Imagine eating 18 eggs, a bowl of oatmeal, and a bowl of blueberries for breakfast. How about four or five chicken breasts, one lathered with peanut butter, a plate of cooked vegetables, a heaping salad and two pieces of fruit for lunch and dinner. Sound like Michael Phelps? Think again—it’s happening right here on Pomona’s campus. You’ve probably heard of Ravi Reddy PO ’13, an aspiring body builder who can lift the heaviest weights on campus. I sat down with him to talk about his passion for bodybuilding and some of the public’s common misconceptions of the sport.
Ravi got his first taste for bodybuilding at age 14 from weight training for high school football. He recalls his body responding very well: “I gained a lot of muscle very quickly. I continued to get results and eventually enjoyed training for sports more than the sport itself.”
Ravi dove into bodybuilding in high school, adding power lifting to his regime. Power lifting is a very intense type of weight lifting, where one must do one to three repetitions of an exercise in order to gain maximum strength. But it was a lot to take on, and in 2009 he was derailed by a herniated disk and had to get back surgery in December. Six weeks of physical therapy and three cortisone shots later, he was ready to go.
“By then, I was chomping at the bit to get back in,” Reddy says, “and I can say now that I’ve gained everything that [I] lost.”
To ensure he didn’t get injured again, Reddy switched up his weekly training routine drastically. His new schedule gives his muscles two days of recovery before he works them again. Because running is hard on the knees, he relies on stationary equipment, such as the elliptical machine to get his cardio workout.
“I still train at a very high volume, doing 30 sets of 12 repetitions of an exercise,” he says. The first and fourth days of every week, Redding’s exercises focus on the upper-frontal body, in areas like his chest and biceps. The second and fifth days he concentrates on his back, and the third and sixth days he works on his legs. And on the seventh day, he rests.
“The secret to body building is that 80 percent of it is the diet,” Reddy said. “Going to the gym does not actually gain you any muscle. All it does it shunt the nutrients to building more muscle.”
These days, steroids have taken center stage in the media. But Reddy is keen on keeping it clean.
“I have never taken and never want to take steroids. The fact of the matter is, I will not be able to reach my potential for another 10 to 12 years.” In these next years, Reddy has some big things in mind. “My short-term goal is to compete within the next year.” His long-term goal? “Reaching my genetic potential; building my muscles to my human limit.”
The acquired discipline and strong understanding of one’s body are what make bodybuilding a beautiful thing to Reddy.