Written by Craig Titus
25 April 2007
Craig, many articles have addressed the issues of sets and reps, but I haven't found one that talks about intensity. Whether it's using the same weight or increasing the weight while decreasing the number of reps, the author fails to describe the necessary level of intensity. Should each set be taken to complete muscular failure? Or should a fixed number of reps be performed, even when more reps are possible? And what about warm-ups? I'm completely lost.

A fine question, indeed. I train very, very intensely. I don't go by the traditional "catch your breath between sets" theory. I take very little rest from set to set. I consistently have a target rep range. Now, that may be eight to 12 or 12 to 20. Whatever it may be, I find I get stronger after the eighth rep. I don't prescribe muscular failure on every set. Just reach your target rep range and make sure you're pushing harder and stronger after at least eight reps.

The best method is to pyramid. Pyramiding correctly takes years of practice; it's total experience. You have to know your limitations. For example, start with 20 reps for your warm-up. Then do eight reps on the first set. On each subsequent set, increase the weight while making sure you get all the reps. You should struggle around your target range on each and every set. If you hit the ceiling before that, you're using too much weight.

Hey, Craig, you improve every time I see you. I've become a fan of your physique and your determination. You're a tremendous inspiration. Plus, your wife is hot. Lucky bastard! On to my question. Have you ever trained any Mixed Martial Arts fighters in bodybuilding? If so, how do you structure their routines? And by the way, don't even listen to people who talk shit about you. Guys like Phil Baroni need to mouth off cuz it's all they can do!

No, I've never trained those guys. It would be pretty basic, though. For starters, I'd arrange their training based on their weight class. That would give me their protein requirements. Next, I wouldn't want them to carry too much muscle mass. You don't want to get pumped up and wreak havoc on your agility and limberness during a fight. You need to stay loose during the match. I'd favor high-intensity and high-rep sets.

The goal is density. I'd work toward fat-free muscle and lots of red fiber strength for endurance. I definitely wouldn't create a program that would interfere with their skills training. Although strength is crucial, endurance is a far bigger factor for fighters.
As for Phil Baroni? He's just one pipsqueak in a long line of guys talking shit about me. It doesn't faze me at all. I find it pretty funny. It's good comic relief for the day.

Craig, what the hell's up with you and Chad Nicholls? I heard you guys were on the outs.
Where did that come from? No, Chad and I are not on the outs. We speak a couple of times a week. Yes, there were a few mistakes made prior to the GNC that caused me to flatten out. Trust me. That will never happen again. What a bitter lesson to learn. But I take 100 percent responsibility for all my mistakes. Whether Chad or somebody else tells me to do something, at the end of the day, I'm the one doing it. Chad and I are still friends. We worked together and everything's fine.

The trial and error portion of my career is over. I've been in the game long enough to know what works. There will be no more mistakes during the last few days before the show. 2005 will see me in shape every single time I step onstage.

I'm not pumping sunshine up your ass like all the rest, but honestly, you are my favorite bodybuilder. I've been training for three years. I'm 22 years old, stand 5-9 and weigh 168 pounds at 10 percent body fat. My goal is 190 pounds at five percent body fat. I pack my lunch five days a week.

Here's what I have:
2 chicken breasts
1 banana
low-fat string cheese
fiber cereal
fat-free yogurt
protein shake
brown rice
sushi rolls

My job doesn't allow for a full lunch. I end up snacking on bites here and there all through the day. I never get to eat a full portion at one sitting. On my off days, I eat whatever I want. It's usually high carbs and protein with a few beers thrown in for good measure. Is this a diet plan for packing on muscle? I sure hope so, because it's all I can manage at the moment.

First of all, you named about 10 different items. I have no clue how or when you're eating these fats, proteins and carbs. All I can advise is that you have the right number of grams of protein, carbs and fats with each meal so it's evenly proportioned.

