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Name: Gunnar Anderson
Off-season weight: 205-215lbs
Cut weight: 180lbs
I was born with a birth defect called Polands Syndrome which resulted in a missing pectoral muscle on the right side. I strive to build the best physique I can despite my minor set back.
What was the last show you competed in?
I competed in the Mid Atlantic in October 2015 in Novice Men’s Physique and Open Men’s Physique.
When will you next be competing?
I haven’t yet decided if I will do another one. It was a great experience, but I’m not sure it was for me. I just love the training part. The stage portion may not be for me.
How did you get started with lifting?
I started bodybuilding because all of my heroes as a child had muscular builds. All of the 80’s and 90’s action heroes, as well as the comic book superheroes, had muscular physiques that I idolized. I also wanted to compensate for the missing pec. My thought was that if everything surrounding the missing muscle is huge, no one will notice.
Who’s physique/attitude do you admire?
Arnold was my idol as a kid and as I grew older I learned more about his life and accomplishments. Of course I admire what he accomplished with his body, but the other accomplishments are much more impressive. He came from a poor family in Austria and became of the most recognizable faces in the world, as well as one of the highest paid actors in history. He also had an amazing ability to set goals and reach them. I admire his hard work and his ability to believe in himself.
Frank Zane had the best physique in my opinion. I think he was better proportioned and over all more aesthetic. His build is what I try to emulate.
Were you always in good shape?
No I was not. I was actually intimidated by athletic kids in my early years. I preferred to play pretend games with my friends rather than play sports. I lived in my own little world. However, i was always skinny. I was never a fat or chubby kid.
What motivates you?
My goals motivate me. I have several goals in life and being in shape and having the best body I’m able to have goes along with achieving my goals.
Encouragement from friends and strangers also motivates me, but even more than that, the negativity from friends and strangers motivates me. It motivates me to work harder when friends or family tell me my goals are ridiculous or impractical. It makes me want to prove them wrong.
1 tip you would give to somebody who was just starting?
Focus on form and use light weight. Let go of your ego. You’ll earn the weight with time. Be patient. Don’t believe in every supplement. Don’t ever replace real food with a supplement. Be humble. Eat your vegetables (very serious).
What is your approach when it comes to training?
My training philosophy is pretty simple. I make sure each muscle group is trained at least once a week, if not more. I make sure my workouts are never the same. I make all of my own workouts based on what I need to focus on. I believe that everyone can follow the same workout to a degree, but certain areas must be concentrated on more for different individuals. Also, I believe that in order to get results the training has to be done only for you. If you are only doing it to impress someone or because you think you have to, you will fail. You have to want it.
I train with higher reps almost exclusively. Sometimes I’ll use a 5×5 scheme, but for the most part it is pretty high. I like to use super sets as much as possible. I like to combine push and pull motions, but I also like each muscle to have its own day. My training changes all the time, sometimes week to week. I also very rarely skip a workout. If I am sick I will skip, but if I am traveling I will find a gym.
What is your approach when it comes to dieting?
My diet has gone through many phases. When I was in competition prep I was eating 8 meals a day. I continued this into my bulking phase. Now my diet is around 5-6 meals depending on how I’m feeling. I am very strict on what I eat, but I also have multiple cheat meals throughout the week, typically 2-3.
Any particular supplements that you find to be useful?
I always use Whey Protein. I always use pre-workout. I always take a multivitamin. My supplement routine is pretty basic. I focus more on my diet than my supplements.
My long term goal in the sport is simply to stay in shape and have a physique I can be proud of. I have no aspirations of titles to be earned or competitions to be won. My goals lie in other avenues. But I enjoy it and I will stay at it as long as my body allows.
“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in a pocket.”
How do you measure success? Have you achieved it?
Success is a level of happiness, not a financial marker. I consider myself successful in some areas, yes. But I am much more driven than to simply say I’m successful and coast through the rest.
Best piece of advice you received?
It sounds corny, but be yourself was the best advice I’ve ever received. I think it covers a lot of bases. Believing in yourself to accomplish your goals is a huge factor. I also believe that in this day and age so many people are trying to model themselves after someone else it is more important than ever to be yourself, even if you don’t fit the current mold.