Victor Costa Talks With

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

On a cold day on in 1980, I was watching Wide World of Sports. This was a weekly ritual. They typically covered traditional sporting events. However, on this particular day a segment of the program was devoted to a bodybuilding contest. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was in shock.  I don’t think I was particularly attracted to the physiques as I was the process. Meaning, I remember thinking, “Is this what the body is capable of”? This segment on Wide World of Sports piqued my interest, but I wasn’t bitten. I was ten years old at the time. I purchased some magazines and of course;  Mike Mentzer, Al Beckles, Sergio Oliva, Arnold, Franco and other greats graced the pages. This was my first exposure to this craft. I recall asking my parents for a weight set and they refused and often warned,”You’re going to stunt your growth”.

So, I was forced to be creative and began lifting bricks, setting up a pulley system in the garage.

I must admit, their lack of interest in bodybuilding made this all the more fascinating. In short, I began this physical exploration at around ten years old. I played organized sports for a time, reluctantly achieving. Trapped between wanting to quit and trying to be the best at it. I stopped playing organized sports at 15 when I came down with a horrible case of the chicken pox. The sunlight started to bother me, my eyes were sensitive, I was always tired. My immune system was compromised and it took a good long while to regain my strength. At this point I began to put myself back together, on my own. This was a second beginning.

Where does your motivation come from?

This may not be the answer you’re expecting but this is me.  Your question about motivation makes me think. Actually, what motivated me originally, let’s say between ages 10 and 15 was anger, angst, fear, trying to bigger than the “old man”, and wanting to protect something fragile inside of me. Between the ages of 15 to 22, what motivated me was a need to be recognized for my progress, trying to prove something to myself, trying to prove something to the world. Between 22 and 30, I was motivated by wanting to hold on to what I had built. Quite sad really. I am sharing this with you only from the perspective of a mature man looking backward. I know some of your readers will relate. I can not really say that I enjoyed training myself. The joy always came from sharing what I knew with others. What motivates me now at the age of 39 is, oddly enough, a combination of all of the aforementioned. I am not beyond any of it, I am a combination of all of those things.

My Video Back Tips

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

My training is instinctive. I typically train with what I consider manageable weights. A lot of people try to pin me down to what poundages I use for training. I use whatever feels manageable. For me manageable is something like 200 to 250 pounds for bench, curls- maybe 65’s and 70’s, or I may go down to as low as 45’s- depending on how I feel. I have curled as much as 185 on the straight bar for some ugly reps.

I pay very little attention to poundages and a lot of attention on the sensation.

But for the most part I do a split- back and bis, chest and tris, shoulders and legs, and abs 4 times per week and calves 3 times per week.  I take 2 days off per week as a rule. Lately I have been taking off 3 days per week because I feel like I need the rest. I pick a manageable weight, then I get comfortable with it. Here is how I generally pick the weights. If I can do more than 20 reps on the first set, it is too light. If I can do 15 reps on the first set and the last rep feels like, you know, bodybuilding heaven, then I chose correctly. Then I move on from there , increasing the weight slowly as I try to master the weight through about 5 sets. I call them attempts to intimate that nothing is a set, you are never really finished. There are elements to every repetition; form, concentration, energy, presence. When you have brought as much as you can to each rep, the weight makes less of a difference. The bodybuilder is intelligent, he adapts. The weight stays the same. It is what we bring to the exercise that matters, not the weights. So, I pay very close attention to the sensation. I’ll try to explain what I am going for. For instance, when I train my arms, I try to take every ability to leverage out of the movement. In other words, I am lifting dead weight, without momentum, on every rep. Then, I try to build a connection a rhythm between my mind and the muscle I am working. You see, I have very little to think about. When you focus like that, there is little need for counting reps, for worrying about doing it right or wrong.

It is a conversation between my mind and my muscles.

The weights are merely the topic of discussion between my mind and my muscles. I am going for a specific type of feeling. It is a sensitive point in the exercise. It feels like, any less would not work the muscle sufficiently and any more would be over training. Knowing this comes only with experience.

My Bicep Tips

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

I do normal cardio- for me that means 20 minutes per day 4 times per week. Incline on treadmill at 4mph. I run a pretty lean machine. I never overeat so I am very close to my target look at all times.

What is your Diet like?

I eat no white flour or sugar. I eat no fried foods and nothing processed. So therefore, I eat nothing that comes out of a can or a box. I drink no alcohol or carbonate drinks. I eat grilled lean meats, whole grain breads, dairy products(cottage cheese/yogurts), plenty of fruits and vegetables.

What is your supplementation like?

I don’t take any bodybuilding supplements. I have been taking Vitamin D, and a multivitamin over the past 3 months. You can see in some of the banter on the internet, I defer to others when it comes to what to take. I am still working out the kinks in my diet.

Plans for the future?

I have no plans to compete in the future. I want to make the place where people come from all over the world to get the best workouts. I want to continue to make amazing workouts for people to take to the gym with them. My greatest joy comes from my family and I actually enjoy writing, performing, acting  and dramatic story telling.

Favourite Bodybuilders?

As far as favourite bodybuilders or idols-I really don’t have any. I admire the guy who gets off his shift, grabs a quick bite and gets to the gym. I admire the guy, who gets home from work, gets out of his suit and comes to the gym. You can still see the lines on his legs from where the dress socks made an impression.  Believe it or not these are my favourite bodybuilders because it means something to them. And, for some strange reason , that means something to me.
Favorite Quote?

I saw someone wearing a t-shirt from the popular U.S. television talk show, Dr. Oz.The back of the shirt said, “Live- Right- Now”. This is what I want to do, live, right, now. It is very hard to do, but I will keep trying.