Posts Tagged ‘bodybuilding’

Today’s post is about what it takes to build an impressive physique that will make you double take three times.

I thought it would be best to have a conversation with a guy who not only has an impressive physique, but has won a competition, my good friend and former colleague, Walter Fune.

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1. You were a pretty well known athlete growing up.  How has that helped you in your transition to becoming a physique competitor?
It was after high school I realized how much sports can really help you in life. Doing something you love and putting all your hard work into it and then becoming successful in it is rewarding. And you can use that same mindset and apply it to other things in life to accomplish almost anything. I ran track in high school and competed at the states championship as early as my freshmen year. What helped make the transition from track to competing in Men’s Physique a lot smoother are the individual events. Run your own race as they say. It’s just you and the track. Only difference now is, “It’s you and the stage”. And the thing with bodybuilding that some people don’t get is that they focus on other people they are competing against instead of themselves. Do that and I promise you, you will fail. It’s all about improving yourself each time you get on that stage.
2. What was it like prepping for your first show?
The first show I did was back in 2013. And just like everything else when you do things for the first time, you get nervous. It was suppose to be a bucket list thing. Place top three and check it off my list. I didn’t know how I would place compared to the competition. I went through some tough times during that stretch leading up to the show. I decided I was gonna move to Oahu (from Maui) to kind of start off fresh somewhere else. What better way to start off my transition with a show. I had asked some advice from people who have competed. I didn’t really focus too much on the diet being that I was already lean. I just remember eating a lot of healthy foods like kale, sweet potato, chicken breast without much thought about the carb intake. To sum it up, I guestimated my macros — I didn’t weigh out my foods. I ended up placing 4th in my height class. I didn’t feel too bad though because I was surprised I looked pretty good and even made top five. I pay attention to detail, and I thought my shoulders and chest looked the best out of all of the competitors. Following the competition, it just fueled me to do it again knowing how close I was to placing top three. What became a check off the bucket list became an addiction to improving all my weaknesses.
3. Amazing. Let’s talk about training and nutrition. Now that you’ve got more experience under your belt, how does your diet and training look like when your prepping for a show?
After my first show, I tried carb-cycling and that has done wonders for me compared to slowly lowering carbs. It was the leanest I’ve ever been! I did those 5x/week with a moderate and high carb days in between to refuel. Training doesn’t change much. Sticking to the plan that’s laid out and remaining consistent is paramount. It was always about retaining as much muscle as possible while leaning out.
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4. Cardio is always a hot topic with regards to getting lean. How much cardio do you do?
I don’t really do much cardio. In the off-season, I place a premium on strength training. When it’s time to lean out I do cardio 4-5 times a week. That said, If I start early I do steady-state cardio for about 30-40min. Couple of those days are fasted cardio. I often implement high intensity intervals 2-3x/week because I’ve found it’s the best way to lean out, while minimizing muscle loss. One thing you have to remember is that the faster you lean out, you sacrifice more muscle tissue. That is why I’m a huge proponent of the slow process because you give your body some time to adjust.
5. Would you recommend your approach to other people?
 What works for me might not work for others, so I highly advise others to experiment with what works best for them.  It also helps to have a knowledgeable trainer or coach who can guide you. Success is never achieved alone.
6. We were still colleagues back at 24 Hour Fitness when you won your first competition back in 2014, so I have to ask. How did you balance being a full-time personal trainer and win overall in the Stingrey?

I would have to say prepping for that show was the most difficult out of the three I did. The most pertinent issue was obviously time management. It was a challenging task for me to stay focused while still programming my clients’ training.  There were days where I just didn’t want to do anything. I would lay there in bed after a long busy day at work and contemplate getting up or just sleeping in. But I would always pep-talk myself. I made a checklist of things I needed to do on a daily basis — meal and supplement timing around training clients as well as when to fit in the workout. I’m goal-oriented so that’s what really helped me in the long run.

7. You put on muscle in a heart beat. In addition to being a freak of nature when it comes to pure aesthetics, you competed in a powerlifting meet.  What are your lifts in the Big 3?

