Xtend Perform Challenge Athlete: Sam Okunola

Get to know more about the Army Vet and Team Scivation athlete.

Xtend Perform Challenge Athlete: Sam Okunola

Team Scivation Athlete Sam Okunola is quickly making a name for himself in the world of professional bodybuilding. A U.S. Army veteran, Okunola credits his military mindset and work ethic for the success he's experienced in the gym and on the stage. Always ready to tackle the biggest challenge, Okunola immersed himself in the weight-room after completing his service; pushing himself to the limit in an effort to get bigger, stronger and shredded. The hard work soon paid off as the bodybuilding awards and trophies began to mount. 

We sat down with the spokesman for the Xtend Perform 21-Day Challenge to get his take on training, motivation, BCAAs, and future goals. Here's what he had to say. 

M&F: How did you get into bodybuilding? 

SO: It all started back in college, after just getting out of the service. I did six years in the Army, and coming from a very active environment, I was asked by a friend, "you have a good physique, you ever think about bodybuilding?" The more he talked about it, the more intrigued I became. It got to that point where I needed a new challenge, so I give it a shot and soon competed in my first show. After that, I caught the bug and here we are six or seven years later, still going strong.

What kind of workouts do you most typically perform?

SO: There's a variety of workouts your body needs. Change is always good, as you want to shock the system and not do the same routine over and over again. Most of my workouts are a generally around a matrix of the big four movements: squats, bench, stiff-leg deadlifts, and shoulder presses, with a little bit of accessory. As far as cardio, I'm a big advocate of HIIT. For the kind of physique that I want to present, which is to attain as much muscle mass and be lean, HIIT has been the ultimate go-to for me.

Do you take anything you learned from the military into your current workout?

SO: I'm very fortunate to have my military experience as a building block because you have that "never quit, never die" attitude. It pushes you beyond what you think you're capable of doing. So that translates into weight training when there are times when you think you want to quit, but you just keep pushing and pushing. And when you finish, you shocked yourself by pushing it to the limit. By being mentally prepared and believing you can do this, I feel like your physical body will follow suit.

What motivates you to get to the gym and power your way through a workout?

SO: Working out is something that's therapeutic for me, so my escape, my drive to the gym, that's my clarity. And I'm going to the gym not to waste my time and get my work done. It's not a chore. I crave those hours in the gym as my time to decompress. Weightlifting is fun for me, so that time is my time to have fun.

What's the importance of a supplementation plan for your training? How does it help you pre, during and post-workout.

SO: Research has proven the importance of BCAAs while training, so your muscles will get catabolic. Usually when I'm in contest prep, I do a scoop during my cardio because I don't have any food in me yet. And then later on in the day, I take a scoop during my workout and then sometimes post workout. So like 3 scoops a day. It's Branched Chain Aminos, so I don't think there's too much [to take], but I at least want to get one scoop a day during training. When it comes to supplementation I feel your BCAA should be on the top of your list.

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