Height: 5’4″ – 163 cm
Weight: 155 lbs – 70 kg
What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?
I started weight training at the age of 17 while in high school and I immediately fell in love with it. I ended up spending all of my spare time in the weight room. During high school, I had weight training class every day and after school, I would go back to train. At that time, there was no internet, so I relied on bodybuilding magazines to get my workouts, nutrition and supplementation information. After I finished school, I found myself working in the nightlife industry in Dallas, Texas. I ended up doing that for many years and it wasn’t too healthy to say the least!
There was lots of drinking, smoking and eating fast food during the day and especially at night after the clubs closed. During that time, my exercise regimen was sporadic at best.
What was your low point or turning point?
After about a three year layoff from any type of consistent training and consuming fast food just about every day of the week, I was at my heaviest. I lost whatever muscle I had gained during my previous years of training and I was no longer happy with myself mentally or physically. I had done too much partying, too much eating and not enough training and it showed! One day, I was online and I came across a photo of Pham ‘Flexx’ Vu; it might have been on SimplyShredded.com when you guys ran an article on him. I was instantly inspired by his physique and being half Asian myself, seeing another Asian with a physique like his really motivated me. I remembered how I felt in the past when I had trained and I knew I had to get back at it. My goal was to see if I could obtain a physique similar to Pham ‘Flexx’ Vu’s.
That’s when I decided to get to work and make some serious changes. I started hitting the gym consistently; I would go for runs almost daily and I even started trying to eat better.
What was the hardest part about your transformation?
The hardest part was just getting started. At that time, I didn’t have a gym membership, so I pushed myself to run almost daily. Only, I’m not a runner at all, but I knew I had to start somewhere and do some form of cardio to lose my body fat. I was able to slowly build my way up to 3 miles a day and I even ran up to 6 miles a few times, which was a big deal for me. (Laughs)
When I finally got a gym membership, I started hitting the weights again and that was a great feeling!
What motivates you to keep going and push harder?
I think competing in the IFBB as a Men’s Physique Pro at the age of 45 and being one of the oldest pros is highly motivating! Also, being from Minnesota, there are not a lot of pros that have come from my area. I want to show our local community of competitors that someone from our area can make it to the IFBB pro league and not only make it, but do very well.
I aim to inspire my competitor friends from back home to keep pushing for their dreams too!
What is your next goal and where do you see yourself this time next year?
My ultimate goal is to win a pro show and earn enough qualification points to make it to the Olympia stage.
If I can continue to hang with some of the top guys, next year at this time, I’d like to still be competing in the IFBB. For a challenge, I may even try the ‘new’ Classic Physique class.
What is your current training philosophy?
Because I’m 45, I don’t train as heavy as I used to. My goal is to reduce the chance of injury. I tend to focus on the movements, changing the tempo of the reps, focusing on the contractions and really emphasizing the ‘squeeze’ during each repetition. I also focus on keeping tension on the muscle throughout each set. For me, I feel it’s very important to have that mind to muscle connection for every rep of every set.
- Squats 4 x 8-12
- Front Squats 3 x 10-12 (Superset)
- Leg Extensions 3 x 10-12
- Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 10-12 (Superset)
- Leg Curls 3 x 10-12
- Standing Calf Raises 5 x 15-20
- Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press 4 x 10 (Superset)
- Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises 4 x 10
- Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 15
- Russian Twists 3 x 20
- Cable Rope Crunches 3 x 20
- Pull Ups 4 x 15
- Pendlay Rows 4 x 10-12 (Superset)
- Seated Cable Row 4 x 10-12
- One-Arm Dumbbell Rows 4 x 10-12
- Behind the Neck Pulldowns 4 x 10-12
- Dumbbell Pullovers 4 x 10-12 (Superset)
- Wide Straight Arm Pulldowns 4 x 10-12
- Barbell Curls 3 x 10 (Triple Drop Set)
- Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 4 x 8-12
- Incline Smith Machine Press 4 x 8-12 (Superset)
- Incline Dumbbell Fly’s 4 x 8-12
- Decline Smith Machine Press 4 x 8-12 (Superset)
- Cable Fly’s 4 x 8-12
- Cable Pushdowns 3 x 10 (Triple Drop Set)
- Behind the Neck Press 4 x 10-12
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 x 10 (Triple Drop Set)
- Dumbbell Front Raises 4 x 10 (Superset)
- Bent-Over Dumbbell Rear Fly’s 4 x 10
- Crunches 3 x 20
- Leg Raises 3 x 15
- Barbell Curls 4 x 8-12 (Superset)
- Dumbbell Skull Crushers 4 x 8-12
- Dumbbell Hammer Curls (Superset) 4 x 8-12
- Pushdowns 4 x 8-12
- One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls 3 x 10-12
- One-Arm Cable Kickbacks 3 x 10-12
Saturday: Priority Training
- On Saturdays, I will pick a body part I feel is lagging behind and focus on it. For example, I will hit my upper chest, lats or legs.
