IFBB Physique Pro Toni Perdikakis Interview
New IFBB Physique Pro Toni Perdikakis is gearing up and training like a monster during her offseason.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Toni, congratulations on earning your pro card at the NPC USA! How does it feel to be a new IFBB Physique Pro?
Toni Perdikakis: I think I am still in shock that I was first callout, in the middle! I definitely didn’t think I would even be top 5 at the USAs. I worked my hardest and did what I could, but I guess I went into it without expectations. Even after prejudging, I still didn’t think I was top 2. LOL!
Bodybuilding Blogger: You looked fantastic but what motivated you to switch from competing in figure to the new physique division?
Toni Perdikakis: Competing in Figure, I hardly trained and did insane amounts of cardio (for example, 2011 Nationals prep included 3 ½ hours of cardio per day!). I was fighting my body and dead set on getting my legs down. After signing on with Kim Oddo, we decided together that it was a better idea to embrace my legs and work on bringing my upper body in bigger. I was able to train hard, and did the least amount of cardio I had ever done, going pro in my third WPD show (seventh show ever!)
Bodybuilding Blogger: You’re right that is insane cardio. That was a good move for you and definitely paid off. What was it like getting sponsored by MHP?
Toni Perdikakis: I have actually been with MHP for two years. I am Sales Support for the company, along with an athlete. Gerard Dente and Steve Downs have been absolutely awesome and so supportive, even when I was competing at the amateur level. All of us are family, including the MHP, XFIT, and Muscle Meds athletes and sales team. And the biggest perk of being an MHP Sponsored athlete? An endless supply of Power Pak Pudding!!!!!
Bodybuilding Blogger: That’s great and congratulations. By the way that pudding tastes amazing! Let’s talk about some training. What’s it like working out with your significant other and IFBB Pro Jose Raymond?
Toni Perdikakis: Believe it or not, we never train together. We do cardio together pretty often, but I smoke him. When we first met, and he was trying to impress me, we trained every day together. Actually, when I met him, I didn’t have shoulders. I was a peanut. He made me train my shoulders twice a week, and now that’s one of my biggest assets on stage!
We are at the gym during the same times a couple times a week, and he always says it’s like working out with Jane Fonda because I am jumping around everywhere and so full of energy. When getting ready for a show, I do a lot of super and triple sets, so I am in and out for a weight workout in about 50 minutes.
This is my first offseason, with adequate calories and energy to train like a monster, so he definitely stays a little closer to me in the gym, especially because I am rocking out personal bests every week. He always calls me a freak, I always respond “don’t hate because I have bigger quads than you”. 🙂
Bodybuilding Blogger: That’s too funny; you two are a great team! What’s your training philosophy and workout regimen like?
Toni Perdikakis: Like I said, when in contest prep mode, I tend to super and triple set, keeping my heart rate up all during my workout. I train legs 2-3 times per week, and with all body parts, I tend to keep my rep range in the 15-30 range. During my offseason, I spend a lot more time training. My weight workouts last about 75-90 minutes, and I only train 4 days per week, keeping my reps in the 6 -12 range.
I implement FST 7 during every weight workout, at least once per body part. I do cardio 365 days a year, Bikram yoga 1-2 times per week and also do conditioning workouts 3-4 times per week. The conditioning workouts, classes that I teach, and yoga do not count as cardio. These are workouts that keep my heart and body in tip top shape. I stretch twice a day, and that helps with recovery and muscle growth.
Bodybuilding Blogger: That’s a serious training regimen! Thank you for sharing it. I read that in your article in ‘Muscle & Fitness hers’ when you were preparing for two back to back shows your mom ordered 10 pounds of orange roughy, 10 pounds of chicken, and enough asparagus to feed the whole neighborhood. That’s awesome! You have such a supportive family, how did growing up in a Greek family play a role in your eating habits and lifestyle today?
Toni Perdikakis: My mom is awesome! 10 pounds of roughy, 10 pounds of chicken, and 8 pounds of bison is our weekly shopping list! When I am super busy or overwhelmed, especially close to a show, my mom steps in to save the day. She has definitely gotten the hang of it. She knows when we can season the food and when we can’t. She knows that we switch from splenda to stevia two weeks before a show. She’s good! My mom always made sure that my brother and I had the best food growing up.
She used to deliver my food to me around lunch time so that it was hot. When my brother played college football, she would have the WHOLE TEAM over the Friday before games to feed everyone. I have to say that I was always a little tank. I could put away some food, but she never had junk around the house and all of our food was homemade.
I have my family to thank for my work ethic. My dad came to this country with nothing and now is a highly respected and knowledgeable engineer. They taught me to never give up. If I didn’t have the support from them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Bodybuilding Blogger: What an amazing success story! You’re continuing that success that’s for sure. As a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor what is your approach with clients and what do you see people struggling with the most?
Toni Perdikakis: Food, food, food! You would be surprised how people do not know what or how to eat! I have clients that don’t know that rice is a carb, or that peanut butter is a healthy fat. They don’t understand the importance of eating every 2-3 hours or the principles of food combination. I always try to educate my clients and answer as many questions as I can.
Another big issue is negativity. A lot of women have a negative body image or body dismorphia, along with being way too hard on themselves. We are all human. Mistakes and shit happen! It’s all about picking up the pieces and moving on!
Bodybuilding Blogger: Toni, what has been your hardest challenge to overcome either in your personal life or competition career?
Toni Perdikakis: I actually battled eating disorders for 12 years. Two things saved my life. One, my father was in a coma from a traumatic brain injury. Dealing with that situation put life into perspective for me. I was thankful to be alive, to have a happy and healthy family, to see my dad’s heart beating on a screen, and there was no reason to sweat the small stuff. I am blessed!
Second, the sport of bodybuilding. Once I understood food as fuel and energy to get where I knew I wanted to go, it took me out of those behaviors that dealt with life and emotions through food and negative behaviors. I want to take care of my body the best that I can, so that I can compete as long as I can.
Toni Perdikakis: I adopted this lifestyle four years ago when I met Jose, so life hasn’t changed all too much. I plan to rock out my offseason and have fun with my training on all these calories! I am hoping to step on stage in March, and I plan to do a good amount of shows this year. I did four last year, and then got sick. I had to listen to my body and throw in the towel. I have let my body heal, and now I am itching to get back on stage! I want to be in front of the judges, to get the feedback and constructive criticism to take my physique to the Olympia level.
Bodybuilding Blogger: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring physique pro, what would it be?
Toni Perdikakis: Believe in yourself. Even when you feel like no one has your back, just keep going. Be your own #1 cheerleader. Never give up. If you fall, who cares. Get up, brush your shoulders off, and put one foot in front of the other. There is no limit to where we can take ourselves. The sky is the limit. Decide who you are and what you want; then do everything in your power to get it.
Bodybuilding Blogger: Thank you so much Toni for sharing your time with us.
I want to personally thank my good friend Toni Perdikakis for this interview. She is a family oriented, positive, hardworking and energetic athlete with tenacity, drive and a passion for helping others. You can connect with Toni on ToniPerdikakis.com and Facebook plus view her pics on our Facebook fan page Bodybuilding Worldwide.
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