordinary amount of publicity through the info they've posted about themselves.
One member in particular has caught the eye of a lot of people. He's known as Mountain Man, and from the first glance of the photos on his space, you'll know why.
Late last week I was asked to do an interview with Mountain Man. At the time of the interview, I only knew him as 'heyzeus909' and that he had been selected as one of our Wallpapers of the Week. I agreed to contact him for the article. I was anticipating a guy who works out and had done a couple of shows - the typical bodybuilder. I'd ask him the standard questions on what he eats and how he trains. It would be pretty typical. Wrong!
Bearded BodySpace Member.
Week #58 - 4/24/2007
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I decided to visit his space to see why he's so popular. Less than 10 seconds later I had my answer. So I'd suggest that you do the same. Go visit his space, read his profile, watch his egg-eating video and then come back to this article to find out a little bit more about who "Mountain Man" really is. Then go out to Trader Joe's, pick up some dark chocolate almonds and chow down. Enjoy!
[ Q ] How long have you been training and what got you started?
In my senior year in high school, I only had one class that I had to take. Instead of just showing up for that one class, I decided to go early to work out. I only weighed 136 pounds back then and I wanted to get bigger. After my morning workout, I'd have lunch, then my required class, and then I'd work out again.
I had never worked out before that, and I had no idea what it was I was doing. I was pretty much doing the same workout twice a day, 5 days a week. I had no idea that muscles required recovery time. I thought that "more" equated to "better".
My knowledge of nutrition at the time wasn't much better. It consisted of something someone once told me: "If you want to put on muscle, eat carbs." She was fat... I probably could have chosen a better candidate to be my nutrition guru.
Looking back on those days, I realize now that knowledge is the most powerful tool in a bodybuilders arsenal. I try to keep myself educated a little better these days.
[ Q ] At one time you mentioned you were nearly 60 pounds overweight. Obviously you've changed your eating habits because you are now incredibly ripped. Tell us about your diet. What's a typical day of eating for you?
Yeah, I stepped on the scale one day about 8 years or so ago and it registered 56 pounds heavier than what I weighed this morning. Considering that I have a good bit more muscle now than I did then, that's a lot of extra lard to be carrying around.
It seemed like I carried all of that extra weight in my gut too. I put on a lot of visceral fat, which is fat around the organs...as opposed to subcutaneous fat, which is fat under the skin. Visceral fat makes the gut hard, compared to subcutaneous fat which is traditional "flab".
I pretty much looked like I was 11 months pregnant with twins. I measured my bloated gut and it was 43 inches around. I had to waddle places... it sucked.
I lost the weight doing a no-carb diet. For 6 weeks, I never went over 20 grams of carbs in a day. I lost 11 pounds the first week, 7 pounds the next, 5 the week after that, and so on. At the end of the 6 weeks, I had lost 36 pounds. Of course, that wasn't all fat. A lot of it was water and food in the gut, but it showed me the power of carb manipulation to lose weight.
For my diet these days, if I'm eating for maintenance, my daily diet will consist of slow digesting carbs such as oats, honey, agave nectar, sweet potatoes, a hot brown rice cereal, quinoa, etc. I really like honey, I think its sweetness helps keep my cravings at bay. I'll eat 3 to 6 tablespoons of it a day, usually mixed with oats or some other grain.
For proteins I like moderately lean beef (not too lean though), whole eggs (I've never had an egg white without the yolk), protein powder, and maybe the occasional chicken breast. I've actually only had chicken about 5 times in the past few months... I like cows. I think that cow is more anabolic than chicken. Especially if it's grass fed beef.
For fats I like dark chocolate and dark chocolate covered almonds, and again with the whole eggs. I have a hard time getting enough fat in my diet, so the dark chocolate and eggs come in handy for that. I get at least 20 percent of my daily calories from fat, but sometimes I'll shoot for 30 percent.
I'd like to get about 10 percent of my calories in the form of saturated fat, but I usually come up a little short. Yes I said dark chocolate... it may be beneficial to bodybuilding. Here's a thread that I started about it:
And yes, I said whole eggs. I'll eat around 2 dozen whole eggs a week. Hell, I've had 8 of them today and I'm on a cut! (total cholesterol was 158 the last time I had it checked, by the way). Dark chocolate covered almonds and whole eggs are my favorite pre bed meal.
There are some things that I won't eat, however. I never eat fast digesting carbs. Even post workout when everyone else wants to bombard their system with fast digesting carbs, I'll usually just have some quick oats (not instant...but, "quick") and honey followed by my protein shake.
