by Craig Titus
This column does not represent the opinions or views of IronMagazine, it’s advertisers or affiliates. Craig’s column is unedited and for entertainment purposes only, read at your own risk.
What are the crucial mistakes bodybuilders, both amateur and professional, make during contest prep or in general?
That’s question covers a wide spectrum of mistakes that can be made and definitely deserves a extensive answer. First let me say that champion bodybuilders, that is the athletes who consistently place in the most prestige’s shows, have found a formula that works for them and never breaks their routine. Shawn Ray for example… as much as I hold genuine disdain for him, he was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He was always in shape, always at the top of his game in every show he competed in. make no mistake, the only reason he wasn’t Mr. Olympia is because of his small stature, not because of his contest preparation. That midget knew what he was doing…I’m sorry, “little person.” Dexter Jackson is another IFBB Pro who is always in shape and certainly found the formula that works for him without failure. This brings me to the most common mistake both amateur and professional bodybuilders make…
1. Changing what’s working for them. I am so guilty of making this mistake more times then I care to admit. For some reason, more times then not, bodybuilders lose sight and focus just weeks prior to contest time and make extreme and detrimental adjustments destroying their physique. I just recently read in MD magazine that Dennis Wolf was not at all happy with his appearance on the Olympia Stage. He listened to other’s and made some unnecessary adjustments a week out resulting in being flat on stage. If you look the absolute best you’ve ever looked several weeks out from your show, do not change a thing, and change nothing, simply coast into the contest!! The best I’ve ever looked, the most full my muscles have ever been, the best conditionally I ever, obtained was at the 2001 San Fran Pro Show. Chris Cormier and I trained like Gorilla’s for that shows. We trained heavy with extreme intensity, we slowly restricted calories all fat was non existent, increases calories slightly into the show, took an obscene amount of steroids and growth hormone and coast into the competition. I placed 2nd behind Chris that show and never repeated that shape again. Why? Because my dumb-ass was consistently breaking the golden rule…do not change what works for you!
2. Do Not make the mistake in thinking that steroids, HGH and insulin are just “finishing touches” or insignificant in all facts of bodybuilding…that’s simply not true! That’s what Professional Bodybuilders say to down play the use because they feel it fakes away from their accomplishments or more so because steroid use illegal. Fact is, no supplement companies want their endorsed athletes giving praise to primobolan depot or a brand name trenbalone. Make no mistake, steroids and HGH are not only essential, but they’re crucial in the creation of the greatest physique possible. Obviously, I have no reason to be politically correct, nor have I ever been politically correct…so if you have any questions in regard to steroid use, I’ll answer then honestly without hesitation. Listen, I know half dozen pro bodybuilders who constantly complain of sore injection sights while preparing for shows…they know who they are…including myself.
3. Do not use Synthol! Synthol is a huge mistake. Any type of oil or solution injected into the muscle for the sole purpose of swelling or temporarily increasing it’s size of that Muscle…is a catastrophic mistake! First of all, bodybuilders who use synthol look absolutely ridiculous…they’re being clowned and laughed at. The synthol injections are obvious and do nothing but destroy the detail and appearance of the muscle. Stop it, you’re not fooling anyone, you’re destroying your physique. And you look fucking silly!! Furthermore, a recent study has shown that prolonged use of synthol can cause irreversible side effects…such as severe tissue build up and permanent deterioration of the actually muscle fiber. Two athletes that come to mind are Milo’s Sarchev and Nasserr Elsombaty, both of which suffered negative effects of synthol. It was known fact that Milo’s severely damaged the muscle fiber in his biceps causing infections as well as devastating scar tissue build up. In Nassar’s case, I can remember myself and many others laughing hysterically at the appearance he created using synthol in his arms. He literally ruined his physique! – So not only do synthol users look absolutely ridiculous but you can cause permanent damage…destroying your physique as well as you career, or even worse, your health!
4. Make 100% for certainty you’re using legitimate anabolics…there are so many fake and counterfit steroids floating around it’s not even funny. Fake steroids being, vegetable oil in a multi-use vial or single dose ampoules. Counterfeit being testosterone labeled as something else such as primobolan or trenbalone. Do not for one second trust these individuals who sell their own private label underground steroids. Ya know, the guys/girls who tell you they got the powders from china and then processed said powder into injectables or pill form anabolics. There are more then a few countries where you can order and purchase steroids and HGH right over the counter without a prescription. I know from personal experience you can do this in Spain, Mexico, Romania, Andorra, Argentina and several other counties. Try and limit your choices when purchasing steroids to actual companies like Shein, Goldline, Steris and Shering. Go ahead and your physician as to information in regard to domestic companies still manufacturing anabolics. There’s nothing worse then preparing for a contest and find out the Trenbalone you’ve been using was nothing more then vegetable oil…it’s happened to me several times!! Screw using underground roids, you wouldn’t put gasoline into your Porsche unless you knew for certain it was actual gas…so don’t put steroids into your body unless you know, without a shadow of doubt, their real. I don’t care how much you shake the vial, or hold it up to the light to see if there’s particles floating, or if you even go so far as to filter the product yourself through some micron syringe titles…if it’s not manufactured by a actual pharmaceutical company, then even with all those precautions it still can just be vegetable oil!
