RUGGED NATTY MUSCLE! PRO BODYBUILDER, NATE OLSEN
Interview BY Ben Yosef | Michael Brooks Photography
Nate “The Adonis” Olsen splashed onto the IPL Bodybuilding stage with a ton of rugged muscle and a classic posing style that ignited a fire in many onlookers. In the end Nate Olsen’s look was undeniable as the winner as he went on to clench the first place spot and IPL Pro Qualified Status at the 2016 2nd Annual IPL Midwest Championship in Madison, WI, on April 9th.
YOSEF: Hey, brotha! Congrats again on your success at the 2nd Annual IPL Midwest Championship, earlier this year. You looked awesome, man! Let’s jump right in and talk training. You brought a very impressive look to the IPL stage. Packing tons of full, hard muscle. What are your workouts like?
OLSEN: Thanks, brother! This was my first time on stage in three years! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be lean enough, because I hadn’t been too strict on my diet, but I think I did aright.
My workouts consisted of 3-4 days a week CrossFit training, which ranged from 10-30 minutes of interval strength training and 30 minute WODS (workouts of the day), and 2-3 days a week traditional bodybuilding training for the last two weeks leading up to the show.
YOSEF: So, you basically prepped on CrossFit? That is very interesting. CrossFit is putting that kind of rugged muscle onto your body?
“YEAH, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH ALL CROSSFIT.”
OLSEN: Yeah, it was pretty much all CrossFit. The majority of CrossFit Strength is power lifting, Olympic lifting and strongman training. I tried to get at least one day of each in a week. I hadn’t done arms or chest consistently in almost two years leading into the show, but I do think getting some traditional lifting in those last couple weeks helped fill me out a bit.
CrossFit builds more of a working, lean muscle than it builds size. It can also build a wide core, so I was nervous there. Shout out to New IPL Men’s Athletic PRO Solomon Taylor. He definitely has that tight waist I wish I still had! I am a natural hard-gainer, so CrossFit fits right into that style of training.
YOSEF: Although I have been hearing more and more about athletes using CrossFit to train and prepare for bodybuilding contests, it is still not a widely utilized training method for this spot. Do you feel that CrossFit would work for most athletes, or only for some? Like, there is a belief that people who get that “Bodybuilder” look often times already had that look going for them, or already had good genetics. And, would have been able to develop using whatever method they chose. What’s your take on this?
“…I NEVER GOT ‘BIG’ UNTIL I DROPPED MY CARDIO AND FOCUSED ON MY SIZE, WEIGHT AND PHYSIQUE.”
OLSEN: This question has a lot of substance, and I think it could be given many answers depending on a person’s preference and experiences. Seeing as I have been on both sides of the industry, I’ll try to answer it as best and as short as I can.
I believe CrossFit and fitness in general can, and have, disproved what I call the “genetics” myth. CrossFit can be utilized by everyone to achieve pure fitness. But, due to the strong influence of gymnastics, you generally don’t want to get too big for CrossFit.
In order to gain a bodybuilding physique, I believe you have to train with some kind of traditional training especially to develop the arms and a wide Back. Had I only started with CrossFit, I would have a for sure answer but I was a cross training athlete, (not CrossFit but similar) for about 4 years before bodybuilding. But, I never got “big” until I dropped my cardio and focused on my size, weight and physique.
Up to that point I had focused on performance on the field, rather than aesthetics. We actually know a lot of athletes that do a great mix of both and I believe that is the best combo.
I do think a bodybuilding physique would be harder to achieve if you didn’t already have somewhat of the bodybuilding physique to begin with. CrossFit is more about performance than it is physique. We see all shapes and sizes in CrossFit.
Many times in CrossFit, a person who may not fit the stereotype of “fit” can have the cardio engine of a distance runner, the strength of a power lifter and still be able to power through gymnastics movements. I have also seen some athletes who look super thick and fit struggle during movements and workouts due to lack of mobility and cardio.
I have yet to meet a cross fitter that focuses solely on aesthetics. This is a great question! CrossFit has only been popular in the public eye since the early to mid 2000’s. The longer CrossFit is around the more this answer will be able to have a solidified researched answer.
YOSEF: Awesome, man! Great perspective! What do you feel are your best body parts when it comes to the look of your physique in Bodybuilding competition?