I believe that if you keep your insulin sensitivity high, by NOT ever eating fast digesting carbs, then you don't need fast digesting carbs post workout. A little insulin can get the job done if your sensitivity to it stays high. This means you're less likely to put on fat since you don't produce much of an insulin increase.
Also, I've only eaten one frozen meal in the past 5 months. I hardly ever eat anything that's prepackaged. I don't like to eat any preservatives or artificial anything... this includes artificial sweeteners. I think this has a lot to do with my lack of cravings also, and in return, keeping the body fat off.
I haven't had one gram of trans fat yet this year. I probably won't either.
I usually get my vegetables in the stews, soups and chili's that I make. I never put potatoes in my soups or stews, just carrots, bell peppers, cayenne, broccoli, garlic, and onions. I've only ever had one salad in my life, and it was the last.
I personally don't eat fruit, but I'm not opposed to it like some people. Some people think that fruit will somehow make them fat. No one ever got fat from eating too many apples.
[ Q ] Did your skin tighten up immediately when you lost the weight too?
Yes, fortunately. That might have to do with carrying more visceral fat than subcutaneous fat... I don't know. I was pretty surprised by that actually.
[ Q ] Do you eat differently when bulking than you do for cutting?
When I cut, I eat drastically different in terms of carbs. The carbs I take in for the first two days of a cut will pretty much be limited to the amount that's in the protein powder that I take, and that's it. I like to constantly shock the body... keep it guessing.
After the first two days of a cut, I'll gradually bring in the carbs, especially post workout (I'll start the cut on an off day). I'll continue to bring the carbs up, but how much, and how soon, depends on how I feel. If I'm feeling like I have energy, then I won't push the issue; I'll keep the carbs low.
If I'm starting to feel a little weak, I'll be sure to bring the carbs back in a little sooner and/or in greater amounts. I consider the "weak" feeling to be the body's way of letting you know that something is wrong. It's what it feels like when your body is chewing up your hard earned muscle.
There isn't much difference between my maintenance diet and my bulking diet, however. Little modifications in my maintenance way of eating can switch me into a bulking diet pretty quick. Such as, quick oats instead of oat bran, 2 tablespoons of honey instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons, 2/3 cup of oats/quinoa/brown rice cereal instead of 1/2 a cup, etc. I dance a fine line between maintaining and gaining, but it keeps me from putting on much, if any, body fat.
My drastic cutting ways coupled with my subtle bulking ways is probably why I stay so lean.
[ Q ] You train in your garage, right? Tell me about the equipment you have.
These days, I solely train in my garage. It's been that way for a couple of years now. I love it. It's my garage... I own it. It's just me, the weights, the dust and dirt, motor oil, some old car parts, miscellaneous tools and some blaring Pantera in there.
I seriously can't think of a better environment to be in to see just what the h*ll I'm made of. It's the perfect place for breaking things down and building them back up.
As far as equipment goes, I have two weight benches that complement each other pretty well. I use one for lat/tri pulldowns, and leg curls. The other bench is used for squats, bench, leg lifts, preacher curls, and the bench itself is detachable so I can use it for seated curls, incline dumbbell press, shoulder presses, etc.
Between the two benches, I have a lot of my bases covered.
In addition to the two benches, I have a pair of foldable saw horses that I use to do dips on. Also, I have an "I" beam that runs across the ceiling of the garage that I have a pair of "C" clamps attached to. I run a straight bar through the "C" clamps and I do my pullups, chin-ups, and hanging leg raises off of the bar.
Throw in the miscellaneous dumbbells, an EZ curl bar, a straight bar, and a little ingenuity, and I can find a replacement exercise for just about anything that I'd do in a commercial gym. It's not always as convenient or preferable, maybe, but it'll get the job done.
[ Q ] Have you trained at a commercial gym?
Yeah, the last time was about 15 years ago, or so. I think that most gyms are interested in getting you to sign a long-term contract and then they hope you never show up again. If you can find a gym that lets you go month to month, I can almost guarantee you that you'll get a better place to workout in. They have to earn your business on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, those seem to be few and far between.
I did, however, join a community center a couple of years ago that allowed me to join month to month. It didn't go over too well though. I was minding my own business doing dips and this lady that worked there came up next to me and just stood there staring at me. I stopped midway through and stared back at her. I finally said," What?"
She said, "You can't come in here and workout in jeans."
I said, "Why not? I'm not going to be in here long enough to break a sweat. I really don't have time to change."
