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Joe Seeman
How I Made the Leap From Amateur to IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

Joe Seemans Stats When We Talked with Him 💪

28 years
178 cm
(5 ’10)
118 kg
(260 lbs)

Follow Joe on Instagram and YouTube

👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

My Name is Joe Seeman, I’m a 28-year-old IFBB Pro bodybuilder and an online fitness/contest prep coach. I started training 10 years ago at 18 after playing many sports growing up. My most notable sports before bodybuilding were hockey and cross country running.

My biggest accomplishment today in bodybuilding is winning my pro card back in 2019 and placing 4th in my first pro show. This was a dream come true after seven years of competing as an amateur from 20-27 years old.

Outside of bodybuilding, I like to read, travel, try new restaurants (when I’m not in contest prep), and continue to build my online business.

What I love the most about this lifestyle is the dedication and discipline that can be translated to other areas of your life outside of competing. I have been able to be successful and will continue to be more successful in business because of this mindset that I take from bodybuilding.

⏱ Describe a typical day of training

I love the basic free weight movements and plate loaded hammer strength machines.

For me a typical day of training is steady state cardio first thing in the morning, followed by core work and stretching to ensure I stay mobile and injury free.

I typically train either at 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. depending on the day and what my schedule is like. In off-season, I like to train five times a week with two full rest days.

The days I train, I will do cardio in the morning for 25 minutes to help with cardiovascular health, digestion, and appetite more so than fat loss since I am eating in a caloric surplus.

My training split in the off season is like this:

  • Day 1-Back
  • Day 2-Chest/tris
  • Day 3-Quads/Calves
  • Day 4-Rest
  • Day 5-Shoulders/biceps
  • Day 6-Hamstrings/calves
  • Day 7-Rest

The only difference between this and my contest prep split is I will take only one rest day and usually have another back-day in the week. I never get too out of shape in the off-season and I stay within 25-30lbs of my stage weight so my calorie intake is in a surplus, but it is all coming from good quality foods.

My off-season diet and contest prep diet are very similar, just the portions will change, of course. I find this approach works well for myself to keep me in better shape, feeling better, and improving more optimally.

During contest prep, my favourite approach is carb cycling. I get myself down to a lower carb diet and will incorporate high carb days to continue to shock my metabolism and help me to get leaner and stay fuller.

I only do steady state cardio in contest prep as I find at my size I do not need high intensity cardio to get contest lean.

I usually train alone but sometimes I will have a friend tag along for certain days for a spotter and a bit of a push. Pre-workout, I like to have a coffee and I will use a pump product like ANS Performance Dilate.

During training, I drink AMRAP Nutrition BCAA (two scoops) and 10 grams of ALLMAX Glutamine.

Post workout, I will have a shake with 50 grams of whey isolate (Diesel by Perfect Nutrition), 50 grams of carbs (Carbion by ALLMAX), 5 grams ALLMAX Creatine.

The best way for me to get in the zone to train is to review my journal before training and aim to beat those numbers and push myself to be better than I was the previous workout. Whether it be more reps, more weight, or less rest between sets, I always aim to be better.

I always have my lifting straps, belt, elbow sleeves, and chalk in my gym bag so I’m ready to rock no matter what I am training that day.

I love the basic free weight movements and plate loaded hammer strength machines. I use the cables more so in contest prep for shaping.

👊 How do you keep going and push harder?

I love to train so I think that has played a big role in why I have been consistently training for 10 years now. The gym has given my life a lot of purposes. A lot changed in the last 10 years for me with my life but the gym has always been a consistent part of it. I think it comes down to priorities and discipline.

You will never always be motivated. I would say 9/10 times I am not motivated to go to the gym, but I want the results so I turn on some good music and handle business.

The best way to improve is to keep track of what you are doing and aim to beat those numbers each week. If you always do what you have always done you will get what you have always got and that holds true in and out of the gym.

I always make time for family. I aim to visit them out of town every couple months for a few days. There is no excuse to fall off track because of a family event, it is just a matter of being prepared in advance with your food, training, etc.

I think the hardest thing is being comfortable always being uncomfortable. You have to be willing to spend more time alone, avoid certain social events and dedicate your life to being the best you can be. Not many will understand it and that is okay.

I’m an introvert and I have no issues being alone and thriving to reach my goals on a daily basis.

🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Right now, my focus is being the best professional bodybuilder and coach I can be. In the next few years, I would like to expand my business with the help of social media through avenues such as Instagram and YouTube.

I want to be on the Olympia Stage by the time in 30 so i have two years currently. I would also like to be able to travel to a new place each year for a vacation that has nothing to do with competing or bodybuilding. This helps keep me grounded and appreciating other things in life. I never take the small things for granted.

If I could change one thing about my journey, it would be to have trained smarter and learned more about the marketing side of the fitness industry, but I do not have any regrets.

🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any major injuries, just aches and pains here and there

I think recovery and taking care of your body outside of training is very important. In the past two years, I have really gotten more into doing extra things to ensure my body stays healthy and has the longevity to keep bodybuilding into the next decade.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any major injuries, just aches and pains here and there. I regularly go for massage therapy every other week as well as a chiropractic adjustment once a month. I find this along with daily stretching really helps me to prevent injuries.

The only lingering pain I get is in my elbow but it comes and goes and isn’t anything serious because it only happens when the muscles in my forearm are tight.

Food is always the best supplement for recovery in my opinion and the only supplements I use are the ones around training that aid in recovery. I aim to sleep about seven hours at night and if I need to or have the time I will nap for 30 minutes to an hour in the afternoon.

