WBFF Pro Frank Budelewski Interview
WBFF Pro Bodybuilder Frank Budelewski has been around the sport of bodybuilding for over 20 years. He has competed, obtained three personal training certifications, consulted successful fitness clubs, attended and judged countless competitions, trained many athletes, and now a representative for the WBFF, he has really seen it all.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with ‘Big’ Frank and asked him questions about his amazing story and bodybuilding career.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Frank, your story is truly inspiring and a true testament to the power of the human spirit. You survived a life threatening car accident, endured six years of surgeries and ended up weighing 300lbs. Despite doctor’s recommendations you hit the gym and lost over 100lbs! That’s incredible, how did you overcome such a physical and emotional challenge?
‘Big’ Frank Budelewski: I hit a point where I realized I was in my 20’s and life was passing me by. In a matter of a year, three of my best friends had died from drug or alcohol related reasons, and I was NOT going to let that be me.
I gained SO much weight and was SO miserable; I hid myself behind a beard. When I shaved it off and looked in the mirror, I didn’t even recognize myself. That day I decided I would change my body or die trying. I USED my pain as fuel to push myself.
There were many times where a knee would just give out, or a nerve would get pinched and it would paralyze and drop me. I would use my anger and frustration to force myself to get up and keep going. Would I suggest this method to OTHERS? Probably not, BUT I found what worked for ME.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Sorry to hear about your loss. You’re a fighter and I understand you’ve always been a fan of bodybuilding but what motivated you to become a pro bodybuilder?
‘Big’ Frank Budelewski: I was in a bar (on crutches mind you) and a Mr. Olympia competition came on the big screen. The entire bar was busy flirting and trying to hook up with each other and there I was… watching TV.
A girl walked up to me and asked what I was watching. I told her the Mr. Olympia. And I remember telling her how much I wished I could have done that. She looked at me very straight faced and said, “Then why don’t you do it?” I tried to search for excuses and then I realized that’s what I was doing! Making excuses.
They say angels come disguised as ordinary people. I believe that night; the same angel who saved my life gave me the drive to see what I was capable of. It started with wanting to lose 130lbs, then to do my first show and win. And eventually what people considered impossible, became a reality.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Wow, what an unbelievable story! Let’s talk about your training, what’s your workout regimen like?
‘Big’ Frank Budelewski: Since I have 2 sets of twins (yes 4 kids) and a full time job as a Federal Detention Officer, I don’t have time to stand around and treat the gym as a social outlet. When I walk in? I have the IPOD blasting, the hat pulled down to my eyes, and I am all business.
I never EVER do the same workout 2 weeks in a row. Every workout, every week is different because my body adapts to a certain workload very quickly and has a tendency to get EXTREMELY strong.
Although that was great when I was younger and lifted my ego, I wanted to train smarter and refine myself. So I learned to stimulate the muscle into growth not destroy it. I do a single body part per day, 5 days per week. I have also made the decision to stay lean since I can get very big in my offseason. So I will do cardio either in the morning or after my workout.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Really? Two sets of twins? You have all kinds of miracles going on in your life. What a blessing! I hear that you stayed completely covered up in the gym during training. Can you share with us one of your hardcore workouts that helped you completely restructure and rebuild your body?
‘Big’ Frank Budelewski: I would train like I was going to war. And in many ways I was. Sweatshirts, flannels, old disgusting wrist wraps that flies wouldn’t even go near, chalk hand prints all over me. I went heavy ALL the time.
Remember, at the time I wasn’t a certified trainer. I was just a caged raw beast who went to the gym to destroy himself. I believed the more pain I had the heavier I should go. Benching close to 600lbs, bent rowing 4 and 5 plates, incline over 500 lbs., shoulder pressing over 400 lbs. for reps, leg pressing a full machine of plates with extra plates hanging on it.
Like I said, I get very strong. Just ask my joints now ha-ha! Again, would I suggest this? No, but it worked for me. I would have leg days where I would START with 15 sets of 15 reps for squat, TRY THAT ONE! I did get big. VERY big, but I was unrefined. As I started to train more like a bodybuilder than a power lifter I started to look much better.
Bodybuilding Blogger: That’s some serious weights! Now that you are WBFF Pro, WBFF representative and columnist for Fit and Firm Mag how has life changed for you now that you are living out your dream and what are your future plans?
‘Big’ Frank Budelewski: My life has changed SO much, sometimes I actually forget what I was like before. I would drink like it was my job. Binge drinking doesn’t even describe what we used to do. Thank God I still have a liver. I just didn’t care back then.
And like I said… three of my best friends dying and me almost being the fourth was a wake-up call. So, one thing I do pride myself on doing is speaking to students on the dangers of drinking and drugs. I have seen things most people don’t and if I can scare someone straight I will.
Also, it is still very surreal to me to be not only a pro, but dare I say have FANS? It even seems weird writing that to me. However, there isn’t a day that goes by where my inbox isn’t full of people writing me and saying how my story has affected or inspired them. To me, that’s the greatest reward I could ever have!
I have gotten to the point where I train and compete to show people to never quit! That they can accomplish ANYTHING they put their minds to! This year at the 2012 WBFF World Championships I was awarded as The WBFF Ambassador. It was an honor that meant so much to me and truly showed me how many people recognize my efforts to help and inspire others.
I will continue to be the absolute best I can both on and off the stage, and inspire others to do the same. I of course want to be the absolute best father I can possibly be. I have also done some fun photo-shoots and it has been suggested that I look into possibly doing some acting or looking into getting into films.
At first I laughed and thought yeah right! BUT then again, I did that before in my life and accomplished everything I didn’t think I could. So don’t be surprised if you see ‘Big’ Frank on the Big Screen!
Bodybuilding Blogger: Thank you Frank for sharing your story and for being such an inspiration. Congratulations on all of your success and hope to see you on the big screen!
I want to personally thank ‘Big’ Frank Budelewski for this interview. He is truly an inspiration and dedicated pro bodybuilder full of passion for helping others. You can read Frank’s monthly column on Fit and Firm Mag.com and view his pics on WBFF Shows.com and our Facebook fan page Bodybuilding Worldwide.
Stay tuned for more inspiring stories, workout tips, interviews, and nutrition info from the pros.
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About the author
Marco Carbajo is a bodybuilder, entrepreneur, writer, author, speaker, trainer, and founder of Bodybuildingblogger.com, the premier online source for recreational, competitive, and aspiring pro bodybuilders, fitness, figure, and bikini athletes all over the world providing top level workouts, discount supplements, nutrition, news, support, motivation and promotion. He is author of “Your Bodybuilding Journey – How to Get the Body You Always Wanted.”