As the Flex pro grows near and I reflect on my prep, I am seeing one of the most difficult contest preps ever. Damn…this year has been a struggle. Just so many new things, so much going on. I faced a bunch on large roadblocks and still I find myself a solid 8lbs heavier than last year and much better quality with a smaller waist. This package will be much more in line with what I want to bring to the stage. Last year just seemed to be a quest to compete against some of the biggest guys in the sport (Dennis Wolf and Toney Freeman) in NY. This year, I’ve diligently gone about my business to make sure that my physique is headed down the path that I want in my quest to become the best bodybuilder in the world.
This has been the best growing experience of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Definitely a stepping stone to where I want to be. I am looking forward to these shows more than any I have ever competed in. What an honor to partake in two of the best shows of the year with many of the best bodybuilders in the world. It’s been pretty cool being able to train with Charles Glass and watch Dexter Jackson getting ready for the same show I am. By the way, your ass is mine Dex!
Hany and I are on the same page for the final week of prep and are set on trying something a little different this year. Something I have never personally done, but we both agree its going to work much better for my body. Time will tell!
A HUGE thank you to the entire Weider Team, they have all been such a tremendous help. Really being there for me for any little thing I needed along the way. They are such a family-like team that is looking to advance together and help me take my career to the next level. Thanks guys! (and gals!)
I hope everyone brings their ‘A’ game to this show; I want to beat the best at their best. No excuses.
Its 33 days from the FLEX Pro and I’m sitting at around 290lbs and it’s time to start to bring it down. I definitely am well within striking distance to come in bigger and badder than 2010.
Hany just upped my cardio to twice a day and started me on some thermogenics (which I never normally use). I started pushing the pace of the cardio a bit to see if we can bring it in a bit faster and ensure optimal condition for the show.
The one thing that I definitely took for granted and miss a lot this prep is my osteopath and good friend Alvin Brown. With all this hard training and not many days off, my body is starting to get tight achy. Having Alvin in my corner every year to this point has allowed me to train more or less pain free and with an optimal range of motion. As much as I knew how important and valuable this aspect of my prep was, you never really appreciate it fully until you no longer have it. The little aches and pains add up! It hasn’t impeded my training yet whatsoever, but it definitely seems to take just a little bit longer to get in the groove of the workout. Alvin is a deep tissue specialist and knows how to get my body firing on all cylinders. He works with some great pros like Jay, Ronnie, Bob Weatherill and Paul Dillet when Paul made his comeback in 2007. Alvin is the man!
I’ve been doing everything I can nutritionally to reduce the chronic inflammation obviously associated with the repeated beating we put ourselves through as pro bodybuilders. Now, the lack of nutrients and recover time starts to catch up so you need to ensure you have all these puzzle pieces to get the most out of your body.
Three things I have tried this year are some amazing products introduced to me over the last couple years: Wobenzyme, Curcumin and a topical cream called Accelerade by Zanagen. They are definitely helping to reduce the inflammation caused by training and allow me to get in there day after day and continue to grow into the show.
Loving life, killing the weights!
6 weeks to go…let the fun begin!
I look forward to the last 6 weeks before a contest for so many reasons. The mental focus, the regiment, pushing my body and mind to new limits, and starting to really see the hard work I’ve put in showing through. The time has come for me to pull up my socks and put the “A” game on the table. With the list of competitors announced for this show, there is no pulling punches now. It’s time to put in every last ounce of energy and determination to bring my absolute best possible package to that stage.
There is no doubt now that I have made some tremendous gains, now I just need to attain a whole new level of condition. Then I can not only be able to stand there with some of the best in the world, but beat them.
My cardio regiment is kicking into gear and the calories have come down. The adjustment period to dieting in a new country is behind me and I feel at home in Venice beach! The week back after my trip home has been amazing! I did a good ole “Pak-style” quad workout and some killer upper body workout with Charles and Paul.
We have really been focusing on bringing in my upper chest and lower lats. Things I’ve never before attempted in the gym are working like a charm! Just when you think you’ve seen all Charles can throw at you, he tosses in some new angles and a few new exercises. I LOVE IT! This week we tried an extra steep incline for chest and a very upright position for lower lats (with a few “Glass twists” on the exercises).
My energy is still great and my body feels amazing! A few regular weekly massages would be helpful, but I haven’t been as consistent with that therapy as I typically am. I gotta keep these tissues healthy!
Seeing Dexter in the gym every day, plus the slight extra pressure of the watchful eye of the Gold’s Venice patrons, has me realizing a slightly elevated level of pressure to get in shape! There are so many fans in there cheering for me to kill it at the FLEX PRO – I can’t let them down. They know what I’m capable of and now it’s time to walk the walk!
BETTER THAN EVER!
Tomorrow will mark the 6-week out point for the first contest of the 2011 season, the Flex Pro. I am ecstatic to be back in LA after spending the holidays in Canada. Rested, refueled and a renewed motivation for this show!
The 2 weeks at home were busy and COLD! I saw some really great friends and had some great workouts with my good friend Darren Oliver (He was one of the major reasons for my progress last year for the NY pro). Darren is one of the most passionate trainers I have ever met. He truly loves what he does and has his sights set on becoming recognized as one of the best trainers in the world. No doubt he is on his way. I do my best to constantly challenge his stubborn mentality and he is really pushing his practical knowledge to a new level. Over the past 2 years, we have definitely helped each other become better at what we do. Darren shares my belief in high volume training, and likes to push even my mental limits. Love it! Yes 3 hr back workouts have happened (and yes they included 17 sets of one-arm DB rows!)
A few minor roadblocks along the journey that are quickly turned into growth opportunities! I’m learning to LOVE being challenged by life. It makes me a better person and more prepared for future obstacles and setbacks.
