The superstar’s advice on recovery and success makes a lot of sense.
To start a bodybuilding dynasty, an athlete must be meticulous about every aspect of their training. As the reigning four-time Classic Physique Olympic Champion (2019-2022), Chris Bumstead undoubtedly set his specific process down to the tee. As the athlete looks to add to his trophy case at the Mr. Olympia in November, he recently clarified an underestimated aspect of his preparation – his recovery.
On July 10, 2023, YouTuber Chris Williamson shared an in-depth, more than two-hour interview with Bumstead on his channel. The discussion covered a wide range of topics but mainly focused on as Bumstead’s all-important recovery process falters throughout the calendar year. In the video below, Bumstead explains part of his regular morning routine from 45:36, his thoughts on proper rest from 1:00:32, and his “champion mentality” from 19:18.
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Although Bumstead has a busy schedule that comes with being a prolific bodybuilder, he claims he tries to keep a few constants in his overall morning routine. For one, cardio and breathing exercises seem to take center stage year-round. While Bumstead said he would make slight adjustments here and there, consistency is key for an athlete looking to retain his Classic Physique throne.
A universal diet seems to serve him well.
“Preparation is evolving, I’m very flexible,” explained Bumstead. My routines depend on the season, it’s just where I feel natural. I just sort of get into that state…but in preparation I wake up in the morning and I usually do my breathing exercises because I’m drawn into it. At first I tried to do it for mental health reasons and now it’s just to oxygenate my body before waking up to cardio. After that I usually go to the sauna, cold bath or a combination of both. Then the cardio will be higher at that point and then I’ll take a shower and eat.”
When it comes to optimizing his training and preparing his body for peak performance, Bumstead says he doesn’t reinvent the wheel. For the athlete, maximizing performance is about getting enough and proper sleep regardless of possible changes in circadian rhythms.
“Sleep is probably the most important thing,” Bumstead explained. “Whether it’s about brain health, aging, or just high performance, sleep is one of the most important aspects that anyone can have. You lose every bit of sleep you are used to and your body just suffers more than you can imagine.”
Bumstead also clarified that it’s important to understand personal training limits.
At a certain point, hitting the gym at 100 mph all week can lead to lower yields. According to Bumstead, giving the body adequate rest and time off from dumbbell and barbell work is just as important as regular exercise.
“At one point in my career, when I was 21, I was getting more and more injuries, almost like adrenal fatigue. I exercised three hours a day, six to seven days a week,” Bumstead said. “I felt like I had to turn it back a little… I noticed that I actually made more progress and felt better with the volume down. Giving myself more time to recover has made me stronger.”
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In addition to trying to win at all costs, Bumstead offered sound advice on success that could transcend the bodybuilding realm. According to the superstar, he has become a winner by wanting to triumph and accepting that sometimes circumstances aren’t always ideal. Sometimes he might be having a bad day or not feeling well.
In these moments, he still prefers to relax and work hard.
That mentality of staying focused against the odds could really set Bumstead apart from his peers.
“…It’s accepting these fears and doubts that I have and everything that’s going through my head, but still not giving up and not giving up on myself,” Bumstead said. “No matter how hard the time is or what I’m going through, I will still do the same work regardless of how I feel. That’s a champion mentality.”
Featured image: @cbum on Instagram