I was feeling exhausted. I had been lugging around an enormous body, all the way from Niagara Falls to California. I went to bed early and planned to go train at Gold’s Gym and World Gym first thing in the morning. Again, like an enormous child on the night before Christmas, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to go out and cruise around bodybuilding’s version of Disneyland; the streets of Venice! During my meandering, I stumbled upon the world famous, Muscle Beach
odybuilding’s Promised Land, California, was calling my name after about three years of bodybuilding and I was going to seize the opportunity. California was, and had always been, the place that all the top IFBB Pros “lived and breathed” bodybuilding. I knew I had to get down to Venice and train at the Mecca of bodybuilding - Gold’s Gym, Venice. I had hit a point in the sport where I had to make a decision; do I trudge onward and devote all my passion to bodybuilding or do I walk away from the sport I loved. I had come to the conclusion that before I go forward with bodybuilding, I needed to go to Venice and test out the waters. Media back then isn’t what it is today. All I knew of the world was my parent’s basement and Niagara Falls. I had no idea what really went on within the depths of the sport or what the industry was really like. This was going to be a trial period for me.
It was 1996 and I was12 weeks out from my future victory at the Canadian Nationals. I was doing my first guest posing exhibition in Cleveland, Ohio and it was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, was also guest-posing at this event and he was my idol. I remember a wave of emotion crashing over me at how surreal it all was. Here I was, an amateur from Canada, about to guest pose on the same stage as the great Dorian Yates. Imagine having to get up onstage and guest pose on the same stage with your favorite bodybuilding icon. It was such an honor.
There are two questions that I get asked all the time. The first is, "How important is a great training partner for maximum training intensity and gains?" The second is, "Who do you consider to be the best training partner you have ever trained with?" The answers to these questions overlap significantly. Without a doubt, the heaviest and most intense workouts I can recall were with Jason Marcovici. We first met in 1995 and it was a match made in iron heaven. We were introduced by the person that I had been training with at the time. Don't tell Jason but I was really excited to meet him at the time because I was a fan of his since he turned pro a few years earlier. I had also seen him compete on the pro stage a few times and he was very impressive.
The backbone of any weight-training program is brutalizing your back. Because of this, I have chosen to discuss the value and importance of back training this week. Further, I am going to address what an important role the back muscles play in the overall stability of your entire shoulder girdle. The back is the foundation of your upper body and it's not a coincidence that almost every Mr. Olympia had superior back development in comparison to their peers.
The Toronto Supershow was this past weekend and I was in attendance on behalf of RX Muscle. I took this opportunity to relax, take in the show and hang out with old friends. I was thinking about it and I realized that it was the first pro show I had attended in over five years. Moreover, I was not obligated to be at a booth working; I was truly free.
Dave Palumbo is a great friend of mine and possibly the most vascular man I've ever met. This week, I've chosen to regale you all with a tale about Dave and the time he ventured up to Canada to compete in the IFBB North American Championships. I chose this as my story this week because it was by far, in my opinion, Dave's best showing. And furthermore, I got the privilege to play a small part in it.
If anyone knows anything about Kovacs, it's that Kovacs lives and breathes bodybuilding. I was thinking about amateur bodybuilding in Canada and I realized that I wanted to stay in touch with the young athlete's coming up the ranks. I was contemplating what I could do to stay connected and I decided to attend a local bodybuilding show this past weekend and test-judge as an Ontario Physique Association (OPA) Judge.