- So I hear you are going to compete at the 2006 Ironman Pro in Pasadena?
Yes, I am. I am really excited about it too. I am also going to compete at the Arnold.
- Why the Ironman and the Arnold?
The Ironman is one of my favorite pro shows because of the fans. My family, friends and fans can always go to that show. It is right here in Los Angeles, and I live in Phoenix, and I get a ton of support going into that show, plus it is the start of the year for me so I am fresh, especially after the couple of injuries that I had, I am anxious to get back on stage, and that it the best show for me to compete in. I want to come back to this show and make a statement. And then jump into the Arnold with a lot of momentum on my side. I'm dedicating the show to my father
- Make a statement? What kind of statements?
That I am here to win and that I am ready to win. Even though I personally thought I should of won last year at the Ironman. Not just myself, but when your peers call you and tell you that you should of won that show, that is what I give respect to. I also had a lot of the media tell me I should have won that show, but I don't sit back and think "Oh, I should of won". I don't live on that, but it is good to hear. It just motivates me for the next show. The reason I said that I am going to make a statement is because no one has seen me for a year. When you haven't competed for a year, you want to come back and give them something really to think about going into the Arnold, so they see an improved physique and it is fresh on their mind. The guys that just did the Olympia are fresh on people's minds because they just saw them.
- So last year at the Ironman, you thought you were better than Gutavo and Priest?
Yes, I personally thought I was. You don't know while you are on stage. All you are doing is competing and battling, but after reflecting and looking at some pictures, not to take anything away from them, but they weren't at their best, and I was, so I thought I deserved that win. I don't harp on it, it had nothing to do with them. The judges made their decisions, and that is how it goes in this sport, you just have to live with it. You just try and improve the next time.
- You mentioned that the Ironman show will be dedicated to you father?
My father, John, in May 2005, was stricken with pancreatic cancer. It was a tough time for me, as I was going through my own problems with my calf injury and hernia, and that just makes you wake up to the reality of life, how short it can be, when you see someone you respect and love who is dear to your heart, go through something so traumatic, it changes your priorities tremendously. Seeing my father battle back has given me a different motivation to compete, and with a new intensity and a new level of appreciation of life. I look forward to showing him that I am following in his footsteps on his determination to beat the odds by bringing an improved Troy to the stage…with my own personal goal of winning the Ironman! My father is still in therapy right now and plans to come to the show to support me.
- How do you personally feel?
I feel better than I have ever felt preparing for a competition. Last year, I felt really good going into the Ironman, but I think this year is even better because my body is well rested and I have more quality muscle with another year of training behind me.
- Did you do anything differently this year?
Not too much, really - I think it was the time off. I just rested my body last year. With my training, I did do some different things. I analyzed my physique from last year's contests. I was pleased on what I brought to the stage, but I thought there were things that I could have improved upon to balance it out a little more symmetrically. For instance, I emphasized on triceps, upper back, traps and hamstrings.
- How much do you weigh at the moment.
Right now, I am 236 pounds. I plan on coming in to the Ironman at around 225-227.
- You said you are doing some different things in your training? How?
I am doing more super setting, especially now, towards the end. Throughout the year, I trained differently in the sense of adding a couple of things to try to work on those problems areas as we just discussed. I did a lot more smith machines rows for my upper back. Instead of pulling traditionally towards your sternum, I pulled it up a little bit higher towards my chest. I did more isolation moves.
- How many weeks did you start training for the Ironman this time?
Actually, this time we started 20 weeks out for the prep. For Christmas dinner, I ate turkey and collard greens, which is a green leafy vegetable that is like spinach, but taste much better to me, and of course, no dessert
- Is the diet the same?
For the precontest, we changed it up a little bit this time. I am working with Chris Aceto again this year and one thing I love about Chris is that he doesn't have one set plan on what the diet will be. It can change from day to day, based on my specific body and how it is reacting to the diet. For instance, last year I did very little cardio and you saw how conditioned I was at the Ironman. However, this time, we are pushing the cardio a little more, because I had some time off in the fall and my body needed it. Right now, I am able to maintain my muscle and gradually get myself sharper and sharper by the week.
- Are you doing a presentation at the Ironman FitExpo?
