Rich Piana 'The Mutant' Bodybuilder Interview

Rich Piana 'The Mutant' Bodybuilder Interview
  • Age:

  • Height:

  • Chosen Sport:

    Weight Lifting / MMA
  • Years Training:

  • Off-Season Weight:

    131kg (290lb)
  • Competition Weight:

    122kg (270lb)
  • Competition Records:

    • 2009 Sacramento 1st Place Men's Bodybuilding (Super Heavyweight)
    • 2009 Border States Classic 1st Men's Bodybuilding (Overall)
    • 2003 NPC Los Angeles 1st Place Men's Bodybuilding (Super Heavyweight)
  • Training Information:

    What Is Your General Training Philosophy/Style?

    I train instinctively now, no programs. I listen to my body and hit whichever bodypart I feel like on any given day. I usually listen to my body and train the body parts that I feel are strong for that particular day.

    What Is Your Current Training Split?

    Since I train instinctively and listen to my body, I have no set routine. I very much train by feel. Lets say I do wide grip pull-ups and after 2 sets I’m not feeling the exercise and don’t have a good pump, I might move over to lat pulldowns and find it works great, so I KILL 10 sets!

    What Are Your Maximum Bench, Deadlift and Squat Weights?

    • Bench Press: 225kg (495lb) for 3 reps  
    • Squats: 265kg (585lb) for 2 reps 
    • Deadlifts: 265kg (585lb) for 1 reps 
    • Barbell Curl: 125kg (275lb) for 3 reps

    I used to do 61kg (135lb) for 20 reps, then 84kg (185lb) for 16 followed by 102kg (225lb) for 10-12 reps and do 3 sets of those! The same on skull crushers for every arm workout for years, needless to say this really screwed up my elbows, shoulders and tendons.

    We hear you are not a fan of traditional cardio such as the treadmill. How do you compensate for this in your training to stay lean throughout the year?

    I love MMA and love to hit the weights, so between the two I’m good!

    What Are Your Favourite Exercise And Why? 

    I love cables! When I was younger cables were for pussies and I would not of been caught dead on any cable machine! They give me the best pump and contraction, and I can really concentrate on what I’m doing. I don’t have to get caught up in the “how much you bench?” bullshit!

    Can You Describe What Intensifying Techniques You Find Effective In Your Training?

    I really like working the negative portion of a lift and squeezing with control to make the weight feel heavy!

    Do find as you have developed as a bodybuilder that you can get away without training your strong points such as your biceps, with less frequency or intensity? In contrast which bodyparts have you found most troublesome to develop and why?

    My arms and chest were always the hardest for me!! I obsessed over my arms for 32 years! I did everything to bring them up, for 2 years I did mini arm workouts every night before bed! This was on top of training them twice a week at the gym and getting arm massages for recovery 3 times a week! I actually stopped training back and legs for 3 years cause I hated the way I looked with a huge back and legs an weak arms and chest!

    What advice would you give people in regards to finding the best training program? Do you feel it is very individual and what have you found works best for you that might resonate with others?

    They have to envision what their ideal physique would be and train to accomplish that which is most important! Then learn to listen to their body and don’t just aimlessly follow a program they read about. Only you know what exercises are best for you! You know a hell of a lot more than me about your body so use your knowledge!

  • Dieting/Supplementation Information:

    What Does Your Typical Meal Plan Look Like?

    I have never had a written in stone meal/ diet plan since stepping away from the competitive bodybuilding stage. The truth is for highly competitive bodybuilders everyone eats the same; oatmeal, chicken, rice and everyone cuts carbs out at night. Eating 6-10 meals per day is not what I would call fun, but it really comes down to how bad you want it!

    In the past you have likely tortured yourself through a restrictive contest diet, meal prep and timing to get into extreme contest shape. Is this an approach you still use, or do you no longer feel this is necessary and why?

    I no longer torture myself at all! I have fun and I love to train hard and I love to eat!

    What are some of your favourite cheat meals? Do you have an EPIC cheat meal story you could share with us?

    I once put on 25kg (55lb) in only 5 days after a show! I am a machine that can eat! I usually can fit in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s most days!

    We are big fans of the latest 5% Nutrition products, can you describe why you chose to develop these products and their benefits to users?

    Personally I’m all about food comes first, so I make sure all my products go along with eating real food! Never substitute any powder for real food! All Day You May is the perfect product for me! It is great for drinking all day like an IV drip or along with your meals!

    I wanted to develop the best pre-workout supplement I could for what I wanted! So thats how KILL IT was developed! My next product is something that has never been done before and is genius, it will be available after the 2014 Olympia (September).

    What is your opinion on the use of steroids for the ‘average’ young male just wanting to add some strength and size. Do you feel some might be making the choice to use these substances too early, before building a solid bodybuilding foundation naturally?

    Most definitely people are making the choice too early! Seems like nowdays working out goes along with taking steroids! Everyone has their own choice, but it is crazy how many people are doing it these days!

  • Personal Information:

    What first led you to pursue the life of a bodybuilder? Did you have any major influecnes or idols growing up that helped to shape this path?

    All those monsters at Golds Gym when I was 6 years old! Bill Cambra was the biggest influence and we are still in touch this very day!

    What is your vision for yourself and 5% Nutrition in the next 5 years? How do you plan on increasing your exposure internationally such as the Australian Market?

    I have a mission to make the supplement industry better and the bodybuilding community better! I’m not going to stop until everybody realizes the truths and changes that have to be made in both Industries! At the USA’s this year there were 900 contestants that each paid $300 to compete. So $270,000 in entry fees and the winners get $5 trophys! Then they were mailed a bill for $400 to pay for the Pro card they just earned by winning the show??? Yes you heard me right!

    There is no ‘taboo’ topic when it comes to Rich Piana and the information you put out on social media. Why do you feel it is important to discuss openly with your fans regarding the use of anabolic substances through your own personal experiences?

    I started taking steroids at age 18, there was no internet, no books, nothing to guide me. I feel if someone has already made that choice they should at least be educated! Also by telling the dirty side I could hopefully keep people from ever choosing to do it!

    How Do You Manage The Balance In Your Life And Find Time For Everything?

    That is the main reason that I no longer compete. When I used to compete as a bodybuilder I had the mentality that I will do whatever the hell it takes to win! Second is the first loser! I shortly found that this type of mentality is very dangerous and does not allow room for balance.

    You are now undoubtly one of the biggest bodybuilding personalities in the industry. Why did you make the decision to transition from the recluse like lifestyle of a competitive bodybuilder, to the outgoing open-hearted personality that you now project to your fans?

    I could write a book on this one! Put it this way, I’m so happy I broke away from the typical bodybuilder mold and that reclusive lifestyle. I just wish I had done it sooner! Now I’m trying to change the bodybuilding stereotypes for the better!

    Can you describe your favourite saying/ mantra and its meaning?

    “1dayumay” - People need to understand it not only represents fitness or bodybuilding, it represents whatever your goal in life might be!  Accomplishing your dreams! Never give up! Work every day believing you can and will accomplish your goal!

    What passions do you have outside of bodybuilding?

    Being successful in everything I do and helping people!

    Is there anything else you would like to leave us with? (final thought)

    I’m going to slowly change this industry… Actually turn it upside down!

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