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BRITISH EDITION

Best of British mens physique & bikini

4 SandowS and
counting

5 RuleS

Late night

caRBS

good or bad?
www.flexonline.co.uk
FEBRUARY 2015 4.20
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FEBRUARY
2015

cover photograph by
PER BERNAL

features
28 KING KONG KHAN

38

Training chest hard and smart


with the king.

38 THE FOURTH
DIMENSION
Phil Heath wins his fourth Sandow
at the 50th Mr Olympia.

62 OLYMPIA ALL-ACCESS
Go everywhere and meet everyone
at the 2014 Olympia Weekend.

70 ROMANS EMPIRE
German giant Roman Fritz is
seeking new worlds to conquer.

82 WHEN THEORY
MEETS PRACTICE
Applying hierarchy theory to
build the complete package.

90 THE KINGMAKER
Neil Hill, one of the worlds
leading contest prep experts,
on working with 212 Olympia
champ Flex Lewis, and his other
big clients.

100 BEING FRANK


Training secrets from the
legendary Frank Zane.

28

FLEX

VOLUME 32 NUMBER 11

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CLASSIC
MUSCLE
136 NEWS

Young and gifted

138 THE PROFESSIONAL


Ryan John-Baptiste becomes the
UKs second IFBB mens physique
pro after winning the 2014 British
Championships.

140 INTERNATIONAL
AMBITIONS

90

Bikini fitness competitor Gizelle


Higginson doesnt let running
businesses on two continents stop
her from getting in shape.

132

142 RYAN TERRY


The IFBB mens physique pro on
why hes tempted to switch to
bodybuilding

146 NINA ROSS


The British bikini pro on why she
trains for strength

148

LOOKING BACK
A look back at the career of
Mohammed Benaziza

100
DEPARTMENTS
12 Welcome
The greatest or the latest?

14 Arnolds Page

16 Its Only My Opinion

Pectoral perfection
Gunner

20 Hard Times
The race to Las Vegas; and more!

108 Gym Bag

Research and training tips


for your next workout

112 Advanced Nutrition

Chase the pump for greater gains

128 The Freak Speaks!

Anth the Freak Bailes answers


your questions.

132 European Muscle

Bodybuilding news and


views from around the
continent

156 Under the Microscope

Using the power rack to blast


through training plateaus

158 Bodybuilder of the Month

120 Extreme Muscle

How to keep building muscle


as you get older
FLEX

Heavy squats for big arms?

127 Pump It

The latest food and


supplement news

116 Lift Strong

122 Anabolic Academy


Cluster training
126 Advanced Bodybuilding

We put Beast Sports Creature


under the microscope.
Athlete profile

160 The Shot

212 Champion

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by john plummer, editorial director

Phil Heath has now won four


Olympia titles and some are
already claiming his physique is the
greatest of all time. Others say he is the
best of a mediocre bunch and that there
arent as many great bodybuilders today as
there were in the 1990s when the likes of
Dorian Yates, Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone
and Shawn Ray did battle.
Only Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, Dorian
Yates and Arnold Schwarzenegger have more
Sandows so Heath, who is just 35 years old,
could beat every record in the book. But would
that make him the best?
Heath doesnt have the freak factor of a
Coleman or a Kai Greene. In fact, when hes
dressed he almost looks like a regular guy.
And its true that some of his individual
poses, such as back double biceps, arent
as spectacular as Yates or Colemans. But
Heaths physique flows in a way neither of
those two mens did and when he poses
everything comes alive. Few bodybuilders
have combined 3D muscle with aesthetics
better than he does. Check out the photos
in this months edition.
The Gift isnt there yet, but I suspect that
in five or 10 years time his name will feature
prominently in every discussion on the
greatest of all time.
Closer to home this month we have
expanded our Classic Muscle section, which
caters for men and women who train for a less
extreme look. Mens physique, bikini fitness
and bodyfitness are continuing to boom
around the world. We profile new British
mens physique pro Ryan John-Baptiste,
and British bikini pro Nina Ross begins a
new column by talking about why she trains
for strength even though she is judged on
aesthetics.
It may be a quiet time of year for competitive
bodybuilding but weve got plenty of inspiration
and advice to keep your training progressing
over the long winter months. FLEX

12

FleX

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BY ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR

PECTORAL PERFECTION
The dumbbell flye is the best chest isolation movement you can perform
to your sides in a wide arc until
your pecs are fully stretched or
your hands are about level with
your shoulders. Pause at the
bottom, then bring the weights
back up, following the same arc
you took on the way down.
When I was competing, a
common mistake that trainees
often made was keeping
their arms perfectly straight
during the movement, which
can put undue stress on the
elbow joints. This seems to
have been corrected since,
with most people employing
the slight elbow bend I just
mentioned.
Two other examples of
incorrect technique are using
too much weight and lowering
the dumbbells too far to the
sides. The idea of using too

much weight doesnt need


much explanation. Flyes arent
a power exercise, and if you cant
perform reps without excessively
bending your elbows, youre
working too heavy. In this case,
decrease the weight. If youre
struggling with 40-pound
dumbbells, try 30s or 25s. Using
too great a range of motion is the
second recipe for disaster. Once
youve lowered the weights to
the point at which your hands are
level with your shoulders or you
can feel a moderate, not painful,
stretch in the pecs, thats far
enough. Lowering too far puts
way too much stress on the

HAPPY
FLYEING
Many trainees do flyes at the end

of their routines, after the pecs are


warmed up. Heres a chest workout
that incorporates that approach.

14

FLEX

pectoral muscles, shoulders


and biceps, not to mention the
vulnerable shoulder joint itself.
To avoid this, always lower the
dumbbells slowly so that
momentum doesnt carry you
past the desired range of motion.
Again, as soon as you feel the
onset of a stretch in your pecs,
switch directions smoothly.
Remember, nothing sets your
development back further faster
than serious injury.
You need to stay within your
limits, train with the appropriate
weight, and use safe, exacting
technique to keep your development on schedule. FLEX

EXERCISE

SETS

REPS

Barbell or Machine Bench Press

34

810

Incline Dumbbell Press

34

1012

Dip

1520

Flat or Incline Dumbbell Flye

1215

ZEllEr FitNEss puBliCatiONs, iNC.,


COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

Dumbbell flyes have


always been a mainstay
of my chest programme. Since
the function of the pecs is to pull
the upper arms forwards and
towards the centre of the body,
flyes are designed as an
isolation exercise that hits the
chest without involving the
triceps or other muscles. As
such, it is a great movement for
hitting the pecs with maximum
intensity to achieve maximum
growth. To do dumbbell flyes
correctly, lie face up on a flat,
incline, or decline bench while
holding the weights above you
and over your face. Turn your
palms in so they face each other
and bend your elbows slightly,
keeping them at that angle
throughout the movement.
Next, lower the dumbbells out

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BY chris lund, uk editor since 1985 photo BY chris lund

GUNNER
When I first started photographing
out of Koloseum Gym in Costa
Mesa, California, I quickly got to know
a very friendly bodybuilder named
Gunner, who was the strongest and
hardest training bodybuilder in the
entire gym, weighing around 250
pounds at 5 ft 8 ins. He was a full-time
personal trainer and always trained his first
client of the day at 6 am. Three times a
week he would drive over to Koloseum
Gym for his own workout at 11 am, just as
the Chris Lund travelling circus was arriving
to photograph its first victim of the day.
When youre shooting powerhouse
bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman,
or Jay Cutler, you need to make sure you
have enough helpers to lift those 170- or
200-pound dumbbells into position. I only
had one assistant when I first started
working out of the Koleseum Gym and
I was always getting frustrated because
I needed more help. When I looked around
the gym for volunteers to help us with
these dumbbells, it didnt take long to
work out who my friends were: most of
the big guys either looked the other way,
sneaked off to the toilet or headed for
the water fountain.
Gunner saved us on more than one
occasion: he would always step forward
and say, Hey, I will help you guys out.
And thats just what he would do. Many
times he would nonchalantly pick up a
200-pound dumbell like it was childs toy.
After one tremendously heavy photo
session with the one and only Ronnie
Coleman, I sat down for a chat with
Gunner, so that I could find out more about
him. First of all I asked him if Gunner was
his real name.
My real name is Brett Gunderson, he

16

FLEX

replied, but everyone has called me


Gunner for as long as I can remember.
How come youre so strong? I asked.
Ive never seen anyone in this gym lift as
heavy as you do.
Well, you know, he replied, bodybuilding was like love at first sight for me,
and as far as strength is concerned, I guess
I just loved becoming stronger and stronger
the harder I trained. Its a passion, you
could say. To be honest, I only use light
weights to warm up my muscles.
Ive also noticed that you train with
ferocious intensity. Why is this?
Because thats the only way to build
bigger and stronger muscles. Dont let
anyone fool you. Its impossible to get
bigger and stronger using light or even
medium poundages on your exercises. You
would be amazed how many guys in here
fail to push themselves to the limit. They
come in here several days a week and use
the same poundages, sets and reps that
they always do. No wonder they never get
bigger and stronger.
Maybe thats why you stand out in
the gym, I replied. Every time I see you
training, you are always pushing yourself
to the maximum.
I dont know any other way, he
replied with a great big grin on his face.
I then asked Gunner if he had ever
competed in bodybuilding contests.
Sure, he replied. I won the superheavyweight class at the 2000 Orange
County Classic, but then I didnt even place
at the NPC USA championships that same
year. In 2002 I won the super-heavyweight
class at the Orange County Classic again
and then placed third in the heavyweight
class at the California championships.
This year [2004], I did pretty well. I won

the super-heavyweight class and overall at


the Orange County Classic. I also won the
super-heavyweight class at the California
Championships.
I may do one more show next year
and that will be it as far as contests are
concerned. Its too time-consuming and
difficult for me to prepare for a show.
Remember I do actually work for a living,
plus I know my limits.
[Editors note: Gunner placed 13th in
the super-heavyweight class at the
2005 NPC USA Championships. He never
competed again.]
You mean you have absolutely no
desire to win the Mr Olympia? I asked.
Ive never had any aspiration to win the
Olympia. The truth is, it would be almost
impossible, because the odds are truly
stacked against me.
Wow! I replied. I dont think Ive ever
met a bodybuilder who isnt training to
become Mr Olympia. Youre the first one,
Gunner.
Gunner started laughing and then said,
Yes, to me its a sad but true fact that
every bodybuilder cant even become
Mr America or Mr Universe, let alone
Mr Olympia. The average bodybuilder
simply doesnt have those amazing genes
that only a handful of guys have. I mean,
sure, some of them can actually make it to
the Mr America or Mr Universe, but how
many Mr Olympias have we had since the
contest was created way back in 1965?
No, we havent had many, I agreed.
During the past 30 years I have photographed some of the greatest competitive
bodybuilders on this planet, legends such
as Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Shawn
Ray, Mike Francois, Mike Mentzer, Paul
Dillett, Jean-Pierre Fux, Rich Gaspari,

BRETT GUNNER GUNDERSON


SHOULDER PRESSING TWO
170 POUND DUmBBELLS

Serge Nubret, Bertil Fox and Tom Platz...


They were all definitely good enough to
win the Mr Olympia, but just not lucky
enough to do so.
Anyway Gunner, whats your own
philosophy towards being, and remaining,
a healthy, bigger, stronger bodybuilder?
Well, as I said before, he replied, you
simply have to love training, but most
important of all, you should always have
that genuine drive and desire to become
bigger and stronger. Thats what sets us
bodybuilders apart from everyone else. Its
not really the contest thing. It never has

been in my eyes anyway. The truth is,


competing was really good for my
business.
But, what about those crazy high
protein diets and steroids? Thats what
most ill-informed people think its all
about, dont they?
Unfortunately they do, and thats
what really gets my back up, I can tell you.
Speaking for myself I dont believe in all
these crazy diets. Sure, I always try my
best to stay away from saturated fats
and sugar, but I never follow any of those
ridiculous diets you hear about. I try my

best to follow a well balanced diet


at all times, even though its hard for
me because I have to work long hours
training people.
How about steroids, Gunner? I asked.
Steroids are the number one negative
factor in all of bodybuilding, but if youre
not training for a contest, you dont need
them at all.
I really miss Gunner. He was a great
bodybuilder and a credit to the sport.
See you next month,
and keep training,
Chris Lund FLEX
FLEX

17

RACE TO
LAS VEGAS
Its official: Europe hosts two

20

FLEX

Dennis Wolf
has already
booked his
Olympia place

JakuB kOpCEk

of the four most prestigious


Mr Olympia qualifiers in the
world. The annual battle for places on
stage in Las Vegas is the fiercest in
bodybuilding. The winner of each show
automatically qualifies and the five men
who have accumulated the most points
from the 2015 Olympia Qualification
Series will join them.
The IFBB has listed how many
points each pro show carries towards
qualification. As part of this, it has
divided all contests into four tiers.
The Arnold Classic in America, which
takes place from March 5th to 8th, is the
sole tier one event, carrying the maximum
number of points for athletes finishing
second to fifth.
Europe accounts for two of the three
events in tier two. They are the Arnold
Classic Europe and the EVLS Prague
Pro. The New York Pro is the only other
tier two event.
Its a huge vote of confidence in the
promoters of the contests in Madrid
and Prague, particularly as neither
competition existed prior to 2011, and
can only make the events more attractive
to top bodybuilders.
The new Arnold Classic Australia,
which succeeds the successful Australian
Pro run by Tony Doherty, is listed as a tier
three event, which means that even in its
first year it will carry more prestige than
many established pro shows.

ANTH The FREAK


BAILES
IFBB PRO &
PHARMAFREAK Athlete

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The stage where everyone wants to be

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The best of British muscle at


Red Rock canyon, Las Vegas:
L-R Neale Cranwell, Ryan Terry,
Georgia Simmons, Dean Lesiak
and Marc Hector

Dean Lesiak

DESERT HEAT
In cold, wet Britain there arent many opportunities to shoot top physiques at
sunset against spectacular backdrops. So when five of the countrys finest
physiques were in Las Vegas, we persuaded them to head to nearby Red Rock Canyon
a national conservation area that, as the name suggests, contains some spectacular red
sandstone rocks.
After navigating their way through some treacherous cacti-laden paths, and some strange
looks from passers-by, they ignored the stones beneath their feet to pose for photographer
Christopher Bailey.
Our intrepid five were bodybuilders Dean Lesiak, who is the reigning British light-heavyweight champion, Neale Cranwell and Marc Hector, mens physique pro Ryan Terry, and bikini
fitness star Georgia Simmons. They showed that the most impressive peaks arent only made
by nature. FLEX

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FLEX

Georgia Simmons

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Ryan Terry

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28

FLEX

KING KONG

KHAN
training chest hard and smart with the King

A lot of guys BeNch Press four PlAtes

but have weak chests. whys that?

Monday seems to be National Bench Press day.


n
Walk into the gym on a Monday afternoon or evening
and there will be guys sitting around waiting for a flat
bench press to free up so they can assume the position
and put up some iron. And guess what? Its just the same
in the Sheffield gym where IFBB pro Zack Khan trains.
At 5'11" and an off-season 310 pounds, King Khan says
his favourite body part to train is chest. From the sheer
size of him60-inch chest, 24-inch armsyou might
expect Khan to be bouncing 600 or more pounds off his
chest. But this is a man who has been hurt and knows
better. When Khan tore both tendons above his kneecaps
hack squatting in mid-2010, the injury postponed this
2009 British Championships super-heavyweight and

overall winners pro debut all the way through to 2013


(when he placed seventh at the Dallas Europa Super
Show). When he trains anything these days, he trains
hard, but he trains smart.
Consider what he has to say about bench pressing:
A lot of guys bench press four plates but have weak
chests. Whys that? Theyre using their triceps and their
front delts. They dont have that mind-muscle connection
to their chests. When you bench press, you want your
elbows up high towards your ears, so your arms are
straight. Lots of people bring their arms down into their
lats, which brings their triceps into it and lets them move
more weight. Sure, they might be stronger, but what
about their chest development?
FLEX

29

KHANS DAILY MEAL


& SUPPLEMENTATION
PLAN
MEAL 1
100 g oats,
1 chopped banana,
20 g raisins,
5 whole eggs,
black coffee with
coconut milk
MEAL 2
250 g chicken
breast,
100 g white rice,
100 g vegetables

PRE-WORKOUT
MEAL (3)
Pre-workout
formula,
NO-booster,
BCAAs
POST-WORKOUT
MEAL (4)
Protein shake with
glutamine and
creatine

MEAL 5
250 g beef,
100 g rice,
400 g sweet
potato
MEAL 6
Cottage cheese
with 300 g
sweet potato

Flat Bench Press


n Khan warms up his chest with light sets of dumbbell
flyes, shoulder presses, and triceps pushdowns. Hell cycle
through each exercise four times, doing 10 reps per exercise.
Im just trying to warm up all the muscles used when I train
my chest, explains Zack.
His first set of bench presses, with one plate on either side of
the bar for 20 reps, continues the warm-up. Khan will slap a
second plate on both sides and pump out an easy 15 reps.
From there he jumps up to his work weight: four plates. Khan
will get as many reps as he can to failure, anywhere between
10 and 12 reps depending on how he feels that day. As he stated
above, his elbows are flared out closer to his ears than his lats,
making this as close to a pure pec movement as one can get.
For his final set, Khan will drop the weight down and go to
failure, at least 12 reps.

30

FLEX

InclIne
Hammer
Press

n Im warmed up from the


benching, says Zack, so I can
jump right into my heavy set of
incline presses. Khans heavy
set on this movement involves
presses for at least 12 reps
until he achieves momentary
muscular failure. If I dont get
at least 8 reps, I dont count
that as a set.
If hes training by himself,
Khan rests a minute to a
minute-and-a-half between
sets. If hes training with a
partner, he rests long enough for
his partner to do his set and then
its Khans turn again. If youve
ever seen him train in person or in
videos, you know King Khan is
quite vocal as he lifts: he grunts
and curses, psyching himself up.
He sounds angry. Fortunately the
300-pounders wrath is aimed
at the iron.
Khan has been known to
substitute inclines on a Smith
machine or use dumbbells.

FLEX

31

cable flye

n I mix it up from week to week,


explains King Khan. If I did flat
dumbbell flyes on Monday last week,
this Monday Ill do cable flyes. Either
exercise, you dont need to go too
heavy. You want to concentrate on the
contraction and squeeze at the top of
the rep. Its like hugging a tree. At the
top of the rep, hug the tree, extend
your elbows straight, push your chest
together and squeeze it. Whichever
exercise hes doing, Khan will complete
four sets of 15 reps. Remember,
Khan says, These are about the feel,
not the amount of weight youre
moving.

WORKOUT SPLIT
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
32

FLEX

Chest and triceps


Quads and calves
Cardio and abs
Back and biceps
Shoulders and hamstrings
Off
Off

cHeST ROUTINE
eXeRcISe
Bench Press
Incline
Hammer Press
Pec-deck Flye or
Flat Dumbbell Flye
Dip

SeTS
56

RePS
1020

34

815

15

2040

DIPS

n The Kings last chest exercise for the


day is dips, which hell do either on a dip
machine or a freestanding dip station. Ill do
two sets for 2040 reps per set, depending on
how strong Im feeling. The point is, Ill take
each set to failure. And thats
my chest workout,
yeah. FLEX

its
about
the
feel,
not the
amount of
weight
youre
moving.

by

GREG MERRITT photographs by BILL COMSTOCK

2014 MR OLYMPIA

THE FOURTH
DIMENSION
Phil Heath wins his fourth Sandow
at the 50th Mr Olympia

It is not the critic who counts; not the man


who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them
better. The credit belongs to the man who is
actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly
theodore roosevelt, the man in the arena

38

FLEX

The man in Orleans Arena raises his arms


and pumps his fist. He flexes his chest
and arms so hard he doubles over. He
does so when he hears four-time
Mr Olympia, before his name rings out,
before he hugs the three-time runner-up,
his arch rival, before he receives his gold
medal, and an oversize version of his
$275,000 cheque, and his fourth
Sandowthis one 18 carat gold. This is
the culmination of the 50th anniversary
of Joe Weiders Olympia. The four-time
Mr Olympia has his critics, a legion that
will surely grow now that he won at less
than his best and as impatient observers
tire of the same conclusions. But once
again Phil Heath strode into the arena,
once again he fought valiantly, and once
again he is the last gladiator standing.
FLEX

39

GARY PHILLIPS

PHIL HEATH

40

FLEX

ATHLETES MEETING
Lets flash back to last years
athletes meeting, when the carbdepleted competitors signed a few
promotional posters. When Kai
Greene added Mr Olympia 2013
to his autographs, repercussions
reverberated around the bodybuilding world. So what does he
do this year? He signs Mr Olympia
2014, of course. Just behind him,
the current Mr Olympia, sporting a
doomed beard speckled with grey,
is not amused.
Oh, did I do that? a coyly
smiling Greene retorts when I ask
him about the title he affixed to his
name. Thoughts become things.
Ive worked and paid, and Im still

willing to pay to see my own dream


realised, and Im not afraid to
vocalise that. The previous Olympias
are in the history book, and you
cant take anything away from what
anyone accomplished then. But at
this moment, 2014 is not certain.
Hes the polar opposite to what
hes trying to portray, Heath says
of his arch rival Greene. Of course,
he believes in himself, as he should.
Everyone should believe in himself,
but to sign your name Mr Olympia,
its kind of an unwritten rule in
bodybuilding that you just dont do
that. You respect the title. To do it
again, it just lets me know this guy
has no class.

