Antonio Bongiovanni Athlete Profile

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Antonio Bongiovanni
Quick Stats
  • Antonio Bongiovanni
  • March 1st, 1981
  • Point Pleasant, NJ
  • 5'3 1/2"
  • 143 Pounds
  • 13
  • Vitamin C
Antonio took home a first place finish at the 2009 Natural Hercules, and has his sights set on capturing the top WNBF crown.

Competition History

  • 2004 NY State Natural Novice Lightweight 7th
  • 2006 Natural Hercules Novice Lightweight 2nd
  • 2007 Natural CT Novice Lightweight 4th
  • 2007 Natural Hercules Novice Lightweight 5th
  • 2007 USBF Jersey Shore Classic Open Lightweight 3rd
  • 2009 Natural North America Open Bantamweight 3rd
  • 2009 USBF Jersey Shore Classic Open Bantamweight 2nd
  • 2009 Natural Hercules Open Bantamweight 1st

Your background

What is your background and how did you get started in bodybuilding?

My older brother Joe was heavily into powerlifting and bodybuilding. He wanted to start training to put on size. After my sophomore year of wrestling I started a four day program and never looked back. I did not compete for eight years after starting lifting. Every couple years I evolved closer to being a bodybuilder. From age 16-22 I just trained hard and heavy. During those first six years I went from 120 to 190.  At age 23 I entered my first contest and was determined to improve.

Five weeks before my first show I cut my hand and needed stitches. My training was pretty light going into the show. The diet was horrible. I was basically starving my muscle away. At my first show I looked like a newbie to lifting. After the show I gained 37 pounds in three or four months. The hardest part for me was figuring out how to get in proper condition. I had to be willing to go lower in bodyweight than ever before for a contest. After walking around at 190 at 5'3" never did I think my best contest weight so far would be 140.

Why do you love bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding when I started gave me something productive to do after school. It gave something to focus my aggression on. I love being able to improve in the gym and out of it.

Don't expect instant bodybuilding success.


What is your training philosophy?

I would fall into the high intensity group. I train similar to the Dorian Yates. In the off-season and contest season my lifting is four days per week. I do not increase reps or sets while dieting but rather fight to train heavy. In the off-season I rarely perform any cardio. Pre-contest my cardio is normally consists of two sessions of twenty minutes.

What's a good workout routine that has given you results?

Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 10-8-8-8
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 8
Weighted Chest Dip 2 8
Skullcrushers 3 10-8-6
Seated Dumbbell Extensions 2 10 to 12
Back and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 3 10-8-8
Weighted Pull Up 3 10-8-6
T Bar Row 2 10
Seated Calf Raise 3 10-8-8
One Leg Standing Calf Raise 2 6
Shoulders and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 10-8-6
Standing Lateral Raise 2 10
Standing Rear Raise 2 10
Dumbbell Shrugs 2 10
Seated Dumbbell Press 2 10
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 2 8
Behind The Back Wrist Curls 2 6
Legs and Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 10-8-8
Dumbbell Lunge 2 8
Still Leg Deadlifts 2 6
Dumbbell Step Ups 1 10
Hanging Leg Raise 2 25
Weighted Decline Crunches 2 25
Bar Twists 2  25

If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

  • Dips would can be used to work the chest and the triceps.
  • Chin ups can cover the back and the biceps.
  • Deep squatting would hit both hams and quads with one exersize.  

What’s the best training tip you could give to others?

The majority of people have average genetics. Following high volume routines are not efficient. Most will benefit from 3 or 4 day workout routines. Instead of doing 4 or five sets per exercise put more into two sets and grow. Doing few sets allows workouts to move along quickly and helps with strength gains.  A lot of trainers use sloppy form and too much weight.


Whole foods are the best.What is your philosophy on nutrition?

Whole foods are the best. Any bodybuilder you see with grainy hard condition eats all or most of their meals with whole food. Eating similar in the off-season with addition of calories allows you to stay in great shape and easily adjust your diet come contest time.

