NPC District Chairman for North Carolina, Mike Valentino
IFBB Pro, Mike Valentino and NPC District Chairman for North Carolina. Mike “MikeV” is a very outgoing and down to earth guy, always a great help when it comes to contest preparation, nutrition, commitment and motivation. In his many years as an amateur and professional bodybuilder competitor, he has earned many titles, awards and recognitions.
Originally from New York and long time resident of North Carolina, Mike Valentino is one of our old time favorites with so many accomplishments under his belt.
In no special order, but beginning with acknowledging his accomplishment to becoming a Professional Bodybuilder; becoming a successful entreprenuer owning several Gold's Gym in North Carolina; and respected as Chairman of the North Carolina NPC and family man. Mike can be reached through the North Carolina NPC website.
Below is an interview with Mike
Mike Valentino, professional bodybuilder and entrepreneur as the owner of 12 Gold’s Gyms (at time of interview) in the Carolina’s has over 30 years of experience in bodybuilding and fitness. If anyone knows the ropes in bodybuilding, contest preparation, nutrition, commitment and motivation, it’s Mike. As Mike states and demonstrates, bodybuilding is a lifestyle. I want to thank Mike for taking the time to meet with me and answering some questions.
Q: How did you get started in bodybuilding?
A: Actually, I started in Junior High School. I was a fan of the bodybuilding magazines, Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwazzenger. I was wrestling in high school and I injured my shoulder so as part of getting stronger and re-habing, I joined my first gym in October of 1979, at 16 years old, I started bodybuilding and did my first contest 6 months at 17 years old.
Q: How many years have you been working out?
A: It’s amazing to say, but it was 30 years ago in October 1979 when I started. I have had some set back with injuries throughout the years, but I’ve been very consistent with working out.
Q: At what point did you feel you met your goal?
A: In 2002 is when I met my primary goal and became a Professional Bodybuilder Winning the Light Heavy Weight Class at the NPC National Championships.
Q: Do you have a specific diet you follow?
A: I would say that Moderate/High in protein, moderate carbs and low fat. It maintains my energy and I can function better in all aspects of my life, family, business, training and contest prep.
Q: Do you have a role model?
A: Role models for me in bodybuilding and fitness are people that have been in it for a while. Lee Labrado, Shawn Ray because of their statute of 5’ 6” – 5’ 7”, just like me. Also, Lee Haney, a great champion and great human being. I am a fan of the sport so I am inspired and in awe of many of the champions over the years though. I am a big fan of sports; I particularly like Basketball and Football. In General though, the greatness of any athlete I appreciate, I also appreciate what it takes to get there and the greatness to maintain it. I admire athletes that get to the top and are able to maintain the “eye of the tiger” to stay at the top. Mike goes on to proudly say:My parents are my role models. I am blessed and so fortunate to have a great loving and supportive family.
Q: What would be your advice to new members in bodybuilding?
A: There were hardly any gurus around when I started in my bodybuilding. I was eating milk shakes with ice cream and eating lots of meat. Until Professional Bodybuilder, Quincy Roberts, started advising me about nutrition and training. I still had to go through a tremendous amount of trial and error. Nutrition, supplements, training techniques, routines, etc, it’s all incredible amount of information and a lot of it is trial and error to really dial in on what works for you, but the basics of all of those aspects are effective for anyone getting started. Today there’s so much of information out there with magazines, the internet, competitors that have been training for years. Years ago you didn’t have that.
Q: Would you say working out is addictive?
A: It’s a lifestyle. It’s medically proven that working out does so many incredible positive things to your body and ifs functioning systems, its truly the fountain of youth. Resistance training combined with Cardio training will enhance our life and well being incredibly, these forms of exercise help regulate all kinds of hormonal functions in your body, create stronger bones and joints, release endorphins that produce a greater state of well being, its irreplaceable in helping you be the best you can be in all aspects of your life.. These benefits along with The physical changes to your body help create motivation and a feeling of self confidence and pride.
Q: How many contests have you been in and how many titles did you receive?
A: I competed 6 times as a teenager and never won. In 1984 I won the Collegiate National, 1986 I won the Atlantic Coast and competed in Junior Nationals. 1990 I won Mount Rogers. 1991 I won Mr. North Carolina State and Competed Junior Nationals. In 1996 I competed in the North Carolina State and competed Junior USA Championships and won both the Middleweights and Overall in each of them. After a few years break from a low back surgery and a torn bicep repair surgery I came back to the competitive scene in 2000. I competed in and won the Middleweights in the USA Championships and re-qualified for that event by winning the Light Heavy Weights and overall of the Jan Tana Championships. In 2001 I moved up to the Light Heavy weights and got 3rd in the , National Championships, and 2002 competed in and Won the Light Heavy Weights in the Nationals earning my IFBB PRO CARD. So 18 amateur contests and now I have competed 5 times as pro in the 202lb IFBB Pro Class.
Q: What do you personally enjoy about bodybuilding?
A: Probably the discipline and structure. I definitely find that when I follow a closer bodybuilding lifestyle it ends up being positive in all aspects of my life. It helps keep a focus on Family, work, and living a quality life. It truly helps to build successful habits into many different aspects of life.
Q: Do you get stopped in random places and get asked if you Workout?I had to ask this one. Mike laughed and went on to say:
A: It’s funny, man, I do periodically but I pretty much wear business clothes and most people know I work out but I am not a huge hulking type of guy. Actually when someone sees my pictures they say, “Wow, I didn’t know you looked like that.” When I work out I like to be really warm and most of the time except in the dead of summer I wear long pants and shirts.
Q: Do you like to work out with a training partner, or do you prefer to train alone?
A: I definitely like to work out with a training partner. I don’t need a training partner, but I like a partner who trains hard and has the mentality of pushing and staying positive and seeing improvements. It doesn’t have to be someone who actually wants to compete in bodybuilding but someone who has a strong desire to push the limits in the gym. Clearly using heavy weights and tossing up dumbbells its great to have a partner to spot and help with that, also, I enjoy the social interaction and the camaraderie of a focused partner.
Q: Do you have a gym at home?
A: I don’t. Just a treadmill
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: In bodybuilding, I’m not sure if I would be a competitor. I am always competing with myself. Trying to improve myself. I will continue in the business in some aspects, coaching, consultant, and around competitors.
Q: If there's anything you would do different, what will that be?
A: I have no regrets in bodybuilding but clearly early on guidance from someone who might have had experience on a high level of Bodybuiliding could have been beneficial, In 1986, at 23 I competed in the Junior Nationals, it was in Niagara Falls, New York, It was a HUGE show, I had 46 in my Light Heavy weight class alone, future Pro’s Eddie Robinson won 1s place, Shawn Ray, 2nd place, and Darryl Stafford got 3rd ……I didn’t place top 16. I didn’t have the diet knowledge and direction. I think that could have been a turning point for me early on if I had had someone who saw my physique and had critiqued me to say, “If you were to get to the middleweights(I weighed in at 186, could have easily been ripped at 176) I could have been very competitive in the middleweight division. I think if I had competed in the middleweight at that time in my career, I could have possibly attained a PRO card earlier on in my training years. With that said, ultimately it would not have changed my course to compete as a PRO. The 202lb Division was only created 3 years ago and I would have never competed in the Unlimited Division because I could not compete against the top guys in the sport at their size and weights, so really it could have brought me possibly earlier gratification and recognition in the sport but ultimately without the development of the 202lb class there would have been no different of a PRO competitive career. .