CHRIS BAILEY

360 Breakdown

41

GARY PHILLIPS

KAI GREENE

42

FLEX

PRESS CONFERENCE
The next day at the press conference, it takes
one question from emcee Bob Cicherillo for
the fireworks to erupt. Separated by an aisle
on the daises, Heath and Greene address
each other. Havent you learned from last
year? the reigning Mr O asks the heir
apparent. Respect the game. Thirteen
men have earned the right to write
[Mr Olympia].
Were going to show you how talk is
cheap, Greene responds. The past is
the past.
The back-and-forth grows increasingly
contentious with Heath brushing off Greene and
referencing his three victories in the manner of a
winning player pointing to the scoreboard. This is
what happens when you get desperate, he states.
Im going to show you desperate when we hit
those quarter-turns, Greene replies.
Its a pleasure to be a part of the Kai Greene and
Phil Heath show, Shawn Rhoden jokes. At the end
of the day, we all train [to be No. 1].
Ultimately, this is indeed the Kai Greene and
Phil Heath showa heavyweight title fight. When
Heath is dedicating the contest to his biological father,
who passed away in March, Greene interrupts him.
Outrage rains down on Greene from Heaths sister
in the audience. Greene brings up his childhood in
government institutions and the fact that hes never
met his dad. You think youre the only one who went
through anything, Heath retorts.
When Mr O says that all he does is beat Greene and

hes going to do it again, a glowering Greene replies, So lets


do it then. Kick my assets then. Im here. The records of
Greenes nutritionist (George Farrah) and Heaths (Hany
Rambod) are bandied about. Cicherillo eventually gets Greene
to succinctly state three reasons why hell defeat the reigning
Mr O: Ill outweigh him by 40 pounds. Ill be wider. And itll be
all over from the rear.
When, in turn, three-time Mr O Heath is asked for three
reasons why hell beat Greene, his reply is destined to live
on long after his reign ends: 2011, 2012, and 2013. The
audience erupts. Even Greene has to smile. But the deep
wounds opened up with barbed words will only fester until
the real battle begins.

FLEX

43

2014 MR OLYMPIA

44

FLEX

PHOTO CREDIT

GARY PHILLIPS

HEAD TO HEAD PHIL vs. KAI

S
AR
YE

CEL
EB

Presents

TING 50
RA

Brought to you by

2014 IFBB MR OLYMPIA


Sept. 1920, Orleans Arena; Las Vegas, NV
COMPETITOR

COUNTRY

PRIZE MONEY

1. Phil Heath*

USA

$275,000

2. Kai Greene*

USA

$130,000

3. Shawn Rhoden*

USA

$90,000

Germany

$55,000

5. Dexter Jackson*

USA

$45,000

6. Branch Warren

USA

$35,000

Egypt

$25,000

Dominican Republic

$20,000

9. Steve Kuclo

USA

$19,000

10. Juan Morel

USA

$16,000

11. Johnnie Jackson

USA

$4,000

12. Roelly Winklaar

Curaao

$4,000

13. Fred Smalls

USA

$4,000

14. Jonathan DeLaRosa

USA

$4,000

15. William Bonac

Netherlands

$4,000

16. Ibrahim Fahim

Egypt

$2,000

USA

$2,000

4. Dennis Wolf*

7. Mamdouh Elssbiay
8. Victor Martinez

PHOTO CREDIT

16. Jojo Ntiforo


*Qualified for the 2015 IFBB Mr Olympia

FLEX

45

SHAWN RHODEN

46

FLEX

COMPETITOR NO. 1
At prejudging the next evening,
Branch Warren is the first to
saunter to centre stage. Hes 39,
and his ninth place at last years
O was widely interpreted as the
beginning of a slide to oblivion.
Think again. This Texan brings
too much passion to the gym
and the stage. He isnt at his
peak, but hes closegrainy,
veiny, and with his trademark
leg, chest, and back density.
At the end of his mandatory
poses, he pumps his fist at the
appreciative audience, as if to
say to haters and supporters
alike, How you like me now?

In 2012, Shawn Rhoden won four


pro shows and finished third in
the Olympia, leaping from
also-ran to top contender. Ever
since, weve been waiting for him
to make the shorter jump to the
top. But its extremely rare for a pro
to make one such transformation,
let alone two. The 255-pound
Flexatron remains that almostperfect bodybuilder who could
win the O with another 1015
well-placed pounds. From the
chest down, he has it allbold abs,
slender hips, colossal quads and
hamsbut his pecs, delts, and lats
are still lagging by comparison. He
also couldve been a bit drier this
time. Rhoden turns 40 next year.
Can he make the necessary gains
to become Mr Olympia or are two
transformations in one career one
too many?

HEAD TO HEAD SHAWN vS. DENNIS

CHRIS BAILEY

COMPETITOR NO. 4

COMPETITOR NO. 7
Even at 44, the 2008 Mr Olympia winner
remains one of the most consistent
competitors of all time. In 67 pro contests
over 16 years, Dexter Jackson has never
finished in double digits. This year, he
forwent earlier shows to focus only on
the O. And here he is once again with all
the usual Blade traits: cantaloupe biceps,
perfectly aligned abs, chockablock pecs and
traps. If he isnt as crisp as he was a decade
ago, he made up for it by expanding his
quads in recent years, somehow reversing
the shrinking leg syndrome that afflicts
most 40-something bodybuilders.
This is his 15th Olympia, equalling
Ronnie Colemans record.

2014 MR OLYMPIA

4
DENNIS
WOLF

48

FLEX

COMPETITOR NO. 13
Mamdouh Elssbiay looks morphed. If
others are as big as houses, hes a shopping
centre. It seems impossible that he carries
285 lean pounds on a 5'9" frame without
looking even a little blocky. His rear-lat
spread and most muscular generate
incredulous smiles even amongst the most
jaded observers. Only his calves lag. Hes
sharper this year than last. His quads
perhaps the biggest of all timesport faint
cross striations. Still, he needs more overall
separation and detailing. If he can come in
tight enough, he can be Mr Olympia,
because he makes everyone who stands
next to him shrink by comparison.

5
DEXTER
JACKSON

COMPETITOR NO. 15
If you could bet on bodybuilding in Las
Vegas, Dennis Wolf would be easy to
handicap. In over half of his nine Olympias,
including this year, hes finished in places 4
or 5. Hes almost always on the verge of
top-contender status but yet not quite
there. That seemed to change when he
finally climbed to third at last years
Olympia and won this years Arnold Classic.
Some predicted this O would be a Wolf/
Heath clash. The truth is the 5'11" German
hasnt made substantial gains in seven
years. He was at his best in 2007, when he
was fifth at the Olympia but shouldve been
third. Hes not as full now as he was then.
His arms have retreated. Still, he came in
dry and grainy. And he remains one of the
four or five best bodybuilders in the world.

COMPETITOR NO. 16
We could focus on Kai Greenes strengths
his barrel legs, his hang-glider lats, his
spearhead biceps. Or we could focus on his
weaknesseshis absent abs, his thickened
middle, the scarcity of details and divots in
his back shots. I prefer the look of Greenes
5'8" physique when he won the 2009
Arnold Classic weighing 253 pounds with a
panoply of ab and lat lines. Like a heavy
coat, much of the flesh hes accumulated
since obscures more than it accentuates. As
the 39-year-old New Yorker rolls through his
poses, he generates the loudest cheers of
prejudging. As always, his physique is an
amazing work of abstract art, and he
expertly displays all 280 pounds. Still, weve
seen his attempt to overshadow Heath
before. It didnt work. And here he is again,
even bigger. Sometimes less is more.

COMPETITOR NO. 17
This is the worst Phil Heath has looked
since 2010. Although he came in at a typical
245, he is a little smaller and a little
smoother. His trademark rear double biceps
lacks its showstopping 3-D density and HD
details. His abs are blurry with some minor
bloating. But, of course, were always
measuring the Gift against his previous best
at the 2011 Olympia, and thats a phenomenal standard. Many consider it the best
look of any Mr O. He cant be expected to top
that at any contest, let alone every contest.
And he cant cram much more flesh on his
narrow frame without reaching the point of
diminishing returns. The only question after
he crunches his most muscular: did he do
enough to once again fend off his archrival?

50

FLEX

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2014 MR OLYMPIA
THE DUEL
Between the last competitor
hitting his mandatories alone and
the top contenders battling in the
first callout, groups organised in
numerical order run through the
mandatory poses together. This
usually serves as a repose. But
because No. 16 and No. 17 are side
by side in the last of these groups,
this is effectively the first callout,
the start of the dual everyone has
waited 12 months to seeHeath
versus Greene again on the Orleans
Arena stage.
Despite the simmering tension,
they run through the four semi
relaxed quarter-turns and the first
five of eight mandatories without
incident. But things heat up with
the side triceps pose. When Heath
turns one way and Greene the
other, the latter flips his rope of
braided hair and it brushes Heath.
No. 17 laughs it off, but as they
each simultaneously spike a calf,
their heels touch. Its merely the
inadvertent consequence of two
men doing the same side pose in
opposite directions, but here its
fuel for the coming fire.
Before the final pose, No. 16 is
crowding into No. 17s space. His
elbow bumps Heaths, and he then
jabs that elbow with his. Heath
wont budge. Greene glowers.
No. 17 tries to laugh it off, but,
as with Joe Pesci in Goodfellas
(Funny, how?), this only seems
to ignite the fire. Threats are made.
Smiles turn to scowls. Greene
stands with his back to the
audience jawing at Heath, mere
inches away, and Heath gives it
right back. The only logical
escalation then is a punch. Head
judge Steve Weinberger shouts into
his microphone for No. 16 and No. 17
to Spread out! and expeditor
Ropeman Felder moves Wolf
between the top two bodybuilders
in the world. The incident feels
ominous, signifying that the 50th
Mr Olympia may be remembered
for the wrong reason.
But what of the actual comparisons of No. 16 and No. 17? As always,
the farther you are away from the
stage, the more Greenes larger
silhouette impresses. In fact, even
more than in the past, this comes
down to Heaths more pleasing
shape versus Greenes more startling
size. Each takes individual poses.
Heath wins side triceps. Greene wins

52

FLEX

BRANCH
WARREN

front lat spread (a shot I had awarded to


Heath in previous duels).
And as for the rear double biceps, the
crucial pose that secured the Sandow for
Heath in 2011, 2012, and 2013, this time its
not so clear. Greene has better calves and
broader thighs, but Heath has more ham
and glute cuts. Greene has a much broader
back, but Heath has larger delts, deeper

traps, and meatier forearms. Upper arms are


too close to call. Its usually his back divots
(coupled with his lower-body lines) that win
this shot for Heath, but the ravines arent as
deep this time. Heaths greatest advantage
is in the middle: slimmer waistline, bolder
spinal erectors, greater glute striations. But,
unlike those three previous Olympias, this is
not a game-over shot for the Gift.

2014 MR OLYMPIA

THE 5oth

7
MAMDOUH
ELSSBiAY

On Saturday, the golden


anniversary Olympia gets rolling
with six of the 11 surviving
winners taking the stage.
Samir Bannout, Franco
Columbu, Jay Cutler, Ronnie
Coleman (hobbling valiantly
after double-hip replacement),
Lee Haney and Arnold
Schwarzenegger speak about
the importance of the contest
and its creator, Joe Weider. Two
more Mr Os, Jackson and Heath,
are subsequently among the
17 competitors who perform
their posing routines in front of
gargantuan LED video screens
playing transforming psychedelic patterns. Rhoden flows
slowly to R&B. After a lupine
howl, Wolf prowls the stage to
testosterone-fuelled classical.
Greene, the greatest avantgarde poser in bodybuilding
history, ends his routine with
a throwback to Dirty Diana.
(In friendlier times, Heath called
Greenes 2007 Dirty Diana
the best routine hed ever seen.)
In turn, Heath ends his segment
with a barrage of shots to
U Dont Know.
The 17 competitors are
brought out for callouts and
judged once again. It starts with
a four-man comparisonWolf,
Heath, Greene, Rhodenand
ends with two duels: Rhoden/
Wolf and, the one everyone
wants to see, Greene/Heath.
Greene is slightly drier than the
day before, but that has a
second meaning here, as his
torso is under-oiled. The clash
is curiously sedate.
After the Figure Olympia and
Olympia 212 Showdown awards,
and before a video tribute to
the 13 Mr Olympia champs and
the inaugural Joe Weider Iron
Award, the top 10 bodybuilders
spill offstage during the
posedown, striking poses
amidst the sold-out Orleans
Arena crowd of over 9,000. Its
notable who isnt in that group.
Last year, in the shape of his
life, Roelly Winklaar finished
seventh. This year, hes bigger
but bloated, and he retreats to
another double-digit finish.

FLEX

53

2014 MR OLYMPIA

PLACES 5 to 8 PoSEDoWN

AWARDS
The fact that Cutler doesnt
compete and Winklaar isnt
in contention clears space for
others. Juan Morel, in his first O,
and Steve Kuclo, in his second,
each creep into the top 10. Victor
Martinez proves that even at
41 hes still in the mix. Only one
point separates Mamdouh Elssbiay
from Branch Warren, as, four days
after his 30th birthday, Big Ramy
nearly makes up enough ground
on Saturday for the six spot.
Meanwhile, ageless Dexter Jackson
lands in the top six for the 12th time,
tying him with Shawn Ray for the
most Olympia top sixes.

8
VICTOR
MARTINEZ

54

FLEX

While the awards for Wolf


and Rhoden are presented,
Greene and Heath stand on
stage talking. Well just
say that we had a friendly
exchange, Mr Olympia tells me
afterwards, and it just comes
down to the fact that he and
I are trying to hype this sport
up and it gets very, very intense.
Theres gonna be moments
where you have friction and
frustration. People are gonna say
things. But at the end of the day,
I know what he wants. He wants
what I got. And hes not going to
quit. And I respect that.

2014 MR OLYMPIA
At that point, the fighting is
done, Greene told me with a
grin. So its like at the end of
the fight when the boxers are
standing there covered in sweat
and theyre bleeding and theyre
waiting for the decision. Thats
not the time to punch someone
in the face. Then what should
surface is the quality and the
character of the men. It doesnt
mean that Im not going to
knock him out in the future.
But not this time. As Heath
becomes just the sixth man
to win a fourth Sandowthis
one gilded in 18-carat gold in
honour of the Olympias golden
anniversaryhe raises his arms
and pumps his fist and flexes
and doubles over. And as the
confetti rains down along with
cheers and boos, No. 16 and No.
17 embrace. The battle is over.
There will be another.

BACKSTAGE
In the chaos backstage
afterwards, Shawn Rhoden is
thrilled to have returned to
the three spot, a position he
occupied at the 2012 Olympia
before losing it to Wolf last year.
It feels awesome, he says.
I thought I couldve placed
a little higher, but itll be
something to motivate me next
year. When pressed on what
he called the Phil Heath and
Kai Greene show, he responds,
I think the rivalry is good for
the sport, but at present
someone needs to go in there
and shake things up a bit, and
I feel as if Im going to do it.
In a makeshift dressing
room near the pump-up pen,
Kai Greene says, Im very
thankful for the people who did
cheer and celebrate. There was
a lot of positive energy in the
air. There were times when I
could feel it. Its almost electric.
And its really amazing to think
that there are so many people
who are celebrating this
moment in my life. A lot of
times people will celebrate your
accomplishments, but the
athlete has to realise that its
always important to invest in
himself even when the world
says theres no reason to
invest in you. Its wonderful
when people support you, but

56

FLEX

9
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2014 MR OLYMPIA

10
JUAN
MOREL

58

FLEX

you have to support yourself


with your actions, which are a
product of your thinking.
The now four-time and
still reigning Mr Olympia is
seated beside Jay Cutler, also
the owner of a quartet of
Sandows. I tell him I didnt
think he was at his best.
Well, it wasnt necessary,
obviously, he says of the
fullness he lacked. I knew
I could beat these guys on
shape and conditioning.
I can present different versions
of myself and still win, and
thats the key. If you look at
any Mr Olympia multiple
champion, they never looked
the same way twice. And
the problem I have now is Im
always going to be compared
with my previous self. So when
you guys [in the press] see
something, you go back to 2011
and say Why didnt you look
like that? instead of really
looking at what I did against
my competition this time.
Thats probably my biggest

challenge now. Sometimes


people dont acknowledge
that it was a tight battle and
someone won by beating the
competition. When it comes
down to it, its as simple as
that.
Hes right. We get jaded.
We get impatient. We expect
too much or we just want
something different. All of us in
the press pit and the audience
and at home watching screens
want to be wowed. Few in
history have wowed us more
than Phil Heath has over the
past nine years. We cant
expect him to establish a new
standard every year, just as we
cant expect to be shocked
anew each time he locks in
his rear double biceps. Its not
about us and what we want
to see. Its not the critic who
counts. Its the man in the
arena. Victory is achieved by
beating the competition.
Thats how Phil Heath won
again. And it is indeed as
simple as that. FLEX

11
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12
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13
FRED SMALLS

16
ibrahim SAMI

14
JON DELAROSA
60

FLEX

15
WILLIAM BONAC

16
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2014 MR OLYMPIA


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BACKSTAGE AT THE OLYMPIA


Sept. 1920, Orleans Arena

OLYMPIA

ALL-ACCESS
Go everywhere, see everything, and meet
everyone at the 2014 Olympia Weekend

Kai Greene
makes his
point to Sami
Al Haddad.

FLEX
brings you
up-close and
personal as
only we can
with all-access
coverage of the
50th Olympia.
These photos
capture the
camaraderie,
the tension,
the passion,
and the joy
of the Olympia
Weekend.

62

FLEX

(far left) Shawn


Rhoden flexes, (left)
Mamdouh Elssbiay
pumps up, (above)
Arnold Schwarzenegger
with Betty Weider,
(right) the four-time
champ revels in his
victory.

FLEX

63

Sept. 1920, Orleans Arena

(top left) Flex Lewis


flexes, (top right) Juan
Morel curls, (centre)
Triple H, (centre right)
Eduardo Correa, (left)
Kai squares up to Big
Ramy.

64

FLEX

CharlEslOWthiaN.COm

BACKSTAGE AT THE OLYMPIA

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SCENE AT THE ATHLETES MEETING

Sept. 17, Orleans Arena


(left) still-bearded Phil Heath
(below, top to bottom), Dennis
Wolf, Shawn Rhoden, Juan Morel,
and Kai Greene.

SCENE AT THE
PRESS CONFERENCE

Sept. 18, Orleans Hotel


(from top to centre), Victor
Martinez greets the crowd,
Mamdouh Elssbiay make a
point, emcee Bob Cicherillo
delivers a joke.

(above) Greene and Heath


crank up the tension.

66

FLEX

Bill COmstOCk

Olympia rookies William


Bonac and Jojo Ntiforo
share the joy of making it
to the ultimate contest.

(above) Amanda Latona


displays her assets, (below)
eight-time Mr Olympia
Ronnie Coleman flexes.

