- Hometown: St. Augustine Florida
- Current Location: Jacksonville, Florida
- Height: 5’11”
- Current weight: 228 pounds
- Age: 40
- Favorite lift: My favorite lift is anything with dumbbells because they give you the task of using strength, stability, and coordination.
- Favorite Meal: My favorite meal is when my wife cooks a nice thick fillet mignon, pan seared asparagus, and homemade garlic bread.
- Websites: www.jaxphysique.com and www.dexterjacksonclassic.com
For those who are unfamiliar with you can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in the bodybuilding community.
My Dad was always my inspiration for lifting, I remember him working out off and on for years. When I was 14, he got really serious about training and proper nutrition, and he got into phenomenal shape. He would always finish a copy of Flex magazine and leave it on my bed, I was hooked!! I struggled with my weight all through my early years and as a teenager. Going to the gym and getting involved in bodybuilding was definitely a life changer for me.
I have been doing contest prep for about the last 16 years. I got involved because a friend of mine was training for a competition, and the guy who was training her was basically starving her down to nothing. I just thought that there had to be a more sensible approach. I started doing research on nutrition and sports nutrition and I asked her to let me train her for the same competition. A year later and she competed with 14 more pounds of lean mass and came in with her body fat cut in half of the previous year. It was then that I realized I had a gift.
Who are some of the notable clients you have trained?
I have trained several hundred clients for shows but some of the more notable ones would be IFBB Pro and 2010 North American Champion, Lee Banks as well as IFBB Pro, Vallerie Paul, and I also trained with Dexter Jackson for 2.5 years. The best part of my training career is that I’ve made some great friends.
It is a given that everything has to be extremely precise for a competition, what is your formula to success for dialing in a diet for a client, and how did you learn to do this?
As far as my formula for dialing in contest clients, it is pretty much just my 16 years of experience. And I am always trying to learn nutrition and how it affects the human body. I don’t believe in cookie-cutter systems or diets; I do everything individualized for each person.
How do you go about manipulating a client’s carb intake as a show draws near?
Again as far as manipulating a clients carb intake, it really just depends on the person, their body weight, and how they reacted to the diet up until that time. If they seem to be a little flat, then I will start carbing up a day earlier than normal. If they look like they’re right on, or a little too full, I will either keep the carbs where they are, or I will back them down a little. Again no cookie-cutter methods with me, I do everything based on the individual.
How important is it to manipulate sodium and water intake as it gets closer to a show?
Sodium manipulation and water intake again can be a very complex thing; if you do too much, or too little it can result in a very flat look or even worse, a soft and bloated look. So it’s very important to know the person’s body chemistry when manipulating carbs and water as it gets closer to a show. These things should be calculated and precise. It cannot be a guessing game; you have to KNOW how the body works. Also, you have to remember that you are manipulating the electrolytes and potassium balance in someone’s body, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could either hurt or kill them.
Tell us about peak week and some of the common occurrences or roadblocks you have run into with your clients. And how did you resolve them?
Really the only time that I run into any roadblocks is when my clients decide to do something on their own without telling me such as taking in too much water or not enough water or not following the exact diet. As far as solving issues like that, it really just again depends on the person and where they went wrong. For me, it’s a little easier to get someone bigger and fuller when they seem a little flat versus when they have eaten too much food or drank more than the amount of water previously specified.
How do you manipulate cardio as it gets closer to a show?
As far as manipulating cardio as a person gets closer to a show, if they appear as they are dialing in right on or a little too quick, I will always back the cardio down. In the opposite manner, if they do not seem to be getting in shape in time; then I will increase cardio to usually twice a day. In the A.M. on an empty stomach and then P.M. before the last meal, or post weight training depending on the time of day that they weight train.
As far as training goes, is it better to continue to train heavy or do you recommend lighter weights and higher in the upcoming weeks prior to a show? What do you feel gives the best desired results and why?
As far as how heavy or light an individual trains the week leading up to a contest is again up to the individual. I do not advocate that people be lazy but I do tell people to listen to and trust their bodies. If they have energy and they feel good then train a little heavier if not then go a little lighter. Weight training is all about keeping constant tension on the muscles in a controlled fashion.
How big of a role do you feel genetics plays in bodybuilding?
I feel like the role of genetics in bodybuilding is everything, you’re either born with nice round full muscle bellies, a small waist, and small joints or you’re not. Now that’s not to say that people with less than stellar genetics can’t be good bodybuilders but you have people like Dexter Jackson who before ever touching a weight had phenomenal arms and six pack abs. You cannot change the shape of your skeletal structure or the shape of your muscle structure, but you can only get them bigger or smaller.
What would be the best advice you could give for both teenagers and individuals in their early 20’s, just starting out in the world of bodybuilding looking to make a name for themselves?
The best advice that I could give to teenagers and individuals in their early 20s that are just starting out in the world of bodybuilding would be number one; do not fall victim to all the supplement hype. At least 90% of them are useless and a waste of money. Instead focus on a good clean diet with good clean protein sources, essential fats like olive oil and flaxseed oil, and complex carbs, a good multivitamin, mineral and a good protein powder.
Some pre-workout drinks are okay, but most of the ” fat burners” are useless. Burning body fat comes from 70% good clean eating and 30% consistent low intensity cardio. And lastly, you have to treat bodybuilding like it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Muscle builds very slowly; therefore, you have to be very patient. Rome nor any of the top bodybuilders in the world were built in a day. Also, another very common mistake is over training. No more than 50-60 minutes, 4-5 days a week is needed for effective muscle growth; more is not better!!
Every year you and Dexter Jackson put together the Dexter Jackson Classic in Jacksonville, Florida. Tell us a little about next year’s show and what it takes to put together a show of that magnitude.
Every year Dexter Jackson and I co-promote a show here in Jacksonville, Florida that’s called the Jax Physique. It’s a Level 3, and we have put the show on consecutively for the last five years and each year it grows considerably. We usually host the Jax Physique in late March or early April, the Dexter Jackson classic is a level five show that he and his girlfriend Gale co-promote together. There are many facets to putting a show on such as that nature and it’s quite expensive but each year we just strive to make the show a better competition for the competitors.
I know you compete through your clients, rather than being on stage yourself. What led you to that decision? Currently what are you doing and what are your plans for the future?
I have competed in 5 bodybuilding competitions myself between 1997-2006. The problem was that I was always training people for shows at the same time that I was training myself, and always gave them more attention rather than focusing on my own prep. It just became too much of a challenge to keep up with 8-10 clients a day and train myself, not to mention prepping 6 meals a day, weight training for an hour a day and trying to get two hours of cardio in. There just weren’t enough hours in the day. Then I became obsessed with Mixed Martial Arts and cage fighting, I began focusing on more cardio and less heavy weight training to become more efficient in that type of training.
For the last year and a half, I’ve been focusing more on CKM which stands for Commando Krav Maga. It’s an Israeli close quarter fighting system that is more real life survival. It’s not cage fighting where there’s a referee and judges to stop the fight. This is a real life anti victim scenario training system. The MMA was a great foundation for this type of training. I sometimes teach the basic system for self-defense to clients and members of the Security team at my church.
I’m also currently pursuing my degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant, my goal after I graduate from my PTA program is to become a Level 8 certified CKM Instructor. It will take several years, but it will enhance my teaching ability within the system. I’m all about teaching people how to not become easy targets and likely victims. I’m very grateful for my background in bodybuilding, it has taught me to be very disciplined in so many other areas of my life.
Thank you and God Bless,