Massive Pro Bodybuilder Shawn Wolfe Talks To Muscle & Strength

Squats overrated? So says Shawn Wolfe! Learn more about Shawn's training, supplementation and love for bodybuilding in this interview.
Shawn Wolfe

Quick Stats

  • Shawn Wolfe
  • 1972
  • Bodybuilding
  • 20
  • 188 lbs

What do you love most about bodybuilding?

The thing that I love most about the sport of bodybuilding is that you control the product that you produce/display for others to admire and/or judge. You’re the creator in the fact that all the gym time you put into sculpting the show piece is in your hands. All the proper nutrition and supplementation is providing the valuable energy and nutrients your body needs to grow in order to add to that creation and you control that.

Shawn Wolfe

You control every aspect of it, when to train... when to eat, what to train… what to eat, when to do cardio… how much cardio. It’s all on you to take the necessary steps to be the best at that sport, YOUR SPORT! After that it’s up to the judges to decide on that finish product you’ve worked so hard to create. Did you do all that you could?

What were the major milestones that gave you that "extra" motivation boost?

I had 3 things or milestones that I wanted to accomplish in the sport of bodybuilding. The first was to win an overall show, well that one didn’t take long at all. My VERY first show I walked away with the Overall Title of Mr. Northern Japan in 1996. I knew then that I might be on to something here.

Shawn Wolfe

The second goal was to compete in and win the NPC National All Forces Military Bodybuilding Championships. Again my first time entering I achieved that goal against some of the best the sport has to offer. That’s still one of the greatest moments I reflect back on the most.

Finally, I wanted to become a natural pro to show others that it is possible to have one of the top physiques in the sport and still be natural. I entered my first pro qualifier show last Year here in Alaska and won the Overall and a pro card. Now I look forward to showing others what proper training and nutrition can achieve!

What keeps you motivated?

My motivation comes from knowing I will step back on stage against other competitors, some I’ve competed against and others I have yet to face. I tell myself that I’m the “underdog,” the one without a chance of winning! So I focus, train as if I have something to prove to each competitor, judge, and person in attendance that I wasn’t sitting at home thinking about what to do, I WAS DOING IT!

Every single time I step into the gym I make it count, each rep, each cardio session, each drop of sweat, played a part in what you see on stage. In my mind I know there’s someone out there who doesn’t want to be beat, who doesn’t want 2nd place, so I know they’re giving it all they got. I picture that guy, his drive, his goal and I’m training to destroy every existence of it!

What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?

I would say one of the biggest training mistakes I’ve made was improper lifting, which includes lifting too heavy and using improper form. My goal was to lift every weight in the gym or die trying. You know that guy who stacks all the weight on whatever he is doing and either gets hurt or brings it down 2 inches and calls it a good lift. Yes that was me for about a year.

Well after a couple of shoulder injuries due to improper form from the heavy weights, I decided it was time to really focus on proper technique instead of my ego. Once I started I notice tremendous gains in the way my body developed. So my advice to those who are not “powerlifters” focus more on your technique/form to achieve that winning physique judges are looking for.

Shawn Wolfe

What are the most underrated and overrated muscle building exercises?

The one exercise that comes to mind as being underrated has to be the stiff-leg deadlift. I use this exercise to target the gluteus as well as the hamstrings.

Stand with shoulder width or narrower stance on shallow platform with feet flat beneath bar. Bend knees and bend over with lower back straight. Grasp barbell with shoulder width overhand or mixed grip, shoulder width or slightly wider. Lift weight to standing position.

Shawn Wolfe

Lower bar to top of feet by bending hips. Bend knees slightly during descent and keep waist straight, flexing only slightly at bottom. With knees bent, lift bar by extending at hips until standing upright. Pull shoulders back slightly if rounded. Extend knees at top if desired. Repeat.

The one exercise I find to be the most overrated is the squat. I haven’t performed regular squats in over 10 years. I find that the leg press, leg extensions, and hack squats have been my bread and butter for what I think is a nice set of wheels. I do lots, lots of reps on these exercises to keep the blood flowing and that pump to expand the muscle to give me that size as well as those deep cuts and lines.

What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?

