- 1992 Military Friendship Day Iwakuni Japan Middleweight Champion
- 1993 Iwakuni Japan Classic 2nd place Middleweight
- 1993 Military Friendship Day Iwakuni Japan 3rd place Middleweight
- 1994 Military Friendship Day Iwakuni Japan Middleweight Champion
- 1995 NPC Western Armed Forces 3rd Place Middleweight
- 1996 NPC Southwestern Naturals Middleweight 3rd Place
- 1997 NPC Golds Gym Classic San Diego Novice Middleweight and Overall Champ
- 1997 NPC Western Armed Forces Middleweight 2nd Place
- 1998 NPC Golds Gym Classic San Diego Open LightHeavyweight Champion
- 1998 ABA Sothern California Naturals Overall Champion
- 1998 NPC Western Armed Forces Lt. Heavyweight and overall Champion
- 1998 ABA Forever Natural Universe Overall Champion
- 1998 ABA Natural Universe Open Medium Class 3rd Place
- 1999 NPC California State Open Lt. Heavyweight 4th place
- 1999 NPC All-Armed Forces Lt. Heavyweight 2nd Place
- 2000 NPC Orange County Classic Lt. Heavyweight 4th Place
- 2000 Musclemania World Middleweight Champion
- 2002 NPC Max Muscle Naturals Open Lt. Heavyweight 2nd Place
- 2002 NPC San Diego Open Lt. Heavyweight 3rd Place
- 2003 Musclemania World Middleweight 4th place
- 2003 ABA/PNBA Amateur and Professional Natural Universe Overall Champion
- 2004 NPC Max Muscle Naturals Overall Champion
- 2004 NPC Mr. San Diego Lt. Heavyweight Champion
- 2004 NPC Miami Open Lt. Heavyweight 2nd place
- 2004 NPC Team Universe Lt. Heavyweight 10th place
- 2004 PNBA Natural Olympia Professional (disqualified for Ephedra in fat burner. Was 1st place)
- 2004 NPC Mr. South Florida Overall Champion
- 2005 NPC Southern States Open Lt. Heavyweight 2nd place
- 2005 IFPA Desert States Professional Champion
- 2005 IFPA InShape Online Natural Professional Champion
- 2006 NPC Team Universe Lt. Heavyweight 5th place
- 2006 IFPA Cape Cod Naturals Professional Champion
- 2006 Musclemania Superbody Amateur Overall Champion
- 2006 Musclemania Worlds Professional 2nd place
- 2006 NGA Professional Natural Mr. Universe Champion
- 2007 PNBA Team USA Professional Champion
- 2007 PNBA Natural Mr. Universe Professional Champion
- 2007 PNBA Natural Olympia Professional Champion
- 2007 IFPA Yorton Cup Professional Champion
- 2008 PNBA Team USA Professional Champion
- 2008 PNBA Natural Olympia Professional Champion
How Did You Get Started In Natural Bodybuilding?
I grew up playing Football and loving it. Football kept me healthy and active, and in High School I was introduced to the weight room where I saw dramatic changes in muscularity and strength quickly and naturally. I was slim, but muscular all the way through High School and early in my first 3 years of the Marine Corps when a co-worker entered me in the Iwakuni Japan Marine Corps Base Bodybuilding championships in 1992 without my knowledge and I was thrust into competition.
I didn't know how to pose, wore multicolored speedos, and didn't shave my body hair and still managed to win my weight class. Getting that individual 1st place trophy and being on stage in front of the crowd got me hooked! 39 shows and 22 more 1st place trophies later, I still love the sport and feel nervous before each competition and have been drug free throughout my entire career. I was very fortunate to get involved with many Natural Organizations and become successful in each of them. I turned Professional in 4 different organizations and having a chance to do that in these organizations have kept me focused and motivated in the sport of bodybuilding - knowing that I don't have to take drugs to become a professional bodybuilder or to be a successful by having other federations that features only Natural Athletes (for the most part) has prolonged my career in the sport.
What's Your Philosophy On Training?
I believe that Big weights equal big muscles, so I try to train as heavy as possible while still overloading my muscles with volume. To do this I include a lot of drop sets, supersets, and negative sets after attempting a heavy set of each exercise for the body part Im training. For example, if Im training legs, I will do squats by working up to my 4th and last set starting with a warm-up on 1st set for 15 reps, 2nd set for a set of 10, 3rd set with a weight I can do 6 reps with, then the last set doing a max weight for as many as I can then without resting dropping the weight and doing as many reps with the lighter weight and then finally dropping one more time and doing a set with lighter weights for max reps but at a much slower rep tempo to really feel the muscles Im working (quads, hamstrings, glutes).
What Is Your Workout Routine?