Out of the three, the Deadlift is my strongest lift and the only one I’ve competed in (with a record under my name). I pulled 425lbs at 147lbs that broke previous record of 419lbs. My strongest lift for bench was 275lbs. For squats, I’ve done 315lbs for 10 reps and maxed out at 365lbs at my peak.
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 8. Beast! Any plans competing in nationals?
Yes. There are several national shows coming up during the summer. I plan on doing the one in Las Vegas in July. However, my coach wants me to do a California state show before that one to see how I do against stronger competition on the mainland first. I know for sure I need to get bigger since everything is bigger on the mainland. But I’ve also heard that this year they’re going to decrease the emphasis on size and more on symmetry and aesthetics. That gives me hope to one day earn my IFBB pro card.
 9. Thank you for your time, Walter. Last question though, where can people follow you?
Thank you for the opportunity Dre! You can find me on Facebook, Walter Fune, and on instagram @iwalle64.

I never realized how tiring traveling can be. I think the one thing I dislike most about traveling is that my routine gets messed up. I’m a routine kind of guy, so when that gets out of place, I don’t feel as productive. Keeping up with my training becomes a bit more challenging and staying on point with my nutrition just goes down the drain.

With that being said, it’s good to be back!

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If you were to tell me seven years ago that in seven years I’d be running my own fitness business and networking with some of the top minds of the fitness industry, I’d be lost for words. I was in Anaheim this past weekend and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great trainers and coaches. Best part was that I was able to catch up with my buddy Josh Landis, and I got to meet up with Dean Somerset and Tony Gentilcore again for their awesome workshop.

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So…today’s post is all about exercises that really suck.

With regards to exercise selection, there’s obviously nothing wrong with varying your workouts or trying to isolate specific muscle groups.  For instance, I love to lift heavy ass weights just as much as the next person, but if it means wrecking myself in the process — it’s not worth it.  The same rule applies to exercise selection. If the movement you’re doing hurts, then don’t do it. You have to avoid what hurts.

What kind of a training effect would I get if I was doing high volume sit ups everyday or overhead pressing a barbell twice a week?  I don’t know about you, but my lower back and shoulders would be giving me the finger.

At the end of the day, the goal for every training session should be to maximize muscle fiber recruitment with minimal risk.  In other words, the rewards should far outweigh the risk for injury.

With that in mind, here are four exercises that really suck.

1. Sit Ups

We all know that having a strong core is important for developing overall strength, but that doesn’t mean doing a thousand sit ups like Rocky. Sit ups will wreak havoc on your discs. Imagine taking a wire coat hanger and bending it back and forth over and over.  Eventually the metal will break.   The same thing happens to your spine.  Dr. Stuart McGill notes that traditional sit-ups imposes huge loads of compressive forces on the spine, so repeatedly bending your spine will result in disc bulges.  You might get a nice 6-pack, but you’ll probably have some lower back pain to go along with that.

Do this instead: Stir the Pot

This has to be my favorite core exercise. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to remain stable through the hips and lower back.

2. Upright Rows

I remember the first time I started performing this exercise.  I felt like a boss!  I mean come on, everybody else does it.  Arnold did it in the 70’s, and athletes all over the world do it as well.  Well let me tell you, nothing screams at your shoulders more than this exercise. I can tell you that most people will experience some type of shoulder discomfort if they were to implement this exercise in their program.

From a structural standpoint,  not all bodies are created equal.  Individuals with a type I acromion are the lucky ones who can pretty much upright row for days because they have a lot of space to work with.  Those with a type II and III acromion have a high impingement rate due to minimal space, so to put this simply — for most people performing the upright row is the equivalent of repeatedly banging your head against the wall.

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Photo Credit: tnation.com

Do this instead: Banded Face Pulls

In addition to working the shoulders, you work on building the entire musculature of the upper back with banded face pulls. Keep the shoulders low and chest high.

