I was a high school and collegiate Track & Field athlete. So I’ve trained athletically most of my life. But I didn’t start serious weight training until later in life, around age 33. And to be honest, it was more for getting dates than good health.
I thought that “lifting was lifting.” Despite having had some of the best trainers in the industry when I was college, I never paid attention to why they had me doing the things I was doing. So, left to my own devices, I just tried to replicate what I had always done before, not knowing that specific training yielded specific results.
And, of course I knew nothing about proper nutrition…
For me, consistency is directly correlated to the importance of my goals. Once I establish a goal for myself, I map out a plan to reach that target. So when training gets tough, I simply remind myself of what my ultimate goals are and what needs to be done to reach them. If I find myself unwilling to commit to the demands of my training, then I have to accept that what I thought were goals were really just wishes.
I do listen to music to help me tune out the distractions around me. But, I must have the most eclectic playlist out there. It ranges from Busta Rhymes to Pink, Korn and Linkin Park… Kanye West, Jay Z and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m literally all over the board.
Being on the 2014 Mr. Olympia stage. It’s that simple. It’s really what drives me to continue to train at this level at 41 years old.
Even though I’m unofficially in my “off-season,” I have my training and nutrition planned weeks in advance. I know when my next competition will be, so I also know what my program will look like 20, 16 and 12-weeks out. And, at a minimum, I always prep my meals for the week ahead. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
I won’t use the term “proud,” but the thing I celebrate most in my life is my sobriety. As a recovering alcoholic, I feel absolutely blessed to say that I’ve been sober since January 23, 2006. It is because of this that I am able to even have a chance to do what I do today.
I’ve never used traditional bulking strategies. However, I will adjust my macronutrient split and cardio to allow for metabolic recovery and greater nutrient availability for optimal growth during the off season. As a rule, I won’t let my body fat get above 10% though.
Off-season, its primarily low impact, steady state cardio on the bike, elliptical or stair climber, once or twice a day, most days of the week.
In season, I tend to do fasted steady-state cardio in the morning, and HIIT in the afternoon after my lift. I have chronic lower back problems that prevent me from running. So I use the same equipment listed above.
I use a pure split training approach, dedicating an individual workout to each muscle group at least one once a week. For the areas that I want to see exponential improvement, I add a second lift each week. For the most part, I hit 18-24 sets each workout, depending on my particular growth and conditioning goals.
I’ve always believed in mixing mediums when training. So my workouts typically involve a cross of free weights, machines and functional equipment.
Generally speaking, during contest prep my macro split is typically 45/45/10 protein/carbs/fat. During this period I’m also gluten and soy free. The majority of my calories come from whole foods, but may include shakes and bars occasionally.
In terms of favorites, I think more in terms of the gentlemen with whom I enjoy competing. Anton Antipov, Sadik Hadzovik, Alex Carneiro, Billy Sullivan, Matt Christianer, Tory Woodward and Matt Acton (just to name a few) have always challenged me to bring my best on stage, and make the experience of competing memorable, win or lose.