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Q and A with Evan Centopani

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  • Q and A with Evan Centopani







    In off-season mode, what is your rep range? And why do you train in that range?

    Now that I am in pre-contest mode for the New York Pro, I use the same rep ranges I did all last year during off-season. I donít feel that your weight training should change very much at alló itís your diet and cardio (not that I have done any yet) that take the fat off and give your muscles that conditioned look. My reps can be anywhere from 6-20 or sometimes a bit higher. Why? If you cover such a large rep range, youíre bound to do something right! Seriously though, variety is important. If you do different exercises, different rep ranges cover all the bases and hit as many muscle fibers as possible.

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    Do you ever perform different types of deadlifts, such as sumo or snatch-grip deads? Or do you pretty much stick with standard deads?

    For the most part, I stick to the traditional form. However, from time to time Iíll widen my stance out really wide but keep my legs fairly straight. I donít know what youíd call that, or if itís just something I do. Iíve tried sumo deadlifts before and I just couldnít seem to get the form rightó itís something I should practice more. The standard form has served me pretty well over the years, so I donít see a real need to experiment with other variations. If some other type works well for you and thickens up your back, awesome. Keep doing it!

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    I like the idea you have about starting to diet at 18 weeks, then adding in cardio at 12 weeks. My question is whether you change the diet once you start adding cardio? I would assume that your caloric intake goes way down once you start the diet, but do you change anything once your body is burning more in those last 12 weeks? I ask because for my last show, I used a similar plan and really flattened out when I added cardio. I worried that I might be burning up muscle, so I added a touch more food and ultimately sabotaged myself.

    As for the diet, I keep it the same when I start cardio. I do that because I only begin doing cardio once my weight loss slows. Oddly enough, I am nine weeks out from my show right now and my weight is still dropping, so I havenít done any cardio at all yet. But if I were to add food at that point, I would think that would just defeat the purpose. Here you are trying to get your body to start losing fat once it gets stuck and youíre going to eat more?

    I think a lot of guys are afraid to diet hard because they feel small or Ďflatí as the prep goes on. But thatís part of getting in shape. Obviously we all feel bigger in the off-season when weíre heavier. No one feels huge once they drop a lot of fat and with it, bodyweight. Yet if youíre afraid to diet hard and freak out because you donít look and feel as big anymore, odds are you wonít achieve the type of condition you need.

    Many times at shows you see guys who are huge and full, yet nowhere near the shape they should be in. Nine times out of 10 I can guarantee you that they didnít diet as hard as they should have because they got worried they were losing too much size. You have to be in condition when you compete, or you will place badly. So you need to either get over that fear and get in shape, or donít compete and stay big and not so lean.

    I noticed from your ďIn the TrenchesĒ videos that you donít waste your time doing a bunch of light warm-up sets. You just do 3 reps and wait for heavier weight to do your working sets. I think I must do too many warm-ups, because by the time I get to the heavier weight I am wearing down. Is that why you do it your way, so that doesnít happen?

    It's funny you ask that. The other day I was training arms with my buddy Keith. We got to the gym, walked over to the dumbbell rack and did like 8 reps of alternate dumbbell curls with 25-pound dumbbells. Then I grabbed a 70 and brought it over to the preacher bench. Keith doesnít warm-up much either.

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    I guess I never liked warming up too much because A) I never felt like I had to and B) I felt like it was only gonna take away from my sets. I like to go into my first set as strong as possible. That being said, I did start feeling some knee pain a while back and that got me into the practice of warming up more extensively for legs. I still donít do a lot of warming up for upper body, but knock on wood, itís worked out fine for me.

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    I have heard many stories of guys getting badly hurt because they used heavy weights too fast without warming up. So donít use me as an example, necessarily. Warm up as much as you feel you need to. A lot of times, you may be better off losing a bit of strength from the longer warm-up, but it could also be preventing an injury. Once youíre hurt, you canít train at all, or at the least your workouts will suck. Then you will wish you had taken more time to prepare your muscles, joints and connective tissues for lifting heavy. So please, be safe! The last thing I want is to get an e-mail from someone who blew out his back or tore a pec because they thought they would be like me and just do a very brief warm-up.

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    I watched your leg training video on MD TV, where you squatted with 585 for reps. Damned impressive! Just wondering if your lower back was sore after moving that kind of weight without a belt?

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    My lower back pretty much never gets sore, it just gets tight. I believe itís mainly due to fluid retention. At that point in the off-season when we shot that video, my caloric intake and carb intake was up significantly. As soon as I drop my carbs down, the tightness in my lower back disappears! I squatted yesterday, just as heavy, with zero tightness in my lower back.

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    What are the types of meats you consume in the off-season and do you change it when you're dieting down? I know most pros eat red meat for three or four meals a dayó do you?

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    Thatís weird, I canít think of too many guys who eat that much red meat. Do they live on a frigging cattle ranch or something? In the off-season, I have steak once a day for dinner, 4-5 times a week. Iíll have fatty fish like salmon the other two nights. I like Porterhouse steaks the most. Actually, that sounds really good right nowó a big, thick Porterhouse with grilled leeks, homemade French fries, and lots of ketchup! Dream on Evan, not until the show is over!

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    Anyway, red meat 3-4 times a day! Thatís way too much for me. Iíd be so constipated it wouldnít be funnyó not a good feeling. Just try training hard like that sometimeó good luck. All that red meat is just too hard for me to digest. I donít think itís necessary. Too much of a good thing isnít good.

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