What is your secret to your incredible upper and lower abdominal development?
Using a wide variety of exercises has allowed me to really develop my abdominals. For the upper abs, I use a variety of crunches and for the lower abs, I do a lot of hanging leg raises.
Do you deplete your water prior to a show? Tell us about the process and what’s worked best for you.
This season before a show, going into peak week, I’ve been water loading. For example if the show is on a Saturday morning, several weeks leading up to the show, I’ll drink 1.5 gallons of water a day. Once peak week arrives, that Monday and Tuesday, I will increase my water intake to 2 gallons. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, I will increase my intake to 2.5 gallons. The day prior to the show, I’ll increase my water intake to 3 gallons a day.
On the day of the contest, if I’m thirsty, I’ll sip on water and drink a little just to wash down my food.
What is your approach to nutrition?
For all of my shows, I’ve worked with a contest prep coach in Minnesota, Mike Gritti. So during contest prep, I just eat what Mike tells me to eat, when he tells me to eat it! (Laughs) When I’m in off season and I’m not competing, I go by the 80/20 rule. I’ll eat good and clean 80% of the week and then I will let myself indulge the other 20% of the week.
For example, Monday – Friday afternoon, I’ll eat all clean meals and when Friday night rolls around, I’ll allow myself a cheat meal or a treat. On Saturday and Sunday, I will also allow for a cheat meal.
Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?
I try to stay fairly lean year round. I try not to go above 10% body fat, so when I prepare for a show, I don’t have to follow any drastic weight loss strategies.
- Meal 1: ½ scoop Protein, 1 cup Oatmeal and 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter and 1 Protein Shake mixed with 1 cup liquid Egg Whites and ½ Scoop Protein
- Meal 2: 1 cup scrambled Egg Whites, 1 cup Spinach, ½ cup Peppers, ½ Avocado and 1 Tortilla Wrap
- Meal 3: 6 ounces Chicken, 1 cup Jasmine Rice and 1 cup Broccoli
- Meal 4: (post workout) 1 cup liquid Egg Whites, 1 scoop Protein and 1 Apple or Banana
- Meal 5: 93% Ground Beef or Turkey, 1 cup Sweet Potatoes and 1 cup Broccoli
- Meal 6: 6 ounces Tilapia or White Fish, 1 cup Spinach and 6 Asparagus Spears
Do you have a sweet tooth? And what’s the one food you couldn’t live without and how do you handle food cravings?
Yes, I have a major sweet tooth! (Laughs) My favorite food is probably ice cream, if you can call that a food. (Laughs) Otherwise, I’d have to say pizza.
To handle cravings, I prep all of my meals in advance for the week and I always keep extra meals in my meal bag. This really helps me stay on track.
What does your supplementation look like?
- Protein Powder
- Fish Oil
- Pre Workout
- Fruits and Greens Powder
- L-Carnitine (Liquid)
- Fat Burner
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to reach their goal physique?
- Eat according to your fitness goal. What you eat is crucial to achieving your goal!
- If you want to achieve the results you’re after in the shortest amount of time, be as consistent as possible with your workouts and your nutrition.
- Learn to be disciplined. You must be disciplined to achieve a goal physique. There will be plenty of obstacles in your way, both in training and what you should and shouldn’t eat. The more disciplined you are the better results you’ll get!