Antoine Vaillant details the big difference between the New York Pro and The California Pro that sent him from 7th place to first.

Antoine Vaillant pulled off what seemed like the impossible. He competed in two IFBB Pro shows back to back with only one week in between. At the first show, the New York Pro, he placed seventh. A week later, he placed first at the California Pro. It’s an astonishing improvement in just one week. So what was the big difference between the two shows? How did Vaillant change enough in just one short week to bring a first place winning package? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Antoine Vaillant details how he adjusted between shows to guarantee himself a win at the California Pro 2020.

The 2020 bodybuilding season is truly existing in strange times but Antoine Vaillant is certainly rolling with the punches. Many fans were distraught after he showed up at the New York Pro and only placed seventh place. But then it only took one week for his fans to rejoice. He suddenly placed first at the California Pro earning him an Olympia qualification for later this year.

Antoine Vaillant winning the California Pro 2020 (above).

This kind of drastic placement change is rarely seen in bodybuilding – especially with just one week between the competitions in question. So what happened exactly? How did Antoine Vaillant pull off such an incredible change?

Durning our video interview with Vaillant, we asked him that very question. It seems like the answer has everything to do with timing and also a little bit of strategic changes to perfect his chances.

The truth is that Antoine Vaillant was planning on competing at a different show. It eventually got cancelled (like many other shows) forcing Vaillant to adjust his schedule in order to qualify of the Olympia. He eventually settled on doing the New York Pro and the California Pro. The only problem is that his entire prep schedule was shifted.

Contest prep is a very delicate process and if the timing is thrown off – it can have an extreme affect on what package ultimately gets displayed on stage. By the time Vaillant got onto the New York Pro stage – he was likely really a week off from where he needed to be. Lucky for him, the California Pro was exactly one week later. He would be competing in it. Sure enough, he placed much better a the Cali Pro.

But timing isn’t the only factor here. Antoine Vaillant recognized the mistakes he was making during his New York Pro showing and made some adjustments. Most specifically, he felt that the way he posed actually made him look smaller. He adjusted accordingly and made sure that his posing was on point for California. He looked bigger and had the added bonus of a more honed physique. The results speak for themselves.

Antoine Vaillant also faced off against some of the same competitors in California who were in the New York Pro. He believes that those competitors faded in the week between shows where Vaillant was still improving. That’s a big deal as judges often use your last showing as a benchmark. They want to see improvements. If they don’t – an athlete will likely get scored lower. This gave Vaillant a big advantage.

All of these factors came together for the perfect storm of success. Antoine Vaillant earned a first place victory and an Olympia qualification. It goes to show just how many factors can be at play behind the scenes leading up to a bodybuilding competition. Beyond the diet and hard work – the mental game is intense and a strategy must not only be implemented, but adjusted in order to succeed.

You can watch Antoine Vaillant explain his process in full by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.