My post-workout nutrition and supplementation is quite simple. Immediately after training I consume 1,000 milli-grams of glutamine to help reduce muscle soreness and rebuild muscle tissue. I also take Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) to assist with lean mass growth and prevent muscle breakdown and 50 grams of Whey Protein. As far as the nutrition goes within an hour of finishing my workout I eat a chicken breast and either broccoli or asparagus to top it all off.

What does your current supplementation plan look like?

My current supplementation consists of the following:

  • Creatine – Used to boost muscle strength, power, and size during high-intensity activities. 6 weeks on 6 weeks off.
  • Glutamine – To help reduce muscle soreness and rebuild muscle tissue and help with recovery.
  • Fish Oil – Essential tats and joint health.
  • Multi Vitamin – Overall health and help with any dietary imbalance.
  • Protein - Key to any bodybuilder, helps build, conserve muscle.
  • BCAAs – Assist with lean mass growth and prevent muscle breakdown.

Shawn Wolfe

What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?

One of my favorite motivational quotes is one I came up with myself. It goes like this, “Bodybuilding is an art. I paint for 20 weeks using weights and nutrition as my brush. I display my portrait on Stage. MASTERPIECE!” – Mr. Wolfe.

Another favorite I have...

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination.” - Tommy Lasorda

Shawn Wolfe

If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?

If anyone wants to contact me I can be found at the websites or email listed below:

What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?

For me being 100% natural and competing 100% natural has always been my belief and something that I am extremely proud of. It takes a lot more work, dedication, and time but is more gratifying than what others seem to achieve overnight with the help of performance enhancing products. Using performance enhancing drugs for sports, in my opinion, is an easy way out of working hard…a quick “HIGH” if you may. Not to mention what long term effects that they may have on your body, those are risks I’m not willing or ever want to take.

I’m happy with my past accomplishments and those I have “YET” to accomplish naturally! I’ve competed in different organizations, some drug tested others not, but I have always stood proud and represented all the “NATURAL MONSTERS” out there, and believe me they’re so top-notch competitors that represent natural bodybuilding and what it stands for. To those men and women, I salute you and asked that you continue to hold your heads high and proud! I will continue to be 100% drug free and represent all the natural competitors and organizations very well!

Shawn Wolfe

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11 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 01/31/2012 - 14:35

Thanks Justin!! I do Miss Misawa!!

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Posted Mon, 01/30/2012 - 14:30
Justin Johnson

Shawn was somebody I considered a friend and worked out around at the gym in Misawa, Japan for years and learned and benefited greatly simply by being in the same gym. I've never competed or been on that type of level, but he always was a motivator then and just seeing how much he's continuing to accomplish makes me miss my gym time in Misawa. I can only imagine how many other people have benefited from his guidance since then.

Congrats Shawn!! Way to keep doing your thing!

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Posted Sat, 06/11/2011 - 09:47

Great article. It is great to hear someone talk about being able to get by in life without doing squats! I actually still do the squats because I suffer from a neurotic condition that prevents me from "letting go of things". :)

Great advice with respect to keeping your form and advising that gains will be made via this road as opposed to excessive weights lifted incorrectly. Keep up the good work!!

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Posted Tue, 06/21/2011 - 17:38

Thanks Stuart! Much appreciated..

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Posted Wed, 06/08/2011 - 20:19

You are a wonderful role model for natural bodybuilding. Truly something to be proud of!

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Posted Thu, 06/09/2011 - 12:02

Thank you Susan.

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Posted Fri, 06/03/2011 - 02:29
Dave Willcox

Nice Shawn! You are the man! Really appreciate your "help" and encouragement getting Ernie and I off to a good start. We'll get going on Phase 2 here soon and I aim to keep after it in CO. I have to admit - PCS time has a way of knocking a routine right off the track...Damn! See you next week.

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Posted Thu, 06/09/2011 - 12:01

Thanks you Sir... You know if you need anything you know how to reach me!

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Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 09:22
Donna Knight

I am so happy to see this interview of Shawn Wolfe. He is truely an inspiration and role model we need in this sport, as well as to all athletes out there. It is so inspiring to see he dedication to the sport of budybuilding and to remain natural with no shame or resevation. I applaud you Shawn!

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Posted Thu, 06/02/2011 - 13:42

Thanks Donna! Really appreciate the kind words..

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Posted Wed, 06/01/2011 - 16:37

Thanks Steve for taking the time to do the Interview!