Jeff Rodriguez Interview by Muscle-BaseMay 11, 2012 1
In 2001 I broke my wrist in a rollerblading accident. As part of my rehab, I began going to the gym to strengthen the arm I broke. After the injury healed, I continued going to the gym and began to learn about training and eating to put on muscle. While attending college at U.C. Davis, I met a friend in the weightroom who helped me do my first show, a local bodybuilding show called The Chico Show. I did not know too much about competitive bodybuilding at the time, but I looked up to natural bodybuilders like Jeff Willet and Skip LaCour and wanted to experience competing in a bodybuilding show. I dieted for only three weeks and to my surprise won the overall at my first show.
What workout routine would you suggest to Beginners?
There are plenty of routines out there one could find, but for a beginner specifically, I would suggest the following general guidelines when picking a routine to follow. Choose a routine that is pretty simple and has you focusing on getting stronger on basic compound lifts. Choose a reasonable rep range like 8-12 and learn to use control and have good form when lifting. Later, when you’ve got good control and form you can start going lower on the reps while still maintaining good control and form. Also, do not neglect nutrition. I know this question is about a workout routine but with even the best workout routine, you will not maximize your results if you do not support your lifting with the appropriate nutrition. So learn to eat to put on muscle, but not so excessively that you put on an unnecessary amount of bodyfat.
What advice would you give to people looking to achieve your Aesthetic Physique?
I think aesthetically pleasing physiques have a few things in common: nice lines, good overall balance and proportions, and a good v-taper. To create a more dramatic v-taper, one would have to build up their back width and shoulders. As far as balance and proportions go, one would need to try to develop all body parts as evenly and proportionately as possible. Putting all this aside though, I think people should just focus on just training everything and trying to develop every major body part as best as they can; this usually leads to a nice looking physique.
Tell us about your journey and how you got all the way to the top as NPC Team Universe Champion?
When I first started learning about eating and training to put on muscle, I came across Jeff Willet’s training journal as he prepared for the Team Universe, and I started following along his weekly blog/journal. This is how I first heard about the Team Universe. Eventually, it became a goal of mine to simply compete in the show one day, just for the experience. In 2006, I met photographer Bill Comstock at the NPC Contra Costa. Bill encouraged me to do the show, and I took his advice and did it that year and placed 2nd in the middleweight class.
Have you ever had any obstacles in your Bodybuilding journey?
I’ve had my share of little injuries, small muscle pulls/tears, but I’ve never had any huge obstacles or anything inspiring I can talk about, or anything cool I can brag about.
As a Natural Bodybuilder, what are your views on Performance enhancing drugs?
I do not personally have anything against performance enhancing drugs or steroids; I’m neutral on the topic. Of course, like anything else, abusing or overuse of things is not good, kids using them is stupid, etc. But for the most part, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a competitive bodybuilder using them, assuming the bodybuilder is reasonable and informed enough to know what they’re doing. Furthermore, I think most people do not know very much about them and that the negative opinion people often have about them is simply based on how the media and our society currently portrays them (maybe if it was 30 years+ ago their opinion on the same thing would be different). I don’t think most people have a good enough understanding about them that they can have an reasonable, well informed opinion about them. Then again I don’t blame people for this because they don’t really NEED to have a well informed opinion on them; its easier that way. It would be a lot of trouble to have a good understanding of most things that do not affect one’s everyday, personal life. I’m sure I have all kinds of stupid, uninformed, biased opinions on all kinds of things I know nothing about, that don’t affect my everyday life.
Not even for the sake of anything moral or not cheating, but simply because it has become a personal goal of mine to do so. The second reason I’ve never taken steroids is because I have, so far, thoroughly enjoyed bodybuilding without taking steroids. I’ve always felt like if I don’t need steroids to enjoy bodybuilding, then I don’t need to take them. One day if I do feel like I want to take steroids, in order to further enjoy my bodybuilding hobby, or for whatever reason if I feel ready, then I will get that party started… For now, I’m just focused on doing my best, with training and dieting, to give myself the best chance of winning the 2012 Team Universe.
What is your Pre-contest diet like and how do you prevent coming out on stage looking flat?
My pre-contest diet is listed on my blog. Every year since 2007 I’ve posted my exact contest diet. To the find the diet I’ve used for the given year, just scroll through the archives of my blog and find the weeks leading up the that year’s Team Universe (usually in July or September) and my diet will be listed. When I’m done competing this year I’ll post an entire year’s worth of a diet, from the offseaon starting in August of 2011, all the way until the week of the show in July of 2012, and everything in between. A link to my blog can be found on my website at www.jrodfitness.com
As for coming in flat, that is something to be dealt with the week or day of the show. What I am more concerned about is coming in lean enough (and avoiding losing muscle in the process). The single most important thing I’ve found to help with getting very lean and keeping as much muscle as possible is to diet gradually over a very long period of time. Dieting does not necessarily have to mean a huge deficit in calories, but rather a slow steady pace works well. Also, staying in decent offseason shape helps a lot.
What advice would you give to Bodybuilder beginners looking to become a NPC Team Universe Champion just like you?
Consistency over a very long period of time is the key. Consistency with training and nutrition, year round. Not necessarily that you have to diet year round, but eat appropriately for the phase (EG offseason means eating enough to get big but not so much that you make it too difficult for yourself come diet time). Do your best to avoid injury and realize that there is no rush, so give your body rest when it needs it and avoid even the best exercises when things hurt. However, before any of this, my advice would be to try to enjoy the journey as much as possible. Do not base your happiness solely on your placing. Maybe you’ll be a Team Universe champion, maybe you wont, but if you’ve enjoy the journey then you’ll be happy.
What are your long term goals?
My long term goal is to win the overall at the NPC Team Universe.
For More On NPC Bodybuilder, Jeff Rodriguez, Check Out These Links!