Training both himself and other clients for over two decades, bodybuilding champion Fabrice Rinaldi has always been aware of the importance of the balance between building new muscle size and definition while also maintaining overall aesthetic appearance. Here he discusses his most recent training and competitive experience:
WorldBodybuilding: What made you decide to enter the NPC (National Physique Committee) Europa Dallas bodybuilding event in 2011?
Fabrice Rinaldi: Actually, it wasn't my first contest in 2011. I was thinking at first about competing in the NPC Ronnie Coleman show in April, but because of a leg injury I could not be in top shape for this event. So I decided to compete first in two shows in France in May, in which I won both my class and the overall. I also decided to compete in the NPC Branch Warren Classic in Texas, where I won the masters over 40 class. That's also a reason why I decided to compete a month later for the Europa in Dallas, in which I won the light heavyweight open class.
I hadn't competed for about five years and since I also just turned 40 in 2011, I thought it would be a great challenge for me to improve my knowledge about contest preparation, nutrition and special training system that I created and have been experimenting with for years for myself and many clients I've coached for show events. By the way, all my clients won their class and the overall event that they decided to compete in. As far as my own improvements, many people were telling me it would not be possible for me to be in better shape than when I was ten or fifteen years younger - but they were wrong!
WorldBodybuilding: What were your goals in training for the Europa Dallas?
Fabrice Rinaldi: A month before the Europa Dallas I decided to train heavier, not doing a lot of cardio and concentrate my energy on deep contractions and great intensity. My goals were to be harder, with much more definition and bigger - and that's exactly what I achieved at contest time. I didn't modify so much the quantity of protein I normally have - I'm always high in protein - but I did decrease my carbs a lot over three weeks, just increasing them when I was really too tired to maintain a really high training intensity. I also increased my carb intake three days before the show. I was seven pounds heavier for the Europa than the Branch Warren Classic, with much better definition, hard muscles and mass.
My plan was to compete as a light heavyweight. I was building more muscle during this preparation and my weight was not changing very much even while dropping a lot of fat. I focused my training program on my arms/shoulders and back especially, for me those parts of my body needed to be much bigger but also with a much better definition. I gained 2.3 inches in my arms in a few months, using different techniques I describe in my book.
WorldBodybuilding: How many weeks was your pre-contest training?
Fabrice Rinaldi: Well in fact I started my diet in November a little bit, but more and more strict after January. Before that I was fat... I could not even see my abs. So 16 weeks before the first show I was in contest diet with one cheating day every week, and very strict 6 weeks before the first show. Actually, I did maintain a diet plan over 8 months before the Europa staying in shape all this period. I trained before the Branch Warren Classic and the Europa at the Metroflex Gym in Arlington.
WorldBodybuilding: What was the weekly training regimen?
Fabrice Rinaldi: I trained 5 days/week: Day 1: Hamstrings-Biceps-Abs; Day 2: Chest-calves; Day 3: Quads-Abs; Day 4: Shoulders-Triceps; Day 5: Back-Abs; Day 6: Rest or Cardio; Day 7: Rest. Or if needed, I would change to a split routine that was the same except: Day 3: Rest; Day 4: Quads-Abs; Day 5: Shoulders-Triceps; Day 6: Back-Abs; Day 7: Rest.
I trained for six weeks using my "1 rep mass system" for the first movement of each muscle. One movement I feel the best for each body part. And following that, I performed other different movements but all depending on how I feel that day. I can isolate any part of my body and a specific muscle, so I just changed the exercises as needed either for more density, mass or definition to a specific muscle or body area.
In general, I use 3 to 4 sets for each exercise, I always go to the failure doing 6-8 reps but also using supersets, pick contraction and explosive contraction for each repetition. I never cheat when I perform a movement, and always use the best technique and angle to feel the maximum intensity on that muscle.
WorldBodybuilding: What was the typical daily meal plan during this period?
Fabrice Rinaldi: My diet in-season is always high in protein, low in carbs and medium in good fat. My protein amount is about 3-4gr/kg body weight and I change the carbs a day to another if needed, but always keeping low carbs. I eat 6 times/day every 3 hours in general and only organic and simple foods. I don't eat wheat, corn, soy, anything with aspartame or any kind of non natural sweetener. I only drink water or unsweetened tea that I make myself. Also, I never count calories.
WorldBodybuilding: What are your other current projects in training or bodybuilding?
Fabrice Rinaldi: I wrote a book three years ago about my own training system, 1 Rep Mass, which is a complete training and nutritional program for increasing your strength, muscle mass and definition.