“The overall benefit of strength training is unsurpassed”
Traditionally the world of body-building It develops in constant feedback. Those who practice it live this discipline intensely almost exclusively among equals. Those who are foreign to her, look at her with the same face that they would have if an alien ship landed on their doorstep. It is rare to find a bodybuilding champion who parks his sports practice and makes an effort to preach that strength training is not reduced to showing off muscle, nor to the perfect proportions, that health is what is important. For this reason we interviewed Carlos Pereda ( @carlosperedam3 )a Venezuelan living in Spain, IFBB world bodybuilding champion master category last year 2022 and owner of the gym M3 Fitness Center in Murcia, where he does not stop disclosing everything that is healthy in training with loads. This is what he told us.
Carlos for starting somewhere, tell us what brought you to Spain
I arrived here in 2005. Before, in Venezuela, I practiced powerlifting from a very young age and over time I ended up opting for bodybuilding. What got me hooked on that discipline is the physical transformation that you can achieve. You know what happens, when you’re between sixteen and eighteen, what you want is to look good, and back then that meant being like arnold or as Stallonewho were the protagonists of action movies, that makes you develop an obsession with aesthetics and this part is what involves delving into the darker side of that sport For this reason I refuse to recommend it to everyone, because what you do with your body is really violent and extreme. There is no balance it is something against nature. I understood it from the beginning, because I didn’t compete but I did train with people who did and followed their same routines, their same series, the same repetitions, the same weights… and my physique had nothing to do with theirs. At that moment you realize that you have to do things that you shouldn’t, although in Venezuela that was not as frowned upon as it is here, let’s say they have it much more internalized. Here it is rather the opposite, they even look down on you for buying a bottle of protein when it really is nothing more than that, protein.
And the evolution until you became a coach, how did it happen?
As a competitor in Venezuela I won several championships as a junior and I decided that I would like to professionalize it and study it to see how far it could go. I thought that in Spain this sport would be valued more, but I found that it was even less than there. I started working and my work was very physical, but even so I took time to train because I knew that this would have a positive impact on me, that it gave me a plus. It helped me a lot in general in my life. Little by little I dedicated myself in a more professional way, I also worked in a store of supplements in which I perfectly understood that people are looking for the easy, the shortcuts. I always told clients that when they see a photo of a bodybuilder promoting a protein they should know that he is not like that for taking that protein. They consume it, yes, but their physique is not due to that protein. He is like this because he has spent a lifetime dedicating himself to it because he has a very specific diet and everything they do is something very focused on that result and it cannot and should not be applied to normal people.
In the 2021 World Cup I realized that I was never going to be a 120-kilo bodybuilder, to begin with because I was not willing to go through what you have to go through to achieve it, the second thing is that I had just had a heart and general checkup of health and the doctors were amazed because it was normal to find the so-called athlete’s heart in bodybuilder patients, and they told me that in my case everything was perfect and healthy, but they warned me not to freak out, that this was not because I had done Everything is fine, there was a huge hereditary component in it and that must be taken care of.
When you decided to open your gym, M3 Fitness Center, you knew then that it was not going to be a center for bodybuilders, right?
My center was born from the need to impart health thanks to weight training, for me the objective has not been bodybuilding, nor the competitors, but the athletic – physical development of my clients without putting the aesthetic objective first. It is a place for people who want to, but who do not know how to start and who, over time, no longer need supervision because they have already learned how to train.
Aesthetics is secondary, we must insist…
In fact, when they quickly ask me about a diet, the first thing I tell them is that I’m not a nutritionist, of course, as a result of my professional career I have a lot of knowledge, but I’m not the person who is going to put you on a diet. For example, I have a client who is diabetic and she has been with me for a year and a half, I have never gotten into the field of her nutrition because I have no experience as a diabetes patient and I am not a doctor to follow her diet, but I do know perfectly well that muscle mass is going to help her control that diabetes and it is very important that she understands that the benefits go far beyond the aesthetic.
And is it difficult to understand the benefits of strength training in health?
Strength training is what you have to sell because it is what will preserve your tissues, fight fat, improve joints, alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis,… people are becoming more and more aware. Here in my gym everything revolves around strength, it’s not that I don’t believe in the efficacy of other things, but I defend that the overall benefit of strength training is insurmountable and it is no longer just a matter of beliefs, there is
evidence that supports it.
There are people who walk through the door asking if we do zumba and we don’t teach those classes here. If you really like zumba and want to zumba, join zumba because it’s more important that you do something you love and get moving. Even so, some people tell me, ‘OK, but I want to try.’ In these cases I am aware that I have an opportunity to make them fall in love, to get them hooked on strength training, so I want that first experience to be positive and that is my entire purpose.
I used to train in a low-cost gym where a lot of people trained, one day I asked the manager how many members they had and he told me six hundred, although many didn’t go, and it’s a good thing because in that case I don’t know where we would have gone. I was clear from the first moment that if I put together something I wanted ten percent of those people to be able to give them a little more attention, to improve their real quality of life. I have clients of all ages, almost all of them over twenty, and mostly people in their fifties or sixties. I explain to them that they are entering a phase in which maintaining their muscle mass is a matter of health because if you don’t take care of it, it will decline. Getting old we are all going to get old, but not with the same quality of life.
Do you think that your clientele gives a lot of importance to you being a world champion in bodybuilding?
Until last year I had not put any title of mine or anything in my center. When someone tells me how many titles I have, I always tell them the same thing. Are you here for my titles or for the way I treat you? They come because they tell me that they learn, because they gain confidence and then feel better… mission accomplished. I urge my clients to forget about physique and focus on improving their strength by establishing my own stats. I repeat different tests over time and thus establish an environment in which to improve, with which they see that they are improving and that feeling of boredom associated with being in a gym just lifting weights does not appear, but that does exist. to understand that a part of bodybuilding is boring.
Don’t you think that many people who start abuse isolated work? Having been living a sedentary life for a long time and planting yourself in a gym to do biceps curls may not be the most efficient thing to do. What do you think about it?
When someone starts I ask how many days they are going to train, I usually identify when a client is interested in coming daily or only three days a week. When someone tells me that they want to come every day but they don’t have any experience, I tell them ok, but let them come for a while. If you have enough experience then I recommend that you come for three days to train the large muscle areas. To give you an idea, specific biceps work is something that I consider accessory. I insist on people working the large muscle groups and only at the end something extra.
I know my arms are strong if I do a row or a weight
dead heavy. Those arms are strong, another issue is how they look. What are you more interested in knowing that you are strong, or that you are in shape, or just appear so because of your appearance? I have clients that even before launching into a burpee I ask them to simply get down to the ground and get up however they can, repeating it a few times I ask them if they have realized how demanding something so simple can be.
The training has to produce a stimulus, what cannot be done is to stop training when we start to feel that stimulus, you have to make an effort and I try to get people into a dynamic in which they understand that this effort will give them many benefits. And that it will be worth it.