NPC Mens Physique Athlete Christian Fernandez Interviews with ULTRAPHYSIQUES
Stage Weight: 185 lbs
Off Season: 205 lbs
How did you get started with bodybuilding lifestyle?
My dad was a bodybuilder growing up. He never competed but he lived the lifestyle the same way I do. I grew up looking at pictures of him at my age hitting bodybuilding poses in stringers and became inspired by that from a young age. He used to take me with him to Gold’s Gym as a youngster and bought me my first pair of dumbbells when I was 10 years old. From there I would do bicep curls, dumbbell raises, and push-ups in my room every day until I was finally old enough to join a gym myself. Once I got to high school, I started hitting the weights more seriously to get bigger for football, but I eventually stopped playing ball once I graduated. But I stayed involved in weightlifting after that because I fell in love with the gym. I loved walking out of the gym with a pump, feeling on top of the world, and tracking my progress over the weeks and months and eventually years. I had friends in high school but I was never the most popular kid in town, so rather than focus my attention on partying like everyone else was, I focused on the gym, going every day with my best friend Anthony. That definitely helped because we pushed each other every day, starting from only being able to bench 85 pounds to becoming a Nationally Qualified NPC Men’s Physique competitor. It’s an addicting lifestyle and I’m glad I got caught up in this rather than some of the stuff my peers growing up got into.
Where does your motivation come from?
I’ve never really lacked motivation honestly, I’ve been chasing the perfect physique for so long that I almost can’t even remember where my initial inspiration came from. I guess I would attribute most of my motivation to looking up to my dad and wanting to be big and macho like him. Also I’m obviously inspired by the figureheads in the industry today, such as Jeremy Buendia, Ryan Terry, etc. But I would also give a lot of credit to the gym I train at, Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. I’ve only been there for about a year but that’s when I truly took my training to the next level. Once I joined Bevs is when it became apparent to me that making a career out of fitness could become a reality if I put my mind and heart into it. Being surrounded by pros and legends in the industry every day is motivating as anything and pushes me to get myself to that level. I’ve always been a self-motivator though, ask anyone that knows me that once I set a goal for myself, I put all of my energy towards reaching that goal and set the bar high for myself. I’m the type of person that wants to be the best at whatever activity it is that I’m involved in, whether it was football or bodybuilding, I wanna be respected for the hard work I put in. I’ve always been big on earning respect and that hasn’t changed since I started pursuing a career in bodybuilding. Now the goal is to earn my pro card. Pretty much every action of my day is something that contributes towards reaching that goal.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I’ve always been a fan of isolation training. When I was young and didn’t really know that much about training, I would mostly do full-body routines given to me by my football coaches. I wasn’t really happy with my progress so once the season ended I started training one muscle group a day instead and started seeing much quicker results. Later on I bought the Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding to learn more and I still say that was the single most influential decision of my life. That’s where I learned the majority of what I know about weightlifting. I learned all about different methods of intensity training and workout splits from the greatest legend in the sport and incorporated as much of that as I could into my own routine. I spent countless hours drawing up different routines for myself and annotating the book to the point where I needed to buy another one because I noted the book up so much that I couldn’t read some parts of it. I started using drop sets, super-sets, forced negative reps, slow reps, etc. to increase the intensity of my workouts and that’s when I started to really develop.
Today I still use pretty much all of those same principles but since I’m more developed now and have better muscle maturity I’m able to focus in on more detailed aspects of sculpting my body. I pay much more attention to my rest time between sets, how to develop the proper mind to muscle connection and feel that with every concentric movement, breathing techniques, and ultimately just doing the movements that will help me develop my weaknesses more. For example, I need to hit back with heavy volume since the muscles are bigger and denser than the rest of the body, and I’ll hit chest with a lot of super-sets to pump it up since it’s a smaller muscle for me. I also won’t do any barbell presses for shoulders since I find that I’ve been susceptible to injury that way. And I like to take at least one or two days off to recover which is equally important as training and diet. But ultimately it all comes down to the overload principle. Your body adapts to the stimuli that you give it so you need to keep turning it up a notch if you want to keep progressing so my routine is never the same throughout the year, but this is what’s worked best for me. Just make sure you use proper form because that’s the most important thing for both muscle development and injury prevention.