View more workout routines here
Day 1: Chest
- Incline dumbbell press: 4 sets 20, 15, 10, 8 reps
- Dumbbell presses: 4 sets 20,15,10,8
- Cable crossovers: 4sets 15 reps each
- Dips: max set adding weights each set
- Dumbbell pullovers: 3 sets of 12
Day 2: Legs
- Squats or Leg presses (alternate): 5 sets 20,15, 15, 12, 10
- Leg extensions: 4 sets 15 each
- Leg curls: same as extensions
- Stiff legged dead lifts: 4 sets 12 reps
- Lunges: 3 sets 10 reps each leg
- Standing calf raises: 6sets max out adding weight each set
Day 3: Shoulders
- Shoulder press: 4 sets 15, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Superset side laterals and front laterals: 10 reps each
- Rear delts: 3 sets 15 reps
- Shrugs: 4 sets 15, 12,10, 8
Day 4: Back
- Pull-ups: Max set for 6 sets
- One-armed rows: 3 sets 10
- Seated row: 3 sets 15
- Lat pulldowns: 4 sets 15, 10, 10, 8
- Deadlifts: 3 sets 12, 8, 6, 4
- Good mornings: 3 sets 15 reps
Day 5: Arms
- Triceps: close grip bench press 4 sets 15, 10, 8, 6
- Reverse grip bench: 3 sets 10
- Skull crushers: 3 sets 10
- Triceps extension: 4 sets 15
- Biceps: straight bar curls 4 sets 20, 15, 10, 8
- Preacher curls: 3 sets 10
- Hammer curls: 3 sets 10
- Double cable curls: 3 sets 15
Day 6 and 7 - rest!
What's Your Diet And Nutrition Plan?
What is your philosophy on nutrition?
In order to achieve the ultimate condition that my body could achieve without losing too much muscle mass, nutrition is definitely the number one ingredient for getting that desired look.
I changed my preparation from a mere 4-6 weeks of dieting and cardio to 8-12 weeks and that made a major difference in my physique. The extra prep time allowed me to slowly get used to dieting (no longer eating cheeseburgers and pizza is very tough for me), and to hold on to as much muscle as possible, optimally losing no more than a pound or two a week. Any more weight loss per week will risk you stepping on stage or for a photo shoot looking smaller and flat from excessive muscle wasting. If you give your body the right amount of nutrients and calories to lose that one to two pounds per week, you will find yourself looking bigger and better naked (which is what counts our line of business) than you normally look in the off-season, even though your clothes will be a bit baggy on you by the end of your diet.
Nutritionally, I kept a high protein low fat and carb approach that included High (200grams), medium (125grams), and low carbohydrate days (50grams) rotated throughout the week dependant on my training and activity level. For example, if I had a double cardio day and a hardcore weight training session (Legs) I would have a high carb day. On the weekends when Im sitting around watching movies or football, I would have a low carb day. I would also have a cheat day once a week where I allow myself to eat anything, and also a day when I would throw in a steak for the red meat to help energize my muscles.
Another important ingredient is Water, and I would drink around 1.5 to 2 gallons a day!
What is your nutrition plan for the on and off season?
My diet basically looks like this for pre-contest:
- 0600 - 8 eggs (1-2 yolks) 1 bowl of oatmeal (enough for about 30-50 grams of carbs...about 1 cup) and multi-vitamin.
- 0830 - protein shake with 16 oz of with water and omega 3 fatty acid, CLA, or Flax Oil.
- 1030 - 1 can of tuna with mustard and 1 cup of brown rice and 5 grams of Glutamine
- 1300 - (after workout) Protein shake with Glutamine and yams and Vitamin C/E.
- 1600 - 2 chicken breasts, 1-cup brown rice or yam.
- 1900 - 2 chicken breast or fish (tuna, salmon, or whatever you like w/out oil) and broccoli and or green beans or salad w/balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
- 2130 - Lean Sirloin or Flank Steak w/salad w/balsamic vinegar (eat Steak at least 2x per week.)
- Bedtime - 1 scoop of protein powder and glutamine in water.
Off-season is similar except I add carbohydrates with all of my meals (mostly brown rice) and I would eat more steak and chicken thighs in some meals and an occasional pasta meal as well twice a week.
What are your favorite meals/foods?
I am a meat eater, and I love chicken, steak, and Fish (Salmon, Tilapia, tuna).
Favorite cheat food?
Cheeseburgers, Pizza, Peanut Butter, Ice cream (Reeses Peanut Butter Ice Cream).
What Supplements Do You Use?