Put the food in Tupperware containers so each one constitutes a meal. Packing it all together and grazing throughout the day is not the way to go. You have no gauge for the nutrients you're taking in at each time. You're better off packing four separate meals with exact increments of protein, carbs and fat. For mass, I suggest 50 to 80 grams of protein per meal. Carbs would be around 100 grams per meal. Fats should be around 20 to 30 grams per meal. Try adding a few protein shakes to your diet. You could even put the protein powder in the yogurt. It's fast and easy. This way you know exactly what you're getting.

Losing body fat and gaining muscle takes time. It will take several months of training and proper nutrition. You need to be disciplined and prepare in advance. The average gain for pro bodybuilders is about six to 10 pounds per year. This is for guys who live and breathe bodybuilding- the professionals. So, be patient and let it happen.

Why can't you stay out of trouble? I just heard you, Milos Sarcev and Dennis James were indicted on international drug ring charges. What the hell, Craig? I thought you were done with that shit? Please say it isn't so. I hope I'm completely wrong on this.

Yes and no. Dennis and Milos got served at the Olympia. I wasn't involved in any way, shape or form. Unfortunately, every time someone gets busted, my name gets thrown in the mix. It's been almost 10 years since that happened to me. Leave it in the past.

I feel for both those guys. It's a sad, sad situation. I wish them all the best. It's taxing on the nerves to deal with such stress. I hope they come out on top.

I have two questions. In the December, 2004 issue, you answered a question titled "Show Me the Mass." It looked like a great training split. I'm in the same boat as the guy who wrote it. However, I'm real confused about rotating the fifth day. Which muscle groups do I rotate and how? Also, if I were able to get all my protein in three meals, should I just eat carbs and fats for the rest of the day?

Stuffing all your protein into three meals instead of six is not going to help you. Your body won't be able to assimilate such large quantities. You need even portions throughout the day. Also, remember that amino acids don't stay in your bloodstream. You need to keep the supply constant. That's another reason to have six meals instead of three.

Here's the training split I've been using for years. It's by far the best one I've ever done. Train the whole body over four days. Here's how it looks.
1st Grouping 2nd Grouping 3rd Grouping 4th Grouping
chest/biceps back and traps delts/triceps quads/hams/calves
Now here's how the split works. Wednesday and Sunday are rest days. Here's how the week will look:
Mon Tue Thur Fri Sat
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 1

The following week:
Mon Tue Thur Fri Sat
Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 1 Group 2

It's in a constant rotation. The following week you'll train a different group of body parts twice in one week. To visualize, try writing it on paper. When you see the questions and answers in Titus Talks, just write out a routine, including any rotations, on paper over a month-long period. This will help you understand how everything works from a detailed perspective.

Yo Craig! This is your biggest fan, The Ripper. Wassup with your chest, dude? I thought you had an operation to remove that little flap of skin under your pec. You'd better get a refund because it's still there, brother. It looks like a little pussy flap. It must mess with your mind knowing that no matter how hard you diet and do cardio, your little pussy flap will always be there. You'd better get that shit handled.

Wassup, Ripper! I appreciate your e-mail. Keep my name going. Always good to hear from you. That flap you're referring to is indeed a skin flap that appears whenever I'm low on carbs and glycogen. When I'm carbed up, my muscles push against the skin so it disappears. At the Arnold and the Ironman, I was too depleted.

It's not a huge concern. I do appreciate your vote of confidence and your fabulous e-mail, my friend. Your vocabulary is immense. It sounds like you graduated from a top school. Your parents obviously did a great job of raising you.

Craig, I want a yes or a no: Can the average bodybuilder ever look like a pro bodybuilder?
Yeah, it's possible. Here's the real question: Could any Joe Shmo look like a pro bodybuilder if he were willing to put the next 15 years of his life into it? He'll never know unless he tries.

That's the hardest thing about bodybuilding. You never know until it's been 10 or 15 years. The majority probably can, especially if you start out with a small waist. If you have a small waist, you are one step ahead of the game. So get stepping!

1st Ronnie Coleman
The Olympia went just the way I thought it would. I knew Ronnie would smash everybody. I can't even call them the competition because he has no competition; no one's even in the same league. It's gonna be like that until he hangs up the posing trunks. The rest of the gang is better off scuffling for second.

