What are some aspects of training and diet that are constant in the off-season and pre-contest, and why are they constant?
The one constant in off-season and precontest is that I stay consistent with my food intake and training. Off-season is the time when improvements to your physique are made, so there’s no time for screwing around in skipping meals or training sessions. A great off-season sets you up for a great pre-contest period. Food intake has to be right and the training has to be intense and heavy enough to elicit a change in growth. Once the pre-contest period rolls around, I stay on top of my diet, cardio, posing, and training as well as dealing with the business side of things (selling pictures, making DVDs, etc.). If I didn’t strive to stay as consistent as possible in the off-season, then my precontest period would be much more difficult because I’d have twice as much work to do on my physique on a limited food intake. But if I stay on top of my game in the off-season, then pre-contest becomes a bit simpler.
What do you think of doing some bouts of strongman and powerlif ing training for bodybuilding?
First off, I have tremendous respect for both disciplines. Some of the training we do is the same, although they commonly call bodybuilding training “assistance work”—you can’t af ord not to do some type of bodybuilding in order to move a weighted yoke or a massive bench press. But we should leave the superheavy stuff for them. Strongmen and powerlifters train for brute strength. Being strong is important for bodybuilding, but not at the expense of muscle stimulation. While we see very strong bodybuilders, they’re not anywhere close to unlocking their true potential, because they’re more concerned about moving weight than focusing on building muscle. So, while we’re “distant cousins,” strength athletes are a different breed. Their training should cater to what they’re trying to, and ours should focus on building the most muscle.
What are your main protein sources? Are there any protein sources you avoid because they don’t work well for you?
The things I eat in the off-season are the same things I eat during pre-contest, just more or less of it. There’s no use trying to play “mad scientist” with your protein intake. I’ve never met a source of protein I didn’t like. I will say I do add in more fish once I start getting ready for shows, but that’s about the extent of how complicated it gets. Keep it simple to make quality gains.