Will Victor Martinez Fulfill His Potential At The Arnold Classic?
The "best-ever" Victor Martinez is how the 2007 Arnold Classic champion describes the look he will present at the 2011 version of this event. One week out from the annual Arnold Classic open men's bodybuilding showdown and Martinez, with his new training team and renewed sense of optimism, is expecting no less than a convincing victory at this most prestigious of contests.
The man who many—including the legendary Ronnie Coleman—feel has the goods to win any professional bodybuilding event on offer is hoping to resume his winning ways after placing eighth at his last contest, the 2010 Mr. Olympia.
That was a massive fall from grace for one who three years earlier had all but won this event, controversially placing second to an off-form Jay Cutler. Martinez, champion that he is, didn't dwell on the outcome. Rather, he hired a new trainer—one of the best in Oscar Ardon—and promptly sunk all of his energies into redeeming himself at the 2011 Arnold Classic. So far he appears on course to fulfilling this objective.
Beginning his professional career in 2001 with an eighth place finish at the IFBB Night of Champions, Martinez had the shape for greatness. But he lacked the mass needed to beat the crop of monsters dominating the sport back then. It didn't take too long for Martinez to gain the size needed to elevate his game. In 2003 he walked away winner of the Night of Champions and, in doing so, firmly established himself as a genuine threat within the pro ranks.
With his true breakthrough year coming in 2007—with his Arnold Classic win and runner up Mr. Olympia placement—Martinez finally capitalized on his vast potential to become the next likely candidate to win bodybuilding's biggest title. From 2008 to 2011 the champ had mixed success. Still possessing the shape and size needed to beat anyone he nevertheless could not recapture his previous form (undergoing knee surgery in 2008 to correct an acute patellar tendon rupture didn't help).
Today Martinez says he is 100 percent back to his best which, considering his renowned proportionality and size coupled with the ultra lean conditioning he is capable of achieving, means trouble for his fellow 2011 Arnold Classic contenders.
With a new approach to training, a generous supply of Maximum Human Performance (MHP) supplements, and a winning mindset, there appears to be little that can stop him from claiming one of the biggest victories of his pro career. In the following interview, Martinez discusses what it takes to be a champion and why 2011 will be his year to shine.
We are now exactly one week out from the 2011 Arnold Classic. How is your preparation for this event going, Victor?
Victor Martinez: It's been going great and I'm ready. Right now we are making couple of last-minute changes, mentally and physically.
What changes are you making at this stage?
A: Nothing that will make a big difference. Everything has already been done. Now I'm just doing a lot of posing, and more posing. I'm training a little bit harder while staying in shape. I am continuing to train heavy while maintaining my current level of conditioning. I'll continue to train this way until a couple of days out from the contest.
You won the Arnold Classic in 2007. Can you win it again?
A: I can and I will, and you will see it. A lot of people will see it; it will definitely be something to write about because, as you know, I placed eighth at the  Olympia so it [the Arnold Classic outcome] will be a great way for me to improve on the Olympia result. It will be great.
The competition has improved since you won the Arnold title in 2007? Although you are still considered one of the best pro bodybuilders competing today, how do you think you will compare to the new champions coming through the ranks?
A: Competition is always going to be competition, but as they improve, I too will improve. This gives me the confidence to say that I will definitely do well at the  Arnold Classic.
Who do you see as being your toughest competition at next week's Arnold?
A: Always Branch [Warren]; I always look at Branch as being the toughest. But you have to remember that we have been against one another before. So I feel Branch will do well. But you can never overlook any of the other competitors because there are always sleepers who come out of nowhere, as you will have seen when Dexter Jackson placed below Evan Centopani at the Flex Pro.
So you always have to keep your eyes open for anybody who can sneak up on you. That goes for the newer guys along with the veterans who have always been there.
With his recent run of success, many are picking Branch Warren as one favorite to win the 2011 Arnold Classic. What do you think might give Branch an edge going into this year's Arnold?
A: He always brings the size and the conditioning. If your conditioning is slightly off, you could get beaten by Branch.
You still cannot rule out Dexter Jackson who will want to redeem his loss at the recent Flex Pro.
A: Yes, Dexter Jackson too, you never know. He has two more weeks since that last show to really get his conditioning spot on. So he is always someone you really have to watch out for. Again, in bodybuilding you can never take anything for granted; you have to watch out for everyone.
Are there any other competitors that you feel could be potential threats going into next week's Arnold Classic?
A: None at all [laughter].
Just Victor Martinez?
