World Renowned Bodybuilder Philip Ricardo Jr. shares with


5 ft. 9, 205lbs offseason,

176-180lbs. contest weight

[divider] [/divider]

How did your last season go?

Last season was in a word…Interesting! I reached my goals of coming in top shape for both the Yorton Cup and Natural Olympia, which was a victory for me. Obviously my goal was to win both shows, but knowing that I came in at my best and competed against the best in the World and gave it my all is all that I can do, and I feel lucky to have earned that opportunity. Placing 2nd to current living Natural Bodybuilding legends Cleveland Thomas and Kiyoshi Moody is nothing to feel bad about, and sometimes even in defeat you achieve a sense of victory by how you carry yourself professionally on stage and how the fans react to you during and after the shows. Those were the best times of last year. Also being able to finish the year with a victory at the NGA Pro Mid-Atlantic states just 20 minutes from my house in front of most of my friends and family was a nice too.

Who are your bodybuilding Idols and sources of motivation?

Wow, there are so many motivators for me. I feel so blessed to have reached where I have in this sport…its almost surreal! I don’t look at myself at the same level as many of the top Pro’s so its crazy when I’m mentioned in the same breath as Kiyoshi Moody, Cleveland Thomas, Martin Daniels, Brian Whitacre, David Goodin, Doug Miller, Clarence MacGill, and the rest of the top bodybuilders!!! I can honestly say that I look at all of the top Natural Pro’s past (Rob Hope, Skip Lacour, Chris Faildo, Jeff Willet, etc.) and present and get motivation from them to push myself to achieve what they have achieved physique wise and accomplishments wise. Nowadays, I look at the top Pro’s I’m going to compete against at the upcoming show as motivation because I know that if they are in the gym focusing on the show then I have to work twice as hard to be competitive against them. That is what helps push me through the diet and training during precontest prep…all of my idols and all of the top names in the industry. Whats more amazing is that the new crop of young Natural Stars like Ryan Doris, Justin Firgaira, Valentine Ehzuga, Russel Harleston, Jereff Clady, and Daveon Hill are even more motivation since I know it will be even tougher to stand next to these young and hungry while I’m competing in my 40’s!

How does your routine change between offseason and pre-contest cutting?

My offseason diet is a lot more relaxed than precontest and I eat a lot more carbohydrates and fats offseason for sure. I still keep the staple foods in my offseason diet such as egg whites, chicken breast, oatmeal, and brown rice plus green leafy vegetables. I may have pasta, peanut butter, and Rotisserie chicken and I dont stress if my family and I go to McDonalds or grab some Pizza and ice cream on the weekends. I have a very fast metabolism, so these extra calories helps lubricate my joints for heavier offseason lifting where I’m trying to put on more muscle mass and overall size.

For precontest, I eliminate most of my fats, and my carbohydrate consumption is lowered as I cycle my carbs to a 2 day low carbohydrate day and one high carbohydrate day. I eat a lot more fish and keep egg whites, chicken breast, occasional lean steak, and my Protein Supplements from my sponsors, The BodyEvolution (BE). I eat a lot more vegetables, especially on my low carbohydrate days, and I keep my fats low and supplement Krill Oil for my fats instead.

What’s your current routine and diet like?

Sure, here is a sample diet and training routine:
  • 0600 – 8 eggs (1-2 yolks) 1 bowl of oatmeal (enough for about 30-50 grams of carbs…about 1 cup) and multi-vitamin.
  • 0830 – Body Evolution meal replacement shake with 16 oz of with water and Krill Oil.
  • 1030 – 1 can of tuna with mustard and 1 cup of brown rice and 5 grams of Glutamine
  • 1300 – (after workout) (BE)Protein shake with Glutamine and yams and Vitamin C/E.
  • 1600 – 2 chicken breasts, 1-cup brown rice or yam. 1900 – 2 chicken breast or fish (tuna, salmon, or whatever you like w/out oil) and broccoli and or green beans or salad w/balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
  • 2130 – Lean Sirloin or Flank Steak w/salad w/balsamic vinegar (eat Steak at least 2x per week.)
  • Bedtime – 1 scoop of (BE)protein powder and glutamine in water.
Here is a sample workout split, but I do change up bodypart days and exercises almost weekly:

Day 1: Back

  1. Pull-ups: Max set for 6 sets each
  2. Deadlifts: 5 sets 12, 8, 6, 6, 4
  3. One-armed dumbbell rows: 3 sets 10
  4. Rack Pulls (Deadlifts on Smith or Assisted, partial pulls all the way up, halfway down): 3 sets of 6 reps,heavy!
  5. Smith Machine row: 4 sets of 10, 8, 8, 6 reps (2 sets palms up, 2 normal grip) Palms down Lat pulldowns (traditional grip): 4 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6 reps
  6. Hyperextensions: 3 sets 15 reps with 25lb. plate in front of you.

