By Dan Solomon
The fitness & bodybuilding community is comprised of a passionate and diverse group of men and women who have devoted their lives to staying fit, building muscle and living longer. Since my arrival in this industry I’ve always held a special appreciation for the cultural diversity within this unique sub-culture. The language of fitness is spoken in every corner of the world. For this week’s Q&A profile, I’m shining a spotlight on Venezuelan born professional bodybuilder Heinz Senior.
Dan: Tell us about bodybuilding in your country and how it’s different than here in the U.S.
Heinz: In Venezuela, where I come from, back in the 90’s there were no supplements available so I had to eat only whole food to bulk up. You might find some whey protein if you were lucky. Fortunately I was in my 20’s, so it wasn’t really hard to put on muscle mass. Here in the U.S. there is an endless supply of supplements to help athletes reach their goals.
Dan: Your road to becoming a professional bodybuilder was a bit different. When did you get started?
Heinz: I started bodybuilding in 1989, I was in Dental School and the government closed the schools for 2 years because there were riots and it was very dangerous so I had nothing to do but party. A friend of mine invited me to go to the gym one day and as soon I as we got there I noticed a trainer was working with two of our National Champion bodybuilders. I told my friend “Adrian, I have to be like them”, he answered “We drink and smoke almost every day, no way you can do this, these guys are like monks..”
Dan: How much did you weigh at that time?
Heinz: I was only 148 lbs and 3 months later I started training with one of the trainers. Within a year I got 3rd place in a novice competition at a weight of 158 lbs and then a year later I won my first Venezuelan National Championships in the heavy weight class at 189 lbs.
Dan: So you gained 40 lbs of muscle in a little over a year?
Heinz: It was very easy for me to put on size back then. My coach told me “Heinz you have a good chance to do well in this sport. You just have to work harder than anybody else to achieve your goals, but trust me you will get there.” So in 1994 I moved to Miami to train and learn more about nutrition and training and then I went to train with Mike Mentzer in California and learned his Heavy Duty System. I practiced for a decade giving me a good name in my country and I taught training and nutrition seminars in Venezuela, Colombia and Dominican Republic.
Dan: How did you earn your IFBB Pro Card?
Heinz: The Government announced that to be able to compete in international shows you had to test negative for steroids. But by then I was already a 5 time National Champion. I also placed 3rd at the Caribbean Championships the same year Gustavo Badell got his Pro Card, so the Bodybuilding federation told me I had to test negative at the next year’s nationals”. I was in shock! I decided to stay clean the whole year and I placed 4th. As it turned out, I was the only competitor in the 14 man lineup to pass the test so I was named the National Champion. A few weeks later IFBB President Rafael Santonja approved my petition to become an IFBB Pro, the highest honor for a bodybuilder. A dream come true.
Dan: Tell us about your ability to formulate supplements. You’ve received high praise for your work in the supplement business.
Heinz: As you know everybody calls them self an expert trainer or a formulator, and everything has become so saturated. All these so-called experts look great on their social media profile but at the moment of truth they can’t deliver. I have the resources, the knowledge, the lab and 2 of my best friends with master’s degrees in biochemistry. That’s what makes my formulas work. I always use high quality ingredients to ensure potency and efficacy.
Dan: Do you work with athletes as a trainer?
Heinz: Yes, that’s my favorite profession and actually I just bought a gym to develop my personal training and coaching business to the highest level. I have trained thousands of people during my 27 year career; major leagues baseball players, soccer players, football stars, water polo, golfers, bull riders – all kind of athletes. I coach Pro Bodybuilders and I’ve helped several NPC athletes to turn pro. I also train many NPC bodybuilding, bikini and physique athletes in the USA. I even provide online coaching for athletes overseas. Every single client has different needs, no two are alike. I also do coaching for regular people looking to adopt a healthy lifestyle and balance a normal life of overall fitness or to overcome injuries.
Dan: What are some of the problems you’re seeing with other trainers?
Heinz: I believe clients need to do their homework when it comes to choosing a trainer. They must understand that a free or a cheap trainer might not be the right fit for them. You’ll usually get what you pay for. In my opinion 90% of the trainers or coaches are not prepared to handle clients, period!
I competed for 21 years in 53 amateur and Pro shows, I was trained and coached by Mike Mentzer, Victor Munoz, Hany Rambod, Dave Palumbo, George Farah. I have trained with guys like Victor Martinez, Darrem Charles, Bill Willmore and lots of top ranked bodybuilders. I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Dan: Your new supplement line “Premier Pharmaceutical” is getting a lot of attention. Tell us why it’s different.
Heinz: What started as a little project with a friend from the pharmaceutical industry has turned into something pretty special. Everyone knows about the power of sublingual absorption, but no one has really used it for the fitness Industry. Most pills, capsules and powders are broken down in your digestion and intestines and you barely get to absorb 10% of the product, forcing you to take high doses. In most cases, the digestion process destroys the active ingredient absorption. Our sublingual delivery system will eventually change the industry.
Dan: Absorption has become a major problem with most supplements. How important is it for companies to solve this issue?
Heinz: Sadly, many companies are using low quality industrial grade ingredients. Some companies are lying on their labels, cheating on their formulas, spiking or using fillers like glutamine and electrolytes to save money. At Premier Pharmaceutical, we use Pharmaceutical grade ingredients. With our special sublingual delivery the ingredients are going quickly and directly into your bloodstream.
Dan: When you work with an elite athlete or bodybuilder, what is your overall strategy and what makes you different than other trainers?
Heinz: Being an athlete for 21 years and competing sometimes 3 and 4 times per year taught me a lot of different ways to reach new levels. I lived the evolution of bodybuilding during its best years, from training 5 hours per day back in the 80’s to using high intensity training techniques. I HAVE MADE ALL THE MISTAKES, so my clients don’t have to! I learned many tricks while I was still pursuing my dream. Let’s face it, I was realistic. I knew I would never be a Mr. Olympia champion, but bodybuilding is my profession and I was doing my job and I met the best coaches and the best people in the fitness industry. The last 2 weeks before a contest are crucial and I specialize in these key stages of the preparation process. Like I said, if your trainer didn’t practice this himself several times how can he know it will work? My experience is why my athletes look good onstage.
Dan: Thanks for the interview. How can people reach you if they’re interested in your assistance?
Heinz: The easiest way to find me in on social media
Facebook: Heinz Senior IFBB Pro
Email : [email protected]
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Dan Solomon has earned a reputation as a leader in the world of fitness & bodybuilding publishing. Having conducted many of the industry’s most wide reaching interviews, Dan served annually as host and lead commentator for the Mr. Olympia contest, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, also having appeared as moderator at the Olympia Press Conference. In 2018 Dan was named Chief Olympia Officer by American Media to oversee the Olympia brand and its showcase event held annually in Las Vegas. Additional Credits: Co-Executive Producer for the movie BIGGER, The Story of Joe Weider, Creator of the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly radio show (2005), a first of its kind program, for which he was awarded the IFBB’s Lifetime Achievement Medal by co-founder Ben Weider. Prior to creating Digital Muscle, served as Senior Features Editor at Muscular Development Magazine and has worked with many of the top brands in both nutrition and media. Dan’s favorite thing to talk about? Baseball.