What are your feelings on Evan Centopani as a fellow Arnold competitor? He has proven himself as someone not to be taken lightly.
A: He looks great, but I haven't been in any of the shows he has won [laughter].
Standing alongside Victor Martinez is going to be an entirely different proposition for Evan, right?
You yourself are known primarily for your size and shape. Do you think your great shape will give you an advantage going into the 2011 Arnold Classic?
A: Well, I have always had the shape. The thing that is going be the key to me winning it [the 2011 Arnold Classic] is my conditioning. My shape has always been good enough and is the obvious advantage I have, but it has never been enough to take the whole thing. Conditioning, as I have seen in many shows, along with size and quality are the main factors [in winning a show].
Have you made any changes to your training since this time last year?
A: Yes, I have; I have been training with Oscar Ardon and we have definitely been working hard every week. As far as changes, we went back to the basics. It is the hunger that he instills; this is the same hunger that I have had for many years so we work well together. We also changed my dietitian.
Victor Martinez's 2011 Arnold Classic Training Schedule
- Day One: Deltoids
- Day Two: Quads And Hamstrings
- Day Three: Cardio (45 minutes on the stepmill) Morning and night
- Day Four: Back
- Day Five: Chest
- Day Six: Arms, Abs, And Calves
- Day Seven: Cardio (45 minutes on the step mill) Morning and night
What approach does your trainer Oscar take to get you fired up for your training sessions?
A: Getting fired up has never been an issue for me [laughter]. This is something I could do in my sleep. I have always trained very hard. But yes, now I am training harder than ever, harder than I have at any other time in my life, only because of my last placing at the Mr. Olympia [eighth]. I want to reconcile this placing on that [Arnold] stage.
To what do you attribute finishing eighth?
A: I worked with another dietitian and we didn't get to know my body too well and basically nothing worked out. Everything worked against us, not for us. So the best thing I could have done is to make a change and that has been to work with my new team.
So your 2010 Olympia placement was due in large part to problems with your nutrition?
A: There were a lot of aspects to it. There was the mental aspect: not leaving New York [to prepare] and being close to home. Between me and my trainer that is something very important that always helps and makes a big difference.
What specific changes have you made to your training for the 2011 Arnold Classic?
A: I have gone with higher reps and have stayed heavy the whole time. We aim for about 15 to 20 reps per set. Other than this we have just focused on increasing the training intensity. The biggest and most effective change has been changing my trainer and dietitian.
It appears that placing your trust in Oscar has proven the right choice for you.
A: It has, and it has worked out great and everyone will see it at the 2011 Arnold Classic.
What will be your major strengths when you hit the Arnold stage next weekend?
A: Conditioning and of course, as you mentioned before, my shape [laughter].
It is no secret that you are one of the best proportioned pros competing today. But do you think the judges nowadays tend to favor mass and conditioning at the expense of proportion and symmetry?
A: Mass is definitely not going to be the key to winning this show [the 2011 Arnold Classic]. And I will tell you time and time again: Mass will not be the winner at this show. Shape and conditioning will be the look to beat.
Have you worked hard on any specific areas of your physique in preparation for this year's Arnold?
A: No, just overall size; I don't focus on particular body parts because I have never lagged behind on any body part.
Have you made any changes to your nutrition since this time last year?
A: It's all in the dieting [laughing]. I was basically eating more this time around and doing more cardio.
Victor Martinez's 2011 Arnold Classic Nutrition Schedule
- Meal One: 13 egg whites, 2 yolks, 2 cups oatmeal
- Meal Two: 1 pound of steak, 1 cup veggies
- Meal Three: 1 pound of turkey, 1 cup rice
- Meal Four: 1 pound of tilapia, 1 cup rice
- Meal Five: 1 pound of turkey, 1 cup veggies
- Meal Six: 1 pound of tilapia
Note: Victor also consumes 2 to 3 gallons of water throughout the day.
How long do you typically diet for a competition?
A: Usually 12 weeks. I started dieting for the Arnold right after Thanksgiving.
I understand you use MHP nutritional products exclusively. Which MHP products do you currently use to get in shape and when do you use them?
A: To get in shape I use A-Bomb, L-Glutamine three times a day, T-Bomb, which I use all the way up until a week out from the show, I use DREN before cardio [as a fat burner], Dark Rage, which is especially good on those days when I am too tired. This product definitely gets me off the floor.