Day 2: Chest

  1. Incline dumbbell press: 4 sets 15, 10, 8, 6 reps
  2. Dumbbell presses: 4 sets 15,10,8, 6 reps (followed immediately by a drop set: grab the weight you used for your set of 10 and rep it out till failure)
  3. Hammer Strength decline presses: 4 sets 20,15,10,8
  4. Smith Machine Incline Bench Press: 4 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6 reps
  5. Plate Loaded Incline presses: 4 sets 15,10,8, 6 reps (followed immediately by a drop set: grab the weight you used for your set of 10 and rep it out till failure)
  6. Cable crossovers or Pec Deck Machine: 4 sets 15 reps each Dumbbell pullovers: 3 sets of 12 reps

Day 3: Quads and Biceps

  1. Leg presses (alternate): 5 sets 20, 15, 10, 8, 6 reps (then drop set…take off 2 plates each side twice till failure for a total of 6 total sets).
  2. Hack Squats: 4 sets of 12 reps each set
  3. Leg extensions: 4 sets 15 each
  4. Straight bar curls 3 sets 20, 15, 10
  5. Preacher curls: 3 sets 10
  6. Hammer curls: 3 sets 10
  7. Single Arm Dumbell Curls (supinated grip): 3 sets 15

Day 5: Shoulders and Triceps

  1. Shoulder press (alternate with Barbell, Dumbbell, Smith Machine, or Hammer Strength Machine): 4 sets 15, 10, 8, 6 reps Superset side laterals and front laterals: 4 sets of 10 reps each
  2. Rear delts (done with dumbells bent over or with the reverse pec deck machine): 4 sets 15 reps
  3. Clean and Press: 4 sets of 15 reps Superset rope cable front raises with single arm cable side laterals (4 sets of 15 reps each, to include each arm)
  4. Shrugs (alternate with dumbells, barbell, or smith machine): 4 sets 15, 12,10, 8
  5. Close grip bench press 4 sets 15, 10, 8, 6
  6. Reverse grip bench: 3 sets 10
  7. Skull crushers: 3 sets 1
  8. Triceps extension: 4 sets 15

Day 6: Hamstrings and Calves

  1. Squats: 5 sets 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 Leg curls: 4 sets 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
  2. Stiff legged dead lifts: 4 sets 12, 10, 8, 8 reps
  3. Lunges(with bar on neck step forward and alternate legs): 3 sets 10 reps each leg
  4. Standing and Seated calf raises: 8 sets max out adding weight each set, 4 standing and 4 seated

How do you manage being a pro with real life. What’s a typical day for you?

Its very tough to balance a schedule that includes a steady job, a wife who requires my complete, undivided attention (and that is definitely a good thing if you have seen my wife ;), and young kids who do not necessarily enjoy eating chicken breasts and brown rice every day. It is very challenging maintaining a proper diet as a bodybuilder where eating 6 to 8 meals a day consisting of quality protein and clean carbs if you want to maintain your muscle and fat burning metabolism. Is there an easy way to get in your meals and training with an 8-10 hour work day combined with a family that must be your priority 7 days a week, 24 hours a day? From my experience, you learn to adapt to all challenges by being prepared and thinking ahead. Whether its work or family, there will always be something that will change throughout the day that you just cannot foresee or plan for. As a retired Marine and contractor supporting the Government, my hours can change from day to day and with children at home and in school there’s always a chance an emergency may come up. In these cases it’s best not to stress out or feel that all of your training and hard work was in vain. I try to be prepared for life’s surprises by always carrying your food with you. I have a cooler and some Tupperware with my boiled eggs, chicken breast and brown rice meals, and my supplements to include my BodyEvolution EVOLVE or Whey Protein shakes for my post workout meals. I also include a couple of Protein Bars for emergencies where I can grab a bar real quick and take it with me if I know I won’t have access to my other meals for a few hours.

