Kai Greene prepares body and soul for the 2013 Mr. Olympia.
You don’t get a straight forward answer from Kai Greene. If you ask him how his Olympia prep differs this year from last, he won’t tell you he’s upped his cardio or cut his fast-release carbs. Instead, you get an introspective and reflective response. He speaks in terms of this lifestyle (bodybuilding), of tools and stars, of destiny.
It quickly becomes apparent that Brooklyn, NY’s, Kai is focused and centered, that the bodybuilder he most wants to best and improve upon is himself. Forget the fact that Jay Cutler is returning to the Olympia stage and that Kai has never beaten him. That the Big Ramy freight train is hurtling down the tracks towards Vegas. That Shawn Rhoden has had a year to improve. No disrespect, but Kai isn’t concerned about the competition. His only concern is himself.
Still, the fact remains, at the prejudging of the 2012 Mr. Olympia, Kai Greene showed the bodybuilding world that Phil Heath is vulnerable. Kai has beaten Phil (at the 2010 Arnold Classic). Kai has shown the ability to reinvent himself onstage, from a mass monster assemblage of freaky body parts to last year’s return to symmetry and aesthetics. For all intents and purposes, Kai is still the Number 2 bodybuilder in the world and arguably the man with the best chance of stopping Phil Heath from taking home a third Sandow in September.
FLEX: What can fans expect to see on the Olympia stage in Vegas?
KAI GREENE: Aw, man, my expectation is to bring a life’s work to the stage. To stand and be counted. I have an expectation in my mind. I’ve been thinking for a long time about being a champion and taking the steps necessary to see that goal realized. And the physique I bring to the Olympia stage will be just that, a champion’s physique.
FLEX: This past year you’ve remained in remarkably good shape for the off-season.
KAI GREENE: It’s all part of the strategy. I’m expecting it’ll pay of in spades come Olympia time.
FLEX: George Farah said the game plan is to bring you in drier and fuller for the Olympia. Still, I’ve got to imagine there’s a psychological impact on your competitors when they see you in the type of shape you brought to guest posing at the Pittsburgh Pro or the Atlantic States.
KAI GREENE: I really don’t know. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself.
FLEX: Are the other competitors a factor in your prep?
KAI GREENE: I don’t feel that thinking about someone else is really going to be beneficial for me. Every man who’s willing to put in the work deserves the opportunity to have his star highlighted. All anybody can do is make sure he makes the ultimate effort to bring his best. I can’t worry about this person or that person, because that’s not my job. My job is to manage me. And when I focus on that (he starts to laugh good-naturedly), I find it’s more than a full time job.
FLEX: You’re a fan of the sport as well as one of its top competitors. If you could stand and be compared with a bodybuilder from any era of the sport, who would it be and why?
KAI GREENE: There are a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. Early on in my career, I looked up to guys like Mike Ashley, Paul-Jean Guillaume, and Roy Callender. Later on when things changed, (Kai laughs again; he means when he put on considerable mass) Victor Richards comes to mind. I wouldn’t want to stand next to them to discredit them or take away from their brilliant careers. They’ve made contributions to my life and the lives of all the fans. I’d want to stand next to them out of respect, to pay homage to the best. I think this is an important point to make because I wouldn’t want fans or athletes to lose sight of the beauty of our sport or do it a disservice. Whether we know it or not, we stand on the shoulders of the athletes who came before us. For example, Tom Platz single-handedly changed our conception of what leg development could be like. And it still took 15 years after Tom’s competitive heyday before having great leg development became common-place. So even though Tom never went on to see his star realized at the Olympia, the contribution he made is now a part of the continuum of our sport. He showed us it could be done.
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