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The Next Stage

It all started with one sentence. “Want to put some muscle back on until the end of the year and start dieting first of New Year and hopefully compete at the Arnolds,” Gunter Schlierkamp wrote in a blog post on his Web site at the beginning of September 2010. The popular pro’s multitude of fans suddenly found themselves wondering, hoping, daydreaming. Could it be? Would we get to see the “German Giant” on a major bodybuilding stage for the first time since the 2006 Olympia?

It seemed too good to be true, and ultimately, it was. Getting hitched to fitness model and trainer Kim Lyons (the second marriage for both) in March 2007 and welcoming baby Jake into the world in June 2010, the good-natured 41year-old found that his new life was simply too busy for him to fully commit to the demanding schedule needed for a return to competition.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Schlierkamp has simply re-prioritized, becoming a family man while maintaining his passion for the sport that took him from a farm in northern Germany to sensational success, including nine Olympia appearances, in the USA. And with his new perspective, he has lots of frank insights and advice to share, whether you’re shooting for the stage, trying to look great on the beach or just really enjoyed the movie Beerfest. Here are the greatest hits from our exclusive Q&A.

M&P: Let’s get right to it. What’s the story as far as your rumored comeback is concerned?

GS: My first plan was to see if I could get an invite to the Arnold, but I had to postpone everything a little bit because I got so busy. Kim and I are on the road a lot, and that makes it hard to stay on your training and food schedule, especially with the baby. There used to be a time, five to 10 years ago, when it was only me, that was it. I was training, eating, sleeping, competing, doing my appearances. That’s a little harder now. Having a family changes your life. But I think it’s all good. I really enjoy it. Everyone should experience it. When I do come back, I have to feel good enough to go onstage again. I’m training and in good shape, but I’m still not where I used to be. It’ll probably have to wait until the middle of next year.

M&P: How much can your son bench?

GS: Ha ha. He’s a cute little guy. He’s just starting a few push-ups.

M&P: What have you learned from Kim about training?

GS: As a trainer, Kim does multifunctional training for the everyday person. As a bodybuilder, you isolate a lot. You do squats and deadlifts as a foundation, but to get the muscle developed, you need a lot of isolation exercises. Instead of using your core, you hit the muscles directly and maximize the weight to get that one particular muscle up an inch more. I’ve learned a little from her, but there’s a difference between bodybuilders and athletes. People will do a whole-body workout. I do one bodypart a day.

M&P: What about nutrition?

GS: She says, “Oh you’re taking too many vitamins.” And as a bodybuilder, you can go a little bit overboard. Maybe you don’t need that much. Then again, I’ve done pretty well. I got back up to my 300-pound competition weight.

M&P: How has starting a family affected your approach to your sport?

GS: First, you get less rest. I was in Russia for a week. I did a seminar workshop and appearances there, came back late at night, and then I had to drop Kim off at the airport for a DVD show. And then we had a Taking Control of Your Diabetes event a few days later. When Kim is gone, I have the little guy, and when I’m gone, she has the little guy. The last two months, I’ve been in and out of the door. You’ve got the diaper bag, formula, clothes — everywhere you go, you forget something.

M&P: You have less time for yourself.

GS: You take care of your child first and then yourself. In bodybuilding, that doesn’t work so good. It’s a selfish sport. Just trying to eat in the morning, he wakes up, you feed him. You try to eat, he starts crying or is bored or needs attention. Just getting your meal in is a hassle. You have a child on your arm and you have to be one-handed for a while. In the end, there’s so much reward. It sounds wild, but you get a lot back from it. But you can’t put yourself first, and that’s a big change for a pro bodybuilder.

M&P: In a good way or a bad way?