I figured for my first day back in Venice, what better way to celebrate than Pak -style strip sets for legs! I never count reps on these sets, but im thinking somewhere in around 50/set. Workout kicked my ass! (Literally). The second day back was Friday, and I had the best ever chest workout that I’ve had yet with Charles. The workout started off with heavy incline barbell strip sets. Then onto heavy flat smith press (strip sets) super-set with machine flys. I can feel how tight my chest is already as I sit here writing this, about 8 hrs after my workout.
The dream of living and training in Venice beach is truly all that I had hoped it would be. I feel as though “we” are bringing back the old energy and camaraderie.
Christmas this year happened to fall exactly 8 weeks out from my first show of the year, the 2011 FLEX Pro. I have a rather small family, so the holiday’s are important to me because I really value those times when we get together. Even one missing person is always noticed and missed. So despite being so close to my show, I felt it necessary to come home.
I’m not going to lie; it was a tough first few days. Every bodybuilder I know is a creature of habit, throw off that habit or routine and he will feel out of sorts for a few days. I am no different. The great part of being home is that despite doing all the same things I do in California, the week just seemed to be more restful for me. I feel refreshed and recharged and ready to smash the last 8 weeks.
I’m sitting at about 300lbs at the moment, which puts me about 8lbs heavier than I was at this point for my last contest. I am a bit leaner as well. The weight just seems to be distributed differently. Better balance all around and my waist is down almost 2 inches. I’ve got a few new things I’m doing to bring down the waist to maximize my shoulder to waist ratio and they are working like a charm. A new week begins for me today, Sunday Dec 26th. I allowed my off day to fall on Saturday this week so as to spend those hours with my family. I just pushed all the workouts back so I didn’t have a day off mid week.
Sitting down to Christmas dinner is always a fun time. I decided to over indulge this year…..on green vegetables! My plate was overflowing with roast beef, turkey and about 5 kinds of green vegetables. My family is extremely understanding and supportive of my life style. Although I must admit, this has taken a few years of coercing. I am really feeling as though there is a lot of room to grow into this show. One of the motivating and exciting parts of competing is seeing how much you can change your body from show to show. This year’s prep is so different from any other and I can’t wait to see the end result! Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. No regrets. Back to business!
Focus, Set Goals, Grow!
A new week begins on a killer note! Great back workout with Charles on Sunday, then a great chest workout on Monday. Loved these two workouts for the completely new feel they allowed me to experience in my working muscles. We tried some new angles and manipulated arm position to something I had never tried before. It felt like a whole new type of stimulus for the muscle. Check out the videos on FLEXONLINE.com in coming weeks! I saw a pretty significant drop in weight this week, about 4lbs. Having done really nothing different this week than the last, I attribute it to a little bit of water loss and some fat loss from the metabolism starting to really kick!
I did some posing for Charles today after the workout and he seems pleasantly surprised with the changes we have made and very optimistic about the package I will bring to the stage this spring!
I’m writing this blog from the crowded confines of LAX airport. The holiday travel season is upon us and I have the pleasure of enduring the 11pm “red eye” departure time. I forgot the joys of traveling when dieting for a contest. Its uncomfortable enough traveling as a 300+lb bodybuilder, but try having to carry 10lbs of food, as well as laptop and personal belongings on a tiny crowded airplane for a 5 hour flight.
For some reason, the gross greasy food in airports always seems way more appealing than it does when you drive past it on the streets. It’s kind of like road trips and the assumed stops at fast food joints. Its almost like my brain is programmed to expect to indulge in some grease as soon as you step in an airport or sit in a car for a long road trip. This is honestly probably the only time I think about junk food - I’m not a big junk guy anymore. Don’t worry Hany; I’ve got my chicken boobs, cold tilapia and broccoli ready to be devoured!
Anyway, I hear a nap calling my name. At least I’ve got all my bags to keep me warm and comfortable. Got to get my rest. Straight to the gym for cardio when I land in TO!
Enjoy every step of the journey. There is no such thing as achieving the goal. Once you get there, there is only….what’s next?! FOCUS, GROW!
I’m gearing up to head home for the holidays. Most of my family and friends think I’m nuts to leave California where it has been averaging about 75degrees for Toronto where it has been averaging -10Celcius (about 14degreesF). I’m never one to do something without seriously mulling it over and weighing all my options first.
Going home has a few tremendous benefits for me and I will share them here in my blog as it all happens.
I know I will be able to train hard, eat perfectly, and rest optimally. I will come back to California 6 weeks out with an even greater appreciation for the life that I am blessed to lead here as a pro bodybuilder.
I smashed a killer leg workout yesterday with Charles and his assistant trainer Paul. This one was the best leg workout we’ve had together and I was definitely fighting off losing my lunch on more than a few occasions. The best part of this leg workout for me, was having Chris Cormier in my ear telling my to give it all and make sure each rep was a good rep. Chris has been one of the guys I looked up to since I started the sport and I really appreciate him getting in my ear and evening stopping his workout to offer me a spot.
I do my best everyday in Golds Venice to make every attempt to help as many people as possible and bring back the camaraderie that once existed in the sport. So huge thanks to Chris for recognizing my tremendous desire and offering any type of motivation or assistance. Coming from him, it means a lot to me (and you can be damn sure I won’t be stopping any set short).
Here is the leg work out:
Leg press: 5 set of 15, 12,12,10, 8
Hack squat: 5 sets 20, 17, 15,12, 6 then 4 drops (descending set)
Vertical leg press (pushing with toes): 5sets 20, 17, 15, 10, 10 then 3 drops.
Walking lunges: 4 sets to failure
Leg Ext- I about 8-10 sets. Never count, just go until I’m cooked.