Sept. 1920, Las Vegas Convention Centre

(top) U.S. FLEX Bikini Search


contestants, (above) IFBB President
Rafael Santonja; (right) Dennis
James and daughter Anna, (below
right), 10-time Ms Olympia Iris Kyle
and 212 competitor Hidetada
Yamagishi, (bottom) a mobile
Olympia billboard. FLEX

Bill COmstOCk; truCk : EastlaBs.sk/EastlaBs.ru

SCENE AT THE EXPO

FLEX

67

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70

FLEX

by

MIchAEl BERg
JOSEf Adlt

photographs by

ROMANS
EMPIRE
After a perfect-score victory
at the Amateur Olympia Europe
last June, German giant

Roman Fritz

EastlaBs.sk/EastlaBs.ru

is seeking new worlds to


conquer. Heres the tale of his steady
march into the IFBB pro ranks.

FLEX

71

Apples. Not the


answer youd expect
when asking a bodybuilder the
secret to his early training
success. But then again, youre
likely in for a lot of interesting
surprises when talking to newly
minted IFBB pro Roman Fritz.
Winner of the Amateur
Olympia Europe 2014, the
26-year-old German wasnt
always the 5'11", 238-pound
shredded dominator that
appears onstage today. At the
age of 15, he was actually a bit
emaciated, truth be tolda
121-pounder constantly fending
off questions about whether he
suffered from some sort of
disease. Then he discovered
apples. And training. And a
dog-eared copy of FLEX with
Kevin Levrone on the cover, and
a bold new course was set.
Fritz reveals his journey from
thin teen to what may just be the
next big thing in the professional
bodybuilding ranks. Here, he talks
about everything from his early
days in the gym to his burgeoning
competitive success to the training
and nutrition plan he used for his
pro-card-securing victory in Prague.
As for those apples? Youll have to
read on to see the role they played
in his unique fitness journey.

FLEX: Can you tell us a little


about growing up in Germany?
Roman Fritz: I was an only
childwe had the whole
family living under one roof in
a big three-story house. My
grandfather, who has since
passed away, sadly, along
with my grandmother, owned
a successful metalworking
company. My mother is a
full-time bookkeeper.

hes doing right now. He left us


when I was around 12 or 13 years
old for another woman who also
had a son. Luckily, my parents
had never been married.

And your father?


The man who contributed half
of my DNA has never been able
to stay in one job for a long
period of time, and basically
lived off my mother and my
grandparents. I dont know what

What impact did that have?


After my father left, I became
something of a problem child. At
one point my mum felt like she
couldnt handle me any more, so
she decided to put me into a
boarding school.

72

FLEX

ROMAN
REX FRITZ
Born 1988
Birthplace & Current Residence Munich, Germany
Height 5'11" Weight 238 pounds contest, 255 off-season
Contest History 2009 World Amateur Championships,
Junior class heavyweight and overall winner; 2013
Arnold Amateur, 3rd, super-heavyweight class; 2013
German Championships, super-heavyweight and
overall winner; 2014 Amateur Olympia Europe,
heavyweight and overall winner (earned pro card).
Sponsors Weider/AMI, Animal (animalpak.com)
Web Twitter @r_xxl Instagram @romanfritz
Facebook Roman Fritz (official)

Is that where you found


bodybuilding, or did that
come later?
The facility did not offer any type of
sports or activities for the students.
Out of boredom I started shooting
hoops in the schools gym and
went running around a nearby lake.
At that time I had actually been a
little chubby, and I figured that if
I was going to be stuck there
anyway, I might at least spend
my time after school getting rid
of my belly.
I simply stopped eating all
foods except apples, played
basketball, and ran around the
lake like a maniac for hours, all by
myself. I went from almost 200
pounds at 511 to a very skinny
121 pounds.
I liked the new lean and
shredded version of myself a lot
more than the chubby guy I used
to be. But my appearance still
wasnt what I wanted. Especially
because of the feedback I got
from the people around me. My
mum, the kids at school, and
everybody who saw me totally
freaked out. Damn! You look
sick. Go and eat something
already. Thats what prompted
me to first take a glance at the
school gyms weights room.

through the ceiling. It was dirty,


and the paint was peeling off the
wall. All the weights were covered
in rust, some of them so bad that
you couldnt even pick them up
because the rust had glued them
to the floor. The equipment was
as basic as it could geta power
rack, two benches, a pulley
machine that was broken, a
couple of barbells, and a set of
adjustable dumbbells.
The only guys in school whod
ever go train in there were two
exchange students from
Hungary. Pretty thick dudes,
but I was scared of talking to
them because they were older.
Me being the skinny little guy,
I considered myself lucky
enough that they would even
allow me to enter the room
with them.
One day one of them left a

That probably wasnt the


greatest of facilities, was it?
The room was about 10-by-18
feet, damp, with water leaking

The guy was


huge! Covered
in musCle,
striations,
and veins
buT sTill
superlean...that
was exaCtly
what i wanted
my body to
look like.
74

FLEX

copy of FLEX magazine in the


room. It had Kevin Levrone
on the cover. That was the
moment that changed my life.
I had never seen anything like
it before. The guy was huge!
Covered in muscle, striations,
and veins but still superlean
without an ounce of fat on his
body. That was exactly what
I wanted my body to look like,
and from that exact moment on
I decided I was going to become
a professional bodybuilder.
How old were you at that
point?
About 15.
Youve said in previous
interviews that you had a
cousin who helped you at the
beginning.
His names Christian Biller. He

also lives in Munich and works,


besides his real job with the
government, as a personal trainer.
One weekend when I was home
from school, he took me to his
gym. From then on I went there
every weekend, soaking up
everything he taught me about
proper techniques, protein, carbs,
fats, and supplements.
I put together my own diet of
six meals. Basic stuff like oats, rice
cakes, fruit, eggs, chicken, and
lowfat dairy. I also started using a
70% whey/30% casein protein
powder, a multivitamin, and
creatine. I ordered the book Joe
Weiders Bodybuilding System
from an ad in FLEX and followed
an upper-body/lower-body
training split that I found in there.
I cut back to four weekly workouts
with each muscle being trained
twice a week. Within the first nine

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FRITZs
2014 TRAINING PROGRAMMe
These workouts were lifted out of Fritzs training log. Most of the time I do each workout twice a
week and force myself to take the seventh day off from weights, he explains. But if Im feeling
recuperated and good, I might go for a couple of weeks without taking a rest day. Each of the
working sets listed here (warm-up sets are not included in this tally) are taken to complete muscle
failure. Cardio is done for 30 minutes in the morning on an empty stomach; at seven weeks out
from the Amateur Olympia, Fritz started adding an extra 20 minutes of cardio after his Day 1 and
Day 2 p.m. workouts.
DAY 2

DAY 1
EXERCISE

SETS

REPS

Incline Dumbbell Press

10

612

Incline Machine Press

20

Dumbbell Pullover

12*

Cable Crossover

12

Behind-the-Neck Pulldown

12

Plus: One abdominal exercise and posing practice.


P.M.: Traps and shoulders
5

20*

Dumbbell Shrug

612

Smith Machine Shrug

12*

Standing Military Press

612

Machine Shoulder Press

20*

Machine Lateral Raise

10

Bentover Rear Delt Cable Raise

12*

Bentover Dumbbell Raise

12

* For these exercises, Fritz uses the rest-pause technique,


choosing a weight that causes him to fail before the listed rep
target is reachedhell rest as many times as it takes to reach
the listed reps.
Hell rest 45 seconds max between each set of machine
laterals.

DAY 3
SETS

REPS

Wide-grip
Pulldown

20

Dumbbell
Pullover

12

One-arm
Dumbbell Row

68

Bentover Barbell
Row

610

Supported T-bar
Row

20*

A.M.: Back and abs

A.M.: Chest and back

Wide-grip Pulldown

EXERCISE

REPS

Standing Calf Raise

12*

Seated Calf Raise

20*^

Donkey Calf Raise

12*

Tibilais Raise
superset with
Standing Calf Raise
(body weight)

20

Lying Leg Curl

10

13*

Deadlifts

4-6

Plus: One ab exercise.

Single-leg Curl

12#

* Fritz uses the rest-pause technique


to complete these sets.

Glute-ham Raise

12^

Fritz employs dropsets to reach


12 total reps per set.

* Fritz uses rest-pause to complete


these sets.
After the last rep, Fritz employs
Doggcrapp-style hamstring stretches,
holding a stretch on the machine against
resistance.

P.M.: Arms
Rope Pushdown

12*

Standing Cable
Curl

15*

#
Fritz will cheat (within reason) to assist
with the completion of these reps.

Alternating
Dumbbell Curl

^ The last few reps may be forced reps


with the help of a partner.

One-arm
Preacher Curl

68^

Dip

12

Overhead Rope
Extension

12#

Close-grip
Push-up

20

Fritz supersets the last set of each


exercise with the first set of the folfol
lowing one. The last set is a strip set.

Fritz goes heavy and uses some


cheating to complete these reps.

^ Fritz will eke out forced reps at the


end, using his non-working arm to
assist, and doesnt rest between sets.
A partner will help with forced reps
at the end when Fritz reaches initial
failure.
#

FLEX

SETS

A.M.: Calves and hamstrings


*

Plus: Two forearm exercises and one


set of abs.

76

EXERCISE

P.M.: Hamstrings and quadriceps


Lying Leg Curl
superset with
Adductor Machine

1215

Hack Squat

12*

Barbell Squat

10

36

Sissy Squat

12

Leg Extension

20#

These sets are completed


with rest-pause.

Fritz uses 315 pounds for each


working set.

#
Fritz will cheat (within reason) to assist
with the completion of these reps.

Note: On leg day, in both the morning and


afternoon session, Fritz supersets the last
set of each exercise with the first set of the
following one. He also finishes each leg
workout with a stretching regime.

weeks on this programme I gained


around 23 pounds.
What prompted you to enter
the Bavarian Championships
in 2006?
After 2 years of training, I was
up to a pretty bloated 231 pounds.
After having seen the 2005
Bavarian Championships, I had an
idea of what Id be up against and
figured I was ready. I started
dieting 12 weeks out and came
down to around 200 pounds. I won
the contest with perfect scores and
went on to the German Nationals
two weeks later. I took fifth in a
class of 13 competitors. I was very
happy with both placings, since I
had turned 18 only a month before,
which made me the youngest
contestant in each of the two
contests.
With that early competitive
success, what was next?
I took some time off from
competing because I promised my
mother Id finish school. In 2008,
I went back to the Bavarians and
later the Nationals and won the
overall under-21 junior division at
both with perfect scores at a body
weight of only 189 pounds.
The following year I decided to
take it to the next level by entering
the 2009 IFBB World Championships in Poland. The weeks before
that show, as a warm-up, I entered
the Bavarian Championships for the
third time, and, of course, I also had
to qualify for the IFBB Worlds at the
German Team Universe. I won the
overall junior division at all three.
After competing all this time in
the junior division, 2010 was going
to be my debut in the mens open
division. As the youngest
competitor ever, I won both the
Bavarian and Southern German
Championships and went on to
take second in heavyweights at
the Nationals.
A knee injury kept me from
competing again until the 2013
Arnold Classic Amateur. There,
I placed a very disappointing third
after losing 20 pounds two days

78

FLEX

out due to a terrible food


poisoning. I really wish I could
wipe my Arnold experience
from my memory. For some
time after, I was thinking about
quitting competitive bodybuilding.

Thankfully, you didnt do that.


How did you shake that?
I made up my mind and got my
inner fire burning again. Two
months after the Arnold, I jumped
into the 2013 German Nationals,
where I took the super-heavy-

weight and overall title, once


again with perfect scores.
At first I thought I had
qualified for pro status by winning
this titlebut that wasnt the case.
The IFBB instated a rule change
that said that European athletes

FritZs
Pre-Contest
is a snapshot of a typical day in Fritzs lead-up to his
Diet This
2014 Amateur Olympia triumph
MEAL 1
700 g (21)
egg whites
100 g
buckwheat
flakes (80 g
carbs)

TRAINING
SESSION
(A.M.)
MEAL 2
700 g (21) egg
whites
100 g rice cakes

MEAL 3
340 g white fish
100 g rice cakes
Vegetables
MEAL 4
330 g turkey
breast
100 g rice cakes

TRAINING
SESSION
(P.M.)
MEAL 5
700 g (21) egg
whites
100 g rice cakes

MEAL 6
330 g turkey
breast
100 g rice cakes
Vegetables
MEAL 7
340 g white fish
100 g rice cakes

NOTE
Fritz drinks at
least eleven
litres of water
per day.

HYDRATION &
ELECTROLYTES
ENDURANCE*

.com/Cellucor

HYDRATION*

.com/Cellucor

RECOVERY*

@Cellucor

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

can apply for a pro card only if they


win an overall title in either the
Arnold Amateur, Amateur
Mr Olympia, World Championships,
or European Championships. This
meant that I had to go back and
compete one last time as an
amateur. I picked the Amateur Mr O
in Prague, Czech Republic, held in
June 2014. I said to myself that this
time was either make or break.
I started prepping for what was
going to be my final attempt at
becoming an IFBB pro 25 weeks
out. I made it and now Im where
I envisioned myself ever since I first
looked at Kevin Levrones FLEX
cover shot 10 years ago.
What are you focusing on before
your pro debut?
Since I dont really have any major
weak points, Im just looking to
gain overall size while keeping
my waist in check.
How do you split?
Two workouts per day, thats how
Ive trained for most of my career.
As far as your overall workout
philosophy, do you train to
muscle failure each set?

80

FLEX

Oh, yeah! I dont believe in pump


workouts or pump sets. If Im
going to pick up a weight, I wont
let go until my body gives out.
Everything else is just a waste of
time and energy. In my opinion, you
have to show your body that its
too weak in order to persuade it to
adapt and grow.
Is there anything in your
workouts that isnt typical but
that you discovered works for
you through trial and error?
Normally Im a very high-volume
trainer. This works for all of my
body parts except calves. I had very
weak calves during my first few
years in the gym, although I

pounded them day after day with


set after set. It was very frustrating.
A former IFBB pro gave me the tip
of trying a totally different
approach for calves. Along the lines
of Dorian Yates high-intensity
training, he told me to do only one
single set each of standing and
seated calf raises, while using a
very heavy weight that would
allow for only 12 reps at the most.
Following this routine, my calves
started growing overnight, so fast
that I got stretch marks in the area
of my gastrocnemius muscle. Ive
been doing this ever since.
Are there specific intensity
techniques you use a lot?

If Im goIng to
pIck up a weIght,
I wont let go
untIl my body
gIves out.
everythIng else
Is just a waste
of tIme and energy.

My favourites are rest-pause sets.


I set a goal number of reps, 12 for
example, but I intentionally pick
a weight that will make me fail
before I get to that number. When
this happens, I rack the weight,
take 10 deep breaths, and then
complete the set. The heavier the
weight or the higher you set your
rep goal, the tougher you can make
those sets. If the goal is 20 reps,
I might have to take up to four or
five breaks in order to complete the
set. Its very painful.
Do you have a job outside of
bodybuilding?
I work as a personal trainer and
also have a lot of online clients. I
studied health-care management
and got a bachelors degree. Im
also a licensed fitness trainer
here in Germany, which, unlike
in many other countries, is an
officially recognised certification
by the German government.
The funny thing here is that I
actually seem to work better with
females than with men. For some
reason women almost never
complain about the diet or training
programmes that I give them.
Men are a lot more whiny. FLEX

82

FLEX

COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

Applying hierarchy theory to


build the complete package
by

DaviD SanDler

FLEX

COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

WHEN
THEORY
MEETS
PRACTICE

re you a narcissist? If you


are not, you should be. Maybe
not to the extreme, but if you
dont strive for perfection and keep a
watchful eye over your progress, youll
never achieve the pinnacle of success
as measured by your inner self. Whoa,
sound deep? Perhaps. But no matter
how you cut it, its our egotistical need
for dominance that fuels our weights
room efforts. Its fine to be huge and
freaky but unacceptable to be small
and geeky. Whether its strength
or size driven, the desire to be big, lean,
and perfectly balanced across all body
parts is part of our character. The
complete package is something we
continually chase.
The most important thing you can
do is acknowledge that you care how
you look and that you will never be
happy no matter how perfect you
are. The term alpha male is merely
scratching the surface of your need
to impress everyone, even though
most people really dont careits
simply your belief that they do.
The hierarchy of needs suggested
by Abraham Maslow some 70 years
ago may actually help us understand
why we are so driven to succeed. But
what does a 1940s theory have to do
with training? For starters, Maslow
defined five levels of social need,
starting with base physiological
need, and progressing up through
safety, belonging, esteem, and finishing at the top with self-actualisation.
Each level of the pyramid relies on
the base built before it and takes a
basic requirement, adds to it to
include greater boundaries and
obstacles, and then refines it before
it reaches the pinnacle. Perhaps
training for the perfect physique
follows a similar path on your
way to dialling in the complete
package. There are some basic
requirements. There are some
basic needs. You have to build layer
upon layer to reach the size and
shape you want. And then you have
to refine all of your hard work to
reach the peak.

83

PyraMId of PerfectIon:
the art and ScIence of dIallIng It In
DIALLED IN
REFINE BODY PARTS
DIET & NUTRITION
SIZE & SHAPE DEVELOPMENT
STRENgTH & MASS BUILDINg

CharlEs lOWthiaN

While I aint Maslow, and I certainly didnt invent


the idea of training for size and shape, I do know that
there is a process that everyone must follow in order
to reach the perfect package. Depending on where
you are on your quest, you may need to start at the
bottom or somewhere in between. Regardless, if
you are higher up the pyramid, its likely you started
at the bottom some time ago. However, even those
who are well-established with their look need to
pay attention, unless you are as big and ripped as
you ever want to be. Chances are you want to get
bigger, and chances are that you want to get leaner.
If you start in the middle on your quest for size, you
will fail. If you try to lean out, and dont have solid
muscle underneath, you will fail. And, thus, the
pyramid of perfection has merit.

84

FLEX

Start With the BaSicS

STrengTh & MaSS


Consider this the equivalent to Maslows basic physiological need. Without it,
your body has nothing from which to build. Build some solid muscle first. Im sure
that statement is no surprise. But it amazes me how many guys simply try to build
size, without building the foundation. Muscle continues to rebuild and layer itself
with training. Just as with building a house you start from the bottom up, you need
to hit the weights with big lifts like bench press, squat, and some heavy-duty rows,
and incorporate some big mass-building moves like shoulder presses, bentover
rows, and leg presses. Then work your way out towards the smaller muscles.
Check your strength along the way to ensure you are continually getting stronger,
as strength is the foundation of building sizethe stronger you are, the more
weight you can lift. And the more total weight you can move in a single workout,
the faster you get to your goals. A good strength programme will last four to
eight weeks, hitting each muscle group and major movement at least once per
week and twice if you have the willpower to push your limits. One of the very
best things you can do to ensure youll always have the complete package is
to go back to these basics every once in a while. At least twice, if not four or
more times per year, you should go back to some heavy-duty basic training.
Forget the pump and work on strength. Its especially important if you have hit
a period when your body just doesnt seem to want to grow. The big strength
moves will help recruit new muscle fibres and force your body to try harder, as it
has to recover both mentally and physically. Dont worry if your muscles dont seem
to grow. When you go back to your hypertrophy programme, youll be much further
ahead than you were, and your muscles will respond favourably to your newly
acquired strength.

Dominate Your Domain

Size & Shape


Taking the next step up the pyramid gets you to the point where you are ready
to really see your body develop its full potential. In social theory, its called safety
you establish your comfortable limit and look that allows you to feel confident in
what you do. In our pyramid of perfection, this stage is by far the most rewarding.
Nothing beats a huge pump and muscles that, when underneath a shirt, give you
the Incredible Hulk look. This is the look that has people saying, That guy is huge.
You can see the outlines of your muscles and total-body thickness, although it may
have a layer of insulation, which works fine in the winter when no one is worried
about the beach.
This type of training is dominated by a combination of big multi-joint moves
along with constant refining via isolated exercises to enhance the growth
potential. Training is peppered with variation: drop sets, exhaust moves, odd
angles, and a constant barrage of sets and reps on the same body part until its
annihilated. High volume is the name of the game, and workouts can take quite a
while to complete, but when youre done, you dont need to inflate your chest and
spread your wingsyour body will do it for you. The downside to this type of
training is that it becomes addictive. You tend to live for the pump, which drives
you back to the gym just to keep swole. For the most part this is a good thing,
but after a while, your body begins to normalise, and no matter what techniques
you employ, your body will eventually beg you for something different. If you
can continue to see true gains, not just big pumps, 16 weeks later with this
programme, you are one unique individual. Generally, eight to 12 weeks is your
reliable target, and then its time to redesign your programme and re-evaluate
your body.

