Muscle-Munch talks with bodybuilder Connor LaVallie

Muscle-Munch talks with bodybuilder Connor LaVallie

How did you get started?

I have been playing football, basketball, and baseball my whole life through high school. Multiple hand surgeries and kidney surgery ended my ‘athletic’ career during my freshman year of undergrad. My favorite part was always the training… so I kept it up.

What your diet consists of and why?

I make sure I eat enough protein each day to support muscle gains and I fill in the remaining calories I need from fiber-rich carbohydrates and mostly essential fat. I take in roughly 1-1.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight depending on my goals; I will adjust the other macronutrients as well in order to add muscle or lose fat.

As long as I am meeting my needs for the day it doesn’t matter as much which foods I choose, so things will frequently vary. I enjoy eating “clean” and I usually don’t deviate from the foods found on the perimeter of the grocery store, which include produce, meats, and dairy. I’ve found that supplying my body with the most naturally occurring foods works best because I assimilate those nutrients the easiest and I feel a lot better because of it.

What supplements do you use?

Every day I take:

  • A high quality multi-vitamin/mineral
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin C
  • Fish Oil
  • Whey protein

Sometimes I also take:

  • Creatine monohydrate
  • BCAA’s.

Example of diet

What does your current work-out routine look like?

Depending on how I’m progressing I may devote an extended block of time to either 1-3 reps, 4-6 reps, or 8-15 reps for power, strength, or hypertrophy only. An example would be:

• Day 1: Lower
• Day 2: Push
• Day 3: Pull
• Day 4: Off/Cardio
• Day 5: Repeat cycle

All in all, I feel it’s important to utilize effective strategies for gaining strength while working in the lower rep ranges. Invariably, this allows me to use heavier weights when I move on to higher rep ranges… ultimately leading to more muscle. I think it’s crucial not to fall into the “paralysis by analysis” trap and understand that there are really no rules when it comes to training. As long as you’re using correct form, supporting your efforts with sufficient calories, and getting proper rest… the only requirement is HARD WORK. Don’t over think it, listen to your body and give it your all every single day.

What are your max lifts?

  • Bench – 315 for 2
  • Squat – 455 for 5
  • Deadllift – 505 for 5

What’s your opinion on the run of the mill “Bulk & cut” way of training?

This has become a recent hot topic of discussion. In a sport of extremes and a culture of excess, it’s easy to see how people are re-examining these common approaches. In general, I don’t believe in using the words ‘bulking’ ‘cutting’ or ‘maintaining’. I believe in eating to build muscle, but not to get fat in the grow season… and very strict measuring and portion control is critical while preparing to compete.

Putting on muscle takes a long time accompanied by very hard work, consistency, and persistence in the gym and kitchen. Train hard; keep your calories in a slight surplus while building muscle, and vice versa while losing fat. That’s it!

What music do you listen to when your training?

I don’t listen to music when I train, but in general I really like grunge era rock like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Painkiller Hotel, etc.

How do you stay motivated?

I know that having the ability to pursue bodybuilding and fitness goals is a privilege. That alone motivates me, I’m grateful for the opportunity. I also believe that if you’re serious about improving all areas of your life, and living life to the max… you must start with your physical body. If you look and feel like crap, you won’t be as fit to tackle the stuff life throws at you.

Free Weights vs Machines, what are the pro’s and cons and which do you prefer?

Both free weights and machines have their place. Free weights are superior in my opinion because they allow you to move the weight that is natural to your unique body structure. Machines force your body to move the weight a certain way, which can be unnatural and dangerous. There’s just something about getting under a barbell and doing heavy squats… it just doesn’t to compare to anything else. Building a great physique requires a little discomfort.

Who is your favourite bodybuilder, strongman or powerlifter?

I can’t let the good guys in this game who’ve had an impact on me go unnoticed – Layne Norton, Evan Centopani, Alberto Nunez, Philip Ricardo Jr., Lee Labrada, Eric Small.

If you could give someone any advice, what would it be?

Success is ugly. It takes a lot of perseverance and patience. The end result can look great, but the road is often littered with twists, turns, obstacles… you name it. No matter what, stay on the path… and always take it just one day at a time.

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