We talked with Victor Costa in January, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Victor Costa and I hail from New York City. Professionally, I have many interests, some are simply more public than others. I have left brain interests like numbers and finance and right brain interests such as acting and writing.
However, as I get older, I find that the right brain and left brain are starting to blend together. I am becoming more creative with my numbers and more formulaic in my writing. I train and coach online.
I consider myself a transformation specialist and offer weight loss transformations and muscular transformations. I even train reformed steroid users who now want to learn how to gain muscle naturally. I put my heart and soul into my clients and I have clients all over the globe.
In fact, many trainers come to me to learn how to train their clients and also, I help people get ready for contests. I must admit, I love bonding with clients. I never think of training as a business. When you are dealing with people, it isn’t a business, it is personal.
In terms of bodybuilding accomplishments, I would say that competing naturally against drugged competitors has been my greatest bodybuilding accomplishment. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to compete with guys who use drugs. I was told to stay in my lane. Instead, I created my own lane.
I must admit, that during the shows, I felt like a bit of an anthropologist, sociologist and psychologist rather than a competitor. Backstage, I would look around and really study behavior, question my motives for being there, and even wonder why any of us had this need to be exposed or revealed in this way. This perspective has allowed me to become the best trainer I can possibly be. Training has to do with beliefs, attitudes, psychology and physiology which are all interconnected.
As far as competing, I enjoyed the process much more than the result. Even winning contests was underwhelming for me. Your readers should know that true bodybuilding has very little to do with standing on a stage, it is how you carry yourself and treat yourself on a daily basis.
I would also consider the decision to stop competing among my greatest bodybuilding accomplishments. I will never forget the day I quit competing. It was probably the smartest thing I ever did.
I had just come off the stage and a man with a discerning eye said to me, “Man, if you ever take drugs, you will be the best who ever lived”. That was the day I quit competing. I thought to myself, “This guy is probably right, if I am going to be the best at this, I am going to have to use drugs”, so I quit. I didn’t see plastic trophies as a fair exchange my health. This was probably the smartest thing I have ever done for my health.
I have been training for many years and what got me started was that, which gets everyone started whether they want to admit it or not: A sense of inferiority, powerlessness, and irrelevance. Other than athletes who play sports, this is why most people start lifting weights. People will tell you otherwise, but this is the real reason most people start “bodybuilding”.
This is the reason we have a drug and steroid epidemic. People feel bad about themselves so they take steroids, it’s that simple. I would like to shed some wisdom on the topic of drugs to either support your natural readers or to educate your drugged readers.
I want to remind people who use steroids that they will never get big enough to feel big. Drug users will always feel small regardless of the title, trophy or how much space they occupy. On the other hand, natural bodybuilders can feel big, even if they are smaller than their drugged counterparts.
In terms of hobbies, I enjoy reading, writing and acting. I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Now, in terms of what I enjoy most about natural bodybuilding, it is just being able to use my body to move. It is such a blessing that many people take for granted.
To have a well-working body is a blessing, a gift if you will. The way I see it is that I have a duty is to be the custodian of my health and body. It is my duty to preserve what is already well and to not interfere with the wellness that I have been blessed enough to receive.
I don’t like anything about the “bodybuilding” that most people think of. To me, if it is not natural bodybuilding, it is not bodybuilding at all. I also take exception to people who are enhanced calling themselves “fitness experts”.
“Bodybuilding” as most people define it has little if any correlation to fitness. I’d like to also offer a definition of fitness. Fitness is not related to the way one appears, rather, it is something one experiences.
When I think of fitness, I never think of someone who has ripped abs or anything like that, and certainly not a so called, “bodybuilder”. Rather, I think of fitness as a combination of emotional sensitivity, grounding, intelligence, health, and wit.
The fitness I aspire to show up in decision making, in control over one’s thoughts and emotions and the health of relationships between others and myself. The fitness I think of has much less to do with appearance.
Don’t confuse “bodybuilding” with fitness as most of the time they are mutually exclusive. That is not to say that one cannot be a natural bodybuilder and be fit at the same time.
What I am suggesting is that if you are drugged, you are never fit and being a natural bodybuilder doesn’t de facto make one fit.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My training philosophy is that there is no such thing as bodybuilding beyond natural bodybuilding. Of course, one can train with a routine, but one has to be instinctive as well. I think too many people abuse the body and try to force to the body to comply with what they want rather than learning to speak the language of the body and simply asking the body for what they want.
The training I do for myself is very instinctive. I train alone and in a private small gym that usually has about five people at any given time. It is very low key. I used to be a member of some large chain gyms, but in truth I don’t enjoy training in a big gym.
I will not wait for equipment nor do I like to be interrupted when I train. Additionally, I have limited time, so I would always be changing my training mid workout when equipment was occupied.
I train for an hour per session about four times per week, five times per week maximum. If I see the clock strikes past an hour, I leave the gym whether or not I am done with my workout. An hour for a natural bodybuilder is more than enough.
I don’t do anything like bulk and cut. You cannot stay in the condition I am in 365 days a year and do a bulk and cut. To be honest I think it doesn’t make much sense. To say one does a bulk and cut means that one is sometimes bulky and sometimes cut. Who wants that? So, you are either uncomfortable or have a sunken face? I don’t get it. It’s not very effective at any rate.
