I started training about six years ago. I was thin, I weighed 121lbs and I had difficulty accepting my physical condition. I was an athlete for the National Italian Taekwondo Team and I didn’t increase my bodyweight in order to remain in my class. Often in the evening after 5 hours of training which included running, fighting and much more, I used to have dinner which consisted of a simple yogurt and then I went to bed. When I had an injury I started rehab in the weight room, I fell in love with dumbbells and barbells. I left Taekwondo and started training in my garage where my father had a simple bench with dumbbells.
I remember that I trained pecs on a daily basis, and I neglected my back muscles. My shoulders were quite weak because I preferred not to training them. I was devoting myself to chest and arms only. Luckily I understood soon that to build a beautiful body I had to build it with harmony and so I began to train my weak points. Another mistake was I wasn't training abs, I used to train them only before and during the summer. The worst mistake I made was to prefer protein powders instead of real food, I believed they were more effective!! I used to consume a large amount of powders and not so much real food.
What I can say is that imitating what other athletes do isn't a good idea. We have to study and update ourselves and not simply ask questions of those who are more experienced than us. We also have to learn to listen to our body.
If I was just listening to the elders in my gym, without going to verify what they said, I would not be able to boast of my titles now. Listen to your body, asking others is fine, but make sure to check everything in books or on a good website first! Consistency is the key, but being smart is the lock!
I have a confession to make ...I train at different gyms, and while I always have headphones on, I don't listen to anything ...Do you know why? Because I can hear what they say about my condition LOL! I know this is lame but it helps me to stay focused when I hear bad things about me, I think over on what I have to improve. Anyways when I do cardio I like to listen to Caribbean music! I love Cuban salsa and bachata. I like Romeo Santos and many others... I'm a romantic and this music helps me to relax.
During my prep I'm not the only person to sacrifice. There's my trainer, who constantly monitors my situation (trust me, many times he is forced to study the best solution for hours and hours), there's my girlfriend who tries to not eat junk food or sweets. There are my parents who try to help me in all possible ways, support me psychologically and sometimes they have helped me even financially. What do I think about when I have to push out that last rep? I think of them all and I think to make them proud of me, I can't really disappoint them!
My coach Eugenio Paniccia plans everything! My diet plan and my workout program are studied and programmed by him. Although I don't have any show close in my schedule and I'm in offseason (strange thing because I compete approximately 8 times at year), I always have a plan to follow. I need to stay in shape all year long in order to make my pre-contest preparation easier. I need approximately 8 weeks to reach my best contest conditioning. My life is influenced by my meals and my workouts. I always have everything organized and I try to be as accurate as possible. I love to cook and prepare my meals and when I leave home I always have all my meals with me.
Honestly, I think I have built an aesthetic physique, but, we all can do it! In the gym, I get many compliments about my posing skills. I am very proud of this because I spend many hours practicing. Learning to contract muscles well and being able to pose in the best possible way is what makes the difference when you are on stage. Outside the gym but I very proud of my talent as a dancer, even if no one appreciates it! I think I'm a very humble guy and I honestly don't know what I may boast about... Maybe I can say this is my best quality.
I am a Men's Physique competitor and therefore I don't invest much time in bulking but I spend it improving quality and proportions. After competitions I usually gain weight but this is mostly due to the liquid accumulation. An amateur athlete can't gain too much volume, so I keep myself fairly "light". If one day I get my Pro Card, I will invest some time in a bulking phase.
I love HIIT but I found that the classical aerobic activity at 65% or 70% of my maximum heart rate gives me a better results. I have two daily sessions, in the morning next to breakfast and in the afternoon after the weights. I usually use the treadmill at high incline or sometimes I use the bike outdoor or indoor.
I train 6 days a week with two sessions daily: In the morning I do cardio activity for 45 or 60 minutes after breakfast. In afternoon I train with weights and after that I do an additional 30 minutes of cardio. Sunday is my rest day but when I'm close to the competition and if I'm still not in a good condition sometimes my coach asks for a cardio session in the morning.
My training program is structured in this way:
The training techniques that I use are quite simple, I work on hypertrophy specific training which can provide 4 sets for 12 reps or 3 sets for 10 reps both with rest between 90 and 30 seconds. Sometimes I also use a FST-7 like technique revisited by my coach.
My workouts are very intense and once finished I'm always hungry, first thing I do is running to the locker room to have my post workout protein shake!!
My diet plan consists of 6 meals. I usually eat every 3 hours except after the post workout shake, in this case I eat about 1 hour later. I never take off carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is not for me. My favorite protein sources are chicken, cod and egg whites, but in off-season I also add lean red meat such as equine. I respond better to low glycemic index carbohydrates, my primary sources are oats and potatoes. In my class, since I'm an amateur, I cannot use too much carbs because I have to keep my volume and my body responds very well to muscle growth, so I tend to cut calories mainly from carbohydrates. I love vegetables, and I prefer broccoli, spinach and asparagus, but also love to eat zucchini and peppers.
During the 2014 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus I had the honor and pleasure to meet and chat with my favorite athlete in Men's Physique: Mr Jeremy Buendia.
He has my age, he's very humble and down to earth. He motivated me a lot and told me a ton of great tips. This event marked my career and gave me the dedication and confidence to persist in my dream to get a Pro Card.
Supplements that I can't miss are BCAA, glutamine, creatine, omega-3, hydrolysed whey, vitamins and minerals and digestive enzymes. I don't take other supplements outside of these. I use bcaa and glutamine before and after training, together with creatine. I take Omega-3 twice daily. I take enzymes with my meals to help my body to assimilate all the nutrients. I use hydrolysed whey only in my post workout shake. I think these are the fundamentals for a strong and well-built body.
Ifbb Men's Physique
Height: 5'8.5 "
Weight: 190 lb contest, 220lb in offseason.
Facebook fanpage: www.facebook.com/Valentino-Tozzi-Ifbb-Mens-Physique