Yes, the day after, I will be doing my posing routine for the audience at the expo. I am not like Melvin Anthony who is extremely creative and innovative with posing, but I care a lot about my posing, and do try to do a routine that the crowd can appreciate and that really accentuates my physique to the best of my abilities. I like to do more artistic poses that show my physique at its best. I am not going to dance for you or anything like that.
- You mentioned you had some injuries? What injuries did you have?
I had a calf injury and a hernia. That is why I didn't do the Olympia, because of my calf injury which also kept me out of training for three months. Within a very short time of that is when my father was diagnosed with cancer and at that point in my life, bodybuilding was not the most important thing in the world to me. So, with everything that was going on, I had to focus on me and my family.
- Speaking of family, let's got some info on you. What is your full name? Are you married? Where do you live? Where were you born?
My name is Troy William Alves. I am married to Tara. I live in Phoenix, and I have been here since I was nine. I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
- Any kids?
Yes, I have a 19 year old daughter named Devinie.
- A 19 year old daughter? Is she cute?
Yes, she is a very pretty girl. She just started college and just moved out to get her own apartment, so this should be an interesting time. She typically stays away from the competitions, but was there when I got my pro card and may come to the Ironman with my father.
- Does she have a lot of boyfriends? Are you a stern father?
Well, she hardly ever brings boys around me, but she is pretty open with me about everything. I just always try to tell her to think of yourself as a queen and be treated that way -- Don't settle for anything else.
- How did you meet your wife?
I met her in 1994 at, of all places, the gym. It was meant to be, because we were both in there at an odd time, 10 p.m. and somehow we started talking, became friends and we have been together for 12 years now.
- Do have any nicknames?
No, not really, but you know Lonnie .. he came up with Troymendous.
- What about Tara? Any special nicknames from her?
When my wife is being silly, which is most of the time, she'll call me Big Daddy.
- What about when she is mad at you?
Well she is Italian and Greek. She is not really a big name caller, but for some reason, when she gets upset, she comes up with some very creative words to describe me and I kind of laugh to myself, and say - what did you just say?
- What does Tara think of you being in the limelight?
That is the one thing I love about Tara, it doesn't phase her at all. We have a trust and respect for each other. She is very secure with herself and has always wanted me to look and be my best whether she is with me or not. She is the one who goes shopping for a new outfit for me every time I have an appearance or trip.
- How does you wife handle it when you are on a contest prep diet?
Oh, she is fine. She eats pretty good all year round, she tries not to eat anything bad. She likes to cook for me and in the off season, makes lots of great food, so the main thing about dieting she doesn't like is that it isn't fun for her to cook. Chicken breasts and egg whites aren't exactly exciting.
- Is it tough for you and her regarding bodybuilding. Did she support you?
She was the one that actually kept me going with bodybuilding. She always believed in me that I could do this if I put my heart into it. She just had no doubt in her mind that I could turn pro, once we got to the national level. Don't get me wrong, she didn't care whether I turned pro or not, but always said that if you are going to do it, "then do it and give it your all." She did everything for me, including making all my meals for all these years, doing that extra cardio session with me - she was a champ and I couldn't have done it without her.
- Do you have any tattoos?
No tattoos. I always wanted to when I was a youngster, but never had a chance to do it.
- Tell me something we don't know about you?
That I am a quiet family guy. That I am the silliest guy you are ever going to meet. I am a goofy, silly guy, a kid at heart. I just never grew up. I am always playing games and joking, just teasing people at the gym, even the people who I've never met before. Sometimes people get intimidated, but I think when you show them a personality that you are a level headed guy, they can relax and later say that guy was pretty cool, he is not into himself at all. I am just a normal guy. Ask any of the pros I am friends with, and they will tell you I am a down to earth person and easy to get along with.
- When you are in contest shape, do you get any strange looks out there?
Well, not too bad. Arizona is pretty receptive of me. My wife doesn't want me to wear sleeveless shirts, because it can create too much attention, but I don't really care to wear that kind of clothing anyway. I tend to wear long sleeved shirts even in the gym, I hardly ever wear tank tops, and once in a while wear a sleeveless shirt.
- Do women want to touch your body?
