Sean: Thanks for being here, Vince. You were once a 149-pound, skinny and underweight long distance runner. What was your life like back then? Did it always bother you being so scrawny?Vince: I’ll be honest, it did not always bother me being skinny because I found my identity in the success that my triathlon and running career brought. When you are always hanging out with other skinny guys you don’t really care about it.
Once I went to University I started living with some really buff and ripped room mates who all had smoking hot girlfriends. That started to rub on me and I started getting jealous of some of the superficial benefits that go along with having a muscular and ripped body!
I was also nick named “Skinny Vinny” but it waSean’t so bad when I was running. Thankfully I was so focused on my running that I managed my insecurities of being the smallest guy.
As superficial as this sounds, the thing I hated the most was that I could never fit into the clothes I wanted. I could never wear a tight fitting shirt without screaming “scrawny.”
Sean: What was it that made you finally decide to get into the gym and transform your body?
Vince: Once University was over I had to make my way into the real world and find a career. That’s when I decided to enter the fitness industry and become a personal trainer.
The only problem? I still looked like a lean, running machine. It was time to look the part of a personal trainer.
The driving motivation was that I always had this fascination with ‘how big could I get.’ I was always curious about what kind of physique I could build if I transferred all the same efforts I put into my running world into a “muscle building lifestyle.”
If I could be a successful endurance athlete, could I still be a successful bodybuilder with the same efforts?
Sean: To say that you achieved your goal is an understatement. You actually ended up winning first place at the Canadian Fitness Model Championships in 2005 and now manage your own team of 15 personal trainers. How did it feel going from skinny to super ripped, and how has it impacted your daily life?
Vince: I guess I proved that if you are truly committed to your goals, consistent and have a “whatever it takes” attitude then anyone can do it.
The first year (with my new body) was probably like a girl with “implants.” She wants to show them off and flaunt it every chance she gets. Kind of the same when you get a new body. You want to show it off but eventually the superficiality of “looking good” wears off and you need to have a new and deeper rooted motivation to train.
I’m still not the most muscular or ripped guy at my gym. That’s not important to me anymore. Becoming a muscle building author and head trainer keeps me accountable to myself. People expect me to “look the part” now. I don’t feel a need to compete anymore or “show off my physique.” Now I am more focused on simply being as fit as possible, testing my own limits and being the best I can be.
Sounds cheesy but that’s it. My main focus is that my success has created a platform for me to teach and help others achieve similar muscle building success.
Sean: But let’s back up here for a second. Surely the road to massive gains waSean’t an easy one. You’ve stated that the bodybuilding and fitness industry is in many ways a giant scam. Can you give some examples of what you mean by that?
Vince: Oh man, you’re tempting me to open up a big can of worms!
As in every industry there are always people who do not have your best interests in mind. The bodybuilding and fitness industry is no different but I would like to say that it’s only a small percentage of the industry giving the rest a bad name.
There are plenty of sites, trainers, clubs, and professionals that are truly invested in the health and fitness of others. These are the people you want to learn from and stay close to.
My biggest beef is the “supplement mafia” and hardcore bodybuilding magazines.
Again, not all supplement companies are bad and the same goes with fitness magazines. There are some excellent companies and magazines that are doing their best to provide quality information and provide quality products.
The bodybuilding magazines are in a tough position. These companies do not stay in business because of news stand subscriptions. Bodybuilding magazines are owned by supplement companies who use the magazine as vehicle to market their products. They make their money by selling supplements.
In a 300 page bodybuilding magazine, over 220 pages of the magazine are supplement ads!!! What’s that saying to the reader? Supplements are very important and if “that one” does not work for you then combine it with “that one” or try “that one” next time.
It’s a deadly cycle that distracts the reader on what is truly important in their success.
Sean: Did these obstacles get in the way when you yourself where a beginner?
Vince: Like I describe on my site, I met a “savior” who used to be a national level bodybuilder but had to stop competing when he realized that taking drugs were necessary for the next level up. He was not prepared to do that and he became my first mentor/coach (I actually met him at my church of all places.) After taking his program advice I transformed pretty quickly so I avoided most of the problems.
Experimenting with supplements was probably my biggest obstacle. I was obviously curious and intrigued by what the advertisements claimed. I kept thinking, “Well, what if it works…” “Maybe I should try it…” Whenever I took supplements I never trained as hard, some sort of mental block. I got better results with fewer supplements because I was forced to put more efforts into my nutrition, training intensity and lifestyle.
In a sense, the supplements became a crutch. And a crutch is for cripples. And I was not a cripple!
Sean: How did you finally discover the proper ways to train and eat for impressive gains? Did you have a mentor, or was it just a strung-out trial and error process?
Vince: As I said, I did have a mentor and even have a few mentors to this day. I totally believe in duplicating the success of others.
Training is not just a science though. It is also an art. This means that each trainee needs to make some of their own training decisions and be apart of the process. I teach my clients and customers how to adjust some of the variables in their training. It’s a 2 way process.
