The Essential Gustavo Badell Interview: IFBB Pro Comeback 2012
It’s no secret that MuscleWeek Senior Editor Shane Ray gets around. The wives, girlfriends and ex-wives of many a Chicago bodybuilder can certainly attest to that. But what many readers may not know is that for many years, Shane was deathly afraid of flying. In fact, it wasn’t until his former girlfriend dragged him by his eyebrows to watch her compete at the 2009 USA that he finally overcame his aerophobia.
Lately, on MuscleWeek’s dime, he’s been traveling this great nation of ours meeting up with some of the largest and most interesting personalities in bodybuilding. So during a hiatus from crashing bachelorette parties with Joey Swoll and Craig Golias in Vegas, Shane sat down with an IFBB Pro who has been MIA for the past two years. Despite being a top 5 Olympian for several consecutive years, some might say that Gustavo Badell never really gained the respect that usually accompanies such a lofty position. So, drink in hand, Shane sat down in the Venetian Lobby to interview one of the top bodybuilders on the planet — Gustavo Badell.
MUSCLEWEEK: It’s an honor to have you sit down with MuscleWeek. No introduction needed. Tell us what’s new in your life. I understand you’re in Las Vegas now.
GUSTAVO BADELL: I’m in Las Vegas most of the time. I don’t know for how long, because I’m selling my house and trying to relocate to Florida. What’s new in my life is that I now have my own gym with a partner in Spain. I’m very excited to come back onstage and I’m concentrating all my energies in my prep.
MW: Las Vegas has a seriously vibrant and happening bodybuilding culture there. I don’t think it’s so much Venice Beach anymore. Is Las Vegas where you need to be training and focusing on bodybuilding? Does it not get distracting sometimes?
GB: I think Las Vegas has the most perfect fitness environment in the world. I enjoy very much preparing for contest here. I don’t get distracted in Las Vegas, actually I get more focus.
MW: The Mecca of bodybuilding gyms is Gold’s on Flamingo. LVAC being a close second. Which gym do you prefer and why? Is “Flamingo” your home?
GB: I love Gold’s Gym in Flamingo. The environment there is just fantastic! Not only for me but for anyone with a passion for the sport. I also train at the one in Eastern sometimes, which is closer to my house, or in occasion LVAC in Eastern, but there is none compared to “Flamingo”.
MW: You’ve been around the pro bodybuilding for a while. Some argue you most definitely peaking in the mid 2000’s with the 2004 & 2005 Mr. Olympia being your pinnacle. Do you feel you can duplicate that look and level of muscularity and conditioning again or are you going for something new for Gustavo Badell?
GB: After two years off stage I’m preparing for a new Gustavo Badell. I’m training hard, never cheat my diet, very strict with the plan. I have a lot of discipline and determination and with that I believe anything is possible, even to duplicate my best condition. We’ll see, but one thing is for sure, I’m hungry again and will come back strong to get my place back.
MW: Your last show was in 2009 which was The Atlantic City Pro where you placed First and then you took a surprising 13th at the Olympia. Was taking almost 2 full years off strategic and part of the master plan or were you forced to take a step back for other reasons?
GB: After the 2009 Olympia, I was very upset and disappointed because all my hard work wasn’t getting me to where I expected, so I decided to take some time off and go adventure with some business opportunities presented. It wasn’t really planned but I can tell you today that it was a good move. My body was exhausted, so was my mind so I definitely needed some time off. My body is refreshed now and responding better.
MW: Back when you were placing high at the big shows and were considered a serious threat in ANY show you would enter who was your nutritionist? Who is your nutritionist now or have you always did your own prep?
GB: I’ve been working with many nutritionist experts in the field since 2004. Pretty much every other prep has been with a different nutritionist with different philosophies and they have all been good. I have great respect for all of them who have been in my corner at some point of my career. Now, as far as training, I have always done my own thing. I have my own philosophy of training . Every athlete at this level is responsible for training and that definitely shows when you step on stage and have to pose over and over.
MW: It seems less opportunity is present for professional bodybuilders to make a living in the industry. Outside the Top 5 guys placing in the money slots, the pickings are slim. Is it the general economic times or is the industry just simply evolving?
MW: Speaking of supplements, let’s be honest. No brand names. No name dropping. What do you use that is Over The Counter? I saw a diet prescribed by Hany to a professional bodybuilder who I will not name who pointed out to me that NO supplements are prescribed. Just food. Are you big on using supplements, Gustavo?
GB: I do believe in supplements. Some are better, some are worse, but they help provide for the high demand of our body. I respect other competitors and other philosophies and although nothing replaces food, in my opinion supplements help.
GB: I don’t usually visit the strip. I’m a family man and my free time in Las Vegas is to visit more parks or take a trip to LA to take them to Disney, Universal and all those nice parks.
GB: I think they all look great, but can’t really tell you I have one.
MW: What are 3 things you never leave the house without?
GB: My cell phone, house keys and gym bag.
MW: What is your favorite thing about bodybuilding? Is it the structure of the prep? The change in yourself before your eyes?
GB: Everything. How amazing is the body how it changes when you do the right thing. But, most of all I think is the challenge it is and knowing that I’m one of the few that can do this. Not many can handle it.
MW: What can we expect from you at the 2012 Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio?
GB: A Gustavo that will give a 100% like he always has. I will enjoy the show and try to make it as entertaining for the fans as I can.
MW: Do you have anything you would like to plug or promote? How can someone get in touch with you for sponsorship or any opportunities for representation?
GB: People or companies interested in contacting me for guest posing, seminars or sponsorship can do so by email at email@example.com or can also look me up on Facebook.
Bonus Round of Rapid-Fire Questions:
Favorite Movie? The Godfather
Favorite Gym? Gold’s Flamingo
Favorite Actor? Al Pacino
Favorite Exercise? Deadlift
Favorite Cheat Food? Pasta
Favorite Clean Food? Fish
Drink of Choice? Vodka Cranberry
Favorite Travel Destination? Italy
Squats or Leg Presses: Squats
Barbells or Dumbbells: Dumbbells
MUSCLEWEEK: Thanks for joining us, Gustavo. We wish you the best of luck in 2012!
GUSTAVO BADELL: Thanks Shane. I appreciate it.