Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, IFBB professional bodybuilder Ben Pakulski is a fitness author and personal trainer who now resides in Tampa, Florida. He recently finished 4th in the 2012 Arnold Classic and previous to that finished 2nd at the 2012 FlexPro. Ben has been an ALLMAX sponsored athlete since January of 2012.
You’re working with Chad Nicholls now, in what ways do you feel he’s raised your game?
Working with Chad has been an incredible experience for me. The guy’s a legend in the bodybuilding world. Many of you may not be familiar with Chad himself but you definitely know his work. Have you heard the names Ronnie Coleman? Flex Wheeler? Paul Dillet, 5 time Ms Olympia Kim Chevesky, 6-time Ms Oympia Lenda Murray, and many, many more extremely successful IFBB pros from the 90s and early 2000’s.
Chad actually got out of the game for awhile because he wanted to commit more time to his family life. In November 2011, I was attending US Nationals in Miami and heard that Chad was taking on clients again. I’d never actually met him before, so I wanted to take this opportunity to meet him. I was watching my client on stage, competing in the heavyweight men’s bodybuilding division, when some man came up to me and started chatting about the guy I was yelling for on stage. Having only seen pictures of Chad I assumed him to be around my height, well built, with a full head of hair. Well, after sort of having ignored this random guy who’d walked up and started talking to me, I was soon informed that Chad Nichols was in fact 6’3” and was now thin and bald. Oops! I’d just ignored the guy I was expecting to meet. Yup, not starting on a good foot. Thankfully, Chad has a good sense of humour and we hit it off from that point forward.
My contest prep experience with Chad couldn’t have been a better one.
Chad was incredibly knowledgeable when it came to nutrition, and it was really refreshing to find out that he wasn’t into any new tricks, or voodoo that exists in some bodybuilding circles. I’ve worked with some other coaches in the past that knew more or less nothing about actual nutrition but had worked with so many other athletes that they knew what NOT to do with someone.
They could get guys in pretty good shape by basically preventing them from messing themselves up, which is the case with 80% of bodybuilders who try these “junk days” and “junk loading” roll-the-dice kinds of approaches. Yes – every one has tried them. They work about 50% of the time and the other 50% of the time you look like a watery mess.
As for my diet during pre-contest prep, truth be told, whereas I normally do a 16 week prep, this year we only had 10 weeks because I wasn’t really intending on competing. The birth of my first child was 6 weeks before the contest, and I’d actually taken 2 months completely OFF training to complete a new business project just prior to starting my prep. All of that being said, Chad had me on a very low-carb diet the entire time.
It was hard, I was hungry, but as ridiculous as it may sound, I actually enjoy being hungry on my diets. It makes me feel like I’m suffering, and I have to push even harder in the gym to accomplish my goals and stay focused.
What do you think your next competition will be? You made such amazing improvements coming into 2012, many are calling you the most improved bodybuilder on stage this year. What do you intend to do between now and your next competition to dial it up another notch?
Believe it or not, I would honestly say that this year’s prep was my WORST ever! I had so little time to prepare, I was on a crash diet and I experienced the birth of my first child. Things were just throwing me off from getting into my normal training “groove”. I was lucky enough to sign a contract with ALLMAX Nutrition on January 1st 2012 and began using their products almost immediately. This was a huge difference maker for me. My recovery went through the roof (by now you all know I eat AMINOCORE and Glutamine by the spoonful).
Normally I begin my diet at 16 weeks out, eating tons of clean calories and I actually start to grow. My intensity in the gym kicks up around 10-12 weeks out and my body changes almost over night because I can manipulate my workout volume. Muscles start to get leaner, fuller, I can feel every body part perfectly and I feel basically invincible.
This year I felt like an old man until about 4 weeks out. I guess the stress of life, and not sleeping, was getting to me. My muscles were “creeky”, my joints were sore, my training intensity wasn’t where I would have liked it to be. Of course, relative to most guys, I was already kicking ass in the gym, but I know what I expect of myself and it wasn’t there…yet! About 2 weeks after my son was born, everything just seemed to click. Some people said having a son would motivate me, perhaps it was that. Perhaps it was just the culmination of events…the security of signing with such a great company, finally being able to relax knowing that my child was born healthy, and being able to recover like a champ from getting an abundance of great supplements.
Super setting/Giant sets, what do you need to do to get up for those big workouts and bust through plateaus – You’ve made amazing gains coming into the 2012 series, fans want to know what you did differently to vault yourself ahead of the competition with such a striking impact.
The reason I made such incredible gains going into 2012 was due to the fact that my training and nutrition has become much more scientific than in previous years.
I know exactly how to train to maximize muscle gain, and I know exactly what supplements to take, in what amounts, to allow my body to recover optimally.
I’ve been a research junky since I was 17 years old, seeking out the best information and the best products that exist. Based on that research I’ve built myself an effective and reliable daily supplement routine, which I get asked to see all the time, so here goes!
- 60-80gr Aminocore Daily
- 60-80gr glutamine
- 20-30gr Allmax Omega 3
- 6gr Allmax CLA
- 10,000 iu Vitamin D 3x/week
- 4g Vit C daily
- 800mg magnesium
- 75mg zinc
- 6-9gr l-carnitine
- ISOFLEX (chocolate PB or Chocolate mint are my favorites!)
- Cytogreens 2-4 servings a day.
- Chlorella 5g 3x/day
- HCL/digestive enzymes with meals
- Wobenzym(proteolytic enzymes) between meals.
These are the things I take ALL year around. I call these my staples. It’s an extensive list, but when you’re trying to get 100% out of your body on a daily basis and become the best in the world, this is what it takes to keep functioning optimally and recovering so I can smash weights every day and feel like a future Mr Olympia! 😉