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Interview with IFBB Pro Abbas Khatami

Abbas Khatami

Back in 2010 at the IFBB North American Championships, one of my very own bodybuilding gurus and good friend, Abbas Khatami earned his pro card by taking first place in the Super Heavyweight division.   It was an accolade well earned and the sky appears to be the limit for Abbas.  Abbas has been one of my mentors and avatars over the years.  I remember meeting him in Orange County, CA years ago and simply could not believe how massive he was.  We just called him, “The Tank”.  Since obtaining his pro card though, he’s been active on the pro circuit ever since and now we’re excited to have the opportunity to catch up with him for this Body Spartan exclusive interview.

1.  Since the North American Championships in 2010, what’s been your motivation for the pro circuit and how has your training intensified since then?

First year, my motivation was to just come in and just crack the top ten at any pro show.  I’ve had two bad peaks in my career.  The Phoenix Pro was one and the other was the Tijuana Pro.  I placed 8th and 9th and both shows had about 25 to 30 guys.

People actually think that I quit the circuit but that’s not the case. A very close friend of mine who pushed me to get my pro card passed away at a show in California and it sent me into a downward spiral.  I didn’t have any sponsorships at the time and the whole event was life altering and made me doubt what I was doing. 

When I finally got my weight up to around 270lbs in 2012 I was still under a lot of stress and my chest was getting really tight. I went to the doctor they diagnosed me with a blood clot in my lungs. The medication they gave me to treat the blood clots gave me intense panic attacks and sent me further into this downward spiral. The whole thing went on for about 5 months until I did another MRI with another specialist and they found that there actually were no blood clots.  I flew out to my specialist on the East Coast in May and they determined that I was misdiagnosed and I was able to get off of all of the medication and start training again.  I’ve been hitting it hard ever since I was cleared.

 2. Can you walk us through a daily routine for an IFBB pro such as yourself (from waking up to going to sleep)?

First thing in the morning that happens is I get my coffee. I gotta have my coffee. After that I go do cardio and come back right away and cook.  Directly following that meal I usually train a few clients as well.  Every two and a half hours I have to eat and I don’t think people realize how many dishes there are when you cook as much as I do.  So I have to wash all the dishes too. So in between that short 2.5 hour time frame I take care of all of my daily business. Things like running errands, getting product out for my new business, Persian Muscle, shopping, and updating diets for my clients.  I literally plan my day in 2.5 hour increments. I hit the gym about 5pm usually.

I have a few clients in the evenings for personal training too.  Then I’m back home by 9 O’clock and I still have meals to cook and dishes to do.  There are so many dishes from all the meals I have to cook and eat; it’s unreal and overwhelming sometimes.

3. You were a beta-tester for a brand new supplement from Gaspari called Super Pump 3.0.  How did you come across that opportunity? What’s it like to be a beta-tester for a brand new supplement?

A friend of mine, who was actually doing my social media management, was also working for Gaspari and hooked it up. It was a fun opportunity and a great product.

4. You’ve been featured in major bodybuilding publications such as Iron Man Magazine, how does it feel to be chosen for such a well known publication with a massive consumer and reader base?

It was a dream of mine since a kid.  I used to look at the muscle mags and always thought it would be a dream to be in a magazine.  When I came to California in 1997 I spoke with a photographer who ultimately suggested I diet down for the shoot. It was a great opportunity and the shoot and article were very successful.

Abbas Khatami Iron Man Magazine

Abbas-Khatami-Bodybuilder

5. What’s your macro nutrient ratio like both off season and on season?

So my last off season I was getting 9 oz of protein per meal, 300 grams of carbs a day, and  60 grams of fat a day.

For this last on-season I was getting 450 grams protein daily, fats are between 90-100 grams daily, and I started with carbs at 300 and dropped to 250 going into the show.

6. In the 2014 IFBB Australian Pro competition, you went head to head against guys that have previously competed and placed in the Mr. Olympia competition such as Branch Warren & Shawn Rhoden.  What was the vibe like back stage with these long term pros? As a rising star on the bodybuilding scene, were you at all intimidated?

Well, as I mentioned earlier I was only cleared of the misdiagnosed blood clot in May 2013. I was able to get my weight up to 260-265lbs but was I was still scared. That whole medical thing really messed with my head.  My head wasn’t really in the right place because I was scared and I took the sodium out too soon and flattened out right at contest time.

As far as being up against Mr. Olympia vets, yeah I was a little nervous but at the same time it was a good feeling because I was going up against some of the best guys in the world.  I thought if I could hold my own there, even looking the way I looked – which was not my best, then it’s a very good indication of what I could do in the near future. If you look at the pictures from the event you can see I purposely stood next to Shawn because I’d beaten him in the past and thought that was a good place to be.  I don’t take it as a negative at all and am always looking for the positive aspect of these things.

7. How did you get into bodybuilding and at what point in your life did you decide to pursue it as a professional career?

 I started wrestling in 8th grade and was lifting hard in between seasons.  I kept getting stronger every season and as a sophomore I was beating senior guys in my same weight class.  After I graduated high school I did my first show I when I was 19 years old.  My buddy was doing a show and I decided to do one as well. The rest is history.

8. Who were the veterans in the sport that inspired you to get into bodybuilding?

 Kevin Levrone and Nassar El Sonbaty.

 9. Have there been any major changes to your training program lately that you feel have helped you break through plateaus?

Yeah – my chest has always been a weak area because I’m so wide. I decided to go a little lighter but squeeze my chest muscles more during my last season of training.  I found out that I was activating more muscle fibers and I was able to bring my chest up to the best it’s ever been.

Now getting ready for my next show, I’m going very heavy once a week for 9 or 10 sets, with 5 second negatives, pause reps, and low reps.  So the other days, I do supersets and high reps with a lot of volume.  I’ve noticed a huge difference only in a few weeks and I’m excited to see the end results for this next show.

Abbas Khatami won his IFBB Pro card in 2010

10. What’s the next contest we can look forward to seeing you in?

 Chicago Pro, July 4th

 11. I’ve always known you to be a business man.  Do you have any projects or ventures your working on that we can look forward to in the near future?

I do. It’s called Persian Muscle.  It’s a fitness lifestyle website that encompasses fitness training advice, personal training, contest preparation, spray tan, nutrition, and my own clothing line.  The site is currently being built but we have a landing page up where anyone interested can sign up for pre-launch discounts.  I’d encourage anyone who’s a fitness enthusiast to sign up. We’ve got a lot of incredible things coming at the launch of the site in just a few months.  The website address is:

www.persianmuscle.com

12. Do you have any advice for our avid readers and fitness enthusiasts here on Body Spartan?

Everything in life happens for a reason.  If you want to get into the fitness industry you’d better be down for a lot of hard work and a little in return.  If this is the career you want to pursue do it because you love it and not for the money.

 

A huge thank you to Abbas Khatami for taking the time out of his schedule to provide the Body Spartan readers with this fantastic interview and insight into the world of a professional body builder!

 

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