Interview With Drug Free Natural Bodybuilder Jerome Dinh by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Jerome, welcome to www.criticalbench.com - it's great to have a drug free bodybuilder who has been successful like you have. Tell us about yourself?
Jerome Dinh: Well, I am 27 years old, married with a 3 year old daughter. Currently I weigh 170lbs at 5'7" sporting just over 18" arms, yes pumped and I wish cold! I've been a competitive bodybuilder for over 10 years & officially "clean and natural, no drugs" for seven years as of this coming summer. I think at one point or another, about 80% of serious bodybuilder have "juiced" just to see what would happen. Unfortunately in my case, I got BUNK stuff! Thus, my ever lasting pursuit of obtaining the best physique possible and I quote, "naturally". Currently I am training for the 2006 Mr. Minnesota & Greater Twin Cities Open on 07-15-06 and I am 13 weeks out at 8% body fat!
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Out of all of the things to do in life why was bodybuilding your calling?
Jerome Dinh: Well it all started back when I was a 10th grader and I was training after school in the weight room when this big kid (keep in mind he was the strongest, most muscular kid in school and he was a grade older than I) Shawn Barthel approached me and asked if I would like to try bodybuilding and be his training partner. He said that I have a great physique and a lot of potential. He took me under his wing, taught me about how to train, what to read and really our high school lives thereafter was consumed with nothing but bodybuilding material. It was great having him and vise versa as partners because we competed with each other in everything!
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Why do you think bodybuilding is the best?
Jerome Dinh: Bodybuilding is SOO much like a drug. I love the pump in the gym and how your muscles seem to have instantaneously grow. The compliments from people is very rewarding and lets you know that you're going in the right direction. Don't let anyone tell you but you can NOT be humble as a bodybuilder, it's quite the contradiction! I love and feed of compliments and even haters. It's what helps put fuel to the fire.
I love attention. In addition, I love the fact that I have the ability to change the shape of my body and the power to manipulate it. It also keeps me out of trouble. The feeling in the gym is an indescribable feeling, the adrenaline, the pump, the look, everything!
4) CRITICAL BENCH: What tough times have you had to experience in the sport of bodybuilding and in life?
Jerome Dinh: I have had many misfortunes since I started bodybuilding. For one, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (overactive thyroid) when I was 14 and until 19. So putting on the mass was very tough during those crucial years. Anything I put in my mouth was immediately burned off. So needless to say, I ate like a baby whale, consuming food non-stop. Moreover, the passing of my father at the age of 18 was very tough for me to deal with so my focus in bodybuilding wasn't 100% there! I don't know if you can consider this a adversity but the year from 19-22 I was going out clubbing a lot and meeting ladies. During this time and when I was out with my friends, my training wasn't as heart felt. Then I met my future wife when I was 22 and I didn't train for 3 months. Then when I got back in the gym, I lost a good 15lbs of muscle and gained 10lbs of fat! My wife at the time consumed every extra minute I had so again, my focus was lacking! It wasn't until 6 months after I was married at the age of 25 @ 210lbs of fatness, that I got fed up and said that I am going to make a change and really pursue bodybuilding seriously.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your favorite exercise and why?
Jerome Dinh: My favorite exercise is Squats. It's weird because I use to HATE THEM WITH A PASSION, because they took so much out of you. But now I love them, I love the pump it gives my legs and how they look after a set. My least favorite exercise is probably barbell curls. I just don't get a good pump, plus I am not very strong in that area...thank God, J/K. Seriously, I am grateful for everything God has blessed me with!!
6) CRITICAL BENCH: What has been the highlight of your bodybuilding career?
Jerome Dinh: My favorite bodybuilding moment is the overall pose down I did in my last bodybuilding show 2004 Natural Northern States and ALL the feedback I received from people in the audience and the feedback I got from them when the show as done! It was between me (lightweight winner) and this very know/established light heavy weight winner xf: Bolo who had 30-40lbs of more muscle than I, plus he took 3rd in the World Championships at the Muscle Mania. People came up to me after prejudging and after the overall saying that it was CLOSE and that I could have won it. MAN, that was a great feeling and one memory I will truly cherish!
7) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your # 1 tip for all the bodybuilders out there?