Give us a typical day in your off season diet:

  • Meal one - 12 oz oatmeal, 8 oz liquid egg whites, ten strawberries, and one scoup of natural peanut butter.
  • Meal two - Six rice cakes, two scoups natural peanut butter, and one banana.
  • Meal three - 4 oz chicken, 8 oz brown rice, one tb olive oil, lettuce, tomato, and one orange.
  • Meal four - 4 oz chicken, two cups wheat pasta, mixed veggies, and one tb olive oil.
  • Meal five - 4 oz turkey, one banana, one sweet potato, and three pieces romaine.
  • Meal six - 8 oz flounder and three pieces romaine. 

Give us a typical day in your diet (contest prep):

Here is my last contest diet. This time hopefully I will not have to go so extreme.

  • Meal one - 8 oz oatmeal, five strawberries, and one scoup protein.
  • Meal two - Five rice cakes, one banana, and one tb of natural peanut butter.
  • Meal three - 4 oz chicken, one cup brown rice, lettuce, tomato, and one orange.
  • Meal four - 4 oz chicken, one cup wheat pasta, and mixed veggies.
  • Meal five - 4 oz turkey, one sweet potato, and three pieces romaine.
  • Meal six - 4 oz flounder and three pieces romaine.

What are your favorite meals and foods?

My favorite is chicken, pasta, and veggies.

Favorite cheat food?

Chicken parm, baked ziti, pizza, and Chinese.

What’s be the best nutrition tip you could give to others?

Bodybuilders normally will raise protein really high and cut carbs to dangerous levels. Without a good amount of carbs you can not process the protein anyway. Stay away from dehydration and extreme dieting.


What supplements do you use that give you great results? How do you use them?

  1. Whey protein is a good add on to a diet if your not taking in what you need with real food. I stick with real food but if your not disciplined to eat six or more whole food meals it is a good alternative.
  2. Vitiman c is excellent for recovery. When dieting I normally will have two servings instead of one. This helps not get sick when adding in the extra activity required preparing for a show.
  3. I tried glutamine for a few weeks tasted horrible and was did not feel any rewards. 

What brands do you think are offering the best products at the moment?

Isopure is the cleanest protein.

What do you think is a good off season muscle building stack?

Extra food from quality sources with the occasional cheat meal.

Decide what is needed to accomplish your goals.

Advice For Others

What are the 3 best tips you'd give to someone thinking about competing in natural bodybuilding?

  1. Honestly look at yourself and figure out what you need to bring up before competing.
  2. Do not expect instant success unless you are the rare genetic freak.
  3. Most important aspect of is being in true contest shape. Only a few competitors come in proper shape at amateur shows. If you want to win be one of them.  

What is your best advice for looking your best on competition day?

Plan way ahead. Don’t expect to get in shape with last minute tricks. If you are in shape avoid last minute tricks that will only ruin what you worked to show. Bottom line if truly in shape there is nothing to worry about. Dehydration for most naturals only flattens them out.

How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who's having trouble staying on track?

Bodybuilding is my passion. To constantly improve not only for the stage but for personal gratification.  Decide what is needed to accomplish your goals.

Future Plans

What shows have you got coming up, where can we see you compete?

WNBF Pro American June 5th. 

What would you like to achieve in your natural bodybuilding career?

WNBF overall world champion. Most would laugh or call me crazy. Being realistic I feel that genetics, age, and drive are on my side even if no one else can see or believe it.

Favorite Competitors

Who are your favorite bodybuilders and idols?

Growing up my brother Joe, Arnold S., Frank Zane, Franco, Haney, Yates, Labrada, Goodin, Jon Harris, Rob Hope, and whoever is WNBF champ. The world champ is who everyone else in the federation should be chasing and looking to overcome.

How Can People Contact You?

How can people contact you?