3. Barbell Overhead Press

If you can’t get your arms up overhead without dropping your head forward and excessively arching your lower back, then there is no reason for you to be adding load.  Loading a dysfunction creates more dysfunction, which will eventually lead to pain. So if your trainer or coach has you overhead pressing a barbell on day one without a proper assessment, here’s a tip: RUN!

From my own experience and training people from all walks of life, the overhead press doesn’t bode well for most people. For most general population folks, this movement might never be an option simply because the cost of doing business is too high — the risks far outweigh the benefits.

Don’t get me wrong, the overhead press is a fantastic exercise, but you have to earn the right to do it.

Do this instead: Landmine Press

I’ve grown quite fond of this variation because it’s a user-friendly exercise that can work the overhead pressing motion without compromising shoulder health and integrity.

4. Forward Lunges

Forward lunges are one of the most common exercises you will see almost everybody doing in the gym or outdoors.  It’s an exercise that I use to do a lot in the past, but I’ve found that all it really does is create a lot of anterior knee pain.

As Dr. John Rusin stated, “The forward lunge focuses on a hard eccentric quad contraction on the step leg to stabilize the foot and ankle, while still staying upright at the hip and trunk.” This is where most of the shear forces in the knee occur.

Do this instead: Reverse Lunges

From a coaching standpoint, I’ve found that reverse lunges are much easier to teach and are far more effective in terms of working the quads and glutes without the shear forces that it’s counterpart induces.

To put everything into perspective, your training should stimulate your body, not annihilate it.  You have to accommodate the activity to the structure. Peace!

Oh and one more thing… DON’T EVER DO THIS!

The number one question in fitness is, “What is the best way to lose fat?” Whenever someone asks me that or any question pertaining to fitness for that matter, I usually give them a straight up answer. 

“It depends…”

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As I have said before, there are no specifics because everybody is different. Everything is individualized. That’s a tough pill to swallow for anybody because we want all the “secrets.”

Just the other day a buddy of mine asked me a question on how to build muscle while losing fat. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, fat loss and concurrent muscle preservation is on just about everyone’s mind. We want to look good and we want to feel good. We want to drop body fat, but not at the expense of losing muscle.

Here is the ONLY advice you need to hear.

Just do it!

It’s as simple as that.

Just do it. Do something.

The truth is that you don’t need to employ fancy workouts or fad diets, but to a lot of people’s misfortune, they’re so preoccupied at looking for the most cutting edge workout or that magical nutrition program that gets quick results that they forget to just move. Look, you can have a cookie cutter training program and be given wrong information, but you know what? You’d still get some results because you’re doing something. That’s so much better than not doing anything at all. Movement is therapeutic.

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I can incorporate flexible dieting into your program and give you a complete breakdown of your macronutrient intake (carbs, fats, and protein), and I can give you a well-designed training program — but they won’t work unless YOU do.

I can’t tell you how many times different people have asked me for advice on how to lose fat, but completely disregard it. I know for a fact that a few of them will have a tough time because at the end of the day, they’re not willing to put in the work.


The secret of getting ahead is getting started
-Mark Twain

Another misfortune is that the kind of changes we want typically involve short-term sacrifices for a long-term payoff.  We want immediate satisfaction, but nothing ever comes that easy. Getting from point A to point B requires the cultivation of patience and discipline.  There are no shortcuts to success.

As a frame of reference, about seven months ago in my attempt to gain size and strength I weighed in at a 160lbs at 12% body fat. Based on my standards, that was not acceptable. I was carrying too much body fat.

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After months of dieting for my first physique competition three months ago, I got in pretty good shape. I’m now working my way back up to 160 and I’m leaner, but also stronger.  What I’m trying to convey is that it’s going to take TIME. Whether you want to lose fat or build muscle, or both, you’ve got to be patient. Trying to rush through your goals will inevitably lead to failure because you’ll burn out.

I’ve obviously underscored other factors that will play an integral role in anybody’s development — stress, lifestyle, and daily habits — but I just wanted to reinforce the importance of taking action.

Choose to take action, and stick to it! Work hard and stay consistent. In fitness, the tortoise always beats the hare.