GS: It’s motivating, trying to be a good dad. You go out and be ambitious because you want to make sure the kid can have a good life. Kim and I are not 9-to-5ers, so we can do a lot from home. If you have to go somewhere for an appearance, you come back and you have a week or two to manage your own time. That’s good because I get a lot of family time to enjoy, and you really get to know each other. When a dad isn’t so much involved … like in my family, I hardly remember anything, he was working all the time. That’s changed over the years — today it’s really hard for one person to provide for the whole family. You need to adjust a little bit.

M&P: But you think you can come back eventually?

GS: I stay in good shape for appearances. I will still consider doing a show in the middle of next year. Traveling throws me off. If you want to get ready to do a show, you need at least three months. For a dude like me, getting up to 300 pounds, if I travel, between 7 and 10 pounds is always gone. Doesn’t matter if I have clean food. So I have to make a few more gains and set aside three months just to train and not travel.

M&P:You were great as Schlemmer in Beerfest. Was Will Forte even remotely convincing playing a German?

GS: He actually did pretty good. He’s pretty funny, and the experience was awesome. The Broken Lizard guys are just cool dudes. Everything is a joke. Their attitude is, “If we don’t enjoy this, we don’t do this.” At the end, the director, Jay [Chandrasekhar], had a big party. The party was crazier than the movie. The cops showed up. But they were big fans of Super Troopers, so they were cool about it. The movie has a cult following. Forty percent of people who come up to my booth at shows know me from it. On the way to the Olympia once, I stopped at a gas station in the desert, in the middle of nowhere, and someone said, “You’re the guy from Beerfest!” People are just crazy about it.

M&P: What’s your best training tip for readers?

GS: Intensity is more important than time. I can spend one hour working out, but my rest time is really short, so I really break muscle tissue down. I saw two guys at the gym — I went through three exercises, and they were still at the bench. I said, “Are you doing figure and fitness? You need to hurry up and get it over with.” People think, “The more I train the better I look.” But if you’re doing it right, you won’t last that long in the gym. You just need to fire up your muscles and then grow when you sleep. And you need to sleep. If you don’t sleep enough, your body doesn’t respond and look how it’s supposed to look. Every day should be eight hours of work, eight hours of fun, eight hours of sleep. Balance it, and you’ll be fine.

Supp With Schlierkamp

The legend says he teamed up with SAN because he admired the pride the company takes in its products. Here are his favorites.

>> Top Fuel Launch Adrenaline Igniter

“The orange flavor tastes good, and it changes your mood, too,” Gunter Schlierkamp says about this preworkout powder. “When things get hectic, you’re not always running out with a smile on your face, but it helps you realize the world is not that bad. It gives you energy and improves your focus. Kim’s so ADD — she’ll start three projects and never finish one. I said, ‘Kim, you need to try this. I can’t explain it, but it works.’ She couldn’t believe how it helped. That product is really great.”

>> Fuel Injection V-12 Turbo

As Schlierkamp explains, this cell volumizer is designed to nurture bigger, fuller, stronger muscles. “I like how you can change this product up — take it before, during or after a workout,” he says.

>> Myotein

A bodybuilder wouldn’t be a bodybuilder without a trusty protein source. Schlierkamp’s protein of choice is Myotein, for these reasons: “Myotein has quick and time-released proteins, digestive enzymes and hormone-modulating essential fatty acids. It’s also high in fiber to maintain stable blood sugar levels that definitely kept my blood sugar in check and my body anabolic.”

>> MyoJuiced

One of the toughest parts of traveling has nothing to do with squeezing a 300-pound frame into an airline seat. Instead, it’s maintaining mass when your miles away from home. “I just finished packing bags for another trip and am now getting ready for a back workout,” Schlierkamp says. “Having my MyoJuiced mass gainer will help me get through the trip and, more important, will provide me what I need to facilitate awesome back development.”

Gunter’s Gains

Next time you’re trying to get back up to 300 pounds — or even just 200 — treat your body to this professional-level thrashing.

Do 35 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Do 35 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Do 35 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Day 4: Cardio (45 to 60 minutes)

Do 35 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Do 35 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Day 7: Cardio (45 to 60 minutes)