Vitor Fernando Martins Faiante

MY BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR IS MOVING FROM A SCRAWNY VERSION OF ME TO A HEALTHY, FIT, STRONG VERSION OF  ME. I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT GOD AND THE PEOPLE WHO ENCOURAGED ME  AND TOLD ME TO KEEP ON GOING.

BIG BACK GRIPS USER PROFILE INTERVIEW: VITOR FERNANDO MARTINS FAIANTE

We met Vitor last spring when he ordered some Big Back Grips shipped to him in London. He got them, fell in love, ordered more, did a video review for his YouTube channel (see below) and we introduced ourselves on Facebook. Strong and well-rounded, Vitor is a bodybuilder and website builder who sets his goals and goes for them, ignoring those who doubt him and proving them wrong as he moves ahead. He is also a man of deep religious faith and conviction and he credits that faith with helping him succeed. We’ve really watched Vitor make great progress in the year we have known him. And we asked him to share a little big of his story.

Interview Questions

BBG: Hi Vitor. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself to get started? Where you’re from, what you do, how old you are. Anything that will give us a little context. A mini-bio, if you will.

VITOR: Hi, my name is Vitor Fernando Martins Faiante, I am 23 Years old and I am from Portugal, although I now live in London. As a young kid I was always very slim, but still I enjoyed running around and playing sports. My first sport was Football (or Soccer for all my USA friends). When I was 10 a coach from one of the local teams saw me kicking a ball and asked me if I wanted to play.  But the equipment was expensive and life in Portugal is not easy, especially for my single mom raising me on her own so it had to wait. By the time I was 13 a friend of mine convinced my mother to let me play, and I joined the rival team from the village next to mine. A lot of kids there were way more skilled and experienced than me, and some said I was too slim and I was not strong enough.

Even so, that year I was chosen as one of the players to go with the rest of the team to a tournament in Toulouse, France. Eventually I was also awarded the “Revelation Player of the Year” and “Most Disciplined Player of the Year”.  In the UK I was playing for a Semi-Professional Brazilian team and even had the privilege to personally meet the Brazil National Football (Soccer) Team where I met players such as Ronaldino, Kaka, etc. So now 7 years on I looked back at everyone who said I would not be able to go far in football and I had proved them all wrong.

During all this I was studying at University for a Computer Science Degree, and with all the countless late nights and rubbish food. So I was losing my athletic body and now I was putting on fat. So I joined a gym in September 2009.

BBG: Thank you. How long have you been lifting and what got you started? What are your main goals in bodybuilding?

VITOR: I have been bodybuilding for about 2 ½ years. When I went to the gym for the first I remember that I had a weak upper body, stringy arms, a flat chest, rounded back and falling shoulders from poor posture. But I had big, strong legs from all the years of football. In 3 months I made quite a big jump in weight, but nothing impressive. During that time I researched diet, training, supplementation, etc and this is where my love for bodybuilding started to grow.

But while I was talking about bodybuilding more and more, some people suggested I didn’t have the body for it. As with football, I decided to prove people wrong and shown yes you can achieve something when you love it and work hard.

My main goals in bodybuilding are to be a better, healthy version of me and inspire and motivate others. I want one day for my kids to say they want to be healthy and fit just like their daddy so they don’t go into the mainstream of unhealthy, obese people.

Also I intend to compete this year (2012) for the first time as a way to prove any and everyone that might have doubted that I would be able to do it, and also to show all those out there that may doubt themselves that they can do it and through this show them that God willing yes they can change and be healthy and fit.

BBG: You have a very impressive physique. Do you recall what your stats were when you first walked into a gym? What are your stats now?

VITOR: I was about 63Kg/138Lbs and probably about 15% bf. As for my stats now it is a bit difficult to say since I am cutting down for the show but I can give you a very close approximation of my stats. I am now 73Kg/160Lbs at about 9% bf, biceps 16” flexed, 37” chest, 30” waist, 23” thighs, about 15” calves.

BBG: One of the reasons we’re interviewing you is because we know you’re an avid Big Back Grips user. What did you use before BBGs and why did you settle on BBGs? How do they help your workout?

VITOR: I use to use gloves but they would get completely destroyed very easily and my hands were full of calluses. With BBGs I had more freedom because I wasn’t wearing those annoying gloves, sweating because my hands couldn’t breathe. With BBGs I don’t sweat as much, they are more comfortable and my grip was waaaay better!

It also meant that I could still continue to train my grip while training my back. But I did not stick to the BBG’s just for back workouts. They became a staple of mine in every muscle group that I was training. I feel that with the BBG’s I can more easily control the weights without them sliding through my hands.

Vitor reviewed Big Back Grips on his YouTube channel

BBG: Where do you work out? What kind of gym is it? Is it a hardcore gym? A fitness center?

VITOR: Funny enough I train at two gyms. My primary gym is Muscleworks Gym, one of the last standing hardcore gyms in London. The atmosphere is amazing. Massive guys training hard and heavy, many with a collection of major titles. That’s motivation!

I also train at The Gym Group. It’s more like a fitness gym and it is open 24 hours a day and I only use it about 1-2 times a week because it is way closer to my house and so I might use it on the weekend.

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

VITOR: My biggest accomplishments so far is the fact that I have managed to move from a scrawny version of me to a healthy, fit, strong version of me. I couldn’t have done it without God and the people who encouraged me and told me to keep on going. I feel I have also motivated some people through my training, speaking, and helping them at the gym and even through some of my YouTube videos.

I hope to accomplish another one which is to compete in my first Bodybuilding show.