DiScipline anD Direction

DieT &
nUTriTiOn

To begin with, it may be hard to


correlate the third social hierarchy
stage to your diet, since it is defined as
Belonging. Truth is, the connection is
more real than not. If you want to
belong in a group that is defined
by the shape of your body, then you
have to hit a good diet. And to belong
in this group you need to make a
sacrificeits time to bite the bullet.
You built a mighty beast, and now its
time to tame it and get prepared to
show it off. Perhaps one of the most
difficult things in this sport is becoming
disciplined enough to try to really hold
back on arguably the greatest social
activityeating. We are programmed
to devour everything in front of us.
Moreover, we insist on doing it with
friends and in a state of inactivity, such
as watching sporting events, movies, or
sitting around with a bunch of cocktails.
The power of peer pressure combines
with thoughts like its just one or
Ill lose it with cardio to undermine
resistance, or else you just loosen
your belt. Either way, you lose the
battle. While this may not be that big
a problem for some, its magnified by
the fact that guys want to know what
exercise will make their chest pop,
their bis peak, and their back look like
a minefield of boulders. The answer
doesnt lie in the exercise selection but
in the menu selection. Chicken wings
and beer will give you chicken legs and
a beer belly. While the occasional cheat
is recommended, it needs to be done
with thought. Plan ahead. Build out a
macronutrient profile that meets your
lifestyle but keeps you dropping the
fat. Dont cut out carbs or drop fat
too much instead drop your portion
size and teach your body how to burn
those carbs. In fact, the disciplined lifter
believes carbs are friends, and when
cycled correctly, give you monster
pumps, road map vascularity, and
unlimited energy. Of course, up your
protein and aminos. Dont just fuel
growth, help it.
FLEX

85

Refining
Body PaRtS

to resemble that of a champion


chess-playing high schooler, will eventually build the complete package. Those
who cant, will always complain that
they were unfairly judged and dont
Social need theory suggests that
understand why certain body parts just
reaching the fourth level, Esteem,
essentially gives you the power to hang wont grow. Oh, and then blame poor
in the top percentage of your group with genetics simply to avoid the truth.
First things first. You have to work
confidence. If you reach this level and
never reach the top of the pyramid, you it if you want it to grow. Do you ever
still got further than most people on the wonder why some parts grow so well
and become your favourites? Its
planet. As defined in our pyramid of
probably because you work them
perfection, this level takes you a step
until they are beaten to a pulp and
beyond what truly separates the men
then work them some more. This may
from the boys. Those who are able to
be the most crucial stage in your
see that their deltoids are swallowing
development of that award-winning
their neck, while their chest continues

86

FLEX

physique and your quest for the perfect


package. The point where you decide to
work your weak links and bring them up
to the rest of your body. This means,
guys, its time to work your legseven
once! For those who do train legs,
if your calves are weak, you should
get in a heavy dose of calf-first
training. Thats right, before you squat,
leg press, or beef your quads up any
more, train your calves two or even three
times per week and do it first in your
programme. That same rule applies to
any weak link, whether its your back,
chest, arms, or something else that is
preventing you from reaching the
perfect package.

ZEllEr, FitNEss puBliCatiONs, iNC., COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

The NexT LeveL

The Top

For a competitive bodybuilder,


this is measured by your stage
presence along with a superripped and ultra-refined body
shape. However, this should not
be confused with how you place.
Even those who place first are
often not content and fail to
reach Self Actualization as
defined by social need theory.
But for everyone else, whether
stage-bound or not, this
represents the point at which you
are truly proud of what you have
done. When you have made the
sacrifices and manned up to the
task. Its not whether you win or
lose, and no, its not how you
played the game, but its that you
fought the battle and came out
on top mentally. As social theory
would suggest, you have a lack of
prejudice (against yourself or
others) and you have accepted all
the factsthis is your best, or the
best you want to achieve and you
have nothing more to prove to
yourself.
Dialling it in is where the true
definition of the art and science
of looking good is perfected.
While science explains much of
the physiological adaptation,
theres an art to making everything click. Since no two humans
are exactly the same (even in the
case of identical twins) there will
always be an unexplained X factor
that will be required to make
perfection a reality. A trick that
works for one may completely
backfire and do the opposite for
another. Interestingly enough,
most scientists would argue that
the art of training is unimportant. But take it from a guy who
has been a practitioner for as long
as he has been a scientistit is
almost impossible to separate the
two, but also almost impossible
to correlate the two.

88

FLEX

ThE Pyramid OF PErFEcTiOn


While the concept is really just a way to bring everything together, if you dive into
things, you will likely agree, there is merit to the idea that hierarchy exists in training
and that you need to build one layer at a time. The amount of time you devote at
each level is a function of how much of that level you need to move to the next step.
And even when you get to the top, youll likely start again, as training for perfection
continues to evolve. That means that youll probably set a new goal, a new look, or a
new level to achieve, and so unlike social hierarchy where, at least in theory, you can
reach a truly satisfying and fulfilled point in your life, the pinnacle of the pyramid of
perfection in training continues to get further away rather than closerat least for
those of us who are truly passionate about striving for perfection. But then what
would be the fun in being perfect anyway? FLEX

DEhaaN/COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

diaLLEd in

paVEl ythJall

90

FLEX

KING
The

maKeR

Neil Hill, one of the worlds


leading contest prep experts,
talks about his work with 212
Olympia champ Flex Lewis
and his other big clients
By Giles Thomas
FLEX

91

Neil Yoda Hill was a successful


bodybuilder who competed as an
IFBB pro. But he came to most
peoples attention by guiding fellow
Welshman Flex Lewis from the
amateur ranks to becoming 212
Olympia champion.
Although Hill has worked with
numerous top bodybuilders since,
he is still predominantly associated

with Lewis in what has become


one of the sports most powerful
alliances. It reached new heights
last year when Lewis stormed to his
third straight Olympia win followed
by victories in Prague, Korea and San
Marino in the weeks afterwards.
We probed the Jedi Master for his
thoughts on Lewis and other big
hitters from his all-star team.

FLEX: Congratulations on Flexs


third 212 Olympia win. Did everything go to plan?
NEIL HILL: Umm, no, not really.
Everything was textbook until about
90 minutes before Flex went onstage.
Readers of FLEX might know that Flex
has sometimes suffered from digestive

IhaveseenFlexat
218-220lbsandItIswIthout
doubtamorecompleteand
three-dImensIonallook

paVEl ythJall

issues whilst carb loading and were still


trying to figure out just what it is.
On the morning of the show, Flex was
undoubtedly the best that hes ever
been. He was dry, hard, full and heavier
than hes ever been going into any show
and his waistline was smaller than ever.
Then, about 90 minutes before he went
onstage he started suffering some
serious stomach issues.
I dont want to say its Crohns disease,
but he had similar symptoms of severe
gastric problems and stomach distension
moments before he was due onstage.

92

FLEX

This certainly affected his ability to hold


himself properly in his compulsory poses
and without a doubt gave him a slightly
softer appearance.
It was a big concern because when I
saw him before he went onstage he was
in a bad, bad way. His stomach was so
distended but Im thankful he did just
enough to warrant winning.
After the judging I shut down his food
although I let him have one cheat meal
to go back into the finals with. He could
have been fuller for the evening show but
we couldnt risk it. For the night show his

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can carry the pressure of being what


a Mr Olympia is supposed to be. Being
Mr Olympia isnt just about having the
best physique; its also the way you
conduct yourself and how you can draw
Earlier this year you said the plan
was for Flex to win the Olympia, take the mainstream public into the sport and
get them into health and fitness.
2015 off and come back to the 2016
Arnold as a fully-fledged open pro.
Hes the only one in the 212 class able
I hear those plans have changed.
to do that, in my mind. Its not just down
Theyve changed for a number of reasons. to his look and physique, but also his
Flex is a victim of his own success in that ability to relate to the general public and
the fans.
hes such a great ambassador on- and
offstage. Hes got such a unique look and
is such a great ambassador that if the 212 Does that mean he has to stay as
class were to lose Flex Lewis it would be
a 212? Cant he achieve all those
losing its ideal role model.
things as a successful open pro?
I feel he can but he will then no longer be
So the sport wants him to remain in
able to represent that 212 class. I have
the 212 class as long as possible so he

Williamis
young,injuryfreeandhis
bodyis
extremely
responsive
94

FLEX

seen Flex at 218-220 lbs and it is without


doubt a more complete and threedimensional look as his muscle bellies are
fuller and rounder, his back and shoulders
are wider and his waistline is still small,
giving an illusion of a better physique.
But we cant bring that look to the 212 as
we cant make weight. So, for the time
being he will remain in the 212 class.
When, or if, Flex will step into that open
class, I just cant say right now.
In our last interview you said youd
never brought Flex onstage any
heavier than 208 lbs. What did he
weigh at the Olympia?
He was smack on 212 at pre-judging and I
would say 210 lbs at the evening finals due

gary phillips

midsection appeared flatter and tighter


but he was nowhere near as full as Id
have liked.

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to the stomach problems. One thing I want


to state for the record: the package Flex
brought to the Korean pro show one week
after the Olympia was phenomenal. He
was hard, full, dry, everything was popping
and I feel this was his best condition to
date. For Korea he was bang on 212 again.
You also worked with William Bonac
for the Olympia. He placed 15th but
some had him easily in the top 10.
How did he get overlooked?
Thats a hard question to answer because
Im a little bit baffled by it. I feel he warranted a better placing and it is disappointing. For William, it was just an honour to be
onstage in his first Mr Olympia but he was

96

FLEX

very upset. He was crying backstage


afterwards. Some were saying he wasnt as
good as when he beat Branch Warren at the
Australian Pro. I completely disagree;
William looked even better at this Olympia.
Where would you have placed him?
Anywhere from 6th to 8th. Now I know
William has areas that need to come
upand thats not going to happen
overnightbut he was not directly
compared to Dexter Jackson, Big Ramy,
Shawn Rhoden, Branch Warren, Victor
Martinez or Juan Morel at pre-judging.
Only if William had been put next to
any of those guys could you have formed
a true opinion of whether or not hes able

to beat them on the day. The only time he


stood against Dexter was when they were
called out in numerical order in groups of
five and Dexter was one side and William
on the otherand my honest opinion was
that he took Dexter out in those poses.
All that being said, Im excited about
Williams future. Hes young, injury-free
and his body is extremely responsive.
Some say the result shows Bonac
should return to the 212s. Do you
think so?
Theres no way he would be as competitive as he could be if he went back into
the 212 class, because wed never, ever get
those muscle bellies full enough again.

gary phillips

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What did he weigh at the Olympia?


He weighed 222-226 lbs. Take 14 lbs off that
frame and yes, hes going to look crazy. But
youve previously seen how William looks as a
212 lbs competitor against someone like Flex
Lewis: he just doesnt have that pop. He loses
it by sucking down too far to make weight.
Who else are you working with?
Im working with some exciting new athletes,
including some mens physique guys, which is
a new area for me.
At the end of the day their bodies work
exactly the same as everyone elses. They train
like bodybuilders, they eat like bodybuilders
and even though they dont carry the same
amount of muscle mass, the fundamental
principles that I employ with all my athletes
are universal.
Ive been working with Steve Cook
(pictured) and he brought a great package to
the Olympia so thats thrilling. Ive also had
some interest from some other very good
athletes.
Im selective about who I take on but one
new project Im pleased to be working on is
212 pro Sami Al Haddad. Im optimistic
about what I can achieve with Sami.
My relationship with Flex Lewis has
been there for so long and is so solid
that when I bring on someone new
like Sami, Flex is excited too for
our team to be growing
stronger. The priority, though,
is to keep my team limited
so I can give all of them
equal time, care and
attention. FLEX

ChristOphEr BailEy

MensphysiquecoMpetitorstrain
likebodybuildersandeatlike
bodybuildersthefundaMental
principlesieMploywithallMy
athletesareuniversal

98

FLEX

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1 Hour ETA

LittLe big man


Zane never
weighed much
more than 200
pounds, but easily
defeated larger
competitors with
his impeccable
proportions and
conditioning.

100

FLEX

BEING
FraNk
Travel back in Time To WHen THe
leGenDarY Frank Zane rUleD THe olYmPia STaGe
anD SeT THe bar For SYmmeTrY.
teve Reeves. Dave Draper. Arnold
Schwarzenegger. These names
and more are synonymous with
an era in bodybuilding, the
Golden Age, which is revered even today
by bodybuilding fans. Hallmarks of this
period, which roughly spanned the 50s
to the 80s, included broad shoulders,
trim waists, sweeping thighs, and an
overall body shape that could be
described as heroic. Yet of all the
champions who competed during the
era, one mans name is invoked more
frequently than others when talk turns
to the ideal physique: Frank Zane.
Known as Mr Symmetry, Zane captured
three Mr Olympia titles, a Mr America,
Mr World, and three Mr Universes.

Competing at only 190 pounds, Zane


was one of the lightest bodybuilders to
ever win the overall title at the Olympia,
and hes also one of only three people to
beat Arnold in a bodybuilding contest
(the 1968 Mr Universe).
Zane was much more than a body
builder, though. He taught chemistry
and maths for 13 years; in fact, he was
teaching fulltime when he won his
first Olympia.
As much as we know about Zane, the
same question keeps coming up more
than 30 years after his last Olympia win:
how did he build such a symmetrically
perfect physique? I travelled to California
to meet Zane and see if I could uncover
secrets that have been lost in time.

z e l l e r / f i t n e s s p u b l i c at i o n s i n c.

bY FreD DUncan

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF WEIDER HEALTH & FITNESS

FLEX

101

preach it
Zane often trained biceps
on back day and triceps
with chest and shoulders.

FLEX: What
inspired you
to start bodybuilding?
FRANK ZANE: I bought
my first set of dumbbells
at 14. I largely started
bodybuilding to build
myself up because I lived
in a very tough neighbourhood. There was a lot of
fighting going on, and I
wanted to get away from
that. Once I started
training, I never stopped.
One thing led to another,
and I competed in my first
physique contest at 18.

My first contest was the open novice


in Allentown, Pennsylvania. There
were 45 competitors, and we all
had to do four poses. I placed fifth,
which was very encouraging for me.
Bob Hoffman was watching me pump
up backstage and walked over to me
and said, Young man, if I had a
physique like yours, I would walk
around with my shirt off all of the
time. Its amazing how a comment
like that, at the right time, really
impacted on my career. That
influenced me more than anything in
bodybuilding. I knew at that time
that I could compete for top titles.

What was your favourite


training split?

The one that I did the most was a


three-way split. I believe this is the

102

FLEX

best split once you reach a certain


point. For me it was back, biceps, and
forearms on one day; legs the next;
and then chest, shoulders, and triceps

on the last day. The other one I used


was the Arnold split, which we all
did in the 70s. That was six days a
week: chest and back, legs, and
then deltoids/arms on the third day,
repeated. It was a lot of overtraining.
I couldnt keep doing it.

Today, peri-workout (pre-,


intra- and post-workout)
nutrition is a popular topic.
What did you focus on before,
during, and after a workout in
terms of nutrition?

two of a kind
Zane (right) with Johnny Maldonado in
a mid-1960s contest.

I relied a great deal on pre-workout


nutrition. I would always have
protein and carbohydrates before
my workout. In terms of getting
good workouts, you really need to
have the fuel in your body ahead of
time to get a pump. I always worked
to get a maximum pump in my
workouts.

GARDNER

How did you do in your first


show?

This whole nutrient timing thing,


rushing to eat within a 45- to
60-minute window after a workout
I never did that. I would never eat
during my workout either. Postworkout I would just do something to
relax and sometimes wait a couple
of hours to eat. It would depend on
how hard I trained. When I got hungry,
Id eat. It would usually be a protein
drinksome kind of protein and
carbohydrate mixture.

As you got closer to a show,


how would your nutrition and
training change?

up around 25% of my total calories.


I never went above 3,000 calories.
Id just get fat doing that.
Ideally, Id like to not have to
The way I did it was a seasonal
change it too much. I was never
approach. I would train hard in
a big carbohydrate freak. There were
the summer and peak in the autumn.
always fewer carbohydrates in my
I would go into maintenance in
diet than protein. I kept protein at
the winter and start building
one gram per pound of body weight,
back up in the spring. I wasnt
usually between 190200 grams
peaked all of the time, but I always
per day. My carbohydrates stayed
stayed on top of my nutrition and
between 70150 grams, and fat made supplementation.

If you had a
weak body part
how would you
bring it up?

z e l l e r / f i t n e s s p u b l i c at i o n s i n c.

I would train it moderately


heavy and then give it enough
time to recover. Body parts
dont grow by training them
all of the time.
So I would train the lagging
body part once every fourth
day and go close to failure on
it. My calves were originally a
weak point for me. I found
using a lot of drop sets really
helped my calves grow.

Calf truth
Zane imagined
his calves filling
with blood during
training.

FLEX

103

In terms of cardio, did you


prefer steady state or
intervals (HIIT)?

I didnt do much cardio because I always


stayed on the lean side. When I did do
it, it was to reach an ultralean state.
It would help me get very conditioned. In 1976 I got into great shape
and was running about two miles four
times a week. Then in 1979, when I
reached my peak shape, I would go to
a track at night and do six laps. My
legs got very muscular from that.

nowadays I walk very often. I think


walking is great for bodybuilders to
limit the stress placed on their feet
and tibialis.

What do you think about


popular fitness trends like
CrossFit and high-volume
training?

crossfit is going to prove to be the


greatest boon ever for physiotherapists. They should be grateful
that crossfit exists because they will

have unlimited business. Its one of the


most dangerous things Ive ever seen.
people are not meant to be doing
high-repetition two-hand snatches.
everybody is going to get hurt sooner
or later, and it will die just like all other
fads. Its being touted for everybody,
and thats the mistake. any extreme is
not the way. Its not about resorting to
extremes, its about finding middle
ground.
What are your goals? Volume
training is good for conditioning,

How did you develop


your abs and keep your
waist so small?
I always did a lot of ab work. When I was
nearing a show, I would work up to
1,000 total reps of abs. It would take me
30 minutes. I would superset crunches with
leg raises, performing 50 reps of each. Then
I would do hanging knee-ups and seated
twists. The hanging knee-ups developed
my upper quads as well.

z e l l e r / f I T n e s s p u b l I c aT I o n s I n c .

abs of steel
Zane often used a
Roman chairhard
to find in gyms
todayto train his
abs and all the
other stabilisers
in the abdomen.

104

FLEX

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BRothERs
iN ARMs
Zane trained
with Arnold in
the 70s, and
even helped him
learn maths.

Who was your


favourite
training
partner
of all time?
My wife was a great
training partner and
really supported me.
The other one would be
Arnold because he was
so driven. You never
met anybody like that.
Thats part of the reason
I moved to California, to
train with other great
bodybuilders. Having a
good training partner is
the best motivation.

ZANE
ARM gAiNs

Who was your favourite


bodybuilder of all time?

Steve Reeves. Steve had the best


natural physique. Its amazing what
he was able to accomplish. His role in
Hercules is part of what inspired
me in high school to bodybuild.

Why Reeves? It all comes down to a


matter of opinion. Its what resonates
with you. Bodybuilding suffers from
a lack of objectivity. You cant always
justify the winner. But everyone loves
Reeves. FLEX
For more information on in-person
training with
Frank Zane,
visit his website,
frankzane.com

Get an insane arm pump with


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Zanes Lets Grow. Rest two
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106

FLEX

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Z E L L E R / F I T n E S S P u B L I C AT I O n S I n C .

but it wont get you much size. The


answer is, dont be in a hurry! Dont
expect to get in shape in a month or
two months.

