With us today is MP Competitor Adam Bonilla. Thanks for joining us. First off, what made you decide to compete in the Men’s physique division?
Thank you! When I was younger I was very into bodybuilding I eventually got up to 217 at my biggest on my little frame for comparisons I was only 170 on stage at The Rocky. I kept that size on for a few years but it was a look that eventually got in the way of my everyday life and just wasn‘t worth it anymore. I really admire bodybuilders since I used to be one and know how truly difficult it is not only to carry around that size but to do the things necessary to carry around that type of size like eating all day every day, trying to get clothes that fit, dealing with people asking you to flex all the time and people thinking it’s okay to just go up and feel your arms. I don’t know how these guys do it day after day for years on end but I admire them for doing it. I like the Men’s Physique “athletic look” and I really like the freedom that Men’s physique allows me to have with my day to day life that bodybuilding didn’t allow. If I want to go hiking , play hockey or run a 10K having a more athletic frame allows me to do these things and still be more muscular than the average guy. Competing is just in my blood and I’ll always do it so Men’s physique gave me the opportunity to look the way I really want to look and still allows me the ability to challenge myself in making improvements to that look as much as bodybuilding did. The differences are BB is based a lot more on size and MP is based purely on aesthetics if you’re training right MP should be just as challenging in the gym but a totally different approach.
How did you feel after pre judging?
Haha that’s a good question! We had the biggest class of the night I think it was 16 total and these guys were no joke. Every single one of them could have been on the cover of a fitness magazine! I was very very impressed by the turn out but with Jeff Taylor putting on such good shows every time I shouldn’t have been so surprised that 16 states showed up and national competitors were all over the place. So after what feels like a 100 of the best physiques walked all over that stage I was just praying for a first callout you have to remember just 5 weeks before this I won the Colorado Natural and was in better condition for this show so I was just hoping for top 5 that’s how tough this show was. I was somehow lucky enough to get a first call out and be placed in the middle 3 out of the top 5. There were two moves and I wasn’t one of them so I thought I was 2nd or 3rd I knew that Matt Ward had me beat this day he looked amazing so I knew it was 2nd or 3rd for me based on my callout position and him being placed dead center. I was very happy with pre judging because after they called out the top 5 they let us leave the stage when all the other competitors were still out there so I knew worse case scenario I was 5th place but really thought I had 2nd or 3rd.
How did you feel about the final results of the show?
So the night show starts and based on my positioning I really wasn’t expecting my name to be called until 3rd or 2nd place was announced but… yup you guessed it first name to be called 5th place. I was confused and honestly a little disappointed at first but after a few seconds I realized what an accomplishment this was. There were 16 states represented at The Rocky, this show had the most competitors that Colorado has ever had in a show and this was the most competitors of any class that night so going home with any hardware is a major accomplishment. Actually I feel better about getting 5th place in this show than I do about taking 1st place in the Colorado Natural. I’m proud and I’m even more proud of my client and friend Corey Lane that competed in Teen Bodybuilding who won his first show that’s what really made my night. Watch out for this kid Colorado bodybuilders with some small tweaks and a couple years this guys gonna have the total package!
What are your thoughts on the men’s physique division and what it may be able to do for your career?
Men’s physique is awesome, I friggin love it! The only thing I would change about it if I could would be the quad covering board shorts. I don’t understand why this is the only NPC division that hides a major muscle group. The equivalent would be bikini competitors coming out in skirts that just doesn’t make sense to me. I think they should switch it to square cut polyester trunks so we can show off our wheels! But in the mean time I’m going to have a lot of fun trying to find the craziest board shorts I can find. So far hot pink, neon lime green, and the most fun so far American flag yeah buddy God bless the USA! Men’s physique has actually really helped me with my career I’ve been able to get a sponsorship, been able to promote my personal training business better by doing well in shows, met hundreds of really great people and even got more fitness photo shoots from competing. I love and owe so much to Men’s physique. People ask me why I do so many shows (5 this season) and I tell them for all the reasons above it just makes great financial sense for me to keep competing and honestly even if it didn‘t I‘d still do it but I think that‘s just my way of justifying being crazy enough to diet for a year straight haha.
Hometown: Orange County, CA.
Current city: Littleton, CO
Years training: 16
NASM - Certified Nutrition Specialist
NASM- Performance Enhancement Specialist
NASM- Certified Personal Trainer
NASM- Weight Loss Specialist
ISSA- Certified Personal Trainer
NCSF- Certified Personal Trainer
Apex- Certified Personal Trainer
24 Hour Fitness - Master Trainer Qualification - (no longer work there)
Current Studies - Health and Wellness at Cal U Penn
Photography - Art Institutes
Certified life changer and I love every minute of it!
