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Beast Mode: Canadian Pro Bodybuilder Antoine Vaillant Talks With Simplyshredded.com

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I started bodybuilding when I was 15 years old, after watching all those Arnold movies I wanted to pump up my arms and chest just like his. So I started doing push ups at home every night at 13 years old hoping that this would help although I then soon realized that push ups won’t make you jacked so I joined a gym.

I remember in my early years of training I was getting results really fast and instantly I knew that this was what I wanted to do!

Where does your motivation come from?

It comes from 2 places. The first factor of my motivation comes from the Pro Bodybuilders, training hard and giving their all to live their dreams and reach their goals. The second factor comes from within me; I always had this self-motivation deep inside me to keep pushing my limits and giving it everything I have.

“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” Stephen R. Covey

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I never have the same routine, in fact I make a new split every week. Let me show you the one for this week :

Since I train back twice a week, I need to always change which bodyparts are trained for each day of the week, to make sure I have enough rest days and recuperation between the muscle groups.

I have 1 day off every 5 days usually. Note that I also included posing in there. Posing to me is also considered a mini-workout. It’s harder than it looks! I always forget to pose or neglect it. I want to really improve my posing this time so that’s why I am noting it down.

Here are my current workouts:

(Because of my shoulder injury, I don’t have much of a hardcore workout for my chest. I cannot do any incline presses/fly movements for pecs and no military presses either. I am currently taking care of it so I am playing it smart.)

Back/Calves

  • Modified One Arm T-bar Row : 4 X 8
  • Cable Rows : 3 X 12
  • Close Grip Chins : 2 X MAX
  • Dumbbell Pullovers : 3 X 12
  • Dumbbell Shrugs : 3 X 12
  • Hang with 45lb plate : Max time X 1
  • Banded/weighed Hypers : 3 X 25
  • Seated Calves : 4 X 10
  • Standing Calves : 3 X 10
  • Donkey Calves : 2 X 30

Chest/Abs

  • Machine Press : 15-12-10-10-10
  • Flat Dumbbell Press : 4 X 12
  • A1 : Tsuki Bench Press : 3 X 12
  • A2 : Dips : 3 X 12 (partials)
  • Kelso Shrugs : 3-4 X 12
  • Cable Cross Overs : 3 X 12
  • Low Pulley Cable Cross Overs : 3 X 12
  • Broomstick Twist : 2 X 50
  • Roulette : 3 X 12
  • Rope Crunch : 3 X 12

Biceps/Triceps/Forearms

  • A1 : Machine Curl : 4 X 12-15
  • A2 : Tricep Rope Pushdown : 4 X 12-15
  • B1 : Inclined Bicep Curls : 4 X 12
  • B2 : Dumbbell Skull Crushers : 4 X 12
  • C1: Standing DB Curls (4 X 3 style) : 3 X 12
  • C2: DB French Press : 3 X 12
  • D1 : Reverse BB Curl : 3 X 12
  • D2 : Reverse Push Down : 3 X 12
  • Wrist Push Downs : 3 X 12
  • Wrist Alternating DB Curls (to the side) : 3 X 10

Delts/Traps

  • Reverse Pec Deck : 4 X 12
  • Bent Over Fly : 3 X 12
  • One Arm Cable Side Lateral : 3 X 15 (non stop)
  • A1 : Side Lateral : 3 X 10
  • A2 : Bent Arms Side Lateral : 3 X 10
  • Hammer Grip Alternating Front Raise : 3 X 10
  • Upright Row : 3 X 8-12
  • Barbell Shrugs : 15-12-12-12

Legs

  • A1 : Leg Extensions: 3 X 15
  • A2 : Bodyweight Squats : 3 X 10
  • B1 : Parallel Squat : 4 X 8-10
  • B2 : Box Jump : 4 X 6
  • C1 : Bulgarian Squat : 4 X 6
  • C2 : Bulgarian Jump Squat : 4 X 6
  • D1 : Stiff Leg Deadlift : 4 X 8
  • D2 : Long Jumps : 4 X 6
  • E1 : Lying Leg Curls : 3 X 10
  • E2 : Standing Calf Raise : 3 X 10

Back (Width)

  • Wide Grip Pull Downs : 3 X 12
  • Medium Grip Pull Downs : 3 X 12
  • Close Grip Pull Downs : 3 X 12
  • Pull Down Stretchers : 3 X 10
  • Deadlift : 12-10-8-6
  • Reeves Deadlift : 3 X 10

Antoine Vaillant Promo Clip

If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

  1. Incline Bench Press: Even though I can’t do them right now, I think they are the best for upper chest. And since they do shoulders at the same time it’s a good compound movement.
  2. Deadlift : It’s raw! Pulling dead heavy weight from the floor is the epitome of strength. It adds thickness to your frame like no other movement in my opinion and It also gives you nice glutes.
  3. Chin Ups : I believe this is the 2nd best compound movement for back. You need to do them, because deadlifts won’t get you width. Notice I did not put any legs in there. Well that’s because my legs are always big. I can even go months without training and they stay almost the same.

