After living abroad in Italy and studying art history at the age of 12, I fell in love with sculpting a physique, and realized that I could put all of the hard work and dedication into something that could really tell a story and inspire others.
I don't necessarily believe in mistakes, because my mistakes are what have shaped me, however if I had to pick, I would say trying to bulk a bit too fast; although the stretch marks are in inconspicuous areas, they are still a sign of growing too fast. Dense, slowly earned muscle looks better in the long haul.
Keep sight of the irrefutable end. This is a game of health, and although we get lost in vanity, just remember that at the end of the day, we are in this because it makes us feel good. Keep your eyes on the mental advantages more so the physical, and the body will follow.
I flip-flop on training with/without music. I train very hard but I also like to be approachable, simply because helping people is what gets you out there; so on that note, I prefer to workout without headphones and smile :)
As funny as it sounds, it can be a tear jerker for me when I think about this, but I think about how far I have come in the past twelve years; finally landing covers for magazines and really getting out there. My own success has been an inspiration for me. So I guess you could say that I dig deep and think, "I have come this far, time to push it to the next level," and I turn my brain off and just freaking do it!
Training is almost all instinctive. If a body part feels like it is lagging or is recovered enough to hit again, I will go for it. Nutrition on the other hand is extremely regimented. I usually have an idea of where my macros are going to lie for two to three weeks in advance. Because I stay shredded year round, it is key that I keep my body guessing and don't develop food allergies, etc.
I am most proud of my family. I have been with my wife since high school and I am exceptionally proud of the fact that in an industry that is so full of shallowness that I have managed to have a stable home life with a wife that is as supportive as they come. I guess you could say I am proud of the well rounded life that fitness and bodybuilding has given me.
I absolutely stay shredded year round. I have my body down to a science, but most of all, I stay lean for marketing purposes. Is it easy? Heck no, but it is what gets me noticed. People say, "Oh Tom? He's always ready to shoot!"
I go against the grain of much of bodybuilding in the sense that I love my cardio. I feel better doing it, I feel like I drop excess water and it is good for maintaining that healthy cholesterol balance that we need to remain healthy for a very long time. So, in answer to your question, I love the stairclimber. I spent the bucks and bought one for my home as well. I start every day sweating my butt off for about 40 mins.
I generally train off of instinct but I like to mix it up a bit anyway. I am a tremendous fan of drop sets. I feel like I am activating different muscle fibers this way and getting the most hypertrophy as possible. Not to mention this feels like you are burning a little bit of visceral fat along the way.
When I am not in close proximity of a shoot, I like to isolate individual muscle groups, although I cater my diet to match those days. I also vary my resistance and rep range. I will typically pyramid with one to two heavy sets in the eight to ten rep range to maintain my size, but still go for a little lactic acid burn effect in the 15ish rep range as well. For example:
Monday would be Legs with a general focus on outer quad sweep as it is a weaker area for me. This means a lot of leg extensions in a heavily reclined position to target that sweep. I'm a volume guy, so I generally will hit about 12-16 sets of quads directly with indirect movements for hammies and hit about 8 direct sets for hamstrings. Of course I hit calves, but I hit them three times per week.
Tuesday would generally be Chest with a volume of about 16 sets as well focusing on drop sets and almost exclusively dumbbells, cables, and body weight. I am not a huge fan of barbell work with the chest because I feel too much shoulder involvement and bad feelings throughout the rotator cuff. I like the depth that I can achieve with dumbbells. I am also a tremendous fan of incline movements (slight incline, not steep) as it seems to engage the center chest a bit more. Abs are usually incorporated on my chest day.
Wednesday would more than likely be a back day. The reason I put my back day on the third day of training in a row is simply because I have a very developed back already, so if I am a a bit depleted and weak through this day, it is fine. My philosophy is that hitting three bigger groups in a row will help fully deplete me more and allow me to carb up strategically to stay fuller. I am a big fan of width. I love getting wide as it creates that illusion of size. I will generally focus a bit of concentration movements on abs again on this day. Back volume is higher than normal as well simply because there is so much mass in that area that I feel it can handle it. It is not uncommon to do 20 sets on a back day.
Thursday is going to be an off day. But for me, I still do fasted cardio on my off training days. In my opinion it actually helps my recovery and clears out toxins, but I am sure not to over do it. If I do not do cardio, I will at least hit the sauna for thirty minutes or so to detox. I really believe in a pure system.
Friday is my shoulder day in this case with heavy emphasis on lateral movements. I am a bit unconventional in how I approach shoulders as well. I like to pre-exhaust with lateral movements and really engorge the muscle with blood before moving into a pressing movement. I also make sure to focus my pressing movements on the upper squeeze at the top. This means that I angle the dumbbells in towards each other ever so slightly and push up at an inward angle vs. up and then together. It is a more fluid motion and allows me to contract tighter at the top. This, coupled with pre-exhausting, leads to a dramatic pump. I also focus heavily on the normally neglected rear deltoids. If you want that real full, capped out shoulder look, you have to hit the rear deltoids hard. They respond to higher reps IMO.
Saturday is my casual arms day. I love pumping blood into the biceps and triceps on the same day. Lots of supersets in this case. I'm sure to throw in at least a couple of very heavy 6-8 rep movements to maintain the mass, and then hammer them out with a lighter weight. I y ou are going heavier with your compound movements during the week, you will find that your arms do just fine with going for the pump. I have even experimented with occlusion training by banding or strapping at the elbow to keep lots of blood in the biceps and triceps... It think it works well, but it could be a placebo effect.
Sunday is usually an off day with some easy cardio like a hike with my wife and dogs. Give yourself at least one day to chill out and enjoy a "normal" life, haha!
I am always dieting, but when I really need to dial it in harsh, I drop any foods that are inflammatory. As you continue to learn about my approach to diet and training, you'll see that I try to live a very anti-inflammatory lifestyle to begin with, but I really hone in on it about a week from a shoot or guest appearance by switching to white fish and asparagus with a bit of Coconut oil almost exclusively.
I have always been a fan of Dan Decker's physique in more recent years but I have to say I am a fan of an athletic look mostly. Of course, Frank Zane has a physique that is hard matched, but I would easily say he was an inspiration.
I eat exceptionally clean and this carries over into my supplementation protocol. When dairy is allowed in the picture, I almost exclusively use HIT Supplements only because I know for a fact that they use grass fed beef for their whey. This is huge for me. I also believe in products that are dosed accurately. HIT is one of the only companies I have ever seen that does this.
Age: 26 Years Old, Height: 5'10, Weight: 195-205 lbs