One of my favorite quotes is “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is especially true for bodybuilders and fitness athletes. As I mentioned earlier, if I have an unforeseen meeting at work that does not allow you to grab one of your meals, having that emergency Protein bar or shake handy will tie me over for the next 3 hours. I have a long commute home so if I get stuck in traffic, a Protein Bar or Shake can keep my metabolism balanced until I get home or I will pull over to the nearest restaurant and grab something quick and healthy if I need to. The same goes for my family time. If I have an emergency with the wife and/or kids that does not allow me the opportunity to get a meal, I try to have something handy, and if I forget to bring that protein bar or shake that’s ok…the next available quick take out restaurant that you can find will have to do…even if its McDonalds or Taco Bell, just grab the healthiest alternative that they have to hold you over. It’s better to eat something than nothing at all and starve your body for more than 4 hours, even if you have to grab a Snickers bar. I’ve had to attend flag football and soccer practices, my daughters dance classes and kid’s doctors’ appointments where I knew it was impossible to grab a real meal. If there is a dire emergency where you can’t get any food at all, I know it is not the end of the world…I can just get back on schedule as soon as I can and everything will be back to normal in a day or 2. As far as getting in my training/gym time, I may have to compromise a little sleep or your lunch time to get in your workouts depending on my schedule. Waking up at the crack of dawn to get your workout in while the family sleeps may be my only options sometimes if I know that I will be working until late in the evening and won’t have time during lunch period to get in a workout and it will be too late at night to hit the gym. – Let’s face it, unless your significant other and your children are hardcore competitors also, chances are cooking boiled eggs, chicken and brown rice every night will not make for a harmonious household. We are the minority of human beings that eat what we eat and as often as we eat, and we cannot force our families to adopt our eccentric lifestyle. To remedy this situation, shopping in supermarkets takes compromise and will power on our part. I make sure that not only do I purchase lots of bodybuilding foods but also foods that my wife and kids enjoy. When it’s time to eat, if my family is in the mood for some lasagna, chicken nuggets, or pancakes then I will have to cook separate meals for everyone. It’s not too difficult to put some lasagna in the oven, grill chicken and boil/steam some vegetables on the stove, and cook brown rice in my rice cooker. Also, if your family wants to go out to eat, there are always healthy alternatives at each restaurant. Finally, if I know there is a party scheduled on a certain day where there will be cake, ice cream and pizza, I use that day as my “relax/cheat day”. That way, I won’t feel guilty and I can actually enjoy my family time. Having lots of mutual friends with big families where birthday parties, Chuck-e-Cheese play dates and Disney excursions are the norm, I have lower carbohydrate and calorie days one or two days before these family events. This “cheat day” allows my body to refuel and re-feed without adding bodyfat. In fact, it helps re-calibrate my metabolism when I throw in a day where I have some fattier, non-bodybuilding type foods such as pizza, ice cream, or even a cheeseburger. As long as I don’t go overboard and eat until I pop, I usually look even better the next day after my Cheat day, and my family is happy that I can eat the same foods that they do and that Daddy is in a better mood haha.

What do you think separates a pro from an amateur physically and mentally?

Wow, that’s a tough question, because as an amateur I felt like I was even hungrier to move up the ranks and try to turn Pro. I feel like amateurs will physically push to the max and do whatever it takes to reach their goals of turning Pro. Mentally their focus can even be greater than that of some Pro’s since they have a lofty goal in mind that is pretty tough to attain. Since there are so many natural organizations out there, now there are many opportunities and choices on which federation you can turn Pro. Once you become a Pro, everything changes because now you are amongst the elite and you almost have to start over again since you are now competing with athletes that are not just the best in your state or region, but many times the best in the entire World! At that point you have less choices as to what shows you can compete in so you have to train and focus for possibly one or 2 Pro shows and in order to compete in the World championships you have to qualify for it in most of the federations. I feel as a Pro you have to be careful not to get overwhelmed with the status of being a “Pro” because most of the time the training and pre-contest diet that made you qualify as a Pro will be the same formula that can make you a successful Pro. Many amateurs turn Pro and change their whole philosophy and play the size game or do things that don’t compliment their structure or genetics. Overall, I feel mentally as an amateur it can be both stressful and fun trying to reach that elite status of Pro Bodybuilder. Amateurs physically push to the limits and most of the time the development they achieve chasing that goal will serve them well as Pro’s.

When you turn Pro, you have to refocus on how to stand out amongst the best in the World and most Pro physiques are more developed and seasoned, which can be motivation to achieve a higher level for most Pros. Mentally you have to figure out how to choose the right shows and push to a different goal; for most Pro’s its to qualify and place on the World championship stage against the top Pro’s.

What attributes have made you successful in bodybuilding?

