Mike Van Wyck

Mike Van Wyck Interview: Questions & Answers

Among the largest bodybuilders to compete professionally, Mike Van Wyck is a true pro! With a torn pec at the 2011 Olympia Expo, this enormous competitor is working hard to get ready to make a comeback. I’m eager to watch Big Mike outmuscle the opposition with his well-proportioned physique on such a large body.

Mike was kind enough to grant Supplements 4 Fitness an exclusive interview in which he discussed his background in bodybuilding, his best times in the business, and his most treasured recollections of his former instructor, the late Darren Oliver.

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Mike Van Wyck Interview: Questions and Answers

Q. Over the past few years, Mike, you’ve dominated the Canadian bodybuilding scene, standing out as one of the most substantial and well-conditioned athletes. What specific goals are you currently eyeing in the upcoming competitions?

A. My focus is firmly set on the FLEX Pro next year, marking my anticipated return to the stage. As some may be aware, I underwent pec surgery seven months ago as a result of tearing my pec at the 2011 Mr. Olympia expo during a demonstration for my supplement sponsor, Animal. During a bench press with the 200-pound dumbbells, my pec wasn’t cooperating that day, and, suddenly—boom!—I tore it. I want to make it clear to the competition that my comeback is swift and formidable.

Q. I understand that your passion for bodybuilding began at an early age. Could you share when this interest ignited and the factors that fueled your journey to where you stand in the sport today?

A. My enthusiasm for bodybuilding has been ingrained in me since childhood. Watching wrestling as a kid, I aspired to be as muscular as some of those iconic figures. The likes of The Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith, planted the seed in my mind, inspiring me to become a formidable presence.

It wasn’t until ninth grade that I delved specifically into bodybuilding. At that time, my high school boasted an excellent weight room, open early before school and during lunch. Eddie, the man in charge, who bore a striking resemblance to Hulk Hogan, guided us through workouts using MuscleMag issues. Under his mentorship, my passion for bodybuilding took root and became an enduring commitment.

Q: Your admiration for bodybuilding legends like Dorian, Ronnie, and Flex is evident. What specific qualities do you find commendable in each of them?

I hold deep admiration for each of them for distinct reasons. Dorian Yates stands out to me due to his straightforward and fundamental approach to the sport. His unwavering dedication and rigorous training regimen have left a lasting impression on me. Having had the privilege of meeting and spending time with him, I found Dorian to be remarkably down-to-earth, which added to my appreciation for him as a person.

Ronnie Coleman, often described as a “monster,” has captivated me with his unparalleled physique. The prospect of attaining such size has always been a dream for me, and Ronnie’s incredible strength, particularly demonstrated by feats like squatting 805 pounds, continues to inspire me.

In my view, Flex Wheeler epitomizes the ideal bodybuilder with his distinctive combination of cartoon-like muscle fullness and density. Witnessing his physique has left me in awe, and I consider him a true representation of what a bodybuilder should aspire to be.

Q: While many might be unaware of your background as a defensive lineman for the University of Rhode Island, your transition from football to bodybuilding is intriguing. Could you elaborate on the differences between football training and bodybuilding, and what aspects do you cherish most about your football experience?

A: Football was a significant passion in my life, especially during my time as a defensive lineman at the University of Rhode Island. However, my love for the sport dwindled towards the end of my college career as my focus shifted to bodybuilding. The physical toll of football, including injuries like a torn ACL, ankle problems, and persistent shoulder and back issues, made me appreciate the shift to a new chapter.

In football training, the emphasis was on power, speed, and plyometrics, with repetition ranges not exceeding 12 and sets ranging from 3 to 4. Achieving personal bests in bench press, clean, and squat were paramount goals. Notably, my bench press peaked at an impressive 605 pounds for a single repetition, a feat I have not attempted again and likely never will.

I found joy in the intense lifting regimen associated with football training and, surprisingly, developed an affinity for sprinting. Despite my physique, I possessed noteworthy speed, which may be challenging for others to envision.

Q. You collaborated closely with the late and esteemed Darren Oliver for four years. Our memories of him are cherished, and his absence is deeply felt. Could you please share some of your favorite moments with him and highlight the significant lessons you gleaned from his mentorship?

A. For the past four years, my daily life has been intertwined with Darren’s. He served as my trainer, and we engaged in joint training sessions. I regarded him as a brother. While our paths diverged over time, my recollections of him remain profoundly positive.

Our time in the gym was consistently enjoyable, marked by continuous mutual challenges to optimize muscle engagement and refine training techniques. We both held the conviction that our training approach directly correlated with achieving winning physiques.

One particularly cherished memory with Darren stems from the 2009 Canadian Nationals in Vancouver. The entire weekend was brimming with laughter, including an amusing incident where Darren was targeted by a bird outside the athletes’ meeting. Hilarious! I still consider it a stroke of good luck.

