Abfitt talks with rising local NPC Athlete Ehreck Wes


Name: Ehreck Wes        
Age: 25
The Particulars- 5'9  165 Lb
Years competing: 1
Sponsors: None

ABFITT: You have been very busy lately two NPC shows in what three weeks? Thank you for taking the time to talk with ABFITT. Can you give us some background information?

Ehreck Wes : Yes I did 2 shows in the past 3 weeks it defiantly took a lot of discipline to not want to break diet after the first show. I was born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Staten island, NY and Scotrun, Pennsylvania! I am 25 years old and studied at East Stroudsburg University and The University of Jaen in spain, Europe and I have a bachelors degree is in foreign language and business. I competed in the Lehigh valley NPC show and took third as well as the New Jersey NPC show and took 4th. I would have very much like to have taken first but these were my first set of shows ever so I was happy with the results of being in the top 5 for both. 

 ABFITT: What sparked your initial interest in weight training and how did this lead to competing in the men's physique division?

Ehreck Wes: I originally started weight training thanks to my father and uncle. I had gotten caught with marijuana on school grounds when I was around 15 years old and had been suspended and put on juvenile probation. needless to say I was grounded by my parents. One morning at around 4 am my father woke me up and said "LETS GO!" so I got out of bed, we jumped in the car and he drove me to a local Wal-Mart and purchased me a bench, weights and a set of dumbbells. by the time we got back my uncle had been at our house and my father said "Your uncle is going to help you set this up and he is also going to teach you how to weight train." so being that the only thing I was allowed to do was spend time with my uncle after school I began to learn dieting, weight training and supplementation through my uncles guidance, but the thing I will remember most is the reaction I got when I returned to school my 11th grade yeah after a whole summer of training. People could not believe how different I looked and how much bigger and stronger I had gotten! I loved the feeling of being able to feel and look great!     

ABFITT: Talk to us about the importance of nutrition and how you dial it in when preparing to step on stage.

Ehreck Wes: Nutrition is the number one most important thing when it come to stage prep or even training in general it allows you to maximize your gains and can help you achieve that razor sharp physique you need, to be able to place well, and really stand out on stage. There is no amount of cardio you can do to out run a bad diet. I am always sure to take in the proper amounts of proteins, healthy fats, carbs and water.   

 ABFITT: What is your take on training? What has worked best for you? With so much information available to people looking to start, what the best advice you can offer?

Ehreck Wes:  I think when it comes to training being consistent is the first place to start. Getting in your 5 days at the gym and your 2 days of rest. I like to train separate body parts on each one of those 5 days making sure I am hitting all my muscle groups within the training week. I like to pyramid my sets making sure my rep range is usually 15, 12, 10, 8,  and I adjust my weights accordingly, as I grow in strength. I will however change my exercises and swap out rep ranges to 10,8,8,6 or 20,15,12,10 to give my muscle some confusion that will help stimulate constant growth. I usually top of my weight training session with about 30 minutes of high intensity interval cardio.   

ABFITT: Let’s talk about your competitions. Tell us about them  and what if any one show stands out the most so far.

Ehreck Wes: Doing My first 2 shows was an amazing experience it allowed me to stay disciplined and train much harder knowing I would have to step on a stage in front of a panel of judges, audience and along side other guys who have been training just as hard as me. The show that will always stand out in my mind is my first show at Lehigh Valley where my best friend Zach Migala and I turned an individual sport into a team sport by training together, dieting together, and stepping on stage together. We stuck by each other and made sure we pushed ourselves to ultimately become better versions of ourselves and it allowed both of us to place among the top 3. Bobby Cartalemi our coach at Muscle INC also was a big part of my success. He was able to monitor my diet, improve my training techniques and help me with my posing. He really helped keep me on track in the weeks leading to the show.

ABFITT: What advice would you give guys thinking about competing in MPD?

Ehreck Wes: Stop thinking and just do it! Its a great experience even if you come in dead last or first place you still are walking a path that will ultimately make you a better person then you are currently! You will learn discipline, proper nutrition, become more in tune with your body and walk away feeling and looking better then you ever did.

ABFITT: So what’s next?

Ehreck Wes: Now that I am done with the shows for the season I am going to continue to train, look for modeling work and casting calls for television shows and movies. I am also going to be trying to receive some sponsorships from other companies as well as continue to compete.  

ABFITT: How can ABFITT readers follow you and your MPD career?

Ehreck Wes: I currently have a Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and profile on backstage.com many of which you can find by just typing Ehreck Wes into a Google search bar but here are the specific links to my Instagram and Facebook.