I feel that consistency has been the key for me. If you really enjoy something enough and keep doing it as part of your lifestyle I believe you will have no choice, but to get pretty good at it. I don’t think I train any harder than other bodybuilders or weightlifters, but I do push to the limits while training smart to avoid injury. I look at it as a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve seen many bodybuilders come and go…some of them have become great legends of the sport while some of them showed great potential and competed for 3-5 years but stopped competing due to injury, frustration when they didn’t reach national level or pro status, or just lost the passion for the sport. I believe with my military background that I had the discipline to stick with training and diet for all of these years and made it part of my everyday life, and I feel very fortunate and blessed to have found this sport.

What diets have worked best for you? Are you a follower of IIFYM or clean eating?

Definitely clean eating. I believe you are what you eat and I can physically tell a difference between eating processed foods or even what maybe considered “healthy” foods that don’t agree with my digestive system vs. eating foods that are very natural or organic without extra fillers and ingredients that you cant pronounce. When I start to eat clean I feel more energetic, my face is clear and healthy looking, and I believe that’s the key to extreme conditioning when you eat clean and use your carbohydrates/fats for energy expenditure (food timing). As I mentioned before, I cycle my carbohydrates and I tend to do this by eating higher carbohydrate meals on the days I’m most most physically active (for example, my heavy leg or back days or 2 a day cardio sessions). That way I get the most out of my food while maintaining my muscle mass as best as I can. I’m not against the IIFYM thinking…I’m sure that there are some athletes with fast metabolisms that get great results from it. In fact, early on in my diet when I’m not as strict on the diet I have a modified IIFYM where on the weekends I can eat whatever I want as long as I hit my macros just so that I can slowly adjust to the lower calorie diet due to my fast metabolism. However, I definitely think I achieve better results and feel healthier eating clean!

What’s the supplementation like?

I’ve listed some of my favorite supplements below from my sponsors and why they are necessary for me to reach my ultimate physique goals:

  • Whey Protein: BE’s Blended Whey protein is the premiere pure protein on the market today. BE’s blended whey is designed with specific whey protein concentrates and isolates that time release precisely in your system when needed. This time release process give you the most productive protein nutrition to accomplish your fitness goals. WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: Due to my hectic schedule, this is my saving grace. I tend to eat a solid breakfast and pre-workout meal, then add a BE whey protein and Evolve after training, and while I am training my clients in the evening I drink BE whey protein so that I have a quick acting protein in my system to hold me over until I finish work and able to eat a real meal at dinner. I will also have BE Whey protein shake with L-Glutamine powder prior to bed to serve as an anti-catabolic shake, keeping me in an anabolic state while I sleep.
  • CALIBRATE Meal Replacement: CALIBRATE is a great meal replacement shake. Calibrate is designed with specific protein, carbohydrates and fat ratios. Evolve provides the complete nutrition you need to accomplish your fitness goals. WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: CALIBRATE is the best tasting Meal replacement on the market by far, and I always take it immediately after training in the gym or even morning cardio. I also add CALIBRATE to my oatmeal at breakfast to add some flavor to it…it does wonders for your taste buds, especially when pre-contest dieting!
  • Creatine: The Body Evolution believes in using only the healthiest blends and products available today. Pure creatine powders are hard to digest, create bloating, water retention, over absorption and problems in certain organs. However, The Body Evolution’s Creatine Power Plus adds fuel to a body’s system that never has been burned. WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: As a slow gainer, I need a supplement that helps with my muscle endurance and muscle hydration and Creatine is it! BE Creatine Power Plus have helped me to maintain size and strength, especially during precontest training. I tend to take 5 grams of creatine 30 minutes before weight training and immediately after, as well as taking 5 grams with a protein shake on non-training days. With the new Creatine, Nitric-Oxide, and Glutamine products on the market now, I find an even more effective pre-workout source that keeps me focused even when I am on a low carbohydrate diet and my energy is extremely low.
  • Glutamine: Pure 100% Glutamine has proven to be one of the most effective growth and recovery products for building strong muscle. Until now, very few options were available to create a true Glutamine transport system. In order to spike and increase insulin levels, The Body Evolution has created a formula, which includes 100% glutamine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vanadyl Sulfate, Chromium Picolinate and Lysine HC1. This mixture eliminates high levels of sugar and creates a smooth, quick intake of Glutamine allowing insulin levels to be adjusted to the greatest potential a body can handle. Sore muscles, intense growth and training make glutamine a body’s best friend in the recovery process of strict training.WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: As the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscles, Glutamine is key during hardcore training and competition dieting. Depending on your bodyweight, I suggest taking anywhere from 5-20 grams of BE Glutamine divided into 5 gram doses prior to training, immediately after and/or right before going to bed on an empty stomach to promote natural growth hormone, which accelerates protein synthesis and positive nitrogen balance. BE Glutamine makes a huge difference in my recovery from hardcore training. Glutamine has also been sited to improve your immune system, which is key during extreme dieting when your body is susceptible to injury and illness.
  • BOOM Preworkout mix: BOOM was specifically designed for people who want to take their workout and energy to the next level. BOOM is a pre-training/workout drink designed to deliver active ingredients that hit your bloodstream immediately and last throughout your entire workout. WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: With the new Creatine, Nitric-Oxide, and Glutamine products on the market now, I find an even more effective pre-workout source that keeps me focused even when I am on a low carbohydrate diet and my energy is extremely low. BOOM is by far the most effective preworkout supplement around for me! I take it 10-20 minutes before my weight training, and it gives me focus, muscle endurance, and power in the gym without the jitters or upset stomach that other products have caused in the past. Nothing gives me more of a rush in the gym than BOOM!
  • Krill Oil: From the pristine, cold waters of the Antarctic comes an oil so powerful it could change your life. Extracted from tiny shrimp-like crustaceans this nutrient rich oil contains a remarkable synergistic blend of three biologically active components: Inflammation fighting Omega-3 fatty acids, (EPA & DHA), brain-friendly phospholipids and cell-protective antioxidants. Pure krill oil from the Body Evolution™ is nature’s answer to cholesterol management, joint pain relief, and easing of PMS symptoms. It also shows great potential as an energy and alertness booster, skin protector, wrinkle fighter, and more. WHY I LIKE IT/WHEN I TAKE IT: EFA’s are known to assist in fat burning by supplying healthy fats into your regular diet. During a low fat diet, it is very important to include some fatty acids in order to keep healthy regulatory processes ongoing. BE’s Krill Oil is a staple for my offseason diet to keep my skin and joints healthy. I take it twice daily with my breakfast and afternoon meals. I also take Krill Oil during precontest dieting up until the last two weeks. At that point I try to eliminate as much fat as possible from my diet. It also helps keep my joints lubricated so that I can continue to lift heavy…even during my precontest prep, which is key to keeping and maintaining muscle size!

