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Interview with Alexandre Carpentier, bodybuilder

Interview with Alexandre Carpentier, bodybuilder


Hello Alexandre, can you introduce yourself?

My name is Alexandre Carpentier I'm 37 and I've been bodybuilding since 1995. Before that, I practised judo for 9 years.

How did you get into bodybuilding?

With the aim of improving my performance as a judoka and gaining weight, I decided to visit the municipal bodybuilding gym in Saint Valery en Caux (Normandy).

After a few months and a few small kilos gained, the bodybuilding virus had infected me. Seeing my physique change and take shape gave me a great deal of satisfaction and led me to make the decision to quit judo and take up bodybuilding alone. For the first few months, I wasn't attracted by body-built physiques, but then I bought my first magazine, Flex, to find advice on movements, and that was the revelation.

I was going to come to that, what's the physique that inspires you?

I came across a photo of the then Mr. Olympia, Mr. Dorian Yates, and decided that from then on I'd take up bodybuilding. This implied that I would have to have a suitable diet, structured workouts and pay attention to recovery. Of course, the early days were littered with mistakes in both my training techniques and my diet. The advice I'd been given was that, to build muscle, you need to eat lots of carbohydrates and protein.

However, no one had explained to me what kind of carbohydrates to eat, or how to limit the amount of fat and protein. So I ate everything, and in quantities that weren't adapted to my needs. As a result, I gained weight and fat! I started bodybuilding at 56kg and by 2009, i.e. 14 years later, I had reached 87kg.

In the meantime, I took part in two seasons of competitions with the AFCPAS in the light small size category. During these two seasons, which saw me place 7th in the French final in 2001 and 5th in the French final in 2003, as well as 6th in the Top de Colmar, I discovered the rigors of the dry diet.

After these two seasons, I stopped competing to devote myself to my family and professional life. However, motivated by my desire to prove to myself that I could succeed in this sport, and still passionate about it (I haven't stopped training), I successfully resumed competition in 2011 and again in 2012. At the end of these two years, I had become French Champion in athletics (-1.75m), won the 3 Grand Prix events I took part in and placed 9th at the NAC World Championships in athletics 2. Then I won the Saint Prix Open and qualified for the Mr Univers NAC, which I won 4 weeks later in Hamburg.

Apart from this desire to succeed and my admiration for Dorian Yates, I draw my inspiration and motivation from the desire to make those close to me, and in particular my wife and daughter, proud of me! They are a driving force for me and their support is one of the keys to my results.

Can you tell us more about your bodybuilding training?

After trying out a number of different workouts, including Yates' Heavy Duty, which cost me a back injury, I'm now a proponent of a more considered workout based more on intensity and muscle congestion than on the use of heavy loads. With the exception of one movement, during which my load will be relatively heavy, I work on 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions with moderate loads. Of course, for the first movement of each session, I do 3 warm-up sets before the actual 4 sets.

the exception is my quadriceps session, during which my sets are made up of 15-20 heavy reps, notably on the inclined press.

In the off-season, I do 4 or even 5 sessions a week, with one large muscle group and one small one, plus cardio (20min ) at the end of two sessions and a 1h30 road bike outing at the weekend.

The number of training sessions increases to 6 per week and 4 cardio sessions (20-25min each) during preparation.

The muscle groups I like to train most are the back, quadriceps-ischios and deltoids.

Do you have any exercise preferences?

My favorite movements are the barbell rowing with the chest bent, the rowing on the Hammer Strenght machine, the squat and the 45° inclined press.

The barbell bench press is really the one I avoid the most, as it has caused me shoulder pain. I prefer the dumbbell version for the sensations and freedom it gives me.

After the mistakes I made in the early years, which cost me a lot of time in my quest to build a muscular physique, since 2009 I've been following a relatively strict year-round diet with a "slack" day at the weekend, but it remains controlled. I don't want to stray more than 5-7kg from my competition weight in the off-season. I rely on adapted supplementation to build quality muscle (whey isolate, vaso-creatine, testosterone and growth hormone boosters, bcaa complex, glutamine for recovery and Megagear supplements!)

What advice would you give to a young person starting out in bodybuilding?

If I had to give advice today to someone starting out in bodybuilding and looking to build a muscular physique, I'd tell them not to be impatient. Time, serious, well-thought-out training and a suitable diet are the keys to success. I'd even go so far as to stress the importance of diet, because that alone can jeopardize everything, and I speak from experience!

Another piece of advice would be, loading is only a tool for building muscle, not an end in itself. It's not because you take big loads that you have a quality physique.

Any final thoughts?

I'd like to say that I'm proud of the results I've achieved since 2011, and this year I hope to add new titles to my list of achievements. But I'm also very proud to be practicing such a demanding discipline, which requires a real understanding of your body, your reactions and yourself.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those closest to me, especially my wife and daughter, as well as my sponsors Megagear and Activlab for their support.

Alexandre Carpentier

Mr Univers NAC 2012

Posted in: Sports athletes