Bodybuilding Secrets 2005 Year End Update: Where In The World Has Tom Venuto been (and what’s next?)
Saturday, December 17th, 2005. Holy Hypertrophy! Has it really been a month and a half since I wrote my last blog entry? Wow, man. Those 6 weeks just flew by! The whole year flew by! But you didn’t think I was finished blogging forever did you? Based on my Bodybuilding Secrets email box filled with “where are you” and “what happened to your blog” messages, a lot of people thought I had blogged off into the sunset. Well…I’m BAAAAACK, and it’s time to get BIG! MUSCLE MASS SEASON has begun!
So where HAVE I been? What HAVE I been up to? Just took a little vacation, that’s all. But hey, I deserved it! Don’t yell at me for not blogging for a while – a blog like this is time consuming, hard work! Work hard, work hard, work hard… then PLAY HARD! With me being the “recovering workaholic” that I am, I figure I have several YEARS of “play time” to catch up on… and believe me, I will catch up – and this was how I started…
Technically, I took two vacations…
First, after my last competition of 2005, I took a “vacation” from training. Yes, despite rumors to the contrary, this gym rat really does take time off. It’s a must after competitions, but I even recommend that my clients take a full week off after every 12-16 week cycle of hard training. It’s difficult to do sometimes because when you’re really in the training groove, you have this fear of slipping backwards.
The thing is, muscles don’t shrivel, nor does fat accumulate that quickly and even if they did, when you come back from a good rest, your body is far more responsive and you often experience the best muscle growth and fat loss you’ve had in months or years.
So… take a tip from a muscle head from New Joisey – If you’ve been dieting and training like an animal for half a year non stop, TAKE A BREAK will ya! It’s okay! You have permission
The second vacation, now THAT was a “real” one. I actually got onboard one of those little metal tubes with wings, with teeny little chairs never designed to fit a normal human, let alone a bodybuilder with quads, lats, deltoids and biceps.
You’d think I’d fly somewhere really exotic like the Caribbean or some Greek island, or at least Hawaii. But nooooo. Where does a muscle head like me go for vacation?
Come on, guess….
Come on, It’s not a trick question…
If you can’t get this one, there is no hope for you….
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…
Okay… The answer is…
If you said “MUSCLE BEACH,” then BINGO! You win!
Yeah, Southern California. Santa Monica. I was walking distance from the Santa Monica beach, pier and third street promenade and just a few minutes driving time to the Mecca of Bodybuilding – GOLD’S GYM, Venice California!
I was in heaven! I was Thisssssssssss close to moving out there! East Coast, you almost lost me!
Why? Well, for one thing, an artic air mass just blew into the New Jersey and New York City area and the temp plummeted down into the teens. There’s already snow on the ground and the weather man says another storm is on the way. These Northeast winters are for the birds. Penguins, that is. I will trade my snow shovel for a surfboard any time.
Believe it or not, the surfboards were out in Sunny Southern California last month. I couldn’t believe THE WEATHER! 85 degrees and sunny, not a cloud in the sky all week long! I was lying on the beach – in late November!!!! When I asked the “locals” about it, they said it was in fact, unseasonably warm because the “Santa Ana” winds bring in hot air from the desert. Usually it’s only 75 degrees or so in November… “only 75” Heh.
Did I mention, I almost didn’t come home? I’m not joking, I almost moved out there. My friend Rob “The Former Fat Guy” Cooper has a signature file on all his emails that says, “Palm Trees Are God’s way of saying, LIVE HERE!” I Love that! (but then I bust his chops and ask him, “Then what the heck are you doing in Canada!”)
It wasn’t just the Southern California weather I love – California has a totally different energy than the East coast, and especially the New York City vibe. Cali is WAAAAAY more laid back (it’s even more laid back in Northern Cali).
This place was also like heaven for a muscle head like me. It’s no wonder bodybuilders have made the pilgrimage to Venice, CA for nearly a half a century.
The first day I arrived, I trained at World Gym on Washington Blvd in Marina Del Rey. Eddie Giuliani was there; I don’t know him personally, but I recognized him from all those classic photos of him with Arnold. The gym was actually smaller than I thought, but it was awesome – just what the doctor ordered. I loved it. Training in an outdoor weight pen with the sunlight and open
air streaming in absolutely rocks! No way on the east coast.
At Gold’s Gym Venice, it was a scene right out of the pages of the bodybuilding magazines. And when I say “scene” I mean that in every sense of the word. This is where people go to see and to be seen. A mix between Hollywood types, Venice Beach Hippies, Pro athletes and hardcore Bodybuilders. Honestly, there was such a buzz in the place, it was almost too distracting to work out. But maybe that’s just because it was my first time there and I was a little “star struck.”
There was IFBB pro, Bob Chicherillo, 20 inch biceps and all, the next bench over from me! Training guru to the pros Charles Glass was there taking his clients through the paces… Mike O Hearn, fitness model, natural bodybuilder and powerlifter was there doing deadlifts. He’s one strong dude by the way! I saw him deadlift 500 pounds for 5 reps… easy. Top natural bodybuilder and TEAM UNIVERSE champ Tito Raymond was also there, busily training his clients.
