10 Things I Learned From My Coach: Ben “Pak Man” Pakulski

In the past nine years I’ve invested thousands of dollars into nutritional and training research, books, seminars, schooling and even personal trainers.  I’ve experimented with everything from low carb, zero carb, high carb, carb cycling, cheat days, and intermittent fasting diet plans and I decided it was time to bring someone alongside to work with me on my next stage of developement.

I have not stepped on stage since June 2008 and I don’t believe in competing unless I look significantly better. This would require me to do two things:

1) Build new mass by bulking to 230 lbs
2) Cut the fat and get under 5% body fat

I wanted to get access to the best coaching in the world no matter what the financial investment and I wanted to work with someone who had plenty of experience working with drug free athletes.  I considered virtually all the options available to me – the guys who coach the pro bodybuilders and the pro bodybuilders themselves.

Remember, I’ve been training for over eight years and have taken my body quite far without a professional coach so I was very intrigued to discover what I could be doing differently.

So last fall I went online and started buying all the DVDs of the pro bodybuilders to see who impressed me the most.

After watching one particular DVD, “Quest to be the Best” on a plane ride to Mexico last September, I had no doubts that this was the guy that I wanted to bring alongside me and have in my corner.

IFBB Pro Ben “Pak Man” Pakulski.

Ben Pakulski At The 2011 Flex Pro Show. Ben and I actually went to the University of Western Ontario together and both graduated with a honors Kinesiology Degree.

We had many mutual friends and I remember hearing rumours about this “young bodybuilder” who used to do 10 sets of 10 with heavy squats on his legs.

This was before I even knew it was humanely possible to do 10 sets of 10!

Ben is highly educated and coined “The Thinking Man’s Bodybuilder” and his thirst for learning has continued to match his drive to become one of the world’s best bodybuilders.

Ben is known for saying, “The more you know, the more you grow.”

Interestingly, most pro bodybuilders prefer to not go into depth and detail on how to improve a physique. After watching Ben’s Quest To Be The Best DVD, I realized that he could probably teach a pretty decent college course on bodybuilding if he was interested.

Transformation Goal #1: Bulk Up To 230 lbs – November & December 2010

Results: 214 lbs to 227 lbs in 8 weeks!

Transformation Goal #2: Cut Down To 195 lbs ish.  – January to April 2011

Results: 227 lbs @17-19% fat – 195 lbs and sub 5% body fat – All in under 15 weeks!

10 Things I Learned From My Coach: Ben “Pak Man” Pakulski

1. Keep your mouth shut and listen.  I remember asking him about a particular detail I was unsure about and he replied, “Did I say otherwise?”

2. I’m in complete control of how my body looks.  Focus on making today the best day ever and I’ll be in the best shape of my life.

3. If you’re going to hire a coach then you have to put your faith in him 100%.  There is a degree of faith required when you hire a coach. They are not there to validate every one of your concerns. You hired them for a reason, right?

4. The intensity NEEDS to come up as we get closer and closer to the show. We don’t back off even as the calories go lower and lower.

5. “TAKE ONE DAY AND ONE MEAL AT A TIME! Stop thinking about the show, pictures or final outcome. Just focus on making TODAY perfect!”

6. If I’m not changing at the rate I want to, train harder.

7. My thoughtless and unscheduled cheat days put me back “3 days!”  In 16 weeks, I did not have a scheduled “cheat day” except for three days where I caved.  Ben’s response to me admitting my slip up? “Stop making thoughtless decisions without asking me.”

8. If I need to rest more, rest more. It’s okay to listen to your own body. Who would have thought?!

9. The best advice (at least for me) is straight and to the point. Often less than a few words. Here is a text response I got after admitting to a big screw up in my diet: “WTF are you doing? Get back on track now!”

NOTE: After reading those first nine points you’re probably thinking, “Man, this guy is a drill sergeant!”  Realize that everyone is different. Some clients need a bit of babying.  Others just need the coaches prescriptions and don’t stray one bit. Others, like me, need someone to be hard and direct.  That’s what a good coach does. Learns you and what you need.  If you were to hire Ben as your 1-1 coach, you could have a completely different experience than I did.

10. I learned Ben’s training technique called “intentions.” After you’ve been training for a number of years, going heavier and heavier either won’t be possible or will carry more risk than potential reward. If you’re in your first seven years of training, that’s not a concern, but if you continue working out, it eventually will be. At the point when going heavier isn’t the best option for stimulating growth, you have to look at other solutions.

