Side effects of gaining the weight:
I had been eating six meals a day and exactly 4600 calories each day. To gain weight, I dropped it to two or three really big meals a day. Very high calorie meals like pizza, Wendyâ€™s, whatever it took. In three months, I went from 225 lbs to 275 lbs. I kept eating big, and three months later, I was up to 301 lbs. I had gained 75 lbs in six months drug free.
How the extra weight feels:
Yeah, I lost a lot of mobility. I had a hard time tying my shoes, and I developed back problems. This wasnâ€™t because I was heavy but because I had gained the weight in a short amount of time. My body didnâ€™t have time to adjust to the weight. It took awhile to adjust, but I slowly crept up to 317 lbs and then 345 lbs. I saw Louie again in 2002 at the Arnold, and he said, â€œYou may weigh big, but can you lift big?â€ I totaled 2400 lbs at that meet. Then I pretty much leveled out at 355 lbs until I got my hands on some kettlebells. Those things added 20 lbs of muscle instantly. Iâ€™ve been at 370 lbs ever since.
On force feeding to gain weight:
I felt better when I was leaner, but I got adjusted to the weight and I feel good now. Because of my height, I knew that being bigger was inevitable.
The benefits of being big:
Guys force-feed all the time. I never had to do that. Itâ€™s not very healthy either.
On bodybuilders being perceived as being stronger than powerlifters:
I feel like a superhero. I feel invincible, ya know?... You know how you go through all your training cycles, your squat cycles and everything? Going through that makes me feel like I can stop a bullet. Iâ€™m not a bully nor would I ever fight anyone, but I feel like a superhero. Itâ€™s hard to explain. When I was lean, I felt incapable. Yeah, I was lean, but I never felt unstoppable like I do now. And with the girlsâ€¦I donâ€™t want to sound cocky here, but when I was lean, I had abs. The girls thought I was stuck up, but they would look. Actually, I feel sexier now at 370 lbs, but girls donâ€™t look! And I tell them, â€œYou liked me when I was 220 lbs. Now itâ€™s just a bigger playground.â€ But they donâ€™t buy it.
Advice to someone thinking of gaining weight:
Yes, and on the flip side of that, hereâ€™s another story. I knew a bodybuilder guy who used to work out at the gym. Some lady from the shop across the street asked me, â€œWhoâ€™s the guy who works out there? You knowâ€”the strongest one?â€ And I said, â€œWho?â€ She said, â€œThe guy with all the muscles, the one whoâ€™s the strongest out of all you guys.â€ And I said, â€œIâ€™M the strongest one out of everyone. Who are you talking about?â€ Come to find out, she was talking about this bodybuilder guy who weighed probably 190 lbs. But just because he was lean and you could see all his muscles, she thought that he was the strongest.
Was his weight gain in order to lift more:
My advice is to never be big just to be big. Itâ€™s unhealthy. Iâ€™m dropping my weight after Iâ€™m done competing. (My wife canâ€™t wait!) And also you have to have attitude. This is huge. You have to tell yourself that itâ€™s ok to gain weight because youâ€™ll accomplish something. And itâ€™s ok to lose when youâ€™re done or want to drop weight. It sounds weird, but I believe you have to will it to happen and it will. You have to be ok with either gaining or losing.
Actually, no. I didnâ€™t gain weight just to lift more. I just went to my natural state, which is over 300 lbs. You train like us so you know the demands it puts on the body. My body deals with it by getting to the size it needs to be for the meet. It is always within ten pounds of itself from meet to meet. If I was concerned about how big I was getting, I would care about it and weigh myself daily. I donâ€™t eat quantities of food and stuff myself to stay big. Itâ€™s just easy for me to do so. However, staying lean was a challenge. I kept to the same calorie intake (4600) daily and never skipped a meal. Very clean, no fast food, and no processed food. No white sugar or white flour. Incidentally, no heartburn ever. Those were the days.