Our High Intensity Interview this month features the youngest Mr. America ever, Casey Viator.
In case you didn’t know, Casey Viator was one of the greatest bodybuilders in history, and a guy many people associate with High Intensity Training. In 1971 he won the Teenage Mr. America, Jr. Mr. America, and Mr. America, all at the age of 19, becoming the youngest person ever to do that.
He went on to a very successful pro career, winning 3 IFBB Grand Prix Championships, and placing 3rd in the ultimate pro contest, the Mr. Olympia.
Check out Casey in the Mr. Olympia contest!
Of course, in High Intensity Training circles, Casey is also known for being one of the first, and most successful, students of Arthur Jones.
I have known Casey for about 7 years now; we trained at the same gyms for a long time, and we’re actually neighbors. I can say from my own first hand experience that Casey is a great guy, a freakin’ gold mine of training knowledge and experience, still huge, and has the funniest Arthur Jones stories ever.
Casey does not do audio interviews, but was gracious enough to take time away from his extremely busy on-line training business (more info at the end of the interview) to answer my interview questions.
So enjoy this rare treat–an authentic, no-holds-barred interview with bodybuilding legend Casey Viator.
Q- How did you become interested in training, and when did you start?
A- I started when I was 13 years old. I learned most of my techniques from my uncle , who was into training and in his 30′s. The rest I learned form the muscle magazines. That`s all we had back then.
Q- How did you train when you first started, and what kind of results did you get?
A- Mostly volume with lots of intensity. I trained around 16 sets per body part and lots of running and biking.
My results were instant, and I was competing and winning at the age of 15. I was 175 pounds at 15 years old, and my protein intake was very high, around 200 grams of fresh protein a day. Lots of milk and milk products.
Q- How did you first get interested in High Intensity Training (H.I.T.)?
A- I feel I was doing HIT before I was introduced to Arthur Jones and Nautilus. I was training with high intensity with lots of volume, which makes it twice as hard. I knew I was over-training, but winning contest was first priority at that time in my life. I made a bunch of training mistakes in the beginning of my training, but corrected them by the age of 19.
Q- What was it like being trained by Arthur Jones?
A- Arthur was a great influence , as far as training goes. He showed me that I was training with way too many sets, so I toned my sets down. I was stubborn back then, and agreed that if doing less sets would help me gain muscle, I would stay with HIT. If I did’nt make gains on less sets, highly intense sets, I would go back to my original training style. I was wrong and Artur`s ideas on HIT helped me gain tremendously. And without injuries . That`s about the time I started working with Nautilus and Arthur was there for every workout, 1 year before the 1971 AAU Mr. America.
Q- I understand you were friends with Mike Mentzer-what was your relationship like, and what are your memories of Mike?
A- Mike and I were training partners for awhile. He was a great motivator and Ray Mentzer was also. We pushed very hard and usually drew a crowd when we trained at Golds in Santa Monica. I saw Mike eat a whole stick of butter at supper one night (cold), he said he liked it. I told him to at least put some bread on that butter. He was a funny guy.
Q- Do you still workout today, and if so, what changes, if any, have you made in your training program?
A- I still train hard, 3 days a week. I’ve toned down my intensity and weight poundages. I try to practice good form and work on a pump, along with plenty of cardio work.
Q- During your competitive bodybuilding career, how did you motivate yourself for your workouts?
A- I would say to myself, (My competitors are training and dieting really hard.) I will not let them beat me. And I would switch into high gear and get all my prep work done.
Q- What kinds of psychological/mental changes and/or benefits have taken place as a result of your training?
A- I`ve learned to listen to my body, like if an exercise hurts try another combination. Same with diet, before you put something in your mouth ask: Will this help my progress or hurt my progress.
Q- What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you in the gym?
A- I was getting ready for a Mr. Olympia. And I was so hungry I ate a whole gallon of strawberry ice cream before training. 15 minutes into the workout, I got sick and ran outside and puked my brains out. The owner of the gym commented that I was fertilizing the plants outside, which brought the whole gym into laughter. Plus ,I did`nt need the extra calories, so I was happy I did puke. We had great times back then.
Q- What types of programs do you have available if someone wanted to get more training advice from you, and how can people get more
information on your programs?
A- I provide both HIT and solid volume training schedules . That fit your body style and your training level. All my programs are hand made for each of my clients to reach their goals. They can contact me at email@example.com or go to my website, www.caseyviator.com and click on the personal training section for more information.
Q- Do you have any parting comments for the readers?
A- Keep on pumping, and make sensible training a constant part of your life.