Posted 30 September 2011 by Interview:

Lawrence Ballenger

What mistakes did you make as a newbie?

Like most newbies I made plenty of mistakes but the one that held me back the most is that I over trained my upper body and never trained my lower body. I did not know how important your lower body development was to your overall strength and size. I plateaued in my strength and size until I started working my legs twice a week then I became drastically stronger. I went from a 315lb bench press max to 405 in just 4months and gained 8inches on my thighs, which gave me a more complete build. Plus you feel better not walking around looking like Jonny Bravo.

What would you say your genetics are...What was you physique like before you started training?

My genetics have played a big role in my physique because it is really easy for me to stay lean but it has always been hard to gain weight because I naturally have an ectomorphic body type. When I was a teenager I was 6 foot and 170lbs and I could eat all day and not gain weight. Once I realized to eat more consistently and eat clean such as lean meats, vegetables and trying not to eat processed foods I slowly gained weight.

We know consistency is the key, what tips would you give to anyone struggling to stay consistent?

If your problem is staying consistent in the gym try setting small short term goals like increasing your weight five pounds every week; or keep a picture on your phone of someone's physique that you admire to get you pumped. Also set a long-term goal such as competing in a fitness competition such as a marathon to a bodybuilding competition, if you’re not the competing type than get ready for the next vacation or big gathering that you are going to in the next 4-6 months.

Free weights vs. machines what do you feel are the pros and cons of both and which do you prefer?

Free weights are my technique of choice because you have to use stabilizers throughout the whole lift which gives your body a more complete look; I also believe free weights provide more functional strength though your day to day life. When my muscles become fatigued and my form begins to slack I use machines to complete my work out because they can isolate the muscle and keeps me in correct form throughout the movement.

What are you most proud of?

I very proud that I finally stepped on stage this summer and competed in the 2011 Fit Body Challenge where I took 2nd Place. After that competition I decided to pursue my dreams of competing in the NPC men’s physique category looking to get my pro card in November.

How long do you usually spend in the gym?

I usually spend an hour and a half unless I feel great then I spend two hours in the gym because I add 30 minutes of cardio to the end of my workout.

What types of cardio do you do?

I usually do sprints on a track that consist of 100-yard sprints then a 50yard walk and I do 8-12 sets. Or I will just walk on a treadmill at 4mph pace on a highest incline for an hour.

What rep ranges do you prefer and why?

I usually do 4 sets of 8-10 reps because I feel that my body becomes bigger and stronger, but once a month I have one week where I lift heavy and do 3 sets of 2-5 reps so I can still have a feel for really heavy weights and to change my routine up slightly.

What is your training routine like?

My training routine consist of 4 sets of 8-10 reps

What is your diet when trying to get in peak condition?

When I am cutting for a show or photo shoot I cut my carbs down and cut out all gluten products and increase my water intake to 2 gallons a day until the day before then I stop drinking water until the event is over with. Besides that my diet does not change much I still eat lean chicken, turkey, fish and lean beef with veggies.

Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?

I usually stay lean all year long but when I bulk it is not extreme like some people. When I bulk I only add an extra 500-800 calories to my diet till I get to my desired weight.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

I love candy and chips they are my weakness; but I make sure I have them in moderation when I achieved something special such as a PR in the gym, after a competition or after 8 weeks of good dieting.

What do you think about when you have to dig deep and push out that last rep?

I think of my competitors in my next competition and how hard they are working and that motivates me to push myself even further.

Who are your favorite athletes, bodybuilders
or fitness models?

My favorite athlete by far is Ray Lewis because of his extreme work ethic on perfecting his craft and doing everything possible to become better.
I also look up to Mike O'hearn, Skip La Cour and Joe Donnelly because they are some of the best natural bodybuilders/fitness models I have ever met. They are great people who I can always ask for fitness tips.

What are your future goals?

I plan on doing a ton of things this upcoming year such as becoming a Pro in the NPC under the Men's Physique category and also a Pro in the WBFF Fitness Model category and hopefully playing in the UFL as a strong safety.

What supplements do you use if any?

I use Gamma Labs PTF before every workout to get me pumped and focused so I'm never lagging. I use Dymatize Elite Fusion 7 protein after my workout but if I’m on the go after my workout I use Xapp protein drinks. When I take my protein drinks I always use High Energy Labs Protein Katalyst so I fully absorb my protein. I also use SciFits Gluta-lyn and Kre-Alkalyn to help me get ready for my workout and for recovery process.

What top 3 tips would you give to anyone
wanting to get CutAndJacked?

1. Find Something To Get You Motivated EVERTIME You Step In The Gym
2. Eat Clean And Bring Your Own Lunch And Snacks With You
3. Carb Cycle

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