Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hey guys, my name is Alex Buffone. I’m a 24 year old personal trainer from Montreal, Canada.
I started my career as a personal trainer just over 12 months ago when I decided to go all in and follow my passion. I have a Bachelor degree in Commerce specializing in Finance, but am pursuing my passion for fitness.
My love for fitness and bodybuilding started when I was 13 or 14 on my way to Italy. I saw an issue of Muscular Development in a magazine stand, with the famous quad stomp picture of Jay Cutler and thought to myself: “Wow. I want to look like that.”
Thus began my love for bodybuilding, I would go train almost everyday after school and on weekends at a small gym near home.
When I turned 18, I purchased a car and decided to sign up to a bodybuilding-focused gym. I trained there for a few years and decided I wanted to test the waters in competing.
I hired a coach and did my first show at 21 years old.
I did the whole typical egg whites, rice, chicken and green vegetables for the 4-5 month prep we did. I went from 205 lbs down to 162 lbs on stage. I placed second, however we were only two people in my class.
At that time, I was starting to be more and more interested in cutting out animal products from my diet.
My girlfriend, Isabella Mazerolle, whom I had already been dating for three years had already been vegan for 5+ years, really helped me transition out of eating meat by showing me what options were out there.
She also opened my eyes to people like Torre Washington and Nimai Delgado who’d been plant-based for so long and were doing great, so I decided to cut out meat from my diet.
Over the next 7 months I slowly transitioned to a fully plant-based diet. I cut out everything but fish, eggs and dairy right after my first show and eventually cut those out completely as well.
My second show was done fully vegan and came in at 165lbs on stage , where unfortunately I placed just outside the top 10.
For me, that was all the validation I needed to know this could be done long term in the same manner as if I were eating meat.
Describe a typical day of training
For most of my training years I’ve concentrate on one body part a day style training. My split was:
- Monday: Chest
- Tuesday: Back
- Wednesday: Arms
- Thursday: Off
- Friday: Shoulders
- Saturday: Legs
- Sunday: Off
After some research and not being fully satisfied with the progress I had been making over the last year, I’ve decided to adopt a Push/Pull/Leg split.
So I train 3 days on, one rest day and repeat. This allows me to hit every muscle group twice in an 8-day period.
So far I’m absolutely loving it, my strength is at an all time high and muscles are responding very well.
It’s hard for me to gain weight so cardio is pretty minimal if at all during the off-season.
I’ll usually just try and stay active by taking the dog out for a walk or going for bike rides.
During contest prep I’ll do much more cardio. It usually starts at 20 minutes 4 times a week and has been as high as 90 minutes every day.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I think setting a clear goal is the key to being able to keep going so hard.
For example, I felt lost in my training for much of this year. I decided to take the year off from competing to focus on finishing up my bachelor’s degree and growing my personal training business.
Although it was the best decision to not have a specific training goal for this time period, it also really made me lose motivation for a while. My workouts suffered for a while and my eating wasn’t how it should have been.
At that point I just had to really reflect on what my goals and aspirations where when it came to fitness to help get me back into the right state of mind.
Although my next show won’t be for another year or so, I’m more focused on the task at hand than ever and making sure my eating is right and every workout is helping reach where I want to be in the end.
As far as it goes for managing my schedule around work and training, you just need to be prepared.
I like to plan my week a few days before, so I know exactly when I need to be up, when I need to be eating my meals, etc.
I always make sure to have meals cooked and ready to go for a few days at a time, that way I’m not reaching for fast food or junk food.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now I’m in a “bulking phase” to put on the size needed to compete next year. The goal is to win my class at a regional show so I can qualify for a national show.
In the next five years I’d like to turn pro. The ultimate goal is to be the first male vegan athlete on the Olympia stage.
I want to show people that this lifestyle can be done just as easily on a plant-based diet.
I’m currently starting a youtube channel to show people a behind the scene look of what an off-season, and next year a contest prep, looks like on a plant-based diet.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I think one of the most important aspects to bodybuilding is recovering from training properly and making sure I’m not getting injured.
Monthly chiropractic and massage work is something I’ve been doing for a few years now and it truly has helped with back pains and any small injuries.
Getting adequate calories and making sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night is especially crucial in the off-season when trying to get strong, to ensure you have the energy to get you through those workouts and make sure you are fully recovering from them.
I’ve also recently purchased a massage gun which has been a great tool to help release any tight spots and help avoid injury.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
As mentioned previously, my diet is plant-based so my main source of protein is tofu.
My meals usually consist of 70-90g of carbs, 25g of protein and 20g of fat. I do 5 food meals a day and one shake of about 750 calories.
During the off-season I’ll make sure I get in all 6 of my meals daily and if I’m still hungry I will indulge in like things here and there.
I try to limit “cheat meals” to 3 times a week. I think mentally it’s better especially in the off-season to just enjoy food when you want in reasonable amounts as opposed to “cheat meals” or days as this tends to create terrible eating habits.
Cheat days where something I would do when I first got into competing and it really messed me up mentally, I would go on these all out binges and eat anywhere from 5000-10000 calories a day.
I had such a terrible relationship with food it was an all or nothing type of mindset, whereas now by indulging with little things when I crave them, I don’t have a need to consume all these “dirty” foods to the point where my stomach is so full it feels like there’s a rock sitting in it.
As far as supplements go, I use a vegan protein powder from a local supplement store called VItaplus, a vegan fermented BCAA (Mutant, ANS and a few other companies have), a multi-vitamin, a B12 and a vitamin D.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Right now my goal that drives me each and everyday is to try and show people that this lifestyle is doable on a plant-based diet. The best way to make my point is by being the example.
We’ve had a few men’s physique pros who are vegan, but no one that has reached the highest level in the sport by going to the Olympia.
It’s also something that I’ve wanted to do since I saw that picture of Jay Cutler 10 years ago.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
A great way to start is looking at information online or hiring a someone to show you how to do it right. I’ve see so many people come in a just have no idea what they are doing and train for months on end without seeing any results.
Take the time to make sure you know what you are doing so that you are going to see results and prevent yourself from getting injured.
Be prepared. Always have an extra meal or shake with you so that you aren’t reaching for junk food.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, at the moment I am taking on clients that are looking to get in shape. I offer in personal training for anyone in the Downtown Montreal area.
I like to work more with people looking to make a life style change, whether it be to lose weight or put on muscle, I’m here to help.
I think being vegan has allowed me to really focus on the health aspects of eating, as opposed to just a macro-based approach of food.
I want to teach my clients to have sustainable diets that makes sure they are getting enough nutrients, enjoy foods they like, all while still achieving the desired result.
Where can we learn more about you?
Ready to get really fit and inspired?
I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.
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