Muscle-Munch talks with bodybuilder: Matt Karstetter
How did you get started?
I really got serious with bodybuilding in 2002 when I went to college at the age of 18. Still it was about 14 years prior that really sparked my interest! I was about 4 years old and watching my dad push some weight around in the garage at the side of our house. The weights were extremely old school and the bar and clamps were most likely homemade. The bar was wrapped with a beach towel and duct tape in the center for squats. As I grew older I did get a cheap weight bench but I kept using my dads bar and weights until I left home at 18. Its funny to think about now as I haven’t gone that far down memory lane in long time!
What your diet consists of and why?
Generally I eat 7 meals a day approximately every 2 hours. High protein, high carbs with moderate fats and little or no sodium & sugar.
- Protein sources: Ground beef, Ground Turkey, Chicken, white fish, etc.
- Carb sources: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white and brown rice, oats, cream of rice, etc.
- Fat sources: Avocado’s, Natural Peanut butter and Almonds.
The main reason I eat the food listed above is because these foods are crucial in building the physique necessary to win. I am currently in my off season and up until now that would usually mean an increase in body fat, sodium and water retention but this off season’s protocol is different. I am going to stay leaner, harder and better conditioned year round, this way I can see true progress and not just weight gain. In addition I’ll be able to minimize muscle loss when prepping for my competitions because this will eliminate the need for extreme dieting in the final 12 weeks.
What supplements do you use?
I take the standard multi vitamin, BCAA’s, Whey Isolate Protein , CLA, Vitamin E, etc. , but this off season I have been working with Hany Rambod. If you are into bodybuilding and you don’t know who Hany Rambod is chances are you have been living under a very large rock for an extended period of time! Hany has me taking Glycoject, EVP, and Cell KEM. These products are pre, intra, and post workout supplements all made by Evogen. So far I love it, especially the Glycoject for carb loading.
What does your current work-out routine look like?
Currently I train 5 days week with heavy weights, but serious volume as well for about 1.5 hours. This off season I have been incorporating Hany’s FST-7 style and have catered it to my specific needs.
You can find more info on FST-7 here.
What are your max lifts?
I just turned 28 this September and honestly as time goes by and I get bigger and stronger my “Max Lifts” are not as important to me as they once were. You don’t have to lift dangerously heavy weight to stimulate muscle growth. Growth can be achieved with the correct number of sets, reps, pace and heavy, but manageable weight. I am not a competitive power lifter, and if I were I may have a different view on this. I am looking for longevity in this sport so sometimes you have to check yourself and ask the question – does the risk outweigh the gains?
That being said, I do have my days in the gym where I feel like ripping the building up from its foundation. Its on these days my max lifts are reached and they are as follows:
- Squat (Ass to Ankles) – 615 lbs
- Dead Lift – 550 lbs
- Bench – 500 lbs
What’s your opinion on the run of the mill “Bulk & cut” way of training?
Well, “Bulk and Cut” is a rather vague statement. I most definitely do have a bulk and cut mode depending where I’m at in relation to my next competition, but this can have large variance from person to person. Some guys eat anything and everything in the off season and then have to go hardcore on the cardio and dieting to get ready for show. This doesn’t work well for most in my opinion because eating anything and everything will put on muscle, but it also packs on fat for most guys and makes cutting down to 3 or 4 percent body fat nearly impossible with out loosing a ton of muscle in the process. You do have the other end of the spectrum though, the guys who stay lean and clean year round.
In my opinion this makes the most sense for guys that are guest posing frequently, or are a bit older and don’t plan on adding additional muscle. I however fall in the middle. I try and keep my body fat under 10% while in off season diet mode, but do allow for a “less Clean” diet. Basically this lets me get the additional calories I need to make progress in the off season but I don’t get so fat that I have to kill cardio and burn muscle to make weight. Keeping my body fat under 10% allows me to change up my program a few months out from show and more or less coast in regards to conditioning rather than lose a bunch of muscle due to extreme cutting protocol.
Who is your favourite bodybuilder, strongman or powerlifter?
I like several. In regards to structure and build I really like Kevin Levrone, Phil Heath and Shawn Ray as these guys are extremely aesthetically pleasing. Of course I like the Mass Murderers as well, Ronnie, Branch and Jay. And lets not forget the Welsh Warrior, James “Flex” Lewis!
If you could give someone any advice, what would it be?
Diet! Make sure you spend time in the kitchen as well as the gym. You can lift all day everyday, and take every supplement under the sun, but if your not eating the right foods, the correct portions at the correct time you will never reach your genetic potential. EAT BIG, LIVE BIG, GET SWOLE