In contest prep, I avoid travelling too much unless I have to for clients. It can be tough but the main thing is to prepare in advance. Make sure you have accommodations with a kitchen so you can cook your food and/or bring meals with you. I also will make sure there is a grocery store and gym nearby so I have my bases covered whether in contest prep or off-season.

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I take my off-season nearly as serious as prep so I still find it difficult to travel at times, but as long as I prepare I can make it work.

🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

My diet and supplement intake is pretty similar from off-season to contest prep in regards to the choices of food, but the portions especially for carbs in much higher during the off-season.

I don’t really track my calorie intake directly, but I weigh and measure all my meals and adjust those portions based on what the goal is.

I like to keep leaner even in the off-season so my diet stays fairly strict and I will have one to two free meals or cheat meals a week. For this I would typically go for something like sushi or pizza. I don’t crave sweets so these are all I really ever crave whether in contest prep or off-season.

In contest prep, however, the cheats are only implemented if I need one. I usually would opt for doing high carb days instead of a cheat meal because it is better for my overall progress and easier on my digestion. I do time my food intake before training.

I will typically have my pre workout meal about one hour to 90 minutes prior to training. This ensures I have had the time to digest before I am training. I use a variety of vitamins for optimal health.

In the morning I will always take 30ml apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach, followed by one scoop of veggie greens with water (Progressive Nutrition), a multivitamin (Progressive Nutrition), omega 3 fish oil (Progressive Nutrition), vitamin C (Progressive Nutrition), b3 niacin (Now Nutrition), glucosamine-msm (now nutrition), digestive enzymes (Now Nutrition), vitamin D (Now Nutrition, vitamin E (Now Nutrition), Astragalus (Now Nutrition), liver care (Himalaya).

I repeat all of these supplements again in the evening with the exception of b3 and vitamin E. I will also take citrus bergamot (Jarrow Formulas) in the evening.

Whether in contest prep or off-season I love to drink coffee and I always drink it black, occasionally I will have some almond milk in it, but since I work from home for the most part I just drink it black.

I never really drink an alcohol with the exception of a drink or two around certain holidays. When going out for social events I don’t find it challenging to avoid eating food that isn’t in my diet. Either I will come prepared with my own food (if it Is appropriate) or I will simply eat before and/or after the event.

I don’t expect people to accommodate me, this is my personal choice to pursue this lifestyle and I have to be the one who wants to make it happen on a daily basis regardless of what else is going on.

The only time I avoid certain social events is when I am very close to competing and I don’t have the energy to be able to be social outside of my normal routine and obligations.

👍 What has inspired and motivated you?

The more you think you can, the closer you will gravitate towards your goals with your actions.

I find in the world of fitness there are a lot of people you can look up to based on what your driving force is behind what you are trying to accomplish.

For myself, my biggest role model or idol I’ve looked up to is Jay Cutler for all of his accomplishments on and off the stage. He not only is a great bodybuilder, but great at the business side as well.

I like to listen to YouTube videos while I’m in the gym. Usually some type of bodybuilding motivation or I will throw on some hip hop/rap music to get me fired up even more.

The best advice I ever received is to believe you can do it and constantly remind yourself on that journey that you can and will make it happen.

The more you think you can, the closer you will gravitate towards your goals with your actions. The mind is a powerful thing so channel your mindset wisely.

✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

Showcase who you are and people will follow along because they can tell you are genuine and true to yourself.

You need to have a game plan if you are trying to improve yourself, especially in the realm of health & fitness. If you are new to the lifestyle and have big ambitions then hiring a coach would be a great idea for you to help learn and progress in the right direction — having someone with the experience and tools to help guide and mentor you there.

I know social media is huge these days, but you can’t get caught up in worrying about other people and wishing you had what they had, and so on. Social media is the highlight reel of most individuals lives, so you can’t let it make you feel like you are behind because of this.

I’ve had to work to get everything I have in this industry and haven’t had any “lucky breaks” so to speak and I am perfectly fine with that. It keeps me grounded and reminds me that I can continue to grow and improve no matter what comes my way.

I think when you are outside the fitness world you have to be able to laugh at yourself and joke around about the lifestyle because let’s be honest, bodybuilding is weird.

To regular society, we are strange and I find being able to poke fun at myself and joke around when it’s appropriate shows you aren’t just a robot in the gym all day lifting weights.

Nowadays, you have to take advantage of social media if you want to have any success in fitness, so I recommend to start small and slowly build up your social platform based around what you want to showcase. Whether that is around your business or your personal fitness journey.

Showcase who you are and people will follow along because they can tell you are genuine and true to yourself.

🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?

I am almost always taking on clients. Currently, I am accepting new online clients. Online coaching has been my main job since 2016. I started coaching online in 2014 after personal training for three years.

I made the switch because I enjoy helping people achieve their fitness goals especially those who compete and it gives me the freedom I need to train and set up my day as I need to in order to be the best IFBB Pro bodybuilder I can be.

I only accept clients who sign up for a minimum of three months. The reason being it is going to take at least three months to see proper results whether you are trying to lose fat, build muscle, improve overall health and well being, contest prep, or grow in your off-season.

All of these take time and you need to be committed to the process so that is why I require at least a three-month commitment to show you what I can help you accomplish, and the majority of my clients continue to for much longer than three months.

I have a handful of clients who have been with me since starting back in 2014! If you want a coach who will give you a very detailed and structured plan, with proper guidance, reassurance, and a kick in the butt when you need it, than I am the trainer for you!

📝 Where can we learn more about you?

If you want to follow me on Instagram, it’s @coachlittlejoe. On YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel at CoachLittleJoe as I post lots of training, nutrition, and fitness related content for all types of viewers.

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