Did I mention I saw one of the barbarian brothers? Not sure which one (they’re twins you know), but I think it was David Paul. These are the guys that got tons of publicity in the muscle mags in the late 80’s and early 90’s, even though they never competed, simply by virtue of their inhuman strength and muscle mass paired with their unique and flamboyant personalities.
What serious veteran bodybuilder can forget those classic Muscle Mag International photos of one Barbarian brother standing on top of the weight stack while the other barbarian repped out on cable tricep extensions, screaming at the other one, “COME ON, PUSH IT!!!!!” until his swollen arms nearly exploded! Or the picture of David CURLING 150 pound dumbbells! Insane!
While I was just finishing a chest and bicep workout at Golds, I bumped into pro sports and celebrity trainer extraordinaire TR Goodman of Pro Camp Training. TR trains movie stars like James Caan, Ray Liotta, Owen Wilson and more pro athletes than I have space to list. I met TR earlier in the year at a seminar in Washington DC and knew he was from LA, but didn’t realize he was based out of Golds Venice until I saw him there. If you’re an athlete looking for a sports trainer in Venice California, TR’s your man. His private studio is in the same building as Gold’s Gym on Hampton Drive.
I also bumped into – almost literally, on the street by coincidence – Jackie Lee. Jackie is one of the “ageless role models” profiled in the e-book I co-authored with Jon Benson, Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age. Jackie was inspired by Rachel McLish, the former Miss Olympia, and took up weight lifting about 20 years ago when she was in her 50′s. She hasn’t stopped since. She is now 72, but she looks 52, and let me tell you, she is a ball of fire!
In addition to being a bodybuilder, she’s also a figure competitor, yoga instructor, personal trainer, actress, acrobatic dancer, and motivational speaker! If you want to see proof that you’re only as old as you think you are, then you can read more about Jackie (and more than 50 other “ageless wonders” like her) in the Fit Over 40 e-book at www.fitover40.com
I also had a chance to connect with peak performance guru, NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist Pete Siegel. Pete’s a good friend of mine from Marina Del Rey, just a hop skip and a jump from the hotel where I was staying. Any time I have a chance to meet or speak on the phone with Pete, I jump at the opportunity. Talk about a power-motivator! You think Anthony Robbins is motivational, talk to Pete for 5 minutes and you’ll be ready to take over the world! Actually, over chicken breast, broccoli and yams at Koo-Koo-Roos, Pete and I decided to split the world evenly between the two of us!
Speaking of the food out there in LA… Fuggedaboudit! I chowed down at the famous bodybuilder’s restaurant THE FIREHOUSE every day – sometimes more than once! The Firehouse literally has a menu just for bodybuilders: Egg whites, chicken, fish, lean beef, buffalo…. Rice, yams, potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, fruits, veggies and any other bodybuilding food you can think of.
You even get to mix and match – “pick one protein, and pick one carb.” – OR if you’re on a bulking program – “pick one protein, two carbs!” – OR… get a load of this – “pick two proteins, one veggie.” Yeah, you guessed it – that’s the “cutting program.” Not only was the food great and 100% bodybuilding diet friendly, the service was amazing! I must have had four different waiters, waitresses and servers at my beck and call. Bodybuilding Secrets.Com gives the Firehouse Restaurant in Venice two enthusiastic thumbs up!
DAMN, how come there’s no restaurants like that here in Jersey???
Even the local diners out there had bodybuilding food. Here in Jersey, you ask for 6 egg whites and 1 whole egg and they look at you like you’re an alien… then they charge you 15 bucks and serve it to you dripping in grease. In Venice and Santa Monica, egg whites are actually a choice ON the menu.
What am I doing still living in New Jersey??? Sigh….. Alas, I bought a new condo here just a couple months ago. But California is definitely calling to me… Southern Cal, Northern Cal… whichever, just a matter of time.
I almost forgot. I mentioned bumping into pro trainer TR Goodman right? Well, so he calls me up one night and says, hey man, whatcha doing? Want to go check out a movie screening? I said” sure, what movie?” He says, “LA DICKS.” I said, “THAT kind of movie? You perv!”… He said, “No no no, dicks as in detectives – it’s a new indie flick about two Los Angeles detectives, don’t know if it’s any good but… something to do.”
So we go to Culver City Studios to a private screening, experiencing the joy of Los Angeles traffic on the way, and we somehow make it through the whole movie. On the way out the door, TR says, “I wonder if Jimmy is still on the set?”
I said, “Jimmy who?”
He says, “Jimmy Caan… James Caan.” (As in The Godfather, Misery and Las Vegas!)
So TR takes me over towards one of the Culver Studios sound stages, and lo and behold, there is James Caan standing right in front of us! TR Introduced me to Jimmy, then we went inside to watch them film a scene from The TV series Las Vegas!