 ABFITT: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with ABFITT and I wish you continued success.

Boxing Workout Programs

boxing may at times look easy when watching from the comfort of your living room, however the basics of the sport require a great deal of mental skill and strategy and of course a tremendous amount of physical training. A boxing workout is long, tiring and made of many types of exercise.

Understanding the Sport
To understand why a boxing workout is so involved, it helps to understand the basics of the sport. Televised professional boxing puts a lot of emphasis on knockouts and injuries--they make for good television after all. But amateur and Olympic boxing puts its emphasis on landing good touches while keeping your opponent from touching you.
A touch happens when your glove makes contact with your opponent. You can touch them on the head, face, body and arms, but nothing below the belt. In order to get your gloves near their body, you must be fast, have great endurance, decent flexibility and strength.

Warming Up

Shadow Boxing: Facing a mirror so that you can check your form, practice each of the moves you would use in the ring. Start with a simple combination and work your way up to something more complicated.
For example, start with a simple 1-2-3-4 combination (jab, cross, hook, uppercut) and work up to a more complicated combination of moves. The objective here is to check form and keep your heart rate up.

Jump Rope: Jump roping keeps the heart rate up, strengthens arms and legs, and teaches quick footwork. Try jump roping for 3 minutes at a time, then resting for a minute--the same pattern of time you would be boxing in a ring.
As you jump rope, switch up the way you are jumping. Try jumping with your feet moving in a shuffle pattern, crossing your arms as you jump or double jumping--making the rope move twice under your feet before your feet hit the ground again.
Strength Moves
Building muscle serves two purposes in boxing. It helps you land stronger, faster punches and helps protect you when you get hit.
Pushups and crunches are the best basic moves for boxers to practice. These moves train the areas where you will be getting hit and require no additional equipment. Try these variations to add even more power to your workout.

Pushup Variations
Standard pushups - Legs are straight out behind you while hands are under your shoulders.
Diamonds - Legs are in a V-shape you. Hands are together with the forefingers and thumbs touching to make a diamond shape under your chest.
Wide grips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are set farther away from your body so that your body makes a "y" shape.
Knuckles - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in fists under your shoulders.
Fingertips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in the standard pushup position, however you will balance yourself on your fingertips.

Crunch Variations
Basic crunch - Hands are behind the head. Feet are flat on the floor so that the knees are bent at a 45-degree angle.
Obliques 1 - Hands are behind the head. One foot is flat on the floor so that the knee is bent at a 45-degree angle. The other foot rests on the opposite knee. Repeat on each side.
Obliques 2 - Hands are behind the head. Legs lay to one side, resting on top of each other. Repeat for each side.
Rope climb - Hands are straight out from the chest at a right angle from the body. Legs are extended up at right angle from the body. As you crunch, move your arms as though you are climbing a rope.
Mitt and Bag Work
After your body is well warmed up, it is time to actually hit something.

Speed Bag - Use the speed bag to practice precise movements. You do not need to hit the speed bag very hard. Instead, you should focus on hitting it accurately--making it swing the same amount after each hit and being able to hit it again when it swings back.
Heavy Bag - Use the heavy bag to practice all the punches and to add strength to your punches. You can practice each of the four punches on the bag, now concentrating on landing each punch with power.
Mitt Work - Use a partner wearing mitts to practice hitting a moving target. This will also show you why cardio training is so important because you will have to control your breathing as well as your punches.

Make sure that your partner moves around as they hold the mitts that you are working to hit. Like the shadow boxing warm up, start with a simple combination and work up to something more complicated.

An Inside look at IFBB Men's Physique Pro Jake Phippen's contest prep for 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix

Part I of a IIII part series following IFBB Men's physique pro Jake Phippen's contest prep for 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix April 12 in Culver City, CA (Los Angeles) 
Interviewed - 2/2014

ABFITT: Jake the last time you spoke with Abfitt you were wrapping up the 2013 season with a win
at the Sacramento pro. Can you bring us up to speed on what's been going on in your offseason?

Jake Phippen: Since the IFBB Sacramento Pro my coach and I decided to add a little mass to my physique, increase metabolism, and continue to work on symmetry.

The last couple months my diet has been a higher caloric intake mainly through an increase in carbs with a free meal once a week. My workouts would be described best as MET Training (Metabolic Enhancement Training). This is strength and/or conditioning exercises performed with the intention of increasing the capacity and efficiency of the energy pathways to store and deliver energy for activity.

As of this morning my weight is up 12 lbs from what I
 typically show at. With the increase in mass I will step on stage heavier, fuller, and just as lean. Very excited to see the end result April 12!

