- 2007 Gaspari Cape Cod Natural: 2nd place men’s novice, 4th place men’s open.
- 2008 Gaspari Cape Cod Natural: 1st place junior class (20-23yrs old), 1st place men’s novice, 1st place men’s open.
- 2010 Gaspari Cape Cod Natural: 1st place men’s open, OVERALL CHAMPION (IFPA pro card winner).
- 2010 Musclepharm Yorton Cup: 1st place men's open, OVERALL UNDER 40 WINNER, OVERALL CHAMPION (IFPA pro card winner).
What is your background and how did you get started in bodybuilding?
I used to pitch when I played baseball for Harwich High School, and I noticed as I progressed from a sophomore to a junior that a lot of the kids who pitched and were better than me had more size to them, which created better push off the mound. At the time I was 5’9” and weighed between 115-120lbs soaking wet! So, that summer I really got into lifting weights because being an extreme ectomorph eating was just not putting the weight on as quickly as I needed it.
After around my first month of lifting my body responded tremendously, and I put on about 10lbs of mass, (this is not a normal gain, but for some people just starting out they can expect the muscle to respond like this, and then gains come MUCH slower thereafter). I ended up coming into my junior season weighing around 145-150lbs, and I had more pop on my pitches and more stamina during the games, and I was considered one of the top pitchers in Massachusetts with a 0.61 ERA and an 8-1 record This is when it started.
After my senior year of high school I was no longer playing baseball and I needed something to focus all my competitive nature towards, which has always been enormous! When I was lifting in the gym one day an IFPA pro by the name of Ed Silva (who I am still good friends with to this day) came up to me and said, “I have seen the gains you have made in here over the years you should really think of getting into natural bodybuilding!”
Always having been a string bean I never thought of myself as the bodybuilder type. Until I went to my first show which was the 2006 Cape Cod Natural, and I saw a lot of guys on stage that made me think to myself, “I could beat him, and I could beat him!” This got me excited because now I had a means to channel my competitive drive.
I got involved with a trainer by the name of Mike Downey, who was Mickey the trainer from Rocky embodied. He was a former Mr. Massachusetts and a former Mr. East Coast back in the day and had a wealth of knowledge for me to soak up. My First show I dieted only 7 WEEKS, and I still faired pretty well placing 2nd in the novice and 4th in the open. Like I have always said, there is no better motivation than placing second place. I had to come back and win no matter what. Which I did!
Why do you love bodybuilding?
I love bodybuilding because at the end of the day, when your bills are getting higher, your problems are welling up, and everything seems to be out of your control, you always have control over your body and the way it looks, as well as the way you feel physically. And the fact that I can do it naturally says even more about my drive and my character.
To be a natural bodybuilder makes you part of an elite group. Because everyone wants results yesterday, they will risk their health in order to get them, while I am doing everything in my power to preserve my body and make it run its most efficient. Natural bodybuilding is the quintessential fountain of youth. That’s why you still see natural bodybuilders who are 60 and 70 that look 30 and 40.
I want to be around a long time for my fiancé and for my children when I have some, as well as set an example for people of what hard work and determination can get you.
What is your training philosophy?
My training philosophy has always been “Form before weight.” Yes, you might have to take a hit to the ego, but if you can focus on the contraction and the tempo of a set, and not be one of those guys that puts 1000lbs on the bar and bounces off their chest, or one of those other guys that does the same with the weight and does little half squats and half leg presses, you will make way better gains. So lessen the weight and worry about squeezing the muscle and your body will thank you for it later on.
My training mentality stays pretty much the same on and off-season. When I am getting closer to a show there is less breaks in between sets and more circuits are thrown in to make up for the lack of energy towards the end of the diet. While off-season I go as heavy as possible so I might need a minute to a minute and a half between sets. Other then that I like to go heavy with strict form and force the muscle to do what I want it to.
What's a good workout routine that has given you results?
