Victor Martinez breaks down how to avoid bodybuilding bulking mistakes, why he maintains his mass monster physique post-retirement, and whether or not Phil Heath should make a comeback in 2023.

With the 2022 bodybuilding season at a close, we have officially entered the typical off-season for most bodybuilders. With exception of the 2023 Arnold Classic being just eight weeks away, most other major bodybuilding shows are far off – giving the top athletes time to bulk up and add on size. But bulking isn’t easy despite allowing for a massive amount of food intake. That’s why Victor Martinez decided to break down the most important tips for an effective bulking cycle. In our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez reveals the biggest mistakes bodybuilders make while bulking.

With a new year kicking into full gear, it’s time for a brand new bodybuilding season of contest prep. For many, this period marks the bulking phase – a time when bodybuilders pack on pounds in order to build up more muscle mass before cutting it all down closer to the actual competition.

Victor Martinez has been noted often by fans for still maintaining an impressive physique despite no longer competing. So we used this opportunity to discuss with Martinez why and how he maintains such a massive physique. We also ask him to break down the most pointed advice for bulking off-season.

Other topics discussed include Phil Heath’s potential comeback in 2023. Is it a good idea? Can he pull it off? We also discuss alcohol and bodybuilding best practices as well as celebrity NFT schemes – will a scandal hit the bodybuilding world? We break it all down below.

How to avoid the biggest bodybuilding bulking mistakes

Bodybuilding diet and training guides are a dime a dozen these days. That’s why Victor Martinez focuses less on the basic tips and tricks of bulking off-season. Instead, he focuses on the most common mistakes he has seen bodybuilders make during bulking. This includes his own lessons learned from decades of bodybuilding and workout experience.

The biggest spiral that bodybuilders often fall into with the off-season bulk is a dirty bulking diet. Dirty vs clean eating is a common phrase in fitness and bodybuilding. “Clean” food is meals that are nutritious and healthy in nature. “Dirty” food is unhealthy meals that are fatty, processed, sugary, or salty.

During the bulking phase of bodybuilding – the goal is to put on as much weight as possible to build massive muscle. The problem comes when bodybuilders use this as an opportunity to sneak in more cheat meals. It’s okay to have a few cheat meals during a bulk but if it turns into a slippery slope, the cutting phase will become much more challenging and painful. At its worst, it can lead to a flat and smaller physique than the athlete was aiming for.

Another mistake often made by bodybuilders is to fall behind on training frequency. During a bulking phase, it’s okay to pull back a little on training frequency. But if this falls into a lazy bad habit it can become a concern. This is especially true if you are dirty bulking.

It should be noted that some bodybuilders are against the bulking and cutting cycle completely for this very reason. It promotes the possible establishment of bad habits and can also be a someone unhealthy process. The body should not be fluctuating in weight back and forth throughout the year. Both bulking and cutting can lead to certain health challenges depending on how strict you are about the process.

Should Phil Heath Make A 2023 Mr. Olympia Comeback?

Rumors have been swirling in the new year about whether or not Phil Heath is going to return and compete at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. The rumors stem mostly from vague comments made by Heath on his social media. Heath also made a statement in a recent interview seeming to heavily imply that he will make a comeback – though not explicitly stated for 2023.

Victor Martinez and the GI crew debate whether or not 2023 is the right year for Phil Heath to make a comeback. Martinez points out the obvious risk which involves more Heath’s reputation than anything else. If Heath competes and loses in 2023, it will end his legacy on more of a fizzle. This is similar to times that Jay Cutler tried to make a comeback only to place poorly (at least compared to his former glory).

On the flip side, Jay Cutler’s legacy was not severely tarnished in the grand scheme of bodybuilding history. He is still seen as a true legend and one of the best athletes the sport has ever had. So Victor believes that despite the risk, Phil Heath can most likely confidently compete without a major upset.

Further to this, Victor Martinez thinks that as long as his post-surgery recovery did not do permanent damage to the look of his physique, Phil Heath still has what it takes to actually win in 2023. He believes that Phil Heath in his prime was far more impressive than anyone currently on the Olympia stage. So the question is a personal one for Heath. Does he feel in his heart of hearts that he can bring his best? If the answer is yes – it might be worth doing.


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Will NFT scams hit the bodybuilding industry?

NFTS are seemingly everywhere these days – but the optimistic view of them quickly faded in 2022. Many NFT scams or failures have given the acronym a bad name. Many celebrities have been criticized for lending their name to NFT or crypto commercials in light of major scandals such as FTX.

There are a small number of bodybuilders and bodybuilding brands that have tried promoting NFTs. While it didn’t take over the sport – athletes like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler have dipped their toes into the NFT marketplace. With that in mind, will a crypto or NFT scandal ever hit bodybuilding?

Victor Martinez hopes not and claims that the last thing the sport needs right now is more negative attention after many young athlete deaths in 2021 and 2022. He also doesn’t see too many athletes or bodybuilding celebs dive into the NFT market the same way some Hollywood stars already have.

Beyond scams, Vlad Yudin believes that NFTs in general will end up being mostly a fad. He thinks that 99% of NFTs will end up being valueless with exception of a small handful that truly stand the test of time.

For Victor, he worries less about how an NFT failure will effect celebrity athletes, since they theoretically have the money to risk it. He is more concerned for the lower income people who get tricked, or trick themselves, into investing hoping to change their life around. Martinez ultimately likens it to investing in the stock market. We can never know what the future holds, but you also don’t want to miss out if there is money to be made. It’s a delicate balance. So only invest what you can safely.

*Note: Victor Martinez and the GI team also make note that they are not financial advisors. This is just a casual opinionated conversation and should not constitute professional financial advice.

Wrap Up

Victor Martinez and the GI team dive into a wide variety of topics this week that we can’t fully encompass in one easy to read article. That’s why you should make sure to check out our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. Don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

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.