Jerome Dinh: KNOWLEDGE is my tip. Learn as much as you can about the body, how it works, the foods you consume, training and never stop learning. Shawn Ray said that he has never stopped learning and continues to learn everyday. So no matter how established you are or your accomplishments, learning is a perpetual thing. Train safe and smart. Eat like a bodybuilder NON-PROCESSED FOODS, chicken & turkey breast, rice, consume lots of water, rest, never lose sight of your goals, be patient, keep an open mind, use mind to muscle connection when training, think about the muscle your working and get the fullest stretch possible, stretch your muscle before, during and after you train...man I can keep going but that's the basics,...eat it up, knowledge is food for the mind, heart and soul brother!
8) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your stance on drugs?
Jerome Dinh: Steroids, well, I personally don't use them because I feel that I might get health complications and I want to live as long as possible with my friends and family! More power to those who do, I don't feel that I am better than them and vise versa! On the other notes, I am a HUGE/FIRM believer in supplements as a natural bodybuilder. You need all the help you can get to grow that muscle.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
Jerome Dinh: My goal, one day, is to get some good jobs doing fitness modeling and some day, open a gym with me wife. Moreover, I would like to be a more established bodybuilder and get my Pro Card in the Natural circuit. Currently, my goal is to win the overall for this July's Mr. Minnesota!
10) CRITICAL BENCH: You love bodybuilding a ton, but what parts about bodybuilding do you love to hate?
Jerome Dinh: The worst part of bodybuilding is having patience for seeing results. You can easily be detoured if they come too slow! In addition, equalizing the time between, family and training, not to mention..NOT being able to eat all the junk you want such as McDonalds...mmmm my favorite, bro!
11) CRITICAL BENCH: How is your off season training different than your on season training?
Jerome Dinh: My offseason training is my LAZY training and it's always during the wintertime! If you live in Minnesota , you know what the winter is like and you're just prone to add fat and get ugly. During the season I eat pretty clean during the weekday, during work but after I get home, hit the gym, you better believe my post workout meal is anything and everything. Yeah, I know it's not bodybuilder like but it works for me. I train heavy in all my movements, like 4-6 reps, I guess with the exception to my smaller body parts, I do 6-8 for them. The volume of training is also less than 12 sets per body part. Cardio, yeah, you can forget it as the winter progresses, it fades from 30mins of running to none until the on-season. I gain less and less fat every year during the off season, this year I only gained 30lbs compared to 50 or 60!
12) CRITICAL BENCH: Wow, that's progress! What keeps you motivated?
Jerome Dinh: Motivation comes from within myself. I see myself one day, doing something with bodybuilding or in the field of fitness though this avenue. I want to make a living in the fitness industry not in the white collar world that I am currently in!! Happiness is my drive, my motivation. I would be VERY happy doing what I love for a living, wouldn't we all!
13) CRITICAL BENCH: So, what's new in the life of Jerome Dinh?
Jerome Dinh: Well, the wife and I just purchased our second house and upgraded to a full two story 3000 sq ft home and I love it! Also I was announced as a Semi-Finalist in the Instone Nutrition LifeChange Challenge so I get a years worth of supplements from them,...hell yeah brother, of course NOT TAX FEE...Uncle Sam is going to get his cut:( AND obviously, I am training for the Mr. MN. Almost forgot, my wife is going the Trimspa Challenge, its a 12 week before and after contest. She's in her 10th week and has lost over 20lbs (she's 5'3" and started at 140lbs and now down to 118lbs as of this morning!!). Trust me, it wasnt just the supplements that helped her accomplish the weight loss, it was her determination & hardwork that got her it! I am very proud of her!!
14) CRITICAL BENCH: How does your wife feel about about you being a bodybuilding and all of your success?
Jerome Dinh: My wife is very proud of my accomplishment since we have been together. She didn't support me much at first but now since she is in the mix of things, understands and supports me and I her. She is optimistic that we both will do something in the fitness industry for a living one day.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: Jerome it's been great talking to you. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Jerome Dinh: To al the readers out there, train hard, eat good, HAVE PATIENTS..I KNOW ITS TOUGH, rest, learn and enjoy life. I wish everyone the best and again, thank you Ben for this opportunity.