ANTH The FREAK


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IFBB PRO &
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PHARMAFREAK.COM

If you ask bodybuilders if they periodise their workouts,


most will probably say no. Ronnie Coleman never changed
his workouts when he won his eight Olympia titles, but does that
mean that you should never change yours? Bodybuilders need to
constantly mix up their reps and sets to keep from adapting to their
current regime. Previous research on strength training has shown
that periodisation of workouts can lead to increased strength and
size and now a study undertaken with elite cyclists has shown
similar results in peak power output when their cycling workouts
were periodised.
The researchers compared the effects of two different
methods of trainingblocked periodisation and traditional
trainingin trained cyclists. The blocked periodisation group
performed a one-week block of five high-intensity aerobic training

108

FLEX

sessions, followed by three weeks of one high-intensity training


session per week, and focus on low-intensity training. The other
group followed a more traditional programme with four weeks of
twice-weekly high-intensity training sessions interspersed with
low-intensity training sessions. Similar volumes of both high
intensity and low intensity training were performed by both
groups. At the end of the study, the blocked periodisation
group had greater peak power output, whereas no changes
occurred in the traditional training group. This suggests that
block periodisation of training provides superior adaptations
over a traditional training programme during a four-week
training period. Take-home message: a constant and unchanging
training programme will lead to inferior results compared with a
programme that varies periods of high- and low-intensity volume.

Chris luND

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by Bret Contreras

COMPREHENSIVE
HAMSTRING TRAINING

if you want to maximise the development of any muscle, its imperative that you fully stimulate all the fibres within the muscle.
In the case of hamstrings, achieving this task isnt as straightforward as it may seem. Lets consider the three primary mechanisms
of muscle hypertrophymechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damageas it pertains to hamstring training.

MeTabolic sTress
With regard to metabolic stress and hamstring
training, common sense tells us that medium to

110

FLEX

high reps with shorter rest periods will be ideal


for creating high levels of metabolic stress.
Common sense also tells us that knee flexion
movements (leg curl exercise variations) will be
better suited for maximising metabolic stress in
comparison with hip extension movements.
Keeping constant tension on the hamstrings by
eliminating rest in between reps will increase
metabolic stress. Finally, drop sets or running
the rack can be highly effective in generating
large levels of metabolic stress. There are six
different studies that examine the fibre type
proportion of the hamstrings, and when
considering the entire body of evidence, it
appears that the hamstrings have a fairly
even blend of type I and type II fibres.
Therefore, be sure to incorporate some
higher-rep hamstring training.
Muscle DaMage
As far as muscle damage and hamstring training
go, exercises that exhibit peak tensions at long
muscle lengths will be superior for creating high
levels of muscle damage. Therefore, stiff-leg
deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, good mornings,
and seated leg curls all make for good,
muscle-damaging hamstring exercises. Lunges
create damage in the upper lateral hamstrings
to a greater degree than leg curls. A focus on the
eccentric phase of the movement will lead to

greater levels of muscle damage, as will


performing unfamiliar hamstrings movements
or protocols. Pelvic tilt can impact hamstring
muscle length, which can therefore influence
strain. Maintaining anterior pelvic tilt likely leads
to higher levels of hamstring muscle damage
when compared with posterior pelvic tilt during
exercise, so make sure you keep an arch when
performing deadlifts, good mornings and back
extensions.
suMMary
If you want to maximise hamstring
hypertrophy, then youll need to utilise
sufficient variety in your training. For
maximising tension on the hamstrings, go
heavy and perform leg curls, Nordic ham curls,
and weighted back extensions. Turn the feet
out to activate more lateral hamstrings and
turn the feet in to activate more medial
hamstrings. For producing high levels of
metabolic stress, go a bit lighter and perform
higher reps with shorter rest periods. Use leg
curl variations and keep constant tension on
the hamstrings. For creating hamstring
muscle damage, perform eccentrics,
incorporate good mornings, stiff-leg
deadlifts, seated leg curls, and Nordic
ham curls, and change your hamstrings
training regularly. FleX

Chris luND

Mechanical Tension
Electromyography (EMG) doesnt measure
muscle tension; it measures muscle activation.
Regardless, its a decent way to estimate the
active tension on a muscle. Heavier weight will
generate higher levels of mechanical tension, at
least up to a certain point, so be sure to include
some heavier hamstrings work in the lower-rep
ranges. When seeking to target the outer
hamstrings, externally rotate the feet to increase
muscle activation in the lateral hamstrings, and
internally rotate the feet to increase muscle
activation in the medial hamstrings.
Many believe that plantar flexing the feet
during leg curls will increase hamstring activity.
Although you cant use as much weight when
plantar flexing due to decreased gastrocnemius activity, hamstring activity is
unchanged, therefore you dont need to
concern yourself with ankle position during
leg curls. When performing hip-extension
movements, bending the knee will decrease
hamstring activity, so if attempting to target
the hamstrings, youll want to avoid going into
deep knee flexion. In support of this contention,
research overwhelmingly supports the notion
that the squat, leg press, split squat, step-up,
and lunge exercises are not effective for
achieving high levels of hamstring activation.
Perhaps surprisingly, hamstring EMG
doesnt differ much between a conventional
and stiff-leg deadlift or between a conventional and sumo deadlift. The lying leg curl
activates the lower hamstrings to a greater
degree than the stiff-leg deadlift, but their
upper-hamstring activity is similar. As to which
exercises elicit the highest levels of hamstring
activation, the Nordic ham curl, stiff-leg
deadlift, leg curl, seated leg curl, and weighted
back extension appear to top the charts.
Leg curl variations and weighted back
extensions will preferentially target the lateral
hamstrings, whereas kettlebell swings will
preferentially target the medial hamstrings.

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ADVANCED
NUTRITION

Its a popular misconception


that eating in the evening
increases your risk of gaining body fat.
Obviously, if youre shredding youll want to
limit your food intake as far as possible, but
eating the right foods later in the day can
help your recovery.
In fact, the latest evidence suggests
that consuming a snack before hitting
the sackindependent of macronutrient
contentappears to increase energy
expenditure the following morning,
further supporting the notion that eating

112

FLEX

in the evening doesnt necessarily result


in weight gain.
A recent study looked into the effects of
having a protein or carb-based snack before
bed on resting energy expenditure. Eleven
young men were given whey protein (38 g),
casein protein (38 g), maltodextrin (38 g)
or a placebo 30 minutes before bed
on four separate occasions. The following
morning their resting energy expenditure
was measured.
All three snacks were found to increase
resting energy expenditure to the same

extent, whereas the placebo had no effect.


That means the snacks caused more calories
to be burnt while at rest when compared to
the non-energy-containing placebopretty
useful when youre dieting.
Of course, that doesnt mean you can
have just anything. Go for fluids and
protein. Bodybuilders should focus on
protein, particularly slow-release sources
like casein or skimmed milk to deliver a
sustained release of amino acids into
circulation and promote a muscle-building
environment throughout the night.

stOCkphOtO

LATE-NIGHT SNACKING

OMEGA MUSCLE
n

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA


and DHA which are found in oily
fish like salmon and tuna, have long
been known for their health benefits
A recent study, published in the Journal of
Physiology, has shed new light on the effect of
omega-3 on muscle. Researchers looked into
whether omega-3 supplementation could
improve mitochondrial function.
The mitochondria are responsible for
energy production in all cells of the body. This
is not just important for muscle contractions
but also for good health. Greater density and
activity of the mitochondria is believed to
help protect against metabolic diseases such
as type 2 diabetes.
The authors of this study discovered that
both EPA and DHA were found in high
concentrations within the cell membrane of
the muscle and mitochondria after taking an
omega-3 supplement. This new data shows
how omega-3 could induce beneficial effects

in the muscle. Considering the value of


improving muscle size, function and
efficiency on performance and metabolic
health, this research gives yet another
reason to add an omega-3 supplement
to your nutrition regime.

Consuming protein containing


BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and
valine) after training is key for improving muscle protein synthesis (MPS)
and promoting muscle growth. But
having BCAAs and carbohydrates together
during your session may improve MPS
even furtheralthough this still needs
investigation.
A recent study looked into the impact of a
combined intake of carbohydrate and BCAAs
on MPS and glucose metabolism during weight
training. 27 men took part in the study, each
completing a leg session. They took one of three
supplements, which were divided into three
equal doses, 30 minutes before, immediately
before and immediately after the workout.
The supplements provided were: carbohydrate
(120 g sugars), BCAAs plus carbohydrate
(5 g leucine, 2.5 g isoleucine, 2.5 g valine and
120 g sugars) or an energy-free placebo.

As youd expect, researchers found that


having carbohydratealone or combined
with BCAAsincreased levels of glucose and
insulin in the blood. They also found signs of
an increase in MPS when carbohydrate was
consumed, again either alone or along with
BCAAs.
So, consuming carbohydrate around
a workout can increase levels of insulin in
the blood and help improve MPS. It can also
help improve your training performance.
Taking BCAAs as well as carbohydrate did
not improve MPS any further than taking
carbohydrate alone.
Further study is needed as its difficult to
reach firm conclusions about the effects of
BCAA intake during exercise. However, it
seems logical that those undertaking long
training sessions (lasting more than an hour)
may benefit more than those undertaking
shorter sessions.

The priority for those looking to maximise


MPS is to consume a rich source of BCAAs,
such as whey protein (20-25 g), skimmed
milk, or a good quality BCAA supplement
after training. This has also been shown to
reduce the severity of DOMS.

FLEX

113

stOCkphOtO

CARBS DURING
WORKOUTS

Swole
Patrol
Try these supplements
that support greater blood
flow, full muscle fibres, and
enhanced growth

there are two ways


to boost muscle size:
increase the size of the existing
fibres or increase the number
of fibres. Intense weight
training encourages the
addition of muscle cells through
the repair process, and many
supplements help plump up the
size of existing muscle cells by
filling them up with beneficial
fluids and nutrients. To take
advantage of these growth
mechanisms, consider adding
the following supplements to
your pre-workout regime.

the big four

glycerol
Taking glycerol before you train
supports enhanced vascularity and
better hydration during workouts.
Glycerol increases osmolarity, the
expansion of fluid volume.

citrulline malate
Support blood vessel dilation by
taking citrulline, an amino acid that
helps to increase arginine levels for
increased nitric oxide activity. Once
inside your body, citrulline converts
to arginine.

taurine
Taurine is an amino acid known to
help prevent muscle fatigue, but it
also supports elevated mood. Some
studies have shown that taurine
improves left ventrical function. FleX

114

FLEX

Chris luND

nitrosigine
Take this to increase blood flow.
This trademarked ingredient is a
specific form of arginine (arginine
inositol silicate). The Nitrosigine
version is stabilised to increase
levels better than supplemental
arginine HCl.

FLEX EXPERT

lift strong
BY stephane cazeault

THE raCK

Using the power rack to blast through training plateaus

Other than being used as an


apparatus to rest a barbell on
for squats, the power rack is generally
overlooked in most gyms. The fact is, the
power rack enables you to perform many
training methods that can help you
blast through training plateaus, whether
your primary goal is to add muscle or get
stronger.
A power rack, also known as a squat
cage, consists of four vertical posts linked
together to increase stability. A common
size is 48 inches long by 48 inches wide
and 84 inches tall, giving the trainee
enough room to perform squats without
hitting the posts. The posts have holes in
which to insert safety rods. These rods can
be positioned to catch a missed lift, thus
increasing training safety.
The safety rods can also be positioned
to perform partial movements through
specific ranges of motion. Lets say your
sticking point in the bench press is
halfway up. You can set the safety rods a
few inches below the sticking point, place
the barbell on the safety rods, and then
perform your sets throughout this specific
range of motion. By combining these
sticking-point reps with full-range
bench presses, youll have specialised
training to help you blast through your
particular training plateaus.
Another way power rack training can
help you use more weight in full-range

exercises is by performing partial-rangemovements.


One early bodybuilder who popularised
partial-range training was the late Chuck
Sipes. Sipes won the 1960 IFBB Mr
Universe, later placing second to Sergio
The Myth Oliva in the 1967 Mr. Olympia.
Sipes sported 19-inch arms at just 5'9"
and was as strong as he looked, reportedly
being able to bench press 570 pounds raw
and perform barbell curls with
250 pounds.
Sipes believed that heavy partial
movements built tendon strength, but in
fact what they do is disinhibit the nervous
system so you can lift more weight. More
specifically, heavy supports help raise the
shutdown threshold of the Golgi tendon
organ (GTO), which is a tension/stretch
receptor located in the junction between a
tendon and a muscle. When the GTO
senses excessive tension, it shuts down
the muscle. An example of such a
shutdown occurs during an arm wrestling
match, in which the weaker opponent
appears to suddenly give up when their
arm is slammed to the table after several
seconds of maximal effort.
A practical application of this effect is
to perform heavy isometric supports
between conventional sets. With a heavy
support, you simply unrack the weight
and hold it just short of lockout (about
you must set the safety rods in the power
1
/16 of full range). To perform this safely,
rack two to three inches below your
lockout position.
Lets say you can bench press 235 for a
max single. After warm-up, you could
perform three sets of five reps, which for
most trainees translates into about 200
pounds. Between sets, perform eight
seconds of heavy supports, progressively
increasing the weight with each set. For
example, for the first heavy support use 280
pounds (120% of one-rep max); second,
295 pounds (125%); and third, 305 pounds
(130%). Its another great solution for
training plateaus. FleX

the power rack enables


you to perform many
training methods that can
help you blast through
training plateaus.
116

FLEX

Here is another version of this type of workout. Its a bit more


challenging as it combines two supersets of partial deadlifts
with one that specifies a full-range deadlift.

SUPERSET 1
A1. Top-half
Deadlift (in Power
Rack) 4 x 46 reps,
rest 100 sec.
A2. Lying Leg Curl
(feet neutral) 4 x
46 reps, rest 100 sec.

SUPERSET 1
A1. Top-quarter
Deadlift in Power
Rack 4 x 46 reps,
rest 100 sec.
A2. Lying Leg Curl
(feet in) 4 x 46
reps, rest 100 sec.

SUPERSET 2
A1. Full-range
Deadlift
4 x 68 reps,
rest 90 sec.
A2. Lying Leg Curl
(feet out) 4 x 68
reps, rest 90 sec.

SUPERSET 2
A1. Top-half
Deadlift in Power
Rack 4 x 46 reps,
rest 100 sec.
A2. Lying Leg Curl
(feet neutral) 4 x
46 reps, rest 100 sec.

SUPERSET 3
A1. Full-range
Deadlift
4 x 68 reps,
rest 90 sec.
A2. Lying Leg Curl
(feet out) 4 x 68
reps, rest 90 sec.

FLEX

117

kEViN hOrtON

Lets look at another approach, this time


for the lower body. It combines a superset
using a partial-range deadlift with a
superset using a full-range deadlift.

FLEX EXPERT

EXTREME MUSCLE
BY carlon m. colker

TRAINING SMARTER
flexible when it comes to change.
I underscore this point first
because we are all such
creatures of habit. We resist
change as humans, we
instinctively want to keep things
the same. Our mammalian
physiology compels us to strive
for homeostasis, or a condition
of sameness. Change makes us
uneasy. The unknown can be
scary, and familiarity, on the
other hand, breeds security. So
its not so easy to start changing
things, especially when youve
been doing them a certain way
for many years. On the other
hand, while our nature and
even genetics do their best to
keep us locked in a pattern, our
bodies, ironically, change and
start to fail.
For most, the body starts to
significantly push back at about
age 35 in that we no longer put
on muscle mass as readily as we
used to. Recovery between
workouts takes longer, its not
as easy to reach a high level of
intensity, sleep-wake patterns
change, and even digestion and
appetite are affected. There are,
however, positive changes
associated with ageing. One
such change Ive noticed

YOU mUst adOpt


A nEw STylE
of TRAining tO
accOmmOdate
a changing
and ageing
phYsiOlOgY.
120

FLEX

has been the ability to recover


more quickly, and not between
workouts but between sets. This
change has allowed me to speed
through workouts with greater
efficiency while having reached a
very high level of intensity. This,
in my opinion, is connected to a
deep-rooted neuromuscular
conditioning born of years of toil.
In addition, Ive also noticed an
increased amount of vascularity
throughout my body. Ive always
been quite vascular, but as
Ive aged it has become more
pronounced. Just as with my
outward appearance, Im
convinced that this also holds
true within my muscles. So an
increase in both age-cultivated
neuromuscular adaptation and

deep-tissue vascularisation from


years of bodybuilding training
has allowed me to work more
efficiently under the weight.
As a result, I can work with much
lighter weights, do far fewer sets,
and emerge with just as good a
pump as ever.
In my glory days I was
deeply focused on the numbers
Id move. Like the other young,
hungry meatheads I trained with
at the time, I was engrossed in
how heavy I could lift. These
days, in sharp contrast (although
I am cognisant of my strength
changes), I pay much more
attention to what the weight is
doing to me rather than what
I am doing to the weight.
So the first and foremost major
adjustment that must take
place is to back off testing the
limits of ridiculously heavy
poundage in training and instead
make the training itself the
focus. As I like to say, train, dont
strain. If you dont follow this
advice, you are almost guaranteed an injury.
A wiser goal is to focus on
refining the physique, adding
better lean muscle shape, and
improving muscle density
and quality. If you

kEViN hOrtON

Ill soon be turning 50.


After more than three
decades in bodybuilding, its my
reality that I simply cant train
the way I did when I was 20. My
body doesnt respond the same
way, I dont recover the same
way, and I cant lift what I used
to lift. I dont quite look like I did
(a lot less hair!). Even so, I dont
let that become a source of
discouragement. The truth is
that Im now much more
intelligent about my training,
in touch with my physical limits,
and far more attuned to my
body. These advantages have
helped me stave off the ageing
process. I continue to add density
and definition to my physique,
maintain my strength, and
promote and enhance my quality
of life. So, with attention to
some important points about
building muscle as you age, it
can be done.
To begin with, the body
changes as we age. Its a hard
fact we all have to accept.
It means you have to make
some adjustments. You must
adopt a new style of training to
accommodate a changing and
ageing physiology. Ive found
that a man or woman can
continue to improve and sharpen
their physique well into the later
years, providing the mind is

How to keep
building muscle
as you get older

have the self-control to do this, it pays


off in a big way. I personally have found
that the years from my 35th birthday until
now have been my most productive years
by far. So while I havent been putting on
massive amounts of muscle due to age
as well as to engaging in other types of
training (like MMA), I have in my bodybuilding training been more attendant to
the quality and refinement of my physique.
My training routines, as a result, have
become much shorter and more efficient.
Ive been less focused on the poundage
moved and more on the feeling of the
muscle contracting.
For instance, I came upon a key adjustment in terms of the speed with which I
lower weight, also known as the eccentric
movement. While I have always tried to
maintain a brisk concentric contraction
(referring to the force of pushing or pulling
the weight), the eccentric lowering of the
weight differs. In my younger days I was
reckless by comparison in the way I lowered
the weight. Now I lower the weight relatively
slowly in a tightly controlled path before
exerting the contrastingly explosive
concentric force. I started doing this
instinctively because I felt that my joints,
ligaments, and tendons simply couldnt
handle weight crashing down the way they
could in my relative youth
This is not to be confused with the rate
of eccentric motion in ultraslow training or
eccentric-only training. Rather, while my
eccentric motion contrasted with the
concentric component, it was still performed at a high enough rate to significantly
load and activate the muscle fibres. Some
call this eccentric stretch shortening. The
truth is that I had tried ultraslow eccentric
and eccentric-only training in the past and
felt it wasnt particularly effective, that it
actually left my muscles feeling flat and not
well pumped. Thankfully I revisited a
modification of this technique to help
protect my ageing body. I still did a
contrasting slow eccentric, but modified it
by speeding up the stretch cycle enough to
keep my muscles stimulated, followed
immediately by a brisk upstroke of
concentric contraction.
Amazingly, what began as a simple
instinctive adjustment to the cadence of
my repetition in order to protect my body
began to produce tremendous new
development for my age. As a result,
I adapted the controlled, slow, eccentric

form followed immediately by a brisk


concentric contraction in all my movements.
But that wasnt the end of it. I began
working the slower eccentric while maintaining a vigorous and explosive concentric in the
routines of the non-bodybuilder athletes I
work with. The results were equally impressive, as they put on significantly greater
muscle mass and improved their athletic
performance. Perhaps most astounding of all,
we noticed that the older and elderly patients
were also responding. It almost appeared that
the much older patients had the biggest
response.
One clinical trial recently published in
Experimental Gerontology provides scientific
support for this approach. While the
growth-promoting effects of eccentric
training have been well documented, this
particular study examined whether the rate
of stretch influences muscular response.
They tested exercise training of the
quadriceps muscle with low-rate eccentric
versus high-rate eccentric stretch-shortening training in healthy males aged 6070.
While both training programmes produced
improvement, only the high-rate eccentric
stretch-shortening training produced a
statistically significant increase in torque
development: 30%. So the high-rate
eccentric stretch-shortening training was
uniquely effective in improving the ability
to produce force rapidly. This component
of physical movement is the key deficiency
of ageing muscle.
In conclusion, bodybuilding-style weight
training is now a well established and
fundamental part of sports training and
athletic enhancement. Mountains of
research prove that weight training is a
profoundly effective adjunct to building
strength, power, jumping ability, speed,
durability, and resistance to injury among
athletes. We also know that the benefits
of a solid weight-lifting regime are not
restricted to the jocks of the world. The
reduction of muscle loss, is absolutely
critical in order to promote longevity, reduce
the incidence of illness and injury, and
generally enhance quality of life. So as we
wait for peer-reviewed clinical research to
reveal the secrets of how to best unlock
the benefits for all, at least we know
a little more than before, specifically
that high-rate eccentric stretch-shortening
training stimulates a significantly greater
development of muscle and power,
especially as we age. FLEX

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FLEX expert

anabolic academy
by nick mitchell

clUSTER TRaINING
last month i discussed why
getting stronger will also help
you pack on muscle and showed how
to incorporate a strength cycle into a
12-week hypertrophy routine. This

Weeks 1-3
Hypertrophy training: (3 or 4 sets x 12-15
reps) x 2 or 3 exercises per bodypart.
Weeks 4-5
Strength training: cluster training
Week 6-9
Hypertrophy training: (3 or 4 sets x 8-10
reps) x 2 or 3 exercises per bodypart.
Weeks 10-11
Strength training: wave loading
(more on this in next months issue)
Week 12
back-off/deload week:
HIT workouts or classic deload
First things first: if youve been training hard
for less than two years, listen to your head, curb
your enthusiasm and stick to the bread-andbutter strength training basics like the 5x5
protocol. Cluster training is very demanding,
both physically and mentally, and you need
to have a good mastery of your lifts and
appropriate loads before you jump into it.

