The world’s best athletes are once again preparing to descend on Columbus Ohio for the fitness industry’s largest sporting spectacle, the Arnold Classic. From March 5-8, thousands of top tier performers from codes as diverse as powerlifting, bikini, boxing and, of course, bodybuilding will fight it out for top honors in what has come to be regarded as one of the premier events in all of sporting history.
For both the competitors and their many fans, few such events have boosted the popularity of fitness as lifestyle and viable career choice quite like the Arnold.
Achieving the physical conditioning needed to trounce the opposition in such a hotly contested arena comes only with great sacrifice and a massive amount of pressure, not to mention stellar genetics and the heart of a champion.
Thus, athletes worthy of Arnold Classic inclusion are truly the best of the best. When a competitor’s physique and how it is displayed becomes the sole criteria upon which a judge renders his or her decision, training, eating, and sleeping overall fitness lifestyle takes on a whole new meaning.
Every ounce of food eaten, every repetition in the gym, every supplement serving is monitored and precisely measured to ensure that physical perfection is achieved. Only then will a competitor be ready to beat the best.
So exactly how does an elite-level physique competitor balance their lifestyle – training, supplementation and nutrition – and modify their pre contest routine to ensure competitive success?
When one’s career hinges on the minutest reduction of subcutaneous bodyfat and a willingness to do whatever it takes to outclass the competition, how do they find the drive to press on towards victory? Read on as three ALLMAX Nutrition athletes share their shredding secrets and reveal how and why they expect to achieve their career best form come Arnold time.
Perennial winner and former track and field state champion Michael Anderson earned his IFBB men’s physique pro card in 2012. Since then he has contested both Olympia physique events – claiming 7th in 2013 and 8th in 2014 – and either winning or placing in the top three in all other contests.
Superbly conditioned and strikingly muscular, the 2012 IFBB Master’s Nationals champion, who stepped onstage for the first time at age 39, is set to enter his first Arnold event with a great deal of momentum fuelling his intensive training sessions.
The 6’ 2”, 220lb personal trainer is scientific in his approach to hitting the iron and approaches each contest as if it is the most important of his career. Based on his remarkable development and winning attitude, the ALLMAX Nutrition athlete is a sure bet for top-six inclusion in his Arnold debut. In the following interview he explains how he dials in his physique for top tier success.
What changes, if any, have you made to your training and/or nutrition in preparation for this year’s Arnold Classic?
While the Arnold Classic is definitely one of the premier competitions in all of professional bodybuilding, I now find that all IFBB men’s physique events draw the world’s top talent. For me, that means that I have to train for every show I enter as though it were the Arnold or the Olympia. So, the only thing that has changed for me is the date and venue of the event.
Otherwise, I’m sticking to the same game plan that has brought me success in the past.
How would you describe your training style?
I tend to be very scientific in my approach to training. I’m a huge proponent of strict execution of form, appropriate weight, pace and, equally as important, recovery time. I also give each muscle group, and their respective muscle heads, the amount of individual attention they need consummate to the degree in which they are lagging (or excelling)! In a nutshell, specificity is my mantra.
As a men’s physique competitor, what kind of physical look are you aiming for, compared to that of a bodybuilder?
Just like an open bodybuilder, I’m focused on developing full muscle bellies, good separation and solid symmetry. However, I bring my conditioning in just a notch below that of an open competitor, as is required by the rules of our category. So, as a physique competitor, I’m not shooting to get as large or as dry on stage as an open bodybuilder. Fact is, we’re both aiming to look like superheroes.
The difference is that the judges want me to look more like Superman, and not so much The Hulk.
What improvements are you expecting to present on stage in Columbus? What are you doing to ensure these improvements will be made?
I have been working for the past year on filling out my upper chest. It’s an area that I neglected for years after being told that, as an amateur, my chest was overdeveloped. But, once I redevelop the upper-middle quadrant, my top half will be complete. To that end, I’ve been training chest twice a week, with the second workout dedicated to just the upper deck.
What are your secrets for achieving a super-shredded appearance?
There really are no secrets to achieving world-class conditioning. The formula is quite simple: clean, balanced eating; quality supplements; and dedicated, effective cardio.
Describe your nutritional approach? How does your nutrition change in the weeks leading up to a contest?
I have found my greatest success in sticking to a consistent diet of balanced macros, almost entirely free from processed foods, and based in lean proteins and protein supplements, clean carbohydrates and healthy veggies.
As with anything, I have to make adjustments in accordance with how my body is responding to my prep. But, there are no hard and fast rules in regards to how my nutrition changes as a show approaches. All changes are based entirely on the facts set before me:
- what the scale says, and
- what the mirror reflects.
How important is supplementation for dialing in your physique ahead of major professional contests, such as the Arnold?
The reality is, quality nutrition will get you strong, healthy and lean, but not stage ready. My program of supplementation helps me to push my body beyond normal limits to achieve a world-class degree of conditioning.
Beyond lean muscle creation, I’m able to optimize my hormone availability, minimize joint soreness and maximize muscle recovery, all while tapping into the most stubborn fat deposits.
What key supplements do you personally use and how do they enhance your performance in the gym, and onstage appearance?
I depend on a broad array of quality supplements from ALLMAX to keep me always moving closer to that flawless physique. But, if I could only pick three products when I’m prepping for the stage, they would have to be ISOFLEX, H: VOL and RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED.
ISOFLEX from ALLMAX provides me with an ultra pure,
highly bioavailable whey protein isolate through a potent delivery system that ensures powerful nutrient assimilation
that I can actually feel. ISOFLEX also combines four proprietary delivery systems, the ingredients of which work synergistically to provide me with a high quality and great tasting protein.
Muscle cell volume is critical to gaining the size I want.
HVOL generates increased pressure within my muscles during intense resistance training,
which creates signals that tell my muscles to grow. The forces of biomechanical pressure and metabolic stress brought about by intense resistance training helps to increase cell volume triggering hypertrophy. I’m able to target these processes within my body directly with the revolutionary formula HVOL.
ALLMAX Pro-Competition Series RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED is ideal for when my prep demands rapid and effective fat loss.
It provides me with comprehensive fat loss based on the Target, Release, Ignite System.
RAPIDCUTS SHREDDED is simply the strongest, most advanced and most comprehensive fat burning product ALLMAX has ever produced, and is my absolute go-to for world-class conditioning..
What drives you to be at your best whenever you compete?
I consider competing on the IFBB stage a gift that only a select few receive.
And, I know that no matter how long I fight the good fight to stay in the game, eventually my career in the industry will lead me off the stage. So, I prepare for every competition as though it may be my last. And, if it is my last, I want to be remembered at my best, and not just another number on stage.