Jake Phippen Interview
What sparked your interest in fitness and bodybuilding?
JP: I was introduced to the fitness world at a very young age, 4yrs old, when my father started coaching the freestyle wrestling program and signed me up to be a part of the club. This created an interest in sports which eventually created a love for lifting. I always admired the dedication it took for physique competitors to build such a lean, symmetrical, and muscular body but never had the desire to get up on stage until after attending a local show for the first time. I had 3 different surgeries which caused me to stopped playing football but I still had the desire to compete and this was the way I could keep competing without taking the physical abuse my body couldn’t handle anymore. Once I made the decision to get up on stage there was no looking back.
You did all kinds of physical sports growing up like football, wrestling, and MMA. How did such physicality and mental discipline allow you to excel in your fitness career?
JP: The years of physically and menatally demanding sports built a work ethic and mindset in me which doesn’t allow for quitting until the task at hand is complete. Competing in any physqiue competition is taxing both menatlly and physically. When I start to cut down for a show and workouts are harder to complete, cravings are kicking in, and I begin to contemplate as to why I’m doing this I can always think back to my sporting career and know for a fact my body and mind has been through more difficult times and I can DO THIS!
As a competition coach, what do you teach to your athletes? What do you hope they gain out of you being their coach?
JP: I like to pass on to my competitors the same phylosophy which my coach, Allen Cress owner of Maximum Performance Training, as instilled in me which is Health is 1st priority and the Stage is 2nd. When I began my competition career I followed the norm in the indusrty which asked for many different types of depleting, over use of supplements, and over training. It wasn’t until I found and hired Allen that there’s a healthy and affective way to compete without harming your body. Unfortunatly, I found him a little too late and all the abuse I put on my body through improper diet and exercise caught up to me. I’m currently on a break from competing in order to ‘heal’ my body. The unnecessary extremes some competitors implement during prep and damaging affects it has on you physically, mentally, and emotionally is one of the most important aspects I wish my competitors learn while they allow me to prep them for shows. There is a healthy and affective way to bring your best physique to the show and enjoy the process.
What were some of your most memorable competitions being an IFBB Pro Men’s Physique competitor?
JP: I’ve only been a Pro for a short time but my most memorable one was my first Pro show, 2013 IFBB Sacramento Pro. Going in I had no clue what to expect. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be ran similar to a local NPC show or maybe closer to a NPC National show or if it would be completely different. The only thought which kept running through my head was, “Just don’t finish last!” I really had no expectations as to how I would do being my Pro Debut so I went in to have a good time, meet new competitors, and get a feel for what the competition was like at this level. The Sacramento Pro was the first IFBB Pro event to hold a Masters (35+) division in men’s Physique since I was 36 at the time I figured why not. This actaully worked out extremely well for me. I walked out off that stage making history in the IFBB as then first ever Masters Men’s Physique Champion. I was shocked at the outcome yet on cloud 9 for weeks following the show.
How do you physically and mentally prepare in the weeks leading up to competition?
JP: Leading into a competition I’m in constant contact with my coach, Allen Cress, and with the biofeedback I give him he adjust my workouts in order to retain muscle mass and burn off the remaining body fat. This could include switching workouts to either higher reps, supersets, 2 a days, or maybe some HIIT cardio. It’s different every show becuase my body is in a differnt state of conditioning each time I prep. The mental preparation is in my opinion harder then the physical. Physically most know what their body can handle but mental weakness can break you. I always have an end goal in mind and tell myself I’m not going to stop until I reach it. I know there will be difficult times and times I will want to quit so keeping everything in perspective and awarding myself for small progressions helps keep the big goal in sight.
What’s the biggest difference between in-season training/dieting with doing it in the off-season?
JP: While in-season the goal is to lean out while retaining muscle mass along with creating optimal symmetry. This means eating in somewhat of a caloric deficit with frequent cheat meals or re-feeds. This will allow for hormone balance while cutting down. My workouts are constantly changing according to my needs. As you eat in a deficit you can’t build muscle mass so my lifting usually is a little lighter focusing on creating the most workload onto the targeted muscle. By doing this it decreases stress on joints and ligaments. In the off-season it’s just the opposite. I eat in a caloric surplus to support muscle growth and increase my metabolic rate. My workouts again change according to progression but typically they begin with heavy compound lifts followed by some lighter higher rep lifts to drive blood-flow into the muscle fibers.
As a personal trainer, what types of training and nutritional regiments do you do with your clients?
JP: I like to keep things interesting with clients utilizing all types of training. I start them out with typical resistence training until they have the muscle strength and stability to do more explosive movements. Some have advanced onto weighted plyometrics and olympic lifts. Nutrionally I promote flexible dieting. Most people want to still live their lives and not have it revolve around a diet. Flexible dieting makes people feel as if they aren’t restricted when it comes to foods and that they’re actaully dieting. It helps clients mentally wrap their brain around what, how much, and when to eat. I find this the most effective for people long term.
If you could only pick one workout to do, which would you choose and why?
JP: I would do a Quadplex consisting of Squats, Low Incline DB presses, Deadlifts, and DB Push-press. These lifts would hit every major muscle group in the body and activate stabalizer and supporting muscles. Basically you hit everything. If you do these lifts with the right intensity you can also get a great cardio workout in at the same time. Put all that together and you can build mass and burn bodyfat eventhough limited to these lifts.
What is something people may not know about you?
JP: At the age of 8 I was wrestling in a tournament at one of our local high schools. I had taken my oppenent down and was trying to roll him over and pin him when he maneuvered his body enough to get to his feet. I stood up with him and was in position to wrap my arms around his waist and put him in a Bear Hug (facing opponent with arms around waist and hands locked in a wrestlers grip squezing while applying pressure to lower back). As I squeezed as hard as I could he started collapsing and falling backwards. As I continued to push my bodyweight against his he reached back to brace the fall. As we hit the mat all I heard was the loudest SNAP and blood curdling SCREAM of my life. I didn’t know what happened so I let go and stood up. After I got to my feet I looked down and saw he had broke his arm at the forearm in half. It was the most disturbing thing I had ever seen at that point in my life. Ever since that day I received the nickname, “Bonecrusher” in the wrestling community.
What do you like to do in your free time?
JP: Most of the time I like to just relax. When I get a chance for a vacation I try to make it to a beach where I can lay in the sun and clear my mind. Other then that I enjoy spending time in the mountains or on a lake. I will take my bike out for a ride or head to the movies. Basically anything that takes me away from the everyday life of a persoanl trainer and competitor I’m up for.
What are your future goals both personally and professionally?
JP: A personal goal of mine is to find the women who I can spend the rest of my life with. I’ve been through some good and bad relationships but haven’t been able to lockdown that special one. Have someone be by your side through thick and thin creates a bond that nothing can break. Strength is in numbers! I have 2 main goals for my professional life. The first is help bring awareness to competitors that health issues related to extreme contest protocols and My number 2 goal is to compete in the Olympia. It’s the largest and most prestigious physique competition in the world. It would be an honor to qualify and step on stage with the best athletes in the world. I have some work to do before this happens but the challenge has been accepted!