Q: You used to be a footballer. Why did you stop playing football and become a bodybuilder?
That wasn’t really a choice of mine. When I graduated High School I was ranked nationwide for size and strength, and had several college offers. Two weeks before I left for my college of choice I was in a car accident at over 85mph. I was a passenger and almost killed. After that crash I could hardly move for 6 years going through long and painful reconstructive surgeries being told I would never walk correctly, never run, never lift weights etc. I became dependant on pain medication, an my metabolism had shut down completely resulting in a MAJOR Weight gain, and muscle atrophy. I was nothing compared to what I once was.
One day I made the decision that I would rather not even be alive than live the way I was living. So I started going to a hypnotherapist that taught me to block my pain with my mind. Also I stopped all pain killers and despite pain that would cripple most people, I would take one workout at a time. Eventually I lost over 130 lbs and started telling people that I wanted to start competing in bodybuilding. People at the gym, friends and family would actually laugh in my face when I would say this. I used the ridicule to drive me even harder and in 2001, 10 years after the accident that almost took my life, I stepped onstage and beat EVERYONE who had laughed and locked me. Taking my clothes off for weigh-ins caused an uproar and people ran to see what everyone was talking about. People could not believe it. After that show I continued competing and also coaching and inspiring others to make transformations similar to mine. Eventually I earned my pro card in the WBFF where I have competed as a Pro in both the Bodybuilding and Muscle Model Divisions.
Q: Could you explain what dysmorphic disorder is about and how you overcame this?
Simply explained, muscledysmorphia is reverse anorexia. A dysmorphic disorder is when you look in the mirror and see a MUCH different reflection of you than the rest of the world sees. Just like a woman who is ultra skinny with bones and ribs sticking out sees herself as heavy. You can have a 300 pound man who sees himself as weak or small. This was an issue that I battled with greatly for years. When I couldn’t work out, I felt tiny even though I was around 340lbs. In the summer I would wear layers and layers of “cotton armor” to “FEEL” bigger. It really is a sickness that can cause major psychological damage and can negatively influence you have with others. You are a prisoner of your own body. Even when I started working out again the situation did not improve. if anything it got worse because I was going to shows and reading magazines that displayed unreal unobtainable physiques. When preparing for shows I would always stay covered. I never enjoyed the body I worked so hard for. I would do a show and then blow up. diet again, and then blow up. I wanted to break the cycle, so that is when last year I cam up with a “fix”. I am not saying this would work for everyone, but it worked for me.
First? Again I had let myself get too big. It was after a workplace injury, but still uncalled for. So… I made the decision that I would make a change yet again.I refused to stay covered. I didn’t crae how “small” I felt. too bad. If I felt uncomfortable I would tell myself to “grow a set” and just deal with it! This time? I wasn’t going to diet to my normal bodybuilding proportions. I wanted to prove that a bodybuilder could be marketable SO I decided I would do the opposite of what I had done in the past! I would get as lean, tight, and yes… SMALL as my body would allow me to. and I did just that. in 20 weeks I lost 100lbs and showed up to the World Championships in 2012 shredded to the bone. leaner than I had ever been in my life. Did I risk muscle? YES. But I didn’t care. I was doing something different. When Is tepped onstage I learned a valuable lesson. I was around 40lbs heavier than my closest competition. SO… simply put? I realized I’m a pretty Big Guy! lol! After that show I have decided to stay leaner. I have more of my bodybuilder dimensions back, but now with a tighter waist and better shape. and most important, I do it for me!
Q: You transformed your body dramatically in such a short period of time – What kept you motivated throughout this period?
I used to watch bodybuilding videos and read the magazines and completely submerse myself in the bodybuilding culture and lifestyle. AND you know what that did? Increase anxiety, and make the time drag. What I have learned to do is not even THINK about what I am doing. I go to the gym just like I am going to brush my teeth. I just DO IT. I don’t think about it! I just do it! Too many people refuse to live their lives during contest prep. That is a lot of time being wasted from your life. I have 4 kids (two sets of twins) and there is NO WAY I am going to take any fun away from them just because I decided I want to step onstage. What does keep me doing what I do however is how I feel every week. watching abs come in, hearing people notice change, and opportunities that open outside of the sport. For example, magazine covers, photoshoots, etc.
Q: What was a typical day’s diet for you at the point when your body fat was highest?