MHP has been instrumental in my success over the years, and their products are a major part of my Arnold Classic preparation. I drink DREN before cardio [as a fat burner], IsoFast 50 protein first thing in the morning to refuel my muscles quickly to start the day. I will also down a Dark Rage shake pre-workout with NO-Bomb for a tremendous pump and incredible strength, and then drink Dark Matter immediately after every training session to refuel my glycogen stores and pump up my muscles.
About an hour before bedtime, I drink a Probolic-SR protein shake to keep my body anabolic all night. Then right before I hit the sack, I take Cyclin-GF to help release testosterone and growth hormone while I sleep so I keep growing and fully recuperating.
What improvements have you been able to make to your physique while using MHP products?
A: I have been with MHP since 2005 so all of the improvements I have made—top two at the Mr. Olympia, top three at the Mr. Olympia, Arnold Classic winner—have been made while using MHP products. They have given me the edge to make improvements in my size and in my contest placements. I actually began using MHP before I signed with them.
Which of the MHP product line do you find most effective for putting on size?
A: In the off-season I use Up Your Mass along with Dark Matter for putting on size.
How do you approach the last week before a contest when aiming to get as dry as possible while not losing any size?
A: That definitely goes day by day. I cannot say what I will do next week because every day changes and with these changes I need to find a new solution to deal with how my physique looks at that point. Dropping the water usually happens three days out, but it could be two days out.
There is no set method for drying out, but one thing I will tell you is that mental stability is number one when it comes to this process. You need the right frame of mind to dry out properly.
The harder it becomes during that final week the more you have to mentally dig deeper to stay on track.
A: Yes, and you must think about number one. I just keep thinking about Arnold giving me that trophy. The thought of winning that title is everything during the final week.
The life of a competitive pro bodybuilding is not often an easy one. You must push your body to the limit until you have reached a certain level of conditioning needed to win. What drives Victor Martinez to be the best?
A: Being number one; there is nothing else. The only thing that gets you off that floor, out of bed and into the cardio, into the process of training to achieve first place, to be number one, is thinking about winning that trophy, thinking about that placing.
I also get energy just thinking about my mother and this drives me on. [Victor's mother passed away shortly before the 2007 Mr. Olympia, a contest Martinez, who placed second at this event, came extremely close to winning]. And thinking about my sister. [Victor's sister was murdered in July 2009].
There are a number of things that drive me, but ultimately it comes down to being on that stage and Arnold Schwarzenegger handing me that trophy.
How important a role do you feel one's mental state plays in giving them the edge to achieve their best conditioning?
A: It is the only way you will get through, the only way you will make it. If you try to fill your mind too much with things your focus will become scattered and you will be less likely to make it.
Of training, nutrition and the right mindset, which do you think is most important for bodybuilding success?
A: One cannot be successful without the other. If your training is great but your nutrition is not good you can forget about it [becoming successful in bodybuilding]. If your nutrition is great and your training is not you can forget about it.
And if you don't have the mental focus in place?
A: You can forget about it [laughter].
Given you have already won this title, does winning the Arnold Classic again hold a special significance for you?
A: Well the Olympia is always great, but the winning the Arnold again will give me my redemption [in light of placing eighth at the 2010 Mr. Olympia].
A: Well, agreeing with it and it actually happening are two different things [laughter].
But you do think you can win the Mr. Olympia title someday?
A: Let's just wait until after the Arnold. After I win the Arnold, you can ask me that question again.
Are we going to see the best ever Victor Martinez onstage at this year's Arnold Classic come March the 5th?
A: Yes, you will. You most definitely will.
You are firmly convinced at this point that you will win the 2011 Arnold Classic.
A: That's what I said, and that is what you will see.
What are your competition plans following the Arnold Classic?
A: I am not thinking about this until the day after the Arnold. My thinking about all future shows for this year will not start until after I win the Arnold.
You appear to have the winning mindset needed to succeed in the tough sport of bodybuilding, and indeed you have proven to be one of the sport's very best champions. Have you always been focused upon winning?
A: Yes, I have always been this way, right from when I first began sports as a kid. There is no other way for me.
What feedback have you been getting from your trainer and those who have seen you this far out from the Arnold?
A: Well, my trainer is the only one who has seen me; I won't let anybody else see me until the show. So far all feedback has been very good. That is the only way I can sit here and tell you I am going to win; because I have been getting good feedback.
What message would you like to give your many fans that will be coming to watch you at the Arnold Classic in one week from today?
A: Thank you for supporting me and seeing me through as I have come from the bottom to the top and back to the bottom. And now you are going to see me at the top again. And whoever comes along to support me, thank you very much. I love you all and I can't wait for you guys to get a load of the new Victor Martinez on that stage.