- Monday - Back and Biceps
- Tuesday - Quads and Calves
- Wednesday - Shoulders
- Thursday - OFF
- Friday - Chest
- Saturday - Hamstrings, Glutes and Lower Back
- Sunday - OFF
|Back and Biceps|
|Weighted Chin Up*||5||8-10|
|Close Grip Pull Down||4||8-10|
|Hammer Strength Row**||4||6-8|
|Asterix Back Flye||3||10-12|
|Supinated Curl or Barbell Curl***||3||6-8|
* Pre exhaust chin up set is used with 15-20 reps and no weight.
**Finish with drop sets.
*** Go heavy!
|Quads and Calves|
|Hammer Strength Single Leg Extension*||6 (Per leg)||6-12|
|Any Calf Workout||6||12-15|
* Pre-exhaust on a bi-lateral leg extension.
** 7 sets of 8-10 w/30sec rest between each.
|Pronated European Press*||4||6-8|
|Smith Machine Behind The Neck Press**||4||6-8|
|Axe Front Raise||4||8-10|
|Penguin Lateral Raise||4||6-8|
|Incline Lateral Raise||3||8-10|
|Cable External Rotation||4||8-10|
* Pre-exhaust with light set.
** Behind the neck press is supersetted with shrugs.
|Incline Dumbbell Press*||4-5||10-12|
|Reverse Grip Bench Press||4||6-8|
|Weighted Chest Dip||4-5||10|
* Slow negatives.
|Hamstrings, Glutes and Lower Back|
|Stiff Leg Deadlift*||5-6||8-12|
|High Stance Leg Press||5||6-8|
|Walking Lunge**||4||20 Steps|
|Nordic Hamstring Curl||4||12|
|Single Leg Curl***||4||12|
* Go heavy!
** Take long strides.
*** Slow negatives.
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Stiff leg dead lifts, because they are a great all around workout hitting hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and even adding to upper back thickness.
- Weighted chin-ups, because they are a great way to add width, and not many people are willing to do them so they set your physique apart from the others.
- Partial presses, because they are better for your shoulders and make it so you do not need a spot while benching heavy weight (because I like to lift alone most of the time), plus they are harder than regular bench presses.
What’s the best training tip you could give to others?
Allow time for the muscles to rest and repair. So many times you see people who want to make a certain body part bigger so they train that muscle group 3-4 times a week and wonder why they never see progress! If the muscle is not allowed time to finish the reparation cycle and enter the growth cycle, you can expect to see no differences no matter how hard you work if you’re natural! The other thing I could say is whatever workouts you HATE to do, make those workouts your strengths, because that is more than likely a lagging body part - hence why your mind and body want to reject it.
What is your philosophy on nutrition?
When food is no longer thought of as food, yet as fuel, then you are a bodybuilder. Then those foods like cake and ice cream, and all other goodies become rewards for a job well done and not fuel for fattening!
Give us a typical day in your off season diet:
- 5 am - 1 cup oatmeal, 2 scoops of Elite Fusion 7 in the oatmeal, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 piece of fruit.
- 8 am - 8oz chicken, 1.5 cups brown rice, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 cup veggies.
I do not vary much on my diet in the off-season or while I am dieting, so meal #2 will be repeated throughout the day and meal #6 will be without carbs. I may swap if I feel I need the extra calories chicken for lean beef, and I might also swap brown rice for sweet potatoes but I pretty much stay with the same meals all the time. Remember food is fuel!
Give us a typical day in your diet (contest prep):
- 5 am - 1 cup oatmeal with a bunch of cinnamon for the blood sugar and antioxidant effect, 6-7 oz of chicken with Mrs. Dash seasoning or salsa on top, 1 cup green beans, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter.
- 8 am - 1/2 cup brown rice, 6-7oz chicken with hot sauce, 1 cup green beans, 1 tbsp peanut butter.
Now my meals will stay basically like meal #2 except for when I am further along in the diet, when I will cut back on carbohydrates and might even have days where there are no carbs at all!
