Erik Martinez, A Bakersfield local, recently attained in his IFBB Pro-Card at the NPC USA’s by bringing an impossibly thick and conditioned physique, beating all other Welterweights in his class and displaying one of the most impressive physiques of the show. Giving him some time to calm down from the big win, recently I picked Erik’s brain to see what’s new and how it feels to obtain a Pro-Card at the young age of 24.
Interview Conducted By Danny Manslaughter for Iron Affinity on August 18.
Q: Erik, Give us a brief introduction to the the bodybuilders, god-builders and others out there on yourself. Tell us about your training and competition history for starters?
A: Personally I feel that bodybuilding is a form of art and expression. It requires discipline and drive unlike any other sport. It challenges the body physically and mind mentally. Growing up I learned the art of working out from my father who was privileged enough to train alongside the top bodybuilders in San Jose California during that era. I call lifting an art because unlike many young individuals who get into weight room for the first time, my father broke down the movements and taught me the concept of creating that mind muscle connection rather than slinging around heavy weights. I always found myself right at home in the weight room and my body began to respond to weights quickly. I have trained consistently throughout high school and college and free weight training became my main method of strength training for athletics. Looking fast-forward, I have been strictly bodybuilding for the past 18 months and have competed in 3 NPC shows. The first show that I competed in was John Lindsay’s Iron man Games, down in Culver City in November of 2013. I placed first in welterweight novice, first in Open and won the Novice Overall. After that we decided to take the rest of the time off and prep for USAs in July. Going in to USAs we decided to do the San Jose classic for an extra run-through and to help with my posing. I took 4th at that show. Then came USAS where I ended up wining the welterweight class and earned my IFBB pro Card.
Q: How did you get into bodybuilding?
A: Like I mentioned before I was introduced to bodybuilding at an early age by my father so I knew it was just a matter of time till began training and competing. After wrestling in college for 5 years I took several months of to recover from a shoulder surgery that was much needed. During this time I was hired on as personal trainer from a local gym in Bakersfield CA. Right next to the gym was a local supplement store where I would eventually meet my good friend and future coach Eric Frapwell. He had mentioned that he was looking to get back into prepping athletes and at the time I was looking for someone with experience to help me get ready to prepare for my first show. Six months later we were able to win the Novice Overall, from then on it was full throttle and I was hooked. I guess you could say the timing was perfect.
Q: What was your diet strategy like for the USA’s?
A: Dieting down for the USAS was a lot different compared to the last two shows. Normally I am able to keep my crabs fairly high and my cardio around 30-40 min and not have a problem dialing in. However we knew that at the national level conditioning is a must especially from the rear shots. With this is mind we sought out the help of top bodybuilder Damon Aviles and changed the plan for the last 3 weeks of prep. We introduced fish, reduced amount of daily carbs and increased our natural accruing fats. Lastly we changed our method of carbing up and kept the meals clean as so that we didn’t spill because USAS is a two day show. In the past, typically after weigh-ins I would carb up with some something like a burger and fries whereas this time we played it safe and stuck to lean sirloin.
Q: I hadn’t seen you in a while, maybe close to half a year…. And one day I read “Erik Martinez, New IFBB Pro”. I was very happy for you and surprised, but not shocked– As Mark and I had seen your potential awhile back. That being said… How does it feel to be recognized as an IFBB Pro?
A: First of all I want to say thank you Dan and to Mark for believing in me from the beginning. I remember you guys were always there to help me out or give me advice whenever I had questions. It has been my goal since day one, so achieving my IFBB status was a huge personal accomplishment. I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy especially from all the obstacles and adversity I had to overcome. Now with that being said, I am motivated more than ever to make some noise at the next level.
Q: What’s your goals now? Are you intending to do the 212 lb division?
A: My next goal is to become a competitive 212 professional bodybuilder. I have always admired 212 athletes such as Flex Lewis, Guy Cisterino, Jose Raymond, and David Henry, so standing on stage next to those guys would be an honor. I know I have a lot of growing to do, but I know I can get there because I am so new to sport. Besides Rome wasn’t built in a day and if it was easy everyone would be doing it. I like the challenge.
Q: Do you like to train to music or in silence? If you listen to music, what do you jam in the gym?
A: I always love to train with music, I feel like it allows me to drown out all the other commotion and focus on the task at hand. There are 3 genres that I train to either, hip hop, classic rock or country. Yes believe it or not I actually train to country from time to time. I guess you can say it comes from my college wrestling days. Bakersfield is big for country music and that’s what we would play every day in the college wrestling room. I remember getting after it beating up each other with some Toby Keith blasting in the back ground. Man those were the days…
Q: Any body parts you are looking to bring up?
A: If you asked me what body parts I need to bring up then I would have to say everything. I’m extremely hard on myself and I am nowhere near where I want to be. I guess that’s the beauty of this sport, it’s a never ending process of sculpting the perfect physique. But for starters the body parts that I would like to bring up this year are my back and hamstrings. I would like to increase the thickness and width of my back this offseason. I also plan on bringing up the sweep of my hamstring. Big hamstring are a must at the next level. I also wouldn’t mind brining up my chest thickness and really bring out that 3D look.
Q: Do you have any specific training philosophies?
A: When it comes to training I feel like sticking to the basics is what works best for me. I am a fan of heavy weight training as long as its quality controlled reps. I feel like this really brings out the hardness while prepping for a show and keeps me fuller. In addition to heavy training I will incorporate volume training, especially when it comes to arms and legs. I love the pump and if done correctly you can get some serious growth from it.
Q: Since I’ve lived here (Close to 3 years now) I’ve noticed this is a very big workout town with a really thriving fitness community. Why do you think that is?
A: Well for starters Bakersfield is a small town and everyone is pretty close. News travels fast so personally I feel like working out and competing spread very quickly in this town. I guess you can say it sprung up like a good habit. I feel like there are several pioneers that paved way for young individuals such as myself. Bakersfield has been known for its top level competitors such as tom touchstone, Pat Matsuda, Damon Aviles, Big Steve Suthers and many more. These guys paved the way for most these young athletes coming out of Bakersfield and continue to lend a helping hand. These guys have been motivating people sense day one.
Q: Any links you’d like to throw out?
A: I’m currently working on my web page but I should have it up and running by next month so I will definitely keep you updated. I encourage you guys to follow me on instant gram @ERIKTHEKIDMARTINEZIFBBPRO. It is full of entertaining videos and motivating feeds. Also you can follow me on facebook at Erik Martinez. I can be reached by email at “Erik.Martinez99@yahoo.com”
Lastly I want to thank you Dan for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. I appreciate everyone’s help who has helped me or invested time in me to help me reach my goals. I want to continue to make everyone proud and continue to reach new heights. Because of everyone’s support I am 110 percent dedicated to bring my absolute best to the Pro stage.
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