WhAt is clUsteR
tRAininG?
As with all resistance training modalities,
cluster training has been bastardised,
improved upon, and often turned into
something so radically different from its
original form that its no longer valid. This
is my version of cluster training and the
approach I take when working with bodybuilders like Ben Pakulski.
Select a three-rep max weight and do a
single rep, re-rack the weight, rest 10 seconds
and repeat for a total of five reps. Thats one

122

FLex

Chris luND

month I want to introduce cluster training as a


method to push your strength gains above and
beyond simply lowering the reps and upping
the weights.
A sample 12-week hypertrophy-focused
mesocycle might look something like this:

set. Sounds simple, but trust me, if done


properly it can be brutal.
This differs from classic bodybuilding
rest-pause training in that with rest-pause
you push the set for higher reps to failure,
rest just long enough to shake off some
lactic acid and resume the set. This is a
great training method, but dont confuse
it with cluster training.

WhY it WORks
Two critical factors kick into play to make
cluster training work:
1. The ATP-PC/phosphogen energy system is
responsible for up to 12 seconds of maximal
effort work. In functional terms this would
mean a very short sprint, but for us meatheads it means a three-rep max lift. Whats
interesting about the ATP-PC system is that
while full recovery takes a rest:work ratio of
1:10 we can get pretty substantial recovery
with a ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3. By using the
short intra-set rest intervals in cluster training
it is possible to squeeze out more reps with a
heavier weight than would be possible using a
more conventional training method.
2. Post-activation potentiation (PAP) is a

phenomenon by which the force exerted by


a muscle is increased due to its previous
contraction. What this means in a real-life
gym setting is that every rep has an excitatory
effect on both the muscles involved in the lift
and the overall nervous system so long as
you dont allow fatigue by-products to
accumulate.
Fatiguing muscle contractions impair
muscle performance, but non-fatiguing muscle
contractions at high loads with a brief duration
may enhance muscle performance.1
This gives you a clue as to the best way to
warm up for a strength training sessionin
short, many sets of very low reps, working up
slowly and steadily to the correct load, which
because of PAP means youll be stronger than
if you do a typical gym-rat warm-up of two
sets of 20.
It should also tell you that repeated
forceful contractions not taken to the point
of fatigue allow you to lift more weight for
longer. You dont need to be a training guru
to appreciate what this increase in force
production means for your own physical
development.
Cluster sets offset the accumulated fatigue
caused by lactic acid, so for the first 60-70% of

PROGRAMMING
A WORKOUT
An effective and intelligent workout is not
just a series of exercises randomly thrown
together. You need to plan the session
around what has gone before and what
is to come next. Those issues aside, cluster

training also requires you to use your


brain and think about what youre going
to be doing.
Dont waste time on isolation exercises.
You want movements that stimulate as
many muscle fibres, high threshold motor
units, and as much of your nervous system
as possible. Leg extensions should make
way for a squat variation (not a leg press);
cable curls are not as good as preacher
curls, and they are probably not as good
as close-grip supinated chin-ups; triceps
pushdowns should make way for close-grip
bench press/dips; crossovers should be
replaced with decline bench press (not

dumbbell pressesyou dont want to be


bending down to pick up heavy dumbbells
for every single rep; that will soon get very
tiring).
Use opposing muscle supersets where you
can in order to get the most out of a given
unit of training time (examples overleaf).
Have access to a good spotter. Racking and
re-racking heavy loads all by yourself is a
sure-fire way to get injured.
Dont over-egg it. One cluster movement
per smaller body part and two for larger
body parts is more than sufficient. And trust
me on this, if you select the correct load you
will realise just how challenging a fairly
simple-looking cluster workout can be.

stOCkphOtO

your workout you should actually get a bit more


explosive as you go from one rep to the next.
I prefer cluster training to just doing a series
of heavy singles with full recovery intervals of
four or five minutes because cluster reps seem
to allow for better mental focus and lifting
technique, as youre in a better mental and
physical groove.

FLEX

123

FLEX expert

anabolic academy

EXAMPLE CLUSTER
TRAINING WORKOUTS
ChEST & BACK
A1: Supinated shoulder-width weighted
chin-up: 4010 tempo/4 sets x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
A2: Floor barbell press:
2010 tempo/4 sets x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
B1: Single-arm dumbbell row:
3010 tempo/4 sets x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
B2: Decline shoulder-width bench press:
4010 tempo/4 sets x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest

Getting stronger isnt necessary for


successful muscle building. Bodybuilding
is about getting bigger muscles and the
mechanisms for that vary significantly
from the mechanisms needed to become
stronger. But it is my sincere belief that a
stronger muscle gives you more potential to
grow when you hit the lighter weights, and
also that there is a harder, denser look to

124

FLex

functional muscle and a strong physique


that mere pumpers miss out on.
Next month well look at how to use
waveloading for the latter part of
this strength/muscle building training
cycle. If you have any questions on the
subject of cluster training, just pop over
to Twitter and ask me anything you like
on @HeyNickMitchell FLEX

REFERENCE
1. Stone MH, Sands W, Pierce K, et al. Power and power
potentiation among weightlifters: preliminary
study.Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008; 3: 5567
In case you missed last months issue, you
can buy a back issue in print format from
backissues.flexonline.co.uk or in digital format
from https://dig.flexonline.eu/

paVEl ythJall

CLUSTER BOMB

QUAdRICEPS & hAMSTRINGS:


A1: Glute ham raise: 4010 tempo/4 sets
x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
A2: Front squat: 4010 tempo/4 sets
x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
B1: Lying leg curl: 4010 tempo/4 sets
x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest
B2: Wide-stance barbell back squat:
4010 tempo/4 sets x 5 cluster reps
2 minutes rest

ADVANCED BODYBUILDING
BY Matt Porter

HEAVY SQUATS
FOR BIG ARMS?
The truth behind it all

You may have heard


talk that basic, heavy,
free-weight exercises increase
overall body mass. Perhaps youve
heard that movements like squats,
deadlifts, bench presses, and
others induce endogenous
hormone production, leading to
acute increases in lactate, growth
hormone (GH), insulin-like growth
factor 1 (IGF-1), and testosterone.
These acute increases in specific
hormones have been the main
reasoning behind the belief that
basic free weight movements cause
just about every muscle to grow.
It does make sense when you
think about it: heavy exertion plus
multijoint activation equals
heightened anabolic hormones
translating into overall muscle
hypertrophy!
Not so fast
In a study in the Journal of
Applied Physiology, researchers
found no increase in strength or
muscle hypertrophy in resistancetrained subjects performing heavy
leg training after a biceps workout.
Twelve young, male subjects
performed biceps curls on different
days, under different conditions.

126

FLEX

The first biceps-training session


was performed alone with no other
exercises afterwards. The second
biceps training session was
performed with a high-volume,
heavy leg exercise performed right
after the biceps workout. This
second session was to determine if
the heavy leg-resistance training
actually activated endogenous
hormone production enough to
manifest tangible muscle
hypertrophy and strength gains.
This programme was followed for
15 weeks, during which time the
subjects ingested a protein drink
before and after each training
session for appropriate nutritional
support.
At the conclusion of the
15-week study, endogenous
hormones were measuredand
after the biceps training plus
heavy leg training, levels of
lactate, GH, IGF-1, total and
free testosterone had increased
at the 15-minute mark posttraining.
So the question is, did that
acute increase in anabolic
hormones increase muscle
strength and hypertrophy in

the arm trained in conjunction


with the heavy leg exercise?
Unfortunately, no.
Both maximal strength and
muscle cross-sectional area
increased identically in both arms
by 20% versus a 19% increase in
strength for biceps trained alone
and biceps trained with a heavy
leg exercise. An increase in skeletal
muscle over a cross-sectional area
of 12% versus 10% in the biceps
trained alone compared to the
biceps trained with a heavy leg
exercise. These differences were
not statistically significant.
What can we deduce from
this study?
We can conclude that anyone
who tries to convince you that
performing heavy squats,
deadlifts and bench presses
for the sake of increasing acute
anabolic hormones is under the
wrong train of thought. You
perform squats for maximal quad,
hamstring, and glute development. You perform deadlifts for
upper-trap, mid-back, and spinal
erector development, and you
bench press to build fully
developed pectoral muscles.

You do not squat and deadlift


for big arms or delts. You perform
strict biceps curls and triceps
extensions for huge guns, and
dumbbell military presses for
round, 3-D shouldersits as
simple as that.
Another factor to consider is
that people who are avid squatters,
deadlifters and bench pressers
most likely will be more muscular
and larger than weight trainers
who bypass these heavy-hitting
movements. If you think about it,
those who are pouring energy into
demanding exercises like the basics
(squats/deadlifts/bench presses)
are probably training arms,
shoulders, and back intensely,
tootherefore these individuals
will be bigger, stronger, and more
endowed with muscle mass.
My advice is to always include
multijoint movements into your
weight-training routine. If you
suffer from injuries, I recommend
pre-exhausting with isolation
exercises in the beginning, then
finish the session with the basic
multijoint exercise at a lighter
weight.
If you do not wish to preexhaust, I would try experimenting
with German Volume Training
(GVT), which is typically 10 sets
of 10 reps with a 60-second rest
period. I personally will manipulate
GVT with 10 sets of 15 or 20 reps
with 45 seconds rest if I really need
to be careful with nagging injuries.
What about the subject of
anabolic hormones and how to
maximise your endogenous
production? Make sure to avoid
alcohol consumption, NSAIDs, and
xenoestrogens. Do not neglect
dietary fat to a great degree, and if
youre reducing calories to lose body
fat, reduce carbs, and supplement
with essential fatty acids, MCT oils,
and mild cholesterol consumption
from free-range, organic eggs.
I can guarantee doing all of
the above nutritionally will aid in
anabolic hormone production
over the long term, as opposed
to the mild acute effect you
temporarily get from performing
a few heavy sets of squats and
deadlifts. FLeX

Chris luND

FLEX EXPERT

FLEX EXPERT

PUMP IT
BY Brad Schoenfeld

CHASE THE
PUMP FOR
GREATER GAINS
If youve seen Pumping
Iron, you may recall
Arnold saying the following:
The most satisfying feeling
you can get in the gym is the
pump. Lets say you train your
biceps. The blood is rushing into

effects of the pump arent


necessarily confined to the
immediate post-workout period.
Emerging evidence suggests that
getting a good pump could
actually help promote greater
long-term growth as well.
Studies clearly show that cell
your muscles. Your muscles get a
really tight feeling, like your skin is swellingas occurs with the
pumpinitiates both anabolic
going to explode any minute. Its
and anti-catabolic effects. Specifilike somebody blowing air into
cally, it promotes a significant
your muscles. Theres no better
increase in protein synthesis with
feeling in the world. Ever since,
training for the pump has become a corresponding decrease in
protein breakdown. Since muscle
synonymous with bodybuilding.
What is not as well understood growth is predicated on the
protein balance, this translates
is how the pump works from a
into a hypertrophy home run!
physiological standpoint. Heres
Moreover, type II muscle fibres
the short course: when you lift,
have been shown to be particuthe veins taking blood from the
larly sensitive to osmotic changes,
working muscles become
conceivably due to their high
compressed from the force of
concentration of specialised
muscular contractions. At the
same time, blood continues to be water transport channels. The
significance here is that type II
delivered to the muscle by the
arteries. This creates an increased fibres are theorised to have the
greatest hypertrophic potential,
concentration of blood within
suggesting that pump training
the muscle, causing plasma to
leak from the capillaries and into might be particularly effective in
stimulating their growth.
the interstitial spaces. Upon
Although the underlying
completion of the set, a pressure
gradient caused by accumulated processes arent entirely clear,
it is believed that cell swelling
extracellular fluid triggers a
acts on the bodys survival
phenomenon called reactive
hyperaemia, where blood is drawn mechanisms. Similar to an
overfilled water balloon, the
back into the muscle. The net
effect is that the working muscles increased pressure from swelling
against the fibre membrane is
become engorged with blood,
temporarily swelling the muscles perceived as a threat to the cells
integrity. In response, volume
far beyond their resting girth.
Okay, perhaps youre question- sensors within the swollen muscle
ing the value of being swole for a initiate an anabolic signalling
few hours post-workout. After all, cascade in an attempt to
the goal is to pack on real muscle strengthen the ultrastructure
of the fibre. The upshot: bigger,
that lasts 24/7, right? Well,
stronger fibres.
contrary to popular belief, the
Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., F.N.S.C.A. is widely regarded as one of the
leading authorities on training for muscle development and fat loss. He is
the author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan and runs a popular website and blog at
lookgreatnaked.com.

To maximise cell swelling, its


essential to keep working muscles
under constant tension so that
the veins remain continually
compressed, and then maintain
the venous compression long
enough for blood to pool within
the muscle. The pump is further
enhanced by training in a manner
that creates a substantial amount
of metabolic stress. The associated
build-up of metabolic by-products,
such as lactate, functions as
osmolytes that draw additional fluid
into the muscle cell. Thus, both
exercise selection and how you
perform the movement are
important considerations when
training for the pump.
A couple of different strategies
can be employed to maximise
pump-related gains. One
approach is to train with moderate
to high reps and take short rest
periods between sets. For
example, perform 35 sets for a
given exercise for 1020 reps with
no more than a minute of rest in
between sets. Another option is to
incorporate drop sets whereby a
heavy set is performed to fatigue
after which the load is immedi-

ately reduced by 2550% and


then repped out until failure.
Double drop sets where the load
is decreased a second time can
heighten the effect even more. To
optimise results, you should employ
exercises that maintain tension
throughout the set. Traditional
single-joint machine-based
exercises such as the pec deck,
reverse pec deck, leg extension,
and seated leg curl exercises are
generally good choices for pump
training due to the constant
tension they place on the target
musculature.
Lastly, pump training when
performing exercises in a continuous
manner ensures that the target
muscles are not allowed to relax.
Research shows substantial
reductions in local muscle
oxygenationconsistent with
heightened cell swellingwhen
training is performed without a
relaxation phase as compared with
a one-second relaxation between
repetitions. When combined with
the strategies previously mentioned,
the result is a skin-splitting pump
and potentially greater muscular
gains. fleX

FLEX

127

ZEllEr, FitNEss puBliCatiONs, iNC., COurtEsy OF WEiDEr hEalth aND FitNEss

FLEX expert

THE FREAK SPEAKS

by Anth the FreAk BAiles, IFbb pro and 2012 brItIsh champIon

ASK THE
FREAK
PUMP UP the VOlUMe?
I notice from your videos online that
you tend to favour a low volume, high
intensity style of training. Have you
ever tried higher volume training?
Yes, I have occasionally trained with higher
volumemore sets, more reps, more days in
the gymespecially in my younger years. It
just never seemed to work for me. My strength
levels never really improved and my muscle
growth seemed to be very slow.
A few years ago I tried higher volume again,
just for a change and to see how it worked
out. Even then I found my progress slowed
down, I was more tired than usual, I slept
badly and had a poor appetiteall the signs
of overtraining. As soon as I cut back on the
days in the gym, the number of sets and
amount of exercises per body part, I felt like
I was improving again.
Now, Im not saying high volume training
doesnt work; it just doesnt work for me. It is
great for some, but theyre generally the more
genetically gifted individuals.
As a gym owner, I see it every day. Guys
come in six or seven days a week, making zero
progress in size or strength. Sure, if youre just
aiming to keep fit, go to the gym as often as
you like. But if youre trying to build muscle,
you need to give the body time to rest and
repair. Im a big believer in the old saying You
can train hard or long, but not both. Think of
sprinters and marathon runnerswhos
packing more muscle?

ChristOphEr BailEy

ChArles GlAss
You recently trained with Charles Glass
at Golds Gym in California. How was that
experience?
Training with Charles Glass has been on my
to-do list ever since I started bodybuilding.
Hes trained many greatsFlex Wheeler,
Shawn Rhoden and Dexter Jackson, to name
just a few. Did I think his methods would
produce some new, crazy muscle gains? No.
But I have always wanted to train with him,
just for the experience.

128

FLex

Bailes prefers high


intensity training

He likes more sets than Im used to, but


not exactly tons of volume. We did a back
workout with five exercisesthree sets for
each. He is an advocate of lots of stretching
and peak contractions, along with hitting your
muscles from plenty of different angles. My
back was pretty sore for two days afterwards,
so I guess he knows his stuff!
That one workout taught me that
sometimes you dont need lots of heavy
weight to stimulate the targeted muscle.

PHIL OR KAI?
What were your thoughts on the 2014
Olympia placings?
Judging by what I saw at the finals, I
thought Phil Heath was the clear winner.
Unless he comes in really off or gets injured
he is always going to be tough to beat. Even
an 80% Phil Heath will be hard to knock off
the Olympia throne.

Standing relaxed, he doesnt look so


impressive. But when he starts hitting
shots, muscle just pops off his frame.
He just has too much going on for the other
guys to handle. As for the other placings,
I think the judging was pretty much on the
money.
In the 212 Showdown, I also had Flex
Lewis taking it. Even though Eduardo
Correa was ripped to the bone, his
structure just isnt as pleasing as Lewis.
I was surprised Hidetada Yamagishi placed
fourth thoughpersonally I had him in
sixth as I felt he lacked a little mass in the
back and arms this year.
Overall, the 50th Olympia was the best Ive
attendednot just for the physiques on show,
but for the whole event; it was very well
presented and ran smoothly all the way
through. Having so many of the old legends
together onstage was a great touch as well.

FLEX

129

Bill COmstOCk

Heathtough to beat

FLEX ExpErT

THE FREAKspeaks
EASE OFF YOUR PINS
I read that you stop leg training and
cardio a week from a contestwhy?
Your legs can take quite a beating precontest. Most bodybuilders tend to increase
their cardio a lot just before theyre due to
get on stage and end up being somewhat
overtrained due to a combination of less
sleep, less food and more stress. This, along
with intense leg training sessions, hits the
legs hard.
My legs also tend to hold water. Once I
stop the cardio and leg training, the water
dissipates and my separation and cuts get
deeper. Look at it this way: if you havent
lost the body fat you need to by seven days
out, you are not going to.
Get yourself where you need to be by
around a week out, drop the cardio and leg
training, and I pretty much guarantee your
legs will have better separation and cuts.
They wont lose any sizetrust me.
I remember Dorian Yates telling me he
would stop training legs up to two weeks
out. If its good enough for a six-time
Mr Olympia its good enough for me! FLEX

FREAK
TWEETS

IrememberDorIan
YatestellIngme
hewoulDstop
traInInglegsup
totwoweeksout.
IfItsgooDenough
forasIx-tIme
mrolYmpIaItsgooD
enoughforme!

