Sep 25

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Darek Peszt – Always-Strive-To-Get-Stronger

Age: 29
Weight:  Contest Weight 191lbs; Off-season: 220lbs
Height: 6’1″
Chest size: 50″
Waist size: 31″
Bicep size: 17″
Calves size: 17″
Thighs size:  25″


My routine changes constantly simply for the sake of adding variety and based on where I think I need the most work.  I typically work out 5 times a week and tend to switch up between a 5 day split and a 4 day split.  When doing a 4 day split I will typically double up on a muscle group that I think is a weak point on the 5th day.  Lately I’ve incorporating a lot of drop sets into my routine as it lets me use heavy weight for the first set and then further exhaust the muscle and get a massive pump with the lighter, drop set with a lower weight.

My typical 4 day split looks something like this;

Day 1: Chest and Biceps

  • Flat Bench Press  (4-5 sets of 2-15 reps; usually following each set after warm up with a drop set)
  • Incline Bench Press  (4 sets of 6-12)
  • Dumbbell Flies (4 sets of 8-12)
  • Dumbbell Pullovers (4 sets of 8-10)
  • Standing EZ-Bar curls (4 sets of 5-10) super-setted with straight barbell curls with a lower weight
  • Concentration Curls (4 sets of 8-10 per arm)
  • Straight barbell preacher curls (4 sets of 6-10)

Day 2: Back

  • Deadlifts (5 sets of 1-15)
  • Bent over Rows (4 sets of 5-10)
  • Wide grip Pull downs (4 sets of 6-12)
  • Dumbbell Shrugs while sitting on a bench (4 sets of 8-10)
  • T-Bar Rows (4 sets of 5-12)
  • Close Grip Pull downs (4 sets of 5-12)
  • Behind the back barbell shrugs ( 4 sets of 8-12)

Day 3: Shoulders and triceps

  • Barbell Shoulder press (4-5 sets of 6-12 often with drop sets like with chest)
  • Arnold Presses (4 sets of 8-12)
  • Bent over lateral raises (for REAR DELTS!  4 sets of 8-12)
  • Dumbbell lateral raises (usually sitting down, one arm at a time; 4 sets of 8-12)
  • Front Raises (4-5 sets of 6-12)
  • Barbell Triceps Extension (4 sets of 8-12)
  • Overhead single dumbbell triceps extension (4 sets of 5-12)
  • Dips (4 sets of 8-12)

Day 4: Legs (also known as the bane of my existence)

  • Leg Extensions (4 sets of 10-15; this is to warm up)
  • Squats (4-5 sets of 5-12; I will usually drop set the very last set)
  • Leg Press (4 sets of 5-12)
  • Leg Curls (4 sets of 8-12)
  • Hack Squats (4-5 sets of 5-12)
  • Calf Raises (4-5 sets of 8-12)

A 5 day split is very similar but arms are worked out on their own day.  I take the two rest days whenever it fits my schedule or if I’m too tired to work out on a particular day.  Sometimes Monday is off, sometimes Wednesday is off, etc.  I will do a couple exercises for abs on top of this a couple of times a week at the end.  Also, I typically don’t do any cardio!


My diet is much different when I’m dieting down versus trying to put on mass.  I am an ectomorph so gaining weight has always been a struggle for me.  When not dieting I basically try to stuff my face at all times as much as possible while still eating relatively clean and high protein but I do not keep track of my macros or count calories when bulking.  When cutting I am EXTREMELY strict and I weigh all my food and count all my calories.

My last cut for a contest was 13 weeks long at 3300 calories a day, which is quite high for most people.  My carbs were very low (around 120-150 grams), protein fairly high (250 grams+), and the rest was fat.  I was losing 2lbs a week consistently on this diet.  Most of my carbs were consumed for breakfast and a meal around 6:00 pm which is my last meal before working out about 2 hours later.   When I get very lean I have a refeed day when I feel need one which is typically once every 4 days.  This is NOT a cheat day; it simply involves throwing in an extra 100g of carbs that day to give your energy reserves a boost and to keep your metabolism going.

While I won’t give you an exact meal breakdown because it varies from day to day the calories would be made up for foods such as:

  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Chicken breast
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Avocado
  • Oats
  • Spinach
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Calamari


I would typically have a protein shake in the morning but this would be the ONLY shake for the day.  I do not drink more than one protein shake a day when I’m cutting weight (and even when I’m bulking I only drink more than one occasionally out of sheer laziness).  If you eat well enough throughout the day and consume enough protein I do not see a need to further supplement it with more protein in the form of shakes.

When and why did you get started?

I started lifting when I was 16, almost 17 years old which was back around December 1998.  So I’ve been at this for a very very long time.  I was extremely skinny at 6’1” and barely 145lbs when I started.  I guess I got tired of being weak and getting made fun of for my skinniness and wanted to make a change.  As far as competing, I only started in 2010.  I always thought that competing was only for the “enhanced” until my sister dragged me out to see my first natural bodybuilding show; IDFA Novice Classic in May 2009.  I looked at the guys on stage and thought to myself “I can take these guys”.  I came back a year later to the same show and I did just taht.  I took 1st place in my weight class (heavy weight).