She thought for a second and said, "Well, it's a safety violation." Which was bullsh!t, but really, I didn't care. I left without incident and never went back.
It wasn't my kind of place anyway. It was too sterile of an environment to workout in. I hate the smell of the cleaner they use, the stuff on the TV, the sh!t music, and the sound of the cardio machines, people standing around talking... If I'm working out in a public place, I take the "get in, get out" philosophy. I keep my eyes down, I don't make eye contact with people. I'm not there to talk or to make friends, or to hang out in the locker room.
I just don't belong in most of those places.
[ Q ] Tell us about your training. How frequently do you train?
- Monday: Chest, light shoulders (I have to warm up my shoulders for bench anyway)
- Tuesday: Arms or back
- Wednesday: Back or arms (whatever body part I didn't do the week before)
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Usually heavy chest and shoulders, and anything else that I feel I didn't hit hard enough in the last workout.
- Saturday: Legs (usually goes a little over 40 minutes, but no more than an hour)
- Sunday: Rest
I train 5 days a week, usually no more than 40 minutes at a time.
Abs, traps, and calves get trained 2 to 3 times throughout the week.
No cardio. Ever.
I get a lot of questions about my ab work. I have a $5 abwheel that I got from Wal Mart. I do hanging leg raises, then superset it with the abwheel. Sometimes I'll throw in some bicycle kicks too. I probably spend 20 to 25 minutes a week on my abs. I saw ChickenTuna leave a comment for someone that said something to the effect that abs come from diet. I couldn't agree more.
Multi-joint exercises are the foundation for my workouts. Those exercises are first in the lineup. Bench starts off my chest workout, chin-ups (supinated palms) start off my arm workouts, and pullups (pronated palms) start off my back workouts. From there I'll move to the exercises that isolate individual muscles.
I believe that this helps the muscles to grow proportionately. I've seen a lot of guys that look goofy because they only work their muscles in isolation and ignore the multi joint exercises.
[ Q ] Do you do volume training or shorter high-intensity workouts? What is your typical number of sets per body part? High reps or low reps?
I train each body part with 3 to 4 exercises, no less than 3 sets - but no more than 4 sets, and I'll usually keep the reps between 8 to 12. Also, I sometimes like to hit the last exercise of a body part with one or two higher rep exercises at the end of a workout (pushups to failure at the end of a chest workout, overhead dumbbell presses for tri's, etc).
Although the number of exercises/sets/reps formula doesn't change much, the exercises I do, do change every week. I'll change the exercises up every week if I think I need to, to keep the muscles from adapting. Even if it's just doing the same exercises I did the week before, I'll at least change the order that I do them. Just like with nutrition, I like to keep the body guessing.
If I'm starting to hit a strength plateau, I'll bump up the weight and keep the reps at 6 or lower. If I do that, I'll make sure to only work that body part once a week.
[ Q ] Any unique exercises?
I'll do my pushups on my knuckles on the garage floor, but I'm probably not going to win any awards for originality with that. I like to do single leg, stiff-leg deadlifts occasionally too. After squats, I like to immediately do jumps to failure. I'll literally jump until I can't jump any more. That's something you'd never see me do in a commercial gym.
[ Q ] Since you train alone - which rules out forced reps and other advanced techniques - what do you do to step up the intensity?
If I'm not dropping the weight as the number of sets progresses, then I'll at least do a drop set on the last set. Remember, I'm doing these workouts in about 40 minutes, so that doesn't leave a lot of recovery time in between sets, so I'm usually not able to fully recover... which is cool with me, I'll recover between workouts, not between sets.
Usually on the last set of whatever last exercise I'm on for that body part, I'll do a drop set. I'll just immediately lighten up the weight and continue pumping out a few more reps. Then lighten the weight some more and repeat.
I'll also use the rest-pause technique. I'll set the weight down once I can't complete another rep... wait a couple of seconds and do few more reps. Repeat.
I'm not beyond using poor form to squeeze out the last rep, either.
I'll also try to incorporate negatives whenever I can.
Not all of these techniques are applicable on every exercise, but between them all I can usually push it beyond simply going to failure, which I think is important for muscle growth.
[ Q ] Negatives? Which exercises? How do you do negative reps by yourself?
When I do pullups, chin-ups, and neutral grip pullups, I have to raise my feet up to keep them from touching the floor. Once I can't complete another rep, I simply bring my feet down and push myself back up from the floor. I'll really spring myself up and then just do the eccentric part of the exercise.
