Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi guys! My name is Alexander Serrano, I’m 24 years old, and currently live in central FL, and I’m currently an NPC bodybuilder, on the course of going pro. I compete in the Classic Physique category, which is where I plan on staying.
I’ve trained consistently from a young age of about 10 yrs old with my father who introduced me to lifting weights. However, last year was my first time ever attempting to actually compete in bodybuilding. The show I competed in was the NPC Ty Pope Classic, in which I placed 1st in my class, and 2nd overall. After going through the whole experience of prep, and actually competing — I was hooked.
Describe a typical day of training
My training typically looks something like this:
- Mon: Chest/triceps
- Tues: Legs/biceps
- Wed: Shoulders/back
- Thurs: Chest/triceps
- Fri: Legs/biceps
- Sat: Shoulders/back
Sundays are always my rest days, and if I ever feel the need of an extra day off, I’ll take one.
For me, the key thing has always been listening to my body, and understanding when a deload may be needed. My training style usually consists of heavier weights, but that’s also due to the fact that, at one point for a few years I was training for powerlifting.
However, I feel it has had an excellent carryover towards bodybuilding as it allows me to use heavier weights even while training for hypertrophy. My workouts typically last an hour and a half, sometimes a bit less. I do prefer a more intense style of training over tons of volume, but I feel everything has it’s rightful time, and place.
My favorite exercises would definitely have to be the bench press, squats, and deadlifts. The main reason being is that for the past four years, I’ve primarily focused on those three lifts for powerlifting, and absolutely fell in love with them. I also feel that they carry over TREMENDOUSLY towards bodybuilding, I would consider those lifts to be great starting foundations, or mass builders.
When it comes to training, there was a point in time, where my father obviously got a bit older, and stopped training, so I trained by myself in the basement, and garage for about six years, before I began training in a public gym. I feel that both environments definitely have they’re pros and cons.
In the gym, I’ve met awesome people who have become training partners, but while training alone I’m typically able to have a more intense workout, and solely focus on the whole reason as to why I’m training to begin with.
I love training both, with and without people, but if I had to make a choice as to which I would do permanently, it would be to train alone, only because I’m just able to focus a bit more.
I would advise anyone who likes to train in a public gym to surround themselves with people who actually want to get better, and push themselves, because in many cases that do not always happen, and you may wind up spending about the same time talking as you do training. lol.
How do you keep going and push harder?
The key thing for me always in staying motivated is to remember why I started to begin with. Especially now that I’m competing. Now that doesn’t mean that I always feel 100% zoned in on training every single day, but during those times, I like to think to myself what are some of the bodybuilders who are leaps, and bounds ahead of me doing?
I’m sure they have those types of days as well, but the drive for competing against some of the very best is what keeps me, and many others going. However, even for those who don’t compete, they too should remind themselves why they started.
This is a long walk, which is very rewarding, whether it be for overall health, fitness, weight loss, etc. But just like anything that’s very rewarding in life, it requires consistency, and hard work, but EVERYONE is capable of getting leaner, bigger stronger, or just healthier.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training has been going great. I had to make a change in my style of training within the last year, as it was more strength orientated.
That hasn’t been a difficult change at all, as I’m still able to apply some of those same principles over to this hypertrophy style of training. Some of the main differences between the two have been just a bit more volume, and FAR more isolated training, which I’m doing now.
My main goals for this year are to just keep training hard, and improving my weaknesses, and I would really like to earn an IFBB Pro Card.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have in my past faced minor injuries in my lower back, and quad area. However, the best thing I’ve ever done for recovery has been just to actually rest. I have had a bad habit in my past where I would just want to keep on pushing, when my body was clearly asking me to slow down just a bit. This is also where self discipline begins to take effect, being honest with yourself, and actually listening to your body.
If you’re on a program hitting a particular exercise, and you have five sets to complete for example, but you notice on your 4th set you were feeling some discomfort or pain, it would be better just to move on, and find a different exercise or movement that doesn’t cause you any pain for the time being.
The key thing is to LISTEN to your body, and not let your ego get in the way of that. I’d rather skip out on an exercise or workout than be forced to be sidelined for awhile.
My favorite supplement to assist with some joint or pain discomfort has always been fish oil, and healthy vitamins.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
During the off-season, I hardly ever track any macros at all but I’m always sure to follow a high protein diet. My personal style of tracking progress is just to make sure that I’m still able to progressively overload in the gym, solidifying enough calories, and protein to do so, and watching my body fat level with the mirror.
I typically try to stay within a 13-16% BF range outside of competition. That’s where I personally feel comfortable, and it’s easily maintainable for me, and it still allows me to enjoy some of all of our favorite foods.
When prep comes around, I have a pretty smooth transition because the foods aren’t significantly different to what I would typically eat. They’re just in smaller portions, and having discipline not to fall into temptation of eating what I see others around me typically having.
For supplements, I keep it pretty simple, with BCAAs, health vitamins, fish oil, protein, and of course pre workout mix.
When it comes to special occasions, and going out for lunch or dinner, as long as I’m NOT on prep, I have no problem enjoying a nice meal, whether a burger, wings, fries, etc. But everything I do, I do it in moderation so that I’m still able to go out and eat some of these meals. But just like everything else in life, there needs to be a fair balance.
I personally don’t feel the need to be ripped or low BF all year round, and I actually perform better mentally, and physically at a BF% of about 14-15%. This may be quite a bit different from one person to the next, but I feel that even bodybuilding would be more enjoyable if there is balance, but this is totally individual.
As for drinking, I actually do not drink alcohol at all, not for any particular reason that’s bad, but I just personally choose not to. Now on the opposite end of the spectrum I absolutely LOVE coffee, and typically drink about two cups a day, not due to low energy, but just for personal satisfaction.
My go-to at the moment for BCAAs has been Evlution or EVL BCAA 5000, and they’re vitamode vitamins. I actually really do like their products.
What has inspired and motivated you?
My original inspiration to begin training at all was my father. I remember being around eight yrs old at the time, and he bought a weight set with an area to also do dips, and pullups, and he would come home from work while I was either outside with friends, or watching TV, and ask if I wanted to lift. I was 8 at the time lol, and of course I’d say yes!
I’d normally just do pull ups, push ups, and curls. But what REALLY opened my eyes up to bodybuilding, and wanting to try it one day, was a magazine that he had brought home. It was Muscular Development, and on the cover was Jay Cutler. Once I looked through it, and saw all of these amazing bodybuilders, it was a done deal for me lol. I was about 10 years old at the time.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The greatest piece of advice that I could ever give anyone is to just be patient. This is a long term commitment, and regardless of how you go about it, it takes awhile to achieve some of the goals we set for ourselves. But in reality it’s just like anything else in life that’s worth having, or working for, it takes time.
I fell in love with this, and even if there were absolutely NO benefits at all to lifting weights, I would honestly still do it, thankfully there are many benefits lol. But just work hard, and be patient. If you’re doing the work, and staying VERY consistent I promise it won’t be in vain.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I actually do not coach at the moment. I would like to one day, but honestly I just don’t have the time at the moment, and if I ever do, I would love to give each, and every person the time that they deserve.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can follow me on Instagram at @freakin_dominirican