2nd Jay Cutler
I knew Jay would take second or third, at worst. Jay was huge, round and full. I had him behind Dexter. Jay was fucking awesome, but Dexter was more complete and totally peeled. He had Jay's number on detail from front to back and side to side.

3rd Gustavo Badell
I was pretty shocked to see Gustavo in the top three. Even in the top four. Even in the top 10 for that matter! But at the same time, I was really happy for him. This guy has worked really hard to make tons of improvements and they definitely rewarded him for it.

4th Dexter Jackson
Dexter was just incredible. The guy looked fucking unreal. He should have been in second. He put on some new muscle and came in harder than diamonds. This was a crime.

5th Markus Ruhl
Markus is a freak. I knew it was coming when I saw him onstage. He was top five all the way. His size is scary. He's a monster.

6th Gunter Schlierkamp
I didn't have him anywhere near the top six. I knew it would still happen though. We all knew it. They love Gunter.

7th Chris Cormier
It just tore my heart out to see him in that kind of condition. This guy is top three in any show he enters. He's easily one of the best in the world. He was over-dieted. Next to Ronnie, he's got the best genetics onstage. It's very frustrating to see all that potential go untapped. I hope he gets his conditioning together and shows the world the Chris we've been waiting for.

9th Victor Martinez
He looked very good. Top 10 in the Olympia is what most of us dream about and he did it early in his career; more power to him.

10th Darrem Charles
I was pissed off about Darrem Charles. He should have been much, much higher. How can they do that to a guy who's in such fantastic shape? It makes me fume.

18th Richard Jones
I predicted it. Richard's got a long way to go. He's a really good-looking kid and I think the pubic was enamored with his looks instead of his physique. He was picked for a top-six spot all along. As good as Richard Jones is gonna be in the future, he placed exactly where he belonged on that day.

My heart goes out to Kelly Ryan because she is undoubtedly the Fitness Olympia champion. What an injustice. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Her physique was spot-on perfect. Her routine was a-fucking-mazing! Everybody knows she's the best there is. She's not gonna look like a man to place higher. This will not happen. Not in my house, not in her house, not in any Titus or Ryan house. When they announced Kelly Ryan for third, there wasn't a sound in the place. It was utter disbelief. Jaws dropped. It was just unbelievable. You could see it on every single face.

She's been taking second place five years in a row. Now she's third? What kind of sense does that make? Kelly didn't get worse, she got better. I've never seen my wife upset from a placing. This one really took something out of her. The whole thing was foul.

I think AMI did an awesome job. They were great. I definitely think something needs to be done about the message they're sending to professional fitness, though. Even Dexter was asking about Kelly taking third. Every professional in the show voiced their disbelief.

The after-party was absolutely phenomenal! It was the best of the best.
We packed the place; everybody was there. I'm so appreciative of all the sponsors. Muscular Development, Pinnacle and GNC were my three mainline sponsors. I'm equally appreciative of all my underlying sponsors, too.

Everybody had a blast. Bodybuilding.com, Phat Muscle, Obusforme just to name a few. I'll name all of them on my website. Everybody was there and it was the best party to date. I had Jenny Lynn, Adela Friedmansky, Kelly Ryan and Starling Steel as my hosts. They greeted everybody. It was wall-to-wall celebrities. The whole industry was there. Even King Kamali and his wife Barbara came.

The VH1 Vince Neil Remaking show previews will start in December. The actual show will be in January. It's gonna be VH1's highest promoted show next year. Kelly and I are really excited. Everybody needs to check it out. He looks like the Vince of old. I'm proud of what we were able to do with Vince and have it filmed in our home gym by VH1. Vince looks fantastic!

The Ironman. I'm getting a little tired of talking about what I'm going to look like and then disappointing my fans. It's back to the old formula. Craig Titus will be ready two weeks out. I'll carry that conditioning into the show. Nothing drastic at the end.

The days of being inconsistent are over. I can't do it any more. It's really aggravating and frustrating. It's cost me time and money. I'm sick of disappointing my friends, my family and my fans. Look for a very conditioned athlete at the Ironman. Look for the real Craig Titus.