No, at the gym, they don't do that, they know me. They look, they want to feel your arms, and ask "oh my god, is this real", that kind of stuff. Neither myself nor my wife have a problem with that. We just laugh at people that do that. We think it is silly, I can't believe people just want to touch my arm
- Do you have any pets?
Yes, we have a tiny little dog that my wife adopted 6 years ago. He is a Pekingese Chihuahua mix, he is so ugly he is cute. Really, he is an ugly little thing, but we have become used to him, so we think he is cute. Little Louie, he thinks he is the toughest dog in the world. He is old now, and likes to bite everybody's ankles. He is a funny dog and my wife loves him to death.
- What is your favorite television show?
Sportscenter, but apart from that, my wife and I tend to watch two shows. One is called My Name is Earl, and also the Office. Those are funny shows. Oh and how can I forget Entourage. I got to bed pretty early lately, 10pm, 10:30 at the latest. Right now, I am getting up at 5:30am in the morning for my cardio, so it's a rough day-not a lot of late night tv watching.
- So in your social life, any swinging or special fun liaisons that we don't know about yet?
No, not at all. I am just a plain old guy who loves his wife very much and just loves being around people. I don't like to party or drink, but I will have fun. I don't mind going out once in a blue moon, but it's not my thing. Most of our close friends aren't even related to bodybuilding in anyway. We play cards, guys come over the watch games, go to dinner with other couples, etc. I rarely drink alcohol, because I just don't like the way I feel afterwards, especially the next day, when I am suffering or don't eat or train the way I want to, so I don't do it. I am just plain old Troy, nothing to write to Mom about. I keep to myself.
- Are you working? Any contracts or sponsorships?
Yes, I have had a contract with Weider Publications and at the Olympia, I signed a contact with Nutrex. Nutrex has been great in so many ways and yes, I'm really using the Lipo 6 and Vitargo in my contest prep!!! I talked to Peter McGough from Weider, and since my contract with them wasn't up until April of this year, he said it was my choice if I wanted to sign with them and they wouldn't take an issue with that. I respect Peter for working it out with me. This way, I get treated well on both ends. And I also do some personal training on the side.
- Cool, lets get back to bodybuilding... what started you in bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding just came to me by accident. Some people in the sport kept trying to get me to compete because I was always in great shape. They kept reiterating over and over again to me, and I said 'Ok, I will do it just one time". There was a show coming up and I didn't know anything about dieting or anything about the sport at all except from the few magazines I had seen. I just went to my first show, and won it. And from there, I became excited about it.
I never thought about a future as pro, but I just enjoyed competing, because I have always been very competitive. I liked football and baseball, as I had a scholarship for baseball until I injured my shoulder and lost that opportunity. So just the fact that I can compete, I enjoy being on stage and trying to be the best. I kind of just kept doing it just for that reason - never had any intentions of becoming a pro. I just gradually did some shows here and there, and started to win. I started realizing that I needed to balance out my physique a little more and work to bring up my legs, because at the time, I had sticks for legs. I was all arms. It was all about showing off your arms. At that time, my legs were about the same size as my arms. Regardless, I jumped into the Arizona show, did very well there and won my class.
Then I jumped into the 1996 NPC Ironman, and took second in that show, and people were saying I should of won against Herman Johnson. Then I jumped right into the USA's, I had no idea how big that show really was and I placed 8th my first year at the USA's as a light-heavyweight. I thought I did horribly, but people told me that this was the USA's and 8th place wasn't bad at all. I just kept going at it, but I got a rude awakening at the Nationals that same year - I didn't even place in the top 15. Now that was a different story - those guys were big. That is when I started to get a little bit of reality on how tough this sport was. Until then, I was cruising, thinking this sport is easy, and then when you get shut down - not even a blink of an eye from the judges at the Nationals, it made me wake up and realize how tough it was.
- How did you feel when you didn't even place in the top 15 at the Nationals?
Actually, I didn't even get depressed about it at all. I am always a realist. I looked at these guys and said 'Whoa, this guys are big". I didn't even have muscle maturity at the time. I just thought to myself that I have to go back to the drawing board and start working again. I had a lot of work to do.
