Freaky. Grainy. Monster. When these are the terms used by bodybuilding insiders to describe your physique, you’re doing something right. And Bryan Pazdzierz doesn’t plan to waste the hype. Unlike some IFBB rookies who sit out for the first year or two of pro contention to put on more size, Pazdzierz isn’t keen on wasting time. Eyeballing the 2013 competitive calendar, he is dead set on going pose-for-pose with the big names in the ultra-competitive 212-pound division. In his corner is industry giant Optimum Nutrition, which is banking on “The Michigan Monster” to stir the pot from the get-go. Amazingly, that mass isn’t all for show. Pazdzierz, who also works in security, is an accomplished martial artist.
You started in martial arts at a very early age. Why and how?
When I was born, Bruce Lee was big. My folks put me in at age 3, but it wasn’t structured. They enrolled me at martial arts school at age 6. They got tired of me imitating Bruce Lee around the house. I would go around making the noises he made, jump-kicking stuff, hitting poses. My mom had skewers for kebabs that I would wave in the air. They thought, “This kid’s gonna hurt himself,” so they got me some training. I’ve been competing ever since and am a seventh-degree black belt in karate. I’ve been teaching martial arts for 22 years and have trained over 30 champions.
Many bodybuilders couldn’t kick or throw a punch without pulling something. How do you maintain flexibility and athleticism?
I’ve been stretching every day since I was a kid. I continue to do that before I train. Traditionally, like today when we did legs, we did five minutes on the treadmill, stretched out, then trained. And we train in my cousin’s basement. We call it “Jurassic Park” because we know that all the biggest, baddest dinosaurs last longer.
So that’s something you don’t hear every day.
You wouldn’t believe how hardcore I am. We train very hard. The music’s up. We don’t talk. We just train. It’s intense.
How did you get involved in bodybuilding in the first place? It’s a far cry from martial arts.
I’ve always worked out, I’ve always been big. My friend owned two Powerhouse Gyms. One day, a friend suggested I try to compete. He bet me $200 that I couldn’t diet down for a show that was 13 to 14 weeks out. I went from 258 to 196, made the show, competed with the heavies and finished in the top three.
MMA workouts are typically very grueling and very high-paced. Is there a particular preworkout supplement that you like to use before training that way?
Optimum Nutrition’s new Platinum Pre-Workout drink is unbelievable. Their Amino Energy is something I drink while I train. It’s a great blend of aminos that keeps your body going. ABB Speed Shots are great because they’re just a couple of ounces; you don’t want too much liquid before you train. I eat a lot, though — eight times a day. My grocery bill is $400 a week, just for me.
Now that you have your pro card, what are your competitive plans?
Hoping maybe the New York Pro or Europa. I’ve been told by many people that I have a strong resemblance to Branch Warren’s or Dorian Yates’ look. Obviously, the guy in my division to beat is Kevin English. I became friends with Kevin. He’s a great guy and an inspiration, and he said he thinks I’ve got what it takes.
Boost conditioning with this between-sets method.
“After a set of heavy squats or hacks, we’ll kick the bag or do knees on the bag for about one to two minutes,” Bryan Pazdzierz says. “This helps to keep the body loose, it reduces the effect of lactic acid, boosts conditioning and, perhaps most important, it actively works your tendons and ligaments. Most guys I know who get hurt end up tearing connective tissue, not muscle. These kicks and knees allow you to work those joints in a way you normally wouldn’t while also keeping them loose and pliable during workouts. This keeps flexibility high and you end up burning more fat. Don’t try to kill the bag — it’s just about constant movement and good technique.”
- Birth Date: February 22, 1972
- Birthplace: Detroit
- Residence: Washington Township, Mich.
- Height: 5’4”
- Offseason Weight: 245 pounds
- Contest Weight: 198-212 pounds
- Marital Status: Single
- Career Highlights: 2012: NPC National Teen, Collegiate & Masters National Championship, Over 40 Light Heavyweight: 1st (earned pro card)
- Website: pazthemichiganmonster.com