Haha now there is a question nobody has ever asked me. My diet when I was heavy would be very similar to what I would eat NOW during a cheat day. And I absolutely believe in cheat meals and days. They work for me. People may argue, but oh well. I may start the day with a couple bagel sandwiches and sausage McGriddles from McDonalds, orange juice and 4 hash browns. Next meal may be a couple triple Bacconators from wendys, a couple large fry, and a Frosty. Next may be chinese, or a sub. Then Pizza and wings at night. And I LOVE poptarts, cannoli, and eclairs. A day like this will send me into a coma haha and I will wake up SOAKED in sweat. That next day the pump I get is insane and it pushes me through the week.
Q: What does a day’s diet look like nowadays, in the lead up to a competition?
Because I use cheat meals or days, I keep my diet tight the rest of the days. I will start with equal protein, equal carbs. Then each week depending what my body is doing I will either alter my cardio or carb intake. People may argue with this also, BUT during regular dieting I do no believe in taking in fat. Unless I am doing a high fat diet. But on my regular diet I do not take in added fat. Here is the thing. If you have stored body fat? There is a reason! Your body uses protein to rebuild and if carbs and fat are introduced, then the body will ALWAYS use carbs first. They are the bodies preferred fuel choice. So, that leaves fat. If you are ingesting fat, then why would your body need to use it’s fat stores? It wouldn’t. Remove fat from the diet and your body will adapt and get it’s requirements from it’s storage. For my protein choices… egg whites, whey protein, tuna, turkey breast, chicken breast, lean fish. For my carb choices… yams, potatoes, rice, rice cakes, ezekiel bread, shredded wheat, cream of wheat. Diets come in fads.
I do not follow fads. and I don’t buy into BS marketing terms either. The newest being “metabolic damage”! THAT is the weak willed personsw ay of saying that they dieted for a show and couldn’t control themselves and pigged out and gained the weight they lost back and now they are all depressed and keep pigging out. SO “experts” started calling it metabolic damage and start marketing the eat to lose strategy. That isn’t new! It’s the old bulk/cut. I can’t stand seeing people get taken advantage of, and trainers using fear techniques to gain clients. Go to a 3rd world country and tell them how you have “metabolic damage” from eating 6 or 7 meals per day.
Q: Do you take supplements to help your progress? If so what are they?
The supplements I take are whey protein, a multivitamin and mineral, calcium, L-Arginine (5g at night), Glutamine (30g per day), BCAA’s, and an important one most people don’t think to use? Sugar free Metamuicil.
Q: The WBFF worlds is coming up in Las Vegas on the 23rd of August. Are you entered for that and how do you prepare yourself mentally for such a big competition?>
I was set to return this year to the Bodybuilding division, but a new opportunity presented itself. in the WBFF I am always preaching opportunity. NO OTHER organization offers the opportunity that the WBFF does by putting you on the most glamoruous stage in the industry and allowing people to see you at your best. This led to many covers, magazine exposure, and features on bodybuilding.com. Well, this rise in my popularity opened other opportunities for me to follow a new passion… acting. I was cast in a new cable series pilot, and the filming clashed with the competition. Some people may see that as me choosing something over bodybuilding. NO not at all. IT’s my way to get the WBFF to a larger audience. Showing that we are marketable and versatile. I am a WBFF Pro no matter where I go and what I do. I am also a WBFF Ambassador, and if you read my articles at www.wbffshows.com or www.fitandfirmmag.com you will see how devoted I am to the federation and it’s athletes.
Q: How many hours a week do you train in the off-season compared to the ‘on-season’?
Off season I get in and get out. maybe spending and hour to an hour and a half 5 days per week. Getting ready for a show, I do up to 2hours of cardio alone in two sessions, PLUS my hour workout, so it gets pretty time consuming.
Q: Typically, do you train for strength or size and how many ‘sets’ and ‘reps’ do you tend to work with?
I never train for strength. Strength is irrelevant. And strength has NOTHING to do with size. Strength is simply the body adapting to a certain workload. Your body adapts, strength goes up, but size does not. That’s why you have the same skinny kids in the gym loading the bar yet not changing. The best way to grow? Change your workout every time you walk into the gym. Reps, sets, exercises, order, everything. You will grow. Strength will come as an added bonus, but not at the risk of form.
Q: Do you train more with machines or free-weights. Which of these do you feel has more benefit?
Weight is weight. Your body does not know if you are pushing a bar, a machine, or rocks. If anything? Sometimes freew eight can ruin a physique by widening the torso, etc. Find a balance between the two. And train for YOU and not the guys in the gym who can’t mind their business. Doesn’t matter how much you bench when you take your shirt off at the beach and you look like jelly.
Q: What is your preferred weights routine to keep lean?
I do not weight train to get lean. I weight train to build or retain muscle. I use low impact cardio to lose fat and stay lean.
Q: Do you ever get injured and if so, how do you work around an injury to keep to your schedule?