So if I had to choose only 3 exercises it would be the ones I named above since they involve the whole upper body!

In your opinion, what is the best approach for training specifically for hypertrophy?

Aim for two things when working out: Pushing pretty heavy weights and achieving a SURREAL MUSCLE PUMP. I know when I break PRs and my muscles are about to explode that I am doing something right. Muscles have to grow if you do that. Personally I also like to increase intensity by implementing drop sets, super sets or FST-7 into my workouts.

I go to failure on all exercises and do a lot of volume. Gotta get swole!!!

During growth plateaus what are the major factors in getting past these?

Change your nutrition and training. Increase calories, change some food sources, eat cleaner. If your nutrition is 100% perfect then you are probably a god or something, because nobody’s nutrition is perfect. So before taking this or that, make sure you check what you can improve in your meal planning.

Then think about the training, try new exercises and techniques… Trial and Error man!

What is your diet like?

My diet right now still has a lot of carbs for a cutting diet. But I have no fat at all except for the beef in the morning. It looks like a lot of food for the mere mortal but even though it can take a while to chew it all down, 1 hour after eating chicken with just rice you are super hungry again! It’s been 2 weeks doing this diet and I lost a lot of fat already.

Daily Diet:

  • Meal 1: 8 Egg Whites 8 oz. X-lean Steak Patty 1 cup of Oats
  • Meal 2: 10 oz. Chicken 2 cup White Rice
  • Meal 3: 10 oz. Chicken 10 oz. Sweet Potato
  • Meal 4: 10 oz. Chicken 1 cup White Rice
  • Meal 5: 10 oz. White Fish with Veggies only
  • Meal 6: Protein Shake before bed

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

Right now I am doing 30 minutes of stationary bike before eating breakfast, and 20 min of step mill after working out. I am doing normal cardio for the moment, but as the contest approaches I increase the intensity of my bike cardio. I would do intervals with higher resistance every minute or so. A lot of bodybuilders are scared to do cardio because they will lose muscle mass. I think that’s bullshit!

The time I add the most quality looking muscles is when I do all this cardio when dieting! Plus it brings you in top notch cardiovascular shape.

Photography By: Jeffrey Sygo

What is your supplementation like?

  • Morning: Animal Pak, Animal Omega, Universal’s liquid Carnitine, 4 tabs NOX3
  • Pre-workout: 4 tabs NOX3, 1 scoop Animal RAGE,
  • Post-workout: 2.5 scoops Ultra Whey Pro, 1 scoop Sport Pharma’s carbmax, 20 Glutamine
  • Before bed: Animal Flex, Animal PM, 2.5 scoops Ultra Whey Pro, 20g Glutamine

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?

Finishing at my first International Contest : The Arnold Classic Amateurs! (Contest was last March). I am really happy about that and it also gave me a lot of confidence going into my next contest, the 2011 Mr. Canada!

If I do things right, I will come out of that contest with a pro card! (and a huge smile on my face)

What was it like to compete on the big stage at the Arnold Classic?

It was a wonderful experience! Especially because I achieved my goal to make top 5. (I got 2nd) It gave me a lot of confidence that I belong with the big boys now.

Doing this show motivated me even further, now I feel like nothing can disrupt me from my training and dieting!

Describe the nutrition program you used to prepare for the Arnold Classic:

Nutrition wise, it was the first time I was being very disciplined and super strict with my eating. I was always disciplined, but in the past I didn’t care if I missed a meal or two during the week. Now, forget that!

Each time you miss a meal, half ass a training, go to bed late, skip cardio, it just makes it easier for your opponent to beat you! Screw that I want to WIN!

Photography By: Jason Breeze

Your own physical feature you are most proud of?

I always had legs and I always trained them hard too, but they responded so well that I don’t feel I have much merit for them. But my shoulders we’re a weak point in the past. I was narrow looking. So after endless sets of presses and laterals, I can say that I have good deltoids.

At least it’s not lagging behind anymore! Oh and once I get 22 inch arms pre contest, that was also quite an achievement.

Favorite Bodybuilders?

  • Kevin Levrone: I think he had the ideal physique. He was strong, trained hard, had character, was huge and conditioned, all while keeping his aesthetics.
  • Arnold: King of bodybuilders! He was the best of the best, and he also trained like a mad man!
  • Dennis Newman: I really love his type of physique he had before he retired. I get comments from time to time that I have a similar body structure. I take that as a huge compliment because he was one of the greatest athletes back then!

I also admire all bodybuilders who have crazy shape and size while still maintaining a tight waist. It’s very rare to see that nowadays because of the MASS GAME still playing it strong in the people’s mind. But I plan to change that!

Favorite Quote?

‘’COME GET SOME’’ – Duke Nukem

Website: www.AntoineVonline.com
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/antoinevai
Sponsors: www.Universalusa.com & www.shathletics.com

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