What’s your stance on drinking as a bodybuilder?

When I was younger I would workout hard in the gym then party on the weekends hard, and would drink alcohol. That was something lots of Marines do, work hard play hard. Even as I became more accomplished in my bodybuilding career I would go out with friends and drink on the weekend. The perfect answer is to say that alcohol and bodybuilding shouldn’t mix, however, I want to give my realistic lifestyle answer. Anything in moderation is ok, including alcohol, and if you live your life focusing so much on bodybuilding to were you cant relax and celebrate with friends and have “cheat” foods and a couple of drinks of alcohol then eventually you will limit your social life to the bodybuilding world and miss out on a variety of social functions with friends and family. If you have health problems like cirrhosis of the liver or a family history of alcoholism then by all means avoid alcohol, but I personally don’t think drinking alcohol will prevent you from being a competitive athlete or bodybuilder. Making it a habit, however, will prevent you from being at the top of your game. Presently, I very rarely drink alcohol except for maybe New Years eve or something. Pre-contest prep there is no alcohol so that I can be at my optimal levels throughout my prep. After a competition celebration, however, a drink or 2 isn’t a bad thing.

Any particular thoughts on Cardio (Steady state, HIIT, none at all?)

I think that all cardio has its place and everyone has different cardio needs. I feel for those who have a faster metabolism can get possibly better results from either HIIT or steady state depending on what phase of their precontest prep their in. I prefer to start off slow with steady state the first few weeks since I’m not in the best cardio shape in the beginning stages then midway through prep go with HIIT when they I’m in better overall physical performance shape then maybe taper off later in prep with the steady state when energy levels are at their lowest. Its all personal preference in my opinion and I would definitely try both approaches to see which one your body reacts too. I think HIIT has the greatest potential to help you hold onto muscle mass during prep if you time it perfectly in your training.

What’s next for you in the fitness world or future bodybuilding goals being in the upper echelons?

