Interview With All American EFX Bodybuilder Keisuke Yoshida as told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar - November 2007
Lifetime Drug-Free! The All Natural Athlete K44
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about yourself!
My name is Keisuke Yoshida. Since my handle name is K44, people call me K as a nickname. K is from Keisuke, and 44 stands for my last name, Yoshida; actually, in Japanese, both "Yo" as in Yoshida and "shi" as in Yoshida mean 4. That's why my handle name is K44.
Anyway, I am Japanese, born in Yokohama, Japan, and I have one brother. Now, I live in Irvine, California with my family: wife, daughter, and son.
As an athlete, I take pride in the fact that I am an all-natural bodybuilder. I have never used any growth or enhancement drugs (steroids) in my life. Lifetime drug-free is my motto!
2) CRITICAL BENCH: What got you started in bodybuilding?
Since I wanted to build my body like that of the world famous kung fu action star, Bruce Lee, I started working out when I was 13 years old. Bruce Lee was my hero.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: What was it about bodybuilding that you loved so much to keep at it for all these years?
As you know, it is not easy to get the body you desire. It takes time as long as you are a natural bodybuilder. However, we can change and improve our body if we don't give up and train cleverly and wisely, which is for me very challenging and worthwhile.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: What were some of the best parts and worst parts about competing in bodybuilding in Japan?
One of the best parts is that the drug test in Japan is very strict. That means almost all competitors in the country are, I think, natural bodybuilders. In fact, considering the fact that they are all-natural, the level of the Japanese bodybuilders are really high. They are very defined. Therefore, if you want to compete in high level natural bodybuilding competitions, it would be great to compete in Japan.
On the other hand, worst part is that body color bodybuilders can use is restricted. This mean we are not allowed to use almost all body colors except one particular brand.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: What have been some of the best and worst parts about competing in bodybuilding in America? And why did you move to America?
As you know, there are a lot of bodybuilding competitions all year around, especially here in Southern California, so whenever you want to compete, you can do it. Besides, you can decide whether you compete or not on the very day of competition.
As far as worse parts are concerned, for Asian guys like me, it is hard to win a contest here in the U.S. because our frames are much smaller than most of Americans, which means, when it comes to size, we could not basically beat them. Also, since some contest places may be rather far from where you live, driving to the places would make you tired.
I once stayed in Santa Monica and Venice, California, for 6 years as a student, and I felt comfortable being in Southern California. Therefore, every year, I applied for the Green Card lottery to get a Green Card, a United States Permanent Resident Card, even after I moved back to Japan. Then, I finally got a Green Card in the summer of 2004, and moved here in California with my family.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: How is bodybuilding different in America compared to Japan? How are the bodybuilders and how are the fans different?
I often hear that people in the U.S. easily use drugs to get big without hesitation, even high school students. I wonder why they do...
Meanwhile, most Japan's top bodybuilders are drug-free athletes. Some may not be, though...
Fans in the U.S. are very friendly; they always talk to me when they see me at contest places. Meanwhile, fans in Japan are generally rather shy; instead of talking to me, they just look at me. Some people are very friendly and do talk to me, though.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us what supplements you take!
I only take All-American EFX products because of the quality I can trust.
We both got interested in each other because my motto and their policy are the same: "drug-free!"
If their policy were not like this, I wouldn't have gotten interested in this company, and I believe they wouldn't have gotten interested in K44, either. I believed myself and had been doing what I was doing. That's why, I believe, I was able to meet this credible company.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your on season and off season bodybuilding routine! How does it change regarding weights, diet and cardio?
Off season, I train with long interval between sets. I talk to people between sets. As for weights I use, I usually go heavier weights, but not always. Even off season, I sometimes do a lot of reps with light weights or middle weights. Basically, when I do basic exercises (squats, deadlifts, and bench presses), I go heavy weights. Even though I eat whatever I want like a horse for a week or two weeks after a show, I automatically stop eating like that because I get satisfied with something greasy and sweet. I do 30-minute cardio only twice or three times a week.
On the other hand, when it comes to on season, I train with shorter interval between sets. I do a lot of super sets, giant sets, drop sets, and so on. As to diet, even though I cut down on carbohydrate intake, I still take carbs 6 times a day with meat or fish and vegetables. I do 40 to 60-minute cardio 5 to 7 times a week; it depends on my condition.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: Please share with us your training split!
Day 1: Quads, Glutes, Hams, Inner Thighs, Calves
Day 2: Chest, Brachialis, Abs
Day 3: Shoulders, Calves, Abs
Day 4: Upper Back, Traps, Neck, Lower Back
Day 5: Biceps, Triceps, Forearms, Calves, Abs
*I take a day off when I feel tired.
11) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your advice for the beginner bodybuilder, the intermediate and advanced bodybuilder?
For the beginner: Don't copy what pro bodybuilders are doing. Try to master the basic powerlifting exercises: squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
For the intermediate: continue doing the basic big 3 and add some dumbbell exercises. Also spend more time on stretching and massaging your muscles to get high quality muscles, which leads to faster muscle growth.
For the advanced: Don't think too much about bodybuilding. Watching other sports, you can learn something new and important to improve your physique. Watching the performance of many other top athletes, try to get what you need for your workout. There are many hints in sports other than bodybuilding.
When it comes to nutrition, for all the stages of the bodybuilders, take high quality credible supplements; I strongly recommend All American EFX products.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
My future goal is to completely develop my potential as an all-natural athlete so that I could reach a physique, a magnificent (well-shaped, well-balanced, and well-proportioned) body, which I've been imaging since I started this challenging sport.
Also, I'd like to be a good example and offer hope to the coming generation, through bodybuilding, without the use of growth enhancement drugs.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: What do you enjoy doing away from bodybuilding?
I can't tell everything because I have a lot of interests. I enjoyed teaching baseball to my 9-year-old son, whose dream is to be a major leaguer. I like to research something I'm interested in through the Internet. It's a lot of fun watching any kinds of sports, especially the sports my children are doing: baseball, swimming, soccer, basketball, and gymnastics. What's more, I love traveling to see and feel nature.
14) CRITICAL BENCH: It's been great talking to you. Is there anyone who you would like to thank or anything else about bodybuilding that you would like to address?
I'd like to thank everyone, including my family and sponsor (All American EFX), who always supports me, helps me, and roots for me. I promise to continue to make every effort to get BIG results.
I believe that all-natural is the best way for all athletes; the physiques are very artistic, aesthetic, and beautiful...