Did you know that CrossFit Games mainstay Noah Ohlsen’s athletic career began in bodybuilding? That’s what he shared with Chris Bumstead, three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion, while he was in the bodybuilder’s kitchen. Ohlsen and Bumstead are both Gymshark sponsored athletes, and the fitness clothing company hosted a reunion of the two so Ohlsen could get a taste of what it’s like to get ready for the Olympia. .
On October 7, 2021, Gymshark shared a video on his YouTube channel in which Bumstead tells Ohlsen about how he eats to boost his metabolism during the offseason. In addition, Bumstead accompanies Ohlsen in one of his workouts and teaches him to pose like the “most esthetic bodybuilder on the planet”. Check it out:
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Ohlsen stops by Bumstead in Florida and is greeted by Bumstead’s dog at the door. They head to Bumstead’s kitchen, where Ohlsen says his fitness journey began in bodybuilding while he was in high school. At the time, Ohlsen did not envision a career in sports; he just wanted to be jerked off. He eventually switched to CrossFit in his late teens but still admires the aesthetic titans on the stage like Bumstead, who now holds three Classic Physique Olympia titles at age 26 (the third title he won after filming this video. ).
Bodybuilding all year round
Bumstead tells Ohlsen that the off-season is just as crucial as training in strength training, except that “you’re not just training your muscles … you’re trying to gradually train your metabolism … to handle more food.” It is a slow process of consciously increasing calorie intake over time. Once you’re done with preparation, like the one he just did for the 2021 Olympia, Bumstead’s diet will consist of around 3,500 calories per day. He increases his intake by 300 calories each week and hopefully his body adapts accordingly.
If at the end of the day I eat more calories than the previous year and am in the same shape, my metabolism is working better.
Bumstead’s strategy when cutting calories for a show is to eat later in the day. He’s not as hungry in the morning as he is in the evening, so eating breakfast closer to lunch time helps him spread out his meals so that lower calorie intake is more manageable.
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Go to the gym
At the time of the video recording, Bumstead was still in mid-preparation for the 2021 Olympia, and Ohlsen met him on Chest Day. Both athletes warmed up their shoulders with resistance bands.
Ohlsen mentions how weight training is often frowned upon in the functional fitness world:
Everyone laughs at the local guy doing the bicep curls.
Both men agree that it is absurd to scrutinize an athlete in either sport for their choices. In Bumstead’s opinion, CrossFitters push their bodies “to insane limits” and recognize Ohlsen as “a very competitive athlete”. To be successful in either sport, it takes discipline and commitment. The difference being that at the time of the game, CrossFitters compete, while bodybuilders present the work already done.
Bumstead and Ohlsen get to work with the incline bench presses with dumbbells. Bumstead expresses the mental barriers that bodybuilders encounter in the gym when they are undernourished during a workout. The 120-pound dumbbells Bumstead locked out seemed like 300 pounds at the time, but he knows that despite running on fewer calories, he hasn’t lost much muscle. Training your mindset to overcome that delusional feeling of heavier weights is the key to success.
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Bumstead and Ohlsen switch to cables, chests and dives while reinforcing the idea that each person’s body will respond differently to specific training frequencies. For some, a whole week, a full week off is enough. For others, two days in a row, a day off might work better.
Bumstead and Ohlsen led every set of every exercise to a near failure. Although he didn’t mention it, Bumstead seems to know his science. The way he trains is the International Universities Strength and Conditioning Association (IUSCA) position on hypertrophy training.
Ohlsen and Bumstead walk into a room in the gymnasium where the walls are lined with mirrors, heavy bags hang from the ceiling, and the lighting is directed downward for pristine shadows. The first pose is the front lat spread – a move that is second nature to Bumstead. Ohlsen, who didn’t know anything about the pose before, struggled a bit.
You don’t want to look constipated on your face, do you?
Bumstead might be a champion bodybuilder, but doesn’t seem too far removed from the challenges of the pose. The problem is with flexing each muscle “as hard as you can and … it looks like you’re not doing anything.”
Pose is an art form that Bumstead has mastered. He is the first bodybuilder to win the Classic Physique division three times. His goal is to leave a legacy in the division where future Classic Physique competitors will look back and aspire to be like him. If watching one of the greatest CrossFit athletes on the planet pose next to Bumstead has revealed anything, it’s just how pioneering Bumstead was in his early days of Classic Physique.
Featured Image: @nohlsen on Instagram