What are your favorite meals and foods?
I like all my breakfast foods and I really enjoy oatmeal, even just plain oatmeal, and of course I love my peanut butter. Not only does it curb the insulin spike but it is like a treat with each meal.
Favorite cheat food?
I love Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and I am always looking for their newest flavor.
What’s the best nutrition tip you could give to others?
Learn what works for you. I see a lot of people out there that pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars on diet plans from these so called gurus of diet, when you could just do exactly what that ‘guru’ did and read a book about nutrition. The best thing you can do is educate yourself which will help you separate the good facts on nutrition from the fluff! Like Frank Zane said “the more you know the more you grow.”
List 3 supplements that you’ve used to with good results.
- Xpand by Dyamtize pre-workout. I use it because I wake up at 4am to get to work (where I open the gym at 5am), so by the time I am ready to workout I am usually pretty tired and it helps give me a kick in the pants to get me moving!
- Labrada PowerCarb simple carb complex. I use this with my pre-workout because as an ectomorph my body utilizes carbs a lot faster than most people, so I need to make sure I get enough carbs in to top off glycogen stores. Also the simple carb formula helps drive the pre-workout and any nutrients into the muscle to be used during the workout through spiking my insulin.
- Elite Fusion 7 by Dymatize. This is a great tasting protein shake that has a great complex of aminos and different protein types and seems to cover all bases. I use this upon waking and post workout when I need protein in a quickly digestible form to make sure I take advantage of nutrient timing and the window of opportunity post-workout to utilize nutrients more effectively.
What brands do you think are offering the best products at the moment?
What do you think is a good off season muscle building stack?
I would say:
What do you think is a good pre-contest/fat loss stack?
What are the 3 best tips you'd give to someone thinking about competing in natural bodybuilding?
- Focus on legs and lats because that is where 90% of competitors are lacking.
- If you think you can get shredded without cardio you are mistaken!
- Believe in your goal and force it into your head. I wrote on my gallon jug everyday ‘Pro-Card’ so every time I put the jug to my mouth those words would stare me in the face.
What is your best advice for looking your best on competition day?
DON’T DO ANYTHING DRASTIC! Keep with what has worked for you all along and do a long enough diet that you can test certain things a couple weeks out from your show. When the day of the show comes, please don’t be one of those fools eating candy backstage. It didn’t work in 1970 and it won’t work now - if you want to look dry up on stage.
Other than that have an air of confidence about yourself, NOT ARROGANCE! The judges and the fans see this! And above all no one will know you have a good body unless you can pose, so practice! I would do about a half hour a day, and sometimes when I practice holding poses I will go for and hour or 2.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who's having trouble staying on track?
I stay motivated by keeping older pictures of myself when I was scrawny. I keep one in my wallet all the time so when I ask myself, “Why am I doing this.” I look at the photo and it reminds me how far I have come and I figure “Why stop now?!” You have to want and strive to be different, figure when you are in the gym sweating and testing your limits, everyone else is sitting on the couch with their bag of chips! Do what your competitors are not willing to, that is what separates first place from second.
What shows have you got coming up, where can we see you compete?
I am taking two years off then I will compete at the place where it all started at the 2012 Cape Cod Natural where I will make my IFPA pro debut as a lightweight.
What would you like to achieve in your natural bodybuilding career?
I want people to think of me as one of the best who ever did it, and I want to gain the ability to inspire and push people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. I would also like to gain some sort of sponsorship to help on the financial end of things and to prove to myself that I am deserving of recognition.
Who are your favorite bodybuilders and idols?
My favorite bodybuilders of the past would be Frank Zane, such an aesthetic physique - not one of the size freaks you see today where there is no beauty to the body. I was also a huge fan of Lee Haney, Sergio Oliva, Serge Nubret and Kevin Levrone. My favorite bodybuilder of today is Philip Ricardo Jr. who is the BEST TRULY natural bodybuilder on the face of this earth right now!