“FOR ME, IT’S HARD TO PIN POINT ONE AREA. I THINK MY ARMS AND BACK ARE MY STRONG POINTS.”
OSLEN: For me, it’s hard to pin point one area. I think my arms and back are my strong points. I am not a huge guy at 5’8″ on a good day. For my first show I was 168-169 and I weighed 173 at the IPL Midwest Metro. In all honesty, I would have to say my posing pulls everything together, but as far as a Bodybuilding physique, I feel I would look completely different had I stuck with the traditional bodybuilding style of training. It is just like any other sport… soccer players and football players train differently for specific reasons tailored to their sport. I feel I need more thickness in my legs for sure, fuller, rounder shoulders and a thicker chest. I have ben out of the aesthetics game since 2013, so I guess I’m not doing too bad.
YOSEF: Yes, I would have to agree. Those are some pretty good body parts on you! As for posing, I think you are fantastic. Thank you for coming out to Guest Pose at the IPL Midwest Metro this past July. And, what you did at IPL Midwest Championship in April gave us all the chills. Your poising style, the music you chose… Where did you learn how to pose like that and what motivates you there?
“…ALWAYS BE CREATIVE, USE THE ENTIRE STAGE AND TRY TO LEAVE THE CROWD IN AWE.”
OSLEN: Thank you very much for the kind words. I definitely appreciate them. I am excited to see where I end up now focusing on aesthetics a little bit more again. I think I can bring up those other areas and make a huge impact on my physique.
I was actually quite nervous to get back on stage because I used to get stage fright back in Elementary and Middle school. Singing, acting, anything of that sort, I always felt awkward standing up on stage, but for bodybuilding I feel completely at home. I practiced posing almost non-stop for about three years before I even did my first show. Every time I saw a mirror, I would hit a pose and then transition it into another pose.
I always like to think of the transition from pose to pose as the most important part. Everybody is going to be in awe of your poses, but they will judge you on smooth transition. I feel as a bodybuilder you don’t want to look like a robot out there, so the transitions should be smooth and look effortless. I also think music choice has a huge impact on posing style. Some guys like to rush through it and get it over with, but I like to take the slow, methodical approach.
As bodybuilders you have worked long and hard to present a great physique. Give the crowd and supporters a little time to slowly digest all of the hard work you have put in. Posing must feel natural and emotional. If your posing doesn’t feel natural, you have to go back to the drawing board. You have to string the right poses together so you flow from top to bottom, left to right, and front to back.
It also must have emotional attachment to you. If your routine does not pull at your heart strings, find another song. If you can’t feel the passion in your posing, neither will the judges. Always be creative, use the entire stage and try to leave the crowd in awe. I am glad to hear my posing gave you chills, as many of my favorites have done the same for me.
I have to give tons of credit to some of the great posers. My favorite posers are Shaun Ray, Kai Green, Ed Corney, Frank Zane, Bob Paris, Melvin Anthony and Flex Wheeler to name a few. Watching them transition will help anyone become a great poser.
YOSEF: Awesome, man! Very interesting and exciting stuff! Well, it has been great meeting you and getting to know you. And, I am honored to have you as an IPL PRO. What is next for you and when can we expect to see you back on stage?
“I AM HOPING TO BE BACK SOMETIME LATE SUMMER, EARLY FALL AT THE LATEST, AS LONG AS I FEEL MY PHYSIQUE LOOKS COMPLETE.”
OSLEN: Thank you. It has been a pleasure chatting and sharing some insight on my training and mindset. I am honored as always to be a part of the IPL PRO Ranks and represent the best Natural league in the country.
As you may know, last August I tore my bicep pretty bad, off the bone. So, I am doing rehab right now. I am currently working to get my arm to fully contract and regain strength. Last month I finally was released to start doing some light curls and low impact strengthening.
Because of the injury I am not sure of my plans for 2017, but you can definitely expect to see me back on stage sooner rather than later. I am hoping to be back sometime late summer, early fall at the latest as long as I feel my physique looks complete.
Thank you again for giving me the honor of being on the cover of GAINZ! Before we end I want to say Hi to my wife Nina, my mom and dad, brothers and family. I also want to give a shout out to all of the other IPL athletes in the area, IPL PROS Nina, Mary and Charlie, my great friend Alex, Mental Image CrossFit, and the Relentless Team. Keep doing big things everyone. Love you all and God Bless! GAINZ