5. Biggest and most prevalent mistake of all…using diuretics to rid your body of sub Q WATER. Bottom line, if all the fat is gone, you’ll never ever have to take the chance of totally destroying all the hard work you’ve put in and flatten out like a pancake come contest morning!! Your muscle is something like 68% water and honestly water should never be cut out regardless if off season or contest time…diuretics more times then not will suck the life right out of you and your muscle. Once you’ve reached your desired look, change nothing, which goes back to the 1st mistake I’ve outlined for you, and most certainly, do not add diuretics back into the equation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I nearly died using demadex following the 2001 Olympia. Demadex destroyed my physique suching me down lower then 220 lbs. which was 20lbs lighter then I weighed when I win the 96 USA Championships and 27lbs. lighter then when I placed 2nd months before at the 2001 San Fran Pro Show…all compliments of Dorian Yates! If you have trouble drying out come contest time, use 250mg. of Cytadrene the last three weeks right into the show…it’s excellent.
Can you tell us about Ed Connors?
Well, the first thought that comes to mind is that Ed Connors is a true fan of the sport/art of bodybuilding! He enjoys not only the bodybuilding and fitness industry as a whole, but Ed is very engaging and personable with the athlete’s themselves always willing to help them in so many ways. In fact I’ve always thought Ed was never awarded the credit for giving bodybuilders the opportunity to live in Venice Beach and train at the Mecca of bodybuilding…Gold’s Gym Venice. In the 90’s Ed Connors not only owned Gold’s Gym Venice Beach but he owned the Gold’s Gym Corporation. Needless to say he is extremely wealthy and never denied a promising bodybuilder the chance to stay at his home in Venice and train at the Mecca. Mind you, Ed’s home is absolutely gorgeous located just 20 feet from the beach and worth what I can only imagine to be millions of dollars…but still opened his doors to up and coming future stars in bodybuilding. Ed went so far as to make sure his kitchen was full of the necessary food and supplements required to build muscle. He made you feel very welcome and right at home. He shared his wisdom, in sight and valuable advice to help you pursue you dreams of becoming a professional bodybuilder. These aren’t rumors or things I’ve heard about Ed Connors, I’m speaking from personal experience and friendship I’ve enjoyed with Ed since 1991. In 91 I traveled from Houston Texas to Fontana California to compete in the NPC Amateur Ironman bodybuilding contest. I ended up winning the heavyweight division as well as the overall resulting in several offers from photos to possibly my first magazine exposure. I couldn’t believe all the years of hard work and total dedication was actually about pay off. Only problem at the time was I didn’t have a place to stay nor the funds to purchase a hotel room or other essentials like food. The photo shoot was scheduled for two days to take place inside the Mecca of Bodybuilding with a very well known photographer, Irvin Gelb. This was a dream come true for a young aspiring bodybuilder attempting to make a name for himself in the sport. This dream only came true because of Ed Connors. He made it possible for mw by opening the doors to his home giving me the ability to say just blocks from the gym and shoot with Irvine Gelb for several Days. Over the next 6 years I stayed at Ed’s house following several shows making it possible for my career to blossom by shooting with all the top Photographers in the industry…Because of Ed Connors I moved to Venice, California and became one of the most photographed athletes in bodybuilding history. His generosity wasn’t limited to just me, he helped countless up and coming muscle heads as well as actors and athletes in many different sports arenas. I met Matt Duvall, Paul DeMayo, Gunter Schlerancamp, Mike Francois and many other bodybuilders while staying in Ed’s home. Simply put, Ed is a great friend and a extremely generous person who made it possible for many to pursue their dreams. I think I can speak for everyone in saying I am forever grateful for Ed’s kindness, generosity, wisdom and advice. Kudos to Ed Connors…the world could use a lot more of him!!
If you have a question for Craig Titus please send an email via our contact form.
Craig Michael Titus was born in Wyandotte, Michigan on Jan 14, 1967. The eldest of Michael and Sandra Titus’ three children. In high school, Craig wrestled for his school team at 132lbs. After graduation, decided to put on some muscle via weight training. When Craig graduated from high school he was 5’6″ and 140lbs. By the age of 21, he was 5’9″ and 185lbs. Once he started weight training and seeing results, he was hooked. Craig’s first bodybuilding show was the 1988 Houston Bodybuilding Championships in which he won the Men’s Open middleweight class and the overall title.
2002 Mr. Olympia – 11th
2002 Night of Champions XIV – 5th
2002 Southwest Pro – 7th
2001 British Grand Prix – 9th
2001 Mr. Olympia – 12th
2001 Arnold Classic – 6th
2001 SAN FRANCISCO GRAND PRIX – 2nd
2001 IRONMAN PRO INVITATIONAL – 5th
2000 Toronto Pro – 1st
2000 Arnold Classic – 10th
2000 Night of Champions – 11th
2000 Ironman Pro Invitational – 8th
1996 NPC USA Championships — 1st Heavyweight and Overall
1995 NPC USA Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1994 NPC National Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1994 NPC USA Championships — 2nd Heavyweight
1993 NPC USA Championships — 4th Heavyweight
1991 NPC Ironman/Ironmaiden — Overall
1990 NPC Tournament of Champions — 3rd Heavyweight
1990 NPC Western Cup — Overall
1989 NPC Houston Bodybuilding Championships — Overall
1988 NPC Houston Bodybuilding Championships — 1st, Middleweight and Overall