By: Bob Kupniewski
–Editor’s Note: I first met Paul at Gold’s Gym in Orlando, FL one day when traveling on business. We had known of eachother but of course, this put a face to a name. In the years we have known eachother since that meeting, Paul and I have become friends and he has become a training guru in his own right….so much of a guru that I recommend you look into hiring him as a trainer and I hate 99% of trainers (I am an ass). Heck, Paul even competed against my brother a couple of years ago in an IFPA show. While I feel my brother kicked his ass, it could be simply due to bias based on my brother and I sharing a common uterus of origin. I love Paul, he is a true gentleman and iron warrior. Read on, learn, and be inspired.
–Peace Out, Marc Lobliner
- First and foremost could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you do, your accomplishments and your credentials? I work in the Information Technology field as a Network Administrator and own my own business helping people reach their fitness goals. I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Technology Management. I am currently an NGA and IFPA Pro Bodybuilder set to make my Pro debut in the fall of 2012.
- What is your generic guideline for training? Do you feel there should be a major difference between pre-contest and offseason regarding volume, frequency, and intensity? If So explain?
My generic guideline for training is to continue to add weight to the bar. I believe in increasing the intensity of my workouts over time through added weight, improved form, time under tension or any other method which causes my muscles to adapt. For me there is no difference between pre contest and off season training. I use the same principles to build muscle as I do to retain it during contest prep. I will allow myself some days toward the end where I listen to what my body is telling me. If I feel strong I will use that as a heavy day and if I feel run down I may use more volume. I always find that as my cardio improves during a contest prep my workouts do as well with the additional cardiovascular conditioning.
- What is your general stance on nutrition as far as macro composition in any of your clients diets? Do you differ them much between pre-contest and offseason?
My client diets are highly individual. I prioritize their diets based on the goals they have expressed to me. I always make sure that protein and fat are in the proper healthy range based on those goals, current fitness levels, age and experience. From there I use carbs as a method to ensure energy levels and recovery are maximized. Off season diets tend to be a lot less restrictive as the athlete can remain in a surplus. Pre contest I will find the thresholds where body fat drops using diet and cardio to elicit the proper response without using any harsh tactics that will cause metabolism crashes or stalling.
- What different things do you utilize on your clients as far as refeeds and cheat meals go, and what are your thoughts on utilizing those in both (offseason and pre-contest)?
As someone who learned a great deal from Layne Norton, I use the reefed approach. A cheat meal to me would be untracked and not necessarily the best approach. I teach my clients to be aware of everything they put in their bodies to ensure I am able to understand the big picture. Each client is different so I will use all the tools at my disposal such as carb cycling and different methods of cardio like High Intensity Interval training.
- Do you believe in Intermittent Fasting and other non-generic meal patterns? Do you have to eat a certain amount of times per day to eat and why? It seems Meal Frequency is thrown around a lot lately with a ton of different research being published on PUBmed? Your stance?
I believe that intermittent fasting has its benefits and works for some so I have no issue with it. I don’t use that strategy because the research I follow has shown what is optimal is spiking protein dosages more frequently than what the IF diet recommends. My goal with clients is to ensure they are getting optimal results so I focus on getting a large protein dose every 4-6 hours with Branch Chain Amino Acids in between meals.
- What are your generic guidelines of Pre/Post workout nutrition?
During the pre and post workout meals I think we are looking at the two most important meals in the day for a competitive physique athlete. You are preparing your body for battle in one and making sure recovery is optimized with the other. I don’t believe the hype regarding a huge insulin spike immediately following training. A small insulin spike along with some BCAA’s followed by the next meal is where I stand. I do have my own take and pre and post workout carbohydrates which includes taking in a % of your daily total in those two meals.
- What is your stance when in a caloric surplus what do you believe in should be the minimums you should meet regarding protein, carbohydrates, and fats and why? Does any macronutrient trump others as far as protein sparing?
