Christopher Downey


Chris Downey at the Gym



BBG: Naturally one of the reasons we’re interviewing you is because we know you’re an avid Big Back Grips user so let’s just deal with that quickly. What did you use beforeBBGs and why did you settle on BBGs? How do they help your workout?

Chris: I certainly am an avid Big Back Grips user! I used straps before I got my first pair of BBGs. I noticed that I had been getting pains in my shoulder, elbow and wrist when I would use the straps. I would also get what I call “strap burn” on my wrists. With those two things in mind I started to look for alternatives. Then I found BBGs. Not only did they solve those two issues, they also help me lift more weight for more reps. I use them for every muscle group I can!

BBG: Ok, so, tell us a little about yourself: your name, background, where you grew up, where you went to school and for what. What do you do professionally? A mini-bio, if you will.

Interview Questions

Chris: My name is Christopher Joseph Downey. I usually go by Downey or Joey D, not many people call me by my first name. I don’t have a preference, though. I grew up in Indiana and moved to Chicago in 1997. I was in Residential Development for awhile and just recently decided to try something new so I’m heading back to school for my Psychology Doctorate. I am going to end up graduating with a Doctorate in Child & Adolescent Psychology with a Master’s in Sport & Health Psychology. I really want to help kids with self-image issues.

BBG: Tell us about your blog: When did you start it? What’s it like running  your own bodybuilding blog?

Chris: I started my fitness blog July 2007. I had received a ton of questions in the gym about my routine and diet, so I decided it was time to write it all down and publish it. My goal with the blog is to inform people about my methods of training and hopefully inspire them to reach their goals. It has actually grown into a lot more. It’s really crazy running my own bodybuilding blog. When I look back on my 140lb teenage years, I never thought I would be 220lbs writing about fitness. It is a LOT of work, but I love doing it and the positive response and feedback I get from everyone is awesome and keeps me going!

BBG: Where do you work out?

Chris: I work out at XSport in Chicago. It is around the corner and I love the people there.

BBG: Did you play or excel at any sports?

Chris: I never played any sports. I went to a very small high-school that didn’t offer many sports.

BBG: What brought you into the world of lifting and when? What are your main goals in bodybuilding?

Chris: Since I didn’t have many options of sports growing up and I was only 140lbs, I started by using some weights in my parent’s house at 15. When I turned 16 I went to the local gym and got a membership. My cousin played football and was into bodybuilding so he helped me set up my first routine and I never looked back.

Chris: My goals in bodybuilding are to keep changing and perfecting my physique, helping clients achieve their goals and to bring a healthy lifestyle to kids and teens. I am also thinking of doing a competition in 2012.

BBG: What are your biggest accomplishments in your workout history so far? : Titles, personal goals achieved, etc.

Chris Downey side chest pose

Chris: My biggest accomplishment in my workout history so far is getting from 140lbs to 220lbs. It took many years, but when I started I never would have imagined I would be 220lbs and where I am now!

BBG: What is your workout schedule like?


  • Monday: Chest / Triceps
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: BIG BACK & BICEPS
  • Thursday: Shoulders
  • Friday: Legs
  • Saturday: Chest / Triceps
  • Sunday: Usually off, but I may come in and Squat for an hour.


The following Monday I repeat the same schedule but swap back and chest days so that the other muscle group gets two days that week. Depending on my school schedule I do my abs and calves in the mornings. Currently abs and calves are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

BBG: What about your diet?

Chris: I used to be able to eat anything, but once I hit 30 I started watching my diet more. I stick to steak and chicken, veggies, sweet potatoes, whole wheat or oats, and egg whites. I have one cheat day a week (usually Sunday) where I’ll eat whatever I want. I never drink soda and always cook my own food. If it comes out of a box or the freezer it’s not as healthy as if you cook it fresh.

BBG: What are your favorite exercises or body parts to work? What do you consider your best body part? Do you have a body part that’s especially challenging to make headway on?

Chris: I am most proud of my legs. I believe they can never be big enough. I focus mostly on my legs/calves and abs for improvement. Everything else follows from strong muscular legs, so, I work them the most and everything else follows. My favorite body parts to work are BIG BACK and legs.

BBG: If someone were going to work out with you, what are they in for, what’s your workout style? What would you want from a partner?

Chris: I work out slow and heavy. I actually have two partners with which I work well. They can both lift the heavy weight I put up and they don’t mind taking a bit longer between sets.

BBG: What’s your advice to people just starting out?

Chris Downey reat lats

Chris: My advice to people just starting is to stick with it. The first few years are the best to lay a good foundation for the rest of your life. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing anything. Just put your mind to it and make it your lifestyle.

Chris: BBG: Finally, can you give us your workout for just one body part: back or legs, shoulders, chest or arms, even abs. Just pick your favorites.

Well, I would think the best workout to give to BBGs readers would be BIG BACK WORKOUT:

  • Pull-up
  • Deadlift
  • Wide Row
  • Wide Pulldown
  • Close-grip Row
  • 1-Arm Row


My workouts are constantly changing so you can see specific details on my blog @