- So there is hope for people that don't place in the top 15 at the Nationals?
Oh, without a doubt. I think it all comes from within. If you truly believe that you have that physique that could measure up to that National level and you know that you can compete at that level, then you can't let anything get in your way from achieving your goal. You go back, you look at your pictures, and you regroup. You think about what you have to do to improve. You just keep battling, trying to make your physique the best that you can be, never giving up on yourself, and just keep working on it. Eventually, you are going to get your own, especially if you believe that you have a pro quality physique. I can't tell you how many people told me to quit (even people I respected in the sport) and that just motivated me more.
- The following year, you won the USA.
Yes, I looked at my physique, saw some weaknesses that I needed to improve on, went to the gym and started working hard. I came back to the Junior USA's and brought, at that time, my best physique ever. At that Junior show, I hit it perfectly…and didn't do that again, in my opinion, until the 2003 Ironman.
- When you won at the USA's in 2002, how did that happen?
At the 2002 USA's, I had taken that whole year off. I had taken second two years in a row before that and I told myself (and my wife) that if I don't get it this time, then it just wasn't meant to be. We were going to do everything we could and put all the effort forward that year. I even cut back on my personal training business at the time to just focus on my preparation, and if it didn't happened, then that was it. I had given it my best. But, as you know, it worked out in my favor at the USA's where I overcame the odds, got my pro card and took it to the next step.
- How did you feel when you got your pro card?
Well, it was kind of mixed feelings. On one side, I was so elated felt elated and got to share it with so many friends, family and fans at the show that were going crazy. But when you have so much controversy with a win, it kind of puts a damper on it. (That issue with Kris Dim getting the 2nd pro card) When you work hard, you want to win and hear people say you deserved it, but I had to just realize that you can't please everybody. There are always going to be people saying that you that you don't deserve this or don't have the right look, size, etc, but you can't let them bring you down - you just have to move on.
- How is your relationship with Kris Dim now?
There is no problem with Kris Dim. I got bothered a little bit by him going on about how he should have beat me. It's no problem with that - it is ok to believe it, but you have to be able to move on. It just got dragged out too much. Just like I could of said that I should of beat Tevita Aholeli, in 2000, but sour apples are sour apples. The judges judged, and I was the winner that night, so you have to sit back again and move on, and make it happen in the next show. Just like last year, you feel you could have won, but have to respect your competitors and the judges decisions and move forward.
- So will Kris Dim gun for you at the Ironman?
I hope he does. I have nothing against him. I have talked to him on the phone, expressed my views on everything and we cleared things up. We respect each other. Oh, he better come out to the Ironman to beat me, otherwise, why be there? Kris did beat me at the Olympia one year when I didn't look very good, when I placed in 15th place, and looked like crap.
- 15th place at the Olympia? What the hell?
At the end, it all came down to poor decisions with my diet. I had taken that year off, grouped and geared up for the GNC that year, as well as the Olympia. I think, for me, it didn't work well to take the whole year off, because mentally, I was thinking too much. Rather than focusing on the basics that got me this far, I tried to do exactly what I tell everyone not to do - get bigger. I knew what works for my body, which is coming in - shredded and condition, condition, condition. I just tried to come in too big, too heavy. I ended up placing 5th at the GNC Show of Strength, but wasn't pleased with what I brought at all. Then I tried to hold on and came down too quickly and came in flat at the Olympia. I look at it all as a learning experience.
- What was your first pro contest?
The Ironman in 2003 and I came in 4th. That was my dream show because all year, I had visions, picturing myself with Flex Wheeler and Jay Cutler. Only my wife knows that I really saw this happening, and sure enough, that is what it turned out to be. I got the very first call out. I came in 4th because I was just inexperienced at a pro show. Jay was cool, he told me how to relax, but my now very good friend, Melvin Anthony was a veteran and he knew how to take advantage of my weaknesses. He showed his posing, his style, his presentation was on the money, and he moved himself all the way to 2nd at that show. I slipped because I was tight on stage, I was pinching my shoulders together on my back shots (inexperience and nerves I think) my posing was nowhere near the caliber of what I can bring to the stage. I was just too tense, too excited, and I just started slipping a little bit. I didn't lose any conditioning, but I lost my presentation. But I beat Darrem Charles, Ahmad Haidar and Tevita at this show.
