By Eric Velazquez

In physique and philosophy, second year IFBB pro Omar Deckard echoes bodybuilding's past. Here's how he built his pro-worthy bi's and tri's

May 30, 1973
Hollywood, California
Westchester, California
WEIGHT 275 pounds off-season,
260-265 contest
FAMILY Wife Alisa; twin stepchildren Makaii and Makaiiya, 13
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS 2007: Ironman Pro, 9th (IFBB
debut); Europa Super Show, 5th.
2006: NPC USAs superheavyweight
and overall, 1st (won pro
card). 2005: NPC USAs superheavyweight,
3rd. 2004: NPC USAs
superheavyweight, 3rd

Having lived on his own since he was 16, he knows how to work isolation to his advantage. He has never enlisted the aid of a training partner to help him get a few more reps or called on a bodybuilding guru to help him rethink his exercise selection. But he has never really been alone. As Omar plows through a heavy set of barbell curls, Shawn Ray commands better form. When he moves to concentration curls, Arnold Schwarzenegger whispers to him about holding the peak contraction to maximize biceps height. At the same time, Omar hears Lee Haney waxing strategic about the benefits of training smart, not just training heavy. When Omar walks over to hit some poses in the mirror, he sees Tom Platz, arms over his head, quads billowing out and rife with vascularity. This is how you hit an absand- thigh, he seems to suggest. The greats of bodybuilding's past are always talking, and Omar's listening.

Omar, who earned his pro card at the 2006 NPC USAs after a seven-year grind at the national amateur level, is a cognitive lifter who keeps a close eye on his physique and an attentive ear to the advice of those who have come before him. He holds the kind of encyclopedic knowledge of bodybuilding's yesteryear that Joe Weider loves in an athlete, the kind of reverence for the sport that his competitors respect. Although Omar is constantly looking toward his future in the pro ranks, it's the past that powers his progress.

During our chat, Omar – who says he possesses an "'80s type of look" – regularly referenced some of bodybuilding's most legendary athletes:
>> ON FORM:"I generally bring the bar down to the middle of my forehead on lying triceps extensions. That's the form I learned by reading Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding."
"As Lee Haney said and was later quoted by Shawn Ray, you need to stimulate, not annihilate the muscles."
"Guys these days have tree-trunk legs. Tom Platz, whose legs were amazing in his time, is like the standard now."

He's clearly a guy who has done his homework on bodybuilding, and taking stock here, he picks pretty reliable sources. According to Omar, 34, he has built his 265-pound physique over time, falling in love with bodybuilding at a young age thanks to the gym toils of his father and older brothers. But his family life was chaotic and unstable at best.

Omar found himself in his own apartment as a junior at Crenshaw High School, working the doors of Los Angeles-area nightclubs as well as flipping burgers for his dad to pay the rent. His father was working on his second marriage and his mother had moved back to her home state of Alabama. "I told her I wasn't going back to Alabama," Omar recalls. "I was a city boy." But still he trained, if only with the sage advice of the sport's legends guiding his development.

Omar, who stormed to a fifth-place finish at the 2007 Europa Super Show in Dallas, says: "I admired Arnold's physique when I was young, but as I got older and saw pictures of contemporary bodybuilders, I began looking more at photos of Flex Wheeler. I thought he was incredible. I've always tried to mold and perfect my physique to be like Arnold's and Flex's, and as I got older I began to see more similarities. Flex himself told me that my lines were like his. It was a huge compliment." With his long, full muscle bellies starting to take pro-worthy form, Omar now likens himself to a hybrid of his two idols: "I'm a Flexenegger."


From his weightlifting to his hobbies, Omar is a poster boy for the old school. All of his workouts, including the one presented here, consist of basic, heavy moves. Straight sets, too; he rarely employs advanced techniques such as rest-pause or supersets.

Outside the gym, he's still living his teen years to the fullest, immersing himself in role-play and shooter games on his Nintendo Wii and PlayStationPortable, the latter of which is his saving grace on the road. And don't get him started on last year's Transformers live-action film. "I just love that they were able to bring it back for this generation and did such a great job with it. Transformers was my favorite show growing up."

Despite his wide range of leisure activities, Omar always finds time to immerse himself in his favorite book. "I read the Bible a lot. I like to study scripture." But he's also expanding his knowledge of world events, devouring books on China and the Middle East. Omar says that if he had more choices coming out of high school, he might have pursued the sciences as a career. But instead – seemingly at the urging of his mentors Lee, Arnold, Flex, Shawn and the gang – he's making a name for himself in bodybuilding, where so few athletes have a chance to make a decent living. And while his crew of surrogate uncles is surely proud of his progress, Omar finds the most comfort, support and reassurance at home in his wife Alisa and his 13- year-old twin autistic stepchildren Makaii and Makaiiya.

"I've had all kinds of adversity in my life. But none of that has ever really influenced me. I'm an independent thinker, and I'm going to just keep trying to better my physique and see where else it takes me." M&F