Nick Walker is one of the most popular active names competing in the Men’s Open division. In a recent appearance on the Think Big Bodybuilding Podcast, Walker talked about steroid use, changes to training routines, and whether aesthetic physiques are taking over in 2023.
Over the last four months, the sport witnessed two major events. The 2022 Olympia competition crowned Hadi Choopan as the new champion, defeating the 212-transformed-Open contender Derek Lunsford and Nick Walker, who placed third.
At the 35th annual Arnold Classic, Nick Walker, Andrew Jacked, and Samson Dauda battled for first place as well as a massive paycheck. The finals saw Samson Dauda emerge victorious, however, his victory sparked controversy within the community. Even former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout and Chris Aceto were taken aback by Dauda’s seemingly perfect scorecard.
Looking ahead, Walker has plenty of time to make changes to his package for the Olympia. In a recent Mutant and the Mouth podcast, the 28-year-old joined Nick Trigili to break down the current state of judging. They both agreed that perhaps more transparency would make for a fairer process. With time away from his off-season, Walker shared some new training details and discussed how he responds to steroids.
‘Genetic Freak’ Nick Walker Talks Old ‘Ballistic’ Style of Training & Being a ‘Hyper Responder’
Walker says the pace and tempo of his training sessions has changed since his last contest.
“As far as counting reps, say, ‘Oh, I did 150-pound dumbbells for incline dumbbell press – 12 this week, next week I want to hit 10 for 14 reps.’ I didn’t care for that. I was just – if I feel good, I’m going to train heavier. If I don’t, I’m going to train a little differently. There was never like – yeah, so now that I’m kind of doing that now [progressive overloading] it’s kind of a new motivation.”
“I was pretty ballistic when I started [training]. Actually, Matt taught me that [more control]. When we met back in 2019, he didn’t do my training per say, but he told me to slow the movement down, control the eccentric rep and explode up. So that’s – so I had to kind of restart in a way. But that’s just what I did and the progression just came very very fast,” Nick Walker shared.
According to Walker, he believes he’s a hyper responder to steroids and said he was able to push things more intensely when he was younger.
“I always found that I was pretty hyper-responder. So, yeah. When I was younger did I push it a little harder? Sure. But now, where I’m at, if I was to tell people what I do, they would probably unfollow me and call me a liar,” Walker added.
He specified that he and Matt Jansen intend to ‘really calculate’ the training and diet for his upcoming season.
“The other thing is if your shit is very pure and it’s properly dosed, you don’t need a lot right. You really don’t,” said Walker. “That’s also another thing that I want to try as well, is push, really push the food, really calculate the training the best I can while barely not doing much and just see how far the body can really go. I don’t need a dramatic amount of size anymore. I just need to make certain improvements and keep refining. I don’t need to keep pushing pushing and pushing.”
Walker on Aesthetic Physiques Taking Over League: ‘I Know My Strengths’ and ‘I’m Always Going to Play to That Advantage’
Despite Dauda and Andrew Jacked’s success as aesthetic bodybuilders, Walker plans to play his own game. He also said if he can improve his aesthetics he will.
So here’s the thing, I personally – it’s hard to tell right because you had someone like Hadi Choopan win the Olympia, who in my personal opinion, he’s I guess aesthetic but not the most aesthetic guy here. Then, you had someone like Samson win the Arnold.
It’s more along the lines of which direction are we going. I kind of do feel they are kind of transitioning to the more taller aesthetic look. With that being said, I’m not necessarily trying to play that game, but if I can play my own game and improve my aesthetics more and more, I will,” said Walker.
“I know what my strengths are so I’m always going to play to that advantage. Again, like I said, if I can while doing that [and] improve other aspects.”
With aesthetics taking the center stage following Dauda’s victory, IFBB Olympia judge Terrick El Guindy took part in a recent Olympia TV appearance to shed some light on what officials are seeing during contests. Considering the shapely physiques of Jacked and Brazil’s Rafael Brandao, El Guindy stressed it’s bad news for Walker’s future.
RELATED: Milos Sarcev on Nick Walker Finishing 2nd at 2023 Arnold Classic: ‘He Lost Size in the Legs’
The last time aesthetics versus mass was discussed, bodybuilding veteran Chris Cormier tackled the subject. He believes athletes who blend both qualities together are likely to influence the direction of the Men’s Open division.
Nick is pushing the limits. I feel a little sorry that he feels he needs to do this so hard. Be safe big guy, you got a lot of years ahead yet.