PNBA Natural Bodybuilder Jon Tsui Interview: “Off-season, I Definitely Don’t Count Calories”

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Natural Olympia champ Jon Tsui discusses incorporating CrossFit, not counting calories during the off-season, and consuming three protein shakes daily during the INBA PNBA natural bodybuilding season. 

Natural bodybuilders have their unique training style and diet regimen they follow to build the best natural physique in the world. But, of course, whether a competitor is in-season or off-season determines the workouts and diet they follow. Generation Iron (GI) talked with Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) bodybuilder Jon Tsui to get insight into his training and diet.

Jon Tsui is a PNBA Hall of Fame Inductee and Pro Men’s Physique Natural Olympia champion. However, his entrance into natural bodybuilding came out of luck. When asked if he’d ever consider bodybuilding, Tsui was getting his body fat measured. Before that conversation, bodybuilding had never crossed his mind. But soon after, he found himself at an NPC show, then joined lNBA PNBA competitions.

When GI asked Jon Tsui questions regarding his training and nutrition, Tsui had some eye-opening answers, highlighting some of the different training and nutrition protocols natural bodybuilders endure. Jon Tsui claims that he incorporates CrossFit as part of his training, but his reasoning will surprise you. He also noted that he doesn’t count calories during the off-season and will have three protein shakes a day during the season.

Jon Tsui Training

Jon Tsui’s workout routine is typically a 5-day split. He’ll do chest Monday, biceps and triceps Tuesday, back Wednesday, shoulders Thursday, and legs Friday. And he’s been incorporating CrossFit this season. Although, he connotated that it was to workout with his girlfriend. Tsui stated:

“THIS SEASON, I’VE BEEN INCORPORATING CROSSFIT (I KNOW, BUT DON’T WORRY, HAVEN’T GONE COMPLETELY TO THE DARK SIDE…JUST AFFORDS ME TIME TO WORKOUT WITH MY GF…NOT TRYING TO BREAK ANY SPEED OR WEIGHT RECORDS, JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE…WE’LL SEE WHAT IT ACTUALLY DOES TO MY PHYSIQUE).”

Nutrition

When the GI team asked about his nutrition, Tsui indicated that he has a pretty flexible diet during the off-season. Tsui said:

“OFF-SEASON, I DEFINITELY DON’T COUNT CALORIES OR MEASURE OUT MY FOODS…I ACTUALLY HAVE A TENDENCY OF NOT EATING ENOUGH…BUT I WILL ENJOY MY HOLIDAYS AND SOCIAL EVENTS…CERTAINLY MORE FAT, CARB, AND ALCOHOL CALORIES.”

Conversely, he’s strict regarding the PNBA natural bodybuilding season, and he’ll consume three protein shakes a day. Tsui expressed:

“IN-SEASON, I SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING DOWN TO TWO BASIC MEALS THAT I ALTERNATE THROUGH THE DAY, WHILE ALSO CARB CYCLING. IT BASICALLY LOOKS LIKE A SHAKE FOR MEALS 1, 3, 5 (BREAKFAST, POST-JOB/PRE-WORKOUT, AND BEFORE BED). MEALS 2, 4 ARE REAL FOOD, WHOLE GRAIN + LEAN PROTEIN MEALS.”

Natural Bodybuilding and Bulking

Natural bodybuilders don’t use performance-enhancing drugs to enhance their physique. Instead, they go through an extensive bulking period to gain as much muscle as possible before cutting for the bodybuilding season. Some athletes take years off from competing between bodybuilding seasons since that’s how long it can take to naturally add a solid amount of muscle to your frame. And many are more flexible with their diet during the offseason, allowing their body to recover from the extremes of contest prep.

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