Interview With Bodybuilder & Bencher Yumon Eaton by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - Posted April 2007
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Yumon, Welcome to Critical Bench. It's great to have you with us today. Tell us about yourself and what do you think separates you from other lifters for having such rapid success in bodybuilding and powerlifting?
First of all, I'd like to thank you for your interest in my accomplishments as both a bodybuilder and a competitive powerlifter thus far. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story with Critical Bench and everyone else that will be viewing this interview. I am very laid back…a simple guy. The only thing that separates me from most other people is my tenacity. If I want something, I go out and get it…period! "If the opportunity exists I'll find it, if not, I'll create it".
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Eaton, how did your mother feel when you went from a 115lbs fragile weakling to then becoming one of the most impressive 180lbs jacked up natural athletes out there?
The change was fairly gradual. It wasn't like I just woke up one morning 65 lbs heavier. What really freaked her out was the way I looked on stage at my first competition! She had never seen me so lean and vascular before.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Weight training obviously helped you go from a 115lbs weakling, to a shredded action figure! (You, know someone who looks huge, despite actual body weight.) How did you train specifically to go from a weakling to a very inspiring and athletic physique?
It actually all started in my backyard. I used to put bricks in socks and lift trash cans full of water…you know, the basics. I know it all sounds pretty crazy, but that's what built my foundation. I still fall back on that primitive style of training every now and then when I go back home to visit from college. After training legs, for example, I might pull my dad's truck up and down the street or around the block a few times.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: That's hardcore and that's the key! As you discovered you must train with more intensity than the rest. So Eaton, how do you train before a bodybuilding show? Give us your specific routine and how do you train during the off-season?
When preparing for a bodybuilding competition, my movements become more precise. I practice stricter form and perform more isolation exercises. During the off-season, however, all of my movements are compound. The only thing that remains constant year round is the weight load. There's only one way I train, and that's hard and heavy!
Sample Contest Preparation (Bodybuilding) Split :
Day 1: Chest & Triceps
Day 2: Lower Body
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Shoulders & Traps
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Back & Biceps
Day 7: Off
5) CRITICAL BENCH: How do you train before a bench press meet? Give us your routine!
It's funny that you ask that. The way I trained before my first bench press competition was no different than the way I train to prepare for the bodybuilding competitions. I was a month out of a bodybuilding competition when I competed in and won my first bench press competition. Normally, however, I prepare for bench press competitions through a three-day (push, pull & lower body) split until I am ready to start a 6-8 week peaking cycle. On push day, the flat bench is emphasized and all other exercises are for assistance and auxiliary purposes. The same applies to the squat on lower body day and the deadlift on pull day.
Day 1: Push Muscles: Flat Bench, Incline Bench, Overhead Presses, Seated Side Laterals, Skull Crushers
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Lower Body:Squats, Front Squats, Zercher Squats
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Pull Day: Deadlifts, Bent Rows, Lat Pulldowns, Barbell Shrugs, Barbell Curls
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off
6) CRITICAL BENCH: How would you compare your bench press training to your bodybuilding training? What would you say the pros and cons are between them? How has bench pressing helped you with bodybuilding?
When I am training the bench, everything revolves around it. Like I mentioned before, all other exercises are just assistance and auxiliary exercises. Things changes when I am bodybuilding though. Monday is no longer the "bench" day. It's the chest day. That's the major difference between the two training styles. When I am bodybuilding the entire workout no longer revolves around the bench. Each exercise is equally important. The bench press has done wonders for my physique. As a bodybuilder, I treasure the exercise. Though, the incline bench builds a much more massive chest than the flat bench, the flat bench is unparalleled when it comes to gains in overall mass and strength in the upper body.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Critical Bench has interviewed many great bodybuilders, athletes, and bench pressers. I heard you like the Critical Bench interviews. List us a few names who have inspired you that we've interviewed and tell us what it was about them that you liked?
