Interview With Natural Olympia Champion John Hansen
by Ben Tatar CriticalBench.com
CB: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO FOR TRAINING AND DIET?
JOHN HANSEN: My name is John Hansen and I am one of the top natural (drug-free) bodybuilders in the world. I have won the Natural Mr. Universe twice (1992 and 1996) and the first ever Mr. Natural Olympia (1998). I began training at the age of 14 in 1977. I currently train 4 days a week, training each bodypart once per week. I will be competing in the fall for the Natural Olympia and Natural Universe again. I am looking to regain those titles after suffering my worst injury (a bicep tendon rupture in 2000). I eat 6-9 meals a day, high protein, moderately high carbohydrates and low fat. I eat approximately 2800 calories per day now because I am dieting for those competitions.
CB: WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR A YOUNGER LIFTER WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE A BODYBUILDING CHAMPION?
JOHN HANSEN: My advice would be to concentrate on the basic exercises, use good form and focus on getting stronger and bigger. Bodybuilding takes time but you will save lots of time by doing the most effective exercises with the right amount of sets (not overtraining) and training the WHOLE body from the very beginning. Eat good food and don't worry so much about all the supplements that are out there. Keep records of your workouts and diet so you know what works for you right off the bat. Also, take measurements and photos so you can set goals for yourself and stay motivated. Try to see yourself as the finished product or know what you want to look like when you begin training. This will inspire you and help you to train very hard and continue training.
CB: WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BODYBUILDING MOMENT?
JOHN HANSEN: Winning my first overall bodybuilding title remains my most treasured moment in bodybuilding. It was in 1986 when I won the NPC Illinois State Bodybuilding Championships (Mr. Illinois). I had been training 9 years and had never won an overall title yet so I knew it was now or never. I trained for that show like my life depended on it! I trained extremely hard for a full year and dieted like I had never dieted before. Winning first place was the only option for me. When it finally came true and I won,it was one of the most satisfying moments of my entire life.
CB: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO WANT TO BE THE BEST?
JOHN HANSEN: At first, I wanted to win the Mr. Universe title and be recognized as a great bodybuilder, being in the magazines, etc. Now that I have won that title a couple of times plus many other titles, my motivation is to achieve my best condition again before I retire from competition next year. I had to take almost 5 months off training after I tore my bicep and I looked terrible after that much time away from the gym. I had never taken more than 2 weeks off since I was 14 so it was really a shock to my body to take all that time off. I have yet to win again since that accident so my goal is to come back better than ever and win again!
CB: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU SEE BEGINNERS MAKE?
JOHN HANSEN: The biggest mistake I see beginners make is using the wrong exercises to get big. Everyone wants to get bigger when they begin training but
they won't get big by using all the new machines or doing cable exercises,etc. They need to get stronger on the REAL exercises such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts, power cleans, etc. Busting their butts on exercises such, as these are key to building massive size. Once they get the workouts correct, then they need to eat lots of good food, beef, milk, oatmeal, vegetables, fruit, etc, etc. Many beginners don't realize the massive amounts of food they need to eat to get really big. Train big and eat big and you'll get big! The other unfortunate mistake I see beginners make is using steroids at a young age. If they train and eat correctly, they won't need drugs and everything they build will be theirs, not just drugs. Steroids are temporary. They don't last when you get off them and they are absolutely not necessary.
CB: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL CRITICAL BENCH READERS?
JOHN HANSEN: Be sure to read my column every month in IRONMAN Magazine. I answer questions concerning training and nutrition from a drug-free viewpoint. My column is called Naturally Huge! I also have a website at www.naturalolympia.com. Feel free to write me anytime.