Sunday, December 23, 2012
It's my pleasure to introduce you to one of natural bodybuilding's best competitors, Van Spell. Van recently placed second in a regional professional natural bodybuilding show, competing against contestants much younger than he. This is a recent interview I had with Van, he dispels the myth that you're over the hill after your 40s. Enjoy.
Darvis: Where were you born?
Van: I was born and raised in eastern N.C. in Wilson
Darvis: What's the greatest influence in your life?
Van: Well to be honest, I would have to say no one except God alone, but I do give a lot of credit to my mother for the hardship she encounter from raising 9 kids by herself.
Darvis: What's your profession?
Van: My profession most of my adult life is automotive. I went into the military in that field and once I discharged I was able to get hired by the Postal Service and later continue in the automotive department. I guess you can thank me, for I fix the vehicles that brings your bills.
Darvis: What got you into bodybuilding?
Van: Bodybuilding has been a dream of mine, but back in the 80s and before, I thought places like California and New York only had competitions until I went to see the states in downtown Raleigh. I was blown away with the beauty of the sport so it was then I sought to know everything about it
Darvis: When did you participate in your first competition?
Van: I first did my novice show back in 86 I believe, and quickly found out that it takes time and a lifestyle of hard work to be successful at this sport.
Darvis: Tell me a little about your first time on stage. What was going through your mind?
Van: Well, the first time was alot different than posing in front of the mirror. It's understandable, but the audience don't cut you any slack if you look like blank!!! Not to mention the judges also, but I did well even though I beat out one guy for third place, but I was pleased and didn't quit.
Darvis: What's your age?
Van: I'm presently 54 years young
Darvis: How do you stay in such great shape in your 50s?
Van: Love for fitness and I believe its a gift from God not only to myself but to anyone who choose to believe and accept!
Darvis: What advice would you give someone who's trying to get fit over the age of 50?
Van: Well, I would suggest to judge your body with realistic expectation in regards to your goals and the time limit and level. Keep it simple at all possible because the fitness world makes a lot to cash on people being ignorant and just plain stupid. Stay on food as much as possible and only turn to supplements when you can't prepare your meals or eat out healthy. You get out of fitness what you put into it, so working out and talking on your cell phone at the same time will not get it. Don't join a gym right off, but work out with a program like P90X or less intense. Many people make the mistake every year joining a gym and only giving it a month or 2 and its back on the couch. But what ever you do DON'T GIVE UP!
Darvis: You compete in All Natural bodybuilding competitions, what does that mean?
Van: Well, it means alot to me for I can honestly say I have never taken a steroid for muscle growth, just plain determination and learning as the years went by. It's been a tough road but a blessing also. I'm still having fun with this, so the sky's the limit.
Darvis: How do you get ready for competition? When do you start training?
Van: Well, I choose and commit to the show that I want to do and question myself how long do I believe it would take me to get in contest shape? I have to say that's been my biggest challenge of leaning out, so my learning is I would recommend to any one that's natural, don't get no more than 3% or 10 pounds over your competition shape for I found in my 50s just looking at a stack of pancakes I can gain 5 lbs.or more. My training is basically the same year round unless I discover something that helps me improve. Other than that it's either watch the mirror closely and cutting back on just enough carbs to train with high protein and low fats of course.
Darvis: What's your training program in competition mode?
Van: Training mode is basically the same but one other thing, if at all possible I train twice a day if I can and go at a time when I'm not around people that I know well. Conversation is a killer !!!
Darvis: What's your program like off-season?
Van: My training program off season really doesn't change. People, or some gain 20 or more pounds and maybe power lift to add more muscle but mine is intense all year long, so I feel its stress free by keeping it simple and realistic.
Darvis: What's your diet like in competition mode?
Van: Well I hate to say but I really don't like to cook. So to keep from spending much time in the kitchen I eat almost the same thing each day which consist of Oatmeal, Chicken breast (broiled), mix vegetable bag from Sam's and water.When I cheat its pancakes with lots of helpings. I do add some lean cuts of beef from time to time and my supplements in the form of Isopure protein powder, Universal Animal Pak, and Qivana's Prime Nitric Oxide Activator.
Darvis: What's your diet like off-season?
Van: Its the same off season, I just eat out more and play in the candy store
Darvis: You won your Pro Card in natural bodybuilding, what does that mean?
Van: Winning my pro card is a great accomplishment for I can compete for cash and prices along with possible endorsements. I know I'm long in the tooth but I'm having fun with this and I plan to take it as far as I can because God wants me to be the best I can be. Actually I have 2 pro cards(NPA and NGA) and I'm going for the ultimate WNBF hopefully in 2013.
Darvis: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Van: Not to change the subject, but the biggest and always will be, is what God's done for me through his son Jesus which made it possible for me to become a child of His. Winning my pro card in bodybuilding is just the start for I believe there are greater accomplishments still to come and I'm willing to work hard for it. As long as I'm healthy and this sport presents a challenge and fun, I'll compete. But bodybuilding is in my blood, meaning its a gift and it benefits the human body so I'm hooked for life and proud to say so.