Original Article posted on JackedFuture.com
1) Who or what made you get into this occupation, and what keeps you going?
I starting lifting weights at the age of 12. I lived my whole life mainly on a farm but grew up in a town of 100 people. Access to a gym was completely foreign, until my Uncle had built a gym for the two of us back in 1996 on the farm. It had everything you’d find in a regular gym, leg press, power rack, cables, benches, and dumbbells to 100lbs. Back when I was younger I was motivated by the challenge to train, as no other kids in my school ever lifted weights, they were all sport jocks and I wanted to be different. Growing up I got teased a lot for working out because I was so skinny, I weighed no more than 110 pounds soaking wet between the ages of 12 to 15. Back when I was young my Uncle would help me in the gym and was a mentor to me growing up. I began to read ferociously, everything I could get my hands on.
This sport allows one to reach whatever level you want, but it’s up to you to attain that desire. The mind is the powerhouse, whether you step into the gym and just train or you step into the gym and give your absolute best in every exercise so that you leave feeling like you’ve achieved a gratifying outcome, will determine your success. What you put in, is what you get out of this sport. The desire to always have the hunger to achieve, even just a little bit more. I will continue to strive to be my absolute best, in fact I have this question I continually ask myself to ensure I’m getting the best out of me: If I was to die tomorrow would I be completely satisfied with the effort and passion I have put into my life up until this day.
2) What routine/dieting method has given you the best results and do you still use it?
I train heavy all year round, in a periodized fashion. My Weekly routine is as follows:
- Monday – Upper Power
- Tuesday – Lower Power
- Wednesday – off
- Thursday – Chest/arms
- Friday – Legs/calves
- Saturday – Back/shoulders
- Sunday – off
- Cardio – 3 days a week/Core 3 days a week/stretching after each workout.
I vary my cardio between short intense all out sessions that last between 12 to 16 minutes and basic 25 minute recovery sessions were I will go at a steady pace. My Core sessions will contain 2 movements supersetted with high reps focusing on all elements of the torso. I may switch my days periodically if I need more recovery with a certain muscle group. Here is an example of my Upper Power Workout:
- Bench Press (change hand position) – 5 sets of 5 reps
- T-Bar Rows (alternate between supported and free) – 5 sets 5 reps
- Dips (Vary hand position) – 5 sets 5 reps
- Upright Rows (Vary hand position) – 5 sets 5 reps
My diet is simple but yet highly effective. I have been working with Dr. Joe for two years now and absolutely love his work. He does not have you bulk to excessive weight gain in the off-season, in fact right now I’m around 12 pounds from my contest weight, he does not drop your water, deplete sodium or excessively restrict Carbohydrates in preparation for you contest. He always peaks you just perfecting for each show where there is no guess work. I did three shows last year and my condition was spot on for all three, including winning my WNBF Pro card back in March of 2010. I eat all kinds of foods; I don’t eat pork, and stick with lean meats and eggs for my protein source. I find that eating a well balanced diet is key to sustaining growth and also getting nutrients that our growing bodies need as Drug Free athletes. I ALWAYS drink a minimum of a gallon of water per day. I will consume between six to seven small meals per day and focus on getting a variety of foods in my diet.
3) What type of supplements do you prefer year round?
My favourite supplement is a product called RE7, a performance recovery beverage. I drink this before, during and after a workout to help with my recovery from the intense training and also drink it throughout the day. I also take products from Bodybuilding’s Strongest Supplements; Fusion Bodybuilding’s product line. I use their Purple K, Sleeping Giant, Agent M (great to pre/post training) and Glutamed. I also consume products from PVL, Iso Gold and Extravol. Here is a list of the Vitamins and Minerals I take:
Calcium’s, Omega Fish Oils, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, PreBiotics, Varies other Antioxidants, Chromium Picolinate, Juice Plus www.4mosthealth.net, Beta Alanine, L–Arginine before training, ZMA, Easy Flex for Joints
I am not a big believer in mixed pre workout drinks. I like to add my own ingredients to ensure I know what is going into my body.
4) Do you prefer to stay lean all year round? If so what do you do to ensure staying lean. If not, why?
Yes I prefer to stay relatively lean throughout the year. I feel stronger and healthier from an overall perspective. I also get better mass gains when I don’t allow myself to gain too much weight. I go by the visibility of my abs, if I can see my abs I’m staying within my range. I don’t go by the scale as much although I weigh myself once per week all year round to gauge progress, as well as measurements and review my training plan each week and month to ensure I’m making continual progress. As a natural bodybuilder it’s imperative that one show the discipline to not just gain weight but gain quality weight. I have my days where I don’t watch my diet and consume foods that I enjoy, but on those days I ensure I do a hard training session to allow the extra calories be absorbed more readily in the body. I perform cardio all year round; in the off-season I will do a minimum of three cardio sessions a week, on top of my four to five resistance workouts. When I’m competing I will normally do my cardio after I train, but in the off season I break my cardio sessions up and usually do my cardio sessions in the late afternoon, with my resistance workouts in the am.
5) If you could switch one body part with a pro who would it be and what body part would you switch?
6) What is your take on the length of training sessions?
When your workouts start to surpass 60 minutes, especially during leg day, your testosterone and GH production significantly decreases. You want to ensure as little cortisol production as possible as this will slow your overall gains. As drug free athletes recovery is imperative towards our success and the gym serves as the stimulus for growth. I train with efficiency and balance, in that as I cycle between strength and hypertrophy I alter my workout variables (sets, reps, rest and tempo) to ensure the greatest benefit. You want to stimulate the growth process, so that you are always progressing each and every workout.
7) What is the one exercise you will always do week in and week out no matter what, and why?
The king of all exercises is the squat. Between the deadlift and squat I always ensure one of these are in my program, although I get more benefit from squats. Dead lifts I will vary with heavy good mornings and rack work. Numerous studies have been done on the benefits of the squat, in relation to hormonal production, muscle stimulation and overall strength. In my eyes there is no other movement that is as effective in overall gains as the squat. So many athletes and bodybuilders spend so much of their time on machines, thinking that there is more benefit. I always think back to how bodybuilders trained in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, they focused most of their energy on the squat, lunges and deadlifts for their lower body gains. A good example is the legend Tom Platz who arguably had the best legs in bodybuilding. He built his legs on the foundational movement, the squat.
8 ) What’s a quote or passage that you live by on a daily basis?
“What can be conceived in thought, can be attained through action.”
9) Where do you hope this sport takes you?
I got my WNBF Pro Card in March of 2010 and now one of my next goals is to become the WNBF World Champion. I’ve always wanted to live in California and as of right now I have achieved that dream. My business partner and I own a beverage company called RE7 which is launching nationwide in 2011. I’ve also accomplished a dream in starting a Drug Free Bodybuilding, Figure & Fitness Federation called INBF Canada Inc. We have a team of leaders that are very passionate, as we promote numerous competitions across Canada. I have always had an immense passion to help others and be a positive, inspiring role model towards other natural athletes. I believe that the industry has been clouded by a misaligned message and so many younger individuals view this sport through the wrong lens. This sport brings so much happiness to one’s life, not just by means of seeing a physical transformation but in feeling healthier, stronger and having more confidence. We may not realize it but as drug free athletes we are always being watched and it’s so important to have a smile on our faces and promote a positive message so that others will be inspired to do the same in their lives. I encourage you to read my column called Peak Mind Zone in Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness magazine, and follow me on my website at www.matparkmuscle.com. Wishing you Success! Believe; Achieve!