130

FLEx

kEViN hOrtON

Everyone wants to reach the goal...not


everyone is willing to go the distance!
#patience #100percentornothing
Sat Night Jacuzzi...With EPSOM SALTS!
Im now officially OLD! #oap
LEG DAY!!! Work through the pain
barrier...The other side is where the
magic happens!

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EUROPEAN

MUSCLE

BodyBuilding news and views from around the continent


by Giles Thomas

A TRUE SUPERHEAVYWEIGHT!

alBErt BusEk, matthias BussE

The last time I saw German giant


Matthias Botthof compete was at
the 2011 amateur Arnold Classic in
Columbus, Ohio. He won the hotlycontested super-heavyweight class and
then took the overallno mean feat
considering the line-up included stellar
competitors such as Hollands William
Bonac (3rd in the up-to-100 kg
heavyweights) and Sami Al Haddad (3rd in
the up-to-90 kg light-heavyweights), who
are both now top IFBB pros.
Eager to get the lowdown on Botthofs
movements since then as an IFBB professional athlete, I caught up with the man
known as the Juggernaut. I asked him
about the incredible wave of German
talent.
First of all we have my good friend
Dennis Wolf, said Matthias. I think he has
more than a good chance of winning the
Olympia title. We have Ronny Rockelhe

132

fleX

Regiane Da Silva

Back double biceps

Front
double
biceps

has had a great time and I hope it is not


over. He looked great in his last two
comeback pro shows so theres a good
chance for him to get back to where he
was and beyond.
And we have two young guns: Roman
Fritzhe is crazy but maybe that is what
you need in this sportand Tim Budesheim
who is also a good friend of mine. He is
smart and extremely strong. I think he
can do very well in the future.
David Hoffmann has a lot of experience
and nice symmetry, but Im not sure if it is
enough to make an impact against the
top-level pros unless he can thicken up
enough.
Last but not least, there is Steve
Benthin. He has had some problems with
his knee and shoulderI know those
problems very well. We will see what the
future brings for him.
The 50th Olympia weekend in Las Vegas
proved to be a successful one for the
Botthofs. For me it was especially great
because my wife Regiane da Silva was
second in the Fitness Olympia and she won
a silver medal, Matthias told me.

FLEX

133

alBErt BusEk, matthias BussE

Lat spread

THE WIZARD
WORKS HIS MAGIC

Theres no denying UK contest prep


coach Nathan The Wizard Harman
knows some sorcery to bring the best out
of his athletes. With the heavyweight and
overall winner of the British Championships
the sensational 29-year-old Nathan De
Asha now a fully-fledged IFBB pro under
Harmans watchful eye, tongues are wagging
about how he manages to continue producing
these great champions. I went in search of
answers.
FLEX: Were you surprised by Nathans
British Championships success?
NATHAN HARMAN: I realised how good
Nathan was at BodyPower. I took a look at
him and he just had that wow factor, which I
dont really get with a lot of amateurs. I knew
then that last years heavyweight winner
Sasan Heirati would really have to be on the
money this year to take on Nathan.
Nathan is my second overall British
champion in a row with Ricardo Correia
winning the previous year. Ive actually
got six pros on my books right now: Ricardo
(when his pro card comes, of course), Nathan,
Shaun Joseph-Tavernier, Quincy Winklaar,
Marshall Herman and James Llewellin.

134

FLEX

I also worked with Roelly Winklaar for


a period of time.
How much potential does Nathan have
and whats the plan?
Firstly, I want to give him some time off. He
needs to work on certain areas before hes
pro stage-ready, such as his back, hamstrings
and calves. I think Nathan has the potential
to battle it out in the top six of the Olympia
within five years. At 29 years old, he has time
on his side so the future looks very bright for
him right now.
Whats Shaun Joseph-Taverniers
next step?
The plan is to do the 212 class at the Arnold
Classic in March, then to move up one spot at
the BodyPower Pro in Birmingham from his
runner-up placing last year. Weve also
discussed Shaun jumping into the Mozolani
212 in Slovakia.
Whats the plan with Ricardo Correia
nowtry to get his pro card and do
the 212s?
Yes, definitely. Were just waiting now to
see what the situation is on Ricardo receiving
his pro card, whether it will be through
Portugal or here in UK through the UKBFF.

If all goes well with regards to that then we


want to get him in the BodyPower 212 pro
show in May. Fingers crossed we can get his
pro status taken care of before his prep
starts though.
Anyone new of note that youre working
with at the moment?
Since the British finals Ive had a massive
influx of athletes wanting to work with me
but one to watch out for is Irish junior Glen
Ferguson. Hes a monster and has great lines
for such a large guy. He will be aiming for the
British finals next year and will take some
stopping.
Whos the easiest to work with out of
Shaun, Ricardo and Nathan, and whos
the diva?
Theyre all divas!
Who will be the 2015 British overall
champ?
I think itll be between Sasan Heirati and
James Hollingshead. I worked with James this
year for his British super-heavyweight win and
he weighed 105 kg winning that class, so
another 3 kg of carefully added mass on his
frame would make it very interesting between
him and Heirati.

ChristOphEr BailEy

Harman with British champs


De Asha (left) and Hollingshead

DANGEROUS CLARENCE
BREAKING THROUGH

EURO BABE
ALERT
n This month its the rather stunning

guy CamErON

When I asked about his potential he


replied: I keep working hard every day
because even if you have good genetics,
it all boils down to hard work.
I recently teamed back up with my former
coach and manager Ferdi Robeyns and
together we have made great progress in this
last year. We just still need to figure out a few
last minute details before the contest and
soon Ill be competing at the highest level.
Ive worked so hard since moving to Tampa
nine months ago and there are so many better
possibilities for me to train and improve my
physique here. Once I perfect the drying out
technique for those last few days before an
event I feel confident I can move up.
Expect to see Clarence competing in
some of the early American pro shows this
year. Hes one to watchIve been saying it
for years, folks!

igOr kOpCEk

Ever since I saw IFBB professional


Clarence The Belgian Predator DeVis
win his pro card at the Belgian Nationals
in 2007 Ive said over and over again:
when this guy gets it bang on, hes going to
be a threat.
DeVis is a proficient competitor with
dozens of pro shows under his belt. His
career best pro finish is fifth at the 2013
New York Pro. But now, newly relocated
from Belgium to Florida, DeVis feels 2015
will be his year to break through into the
upper echelons of the pro scene.

form of German bikini pro Valeria


Ammirato. Hailing from Cologne, the new
home of FIBO, I barely recognised her in her
recent shots. She is vastly improved from
when I last saw her onstage in 2011 when
she took fifth place in the first Arnold
Classic Europe amateur contest in Madrid.
After winning the 2012 amateur Bikini
Olympia held alongside the EVL Prague
Pro, which qualified her to turn pro, she
made her pro debut at the same pro show
in 2014 and placed ninth in a strong line-up.
Valeria tells me: It was a great honour
because of the strong emotions of that
time to be back on this great stage in
Prague. But thats what makes it so special
for me. So to stand as a pro on this same
stage holds a particular significance for me.
A dream come true you could say.
Valeria also said that she will be back
early in 2015 to pursue her dream of
qualifying for the Bikini Olympia in Las
Vegas. FLEX

FLEX

135

CLASSIC MUSCLE
The The
mosTmosT
aesTheTic
physiques
of yesTerday
and Todayand Today
ceLeBraTinG
aesTheTic
physiques
of yesTerday
Ben Taylor

YOUNG AND
GIFTED
The explosion in popularity of
the new bodybuilding classes
has led to the creation of several new
categories.
Junior mens physique and bikini fitness are
the latest additions to the programme. They
were staged at the Ultimate BeginnersStars
of Tomorrow contest in the last UKBFF event
of 2014.
Its yet to be decided whether they will
become regular fixtures on the calendar but
judging by the quality of the winners, there is
no shortage of young talent.

136

FLEX

Ben Taylor may only be 23 years old but he


already has a lot of muscle and this, coupled
with his good shape and sharp conditioning,
helped him beat seven other guys.
Bikini fitness was divided into two
age categories: 19-23 and 16-18. Aurora
McMaster, 21, was the stand-out winner
of the seven women in the older age group.
Tall and with great proportions, she has a
bright future, as does Shannon Mackie, 18,
the winner of the younger age group. Mackie
gave herself twelve weeks to prepare for
what was her first contest.

Shannon Mackie

IN THIS MONTHS
CLASSIC MUSCLE
n ryan John-BapTisTe
New British IFBB mens physique
pro
n GizeLLe hiGGinson
International businesswoman and
bikini competitor
n ryan Terry
Why Im tempted to switch to
bodybuilding
n nina ross
British bikini pro on why she trains
for strength
n mohammed Benaziza
Chris Lund looks back at the IFBB
pros career

ChristOphEr BailEy

Aurora McMaster

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classic
muscle

By John Plummer
PhotograPhy By christoPher Bailey

THE PROFESSIONAL
Ryan John-Baptiste is an IFBB pro after winning the
mens physique British Championships
Prison officer Ryan John-Baptistes
mens physique career didnt start
too wellhe placed third at a local contest.
But he kept training hard and a year later won
the English Grand Prix and British Championships to become the UKs second IFBB pro
after Ryan Terry.
FLEX: When and why did you start weight
training?
RYAN JOHN-BAPTISTE: At the age of 18
I was involved in athletics. Now and again
during training we would come in and do 15-20
minutes of weight training. This was the first
time I was introduced to weights. From then
on I started to go to the gym with a few friends,
not really knowing what we were doing.
We werent that serious but we could see
improvements. As time went on and I started
gaining fitness qualifications I began to enjoy
it a lot more, and sports took a back seat.
How did you get into competing?
In 2009 I was at home reading
Muscle&Fitness and wondering how these
guys got into the magazines. I searched on
the internet and the FAME championships
popped up. One of the prizes was to feature
in a magazine so it was a perfect opportunity
to achieve that goal.
Why do you prefer mens physique?
What I like about this class is that I can
train like a bodybuilder but do not have the
pressure of having to put on too much muscle
to compete at the highest level. The mens
physique category is a lot more achievable
and carries a more desirable look, which will
therefore inspire others.
How do you respond to criticism about not
showing your legs?
Great question. I normally post a photo of my
legs or I tell them to join me for one of my leg
sessionsthen they will realise how hard I
train them.

138

FLEX

What are your plans for 2015?


I have so many plans; at present I am
deciding which Olympia qualifier I will
be competing in. My aim is to reach the
Olympia stage. At the same time I will
be launching my new subscription
membership on IronMuscleTV in
January where I will be posting all
my workouts, tips and advice.
How does training fit in with your job
as a prison officer?
Luckily, I actually work in the gym within
the prison, so it works perfectly. I can
train in the morning, afternoon or in the
evening and I have a supportive team
that understands I need to eat too.
Whats your training split?
On a normal week it would go like this:
Monday: Back
Tuesday: Chest
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms and abs
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest
My rest days do change around
depending on how I feel day to day.
How many exercises, sets and reps
do you do?
For larger muscles groups like back I
train anywhere from four to ten
different exercises, which will
accumulate around 2034 sets per
session. I like to keep around my
magic 15 reps too.
Volume training or high intensity?
Since starting with my new training
partners a year ago, our sessions have
been a lot longer and have involved
more exercises, sets and reps. During this
time I have doubled any improvements
I have ever made in the past.

What are your best lifts?


Im not really one to boast about lifts but
I did a barbell bentover row with 140 kg for
8 repsstrict form!
What are your strengths and
weaknesses?
I would say muscle-wise, my back is my strong
point. In regard to weaknesses, I need to work
more on my lower abs, which is something
I am focusing on this off-season.
What do you do for cardio?
I prefer steady-state cardio. I like to do this
on an incline walk on the treadmill. My body
reacts to this very well.
Describe your pre-contest diet.
I normally start my diet around 8-10 weeks
out. You might think this isnt very long but
I normally stay pretty lean all year round so
my fat stores are not too high to start with.
I decrease calories on a week-to-week basis
but sometimes cycle a few re-feed days when
I see improvements slowing down. I keep it
simple, sticking with three or four varieties
of carbohydrates and protein throughout.
Whats your favourite cheat meal?
I dont really have a meal that I crave but
Nutella hits the spot. I can eat a jar within
10 minutesits bad!
If you could only have three supplements,
what would they be?
BCAAs, whey protein and creatine
Whats the most common mistake
in the gym?
People using too much weight and not
getting their technique right in the first place
Where would you like to be in five
years time?
I would like to be the mens physique Olympia
champion.

RYAN
JOHNBAPTISTE
Age: 30
Place of birth: North London
Lives: Surrey
Height: 183 cm (6 ft)
Weight: 89 kg (196 lbs)
competition/95 kg (209 lbs)
off-season
Career highlight: 2014 UKBFF
British Championships overall
mens physique champion
Ambition: To step on the
Olympia stage
Sponsor: Optimum Nutrition
To contact: www.Ironmuscle.tv
or on Twitter @RJBaptiste

My aiM is to
reach the
olyMpia stage
FLEX

139

classic
muScle

By John Plummer

Photo By SImon hoWArD

INTERNATIONAL
AMBITIONS
Gizelle Higginson doesnt let running two businesses
on two continents stop her from getting in shape
In seven contests in 2014, Gizelle
Higginson established herself as a
leading national and international bikini
fitness competitor. She won her class at the
UK Nationals, placed sixth at the British
Championships and rounded off the year with
a stunning silver medal at the Amateur Olympia
Africa. She also runs health and safety training
and consultancy companies in the UK and
South Africa.

FLEX: When and why did you start weight


training?

GIZELLE HIGGINSON: I started weight


training about two years ago because I wanted to
live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. I had been
to the gym infrequently before but with no serious
structure and had always avoided weights for
fear of becoming too muscular.
How did you get into competing?
I occasionally had personal training sessions at the
gym and my trainer competed in bodybuilding
shows. He always tried to encourage me to
compete. It was only when I went to South Africa
to support my friend at her bikini competition that
I decided to do a contest. I did my first UKBFF
qualifier in September 2013.

How do you find time for training?


I always make time for training. My days are very
structured and routine-based. I train before and
after my day in the office. Probably more difficult
than the training is finding the time to prep, cook
and eat food at the right times. I prefer preparing
my meals the night before for the following day.
I never prepare or cook food in bulk.
What was it like competing at the Arnold
Classic Europe?
It was a tough competition because there were
almost 40 competitors on stage in my category.
It was my first competition for a few months
and although I didnt place, it served as ideal
preparation for the following three competitions in
three weeks, where I achieved two top-six placings.
What are your plans for 2015?
I have planned a structured off-season to ensure
I make the necessary improvements. I want to
continue to represent the UK in international
competitions and consistently challenge for top
six places. I also aim to inspire others to live a
healthy lifestyle.

Give a brief overview of your contest results.


2013: UKBFF Midlands Championship, 2nd;
UKBFF British Championships
2014: UK Nationals, 1st; IFBB European
Championships, 11th; IFBB Amateur Olympia
Europe, 11th; IFBB Arnold Classic Europe; UKBFF
British Championships, 6th; IFBB World
Championship, 9th; IFBB Amateur Olympia
Africa, 2nd

Whats your training split?


MondayFriday: HIIT cardio
Monday: Chest and shoulders
Tuesday: Glutes and hamstrings
Wednesday: Shoulders and arms
Thursday: Back and shoulders
Friday: Quads, hamstrings and glutes
Saturday: HIIT
Sunday: HIIT
You will notice I work shoulders a lot. Bigger,
more defined shoulders make the waist look smaller
and give the impression of that coveted V-shape.

Why do you prefer bikini fitness?


I like the femininity of the posing and the T-walk.
It is a look that is achievable by anyone who is
committed to training and living a healthy lifestyle.

How many exercises, sets and reps do you do?


My main aim is to make each of my sessions count
and make it enjoyable. I aim to do three exercises
per body part. Sets and reps vary for each exercise.

140

FLEX

I do drop sets, forced reps, rest pause, supersets etc.,


to constantly challenge myself and never get used
to a routine.
Volume training or high intensity?
It depends on what exercises I do, but I find high
intensity more enjoyable. I am always trying to
change my workouts. Even in the same workout,
I may do some higher volume on isolation exercises
and higher intensity, heavier weight on compound
exercises. Variation is key.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I build muscle easier on my upper body but it is more
of a challenge to build muscle on my legs, especially
quads. Genetically I have good shape and definition
in my abs and I intend to bring them out a lot more
for next season.
What do you do for cardio?
I used to do a lot of steady-state cardio but found
HIIT more suitable as I get results and its easier to
fit into my schedule. I use different methods for HIIT.
For example, I do 20 seconds of sledgehammer to a
tyre as fast as possible and 10 seconds rest. I do this
for eight minutes.
Whats your favourite cheat meal?
How do I choose only one? I love venison sausage
pasta. The recipe is a closely guarded secret! I also
like spicy pizza or steak and chips.
If you could only have three supplements,
what would they be?
Cola flavour whey isolate, BCAAs and a pre-workout
Whats the most common mistake in the gym?
Something I used to do, and see many others
doing, is spending way too much time doing cardio.
When you arent dropping fat as fast as you would
like, its tempting to do more and more cardio.
Combined with dropping calories, this can be
counterproductive. More is not always better!
Where would you like to be in five years time?
Obviously I would love to become an IFBB bikini
pro but its just as important to me to continue
being successful in national and international
competitions and to inspire others to change
their lifestyle to a healthier one.

GIZELLE
HIGGINSON
Age: 32
Place of birth: South Africa
Lives: Staffordshire and London
Height: 160 cm (5 ft 3 ins)
Weight: 51 kg (112 lbs)
Career highlight: Winning the UK
Nationals and winning silver in my
home country at the first Amateur
Olympia Africa
Ambition: To become an IFBB pro
and inspire others to compete
Sponsor: Decibel Nutrition
To contact:
www.gizellehigginson.co.uk;
Facebook GizelleHigginsonFitness;
Twitter @Giz_Fitness;
Instagram @Gizellehigginson

The bikini look is


achievable by
anyone commiTTed
To Training and
living a healThy
lifesTyle

FLEX

141

classic
muscle

RYAN
TERRY

From the moment I began training, I fell in love with


bodybuilding and have followed it for many years. I took
my passion for the sport to another level when I started attending a
lot of local qualifiersand pretty much any show going in the UK for
that matteras a fan. In all the years Ive been watching the sport,
Ive followed everything from the huge bodybuilders at Mr Olympia
through to the more aesthetic classes.
Ive always favoured aesthetics and condition in a physique over
sheer mass and freakiness. But I have the utmost respect for the
freakier guys. In fact, for the past five years, Ive been training with
one of the UKs best bodybuildersDave Titterton, who was crowned
UKBFF British superheavyweight champion in 2013.
Ive learned from Dave about the discipline and sacrifice it takes to
be number one in your field. Although we compete in different classes,
our training and diet are pretty much the same. He just lifts heavier
weights and has bigger portion sizes.
Ive now been training for about 11 years and despite being a
long-time fan of the sport, its only in the last few years become a goal
of mine to actually get on stage and compete.
At first I struggled to gain good weight. My knowledge of nutrition
was not extensive and I never thought it would be possible for me to

142

FLEX

ChristOphEr BailEy

The IFBB pro on why he prefers mens


physiquebut might try bodybuilding

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classic
muscle
make the gains necessary to compete.
I was then fortunate to be introduced to a
well-known nutritionist called Ken Roscoe
from Team Foodtech while prepping for my
first competition four years ago.
That show was a male pageant called
Mister International, and, if I won, it had the
potential to change my life completely. I was
desperate to do well and knew bringing the
best physique possible to the stage would
greatly enhance my chances.
After a few months of working with Ken
following a regimented nutrition plan and
training regime, my physique developed
considerably. The hard work and dedication
paid off when I was crowned Mister International in November 2010. That was the
start of everything.
On returning home I was approached by
USN to become a brand ambassador. This
was a dream come true and made me realise
the opportunities that were suddenly open
to me with that kind of sponsorship and
support.