Believe it or not, I have never been injured as a result of training. Only from previous injuries OR from accidents at work as an officer. Injuries can do a job on your mindset for sure. what I have learned is to train around them. If that means altering form? SO be it. Altering… not cheating to cause more injury. I am always adapting exercises to limitations. and I never and I MEAN NEVER force a joint! If you are comfortable doing an exercise? Do it that way. If you are doing an exercise and a guy wearing a whistle and clipboard touches you to change your form? Tell him to get away from you. We have different bodies and different structures. If you are injured, work around it. Better yet? Try to AVOID injury by training smart and listening to your body.
Q: You have two sets of twins. How do you juggle the responsibilities of being Dad with your training routine?
Now that is the tough part. My kids are my life. I do everything I can for and with them. Balancing being a father, transformation coach, team owner, professional bodybuilder, plus a career? It can be pretty crazy. But when things get really tough, I remind myself that there is not a single thing I didn’t ask for. I WANTED to be a father. I wanted a career. I ENJOY helping and inspiring people through coaching and competing. They were all choices. SO in order of importance, it matters which of my choices affect others.
Well, being a father? That comes first. I chose my children, they didn’t choose me. SO I do the best I can to make them always feel first, because bottom line if I had to give everything up? It would be for THEM! But for now, I make it work. As they get older they are starting to realize what dad does. How many lives he influences. They walk around the house flexing and posing. They see pictures of clients and say how pretty or good looking they are, and how lucky they are to have their dad helping them. DO I have days where I am so overwhelmed I don’t know what to do with myself? OH PLENTY! BUT like anything else it all works out! Plus… when you get really bust, you tend to forget about your pain! haha
Q: What is your top tip for those wanting to get ripped and feel good about them selves?
DON’T read most magazines that feature IFBB bodybuilders haha. That is a good start. Because if you follow what they do? You will learn very quickly that what works for them will NOT work for you! Simple tip? EVERY diet works! EVERY DIET! Find the one that is easiest for you to handle and maintain. DO some work BETTER than others? Of course. BUT if you can’t Stick to it, what’s the point? Find the one that suits your life and your tastes and stick to it. Don’t obsess, and stay off the damn scale except for once per week. Use diet and cardio together and you will get leaner. Simple. Oh! And if you watch the Biggest Loser? Watch it for entertainment value like Survivor. BUT those strategies? Are NOT beneficial. What is the sense of taking the shape of a pear and making a smaller pair? When you lose like that, most of the scale weight is muscle!
You are over training. Slow and steady is the key. 2-6 pounds per week. That’s it. It may take you longer but you will retain and build muscle, plus you wont have all of that extra skin. For most people, the hanging skin is just as unattractive as the fat itself, and not everyone has the money or desire to have surgery to correct what the WORKED for! Go slow and easy and make it a lifestyle and you will get where you want to be. BUT once you are there??? STAY THERE! Don’t do that up and down garbage! I have done it myself and learned the hard way that it is NOT the best way to do things. Get lean, and then make small increase which result in muscle gain you will retain and a faster metabolism
Q: What does the future hold for BIG Frank?
Well to start, I will continue to be the best father I can be. Also, I plan to continue to work with clients and manage my Big Frank’s Supergirl’s Team that competes in the WBFF. I will continue doing my athlete focus articles and being the best representative to the WBFF that I can be. Past that, I am always a work in progress, trying to change and improve myself which at 42years old I am still doing. I mentioned I am branching into acting so we will see where that brings me. And most importantly, I want to continue to be an inspiration to all I am blessed enough to somehow come in contact with. Whether in person, online, at a show, or even at the mall. If someone starts talking to me, I never turn my back. My size starts up a conversation since I am 6’4″ and 300lbs, but then people quickly learn I am not the tattooed muscle head they had me stereotyped as being. And Usually when I share my story I can see people are touched and SOMEHOW I touched that persons life. Maybe not even them directly! Maybe they took my story to work the next day and passed it to a co-worker who’s son or daughter is sick or injured, etc. You never know. That is why I never turn my back on anyone.
I am always accepting clients through my website at www.Ask-BigFrank.com. I think what sets me apart is that I do this because I have a legitimate interest in changing peoples lives. ALSO… I have been there myself. That’s why when I charge a client, it is ONE FEE! I do not go by a certain amount of time. I go by goal. I get someone where they want to be and I consider myself the “tattoo artist of the fitness world” haha because once I get someone where they want to be? I will ALWAYS be willing to “touch them up” when they need to be.
Follow big Frank here: http://www.facebook.com/AskBigFrank?fref=ts