Posted 11 August 2011 by

Interview with: Natural

Bodybuilder Tuan Tran

What mistakes did you make as a newbie?

God, what mistakes did I not make? Right off the bat, lack of knowledge about nutrition would top my list. Second,… lack of understanding biomechanics when it comes to movement of the body and how to lift with leverage vs raw power (which I relied on a alot when I was younger). Lifting for ego vs lifting for improvement. Not understanding my somatotype (body type). Not doing things like cardio and high reps because of the myths of "bro science" and what I would hear from other guys. But instead of just following the norm, I took fitness serious and expanded my knowledge of it and nutrition to the point where now I am one of the most elite Natural/Drug-free Athletes in the U.S.

Genetics-wise which category would you be in would you say you’re a Ectomorph, Mesomorph, or Endomorph?... and what are the pros and cons?

I am a strong Mesomorph (scoring maybe around 6 or 7), slight Endomorph (would say around a 2 to 3 score) and have very little to no Ectomorphic traits (1 would be my score on that). Gaining and losing weight is not too bad as long as I keep my diet under control. Power is my strong point and my anaerobic threshold is very high, but my endurance is weak (5 and 10 K runs...etc). Also, dropping my weight below 5% body fat is very difficult. In my case, my body adapts very well to any training I do and becomes very resistant to fat loss. I have logged in my journals doing a total sum of 30 miles on the treadmill in 1 week while training 6 days a week weights and keeping my caloric intake around 2200 to 2400 calories and still not drop any fat.

We know consistency is key, what tips would you
give to anyone struggling to stay consistent?

We all have good and bad days. However, I look at my nutrition and training like I would my job. Regardless whether you have had an argument with your spouse, family problems, weather is bad, your boss chewed your ass out, feeling low energy, did not sleep well...etc, it does not matter in regards to your work/job. Day in and day out, you have to go to work to make your income to pay your bills. If you do not, nothing gets done and you fall behind vs. moving forward. The human body is the same way. It does not think and comprehend what is going on, its only job is to keep you alive and react to the different stresses you put on it in your daily life. In other words, every time you eat, drink, sleep, training or do not train, you are making a decision to push the body in one direction or the other. Lets just hope that you are doing "a lot" more to push it in the direction you want to be moving in. Last, TRACK EVERYTHING. Nutrition, supplements, training, evaluations, write everything down.

Free weights vs machines what do you feel are the
pros and cons of both and which do you prefer?

Both have its time and place. Free weights are better for more advanced lifters. It forces you to not only have the power and strength to train with free weights, but you have to stablize them as well. However, if you do not have a good understanding of leverage or bio mechanics, then your movements may put more stress on the joints and tendons vs the muscle, which will cause an increase chance of injury and at the same time really reduce the muscles ability to develop. Machines are good for novice or beginner lifters to learn form, the path of a movement and the proper biomechanics to engage certain target muscles. Machines, however, limit your ability to work on mobility, your stabilizer muscles, and the majority of your body is at rest on certain machines because of the isolation. So if you are looking to burn more calories, free weights are a better choice. Either way, one must understand their strengths and what they need to work on in order to figure out which piece of equipment is better suited for their current needs and goals. I myself use more free weights vs. machines because of the aspects of both power lifting and bodybuilding. However, at least in bodybuilding, I will do a fair amount of machines to isolate a muscle and also protect myself from injury once my stabilizers are too fatigued from all the free weight exercises.

What are you most proud of?

That I have achieved all my results drug free and that many of my clients have also achieved their results without the advantage of dangerous performance enhancing drugs. I am proud Vietnamese/American and proud of my family that has thought me great lessons in life such as work ethic, patience, dedication, striving for excellence, taking responsibility for ones actions whether it be good or bad and respect of self and others.

How long do you usually spend in the gym?

I am there most of my day for I am a fitness professional.

What types of cardio do you do?

Running and jump rope are my main forms of cardio. From soldiers, boxers, fighters, martial artist, gymnast, NBA, NFL, MLB and other elite athletes in their respected field or sport, these 2 types of cardio are a staple in their success. So if the most elite athletes apply this type of cardio training to be the best in their respective sports, why shouldn’t I?

What rep ranges do you prefer and why?

I personally love power lifting. However, I have no preference to rep ranges as long as I get results. Again, I will train with any rep range to achieve the goal at hand. I have pushed any where from 50 to 100 reps in 1 set depending on my goal.

What is your training routine like?

Hard to say. It really depends on my goal. Muscle hypertrophy, pre contest bodybuilding, programs to get ready for a power-lifting meet, maintenance are all different. Even then, I have different variations of each kind of those goals I have listed. But for ideas of how I train, my youtube videos can give you better insight.

What is your diet when trying to get in
peak condition?

Ketogenic for about half the week and regular eating on the other half. My calorie intake will change weekly depending on how my stats are changing (weight, bodyfat%, lean body mass...etc). Your basal metabolic rate will change and your body will begin to adapt to everything you throw at it, so you have to understand the science of the human body in order to know the correct changes to make. Sadly, sometimes you just have to go through the process of trail and error to figure it out.

Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?

I bulk for power lifting and max my weight out around 195 to 198 to compete in the USAPL 198 Open Men's Raw Division and then cut for my bodybuilding contest.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

I do alot of cooking so I can create healthy burgers, pizza, fried rice and other foods that would be considered junk food. If people had more patients and better ability to manage their time, cooking healthier versions of the so called junk food is possible. Also, I do not need to eat 100% clean when I am powerlifting so I can have some junk from time to time. As for when I am bodybuilding, I will cook most of my food. If I do slip up, I do punishment cardio. So that helps keep me in check. Again, many people fail because they do not take responsibility for their actions.

What do you think about when you have to
dig deep and push out that last rep?

Simple, what does it really take to be a winner? What does it take to beat everyone else? Other thoughts like people with only 3 or 2 limbs still able to compete and do amazing things. What my parents did to raise my brothers and I, how hard they worked and the amount of sacrifice they made to give us the chance to success. To prove to all the haters out there that do not think it's possible without the use of drugs and to motivate all those who do think it is possible through hard work, education and believing in their own ability.

Who are your favorite athletes, bodybuilders
or fitness models?

Anyone who trains drug free because they are choosing the more difficult path and are not willing to compromise their health/wellness.

What are your future goals?

Getting married Oct. 9, 2011
Competing at The Cronus August 20, 2011

What supplements do you use if any?

Multi Vitamins because I do not always get all the vit and minerals I need from food. Fish oils because I do not eat alot of seafood or fish. Whey... because I do not feel like eating 2 lbs of meat every day to reach my protein goals.

What top 3 tips would you give to anyone
wanting to get CutAndJacked?

  1. Understand the science of Nutrition and how it effects your body
  2. Do not buy into the "bro science" from guys who can only achieve their results with performance enhancing drugs or other black market illegal drugs.
  3. Track your progress and write everything down. Unless you are god, you do not really know what works for you, so best thing for you to do is track the positives and negatives of every thing you do so that in the future, once you figure out what works for you, you will already have it written down so you can use again without guessing on what you did.

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