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The True Victor By Victor Martinez

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  • The True Victor By Victor Martinez

    The True Victor

    By Victor Martinez

    Iím 33, 6', weigh about 215 and want to compete in 2010 for the first time. I know at my size I need to put on a lot of mass and will be doing this naturally. I am looking to really hit the weights and eat clean. How basic should my workouts be and how often do I really need to mix it up? I will be doing all the compound movements and rep range from 12-6 upper body and 15-10 lower body. When it comes to changing a workout, what can I do which will not hinder my whole objective of gaining weight? I will only be doing cardio three times a week for 30 minutes and eating six times a day with only a pre- and post-shake. Any information will be helpful. Thank you very much and God bless you, brother.

    Garrick, people will tell you stuff like, ĎChange your workouts every six weeks,í or even ĎNo two workouts should ever be the same.í You canít listen to any of those, because they may or may not be true for you. It all comes down to how long a workout routine is still producing results for you.

    Look at someone like Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie did pretty much the same exact workouts the whole time he was a pro, and he kept growing. The real key is to always keep the basics in there, because those are your best mass builders. For legs, you have to squat. Your chest will always need some type of barbell or dumbbell press, the back needs chins, barbell or dumbbell rows, and deadliftsó you get the point.

    You can shift your routine around when you feel physically or mentally stale, but donít ever lose the basics as your core movements. If you do that, you wonít be making anywhere near the type of gains you could be. Another reason to avoid changing all your exercises around real often is that you would never get a chance to really master any exercise. Something like the squat or deadlift takes a lot of consistent practice to get down perfectly. Also, how would you know if you were getting stronger if you only do an exercise every few weeks? So change things around when you feel you need to, but keep the big basic lifts in there if you want to put on a ton of muscle mass.

    I have been having knee pains the past 2 months. My form is perfect during legs, and my weights keep going up, but my knees are killing me lately. Itís the worst if I have to sit for a long time and canít straighten out my legs. Would you recommend knee wraps?

    I guess I am the resident athlete authority on knee problems, huh? I do think knee wraps are a good idea in general, but let me say a few other things.

    First, you really need to devote enough time to warming up the knees on leg day. Ride the bike for at least five or six minutes to get the blood moving and the body temperature up, then do three or four sets of light leg extensions for 15-20 reps. Stretch out your quads (slowly!) between each set, because a lot of the tendons and ligaments around your knees are also attached to the quads. Then once you get into your heavy movements like the squat, always pyramid up in weight as the sets go on. You never want to start off heavy right away. Then you can use your knee wraps.

    As soon as you get home, throw an ice pack on your knees for 15-20 minutes, and repeat that a few hours later. If you are still experiencing pain, you need to go get an MRI. There is always the chance that something is partially torn in there already and hanging by a thread. Thatís how my knee was for years before it finally went. Luckily for me it didnít happen in the middle of a set with 500 pounds on my back, but you might not be so lucky.

    Donít do what a lot of guys do and just keep taking ibuprofen or other things that will only mask the pain. Thatís the worst thing you can do, because you could be doing more damage to your knees during the workout and not even know it. Good luck!

    I think you are a great poser. How you hit the poses and the way you move from one pose to the other is just amazing. I loved your posing at the Arnold. But I think you could do the front lat spread much better. I think you should bring your shoulders back more and not flex the pecs so much. This way you would look even wider. What do you think? Iím sure you are gonna rock at the Olympia. I just canít wait for it.

    I appreciate your support very much, as well as your concern about my front lat spread. I have worked hard over the years to tweak all the mandatories to best suit my physique. It might look to you like Iím flexing my pecs too much, but thatís just the way they look because they are pretty thick. If you can go back and find any pictures of Arnold doing the same pose, youíll notice the same thing. That wasnít a very good pose for him, so you wonít see too many photos of his front lat spread.

    If I did what you suggest and bring my shoulders back, basically pinching my shoulder blades together a little bit, I would actually look more narrow and my lats would not be as visible from the front as they are. Iíve tried it that way, trust me. But again, thanks for being a fan and I will do my best at the Olympia!

    I need your help. First, Iíd like to say that you are one, if not the best, in the biz right now and I hold great respect for you. Iím 30, 5'2" and 185 pounds. I work a security job that requires me to sit on my butt for 40 hours a week. I work out four to five days a week. I do 20 minutes of cardio/abs each workout day and I break up body parts. Arms on day one, chest on day two, back and shoulders on days three and four, and then legs on the fifth day. I take Saturday and Sunday off and sometimes Wednesday if I feel tired.

    I eat a basic diet with protein before and after training. I cannot lose any weight. Now since I work the midnight shift, I get only 4 hours of sleep when I get home at 8 a.m., then a nap later in the day for 2-3 hours before work. Is my sleeping pattern stopping my progress?

    Lucky for you, I do have some personal experience with the late shift. Back in my younger days, I worked some odd jobs like security and bouncing at nightclubsó which stay open a lot later in New York than in most places. My typical shift back then was 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and I adapted my meal schedule around that. I would eat my last meal of the Ďdayí at 5 or 6 in the morning, leave work at 7, and be in bed by 7:30. I would wake up at 2 p.m. and have breakfast, and then I ate every two to three hours.

    I found that working a job like security actually made it easier to get all my meals in on time. There was nobody around and not much to do most of the time. I think itís tougher with other kind of jobs where youíre running around all day and things can keep popping up to screw with your eating when youíre supposed to. I actually got ready for the first two shows I ever won Overalls at, the 1997 NPC Metropolitan and the Suburban Classic, working that graveyard shift. But enough about me, right? Hereís what you need to do. I donít really know what you mean by a Ďbasicí diet. You need a strict diet to take off the fat you canít seem to lose. Go to the MD website and you will find tons of info in the part of the Supplementation and Nutrition forums called ĎFat Loss Fanatics.í

    You probably need more cardio, too. Twenty minutes (and Iím not even sure youíre doing that much, or if that includes your ab routine too?) isnít gonna cut it. You probably need at least 45 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week, to see real fat loss. And finally, yes, I do think your sleep pattern has something to do with all this. You are averaging six or seven hours a day, and thatís not enough. When you donít get enough rest, your body produces more of the catabolic hormone cortisol. That hormone causes your body to lose muscle and store fat. Bad news!

    My chest has always been pretty flat compared to my shoulders and arms. What about doing chest twice a week? Could that be what I need? What types of workouts and sets should I be doing?

    Working chest twice a week could help you bring it up, but not if you just do the same routine twice. First of all, not many people would be able to recover and grow from two heavy chest workouts in one week. You should do one heavy workout and one thatís lighter and more focused on squeezing the pecs and getting a good pump. Hereís an example of something you can try:


    Workout One: Heavy Workout Two: Moderate

    Barbell bench presses 3 x 8-10 Incline dumbbell presses 3 x 12

    Incline barbell presses 3 x 8-10 Flat machine presses 3 x 12

    Incline dumbbell flyes 3 x 10 Pec flye machine 3 x 12

    Note: use a more explosive rep speed on the heavy day, but still control the negative. On the moderate day, do your reps more slowly and work on perfect form and muscle contractions.

    Youíll also notice that the volume isnít too high (the sets listed donít include any warm-ups). You canít go doing 20 sets for chest twice a week and expect any growth. Thatís just going to overtrain your pecs.