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What it takes to become a professional bodybuilder, according to Steve Kuclo

Per Bernal / M+F MagazineAs a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, MI, Steve Kuclo would flip through the pages of FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines looking for workout programs and lifting tips to help him gain strength and size. “I’ve always loved competing, and I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Kuclo, who after two years of studying at the University of Michigan decided to change directions and become a full-time firefighter. About this time Kuclo also developed an itch to get onstage as a bodybuilder. After a few years of competing as an amateur, Kuclo, then 25, turned pro in 2011 at the NPC USAs. But he still had financial responsibilities, which meant he had to continue to juggle being a firefighter with his career as an IFBB pro—until last year. [RELATED1] Like many top names in the industry, Kuclo uses the name recognition, income from sponsorships (he’s currently sponsored by AllMax Nutrition), and earnings from bodybuilding competitions as a platform to pursue other things. His biggest venture right now is a clothing company, Booty Queen Apparel, which he runs with his wife, IFBB bikini pro Amanda Latona-Kuclo. And being a body- builder, entrepreneur, and a dutiful husband means he “pretty much has three full-time jobs,” he says. We’ll focus on one—being an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Think you have what it takes? ON THE JOBThe lifestyle of an IFBB pro is a 24/7 grind—your training, nutrition, and sleep quality all have to be on point. Otherwise, your odds of flexing your way to glory are dismal at best. If you’re up for it, here’s what you can expect, according to Kuclo (Instagram: @stevekuclo). THE DAILY GRIND“Monday through Friday, Amanda and I wake up early and take care of business for Booty Queen Apparel—answering emails, making sure we’re coming out with new products, and planning out appearances at expos. As for the gym, I’m lucky to have a training partner who is flexible, so I go either in the morning or at night for a couple of hours.”To remain nourished, Kuclo cooks at home and take his meals on the road with him. [RELATED2] SKILLS NEEDED“The one big factor is genetics. If you’re, like, 5’4″ and 140 pounds, and you want to compete in the Mr. Olympia, especially against the big guys who are 275 pounds or more, you may need to rethink your goals. If you’re a big-framed guy, with big joints and muscle bellies, who sees quick results in the gym, then you got it,” Kuclo says. BEST PART OF THE JOB“Meeting and greeting fans,” he says. “At the 2017 Mr. O expo, a guy said, ‘I had cancer, and watching your videos helped get me through some dark times.’ Meeting people like that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.” WORST PART OF THE JOBAlong with the wear and tear of training, doing promotions for Booty Queen, and traveling to competitions, Kuclo says there’s another downside to the job: Your sex drive can plummet close to showtime. “If you put an apple pie and my wife in front of me, naked, two weeks out from a show, I know I’m in shape when I’d rather pick the apple pie…though I still may take my wife.” [RELATED3] The “IT” Factor: Anyone can be fit, but being a professional bodybuilder requires superior genetics, says Kuclo. If you don’t have them, reconsider your goals.

How to increase muscle gain

To increase lean muscle mass, progressive overload is essential - here's how to build up your gains. Angelique Tagaroulias writes. Progressive overload not only does it stimulate muscle hypertrophy by forcing the muscle to adapt to increased loads, it also aids in the development of stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. “Progression is

Flat tummy exercises for women

Want to rock a flat stomach but sick of your usual abs routine? Hula hooping is a fun way to tone the whole body while focusing on the abdominal and core muscles and cinching in that waist. It’s quick, easy and can be done anywhere from the park to your own home. So take yourself back to the days of the playground, de-stress and tone up that tum.

How to do it

Perform each exercise for the required amount of time for your level, doing as many reps with good form as possible. Repeat the workout two or three times a week to upbeat music for the best results.

