Norcal Strength Studio’s 48-year old owner places 2nd and 3rd in his first bodybuilding competition… working out for only 20 minutes, 2 times a week

By Oliver Ycaro

Congratulations to NorCal Strength Studio’s very own, Patrick Ycaro, and his wife, Susanna Ycaro, for their achievements at the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation contest held on June 11, 2016, in Monrovia, California. Susanna placed 3rd in the Bikini Masters category, and 5th overall in the Bikini Novice category. Patrick placed 2nd in the Masters Physique category, and 3rd overall in the Open Physique category.

Patrick answers a few questions about their preparation for the competition below:

How long did you and your wife train for the competition?

I started training Susanna 20 weeks before the competition. 15 weeks into her training, I got inspired, and decided to enter the event, too. I’ve always been fit because of my training method: high-intensity strength training, but I’ve always focused on strength and mobility, not aesthetics. Having said that, we only need to look at the late founder of HIT, Mike Mentzer – everyone knows that he developed this system of training for bodybuilding. All the empirical based evidence that shows the numerous health benefits associated with high-intensity strength training (HIT) are just coming out – we’re talking within the past 5 – 10 years. That’s great! But at its core, HIT is still a bodybuilding training system. So yeah, at 48-years old, I entered my first bodybuilding competition 15 weeks out, and 20 weeks out for my wife. I was confident we could do it.

Susanna Ycaro. Image Courtesy of WNBF

Most people wouldn’t believe you if you told them that the two of you placed, and quite decently at that, at a bodybuilding competition by working out for only 20 minutes, 2 times a week. What would you say to them?

The thing about high-intensity strength training is that the workouts are brief – but when you are working out, you need to exhaust the muscle to the point of muscular fatigue or muscular failure! This means, if you wanted to do another rep at the end of your set, you should not be able to, not even if your life depended on it – we’re talking slow reps, heavy weights, and just one set per exercise… it’s that efficient! It’s very intense, and because of the intensity, it also requires a lot more rest time – a typical recovery period is a full week before training the same muscle again. If you’re doing it properly, it’s almost like magic: you’re working out for less time, but you’re gaining more in terms of mass and strength.

What would you change in your training next time?

We were really focused on dieting leading up to this competition, and knowing what I know now, it wasn’t the best way to go about it. For the next competition, we’re definitely going to eat a lot more, haha. We restricted our eating for this competition, and we did a lot of cardio – too much. My wife, Susanna, lost a lot of muscle on the day of the competition, and so did I, and it was all because of our diet. But these are things we’re learning as we go along. If you look at my side-by-side selfies from the day of the competition, and the day after the competition, you’ll see the difference – I lost a lot mass by not eating properly the day before the event. Next time, we’ll definitely carb up a lot more. But as far as weight training, we’ll still be doing HIT.

Day of competition

Day after competition

Any last words?

First of all, I’m really proud of what my wife and I accomplished at the WNBF competition, but as happy as I am about our performance – I’m extremely confident that if someone has the desire, I can train them do just as well or even better.

Patrick Ycaro is the owner of NorCal Strength Studio in Los Gatos, CA. Contact him to schedule a free training session… it’s a brief training routine, but it’s not called high intensity strength training for nothing – so if you do come in for a session, be forewarned: be ready to challenge yourself, and be ready to have fun!