One name comes to mind. Jeremy Hoornstra! I read the entire interview! This particular interview caught my attention because I was actually in a bench press competition with him. He, of course, was in the heavier weight class. When he laid down to lift, everybody in the audience took out their camera phones! It was hilarious. We exchanged a few words, but at the time I had no idea he held the world raw bench press record in his weight class. He's a nice guy though. The interview you guys did with him was definitely my favorite.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: You're right Jeremy Hoornstra is definitely one of the most impressive raw bench pressers that I have ever met. Give us your diet and tell us about the supplements that you take? How did you put on lean muscle mass when nothing seemed to work?
I'm not much of a dieter. As far as nutrition goes, the only things I try to pay close attention to are the amounts of protein, calories and carbs I take in. I try to get plenty of each. Proper supplementation can be pretty expensive. As a college student, I am forced to stick to the basics, i.e. whey protein, multi mineral and vitamin supplements, amino acids, etc.
9) CRITICAL BENCH: You won the Florida State University Bench Press Championships! Tell us what it was like competing in that meet, the atmosphere, and how you felt? Also, tell us how it felt to win the event?
That's the one Jeremy Hoornstra was in. I really enjoyed doing the competition. The atmosphere was great. Competing in a competition with a world record holder was very inspiring. I felt good about the win, but I was somewhat overshadowed by Jeremy's 615 lbs feat.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: How did it feel to win your first bodybuilding show? And how was competing in bodybuilding different than powerlifting?
I felt great after winning my first bodybuilding competition. I guess the hard work paid off. The bodybuilding competition was much different than the bench press competition. With bodybuilding, everything's a little faster paced, i.e . pumping up back stage, the lights and cameras…I felt like a celebrity. The bench press competition was much more laid back.
11) CRITICAL BENCH: Eaton you also won the www.bodybuilding.com best Teen Bodybuilder of 2006 award. What was that like?
Here's the link: http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/yumone.htm. I was not expecting to win their best teen bodybuilder of the year award. Those pictures were taken so long ago. But I guess they still looked okay. You can check out photos from the competition here:
To view photos of me, click on PM24 Men Teen Overall, PM22 Men Teen Lightweight, and AM09 Men Teen Light & Heavyweight.
12) CRITICAL BENCH: Well congratulations man. You're making accomplishments fast. Out of all your accomplishments which ones are you the most proud of?
First and foremost, I am most proud of the fact that I have accomplished what I have thus far without drugs. Contrary to what many people think, I am and always have been a natural athlete. I plan to stay natural. I just want to get as big, strong, and freaky as possible without the use of drugs.
13) CRITICAL BENCH: Wow! What an awesome start you have had for your weight lifting journey! What are your future goals?
Right now, I think I am off to a pretty good start. One thing I do have on my side is time. I have plenty of time to improve and continue to progress. With hard work and discipline I feel that I have the potential to one day become a professional bodybuilder. And who knows, maybe I'll even give Jeremy Hoornstra a run for that record one day.
14) CRITICAL BENCH: Aim for the impossible and maybe it can be a reality someday! How do you see the future of powerlifting and bodybuilding? Do you see it getting more main-stream? Do you want the sports more mainstream and what do you think it would take for the sports to become more mainstream?
I actually do see powerlifting and bodybuilding becoming more main-stream. I say this only because both sports are a lot more popular than they used to be, especially bodybuilding. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess it's okay though.
15) CRITICAL BENCH: We shall see, keep up the good lifting and hopefully more people want to achieve what you have. Yumon, it was great interviewing you and what a great way to kick-start your bodybuilding and strength career! In closing who would you like to thank?
Thank you for the kind words and your interest in my accomplishments. It was fun chatting with you. In closing, I would like to thank CriticalBench.com, Ben Tatar of Critical Bench, Mike Westerdal the owner of Critical Bench, My family, my girlfriend for being so supportive, and John Daly, who guided me through my first bodybuilding competition.