I own my own personal training and contest prep business that I operate primarily out of Club USA in Littleton CO.
Favorite type of training:
Volume training with low rest periods
Dead lifts! Right now with lower back being my main lagging body part dead lifts are my part time job.
I’m kind of a geek with my training and with everything I do I use a very science based approach based on the yearly goal. So I really switch this up every 4-6 weeks. Generally into 3 phases where each phase builds off the previous phase to elicit a different end result. Example shoulders are a week point so I’ll set up a 18 week plan with shoulders being the primary goal. Work shoulders 2-3 x a week during this phase and phase 1 in strength and overall size 6 reps, next phase is roundness so higher reps at 12,15 or even 20 with higher volume training finishing with fascia stretch sets, and finally to pull it all together I’ll do time based workouts where rep range doesn’t matter but will pyramid from low to high 6,10,15,20, and 25 week-1 45 second rest period for 50 minutes, week-2 40 second rest periods for 50 minutes, and week-3 35 seconds and so on. After that I’ll pick a new weak point and attack it with a different plan. I never stick to the same rep range or plan for more then 6 weeks.
Number of sets:
I’ll do as low as 12 and as high as 32 per muscle group depending on the phase and of course how much pre-workout I ingested that day.
Typical workout duration:
45 mins to 1 hour unless I‘m training with bikini competitor Kelly Adams and just want to kill legs or arms for 2 hours that day with her. Sorry Kelly!
I workout 7 days a week I don’t believe in “over-training” I just believe in under eating and under sleeping. I’m sure that statement will cause some debate maybe I should give my two cents on religion and politics while I’m at it haha. The body will adapt to any demand that it’s given if you feed and rest it right. Think about the blacksmith or farmers a hundred years ago. They did hard manual labor every single day of their lives to make a living without any creatine, post workout whey, intra workout BCAA’s or multi vitamins to help them recover and they did it for years on end. You think they ever said I better take it easy for awhile or I might overtrain? No way! Their bodies adapted to the demands it was given and the same thing applies to lifting. I work on a rotation that is based on weak points so right now it’s lower back. So it goes in a rotation of 5 days and repeats. Day 1: Chest/Abs/Lower Back Day2: Shoulders/Calves Day 3: Back/Lower back Day 4: Bi/Tri/Calves Day 5: Upper legs/ lower back then repeat and always making sure lower back has an every other day to two day rotation.
Typical daily eating plan:
Morning 7:30 am - Whey protein shake 30g
8:00 am 1 cup oatmeal 1 cup egg whites
Pre workout meal 10 am - 1.25 cup of rice, 8 oz turkey
Pre workout 11 am- N.O. explode or Juggernaut
11:15 am workout with BCAA’s intra workout
Post workout 12-12:30 Whey protein 40 grams and 60 carbs of bananas, waxy maize, or any other sugar
1:30 pm - 8 oz beef 1.5 cups rice
3:30 pm - 8 oz chicken 1 cup rice and vegetables
6:00 pm - 8 oz fish ¾ cup brown rice and vegetable
8:30 pm- 8 oz cottage cheese and vegetables
10:30-11pm - 12-14 oz lean steak and broccoli to digest slowly through the night
3-5 am - 10 grams of BCAA’s if I wake up during the night but only if I wake up.
I generally eat around 380 - 420 grams of protein per day and in the off season about 300-500 carbs and some good fats like almonds, avocado, and fish oils throughout the day. I try to get 8-9 meals in the day and eat around 4,500- 5,000 cals. I weigh around 190 off season and if I go any higher in calories I start getting a little to big and blocky for physique so this is what I‘ve found works best for me. I really try to stay to as close to contest shape as possible so I do cut carbs as the day progresses and will carb cycle as necessary throughout the week if my body fat rises over 10%.
Juggernaut - Pre workout - AMAZING!
Thorbecke’s - Fighters fuel I take one packet intra workout and really don’t get sore anymore AWESOME!
Quest bars as meal replacements they have really low net carbs taste good and don’t melt so I can always have one in the car in case I don’t have food handy thanks Derek Trombetta for introducing me to these!
What peaked your interest in training?
I guess I grew up like every other kid in the 80’s/90’s watching Arnold terminate and Rambo shoot a million guys a movie with his shirt off I really don’t know of a time that I didn’t want to be like my heroes. When I was about 10 I would draw comics of this character I created called Mickey Muscles. He was this yoked-out mouse that used to beat up on cats that would chase his friends. When I was in 5th grade I broke my arm and that summer I gained a bunch of weight because my Mom didn’t want me to play sports with my friends for fear of the bone shifting and it not healing properly so I lived a sedentary summer and really gained some weight so I started dieting and bench pressing at my sisters friends house in 6th grade and really never stopped since then. So I guess you gotta love Mom for fattening me up for a summer because it turned into a career! Thanks Mom I love you!