ABFITT: Lets talk about your upcoming contest, the first for the 2014 season. The 2014 IFBB Pro Grand Prix April 12 in Culver City, CA (Los Angeles) Why this particular venue?

Jake Phippen: I wanted to get back on stage ASAP to give myself
 enough chances to try and qualify for the 2014 Olympia and this show is 1 of the 2 first IFBB Pro Men's Physique shows of the year. It's the closest event from where I live and I enjoy competing out in Cali. But, the main reason I wanted to do this show was for the competition. There will be a bunch of guys competing who also competed and placed in the '13 Olympia. This will give me an idea of where I stack against them and what I need to work on.

ABFITT: So take the casual observer through your thought process going from your last contest to this point, as you prepare for the Grand Prix.

Jake Phippen: Mental strength will either make or break you. I get into the mindset that nothing will stop me or distract me from my prep. I always train to win and this motivates to give my all day in and day out.

ABFITT: Take us through a typical day of contest prep for Jake Phippen. Your nutrition, your training, your mental state. *(Trying to give someone who has never sacrificed the things a competitor has to in order to compete an idea of  the daily struggles as well as rewards a athlete goes through during contest prep)

Jake Phippen: Nutrition wise I eat 6 meals per day and an Intra Workout drink called Plazma. My protein and fat is divided up fairly evenly through 6 meals and the carbs are setup for recovery and optimizing my metabolism (Each meal has a different carb amount).

 I workout 6 days a week with 1 recovery day and no cardio at this point. With the way MET training works my workouts include some heavy lifting, lighter tempo lifts, followed by a short high intensity circuit. I try to workout at the same time everyday. These routines last between 1-1 1/2hrs.

Each day I wakeup with the intent to better myself from the day before. This could include physically, mentally, or emotionally. Always trying to improve some aspect of my life.

Let me take you throughout a typical day while prepping for a show.

4am: wakeup, check weight, posing practice
5am: meal 1, work
8am: meal 2, work
11am: meal 3, social media, emails, and online clients
2pm: meal 4, preworkout supplements
3pm: workout, posing at the gym, work
5pm: meal 5, work
8pm: meal 6,
 social media, emails, and online clients
9pm: posing at home, meal prep 
10pm: bed

I normally cut out all social life so I don't put myself into a position to possibly ruin my progress. I also ramp up posing. Bad posing can ruin an exceptional physique. I've seen too many great competitors lose out because they don't present themselves well. I love my sleep and go to bed early but sleep is a key element for proper recovery. If you don't get

 Your rest your body will start breaking down and this can affect hormone levels and loss of muscle mass. I know if I can be 100% in the situations under my control (eating, workouts, sleep, posing, social life, etc) then I will bring to stage the best physique possible.

ABFITT: Any other shows planned for the 2014 season?

Jake Phippen:The only other show I have in mind is the Dallas Europa May 3. After that my coach and I will make a decision as to what shows would be ideal and realistic to compete in.  

ABFITT: Thanks for your time Jake. We are going to chat again at three weeks out for the second of four updates as we follow you in your lead up and post contest for the Grand Prix.

Jake Phippen: Thank you again and I look forward to updating you all in a few weeks. Feel free to follow me on social media and don't hesitate to ask any questions about my prep.
Facebook: IFBB Pro Jake Phippen

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Hope Taylor 2014 Posters For A Better Cause

" Our kids deserve advocates that empower them to believe in themselves and their future AS A BRIGHT ONE. If we don't act the risk that they might carry the beliefs and labels that society puts on them because of what they endured is highly probable. If we can help one kid, that helps another kid, that helps another kid... it'll be a beautiful thing to see, experience and be amazing to be apart of. I can show them what I've done and the odds I fought to aligned me with my dreams. And this is only the beginning "

Please show your support, friend of Abfitt  Hope Taylor: 

" These Hope Taylor 2014 Posters are selling 1 for $15, 2 for $25 and 3 for $30. Proceeds will go to a local organization designed to protect children from abuse. It's a cause very close to my heart.

In addition to our collective monetary donation, I'll be contributing my time in efforts to be an advocate for these kids, to help them believe in themselves, to be their own success story, in whatever direction they choose to live their dream!

If you are interested in purchasing please send me an email to fitlife4hope@gmail.com  with your selections and/or any questions. PAYPAL is available! I only printed a limited amount so if you are interest please order promptly!

