Interview with Bodybuilder Aram Hamparian
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in bodybuilding?
I was always athletic as a kid all through high school. I grew up in the Bronx NY, and after high school I became what’s known as a “street athlete” I was in all the concrete softball, football, basketball leagues. I was a very good athlete. Could dunk a basketball at 5’9” and ran like a deer. This was also around the time I became immersed in alcohol abuse. Needless to say, my athletic skills quickly began to diminish.
What was the biggest challenge for you to overcome?
Most definitely my alcohol abuse and my dwindling self confidence. I was in and out of hospitals from the age of 19 to 24. At the age of 21 I took all the money I had and moved to Hilo Hawaii. I quickly was able to find work and support myself, but the alcohol abuse reached new heights. I came back to New York in 1984 and to years later got hired by the US Postal Service where I worked for 22 years until my retirement in 2009.
What is the hardest part about competing for a bodybuilding contest?
The isolation. However, I quickly began to “discover” myself and the hidden goodness deep inside me. I realized that I had an unusual amount of discipline and tunnel vision when it came to achieving goals. I always kept my sights towards the light that was shining ever so dimly at the end of the tunnel. With each day that light began to shine brighter and eventually I would exceed the initial goal I had set out for myself. This mindset ultimately led to my winning my first natural pro card as a bodybuilder. From that point on, I was always able to learn more about myself and others.
Do you have a contest coach or do you take care of your contest prep?
Initially, I did everything myself after reading muscle mags. It wasn’t until I went through trial and error with the diet and training, when I started winning shows and getting into that shredded condition so necessary for the stage. I have hired nutritionists for off season diets just to get a different perspective on how they would have me eat. Eventually I would filter out what gave me results, and what did not. The most recent person I had in my corner was Alan Aragon. He laid out a template for 3 months of eating for mass. When it was time to diet down for the show, I took the reigns with my cutting diet and wound up winning the 2010 OCB New Hampshire overall. I like trying different diets when nothing is at stake. But when it’s crunch time and a show is on the near horizon, I do everything myself.
How many contests have you competed in?
Jeez, I’ve been competing since 1995 so I would say around 96-97 shows.
What is your training philosophy and what does your current training look like?
Train heavy. Get out of any comfort zone. My training lasts anywhere from 30-45 minutes. I have to do what works for me and my body type, including recovery capabilities, and that means low volume. For shows, the volume decreases each week and the intensity increases. It’s not unusual for me to have personal bests with poundages used at two weeks out. This is more “mind over body” but the neural aspect of training cannot be discounted. A show is looming closer, and the mind becomes super focused. The power of the mental will to succeed or get that extra rep or two is very real. It’s short lived, but can be cultivated with the proper mindset.
Diet or Exercise what is more important?
Well, most people will say that nutrition is 80% of the equation when it comes to health, body recomposition, strength, and competing in shows. But I think it’s more than that. If someone truly wants success, I believe it’s 100% training, 100% nutrition, and 100% sleep and rest. If you compromise on any of these aspects, you’re cutting yourself short. And for those who compete it can mean the difference between first and second place.
How important are supplements in your bodybuilding program and which supplements do you use year round?
I don’t put much value in supplements. Supplements are just that…. they “supplement” the nutrition. Protein powders I consider more as a food rather than a supplement, otherwise it’ll be difficult to get in all your protein for the day. Aside from a multi vitamin, creatine monohydrate, and fish oil, you can pretty much go without supplements. Fat burners I do not recommend at all.
What supplements do you feel are essential for overall health?
Again, the diet is going to be key, but fish oil and a multi might come close to being essential, however, they are not requirements.
What advise can you give those that are struggling to get started on a workout routine and to get their diet in check?
You have to change your standards. If you have mediocre standards, expect to be like everyone else. You have to decide to commit 100% with no deviations. Even during periods where no change is noticed with appearance. Do as much research as you can on healthy eating and particularly what will be optimal for your body. If this continues to be a problem, but you want the change for yourself, there is nothing wrong in hiring a professional, or a personal trainer. I notice that once someone totally immerses themselves into this healthy lifestyle, eating and training on a regular basis becomes habit despite any lunacy that is going on in their personal lives. It’s a very empowering awakening.
How can people contact you?
Although I have a stable full of clients, I always have room and time to answer questions or give out advice when asked. I answer all my emails.
I wish to thank Ty for this opportunity and look forward to his success and continued growth in this industry. Thanks Ty!! Keep killin it bro!!
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