The set was amazing. They built en entire casino – you’d swear you were really in Vegas. After the filming was done, we hung out in Jimmy’s trailer for little while before calling it a night. Beats the Universal City Studio tours eh? (Yes, I DID go there too. I didn’t just lift weights and lie on the beach all day… had to do at least a little bit of “tourist” stuff!)
If that wasn’t cool enough, TR said he was going to introduce me to Ray Liotta the next day, but Ray had to cancel his training appointment. Bummer
there, but it was pretty cool meeting James Caan. (Coincidentally, I named one of my blog entries a few months ago after the Scene in Caan’s movie Misery – It’s called the “Quad Hobbler”… if you missed it, go back to the archives here and check it out: The Quad Hobbler (leg training that will make you limp!)
On my last day out in Sunny, Warm Southern California, I drove out to Cal State Fullerton for the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) conference. This is a great new organization for fitness professionals, which is recognizing that sports nutrition is a whole new emerging field, separate and distinct from clinical nutrition or nutrition for sedentary people (couch potatoes!) I was so impressed
by the speakers and the organization as a whole, I plan to pursue their sports nutrition certification and their body composition certification in 2006. That will be my 4th or 5th certification, I think… who’s counting?
While I was in Fullerton, I worked out at IFBB pro bodybuilder Milos Sarcev’s gym, formerly Gold’s Gym, now called Koloseum gym. Freakin awesome. Although I might not buy my mother a membership at a joint like this, for any hardcore bodybuilder, the place ROCKED! Milos wasn’t there when I was training, but I did get to meet his wife, Fitness pro Milomar Flores-Sarcev. On the way back to the hotel from Fullerton to Santa Monica on a Saturday night, I even got to learn why the locals call the freeways “parking lots.” And I thought Manhattan gridlock was bad.
Well anyway, enough about my vacation. I’ve been forced to sit through other peoples vacation photos before, and you know “exciting” that can be… but since this was MUSCLE BEACH, I thought you might be interested, so I posted a slide show and saved it for last… in case you give a protein fart, it’s at the bottom of this page.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled Bodybuilding Secrets programming:
Tomorrow I’m scheduled to start training again with my workout partner Kostas “The Greek Statue” Marangopoulos. Since my one week break after the last contest, I HAVE been in the gym training hard… but it’s been very much a transitional “maintenance” phase to let my body recover (from the “beating” I gave it the last 5 months).
My strength is gaining and I’m starting to put back on some solid weight again, but I’m still really light (around 184 lbs), and the training so far last month (November) and this month (December) has been no where near the INTENSITY you are going to read about over the next 4-5 months of MASS SEASON. Then… it’s onward to 3-4 months of contest dieting and training for my August 2006
2005 was like just getting my feet wet again. Now it’s time to get “serious” again and achieve a major life goal of mine that has been on my dreams list for a long, long time – a national title in drug free bodybuilding.
Stay tuned, bodybuilding secrets 2006 is gonna be good!
Tom’s “Muscle Beach” Vacation Slide Show
The Original Location Of Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, California
Outdoor Exercise Area, Original Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, California
Working Out On Muscle Beach, Santa Monica,California
Entrance to Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Beach, Bike Path and Pier… Off season… not many people on the beach… but it WAS beach weather alright!
3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica… great eating, drinking, shopping… and lots of street performers
Gold’s Gym, Venice, California…
…The Mecca Of Bodybuilding
Me outside of Gold’s Gym Venice, CA (Photo by TR Goodman, thanks buddy!)
Motorists Beware! … Bodybuilders Crossing!
The Firehouse Restaurant, Around The Corner From Gold’s Gym… Where Muscle Heads Go To “Re-Fuel!” Two Enthusiastic Thumbs Up!
Muscle Beach, Venice, California – Outdoor Weight Pen
venice Beach Boardwalk
Surfer on a skateboard.. typical Venice!
Typical Venice boardwalk boutique… “Get yer pipes, bongs and bead curtains here!” (no! I did not do any shopping in there!)
World Gym, Marina Del Rey, California – Two Thumbs up!
Marina Del Rey (also notice the “famous” Los Angeles smog in the background, looking West)
Season’s Greetings from Manhattan Beach! (I’ll trade this for a white Christmas, any day!)
Manhattan Beach… SURF’S UP!!!
Manhattan beach… swimming, and waiting for the next wave… no wetsuit! (It was 85 degrees at the end of November!)
Wecome to Universal Studios, Hollywood!
KING KONG in yer face! (Universal Studios Tour)
Universal Studios Tour – War Of The Worlds Set… still smoldering
My last workout of the week was at Milos Sarcev’s Koloseum Gym In Fullerton. Bodybuilding Secrets.Com gives Milos’s gym two thumbs up!!!
Palm Trees… God’s Way Of Saying, “Live Here!”
Manhattan Beach – Living Here Does Not Suck!
Malibu private beach… Living here doesn’t suck either! (until you have to pay the mortgage!)
Malibu Sunset… Do I really HAVE to go home???
End of Slide Show