This is a story I was interested in for a few reasons. The first being that fitness models don’t cross over into the world of physique competition as often as you would think, and the second reason related to the first because I was curious what the difference was between the two. It seemed straight forward to me; you get in good shape and you could qualify as either a fitness model or a physique competitor. That of course is the general idea, but it’s not exactly the same.
Skip Wood competed in high school and college basketball, and when he finished, he was left looking for that type of rush that was now missing. He began lifting weights which led him to fitness modeling. You may remember him from the very popular Hydroxycut commercials from a few years back, as Skip was the model for that campaign. Without further ado, here is what Skip and I discussed.
L&S: You began your professional fitness life as a fitness model, what is the story there?
SW: I entered and won a fitness model search for a clothing company several years ago. I got to shoot at a great location w/ some top fitness models and was hooked.
L&S: What were the best and worst, or hardest parts, of being paid to be in great shape?
SW: The best part is getting paid to pursue something you’re passionate about. The worst part – having to pass on fun activities like eating out or going to a concert when it’s crunch time. I’m getting better at being able to enjoy myself while dieting though.
L&S: Regardless of whether you are a pro bodybuilder, or a fitness model, there is going to be temptation to take ‘short cuts’. Was that ever an issue for you (being tempted)?
SW: Absolutely, but the look I’m trying to achieve these days wouldn’t really benefit from chemical enhancements so it’s no longer an issue.
L&S: Has fitness always been a big part of your life?
SW: Athletics were always a big part of my life, so when my competitive days ended it was an easy transition. As a phys ed teacher and coach, fitness would be a huge part of my life even if I didn’t compete.
L&S: When did you start weight training?
SW: In high school, I was introduced to the weight room by a good friend who was passionate about bodybuilding. He was later killed in a car accident, and I definitely continue to weight train as a way to honor him.
L&S: When did you get serious about it?
SW: To be honest, I got serious about training when I quit drinking. I liked to party as much as I liked to work out, and the two just don’t go together. I can remember a friend and I would work out like maniacs Monday through Friday, then hit the town every weekend and wonder why we weren’t making any gains!
L&S: Now that you are a men’s physique competitor, what is the biggest difference from being a fitness model?
SW: Competing in Men’s Physique you’re trying to achieve a certain look – broad shoulders, small waist, etc. When preparing for photo shoots, weight loss and low body fat % are the keys. The last photo shoot I did, I’d gotten so lean it actually hurt to smile! That’s certainly not the look you want to bring on stage.
L&S: What is your pre contest diet like?
SW: Several small meals of white fish and vegetables, with carbs added to only the first couple meals basically. I incorporate a cheat meal once a week up until a few weeks out from a contest or photo shoot.
L&S: What is your off-season diet like?
SW: 5-6 larger meals during the day with chicken, eggs and red meat taking the place of fish and carbs w/every meal. I tend to approach the off-season w/more of a bodybuilder mentality, because I absolutely love eating!
L&S: What are the goals now that you are on a new path in fitness?
SW: I’ll give Men’s Physique competitions a few more tries and see if I can get nationally qualified and ultimately earn a pro card.
L&S: What else do you hope to accomplish through being a physique competitor, besides success on the stage?
SW: Sounds cheesy, but my favorite part of competing has been the new friendships I’ve made. Hopefully that continues – it’s always great to meet new people.
L&S: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming a physique competitor to help them along?
SW: I’m still learning myself, but I’d tell anyone just starting out to never get discouraged with a placing – just try to improve each time you compete. It’s a subjective sport and you could go crazy trying to please judges. Work hard, never stop learning and enjoy yourself.
L&S: Do you get help from any sponsors?
SW: Yes, I’ve teamed up with Nutrabolics supplements for the past year or so and have seen great improvements in my physique since I began using their products. I appreciate their support.
L&S: You and I both have a son of the same age, I’m curious what his reaction is to what you do regarding the gym, and competing?
SW: There’s nothing better than having your 5 yr. old son wake you up and say, “Daddy, it’s time to exercise!” He joins in a little bit. His favorite exercise is doing planks, and likes to time me doing some things w/his stopwatch, so he’s my coach! It’s nice being a good influence on him. When I’m eating healthy, he’s more inclined to too.
L&S: You are also a teacher, what do your students make of all of this?
SW: They get a kick out it. Some have brought in magazine ads I’m in for me to sign, or play the commercials I’ve done on YouTube in front of the class. While they’re teasing, they know that I’m passionate about health and fitness and I know it rubs off on them. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “Hey Coach, can you write me up a diet and workout plan?”
L&S: What does your training schedule look like?
SW: My training schedule looks like this currently: Day 1: Legs/calves, Day 2: Chest/abs, Day 3: Back/calves Day 4: Shoulders/abs, Day 5: Arms. I do cardio – mainly the stair climber three to four times a week, and throw in a kettlebell or TRX workout here and there for a change of pace. The routine is nothing special, but my intensity is. I love working out!
L&S: You told me that music has an integral role in your training. Can you explain to our readers what you meant by this, and how it relates to your training?
SW: I never go the gym w/out my Ipod fully charged! Music has always played a huge part in my training. I get motivation from bands like Volbeat, Chevelle, Linkin Park and Godsmack. The other day a gym attendant asked me to please stop throwing the weights around. I replied, “I’m sorry. I’m listening to the new Three Days Grace album. It’s so angry!”
This is my favorite quote when it comes to the gym:
The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.
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