AMJ – What or who were your earliest influences in bodybuilding?
Phil – My earliest influences were the muscle magazines in the 70’s and the movie pumping iron which came out in the mid-seventies. I was always a big fan of the guys from the golden era of bodybuilding….Arnold, Dave draper, Larry Scott and Sergio Oliva.
AMJ – When was your first show? How did you do?
Phil – My first show was in 2012 the southern states championships. I received third place in the over 50 class. I was 55 years old and a lightweight at 154lbs.
AMJ – What did you learn from your first few shows that you think would help newbies?
Phil – For my first show I only prepped for 7 weeks. I learned after that show that this sport is a marathon, not a sprint. Progress should be slow and steady for the best gains.
AMJ – What is the highlight of your career thus far?
Phil – In 2016 I was fortunate enough to win my IFBB Pro Card at the Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh. That was a dream come true. It was an amazing experience and definitely a highlight in my career and life. It August 2017, I fulfilled another dream, when I stepped on stage as an IFBB Professional Bodybuilder at the Pittsburgh Masters Pro. Wow, that was surreal. I never trained so hard in my life. My officially goal for myself was to make the top 5,but in reality, I just did not want to embarrass myself and wanted to looked like I belonged up there with the other Pros. I was very blessed that night in Pittsburgh as I was awarded 2nd place and actually received a check along with my trophy. That was truly amazing for me. At 61 years old a farfetched dream came true.
AMJ – Could you explain your training methodology and give us an example of a workout for one body part?
Phil – My training evolves also as I age. I have been working out for nearly 35 years, but training as a bodybuilder for the past 6 years. After 41 years I have learned so much about my body and how it responds. My younger days it was all about lifting heavy……… Sore joints, nagging injuries and medical treatment was the norm back then. Now it is chasing the pump. High volume, higher reps (nothing under 6 reps) and making that mind/muscle connection. High intensity, very little rest between sets and absolutely no socializing. My mindset is that training is a job, not a hobby and it always come down to what you put in to training, is exactly what you get out. The goal is constant improvements and never be satisfied. I train one muscle group a day, but during my prep, I got great results going old school and doing a double split routine. When I prepped for the masters nationals I did not do any cardio what so ever.
AMJ – Are there any techniques that have helped you progress to where you are now?
Phil – I am a big believer of time under tension technique. Controlling the weight and feeling each and every rep. It is also more beneficial to my joints. I leave my ego in the parking lot and not worry about huge weight; it’s all about crazy pumps.
AMJ – What are some of your favorite exercises and conversely what do you think are the most overrated movements people use?
Phil – I actually like all exercises and hitting the muscles from a variety of angles. I love drop sets, super sets and as I mentioned time under tension. Back is my best body part and every back sessions involves pull ups, bent over rows and a variety of cables rows. Great for detail and separation.
AMJ – Do or have you incorporated any components of power lifting (power bodybuilding) into your routine?
Phil – At 62 years old, my power lifting days are behind me. Although I still squat and deadlift. No bench pressing however.
I still have the passion for training and competing.
AMJ – How would you explain your diet during contest prep? Is that the key to the insane conditioning you have achieved?
Phil – Contest prep dieting- I am blessed to have a crazy fast metabolism. My prep diet last season was a 60/30/10 ratio of carbs, protein and fats (300 grams carbs, 250 grams protein, 30 grams of fat). I only recently added good fats to my prep diet (last year,) and it made a huge difference in my fullness on stage. I keep sodium high as well as my water intake (2 gallons). Previous years I was always on a fat free diet for my prep, and I always lost too much muscle on stage. Through trial and error, I found what works best for me. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make sure to note and document the results.
AMJ – What do you think are some of the nutrition myths that bodybuilders still believe?
Phil – I think many bodybuilders get caught up believing that a plan or program that works well for bodybuilder “A” will work equally well for bodybuilder “B”. Each person will respond differently to training, diet and various supplements. It took me 42 years to finally figure out what combination of training, diet, cardio and supplements works best for me, especially at 60 years old.
AMJ – What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone that is putting together a bodybuilding diet to gain size? What about for contest prep?
Phil – The best recommendation that I can offer a bodybuilder is to eat more. The concept of “forced feeding” is somewhat popular. .if you think you are eating enough but the scale and mirror says otherwise, you need to increase your calories. Many of the younger guys like to gain 50-60 lbs. in the off season. My general rule of thumb is to add no more than 25 lbs. to my ideal stage weight. That is one of the reasons why I have decent conditioning on stage. Keeping my skin relatively thin during the off season is definitely an advantage once I begin the prep.
AMJ – Have you had to deal with any major injuries?
Phil – In my younger days of training, injuries become the norm. Overloading the connective tissue instead of the muscle fibers are a sure recipe for tendentious muscle tears and emotional battles that come with it. They say that with age comes wisdom………it took me a while to understand that this sport is bodybuilding and not weightlifting……..since training like a bodybuilder, I have been relatively injury free
AMJ – What advice would you give people that would like to stay healthy and have longevity in this sport?
Phil – By warming up carefully, listening to my body and understanding that there is “good” pain and “bad” pain I have been able to limit serious injuries. Poor training techniques, over training and not letting the body heal and recuperate properly will certainly hinder your progress.
AMJ – What are the biggest mistakes people make that ends their competitive career early?
Phil – One of the mistake I see many people make that shortens their competitive careers is doing the exact same things over and over again. The human body will adapt to the same training stimulus and diet. If those items are not modified and adjusted accordingly your progress will be limited. Many individuals like to stay in their “comfort zone”, by doing the same basic exercise, reps and sets over and over again. They do not cycle their training on a regular basis and thus the bodies just stop responding. For me it’s really a lifestyle that is 24/7/365. This sport requires a great deal of dedication and sacrifice. If you are not willing to commit totally to it, then your journey may be short lived.
AMJ – Thanks for your time sir. We really appreciate your contribution. Before we conclude our talk, is there anything else you would like to leave our readers with?
Phil – Bodybuilding at the age of 62 is a means to inspire and educate people. My advice is to be patience and see exactly what works best for you! Our society wants that quick fix and instant gratification. This sport takes time to achieve both short term and long term goals. Put the work in, keep educating yourself and reap the benefits of this amazing lifestyle.