Every successful athlete experiences it. That period right before greatness is attained, and everyone knows that it is on the horizon. Such is the case with Lionel Beyeke, the 31-year-old French bodybuilder who went from the new kid on the block to the next great thing in less than a year’s time. He is now the overwhelming favorite to become the sport’s latest superstar, according to a recent online fan vote.
A transformation masterminded by trainer Hany Rambod resulted in Beyeke’s packing on an additional 30 pounds of muscle last year, gains rarely seen in this sport. The change was apparent to everyone, and Beyeke placed fourth at the New York Pro. He was also the runner-up at the Toronto Pro against lineups that included some very prestigious names.
“I just turned pro in 2010,” Beyeke said. “Toronto was only my third pro show. Every thing was new to me...a new trainer, a new diet. I’ve grown accustomed to it [now], and it’s working very well for me—2011 was only the beginning. Now I’m ready for the world.” And on Feb. 18, Beyeke plans to prove it at the 2012 FLEX Pro Bodybuilding Championships.
Beyeke recalled a conversation with Rambod. “Hany told me, ‘You have good potential. You qualified for the Olympia. If you want to do just top 10, then you can do top 10. But that’s not my goal. I prefer that we wait. We’ll take the time to do good things, then come back and try to show the world how we did it.’ ”
When asked, Beyeke sheepishly admitted that he would have been fine with that type of placing in his maiden Olympia quest. “The top 10 is very good,” he said with a laugh. “Of course.”
Beyeke is currently living in Paris and needs to resort to modern technology to communicate and strategize with Rambod. They remain in constant contact with each other via telephone calls, e-mails, photos, and videos, with Beyeke receiving the same advice as if they were in person.
“With Hany, I can go very far,” Beyeke said. “He’s always checking my picture and saying, ‘Lionel, you need to do this. Take a video of your workout and send it to me.’ He always pushes me, and I really appreciate it.”
Although things can change as circumstances dictate, the plan was for Beyeke to fly over to the U.S. two weeks before the Feb. 18 show in Santa Monica, CA. That final preparation will be done face-to-face instead of through the various forms of communication they have been using.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
Volume was added to Beyeke’s training, and supersets were implemented, something that Beyeke had never utilized before. “We were trying to bring a lot of blood into the muscles,” Beyeke said. Rambod’s famous FST-7 system became a part of Beyeke’s routine, and the rest between each set was lessened. “With Hany, you always learn,” Beyeke added.
Once it was firmly established that this formula was one for success, both parties chose to take a step back to hopefully then take two forward. Beyeke and Rambod decided together that forgoing the Mr. Olympia and looking ahead to 2012—more specifically, the FLEX Pro—was the right strategy.
Adjustments were made week to week to see what worked best. But all of this was a vast improvement over what Beyeke was doing before Rambod was in the picture. “I didn’t have an off-season diet plan back then,” the Cameroon, Africa, native said. “I always ate the same thing. And I did cardio only three times a week.”
THE RIGHT LOOK
As far as potential competitors in the FLEX Pro lineup, Beyeke has no idea, nor does he care. “Right now, I don’t know who will be there, but it doesn’t matter to me,” he said.