Thank you all so very much for your consideration. Love, Hope "

The Curvy Truth...One woman's Quest For Balance, As She Reaches Her Fitness Goals

Note from the editor: Guest writer and friend of AbFitt Latina Wanda shares her story of struggle and success with her personal fitness. All photo's courtesy of Miss Wanda.

The Curvy Truth-

I gave up everything to move to a foreign country and follow my heart. Cultural integration was proving to be a challenge due to the need to quickly learn a language that could possibly open the gateway to social acceptance and a chance to work. In spite of my high qualifications and many job interviews, I never found a job in my area of expertise. It was frustrating because I was very young, full of ideas and the energy to boot…

I had always been active, but with my move to Germany came complacency. I didn’t make much of it since a high metabolism compensated for my overindulgence. But then it came… That dreaded moment that most of us women know all too well and to which I refer to as “the shift”… It basically translated to “I gotta start cutting down my intake”, and I knew I ate way too much because 1) I love food and b) I could. Well that wasn’t happening anymore. I also knew that I had to start exercising.

There was a pivotal point in my life where I just got tired of living for others, and it was pretty much exactly at the same time where as a young family we were struggling with money. I had my first child, a workaholic husband, a demanding household and absolutely no time for myself. A gym membership was out of the question and forget a babysitter because there was no money for that either. I had no support system, because I left that behind when I moved and his family was far away. What did I do to overcome so many obstacles? I decided to put myself as a priority – no excuses! I started doing all sorts of floor exercises at home while my child took his naps and even found a YMCA that offered aerobic classes at a reasonable fee with childcare. It was a start towards getting my body back after the initial shock of pregnancy and childbirth but more importantly, towards liking myself again.

By the time I had my second child, I was better prepared, but goodness do these kids suck the life out of you! My energy levels were alarmingly low and soon after the birth of my second child I fell ill. I had very little support at home and was stressed beyond belief… I do think it was the closest I have ever come to being depressed. I needed surgery and knew that once I recovered, I would be pain-free and could get back on that horse. I got through that and continued to keep my focus. Through my home efforts I at least manage to keep my weight under control and felt very proud about that.

The biggest change, however that I experienced as a woman came when I moved to Asia. Expatriate life offers many perks, and one of them was the luxury of time… Now we all know that you cannot buy time, but you can hire a housekeeper/babysitter to clear your day so that time magically appears… All the things that were not possible before, could now be done. I wasted no time! The gym membership was the very first thing I got. I attended classes feverishly, trying out everything, and my body transformed before my eyes. With my new body came overwhelming confidence. My energy levels were through the roof, and to be completely honest, not much has changed today…. I am the oldest in my current boxing/mix fight class, and I leave that class nearly every time with the biggest smile on my face because when we are doing those drills, it would seem that in a room of teens and 20-year olds, I am the only one that can complete them without looking like I’ll be dragged to the next emergency unit! Now that’s something to brag about…!

Returning back to Germany meant a smack of reality and a test to see what I had truly learned about my fitness journey. I no longer had the maid to clean the house nor the babysitter to look after my kids, and the monetary benefits were all slashed. So what changed in my fitness regime now that I had less free time? Absolutely nothing! The moment you make that conscious decision to care for yourself and you begin to reap the benefits, chances are you’ll never go back! It becomes a priority and not an item on your excuse list. Working out should be a habit but never a burden! You do it because you keep remembering how utterly fantastic you feel every time after that. If your attitude is to live a healthy lifestyle, then the fact that you may have little money, have kids to care for, have a house to clean, have a job in a workplace, etc. should never be a reason to NOT do something about it!

Exercising comes in so many shapes and forms. There is something out there for everyone. And today we even have the luxury of attaining a wealth of information online, and get this, for free! One of the great things about exercising besides the obvious fact of staying healthy is the amazing side effect of looking good. People look at you differently, admiringly, with respect and some even with a little bit of envy… ;) How can anyone want that to stop?!?

Being a Hispanic woman has endowed me with steep curves and some serious junk in the trunk! So many believe that I am lucky because they wish they could have it too. Now I’m not going to lie to you, it is great to be curvy IF you can control the fat…. IF you can eat moderately all the time… IF childbirth doesn’t expand you and then deflates parts of you that say “a perky butt once lived here”…

IF the weight you are trying to lose is coming off the excessive saddlebags you’re lugging around and NOT from your already lean forearms… I could go on with the “IF”s, but you get the picture. For me it has always been important to have a body that exudes both strength and femininity. I’m not in this to compete, and I most certainly am not in it to prove that I am stronger than anybody. I am just a normal mom and housewife, who just wants to prove that a positive attitude and an ironclad will is all you will ever need to begin to care for yourself!