Achievements so far?

I’ve competed 3 times so far.  Each time was with the IDFA.  I took 1st in my weight class at my very first show at the Novice level and then 4th and 3rd at my last two shows at the Open level.  I’m usually the tallest guy on stage whenever I compete which pretty much puts me against some of the biggest guys and I’m naturally a small guy so I think I’ve done pretty well all things considered.

What would be your biggest dream to be able to achieve?

Right now I’d like to get my Pro Card in a top tier natural organization, which I feel right now in Canada is the IDFA.  I guess the ultimate dream would be to become the top guy in the organization and go on to win something like the Cronus which is international.

Do you ever struggle to stick to your diet and eat lots of junk food?

I honestly don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  I actually enjoy the routine of eating healthy and I couldn’t give a damn about eating chips or ice cream.  My biggest problem is laziness and having to take the time to cook every meal.  When I get lazy I eat out a lot.  I still order something relatively healthy (Sushi, A Sub, etc.) but it’s not quite as clean as I should be eating sometimes and it can get expensive.

Will you always strive to get stronger or at some point just try to maintain?

Absolutely!  The day I stop trying to get bigger and better is the day I give up lifting.  To quote the great Arnold;

“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”

This hunger for progress is what keeps the fires burning when I’m at the gym and it will never be satisfied.

Allot of us out there love a good drink of alcohol from time to time, do you ever drink, if so how often?

I generally do NOT drink when I’m preparing for a contest but in the offseason YES, I do drink, at times A LOT!  While I rarely drink at home during the week I will once in a while go out with friends and have a bender of a night and get completely trashed!  There are times where this will happen every weekend for a month and then periods where I don’t touch alcohol for two to three months.  I also smoke cigars pretty regularly.  I’m sure all this is detrimental to my bodybuilding goals but I like keeping a balance in life and while I make a lot of sacrifices for bodybuilding, I refuse to let it dictate completely what I can and cannot do.  You only live once!  I’m actually thinking about getting more ink done which is something that seems to be somewhat looked down on in the bodybuilding community but I don’t really care.

If you could pick only one supplement what would it be? (Not protein as you can get that from foods easily)

Probably a good multivitamin would be my number one pick.  There is really absolutely NOTHING else that I would consider absolutely essential if your diet is in check. I do enjoy taking a pre-workout as well but not before every workout as that could cause me to build up a tolerance to stimulants.

Your favourite food?


If you could pick only 3 different body parts to put on your body from 3 famous people, what would they be and why?

Ulysses Jr’s Abs, Tom Platz’s legs, Greg Valentino’s arms.

Yes, that last one was a joke.

Who do you look up to these days and why?

Ulysses Jr.

He has, what I would basically consider, the perfect physique and is the pinnacle of what I believe is achievable naturally.

Layne Norton

He is practically a contest prep encyclopaedia, has a work ethic comparable to none and he has reached the top tier of natural bodybuilding with the less than perfect genetics that nature has given him.  He’s proof that there really is no excuses.

Dickens Lambert

Top natural bodybuilder in Canada as far as I’m concerned.  The first time I saw him on stage my concept of what is achievable flew out the window.

Kane Sumabat

Look at him!  What more can I say.  Plus, he’s a funny dude and he’s from Toronto.

Your favourite quote?

See the Arnold quote I mentioned earlier.

Your top 3 tips to someone that might be just starting out bodybuilding?

  1.  Be consistent!  If you can’t make it to the gym 3 times a week, don’t even bother.
  2. Be patient!  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Don’t give up because you’ve worked out for 3 months and aren’t seeing the results that you were expecting.  Last year I had one of the best years of my training “career”.  I trained my ass off for about 14 months and I gained about 7lbs of lean body mass total!
  3. Diet, diet, and more diet!  If you’re not eating the right things outside of the gym than you are wasting your time in the gym.

What is your favourite motivation picture online and why?


Pretty much competing summarised in a single quote and picture.

Words quoted from the picture:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points
out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer
of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and
blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short
again and again, because there is no effort without
error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to
do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great
devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who
at the best knows in the end the triumph of high
achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least
fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never
be with those cold and timid souls who neither know
victory not defeat.”

Link to bigger picture

Thoughts on Steroids?

Not for me, at least for the time being but I respect anyone that chooses to take them as long as they are honest about it.  Let’s face it, if you want to be IFBB Pro size this is the route you need to take.  I am very competitive though and feel the need to push the envelope.  If I ever started dabbling in steroids I would have to take it far, very far!  That would not only get very expensive but also very unhealthy.  I think bodybuilding naturally is competition in its purest form because at an untested contest on top of genetics, work ethic, etc. you also have to factor in who has the most money/sponsorships for the most steroids into the equation.  The richest guy having the best chances?  How is this fair?  No thanks.



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