However, my utmost favorite moment occurred about an hour after securing my Pro card. I was behind the wheel since, as anyone familiar with Darren knows, driving was not his forte! He was the worst, humorously! As the reality of my achievement sank in, I pulled the car over. The magnitude of what I had accomplished and the indispensable role Darren played hit me. He stood by me when no one else did, supporting each other through the toughest times. I broke into tears, expressing gratitude and love to my friend. That moment remains etched in my fondest memory of him.

Q. Your achievement of securing a pro card in Vancouver in 2009 is a monumental feat, known to few. The experience of winning such a prestigious IFBB Pro card in bodybuilding is incomprehensible for most. Could you describe the emotions coursing through you as you stood onstage, hearing your name announced as the winner of your class and the overalls?

A. The sensation was surreal, and I struggled to believe my ears. Dizziness briefly overcame me as the crowd turned their attention to me. I can’t recall what was said, as I experienced momentary deafness. I do remember scanning the audience and spotting Darren and my mom with their arms raised. Post-photographs, I invited my mom onstage. She gazed at me, exclaiming, “Oh my God, Michael, you did it, you did it.”

Q. Remarkable, Mike! Subsequently, your pro debut unfolded at the renowned NY Pro Show. Many competitors have shared compelling stories from the event over the years. How did it feel to compete on the same stage as some of the industry’s legends?

A. In retrospect, entering the NY Pro for my inaugural show was a bold move. My rationale was clear: “To beat the best, I need to witness the best and, if necessary, learn from getting my ass handed to me (which indeed happened).”

Standing on the same stage as the sport’s luminaries was truly gratifying. I wasn’t starstruck; rather, I held immense respect. The experience provided valuable insights into what it would take to avoid a repeat of getting my ass handed to me in future competitions.

Q. Who are some of your preferred IFBB bodybuilders currently active in competition?

A. I don’t admire anyone in the sport individually; I believe we all share the same dream and commit to the same level of dedication and hard work. Nevertheless, I hold great respect for individuals such as Seth Feroce, Bill Wilmore, and my fellow members of the Animal Crew, namely Frank McGrath, Evan Centopani, and Erik Fankhouser. These individuals earn my respect for their humility, down-to-earth nature, and overall exemplary character.

Additionally, I must acknowledge my compatriots from Canada—Fouad Abiad, Mboya Edwards, Ben Pakulski, and Chris White—all of whom are commendable individuals making significant strides. I aspire to match their achievements.

Q. You undeniably stand out as one of the most prominent bodybuilders to grace the competition stage. For enthusiasts, could you share your favorite body parts to train and elaborate on the reasons behind your preferences?

A. Before sustaining an injury in my chest, I consistently handled substantial weights on the bench, boasting presses of 535 pounds for 10 repetitions and 315 pounds for 30 reps.

Notwithstanding, my favored body parts for training are my arms and quads. I find satisfaction in challenging myself to enhance their development with each workout, especially considering they are areas where improvements are sought.

Q. It’s evident that you are fervent about imparting your passion for bodybuilding, and we discussed your plans for organizing camps. Could you elaborate on your vision?

A. The envisioned camps align closely with the format of Shawn Ray’s Muscle Camps. The concept involves bringing together a collective of national-level and IFBB-pro bodybuilders to mentor aspiring individuals in our industry. These camps aim to provide a comprehensive, no-nonsense insight into the training principles and techniques shaping today’s top physiques. Attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions and receive genuine answers, avoiding the usual clichés and misinformation.

While acknowledging the inherent individuality of choices in the sport, the camps seek to break the perceived selfishness by facilitating the sharing of knowledge. Dispelling rumors and guiding individuals toward informed choices regarding trainers and dieting styles are integral aspects of the vision.

Q. You have successfully mentored numerous individuals who are now making significant strides in the realms of fitness and bodybuilding. Staying true to the influence of your mentors, Darren Oliver and Joe Flesia, could you highlight some of your most accomplished students?

A. I am assembling a formidable team, and the individuals I train consistently demonstrate exceptional prowess. The team, comprising Rachel Mailloux, Mona Poursaleh, Monika Pocsaji, Carey Kastner, and Yasmine Shahlavi, are all standout performers who are destined for enduring recognition.

Regarding the male athletes under my guidance, the roster is expanding, and my close associate Jerome Bravo is poised for victory at the upcoming Canadian Nationals, provided we maintain our current training trajectory.

Must Read: Trimming the Inches: A Deep Dive into Supplements for Targeted Fat Loss!

Thank you, Mike! Best wishes on your return. We eagerly anticipate your reappearance on stage and the commendable performances of the athletes you mentor within the competitive arena.


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