For physique athletes the minimum protein recommendation I will make is 1g per lb of lean mass, I do tend to keep protein closer to 1.25 grams in general. This again is dependent on several individual factors. This number will change over time so it’s important to be flexible. Fats are a key component as well and I keep those at a set number based on age, gender and goals but I always keep them in the healthy range and recommend using carbohydrates as the biggest source to remove calories from.
-What is your general philosophy on food sources regardless if the individuals is in a caloric surplus or deficit, the phrase “Clean Eating” is thrown around a lot. Could you shed some light on research or any information regarding utilizing different sources in the offseason or pre-contest?
My general belief on food source is that you should get the bulk of your calories from whole foods which fit the profile of your goals. If you need fats then I prefer the use of nuts, avocado’s and nut oils. I don’t like fats to come from fatty meats. For protein I also like to keep the meats lean so that the bulk of the food is a protein source. In the off season I do believe there is more room of finding foods that fit your macros from processed foods but as the calories become less I do feel there is a benefit to eating foods which have a better micronutrient profile. The big picture is what’s most important and that is to hit your macro nutrient goals for the day.
-What Supplements do you consider “Staples” or those that should be utilized on a daily basis? Also what supplements do you feel have their benefits in the offseason and pre-contest that should be considered or you utilize for a particular reason?
Brach Chain Amino Acids, Creatine, Essential Fatty Acids, Caffeine and a Multi Vitamin are my staples year round. Pre contest I will include more Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Cissus to help with joint issues as fat becomes decreased. I have also been following research done by Dr. Jacob Wilson on the benefits of taking HMB during a calorie deficit. I am personally using that this year along with another fantastic supplement which is relatively new, D-Aspartic Acid. The natural testosterone boosting effects have been studied and witnessed by me first hand.
-What is your motivation and inspiration? What first got you interested in bodybuilding or nutrition?
My earliest memories of wanting to build more muscle are from seeing professional athletes who displayed physiques to be admired like Bo Jackson. Ofcourse the biggest influence would have to be Arnold. I got a hold of his Bodybuilding Encyclopedia as a teen and spent an entire summer lifting with my best friend. The book covers training, diet and much more so it was a great insight into what it takes to change the body. I didn’t really take nutrition too seriously until I decided to compete in 2008. I spent all of 2007 learning how to manipulate my diet to reach my goals and set personal records in the gym. It was then that I realized I had been missing a huge piece of the puzzle for many years.
-What are your future goals? Any specific things you want to accomplish?
My immediate goals are to step on the Pro Stage in late 2012 and display my best physique ever. Should that garner some recognition with judges I would be very happy. However, I can only control being my best and that doesn’t always mean I will beat somebody else’s best. I would like to qualify for the IFPA World Championships in October. My other goal is to grow my business, Pro Physique. Over the course of this year I have created a web site with the help of a friend and had great success coaching clients who compete and who just want to look and feel better. I have a growth plan for the next several years and that includes continuing my education with the sport and science of bodybuilding and nutrition.
-If there was one thing you could go back and change throughout your career what would it be and why? What impact do you think you could re-write in your past to improve on who you are today?
I wish the information that is available today had been available to me in the early 90’s when I was just getting started. I did my best by reading Arnold’s book and all the magazines. However the diets posted in that magazine represent an extreme part of the sport which I am not a part of. After eating diets with no carbs and 400 grams of protein you find something just isn’t right. I often got frustrated and would take long breaks. After learning about proper nutrition and training techniques that allow the body to continuously grow I have had fantastic gains that never plateau. I think if I had this knowledge many years ago it could have helped me be further along in my progress. Overall though I am very happy with where I am, as I can say I struggled but never gave in. I may have stopped from time to time but I never quite trying to improve.
-Thank you for your time and effort in this Q&A Session, if there was one last tip you could give to those who are reading/following what would it be and why?
You are very welcome. I really like what you guys are doing for the sport. If I could give one piece of advice to athletes who want to attain something. Find someone who has already attained your goal and ask them for advice. You would be surprised how helpful and friendly bodybuilders can be. I have made many great friends with those I once looked up to, and now they are my peers.