Protein Powders: Due to my hectic schedule, this is my saving grace. I tend to eat a solid breakfast and pre-workout meal, then add a whey protein shake after training, and while I am training my clients in the evening I pound a shake that includes both whey and casein/miscellean protein so that I have a quick acting and slow digesting protein in my system to hold me over until I finish work. I will also have a casein/miscellean protein shake with L-Glutamine powder prior to bed to serve as an anti-catabolic shake, keeping me in an anabolic state while I sleep. [more info on Whey Protein]
Creatine: As a slow gainer, I need a supplement that helps with my muscle endurance and muscle hydration and Creatine is it! Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Ethyl Ester have helped me to maintain size and strength, especially during precontest training. I tend to take 5 grams of creatine 30 minutes before weight training and immediately after, as well as taking 5 grams with a protein shake on non-training days. With the new Creatine, Nitric-Oxide, and Glutamine products on the market now, I find an even more effective pre-workout source that keeps me focused even when I am on a low carbohydrate diet and my energy is extremely low.
L-Glutamine: As the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscles, Glutamine is key during hardcore training and competition dieting. Depending on your bodyweight, I suggest taking anywhere from 5-10 grams of Glutamine divided into 5 gram doses prior to training, immediately after and/or right before going to bed on an empty stomach to promote natural growth hormone, which accelerates protein synthesis and positive nitrogen balance. Taking too much can overload your liver...especially if you are taking other supplements...so taking as little as 5 grams is enough to make a big difference in your recovery from hardcore training. Glutamine has also been sited to improve your immune system, which is key during extreme dieting when your body is susceptible to injury and illness.
Potent Fat Burner:
Potent Fat-burner: If you look at most fat-burners the ingredients are similar except for maybe one ingredient that is that products special formula which may separate it from the others. Find the one that works for you and use it not only for the thermogenic properties during dieting but also for the mental and energy boost if you need it...I know I do!!! Most fat burners contain caffeine, green tea, guarana, and tyrosine, so if you are trying to avoid these substances (especially caffeine) -Beware! There are fat-burners without out caffeine, but bottom line is if you need a kick-start to your day and your diet fat-burners are effective if used in conjunction with a proper diet and cardio. I use them twice per day...first thing in the morning and mid-afternoon. Please read the directions on all products to see if you need to take them on an empty stomach or with meals. When competing in Drug Free organizations beware of the ingredients to see if it is a banned substance (i.e.: ephedrine, which is banned...I found out the hard way!!!) as well as ensuring that you are not combining too many products with caffeine or other ingredients that may pose a health risk to you. Since I have a very busy schedule, I need the caffeine boost and I enjoy the energy rush first thing in the morning prior to my cardio sessions, and I can feel my body heat up like a furnace all day long because of it.
Advice For Others
Never underestimate the importance of proper eating when it comes to your physique. Missing a meal, or taking short cuts in your diet does make a difference when it comes to how your body will look and perform. As a drug-free athlete, I rely on nutritional supplements to give me a little "assistance" in my training. Supplements do not take the place of being able to ingest real foods like chicken, brown rice, and vegetables. However, unless your full-time job is being a competitive bodybuilder/fitness/figure competitor it is impractical to think you will have the time and energy to sit down every 3 hours, ingest a solid meal each day, and do your job! Supplements give you the luxury to exchange that chicken and rice meal for a protein shake, amino acids, or whatever you can grab that is quickly accessible and can be ingested within a few minutes and continue with your regular busy schedule. Other products can assist in giving you a great pre-workout boost, or kick-start your metabolism to assist in fat loss. This all may sound complicated, but if you take the time to prepare your food/supplementation each day you will never be caught without the nutrition you need and you wont have to choose an alternate food source that may wreck your physique.
Lastly, get to know yourself. Getting advice from sources like magazines and other athletes are definitely encouraged, but use these tools to get to know how YOU best perform. You cant expect the same training that a non-natural bodybuilder uses to train and eat like to work for you. They are able to train harder and longer and recover due to drugs or assistance. A natural bodybuilder takes a little longer to gain, but those gains are more likely to stay with you. I have seen so many natural bodybuilders who are in their 50's and look better than athletes in their 20's due to muscle maturity and consistent time in the gym. Stay consistent, know what works best for you when it comes to training, foods that make you feel strong and energetic, and what makes your physique get leaner and ripped. Some people are carb and sodium sensitive, others are not. Some have fast metabolisms and don't need to do as much cardio, others gain weight easier and need to do cardio twice per day. Its all trial and error and patience.
I will take 2009 off due to military deployments. I will retire from the military in early 2010, and should be able to prepare for a show late 2010. I will return to the Natural Professional stage and in the future I may try to compete at the NPC Team Universe again or even the Masters Nationals.
Who Are Your Role Models?
I have a long list: Sean Sullivan, Doug and Stephanie Miller, Rob Hope, Stan Mcquay, Kyoshi Moody, Kareem Pettaway, Karl Marshall, Skip LaCour, Mo Mendez, Kai Greene, Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez, Phil Heath, Jay Cutler. I admire all physiques - Natural or not, but I give props to all of the Natural Competitors out there who are staying true to the game and staying healthy.
For more on Philip Ricardo check out www.Philipricardojr.com