We talked with Derek Duszynski in December, 2019.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Derek Duszynski. I’m originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, then moved to Los Angeles, California for 10 years to train at Gold’s Gym Venice, and now reside in Sacramento, California since June 2019.
My “day job” is as a personal trainer as well as a nutrition and contest prep coach. I currently live with my girlfriend and two kids – my former shelter pups, Zeb and Layla.
I’ve been training with weights since I was around 12 years old and started in order to get stronger for sports.
I’ve been involved with some type of sports for my entire life. I started in karate at a very young age, then began playing soccer in elementary school before moving on to basketball from 5th grade forward, and then adding football in high school.
It’s honestly tough to have any legitimate hobbies in the midst of trying to make a living while competing, so I can’t really say I have any outside of anything having to do with fitness or bodybuilding.
As far as sponsors are concerned, I’m currently in talks with a possible sponsor and looking for others. I haven’t spent the appropriate time reaching out to many companies, but have plans to begin that process very soon.
What I like most about bodybuilding is that the ultimate success or failure of achieving my goals is solely up to me.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
There is no “typical” training day for me. I don’t have a set philosophy because I am always open to trying new approaches and techniques to training.
When I’m getting ready for a contest, I most often train with weights five days per week and do cardio six days per week, twice per day.
I do not follow a specific program because I really like to change my training up frequently. This keeps training fresh for me and also keeps me from getting bored with the training or hitting plateaus.
As far as off-season “bulking” techniques, my approach is pretty simple: Just add more clean carbs to all of my meals. I prefer rice, oatmeal, and yams.
During the pre-contest “fat loss” process, the opposite works for me: I gradually decrease my carb intake and gradually increase my cardio as the competition gets closer.
Getting back to training, it really doesn’t matter where I train, as long as they have a good variety of equipment.
I currently have memberships to four different gyms so I have multiple options of where I can go, based on how I feel like training that day.
I don’t really have any favorite exercises because I like different movements depending on, which body part I’m training… so I guess I have too many favorites.
I also don’t use any sort of device or log for tracking my training because I really like to feel my way through a training session. I used to keep a training log way back in the day but I feel like it hindered me more than helped me.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
The only time my motivation to go to the gym dips is when I’m really close to a contest and I’m on extremely low carbs and feeling exhausted all day long.
At that point, I don’t really give myself a choice not to go train because I’ve committed to competing and showing up in my best possible condition is the only option.
Outside of that specific scenario, I never have dips in my motivation when it comes to training – training is my favorite thing to do and is one of the few things I have in my life that centers me and keeps me sane.
This is also how I’m able to keep going and continually push harder: I love doing it. My main issues have been with maintaining a good balance between my training and all other parts of my life.
Especially when I’m in contest prep, I really go all in and everything else in my life takes a back seat. It sucks sometimes but that’s part of the game.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
As of typing this, I am about 1.5 weeks out from a competition so my training is kind of on autopilot at the moment. I’m extremely depleted this close to a show so my energy is almost non-existent, which results in less than optimal training sessions.
My main goal over the next five years is to establish myself as a legitimate Classic Physique competitor in the IFBB and get on the Arnold Classic and Olympia stages multiple times.
After that, I may have some interest in putting on more size and moving back into bodybuilding as a pro.
My plans outside of bodybuilding involve purchasing a home with my girlfriend and getting more involved with animal rescue, as well as fostering and adopting more dogs…
The only thing I would change if I were to start over in my bodybuilding journey is I would push myself harder, much earlier in my life.
There were many times when I either got complacent or let other people’s expectations of me get in the way of my goals, which I now know was a huge mistake and is the reason why it took me so long to earn my IFBB Pro Card.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
For rest and recovery, I make sure I get at least eight hours of sleep every day, as well as supplement properly, don’t skip meals, eat the right types of foods for recovery, and take post-workout naps.
As for avoiding injuries, all of the same rules apply as for rest and recovery, as well as knowing when to pull back on training to avoid overtraining, and changing up training to work around joints or body parts that are bothering me.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
As I mentioned before, I’m 1.5 weeks out from competition right now so my diet is currently very low carb, high protein, and moderate fat.
I don’t ever count calories but my diet changes depending on how close to a contest I am or what specific body composition goals I’m trying to achieve at that time.
I take a lot of supplements including whey protein, multivitamins, fish oil, etc., but since I have no current supplement sponsor, I don’t really care what company I get them from, just as long as they work.
As far as cheat days and junk food, I really only eat junk food right after a contest and for the most part only have cheat meals when they are planned and will actually benefit my training and diet.
I also don’t ever drink alcohol I used to like to when I was a lot younger, but really don’t see the point anymore – it just makes me feel like shit and my training suffers as well.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
For inspiration, I’m currently mainly inspired by all of the top-tier pro bodybuilders, especially guys like Big Ramy, Roelly Winklaar, Hadi Choopan, and the current Mr. Olympia, Brandon Curry.
As much as people want to complain about how some of the current guys look, I think most of them are insanely impressive.
In the gym, I keep myself motivated to tear through training by listening to artists like Rage Against the Machine, DMX, Silversun Pickups, or some types of electronic music with intense beats.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The only advice I can give someone who wants to improve is if you really want something, don’t let anybody stand in your way, including yourself.
Put the blinders on, push through the bullshit, and work your fucking ass off for as long as it takes.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking on new clients right now but only online clients at the moment. What differentiates me from other trainers is I won’t sugar-coat things for people. I like to be honest and upfront about what achieving results really takes.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?