Who influences your training?
I religiously follow and learn from the best of the best everyday. I try to learn something new everyday and buy anything put out from my current favorite bodybuilders and or trainers. My absolute favorite right now to learn from is Ben Pakulski who I‘m hoping to be able to attend a hypertrophy boot camp with in 2013. My other favorites are Milos Sarcev, Charles Poliquin, Charles Glass, Hany Rambod, and any new research that comes out from NASM or NSCA.
Hockey - 13 years California State Champs on Team Sure-Grip Louisville/ 3rd in North America
Wrestling - This sport really taught me discipline of eating that I apply to my sport today.
Bodybuilding- When I was 17-22 I was pretty into it and ended up at 217 at my largest
Baseball - as a youth for 6 years
Martial arts - Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu did this for 4 years
Cooking, photography and graphic design. I love trying a new recipe and cooking for someone and with how often I have to eat it’s really helpful that the food tastes good. I went to school for photography more so because it was a hobby and I still love to spend a day shooting whenever I can.
Physique competition history:
Northern Colorado Championships
Southern Colorado Championships
Mile High Championships
Natural Colorado State Championships
The Rocky Championships
Awards and accomplishments:
1st Place Natural Colorado Championships
3rd Place Southern Colorado Championships
3rd Place Mile High Championships
5th Place Rocky Mountain Championships
My biggest accomplishment this year wasn’t winning or placing for me but for my clients. I only take on 2-3 per show because I really want to give them everything I got and I want so badly for them to place. I was lucky enough this season to have 16 contests preps for clients and all 16 of them place! I don’t think I’ll ever get that lucky again but I’m going to try my hardest to make that happen. My other major accomplishment this year was just my personal growth as a person and how this sport has molded me into a more driven person in other aspects of my life besides fitness.
Next planned competitions:
June 1st - Mile High
July 6th- Team Universe
July 13th - Colorado State - My dream goal isn’t to get a pro card it’s to get the Colorado State MP ring
July 27 - USA’s
With me you never know though I try to stay in “4 weeks out” shape all year and don’t do any bulking. I just think bulking is an old way of thinking and it really effects your net gains. I don’t think anyone should bulk, let’s face it unless you’re competing in the Olympia there is no good reason the average MP guy should be carrying around more body fat then necessary and only have abs during competitions. We work to hard and should look and feel good everyday of the year. If one of my clients is struggling with their prep I might jump in a show with them to help them through the battle this is the benefit of trying to stay in shape all year. Right now I’m single so I can be selfish with my time and workout all day but that’s another thing that can change and effect what and how many shows I do.
What keeps you on track towards reaching your goals?
I’ve always felt a trainer should look the part. Nothing is more discouraging to a client than a trainer who wont practice what they preach. Can you imagine going to a hair stylist with terrible hair or a financial planner who can‘t pay his bills? So why would I hire an out of shape trainer? My own Mother had 13 sessions with a trainer at 24 this last year and when I went to visit her in California I realized her form was off and she wasn’t pushing hard enough and questioned the trainer only to find out that the trainer herself does not lift weights she just runs. How can you teach something that you don’t do? I need to stay in top shape one because I love it but two because I want to get better at it by practicing my craft on myself. Motivating my clients and making sure I’ve done everything to get them the best results is my life’s primary mission and this is what keeps me on track. There’s this thing I refer to with my clients called “warrior-spirit” it needs to be trained just like any other muscle. It’s basically the continued growth of your own inner ability to push yourself harder each workout and stay more and more driven on a day to day basis no matter how much it hurts or how inconvenient it is. I of course want to strengthen my body physically but strengthening my “warrior-spirit” so I can push harder than anyone else is more important to me. I want to win and I want to win with an exclamation point. My goal is to get to the point where when I show up everyone is thinking to themselves who they are battling it out for 2nd place with and not even considering winning as an option that will probably never happen but that’s what I think when I train and it‘s a very strong and motivating way to think. I’ll never let anyone beat me because they worked harder than me, ate cleaner than me, or out slept me. It requires a very strong “warrior spirit” to do this every single day so strengthening that muscle also helps keep me on track.
I’m glad MP always does quarter turns to the right because “I can’t turn left” (Yes! I got a Zoolander quote in) oh yeah interesting fact about me I say dumb movie quotes anytime the opportunity presents itself or like in this case even when it doesn‘t.