Paul Demayo's Big Chest Comeback

By Mike Falcon

The adage that the only things certain in life are death and taxes isn't quite complete: The third certainty is change. Nobody exemplifies that more than bodybuilder Paul DeMayo, who has seen more than his share of ups and downs.

His history reads like a novel. The 1987 Mr. Teenage Massachusetts and heavyweight winner went on to win the NPC Junior Nationals 4 years later. "Quadzilla" was a front-runner in the race for a pro card in 1992 and 1993, but pre contest preparation failed him both years. Still, he finished 3rd behind Chris Cormier and Mike Francois in '93 and then found the formula in beating Craig Titus for the 1994 NPC Overall and Heavyweight titles and IFBB pro status. A year later he took 9th at both the Spanish Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix. His 12th place at the Olympia that year was considered an auspicious "O" debut.

Paul Demayo's Supplements, Diet, and Training

DeMayo 's use of supplements, his diet, and his training routine are all solid blueprints for bodybuilders:


DeMayo's 3 classic supplement favorites include:

Protein powder --- "It's critical for me because it's difficult to get the necessary amount of protein through whole foods only," says Paul.

Creatine --- "This cell volumizer seems to help both my strength and size," says DeMayo .

Gatorade --- "Sounds funny, " observes Paul, "but it can help carry you through a workout without electrolyte imbalance and prevent fatigue.


A typical daily menu:
7:30 A.M: Powdered protein shake with orange juice. A dozen eggs whites and 5 ounces of oatmeal with a banana and raisins.
9:30 - 10 A.M: Powdered protein shake made with water only. Three broiled chicken breasts that total 16-18 ounces. White rice with a little soy sauce.
12:30 - 1 P.M. : Paul's pretraining meal is a big bowl of rice and some frozen strawberries, perhaps with protein powder blended in. (He trains 90 minutes later, and often drinks Gatorade during his workout.)
Post-workout (about 4 - 4:30):
Big dish of flank steak, protein powder shake, and white rice.
6:30: Two cans of white chuck tuna (canned in water, not oil), rice cakes. He'll also nibble on rice cakes later if he gets really hungry.


Paul uses a 2-day "on", one-day "off" schedule that works out to a 5-day periodization.

"If the training has been grueling and I need another day to recover, I'll listen to what my body is saying," advises Paul.
DeMayo returns to serious training now a far more balanced person than reporters found him in the mid-90s. Joyful, open, and generous, he's now a mature 32-year-old who works fulltime as he tries to balance world-class training with both his career and social life. "I'm grateful for both," says DeMayo, who is again at his 270-pound off-season weight and looking great.

Paul's training is classic IFBB pro material: Heavy weight for the prime mass builders in usual sets of 10-12 reps followed by finishing work in the 10-15 rep range. Size has never been a problem for the big guy. "But my approach is a little different than in the mid-90s. I enjoy it---and my life---a lot more."

Incline Dumbbell Presses

"I do this exercise first in my chest routine for a couple of reasons," says DeMayo. "I'm genetically weak in the upper chest area, so in line with working your weakest body parts the hardest I start there. Using a dumb-bell exercise to begin the chest work also helps in that I get a fuller range of motion than I would on a machine, which gives me a good stretch over the area." The dumbbells also demand more coordination than a machine, and you can't favor one side over the other because each side works precisely the same work-load ."

"Make sure you concentrate on the muscles you're training in this exercise," cautions Paul ." Feel the movement in your upper chest and keep the deltoids and arms out of the movement as much as you can." Paul does 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Incline Hammer Machine Presses

This is a similar movement to Paul's first, except that the Hammer machine works in a fixed arc. "Free weights are essential in making your body grow," says Paul, "but I'm a big Hammer machine fan---they let you come right back to the same muscle group you've already worked with free weights and really tax the muscle." DeMayo says that 3 sets of 10-12 reps does the trick for him in this exercise.

Hammer Bench Press

"This targets the middle chest area, much like the traditional barbell bench press, " notes Paul . "But I feel it allows me a greater working range of motion and more precisely pinpoints the mid-chest area because of the machine's engineering." Both the Hammer machines featured here allow each side of the body to carry an absolutely equal workload, just like free weights, and unlike some other weight-training machines. "That means you won't develop an imbalance on either side," notes the bodybuilder. Paul does 4 sets of "about 10-12 reps. It's not exactly going to complete muscular failure necessarily, but I always try and feel that the set has produced good, hard, targeted work ."

Cable Crossover

"I use these as an overall burnout from the shoulders to the mid-chest bone," explains Paul. "The key in this exercise is never to let the tension off." Note that even in the starting position, where Paul stands slightly forward of the cable pulley, his chest remains under tension. Paul likes to put most of his body weight on the forward leg---the right one in these pictures---because it helps him put stress on the chest, rather than let other muscle groups take over the workload that should be concentrated on the chest. Paul does 3 sets "until failure," keeping the weight roughly where he'll be able to knock off 15 or so reps in each of 3 sets.