I started working out at 12 years old. My father was always an active person. He used to jog, ride bicycle, lift weights, etc. That had a big positive influence in my life while growing up. Just like a lot of kids, I wanted to be like my dad :-)
But the big thing that really sparked my love of muscle was when I first saw Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Conan The Barbarian Movies. I didn’t even know what bodybuilding was at the time, but I was just blown away that someone could actually be that big and look like a real life comic book super hero. I was determined that I would someday look like that myself. That’s when I got bit by the bodybuilding bug.
All during high school I was obsessed with working out. I also participated in martial arts at the same time, taking karate lessons for 5 years. Then in my senior year of high school I entered my first bodybuilding competition. The 1995 Newfoundland Provincial Bodybuilding Championships.
Bodybuilding just seemed to click with me and I enjoyed it right from the start. I was always a shy kid growing up, but for some reason I felt very comfortable on stage competing in bodybuilding. From 1995 on I have competed pretty much every year in local and regional bodybuilding competitions.
During my early years my main goal like most young bodybuilders was simply to gain muscular bodyweight and “bulk up”. Now while I was in my late teens with a racing fast metabolism I followed the “See Food” diet, basically eating anything and everything in order to pack on size. This allowed me to fill out my frame rather quickly. But as I got a bit older I found things changed as my metabolism slowed down and I had to be more careful with my eating or else I’d just get down right fat.
By my mid-twenties I had bulked up to 240 pounds (at 5’6 tall). Now I felt really strong in the weight room at that weight, but I was down right fat and my cardio conditioning sucked big time. So from that point on I made it my priority to focus on quality, rather than quantity. So now I don’t let myself get any heavier than 225 in the off-season and I make sure to do cardio training year round to keep my bodyfat in check as well as to keep myself in good cardiovascular shape.
When I trim down for a bodybuilding competition I’ll get down to a ripped 195 pounds (the top of the light-heavyweight class). At this stage of the game I really don’t have any intentions of getting bigger or moving up to the heavyweight class. I’m more interested in simply improving my shape and proportions at my current size. I find I’m at that unique balance of where I’m a pretty “Big Guy”, but still quite agile and athletic. I don’t want to be the guy who’s “too big” to participate in activities outside the gym.
The biggest motivator that I’ve found is simply putting yourself on the line and actually competing in a bodybuilding competition. Once someone commits to competing it changes everything. Your motivation will sky rocket because no one wants to get on stage in front of a panel of judges and hundreds of spectators in anything less than their absolute best shape ever!
Another thing that really helps with motivation and consistency is training with a workout partner. Very often people will do more for others than they will for themselves. It’s easy to blow off a workout if you are only letting yourself down. But if you have someone else who is depending on you for their workout it helps motivate you to get to the gym.
How long and how often I workout depends on where I am in my training cycle. If I’m preparing for a competition I’ll kick things into high gear and do longer and more frequent workouts in effort to burn up more calories and speed up fat loss.
A typical day for me during my pre-contest phase is doing 1 hour of cardio first thing each morning before eating breakfast. Than later in the day I’ll go to the gym for my weight-training workout, which usually lasts about 90 minutes (that’s total time, including warm up and cool down.) I’ll do this 6 days per week.
During my off-season I’ll cut back to about 4 weight training workouts per week, again they will usually average around 90 minutes total training time. My cardio is also cut back to 3 sessions per week, usually between 30 to 60 minutes.
I like to vary my workouts all the time. I’ll usually stick to a set routine for a few weeks at a time and then change things up. But a typical training split would look like this:
Chest & Shoulders
Legs & Abs
I don’t get hung up on the days of the week that I workout. I’ll just go through the above training order regardless of the day of the week. I find this works better for me because if I happen to miss a day it’s no big deal, I just pick things up where I left off for my very next workout.
With my weight training workouts I’ll always start off with a big compound power move (i.e. bench press, squats, deadlifts, etc.) and I’ll usually train this lift heavy say 5 sets of 5 reps. After that I’ll move on and so 3-4 smaller isolation type exercises to work all angles of the muscles. For these exercises I’ll usually do 3-4 sets of 10 reps.
With my cardio workout I’m very spontaneous, it could be something as simple as taking my dog for a walk, or going for a bicycle ride, or using the cardio machines at the gym. All that matters is that I’m active and that I work up a sweat. Cardio is secondary in importance to my weight training because I simply use it as a fat loss tool.
For my last bodybuilding competition I followed a low carb diet that was based around high protein, lots of green veggies, and healthy fats. I avoided all simple and starchy carbs except for 1 high carb re-feed meals every 3rd day.
This worked really well for me and allowed me to get in my all time most ripped shape ever. I cover this exact diet in specific detail in my Extreme Fat Loss DVD program that’s available on my website.
In my early days of bodybuilding competition I did weigh, count, and calculate every single bite of food that I ate. Granted this is very tedious, but I think it’s important for new bodybuilders to actually take the time to do this because it will teach you so much about proper nutrition.
But as you get more advanced you can ease off on the number crunching and be a little more instinctive when it comes to dieting. For my last few bodybuilding competitions I simply focused on the actual foods I was eating and not counting calories.
I’ve dedicated my life to helping aspiring bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts through my website. One thing that people will find with my training programs, articles, videos, blog posts, etc... is that I’m a straight shooter. I’ll tell it like it is. Bodybuilding and fitness is my passion and I practice what I preach. There are a lot of so called “fitness gurus” out there who may talk a good game, but when you actually see them in person you have to wonder if they even workout or not.
Competition wise my biggest achievement was winning the light-heavyweight and overall title at the 2007 Heavyweights Classic Bodybuilding Championships. The best shape that I was ever in was at my most recent show, the 2010 Atlantic Canadian Championships. I didn’t win my class, but I did win the best poser award, which was a cool achievement.
Another important achievement that I’m very proud of is coaching my girlfriend and training partner, Patricia, to winning 5 overall championships in local and regional bodybuilding competitions.
I’m going to keep competing in bodybuilding competitions. At this stage I do it more for personal reasons and to help keep myself motivated to stay in shape. But my main goal is to continue helping my followers via my website, videos, training programs, etc.
The most satisfying thing for me now is when I hear success stories from my followers saying how they’ve improved their physiques and thus improved the quality of their lives. That’s the best part of bodybuilding, when you get in shape physically it has a positive impact in all areas of your life from boosting your self-esteem, confidence, etc.
I think it would be pretty cool to be able to fly like superman.
I went sky diving for the first time just a few months ago and it was the biggest adrenaline rush of my life. So to be able to do that all the time would be totally freaking awesome. And I’m sure it would be great cardio as well LOL :-)
I’m a big believer in karma. I think that if you do good things for others, good things will come back to you. That’s why I constantly go out of my way to help others. I feel that my life has been very rewarding thus far, so I’m going to keep on doing my part to make this world a better place.