I would lIke to
show my legs off,
even just once,
In a bodybuIldIng
lIne-up

I began to consider competing in bodybuilding but at the time there wasnt mens
physique in the UK so the classic bodybuilding
category, which limits weight according to
height, became my focus.
Even in this less extreme category I knew
I had to add a lot of muscle before I was ready
to step on stage, so I got my head down and
went to work.
During this time, I started to get a fair
amount of modelling and TV work on the
back of winning Mister International. Before
long, I was so busy I handed in my notice on
my job as a plumber and started modelling
full-time.
I discussed my goal of competing in classic
bodybuilding with my sponsors and although
they were fully supportive, mens physique
had just started and it was clear they
preferred this more attainable and marketable look. From their point of view, they were
already working with Dave Titterton and IFBB
pro bodybuilder Lee Powell so they catered
for the hardcore market.
Had I gone into bodybuilding, even classic
bodybuilding, I could have jeopardised my
modelling career and become less appealing

144

FLEX

as an athlete to my sponsors. So the start of


mens physique in 2012 proved perfect timing
for me.
Training for mens physique allowed me to
test my limits in the gym by pushing through
boundaries to make the necessary gains. I still
had to remain disciplined and regimented
with my nutrition and supplements, just like a
bodybuilder. But it also allowed me to remain
marketable for modelling opportunities and
my sponsors.
This kind of training, which avoids constant
bulking up, also allows me to stay close to my
stage weight all year round, which means Im

never far from photo-shoot condition and can


always be in shape for promotional events
something sponsors are always keen on.
Would I ever switch from mens physique to
a bodybuilding class? Because Im a fan of
bodybuilding, its always something that
interests me. Im a mens physique athlete
now, but maybe one day Id like to step on
stage as a bodybuilder, just to say I had a go.
In the gym, my ultimate goal is and always
has been to build an aesthetic, well-conditioned overall physique, including my legs.
I would like to show them off, even if its just
once, in a bodybuilding line-up.

simON hOWarD

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Surrey

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Surrey
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Manchester
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Stretford
Manchester
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NINA ROSS

The British bikini pro on why she trains for strength


Welcome to my first monthly
column, which is aimed at women
who train for a bikini or bodyfitness look.
I hope to give you an insight into my views
on and experiences of training and nutrition,
which have shaped my ethos and methods.
I appreciate there is more than one way
to skin a cat but one thing that defines
my approach to training is that it places great
emphasis on strength, even though I train
for aesthetics. Let me explain why.
One of the most misunderstood topics
in fitness is periodisation. This is hardly
surprising as many people drastically
overcomplicate the subject, as they do with
so many other aspects of training. Periodisation refers to how you organise your training
over a period of time. Think of it this way: if
your programme is the same every week, you
have no periodisation.
Generally a beginner does not require any
form of periodisation. When you are starting
out you should be able to achieve gains by
continually increasing the resistance without
altering training volume. Most beginners
training three times a week can usually add
2.5 kg or 5 lbs to the bar every session and
make good gains in muscle.
But inevitably at some point progress will
plateau and you can no longer keep adding
weight and doing the same volume of work.
At this stage, the only way to continue
increasing the weight is to decrease
volumeby reducing the number of sets or
reps. It is at this pointwhen your body

requires several training sessions to get


strongerthat periodisation becomes
beneficial.
How you go about it will depend
largely on how long you have been doing
a specific exercise. This is because optimal
periodisation is specific to particular
exercises, rather than for a programme
overall, and an effective periodisation
programme should take this into account.

Dont just
Do more sets
You may be wondering why Im focusing
solely on weight as a means of progressive
overload. The reason is that all other forms
of periodisation have empirically produced
moderate results at best.
I dont agree with those who claim volume
is an appropriate means of progressive
overload. An optimal programme already
utilises the optimal volume so more volume
only results in overreaching.
Decreasing rest intervals, increasing time
under tension all these kinds of things may
make it seem as though youre progressing
but several macrocycles later youll find youre
no bigger or stronger than you were before.
Also, anything that pushes the adaptations
towards greater endurance rather than
strength is not sustainable, in my experience.
This doesnt mean I dont think there is
a time and place for such techniques but
I believe it is impossible to become bigger
without becoming stronger (although the

NINAS WORKOUT
EXERCISE

SETS

REPS

REST

1 Deep Squat

4 working sets

8-10

2 mins minimum

2 Hip Thrust from defecit

4 working sets

8-10

2 mins minimum

3 Split Squat from defecit

3 working sets

8-10

2 mins minimum

4a Single-leg Hip Thrust

3 working sets

8-10

2 mins minimum

4b Calf Jump

4 working sets

8-10

2 mins minimum

146

FLEX

Strength
training and
the phySiological
adaptionS it
bringS have many
benefitS, including
an increaSe in
teStoSterone
levelS
reverse is possible). So any programme that
does not increase strength is highly unlikely
to result in considerable muscle hypertrophy.
When training for competitions I use this
approach to home in on any areas I need to
improve.
Of course, nobody can continue to progress
by adding weight continually. Therefore
I monitor when my clients stall at a weight.
If they stall twice at the same weight,
I change the periodisation programme or
exercise. If one stalled in, say, October and
then stalls on a much higher weight in
December I usually just deload and reset
the progression track.
Strength training and the physiological
adaptions it brings have many benefits,
including an increase in testosterone levels.
So forcing your body to keep striving to lift
heavier weights causes elevations in
testosterone levels and this in turn helps
to build muscle.
I usually do my strength and maximum
effort lifts at the beginning of my sessions
because I find this gives me much more
mental focus, and the release of endorphins
increases my drive for the remainder of the
session.
If your training doesnt emphasise
strength, try the workout at left; once
you have mastered it consider adopting
a periodised approach to progress. FLeX
Nina Ross is a British IFBB bikini pro. She is a
two-time British champion, first in bodyfitness
and then in bikini fitness

FLEX

147

kEViN hOrtON

BY CHRIS LUND, UK EDITOR SINCE 1985 photos BY CHRIS LUND

MOHAMMED BENAZIZA 19591992


The shocking death of Mohammed
Benaziza (Momo), only hours after
the 1992 Dutch Grand Prix was the biggest
wake-up call in bodybuilding history. At
that particular time Momo was taking part
in a series of Grands Prix in Europe and was
considered to be the king of contest
preparation by his fellow competitors. At
only 5 ft 3 ins tall and weighing between
190 and 195 pounds in contest condition,
he was consistently wiping the floor with
the best pro bodybuilders in the world.
After wed arrived in Italy (three days
before the Dutch Grand Prix), I happened
to bump into Momo at the checkout of the
local supermarket. To my astonishment
he was in the process of purchasing what
looked to be at least six pounds of apples.
When he saw me looking at him, he just
smiled and waited for my question. What
are you going to do with all those apples,
then? I asked. Ill show you tomorrow at
the photo shoot was his brief answer.
I had forgotten about the apples as I was
setting up my equipment at Franco Fassis
gym when I suddenly noticed Momo
walking slowly towards me. As usual he
was carrying his gym bag over one shoulder,
but he was also holding on tight to a rather
large plastic bowl. He suddenly dropped his
bag onto the floor and held the bowl out to
me so that I could see what was inside. Its
pured apples, I exclaimed. So, thats
what all those apples were for!
Yes, you are right, Momo replied. I will
take a spoonful of this apple pure every
hour or so right up to the contest, and I will
be ripped to shreds. In fact, Momo stopped
many times during the photo shoot to
down a tablespoonful of apple puree.
At the end of the shoot Momo stripped
down and went through a series of rapid
nonstop poses for the camera that simply

148

FLEX

150

FLEX

blew everyone away. And then, he did


something strange. He flexed one of his
quadriceps and told me to feel how hard
it was. It felt like a house brick had been
implanted into his thigh.
Momo won the Italian Grand Prix easily,
and the following day he and the rest of
the Euro gladiators flew to The Netherlands
for the Dutch Grand Prix, while I caught a
plane for North Carolina to cover the NPC
Nationals for FLEX.
As I was checking into my hotel, Jim
Manion (the NPC president) approached
me and simply said: Momo Benaziza
died last night after the Dutch Grand Prix.
I was absolutely shocked. But I was just
on the European tour with him two days
ago! I blurted out. He was walking
around eating apple pure from a giant
plastic bowl.
Apparently, Momo was having problems
during the competition itself, according
to top Canadian pro Steve Brisbois who
was also competing that day. It looked
like he was trying to vomit during most
of the show, but he seemed to be having
problems even doing that, because he
was so dehydrated. However, no one
knew what was wrong with him and he
continually refused medical help every
time anyone approached him.
Steve, who gave me an in-depth,
no-holds-barred interview for FLEX after
the event, went on to say: They had to
call a doctor later that night, but it was
too late. My friend had died. Steve Brisbois
was deeply affected by Momos death and
never entered a bodybuilding contest
again.
Mohammed Benaziza was born in Algeria
in 1959 and only took up bodybuilding to
improve his soccer speed. He was playing
in the French semi-pro system at a
bodyweight of 125 pounds, but it wasnt
long before he weighed a rock-solid 152
pounds; he won his very first bodybuilding
contest after only six years of training.
In 1987 he won the IFBB World Amateur
Championships and immediately turned
pro. Only one year later, he placed 11th at
the Mr Olympia at his very first attempt.
During his years as a pro bodybuilder
Momo placed high at every show he
competed in. He won eight pro contests,
FLEX

151

including the 1990 Night of Champions


where he even beat future Mr Olympia
Dorian Yates.
I got to know Momo very well because
we did many photo shoots in different
parts of the world. Heres what he had to
say about his early days in the sport.
Back in the early days I was training with
relatively heavy weights for eight to 12 reps
a set, but after my first contest I increased

152

FLEX

my rep range to 15 to 20. At this point I was


able to pack on another 40 pounds of
muscle to my frame. At 5 ft 3 ins and 192
pounds, I was looking pretty impressive.
I have always used heavy weights right
up until the day of the contest, but my
secret is to do each set for 1020 reps.
I have always believed that heavy weights
with relatively high reps hardens the
physique and also keeps the muscle

mass levels up while youre dieting for a


contest.
Momo claimed that his most productive
routine was something that he called the
4x4 system.
This system, Momo said, consisted of
four different exercises per body part, doing
four sets each time. I always used straight
sets exclusively, because I preferred to do
supersets only before a contest, for that

extra jolt to my muscles. I found that


supersets really helped my muscles hold
that edge before a contest.
Nevertheless my training methods were
always very instinctive. I tended to adjust
my choice of exercises and the order in
which I performed them as I saw fit, or
based on how I felt once I hit the gym.
Because my routine was always
instinctive, it would be wrong for me
to say this is my routine because to be
honest, Ive used many training systems
and exercises in different sequences,
etc. Having said that, four sets of four
different exercises per body part, with
heavy weights, seemed to work best
for me.
I would also like to point out that I
always lowered my weights slowly and
under perfect muscular control. I really
loved to lift heavy, but I didnt swing the
weights up. You can only get results from
heavy weights if you do not use momentum. I also did not rest very long in between
setsmaybe a minute or so at the most,
because this also brings out maximum
muscularity, which is, after all, the name
of the game.
Forced reps were also important from
time to time because they were a really
good way to burn in extra growth to the
muscles, although I did not use forced reps
all that often. They are, however, a really
good shocking movement for the muscles
to jar them out of complacency.
As far as cardio was concerned, I liked to
ride the stationary bike for an hour in the
evening to wind down my days training. It
also helped to keep my body fat in check
and improve my overall muscularity.
I trained my abdominals every day,
even in the offseason. The reason for this
was because its far too easy to fall into
the habit of letting your abs go, thinking
that because theyre stabiliser muscles,
theyre receiving adequate work from all
the other exercises you do. This is one
reason why so many of my competitors lost
out at showsthey let their abdominals
go and simply didnt have enough time
to bring them up to par in the eight weeks
they gave themselves to prepare for a
contest. I worked them hard every day
with the exception of the fourth cycle
FLEX

153

day, which was a total rest day for my


whole body.
As far as dieting goes, my pre-contest
diet would see me lower my calories in
order to rip up and I would split my meals
so that I was eating five times a day. These
meals always consisted of chicken, fish,
egg whites, pasta, potatoes, wholemeal
bread, rice, sweet potatoes and fresh fruit,
combined with gallons of water. As you
can see, its not that much different from
the way other bodybuilders eat before
a contest. As far as eating for size is
concerned, my recommendation is a
joyous one... eat!
I always made sure that I kept to a low
fat diet, but my daily intake still totalled
between 4,500 to 5,000 calories every
single day. If you want to get huge, then you

CONTEST CAREER
1987
IFBB World Amateur Championships,
Lightweight, 1st
1988
Grand Prix France, 8th
Mr Olympia, 11th
1989
Grand Prix Finland, 3rd
Grand Prix France, 4th
Grand Prix Germany, 3rd
Grand Prix Holland, 2nd
Grand Prix Spain (2), 4th
Grand Prix Spain, 4th
Grand Prix Sweden, 5th
Mr Olympia, 5th
1990
Grand Prix England, 1st
Grand Prix Finland, 1st
Grand Prix France, 1st
Grand Prix Germany, 1st
Grand Prix Holland, 2nd
Grand Prix Italy, 1st
Night of Champions, 1st
1991
Arnold Classic, 11th
Ironman Pro Invitational, 9th
1992
Arnold Classic, 2nd
Mr Olympia, 5th
Pittsburgh Pro Invitational, 7th
Grand Prix England, 4th
Grand Prix Germany, 2nd
Grand Prix Italy, 1st
Grand Prix Holland, 1st

154

FLEX

simply have to eat huge, but it needs to be


huge amounts of the right kind of foods,
not candy bars and ice cream!
Bodybuilding lost a great champion
when Mohammed Benaziza was taken

from us. And the thing is, this sad and


really awful accident should never ever
have happened in the first place. But
Mohammed Benaziza remains one of the
greatest bodybuilders of all time. FLEX

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BY TIM N. ZIEGENFUSS, PhD, CSCS, FISSN

UNDER THE
MICROSCOPE
Taking a purely scientific look at the best products
in the world of sports supplements
We examine the critical active
ingredients in various sports
supplements. We award high marks to
those with existing supportive data,
real-world results and innovation in
formulation.
Here we put BEaST CrEaTUrE under the
microscope.
Creature is a speciality powdered
product that contains five different forms of
creatine (CreaPure creatine monohydrate,
CreaTrona buffered creatine, Creatine
MagnaPower, creatine alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine anhydrous) along with two
other ingredients that may enhance
creatine uptake into skeletal muscle
AstraGin and Cinnulin PF. While there are
no studies comparing Creature to single
forms of creatine, the theoretical
advantage of this formula is that

156

FLEX

different forms of creatine may have


different oral solubilities and/or change the
absorption (and therefore performance)
characteristics of muscle.
Creatine absolutely revolutionised the
sports nutrition industry in the early 1990s.
And for good reason: until that time, very
few supplements delivered on their
marketing promises. In stark contrast, when
taken at proper doses (3-5 grams per day for
at least 30 days) and when combined with
intense training, creatine supplementation
will almost certainly increase your strength
and muscle mass, and will reduce fatigue
during many types of exercise. In a world of
dubious products and claims, this is one

time when what sounds too good to be true


actually isnt.
Creatine has been the subject of
hundreds of research studies in humans
since 1992. In general, men and women who
ingest 3-5 grams of creatine per day for 6-8
weeks gain an average of 2.8-3.2 kg of lean
mass, which corresponds to a 20-40%
increase in the creatine content held in
muscle. Although the initial gains in body
weight during the first few days of
supplementation appear to be due to some
water retention (note: creatine anhydrous
may reduce this effect), this effect is
actually an important effect that triggers
long-term muscular growth by a variety of
mechansms: 1) increases in muscle fibre
protein content, an effect which results in a
doubling of muscle fibre size compared
to resistance training without
creatine supplementation;

2) increases in several myogenic regulatory


factors (i.e. proteins that activate gene
expression in muscle); 3) increases the
number of satellite cells (i.e. immature or
baby muscle fibres that can eventually
mature into muscle cells); and 4) increases
in intramuscular IGF-1 content (a potent
growth factor in muscle). More recent data
also demonstrates that creatine supplementation can enhance glycogen storage in
muscle by upregulating the production of
GLUT4 (glucose transporter 4), thus
providing indirect evidence that it may be of
benefit to endurance athletes under certain
circumstances.
In terms of improving physical per
formance and power output, creatine
supplementation has been shown to
enhance the energy capacity and production
from the phosphagen energy system (which
includes adenosine triphosphate [ATP] and
phosphocreatine [PCr]). In addition,
creatine supplementation is also thought to
buffer changes in intramuscular pH due to
hydrogen ion accumulation (translation =
less fatigue during intense muscle contractions). Both of these systems are used
mainly during intense sprinting-type efforts
interspersed with short recovery periods.
Thus, athletes who perform weight training
exercise, or compete in football, hockey,
rugby, basketball, etc, are likely to note
benefits in their performance. As mentioned
above, some endurance athletes also
use creatine during glycogen-loading
protocols, as well as during their interval
training programmes.
In addition to the above benefits, scores
of research studies have also dispelled many
of the myths of responsible creatine use,
including muscle cramps, muscle strains,
dehydration, liver and/or kidney stress, etc.
The fact is, NO study to date using a
placebo-controlled double-blind design
(considered to be the gold stand in clinical
research) has found an increased incidence
of these side effects in subjects consuming
creatine monohydrate. Media reports that
claim otherwise usually involve case studies
from uninformed athletic trainers, coaches
and physicians.
GRADE: HHHHH
REASON: Unless youre in the minority as a
creatine non-responder, I can think of no
other legal supplement on the planet that has
more benefits to explosive performance,
strength and lean mass. In the latter case,
it is also suggested to co-ingest creatine

with 50-80 grams of a high glycaemic index


carbohydrate, or a combination of carbs and
protein, since it is known that creatine uptake
into muscle is greater when insulin levels are
raised well above normal.
CiNNuliN PF is water-soluble cinnamon
extract that has been standardised to
specific active ingredients called type-A
polyphenol polymers. This is an important
distinction as normal whole-cinnamon
supplements contain volatile oils that
can be toxic. Research conducted on
Cinnulin PF has reported potent antioxidant effects, improvements in blood
pressure, glucose control and even enhanced
body composition. Many athletes use
Cinnulin PF with their post-workout meals
to enhance nutrient uptake (particularly
carbohydrates and creatine) into skeletal
muscle. Cinnulin PF is also patented for
increasing creatine uptake/storage in
skeletal muscle.
GRADE: HHHHH
REASON: Research in animals, test tubes,
and also in humans supports the benefits of
Cinnulin PF supplementation on insulin
signalling and glucose control.
AStRAGiN is a proprietary combination
of two herbs, astragalus membranaceous
and Panax notoginseng. Panax notoginseng
contains bioactive compounds called
ginsenosides that have many health
benefits, including nitric oxide production
(which promotes vasodilation). Astragalus
mebranaceous contains bioactives that have
been shown to enhance immune function. In
vitro research on AstraGin has shown it can
help increase the absorption of certain
vitamins, minerals and amino acids. As such,
AstraGin is becoming more common in
many preworkout formulas, protein
powders, and vitamin/mineral packs.
GRADE: HHHH
REASON: While the ingredients in
AstraGin have a solid theoretical
background and there is some in vitro
data to support its effects, follow-up
research in free-living gym rats
(i.e. humans) is preferred. FLEX

The RaTings
HHHHH Outstanding scientific research on
humans available
HHHH Solid research available; anecdotally
effective
HHH Not much human research available
but premise is sound

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BY JOHN PLUMMER, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

DEAN
LESIAK
For the last 10 years, anybody
wanting to be British lightheavyweight champion has had to
get past the wide frame of Dean
Lesiak. Few have succeeded. Lesiak
won the title for a second time at the
latest British Championships and has
twice finished second. Hes consistently
good and frequently excellent, with tons
of muscle and a knack of getting in great
shape. FLEX

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MARCH ISSUE ON SALE 19 FEBRUARY 2015

Jay Cutler on
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TO WaTch

We chart Dennis Wolfs journey


from promising but unpredictable
to Europes best pro

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Nearly four years after finishing


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Shaun Joseph-Tavernier is back
and ready to rumble

The
King
of 212

gary phillips

After the Olympia,


the Arnold Classic in
America is recognised as the
worlds premier bodybuilding
contest but it had never held a pro
212 lb class until last year, when
Welshman Flex Lewis beat David
Henry for the title. Who will be
the king of the little guys when
Columbus, Ohio, hosts the 2015
Arnold from March 5th-8th? FLEX

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