The road to greatness can be a long one in any sport, though no path is longer or more torturous than that which exists in bodybuilding. This is due, in large part, to the exclusivity that holds sway in bodybuilding's top pro ranks. In any given year, how many pros have a realistic shot at a Sandow? Three? Four? How many pros are realistically capable of getting the Top 10 placings in major events that are a bodybuilder's meal ticket? Two dozen? Turnover among the top pros tends to be slow and the physique differences between established pros and aspiring contenders can often be all but invisible to the eyes of casual observers.
In short, amateur bodybuilders are experts at taking the long view of their chosen profession. For countless athletes laboring in obscurity, bodybuilding is a lifestyle and a labor of love before it ever becomes a career. All of which brings us to up-and-coming NPC competitor Michael Moore. The phrase "up and coming" suggests a meteoric arc, but Michael's star has been ascending for a long time. He's been training seriously and intensively since 1997, and has competed successfully at the state and national levels. He's been featured in Muscular Development and is the subject of a number of highly popular YouTube videos. And yet, the ultimate prize, an IFBB pro card, has eluded him.
At 5' 9 1/2" and 250 pounds of rippling brawn, he's got the size. His ripped abs and savagely shredded physique are a testament to both endless hours in the gym and the expert nutritional and supplemental guidance provided by his trusted advisors. Talk to Michael for 30 minutes and you can see he has the heart of a champion. All that remains is the affirmation of a pro card and the right to compete on the biggest stages with the men Michael views as his peers. Many in the bodybuilding world believe that 2011 is the year that all the pieces fall into place and Michael's final goals are realized.
Michael Moore: It is, but it's been longer than thirteen years, really. I've been hardcore training for that long, but I actually got into bodybuilding as a young child. I started watching the superheroes on TV and I was amazed. I'd watch the Incredible Hulk with friends and family, mimicking the moves of Lou Ferrigno.
ProSource: What was your first contact with organized bodybuilding?
Michael Moore: That was in 1996. I competed in the Ohio State Championships, placed 5th in the light heavyweight class. I competed in two other state events that year and I was on my way.
ProSource: And now here we are in 2011, and there's a lot of buzz about you in bodybuilding circles. Can you think of one specific turning point where the light went on and you realized, 'Hey, I'm ready to take this to another level.'?
Michael Moore: Oh, definitely. I can remember standing onstage in 2006 with the gentleman, Scott Mabry, that helped prepare me for my first competition back in 1996. We were battling for the overall in a national qualifier. Me as a heavyweight, Scott as a light-heavy. Anyway, needless to say, we lost the overall to a lightweight. Winning my weight class was not enough to quench my competitive nature. That forced me to change my competitive goals so I could move up to the national level. I started training, dieting, and competing with the intention of becoming successful on the national level.
ProSource: A lot of people talk about renewed dedication and discipline, but find it hard to turn that into results. You, however, have really raised your game. How does that start?
Michael Moore: At the time, my biggest obstacles were not having enough exercise and nutritional knowledge. So I began by talking with a few people I respected, who had created diets, and had workouts more advanced than those I was following. My current training program began with me sitting down with my training/nutrition coach, best friend, and brother (future IFBB Pro) Monty Mabry of the Mabry Muscle Machine (M3). We assessed my physique in a critical manner, discussing strengths and weaknesses. We really looked at the big picture. I wanted the best program that would help me become more successful with my business, my bodybuilding, and my nutrition knowledge.
ProSource: That can be hard. Looking at yourself objectively for weaknesses.
Michael Moore: Yeah, but it's necessary. If you don't do it, the judges will happily do it for you!
ProSource: We've got one of your sample workout regimens below, but how about your dietary strategies? Can you describe them?
Michael Moore: The foods I rely on are eggs, oats, chicken, fish, steak, and green beans or asparagus. After trying several different diet strategies and not really having the success that others did, we developed a program involving higher protein, lower carbs, and moderate levels of fats. Also, I should say, while incorporating a carb cycle.
Michael Moore: I really have to be careful with supplements, because taking anything that contains less than absolute top-quality ingredients can really impact my physique in a negative way, especially as contest time approaches. ProSource supplements have always worked for me; I know I can trust every product that bears the ProSource brand. The supplements I use on a daily basis are ProSource NytroWhey Ultra Elite, ProSource Glutamine, CLA, ProSource AndroTest, DHEA, ZMA, Vitamin C, creatine, various thermogenics, and HMB. If my conditioning is coming along as needed, I like to grab a Supreme Protein Carb Conscious bar. Their taste and quality is so far above other brands. One of my favorite supplements is ProSource ZMA during contest prep. I often suffer from contest anxiety or insomnia and it helps me achieve the proper sleep needed when dieting. I find supplements helpful because as I begin to lean out, I no longer have the excess water/fluid around my joints and tendons which often causes me pain after an intense workout. ProSource Glutamine especially helps to alleviate the pain.
ProSource: You mentioned incorporating successful workout and dietary strategies into your own regimen. Are there any pro bodybuilders who have served as an inspiration for you?
Michael Moore: There are two athletes that have inspired me to keep moving forward in bodybuilding. The first is Victor Martinez for his never-say-die attitude. He's had to deal with several personal issues and has still continued to build an Olympian caliber physique. The second pro that has inspired me is Phil Heath. The guy is like a runaway train on his way to the top. He's surrounded himself with a powerful supporting cast that has helped in his quest to reach the top. As far as my own approach to the sport, I use bodybuilding as a type of therapy to help push me through challenging times. It has been the one thing I can control, and use as motivation to move forward. My biggest goal with the sport of bodybuilding is to bring the type of size, shape, and conditioning to the competitive stage that will push me to the top of the national level and into being a contender for that coveted pro-card.
ProSource: What are the immediate future? What are your goals?
Michael Moore: My future goals are to compete and place within the top 5 at the North American or National Bodybuilding Championships before I hang up my posing trunks. If I win my IFBB Pro card, I'd love for it to be in my home state of Ohio where both my father and son could be in attendance.
ProSource: You mentioned your business earlier. Do you want to elaborate on that?
Michael Moore: I enjoy helping others achieve their health and fitness goals, while helping to build up their self-esteem. I currently am a personal trainer, but I'm starting a physical therapy program in the spring of 2011. So down the road, I'm definitely looking at translating my personal training experience into the physical therapy field. I'd like work with injured athletes, helping them get back into their preferred sport. In five years, if I'm not one of the top names in the sport of bodybuilding on the national or professional level, then I'd love to help others achieve that status.
ProSource: Best of luck to you, Michael.
Michael Moore: Thank you.