They must follow their instincts and listen to their body. Muscle building programs are not “one size fits all” although the bulk of the principles are the same. It’s just the “small print” that needs to be tweaked for each person. Again, a good coach teaches his clients how to become a part of the training process.
Initially, as a trainer, there was a lot of trial and error. Sometimes you are working with a 61 year old lady and other days you are working with a 22 year old varsity athlete. I just focus on applying time-tested principles that work so I was fortunate to not have to mess around with lots of trial-and-error.
Sean: Do you think that hardgainers and naturally skinny guys need to approach their programs differently than those who gain size easily? If so, what are some of the important things that they need to pay attention to?
Vince: Of course!
Would you take money advice from a guy who inherited a fortune? So why take muscle building advice from a guy who inherited great genetics?
Would you take money advice from someone cheating on his taxes? So why take muscle building advice from someone who is taking drugs?
Skinny guys need to focus on a few basic principles:
— Getting stronger from week to week– Proper lifting technique– Progressive overload, not progressive fatigue aka “body part training”– Less volume per muscle group– More frequency on their muscle groups– Variety of compound movements– Living a lifestyle to maximize testosterone levels– Eating in a “surplus” with clean calories– Being truly committed to their goals with a “Whatever it takes…” attitude
Those are the most important ones.
Sean: What about teens? You’ve stated before that teenagers should follow a slightly different set of training principles.
Vince: The most important thing for teens is lifting technique.
In North America there are thousands of gyms that you can walk into and just start doing whatever you want to do your body with zero coaching or instruction.
Would you go skiing on a black diamond without any lessons?
Would you try and fix your own car?
Would you go represent yourself in court?
Would you try and drill your own teeth?
Of course not, but for some reason people think it’s okay to walk into “Joe’s Gym” and try and fix their own bodies without any professional help. So many teens walk into gyms and start messing with their tendons, ligaments, bone and muscles without a coach or instruction and won’t discover they caused more harm than good until 10-20 years from now.
Get educated and learn how to weight train properly from a professional. Not from your over weight gym teacher or a friend who reads bodybuilding magazines.
Sean: Give us what you believe are the top 3 mistakes being made by aspiring lifters, and some tips for getting back on the right track.
1. Not becoming educated.
I’m not saying you need to read every article and program under the sun before you start., but you need to commit a period in your life where you study a reliable program or course that will teach you all the essentials to effective weight training, cardio, nutrition, stretching and lifestyle.
2. Not learning proper lifting technique.
Most people do not know how to selectively recruit the desired muscle group. You can have the best program in the world created by the top Olympic coach but it will result in little results if it’s not done with the proper technique. I still remember the first time my “savior” started adjusting my foot position, pelvis position, hand position, elbow position, wrist position… within a few reps I felt like I was going to puke. Apparently I was not isolating the muscle properly and simply “moving” the weight!
3. Not living the “muscle building lifestyle.”
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “You get what you focus on.” I also like the one, “Today’s obsessions will become tomorrow’s realities.”
This must be a goal that you are truly committed to and focused on.
If you focus on living the muscle building lifestyle then you will become successful.
If you want to become a 200 pound man with 5% body fat then you have to start living like a 200 pound man with 5% body part.
Your lifestyle and goals have to line up. Your daily choices and decisions should be taking you closer to your goals, not further away.
People have nobody to blame but themselves when they are not successful. I get emails from guys asking me “Is it okay to party on the weekends and get drunk?” A better question to ask is, “Will getting drunk on the weekends get me closer to my goal or further away from my goal?” Now take responsibility for that decision!
On top of focusing on what you want, start surrounding yourself with people you want to become like and you will start acting the part and become the person you must be to build your new muscular and ripped body!
Sean: Thanks for the interview Vince!
Vince: Anytime Sean!
To learn exactly how to structure a proper weight training and nutritional plan so that you won’t have to worry about how to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time, visit www.MuscleGainTruth.com. Here you can learn how to maximize your muscle gains while keeping your body fat levels under control.
About the Author:
Once an awkward, out-of-shape “social outcast”, Sean Nalewanyj is now a renowned fat loss and muscle building expert, best-selling fitness author and success coach. Through his mega-popular websites and his information-packed online email lessons, Sean has helped tens of thousands of average, everyday people from all over the world burn fat, build muscle and get into the best shape of their lives. Sean is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, has written articles for dozens of the top muscle-building and fat loss websites across the Internet and is recognized as an expert authority on the subjects of building muscle and burning fat fast. He is also the creator of 2 best-selling online programs:
The Muscle Gaining No-Fail System: A renowned natural bodybuilding program that details the most effective ways to build muscle and gain strength by training for an average of just 24 minutes a day.
The Truth About Burning Fat: Finally exposed! Sean Nalewanyj blows the lid off of the weight loss and diet pill industries to reveal the honest and unbiased truth about burning fat, building muscle and increasing your health and energy levels safely and naturally.