BBG: What is your workout schedule like?

VITOR: At the moment it’s a 5-day routine based on a training protocol called Y3T (Yoda 3 Training) which was developed by Neil Hill (also known as Neil “Yoda” Hill due to his great knowledge of training and nutrition). He works with Gaspari Nutrition and is sort of mentor and coach to IFBB Pro James Flex Lewis. I picked up his training program from bodybuilding.com. But UK version of the Flex Magazine has a new, more in-depth and detailed version of that protocol was published and that is the exact one I am using even during my contest prep. So I train Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

BBG: What about your diet?

VITOR: Well, this may cause some controversy because it is quite misunderstood within the fitness community: I use a bit of what it is called IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”). This is a bit of controversy because people think that someone who uses IIFYM is eating, pizza, burgers and Pop Tarts all day long. Although I do eat a pizza, Pop Tart or whatever once in a while, I’d like to lay down the concept of IIFYM as simply as possible. IIFYM basically means I am doing a similar diet to all bodybuilders where I am choosing to eat quality, nutritionally dense, wholesome, minimally processed foods, which includes the bodybuilder’s staple items such as eggs, egg whites, oatmeal, brown rice, lean beef, chicken breast, fish, etc. It also means I am concentrating on getting all my micros as well by making sure I eat vegetables such as peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc., and fruit. Bananas are my favorite for the potassium to prevent cramps, and for all the vitamins, antioxidants etc.

So my diet is the same as a normal bodybuilder’s. But IIFYM says that, if at the end of the day you have a little craving to eat something and “if it fits your macros”, meaning it won’t go over your calories, protein, carbs, fat intake that you should be aiming for, then go for it and don’t feel guilty. I think this is a more sane approach because you do not have to stress as much on the fact you may have eaten something that spoils it all. So in other words 90-95% of my foods are your typical bodybuilder’s “clean” foods and only 5-10% is what you would call “bad” foods.

Vitor does a rear double biceps pose

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

VITOR: When people ask me about which body part I like to train most they are surprised that I say legs. It seems a lot of people are afraid of legs because you have to train very intensively in order to really yield results. And training legs hurts. So call me mad, but I love that pain and I like when sometimes the next day I am barely walking due to the soreness. The squat and leg press are my favorites. (I need to be careful on squats because of lower back issues).

The most challenging body part for me is chest and it takes me a lot in order to make it have any improvement. I have seen that body parts like my biceps don’t take too long to be pumped and growing. But my chest, back and shoulders are the most difficult ones to bring out, especially chest.

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?

VITOR: Some might find me a bit unsociable because when I train because I put on my headphones and listen to strong, loud up-tempo music. They may find they are in for a crazy type of workout because my style incorporates two philosophies. One is the approach that Kai Greene takes, which is focusing on contracting the fibers of the working muscle and have full range of motion, fully under tension. The second approach is the Branch Warren style, which is really hardcore heavy training, which I like as well. From a workout partner I like someone who can motivate me and push me harder and harder for me to continue growing and getting better and stronger.

BBG: Is there a workout that really stands out from the rest? A particularly amazing workout where you ended going further than you ever had?

VITOR: As I said previously my training program is Y3T and the reason I stuck with it is because I have seen the best results from it. The premise of this workout program so people may understand better is the program rotates around 3 week cycles. Week 1 focusing mainly on compounds movements for the muscle you are working with a rage of 8-10 reps, Week 2 Compound and Isolation movements with a rep range of about 12-14 and Week 3 Compound and Isolation with a rep range of 16-20 reps and for legs you could go up to about 25 reps. With each week that the reps go up, the weight decreases about 20-30% and the rest periods as well so that by week 3 it is a really intense and quick workout that really bumps up the cardio and the pump as well due to the high reps. The goal of these reps is that you get to a point you can easily perform the last 3-4 reps and so you do rest pause reps where you hold the weight in the locked out part, rest about 3-5 seconds and then perform another rep until you hit your rep range.

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

VITOR: My advice for people starting out is to do your research well. Learn about macronutrients and micronutrients. Don’t be afraid of failure because each time you fail you learn more and more. Learn about IIFYM in its true context. Stick to a well known proven training method and I would suggest for someone starting for them to start at 3 days per week because sometimes this notion of more is better is not the case especially, for a beginner. Have fun and workout out hard and believe you can achieve your goals.

VITOR: Thank you! It has not always been the case that my back was developed like this. As I mentioned, it is one of those body parts that have taken me a long time to develop and now is one of those I like to train the most. I have used a lot of different exercises, but you will find me using a lot of pull-ups (normally use them at the beginning as a pre exhaustion technique); deadlifts; barbell bent-over rows; T-bar rows; and seated low cable rows. And now I like to use the Hammer Strength rows as well. For isolation I like one-arm dumbbell rows.

Let me give you the exact back workout. For example, here’s Week One of the current program. (Although after 6 weeks, the exercise sequence will change and some exercises will be different, but this gives you and idea of the “heavy week” back workout):

  • 4 Sets of Pull Ups – 10 Reps (I may or may not use this as you will see from the next exercise)
  • 3 Sets Wide Grip Pulldowns – 8-10 Reps (With 4 warm up sets)
  • 3 Sets T-Bar Rows – 8-10 Reps
  • 2-3 Sets Seated Pulley Rows – 8-10 Reps (or Seated Low Cable Rows, whatever name you may want to call it)
  • 2-3 Sets Partial Deadlifts – 8-10 Reps (Or full Deadlifts if you prefer)

Thank You so much for your time and for the Interview

Vitor shows his traps in a crab pose.
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