I can do negatives on preacher curls too. The apparatus that I do my preacher curls on is the same apparatus that I do leg lifts on. Once I can't complete another curl, I simply do a leg lift to get me through the concentric part of the exercise. Those are things I don't think I could do in a commercial gym. Score one for my garage.
Also, most of the time when you're doing any unilateral training (using one arm for the set, then switching to the other arm) you can use your free hand to get you through the concentric portion of the rep.
[ Q ] You've become one of our most popular BodySpace members. How did you find out about it and what made you join?
I'm not sure if the word is "popular" or "infamous", actually. I guess I tend to be a little opinionated on things on the forum. But it's hard not to be when you have a passion for something and you believe in it.
People that know me from my posts on the forum know that I will usually speak my mind. That rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but it's just who I am, I guess. I think most people respect it though... they know that I'm not going to be giving them a line of sh!t that's coated in sugar.
As far as how I found out about BodySpace, I had already ordered some things from Bodybuilding.com before I even knew anything about it. I was trying to do some research about some supplements when I came across a lot of information that was in the BodySpace forums. That was when I decided to join up.
|BODYSPACE: STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
To me, BodySpace is to the exercise/bodybuilding/nutrition world as MySpace is to the music world. Do a search on nearly any health or exercise topic and Bodybuilding.com is likely to be at the top of the list of returns. There are a ton of people here that are willing to help. It helps to keep me going. I love hearing about different ideas, and even sharing any knowledge or insight I may have.
I've met a lot of good people on here.
[ Q ] I understand that there is a Mountain Man fan club for Mountain Man. Can you tell us about that?
Yeah, the guys in the Miscellaneous section of the forum dubbed me "Mountain Man", obviously because of the look I have. I think that they like that I'm not like a lot of the pretty boys that you see in the magazines.
There are fan clubs for different things in that forum. There's a fan club for Spartans, and Star Wars characters... and now I have one too. The difference is, is that the guys that follow me aren't following some make believe character that only exists on a screen. I'm an actual living, breathing, whole-egg-eating dude.
They actually inspire me quite a bit. It's like I don't want to let them down or anything. We're getting small victories against the pretty boys all the time too. Getting Wallpaper of the Week #58 was a victory. H*ll, this interview is a victory.
- I am Mountain Man...ask me anything (serious). - Started By heyzeus909
- *Official 100 Mountain Men Thread*- Started By warbird00
- The Gospel Of Mountain Man. - Started By Julius-Set
- Mountain Man Eating A Whole Egg. - Started By Beansent
The Miscellaneous section here is a cross section of the people that the supplement companies are marketing to. They're mostly 16- to 20-something males with some disposable income for supplements. That section can make you or break you here.
They've accepted me, and they've gone so far as to having taken a liking to me. At some point, those people responsible for the advertising that these guys see are going to have to take notice. The Miscellaneous section here is the tail that wags the dog, and they are tired of the way they've been marketed to... all you have to do is go there and see it for yourself.
Mountain Man Forum Threads:
Hopefully, the reign of the Pretty Boy is on a downward slope. It would be nice if I could buy a fitness magazine and not have to rip out all of the ads.
No offense to any pretty boys out there, of course.
[ Q ] Alright, I'm going to cut to the chase. I'm sure our readers have been wondering about this since they first saw your photos. What's with the full-length beard? Thin little goatees seem to be all the rage and it seems like a majority of the male population has one. You've obviously been growing your beard for a while. So, Mountain Man, please tell us the story behind the beard.
I first started growing a full length beard when I was working for the Forest Service fighting fires in New Mexico during the 2002 fire season (yes, I REALLY was a Mountain Man). For the entire 6 months that I did that, I never shaved once.
Once I got back from doing that, I went down to a goatee. I didn't like it to say the least.
Never again, bro. This beard is here to stay.
[ Q ] Back to the firefighter days... I have a friend who's a firefighter for LA County. He stays really busy during the brush-fire season. He finds it difficult to get workouts in then. Were you able to get workouts in at all? Did you need to? And the New Mexico heat must have been unbearable at times.
We did a lot of hiking for our physical training. I didn't mind the hiking at all. Since we hiked in our full gear and we'd each have a 35-pound pack strapped to our back while going up some pretty steep inclines, it required equal parts strength and cardiovascular endurance.
It was always interesting to see what would fail first: The legs or the lungs. That, to me, is a lot better than running on a treadmill or sitting on a stationary bike. It was practical too; you'd never know when your hiking ability could make the difference in life or death on any particular fire. That's the kind of a kick in the @ss that makes you want to get better at it for sure.
