Photos by Per Bernal
If you were asked to name the biggest, freakiest mass monster on the current IFBB roster we’re guessing you’d say 315-pound Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. And you’d certainly have a case to make. But there’s a gargantuan 352-pound strongman from France who’s looking to challenge Ramy as the most massive guy to occupy real estate on an IFBB stage: Morgan “the Big Rock” Aste. Considered by many to be the strongest man in France, Aste remains the country’s record-holder for one rep of the log press (374.786 pounds). But the ability to press heavy logs, tug a 13-ton truck, or hoist a 170-pound Atlas stone doesn’t necessarily translate to victories on a bodybuilding stage. The game changes, becoming more about symmetry, shape, and presentation, with the deciding factor as to which competitor emerges victorious shifting to a panel of judges. Aste understood concentrating on bodybuilding full time would require him to make changes. His first order of business: an overhaul of his nutrition regimen. “As a strongman, my diet was less strict relative to the 24-hour caloric needs of bodybuilding,” Aste says.
He now aims to consume 6,000 calories a day. “My nutrition is regulated…by ingesting proteins, carbs, and lipids divided into six or seven meals,” he explains. “That includes consuming Eric Favre Iron 02 Booster dipeptides…to allow me to have an appropriate intake of amino acids without charging the digestive and energetic system.”
So far, the reconfigurations have paid off. In September 2015, Aste earned top honors at the 2015 NPC Fit Championships, moving the Lyon, France, native another step closer to earning a coveted IFBB pro card. The year before, he scored a win in the super-heavyweight division of the 2014 IFBB French Championships and took ninth at the 2014 Arnold Amateur Europe.
In the gym, Aste remains dedicated to refining his physique. We caught up with him on a leg day, where his goals were to develop his vastus lateralis and improve his muscular definition. He relies on the MACS7 training system devised by his longtime trainer, René Même. “MACS7 allows for short muscle-building sessions without overloading the skeletal system,” Aste says. “It’s based on the interaction between various modes of muscular contractions and different training techniques.”
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