Honestly its hard to say. I’m starting to enjoy helping others in Natural Bodybuilding reach their goals now more than my own competitive aspirations. I’ve been so blessed in my life and bodybuilding career that anything else that I achieve in this sport will only be a bonus. I would love to continue to be competitive when I step on stage and I still plan to compete for a long time just for the thrill of competition and the love of performing on stage. I love this lifestyle and it is very rewarding for me and I hope that I am still able to motivate others just as many other top competitors motivate me. For this year I will continue to remain available for Guest appearances (currently, I will be Guest Posing April 6th at the OCB Natural Empire States in New York, and on June 29th at the OCB United States Military Open and Virginia Beach classic, and a VIP training camp with the great Layne Norton) and may compete with the PNBA and IFPA this year if things work out. Other than that who knows what may happen in the future for me…that is in God’s hands.

Name a piece of equipment you bring with you to the gym that you can’t go without?

Being a retired Marine Ive learned to do more with less. You never know what gym equipment may have so I learn to train with whatever is available, even if there are just sandbags and a pull-up bar. I do prefer to workout with music and Hip-hop really helps energize me before each set, but I can train without it if I have to.

Was the transition into bodybuilding sudden or how did you decide to do you first competition?

I grew up playing Football and loving it. Football kept me healthy and active, and in High School I was introduced to the weight room where I saw dramatic changes in muscularity and strength quickly and naturally. I was slim, but muscular all the way through High School and early into my first 3 years of the Marine Corps when a co-worker entered me in the Marine Corps Base Iwakuni Japan Bodybuilding championships in 1992 without my knowledge and I was thrust into competition. I didn’t know how to pose, wore multicolored speedos, and didn’t shave my body hair and still managed to win my weight class. Getting that individual 1st place trophy and being on stage in front of the crowd got me hooked! I have probably competed in over 100 shows and I still love the sport and feel nervous before each competition and have been drug free throughout my entire career. I was very fortunate to get involved with many Natural Organizations and become successful in each of them. I turned Professional in 4 different organizations and that opportunity kept me focused and motivated in the sport of Natural bodybuilding – knowing that I don’t have to take drugs to become a professional bodybuilder or to be a successful by having other federations that features only Natural Athletes (for the most part) has prolonged my career in the sport.

What’s going on in your life outside of bodybuilding?

I’ve been retired from the Marine Corps since 2011 and I now work for a great contracting company that allows me to use the skills I learned from 21 years of service in my civilian life. I recently transitioned into a new position that gives me a more relaxed 9-5 schedule, so that has given me the opportunity to spend more time with my beautiful wife and kids. My wife and I want to put our kids into more activities like Baseball for our son and gymnastics and dance for our daughters. That has been the biggest priority for me right now.

What do you think works better for you, explosive movements or slow and controlled…or do you have a different method all together?

I’ve always been more of a controlled movement guy, but I switch up to explosive style after some advice and training from my sponsors and both styles have their benefits. Its hard to gain true mass without explosive, heavier lifts and since my focus is more muscle mass I definitely incorporate that into my training. If you could go back and tell your amateur bodybuilding self something…what would it be? (Training tips, life lessons, etc.) I would tell myself to diet longer and do more research and education on nutrition! Early on in my career I didn’t have a clue about nutrition and I never read or studied anything to assist me in my precontest prep until 1997…5 years after my first show! Once I was given guidance and also studies to be a personal trainer with ISSA I learned so much and became a better competitor. I also took my genetics for granted and would only diet for 6-8 weeks and would never dial in my conditioning. If I had truly paid attention back then I would have had more of a head start in becoming a top amateur and Natural Professional.

Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

I just want to thank each and every person that contacts me with kind words that express how they appreciate what I’ve done in this sport. I also want to thank people like yourself that also promote the top Natural athletes so that others can see what we do and how we do it. I am very proud of everything that I accomplished as a Natural Bodybuilder and I thank all of the great friends and fans that I have met. I feel that the things that have led to my success as a Natural bodybuilder has been consistent, smart training and staying drug-free. I have seen so many great bodybuilders who are in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 70’s that are still competing and living a great lifestyle and it’s all because they do this the right way! A great quote that I believe is worth following when you are trying to master anything that you want to do is:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle.


1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Roland Martinezreply
March 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM

I haven’t read the article completely but I really don’t need to gather much information. Rico has been an AMBASSADOR to Natural Bodybuilding and whatever he says is GOSPEL in my book. Rico is a proven professional and a great family and spiritual individual. I have read soooo many of his articles that my printer keeps running out of ink as I print everything he writes. This will be another article that I will print. Thanks for your words of encouragement my friend and continue your awesome path to success.

Leave a reply