I came from the amateur ranks where a lot of people didn't give me any praise and didn't think I could do anything as a pro. I actually couldn't disagree with them, based on me having not made any major improvements in the last couple of years as an amateur. But, in my mind, I knew my potential and knew what the future could bring if I did put forth the effort in the gym. And to think, I qualified for the Olympia taking 2nd at the Australia that year to Chris Cormier.
- What do you think about bodybuilding now?
At the very moment, it is kind of a bad reflection because of the Titus issue. Take that out of it, I think bodybuilding is a positive thing, but it is a two way street.
I respect every big guy out there, like Ronnie Coleman, whom I respect with everything, because he still has shape, aesthetics, and everything else to go with that size. I believe that the sport is never going to as popular as the mainstream sports, but I think it could get popular if you went back into a more aesthetic look, a more attainable physique that people can aspire to, and want to be like. Not many people at all could look like Ronnie, I don't know if anybody could. He is just from another planet. But before I got into this sport, talking to people, and how everybody looked at the sport, they always looked at the physiques that they could attain. They appreciated the big guys, like Ronnie & Jay's, but they all wanted to look like Shawn Ray, Flex Wheeler, Kevin Levrone or the smaller, but pleasing, Lee Labrada. That is who I looked up to when I came into the sport. And I think that would make the sport more popular if they go back to that type of judging. They haven't done it yet, but if they do it, I think more people will get into it, and the sport won't be scrutinized so much by the public. If they see a more attainable physique, then they might respect what we actually do - training, diet, the sacrifices. Right now, we are not getting any respect for all of that. They have no clue on how much we put into this.
- What about the judges? How do you want them to perceive you?
Basically, I want the judges to look at me on how the standards are supposed to be set. Judging on aesthetics, symmetry and muscularity. I think if they judge me and they look at me that way, based on the new criteria, they will get what they are looking for from me. You will be able to see all of the details in my muscles, everything will be sharp, and I think they will be pleased with what I will bring.
- How was your experience of going to the Australia and the show.
It was beautiful. I loved that more than any other country that I went to. People were amazing & they gave me a great response. Tony Doherty treated us really well. I had a really good time there. That is one place that before I am done with the sport, I will go back there.
- Is the audience different overseas than the audience in the United States?
I kind of think so, because when you go overseas, you draw a lot more attention because you don't have as many big names out there all of the time. People are way more excited to see you out there because they don't get the opportunity like in the United States, so they treat you with a lot of love at the shows. Not that I don't get it over here also, but there are less people competing out there at a pro show than in the states.
- Who do you do consider your pro friends in bodybuilding?
Oh, I'm good friends with a lot of the guys. Johnnie Jackson, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez, Melvin Anthony, Garrett Downing, Idrise Ward-el, Shawn Ray - those are the ones I talk to the most. To be honest with you, I have a ton of respect for many pros.
- Who don't you like?
I can honestly say no one. I was a little bothered by Gustavo's mannerism on stage last year and backstage. It's ok to be quiet, but he just never acknowledged anyone else there backstage, and I guess that was fine. But when you get on stage and had that type of attitude, like no one else is allowed to be next to you, and then you start bumping and that type of stuff, I kind of lost some respect for him when he acted that way. He was in the center, and then the judges wanted me in the center, and he just had a major attitude with that, and then he bumped me with his arm when he were trying to pose, and I was bothered by that. He did it a few times, and then I was like 'what is going on here'. In my eyes, it is over with, I don't talk to him, it was his issue. I I don't hate anybody, but wouldn't want to hang out with him.
- What do you see if your future in bodybuilding?
I just feel that this is going to be my year. I truly feel I'm going to win the Ironman and use that momentum to carry into the Arnold - that is what I'm training for. I am bigger and sharper right now and have a more mature muscular look at this point in my career.
- Do you have anything I want to say to the fans?
That I appreciate every single one of them for all of their support throughout the years and believing in what I bring to the table. I am just going to keep on working and be the best Troy that I can be. However that turns out, so be it, I will always be myself and stay true to who I am.