With intentions you change the angle of pushing or pulling by means of a technique almost imperceptible to an observer. You push inward or pull outward with your hands or feet as you perform an exercise. I used this technique for a lot of exercises on back day.  On lat pulldowns as I pulled the bar down, I tried to pull my hands apart. They didn’t actually move on the bar, but that different motion made my lats fire in a different way, and my back was more sore the next day than it had been in months.

Ben said you have to play around with exercises. On barbell presses for chest, for example, he tries to push his hands together. One thing is certain: Forget about using your normal weights. Be prepared to cut your weights almost in half! As I said, though, the feeling in the lats was completely different.

We often play around with grip widths and experiment with pushing and pulling angles, but with intentions you introduce a variable that can awaken dormant muscle fibers and stimulate them in fresh, new ways. Pakulski has used intentions to get more out of exercises like leg presses, squats, barbell rows, bench presses and overhead presses—really anything that has you pushing or pulling both limbs at once on a bar or roller pad. It’s helped him become ripped at 270 and qualified to compete in the Mr. Olympia, and it can probably breathe new life into your workouts. More important, it stimulates new muscle growth.

After 6 Months Of Working With Ben “Pak Man” Pakulski!


Pretty hardcore experience right?  Ben is in his third season as a pro and I have no doubt he’ll fulfill his “Quest to be the Best,” as his DVD reads.  Between his genetics, drive and thirst for knowledge, I’m sure he’ll rise to the very top of the bodybuilding sport and I’m proud to be a client of his.

Ben’s striving to be the best bodybuilder in the world while I’m striving to be the best fitness model in the world!

And the best thing is, he’s one of the few pro bodybuilders who is willing to share his own secrets to success so you too can make the most of what you were given.  Ben is proof that brains and brawn do not have to be mutually exclusive qualities and I’m looking forward to seeing how he prepares me for the World Championships August 27th in Toronto, Ontario.

In fact, I’m driving to Toronto right now to meet up with him and he’s going to assess my physique, train me for 2 hours and tweak my diet, training and supplement plan.  I’m PUMPED!

Here’s a little testimonial I left on Ben’s Facebook Fan Page after earning my WBFF Pro Card April 30th…

“Just wanted to publicly acknowledge to Ben’s loyal friends and fans that I got my WBFF Pro Card last night at the Quebec Championships under the 1-1 coaching of Big Ben! We started in November and he helped me bulk from 214 lbs to 227 lbs and then from 227 lbs to 195 lbs and under 5%! I have never looked or felt better and it was an incredible experience. Thanks for taking me all the way through the finish line bro! Now you got to get me ready for Worlds!”

If you’ve been training for more than 7 years and looking to get up on stage or do something drastic with your body, you should consider hiring Big Ben 1-1.  Here is a link to his website http://www.benpakulski.com/ Click on the “Service” link to see what he has going.

You should definitely pick up his DVD, it’s less than $40 and he’ll ship it right to your front door.  Ben does not have an affiliate program so I don’t make a penny endorsing this DVD.  It’s very educational and inspiring so pick it up if you want an inside peak of what it takes to strive to be the best.  I’ve watched DOZENS of pro bodybuilding DVD’s and this is by far the best one. I can’t wait until he comes out with his next one.  You’ll be very impressed.  Watch the trailer below and then grab yourself a copy.

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10 Responses to “10 Things I Learned From My Coach: Ben “Pak Man” Pakulski”

  1. Jared

    Sup Vince. I ordered the NNMB but it didnt ask me for my address. How do i get it?

  2. Travis

    WOW! Vince you never cease to Amaze me with how far you’ve taken your body naturally. From where you started to where you are.. That’s something to be proud about bro!

  3. Joe

    Hey vince what was your bf % when you were at 214? Did you gain qutie a bit of fat while bulking up?

  4. Vince

    You always have to keep an open mind or you’ll miss out bro.

  5. Vince

    Same approach as always. Frequent and hard. I’ll never have “bulky” calves because of their insertion and origin points.

  6. Vince

    You accept that injuries are normal. Don’t beat yourself up.

    1. Find out WHY you got injured so it does not happen again.
    2. Find someone to FIX you and do what they tell you.

  7. Vince

    I’ll do better for you next time Charles :)

  8. Vince

    Thanks man. With the World’s on August 27th, I don’t think my body fat will be straying too far off that!

  9. Vince

    Thanks Dad. Everyone should write down the VIM principle…

    V stands for VISION for what you’re passionate about

    I stands for INTENTION to do it

    M stands for a clear, cut METHOD

  10. Rockyluch

    hey vince, great job on this. As your dad I have a ringside seat as your training develops. As many of your friends say, “You are legit”. Your results are the result of teachability on your part towards your coach, plus your own VIM—Vision for what you are passionate about, Intention to do it, and then a clear cut Method, as you have outlined it in so many of your programs.