When he was 8 years old, Moji Oluwa was late for a bus and got stuck at home watching television. Nigerian programming wasn’t exactly riveting for the energetic yet stringy youngster, but as he was flipping through the channels, something caught his eye.
“I didn’t know what it was then, but I came across Pumping Iron,” he says. “I was wondering how a human body could look like that, and I was fascinated. I can’t explain what it was — a light bulb went off in my head, and I said that I wanted to look like that when I grew up.”
Not one to let the pieces fall where they may, Oluwa started that week on a career built from iron plates, calloused hands and chalky platforms. Today, he is a veteran of the 1996 Olympic Games in weightlifting, runs his own training business in Southern California and serves as a fitness model. His look, work ethic and enthusiasm for all things health and fitness make him the perfect pitchman for Prolab Nutrition’s line of high-performance supplements, but Oluwa is quickly becoming a brand unto himself.
How did you start with weight training?
After seeing Pumping Iron, I got a bar and two flywheels and did the exercises that I remembered from the movie. I went to the local sports council and heard people dropping something. It was the Olympic lifters. I didn’t know weightlifting and bodybuilding were two separate sports. So I walked in and asked the coach if I could be a weightlifter, and he said yes. After our group training, I’d stay behind and do some additional exercises — bench press, curls, etc. My coaches started looking at my arms and noticed that my chest and biceps were getting bigger, and they asked me what was going on. Most Olympic lifters have very big legs and backs, but big arms and chests can actually hurt you. I said, “Maybe it’s genetics!”
How did your background in weightlifting help you when you transitioned to bodybuilding?
In weightlifting, we mostly trained for strength, explosiveness, speed, balance control [and] faster reflexes. So we’d do anything that would help us in those disciplines. But the benefits were unbelievable. Because of that, I already had all this dense muscle. I wasn’t big, but I was extremely strong. When I got into bodybuilding, it didn’t take that long for my body to change. I did my first bodybuilding show at 23, but I didn’t know anything about bodybuilding training or dieting. I just walked into it and won the novice class.
Because that type of training is so beneficial, do you still keep it in your routine?
I still keep my Olympic training because it helps me with bodybuilding. I don’t do any cardio at all. Those lifts are my conditioning. Coming from an athletic background, I wanted to keep the athletic side of me. If I just do bodybuilding movements, the athleticism will go away.
With that type of intense training, do you find it hard to build muscle?
I am a hardgainer, yes. I use Prolab’s N-Large3. It’s very high in calories, with about 45 grams of protein and 600 calories per serving. I will probably do about 800 calories in a shake or sometimes more when I add oatmeal, peanut butter and a banana. I do that mostly on training days. Preworkout, I do their Beta Alanine Extreme, Creatine Monohydrate, Quick Fire and BCAA Plus. Postworkout, I use Prolab’s Glutamine [Powder], then another dose of Beta Alanine Extreme and BCAA Plus, along with a half serving of N-Large3 to get my body back into that anabolic mode.