We did actually have some free weights and a bench that one of the guys on the crew brought in about half way through the season. Our Captain was kind of old school though. He didn't really like us working out too much.
He was afraid that we would just wear ourselves out by lifting weights and then we'd be in trouble if we got a fire. I tried to convince him that we would only get stronger if we worked out, but it fell on deaf ears.
[ Q ] Are you still a firefighter?
No, that was a one time experience.
[ Q ] Back to your diet... Okay, I watched the egg-eating video. Do you always eat eggs raw?
No, I actually prefer them over easy. They're actually not too bad raw though. I'm not too worried about salmonella or anything.
That egg video was just my way of saying that it really is ok to eat whole eggs. I get a little aggravated when I read about people wasting the yolks. Remember, if you're not eating the shell, you're not eating the WHOLE egg.
|How To Eat A Whole Egg.
[ Q ] Your diet reminds me somewhat of the Vince Gironda principles. Ever read up on his philosophies?
No, I haven't heard of him, but I'll be sure to check him out. Like most people, I'm mostly interested in reading anything that validates what I already believe.
[ Q ] So what's a typical day like for you?
The only difference between me and most people is that I have smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day, and I workout in the evening. Since I hardly ever eat restaurant food, I probably grocery shop more than the average person. It seems as though I'm always running out of something.
[ Q ] Does bodybuilding affect your social life?
Yes, definitely... it enhances it. I haven't had any alcohol since January, and I go out 2 or 3 times a week. I enjoy going to see bands play and hanging out with friends. I'll even go out and play an open mic myself every now and then. Sobriety certainly doesn't interfere with that.
I've read on here where people will just sit at home instead of going out and having a good time. I think a lot of that has to do with peer pressure.
People don't want to go out and have to answer questions from their friends about why they're not drinking. Especially if they're just getting into bodybuilding or just being generally healthier. After a while though, your friends will not only accept you not drinking, they'll expect you to not drink. It just becomes second nature. Especially once they start seeing positive changes in your physique.
I get a lot of support from my friends and family now that they've seen the effects that being healthier and working out has had on me. In a way, it's almost like they eat better and workout vicariously through me.
[ Q ] Do you have any aspirations of bodybuilding competitions? You could do really well in the natural federations.
Thank you, that's cool of you to say. If there was money in it, then yeah, I'd at least consider it. I'm not sure if it's my thing though.
I can pretty much compete with myself. Every single week I enter into a contest against last week's progress picture.
[ Q ] So it sounds like you're a lifetime natural?
Always. I'll even resist taking an over the counter medicine unless I absolutely have to take it. H*ll, I won't even eat something that I know has an artificial sweetener in it if I can help it. I'm in this for the long haul. No steroids or prohormones for me.
Besides, if God would have wanted me to have smaller testicles, he would have made them that way to begin with.
[ Q ] Do you get a lot of people asking if you take steroids?
Someone actually posted a poll question about that not too long ago. The majority of the voters said that they thought that I did, in fact, do steroids.
[ Q ] Does that bother you or do you consider it a compliment?
I first see it as people showing me their ignorance of who I am. Then I get past that and try to take it as a compliment. It's a little hard though because with the exception of very, very few bodybuilders, I see the steroid look to be unappealing to me. The guys that take steroids are trying to impress other guys... that's not what I do.
[ Q ] Where do you see Mountain Man in five years?
I'm just starting to realize the options that the BodySpace exposure is opening up for me. Nearly every day something else to consider comes along. I'm not really sure what path I'm going to go down right now.
I wouldn't mind getting into product development with the right supplement company. Or being an ambassador for the sport in some way. At this very moment, however, I'm looking mostly for more exposure. I wouldn't mind pursuing the possibility of getting into some (for lack of a better term) modeling. I'm also not opposed to getting into other areas that are non-bodybuilding related. I'm open to anything at this point.
[ Q ] Any words of advice for people just starting out in our sport?
Make up your mind that this is what you want to do. Not just from the physique standpoint, but from the health standpoint too. Set reasonable goals, stay focused, be patient, and most importantly, educate yourself. The rest will take care of itself.
[ Q ] Thanks for your time, Mountain Man. Please keep posting photos on your space. We're all eager to see the progress you'll continue making.
Thank you. I just want to say thank you to all my friends and family for their support... especially to my wife, and to my mother, for their unfailing support in every crazy thing I do.
Check Out Mountain Man's Band Here.
|What You Want.