Kit you’ll need

Adult hula hoop

High Intensity Power Training Workouts for Fat Loss, Strength and Fitness

For most guys, when they think of conditioning for fat loss, it means either nausea-inducing sprints or churning away on a treadmill for hours like a hamster. Fortunately there’s an alternative style of training that’s as time-efficient as sprints and doesn’t require you to stray away from the weights. Furthermore, because this style of training actually places an emphasis on high-volume technical exercises, you’ll be able to get more skillful repetitions for different lifts that many guys struggle with. What this means for you is that this program will help you get stronger at technical lifts while also improving your body composition

Think you’re fit? Scientists just figured out how to become even fitter.

We all try to do what we can to stay as fit as possible—hit the gym four or five times a week, pick up a yoga class or two, visit a CrossFit box occasionally to amp up the endurance training—but we can always do more to hone our physique and diet to get to the next level of fitness. Now, a team of researchers is starting to hone in on a comprehensive strategy to get there. And while the individual components are probably familiar to regular Men’s Fitness readers, this program represents a solid all-around plan to build your fittest self yet.

Follow these easy Bum Exercises #GluteGains

Looking at Zanna van Dijk’s Instagram feed, you’d think that she’s lived and breathed fitness her whole life. But what makes the health and fitness blogger, Instagrammer and all-round ‘influencer’ so relatable is that she really is just like the rest of us. ‘I actually hated exercise at school and would find any excuse to avoid PE,’ she reveals to WF in an exclusive interview. ‘I only started getting into it at university.

Your bikini body plan!

The 12-week Body Plan will have you feeling and looking amazing this Summer.

PT and Instagram star @EmFurey has developed 12 weeks of awesome workouts that will get you in great shape and leave you feeling stronger, fitter and more confident and looking fierce. Combined with the seriously tasty and healthy mix and match eating plan from our nutritionist and foodie experts and you’ll be well on your way to the best summer ever!

So, if you want to feel amazing buy the plan now it’s a steal at only £24.99 for 12 weeks of hard-hitting workouts and delicious healthy recipes!

Below are just a few of the great comments we’ve received about the plan, plus a seriously fab review pitching the plan up there above Kayla’s. So, what are you waiting for – get your summer body started now and buy the plan here.

I honestly LOVE THIS PLAN. I used to feel so confused as what to do at the gym. Should I do HIIT? Should I lift heavy? I started to hate the gym (SO unlike me) and often left feeling like I shouldn’t have even bothered going. But Emily’s plans are amazing. They combine strength and HIIT training. It’s all planned out for you. She leaves space to CREATE YOUR OWN GOALS based on strength rather than aesthetics – IT’S SO POSITIVE! I love it!
10/10 Georgina

Super easy to download! Not too much information is thrown at you! EASY AND AFFORDABLE RECIPES that people can have time to cook and prepare! EASILY LAID OUT AND REALLY LIKE THE STYLE!
9/10 Saffron

I found it EASIER TO STICK TO THAN OTHER PROGRAMS
 BUT STILL TOUGH! It’s easy to t into your schedule and builds up strength progressively.
10/10 Sandrine

Yoga poses

Want to wind back the clock? Or maybe you just want to safeguard what you’ve got for the future. The answer is staying active. Whether you’re 25 or 55, your fitness doesn’t have to plummet as the decades roll by. In fact, regular exercise will keep your body and brain in peak condition, your joints healthy and help slash your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Sounds good to us!

While combining cardio exercise with resistance work is key to keeping your weight in check and boosting muscle mass – which naturally declines as we age – regular yoga sessions help to keep your body strong and supple and your mind super-sharp. ‘Yoga also releases stress from the body and keeps levels of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in check,’ explains yoga expert Tamal Dodge (tamalyoga.com).

Try Tamal’s anti-ageing yoga postures to help keep you healthy from the inside out, year after year. Each pose helps to improve the blood flow around your body and boosts your immune system as you sculpt a lean physique. Alternate between the two sessions below, performing a minimum of three sessions a week for best results.

Session 1
Proper breathing
Cat cow
Cobra
Downward dog

Session 2
Standing forward-bend
Warrior I
Triangle pose
Bridge

Your level:

Beginner
1 x each session

Intermediate
3 x each session

Advanced
4 x each session

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