Friends, I introduce you to Nick Vitani, who is also certified by the ISSA from where I am proudly certified. Nick was of tremendous help during my competition days. He has been in the IronGame from a very longtime and has competed in many events.
I requested him to answer a few queries with relating to fitness and bodybuilding, for he humbly accepted my offer and extended his helping hand in answering my questions.
I hope you all enjoy the Q and A.
Q) Can you provide a brief history of yourself and your training background? How it all started? Who was the source of your inspiration? Tell us more about your competitions. Do you compete now?
A) Hi. My name is Nick Vitani. I am 49 years old, living in Orlando, Florida, USA. I began working out with weights when I was around 16, but I didn’t workout consistently until I was 18 or 19. I first started hitting the weights seriously in college as I was interested in playing football (American football!). I had a friend (Joe Carlton) who was competing in bodybuilding and he was was one of the top teenagers in the country. I had pretty good results from training so I became interested in competing too. My first contest was in West Palm Beach, FL in 1986 at the age of 24. I competed next a year later? I placed put of the top 6 in each of those contests. Needless to say I had a lot to learn. I had few mentors at that point, so I relied heavily on Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines.
Since 1986 I had been bitten by the “iron bug” and my goal of weight lifting changed from preparing for football to preparing for bodybuilding contests. I took 10 years off from competing, but when I did return I competed regularly for the next 11 years.
With each contest I gained more knowledge of how to prepare and I improved gradually over time. My first big accomplishment came in 1997 when I won the Novice Overall title in the Florida Gold Cup Bodybuilding championship. Other than some 2nd place finishes, the next highlight for me was winning 1st place in the Masters Over 40 Division in the Hurricane Bay Bodybuilding Championships in 2003 in Tampa, Florida. As I got better and better, my quest for knowledge in bodybuilding continued to grow. I learned a great deal from Muscle Media magazine and even entered the EAS Body For Life Challenge in 1998. In 2006 I became certified by the International Association of Sports Sciences (ISSA). This provided a valuable source of information on the scientific aspects of bodybuilding.
The pinnacle of my bodybuilder career came in 2006 when I won 1st place in the light-heavyweight division in the NPC Diamond Classic bodybuilding championships. I then won the overall posedown and won the Overall Title! It was a night in will never forget.
After my huge victory in 2006, I competed 7 more times through 2008. I had a couple of 4th place finishes in national qualifiers, one 3rd place finish, and four 2nd place finishes. Some of those 2nd place finishes were very difficult to swallow, especially in my very last contest in June 2008 where I was 1 point from winning the Masters Over 40 in the Mid-Florida Muscle Classic. I was in the best contest condition of my life in this contest. At that point I felt there would be no way I could make any further improvements at my age (47), I decided there was no point in competing anymore. After 19 contests over 21 years, I decided to retire from competitive bodybuilding.
One thing I would like to remind everyone is, I have competed drug-free for life! I never taken any steroids or other drugs. I don’t believe in short cuts and bodybuilding drugs are way too dangerous. Besides, any “gains” they might give are only temporary anyway and they go away as soon as you stop taking them. Whenever I am asked about drugs by young athletes, I always tell them the same thing- “no way”.
Since my last contest, of course I still work out regularly and try to keep in shape. Right now it’s all about health and longevity. I also have a chronic bone degeneration in my left shoulder. It is painful at times and limits me from how I train in the gym. I try to work around it, but it’s constantly hurting. This is the only thing preventing me from considering ever stepping on stage again as a Masters Over 50 competitor.
Now, I will answer some of the other questions asked of me.
Q) Why do I think one should compete in their respective sport?
A) This is what motivated me to train my hardest. Competition forces a person to be their best.
Q) The single most important factor to people pursuing fitness?
A) You have to want to do it for yourself. Only YOU can motivate yourself. The benefits will last a lifetime. These are a long life and a higher quality of life in old age. The earlier you start, the better the benefits will be obtained.
Q) What is your training philosophy?
A) My training philosophy is simple- stick to the basics. Nothing fancy, and everything in moderation. I believe that cardio training should be an integral part of everyones program. Also, a proper diet is 60% of the equation when trying to build your body. Finally, my training philosophy can be summed up by the saying “no one size fits all”.
Q) What motivates me to train?
A) Originally it was to build my body (build muscle and burn fat). Competing motivated me to train HARDER. Now, at 49, my motivation is to stay as young looking for as long as possible and to maintain my health.
Q) Do you study the field? Who do you go to for training advice?
A) I am constantly reading up on the subject of fitness by reading articles on the Internet. I have gained many years of knowledge from all the magazines and other articles I have researched. Also, the knowledge I gained from ISSA is very important. Also, from years of personal training, I have learned on the job how different people react to different programs.
Q) When it comes to training, who influenced you?
A) I must mention Patrick Gamboa with ISSA as a person I will always admire and respect.
I also received valuable contest preparation advice from Dr. Layne Norton, who coached me for 2 out of my last 3 contests.
Q) What specific problems do you see that men and women have with their own training?
A) Too many people want to take shortcuts. It takes years of hard work to get the results people are looking for. Nothing good ever comes easy.
Q) When it comes to physical training, what should men and women aim for? How should they keep themselves motivated?
A) Everyone has a different goal. They should develop training specific to those goals. Competing is a sure way to keep someone motivated, if there are any contests in their area of interest. Overall, everyone should aim to be the best they can be.
Q) Anything else you would like to mention?
A) Expect adversity and plan to deal with it. Practice humility and be modest. Never get cocky, because no matter how good you think you are, there is always someone out there who is better.