Incline DB Press – 4×12
Flat BB Press – 4×12
Decline Hammer Strength Machine – 4×12
Incline Cable Flys – 5×15
Pec Dec Flys – 3×20
Dips – 3xFailure
Seated Calf Raise – 6×20
Barbell Squat – 6×10
Hack Squat – 4×10
Leg Press – 6×15
Leg Curl – 4×15
Leg Extension – 4×15
Lunges – 3×10
Standing Calf Raise – 6×20
Deadlifts – 6×12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
Reverse Grip Bent-over Row – 5×15
T-Bar Row – 4×15
Lat Pulldown – 4×15
Seated Row – 4×15
Low Row – 4×15
High Row – 4×15
Pull-ups – 3xFailure
Lateral Raises – 4×12
Hammer Strength Machine Press – 4×12
Reverse Pec-Dec Fly – 4×12
Partial Heavy Lateral Raises – 3×8
Arnold Press – 4×10
Face-Pulls – 4×10
Barbell Bicep Curl – 4×12
Skull Crushers – 4×12
Preacher Curl – 3×15
Overhead DB Extension – 3×15
Hammer Curl – 4×10
Close-grip Bench Press – 4×10
Rope Curl or Concentration Curl – 4×15
Cable Extensions – 4×15
If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
Deadlift – If I could only keep three exercises in my routine I would pick the most compound movements that activate the most muscles. Deadlifts hit every muscle in the body pretty much and you can tweak the movement in a number of ways to train for different results. You can go heavy and go for size and thickness or go lighter to tighten up and go for detail. You can also change your stance and keep your joints mobile or locked to isolate different muscles.
Squat – Another compound movement that I couldn’t do without. There’s no better movement for overall leg development than the original barbell squat. Not to mention it increases your natural testosterone production and helps strengthen the core as well.
Incline Bench Press – This one was a little tougher but I definitely wanted it to be an upper body movement and something that helps build the “aesthetic” look. I picked incline bench over flat bench because I’ve always been impressed by people that had fullness in their upper chest which is something I’ve always struggled with until I made a concerted effort to develop that part of my body, plus it also helps hit the front delts more than the original flat bench does.
What is your diet like?
My diet depends on whether I’m offseason or on-season. Generally I’ll eat the same foods – chicken, fish, turkey, beef, rice, potatoes, oatmeal, asparagus, spinach, eggs, etc., but when I’m on prep I scale back the quantities and pay much more attention to my food timing compared to offseason. In the offseason I’ll treat myself to a burger or pizza every now and again if I want it, but as the beginning of my prep date gets closer I become a bit stricter just to prepare myself for the road ahead. I like to try and maintain as much as possible during the offseason so that it makes my life easier during prep.
Meal 1 – 8 egg whites, 2 pcs of turkey bacon, 1 cup oatmeal, ½ cup spinach
Meal 2 – 6 oz white fish, 6 oz sweet potato, ½ cup asparagus
Meal 3 – 6 oz chicken, ½ avocado, ½ cup string beans
Meal 4 – 6 oz 99% lean ground turkey or white fish, ½ cup rice, ½ cup asparagus
Meal 5 – 6 oz grass fed beef, ½ avocado, ½ cup greens of my choice
Meal 6 – 6 oz turkey or chicken, 3 ricecakes, 2 tbsp almond butter
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
I like to incorporate both honestly. I like to do steady fasted cardio in the AM and prefer to do HIIT later on in the day when I have more calories in me. Ultimately it comes down to how I’m looking and feeling. If I have more energy than usual I’ll do more HIIT but if I feel like I’m dragging I’ll do more steady. I’m always experimenting with my cardio training though, looking for better and smarter ways to train.
What is your supplementation like?
“Honestly I’m not too big on supplements. I’ve always believed you can get everything you need through food. I’m much more worried about what I’m eating than what supps I take. I don’t even use protein powder, I just eat a meal post workout.”
I do take some supplements though. I’ll take fish oil for joint support, I take preworkout to give me an extra boost before my workout since I usually train at night and I’m pretty tired by the time I get to the gym, and I take apple cider vinegar (detox) and green vibrance (probiotic) every morning to keep my body running as efficiently as possible. That’s about it though.
“Sacrifice today for tomorrow’s betterment, you are willing to pay those payments with pain, because pain is just a message when you are fixing something that’s insufficient with your life.” – Greg Plitt
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