Ripped To Shreds: Robbie Sardinia Talks With (Updated 2010)

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I began working out like everyone else to feel better about my build because I was always a skinny kid. Once I started seeing some good progress I decided to do some reading and asking the guys at the gym that knew what they were doing questions. From there I just built a bank of knowledge that is always growing. Once I got to the point where my physique was considered ‘big’ by most the people I saw at the gym I began getting the question ‘are you a bodybuilder?’ I grew tired of explaining to people that I wasn’t a bodybuilder but had often thought about competing so I decided to throw my hat into the ring and compete in a natural show.

2 weeks out from the NGA Natural Mr. California I sent in my entry form and prepped for the show. I ended up winning the whole thing and won my pro card.

Russel Perkin's Photography

What gets you motivated?

I’ve always been a highly motivated individual when it comes to keeping in shape but after competing in my first pro show and seeing what amazing physiques I was up against I am incredibly motivated to improve. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had in regards to competition of any sort knowing that I had to go out there on stage all day with no shot at all to win or even place in the top 5.

I decided at that moment that I would make great improvements and never be in that position again.

So what is the bodybuilding training routine that you use to achieve that killer physique?

I go back and forth between power-lifting (4-8 reps including a heavy double or 1 rep max on the major lifts) and a hypertrophy routine where I aim for weights that I fail in the 12-15 rep range. This back and forth has kept my body guessing and working at full capacity. I’ve made great progress and look forward to what progress I make in the future.

Sample Routine Split

  • Monday – Quads and Hams
  • Tuesday – Calves and Forearms, Abs
  • Wednesday – Chest
  • Thursday – Deadlifts and Back
  • Friday – Shoulders and Traps
  • Saturday – Bis and Tris
  • Sunday – Off day

When on contest diet, I do cardio daily for 20-25 minutes at medium intensity. I will also throw in a day or two of HIIT cardio as well to switch it up.

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

I prefer to do MISS for most of the week but throwing in a few days of HIIT is also a good way to keep your body working hard. Your body can get into a lull when doing sustained cardio for long periods of time and will not burn as many calories.

Switching it up has kept my metabolism burning nicely.

What exercises for abs do you frequently use?

My favorites are the ab wheel, cable crunches on my knees, trunk rotations with cables/weight stacks, leg lifts (preferably weighted). I do a whole range of exercises tho, but the ones I just listed tend to be my most often used exercises.

I do abs 2-3 times a week typically on one of my upper body part days (chest/back/shoulders/arms).

What is your Diet like?

Sample diet plan on a typical cut:

I like to push my first meal of the day off as long so that it gives me that much more food I get to eat the rest of the day. I have no problem dealing with hunger in the morning as my stomach doesn’t start craving food till later in the day. However, when dieting, I find I get very hungry by the end of the day and if I’ve eaten all my food for the day it’s a miserable time. By saving more meals for later I can feel fuller going to bed and sleep better because of it. I’ll give an example of a sample diet, however my diet/meals fluctuates depending on my goal numbers for the day. The numbers I eat change from week to week depending on my weight loss progress.

  • Meal 1: 1030am – Protein bar, several rice cakes or slices of wheat bread, banana/apple
  • Meal 2: 1230pm – Grilled chicken breast, baked sweet potato, and several almonds.
  • Meal 3: 3pm – Several more rice cakes or slices of wheat bread, Shake: 1 scoop of whey protein
  • Meal 4: Post workout shake: 2 scoops whey, 2 scoops waxy maize starch, 1 scoop glutamine powder
  • Meal 5: 830pm – Grilled/baked fish (tilapia, halibut, red snapper, mahi mahi, sword fish, ahi tuna), baked sweet potato or brown rice, and/or sautéed broccoli
  • Meal 6: 10pm – Shake: 1 scoop of whey, several almonds.

I keep a food log so that I know real time where I am at for the day on my numbers and add/subtract foods accordingly to meet the desired diet numbers. It helps eating rice cakes/wheat bread because they can easily be added and removed from my diet.

What do you think about ketogenic diets for cutting?

Answer: They are fine if that’s what works for you. I cut out carbs completely and lost 5lbs in 2 days and freaked out. I need to have a certain amount of carbs in my diet in order to not lose too much weight too quick. But, people with slower metabolisms have to do a keto diet in order to get the results they want.

The key is finding out what works for you.

What is your supplementation like?

  • Whey protein
  • Waxy maize starch
  • Glutamine powder
  • BCAAs
  • Multi-vitamin
  • Fish oils
  • Pre-workout NO drink
  • Caffeine

Plans for the future?

Fitness modeling and more natural bodybuilding. I plan on competing as a pro again but I might do some amateur shows in other organizations to get more experience.

Favorite Bodybuilders?

Ronnie Coleman, Dexter Jackson, Cedric McMillan, Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Kevin Levrone, Philip Ricardo Jr.

Favorite Quote?

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”