With respect to cardio, I walk about four to five miles per day through the city streets of New York and that is the only cardio I perform. I think of cardio for the inside of my body and I use weight training for my outward appearance.
I don’t use any supplements. I don’t carry a fitness bag. I use no tools for training and I do not keep a log. A log is where you have been and I am always focused on where I am going.
I do not use belts, wraps, straps or any other training accouterments. If my hand can’t hold it, I shouldn’t lift it. If my knee can’t bear it, I shouldn’t attempt it. If my core can’t handle it, it’s time to drop it. This is how I train.
If I am deadlifting, I am not just training my lower back, or hamstrings. Am I not training my hands, my forearms when I deadlift? Isn’t the indicator that I need straps or a belt some indication that the body unit should not be stressed in this way? This is how I think.
Someone has to be the voice of reason, because if you spend just a few minutes on YouTube, you will see absolute nonsense and hypocrisy. Drug guys offering fitness advice? Are you kidding? I want your readers to think one thing when they see drug guys offering fitness advice. “But for the drugs, what would be their results”?
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
My motivation is never low. I have a fire that burns for everything I do. I will say that I do not even know anyone that is unmotivated. Motivated people attract one another. The people I attract or connect with are highly motivated.
I think people who aren’t motivated are probably in an environment where lack of motivation thrives. Motivation is contagious. These days people use Instagram to get motivated, I guess I can see that, but hanging around motivated people is truly the key if you are not self-motivated.
The way you keep training year after year is by making a decision to do so. Training is less about the body, rather it is about keeping commitments or promises to oneself.
In terms of priority, my family is my highest priority. If they need my attention, well then, I just don’t go to the gym that day.
In general, I really don’t waste a lot of time, so I have time for everything. Like every man, I have personal, internal struggles. Getting over the death of my father was the most arduous thing I have had to face. I suffered profoundly and that was nearly a decade ago. Now, I help others with grief.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
With respect to my current training, I train very intensely and with a high level of awareness. My goal over the next five years is to coach people and speak on a circuit about health, fitness and weight loss. There are principles in my training that carry over into all areas of life.
If I could start my bodybuilding journey over again, I would have simply just given myself a break and been more patient with myself. The body is more than willing to cooperate when you take care of it rather than force it.
I also would have waited until I finished University to start training seriously. There is a time when the body is growing and the mind is on fire and that is a good time to conserve energy while the body and mind is in hyper-growth.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I believe that we all have some sense of precognition, especially when it comes to injuries. I believe we know in advance to some extent. Therefore, when I have this sense, I am able to pause and redirect when I have that sense.
I take a day off when I feel very fatigued or stressed. When I take a day off I read and write, perhaps make a YouTube video.
I have a saying, “Take a rest day when you need it or, the rest day will take you”. I sleep for seven to eight hours per night. I don’t use supplements or massage tools.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I know people love these diets that have names to them. To me, if a diet has has a name other than “common sense”, I would stay away from it. People keep trying to trick the body. You can’t trick the body, friends, you just can’t trick the body.
I eat three times per day. I personally eat about 2200 calories per day. I eat low-glycemic carbohydrates, lean meats and vegetables. My macros are 55% carbs, 30% protein and 15% fat.
I don’t eat sugar or drink alcohol so my life is very easy. My body is never in tumult. I enjoy Starbucks coffee and drink it because I like the taste very much.
I don’t use gadgets to track anything. In fact, I don’t measure my diet. I simply eat what my instincts tell me. I actually had to do the math on my diet to offer you these macros. I pay more attention to micronutrients than macronutrients. Micronutrients are the essence of food.
My typical diet:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal, almonds, banana, and coffee
- Lunch: Sweet potatoes, or grain which could be quinoa, faro, or rice, kale, chicken, carrots, cauliflower, avocado
- Dinner: Chicken, avocado, rice, or faro, broccoli or asparagus
- Snacks: Apple, almonds
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Your training rarely improves when you read books. It generally improves once you stop reading books and start listening to your body.
I have a podcast called, Victor Costa Motivation that has nothing to do with bodybuilding. When I train, I try to learn something new so I rarely listen to music. Instead, I am very inspired by Esther Hicks so I will listen to Esther whist I train.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If I were new to bodybuilding, I would find a quiet gym without guys who use drugs. I would begin to understand the role the mind plays in fitness and health.
Best advice I could give would be to lay off the supplements, drugs, sugar and alcohol. If you are able to do this, the rest is easy.
In terms of what most people are doing wrong in the gym, that is easy: Most people are natural but following a routine from a drugged athlete. Additionally, most people don’t have a specific goal and this doesn’t give the energy they are spending a specific destination — this leads to a lot of work without results.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am more than willing to help others achieve their goals naturally. In my opinion, most trainers have very little knowledge about training. Doctors, scientists and athletes and even people in the military have endorsed my training. I can get someone in very good condition quickly because I am focused on teaching rather than having a client become dependent.
If you see some of the transformations I have supported, you would be astounded. I offer training and coaching globally and one can get my program as well as see endorsements and transformations at Vicsnatural Workouts.
My training also comes with personal sessions with me. I only take clients on the Internet. However, I serve a global community and train and coach people all over the world.
The most common question I get is, “Do you think I can transform like your other clients”? I always remind people that when I am done working with them, they won’t even recognize the person who asked this question.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My main channel is Vicsnatural on YouTube and I can be found on Instagram and Facebook.
My training is offered at Vicsnatural Workouts.