By Ron Harris
Few athletes have generated as much excitement in recent years as MuscleTech athlete Blessing Awodibu, aka the Boogieman. Originally from Nigeria, he grew up mainly in Ireland before finally making his way to the USA a couple of years ago.
His rivalry with Nick Walker was probably the most interesting narrative in Pro bodybuilding in the spring of 2021, leading up to Blessing’s Pro debut after earning that status back in 2017. Though he failed to live up to his own hype at the Indy Pro and New York Pro, he redeemed himself exactly one year later by winning both shows back to back. His Mr. Olympia debut in December 2022 didn’t go as planned, so Blessing went back to the drawing board. Here’s what he’s been up to and how he plans on bringing a version of his physique none of us have ever seen before for the 2023 season.
We talked at the Arnold Classic and you told me this has been your best off-season ever. You’re the biggest you’ve ever been at almost 310 pounds. You also said this was the healthiest you’ve ever felt at over 300 pounds. How were things different in the past?
The off-season is never comfortable for any Open bodybuilder, especially when you’re trying to get as big and jacked as possible. You’re holding extra water and body fat. It’s even worse for a guy like me who’s naturally skinny, then going to 305 or 310 pounds.
I got up close to that weight before when Abdullah Alotaibi was working with me for an off-season. I was 300, 301, and that was rough. I think a lot of it had to do with it being the first time I had ever been that heavy. My joints, especially my knees, were hurting. Even my lower back was giving me trouble. My performance in the gym sucked. None of that has happened this off-season. I feel fresh, I feel good. I am overweight, yes.
Overall, my performance is good; I feel strong and healthy. Another area that’s better now is my sleep apnea, my snoring. When I’m prepping, it’s not so bad. It got worse than ever recently. I had tried a CPAP machine, and it didn’t work. I didn’t like it. I used to get up in the middle of the night and smash the machine because I couldn’t sleep with it. But I got a new one, and within a week I was sleeping like a baby. That’s a big reason I feel so good.
When you have sleep apnea and you snore like crazy, your blood pressure goes straight through the roof. You wake up in the morning exhausted. Any of you guys out there who snore need to get it checked. Sleep apnea is a silent killer, bro.
Someone close to you also told me you have been more conservative this off-season too.
Exactly. I’m grateful for all my past mistakes and ups and downs because I learn from them and they make me better. I’m still fresh in this game heading into my third Pro season. The first two seasons taught me so much, especially my first Mr. Olympia last December. I learned a lot about my body, and right now I’m not working with any coach, just my friends and family.
They care about me and about my health. When you work with a coach, they just want you to win and might do whatever it takes to win. There are things I would be doing with a coach that we’re staying away from. What we really push is food. That’s always been my problem with past coaches. They underestimate the amount of muscle tissue I carry and how much food I need.
That’s why I always had a problem with being flat onstage. Getting in shape isn’t a problem for me; it’s holding that roundness and fullness. Even when I won in Indy and New York last year, I was on the flat side. Now I feel I’m ready to fulfill my full potential.
I also heard you switched up your training to a more high-intensity style.
Yes, we have cranked up the intensity and brought down the volume. Burning too much glycogen is bad for my fullness. Right now, I’m training two days on, two days off, for a total of three or four times a week. Sometimes I do one day on, one day off. The rest days are absolutely key for me. I do a lot of supersetting now, especially for my legs.
We got away from that very heavy style. It doesn’t work for me. I’ve got one of the worst knee joints in all of bodybuilding. I should never have been a bodybuilder, but I chose it anyway. It’s all about being smart. We still push some heavy weight, but it’s all about high intensity now. I do a lot of supersets, giant sets, and drop sets. It’s nonstop. This is bringing my physique to a whole other level. I’ve never been this round and full before in my life.
What led you to make such a dramatic change to your training?
It came with experience and failure. Failure is the best way to learn. I’ve tried all kinds of training styles. I used to train twice a day, five or six days a week. I started bodybuilding because I loved training so much, putting my body through that grind and torture. But more isn’t always better. I remember reading about how Dorian Yates never trained more than four days a week, for 45 minutes to an hour. It made no sense to me.
How could he do that and be one of the biggest mass monsters we’d ever seen?
Now I understand how that’s possible, especially for a guy like me who has a really fast metabolism. This is the first time in my life that I’m truly living like a bodybuilder, too. That means being a lazy motherf—er! I train, eat my meals, come home and just lie on the couch and do nothing. This past Arnold Classic was a great example. Last year, any free time I had I was off doing training videos with other content creators and influencers.
This time I just worked my hours at the MuscleTech booth, then went back to my room and rested. That’s how you recover and grow. I burn a lot of calories. The less active I am, the better for me. I’m also doing cheat meals two or three times a week, something my past coaches never wanted me to do.
I think you still have that “skinny boy” metabolism from when you really were a skinny boy years ago.
Exactly. And the bigger I get, the harder it is to keep that muscle. That’s why the food and rest is so important. When you’re prepping a guy like me, you will burn through everything if you’re not careful.
Speaking of eating, can you please run down a typical day of eating for you in this off-season?
I’m taking in 6–7,000 calories a day.
125 g oats, 100 g blueberries, 1 banana, 2 scoops Nitro-Tech Whey Gold, 3 slices Ezekiel bread with jam, 200 g steak, 2 whole eggs, 8 egg whites
Go back to sleep for 2 hours.
350 g rice, 280 g salmon
EuphoriQ 30 minutes before training
TRAIN – drink 2 scoops Cell-Tech in 1 liter of water
Post-workout: 3 scoops Nitro-Tech
400 g purple potato, 280 g salmon
300 g rice, 250 g steak
300 g rice with 250 g chicken, cod, or shrimp
300 g Greek yogurt, 2 scoops Nitro-Tech Whey Gold, 3 slices Ezekiel bread with peanut butter
It’s been noted that your legs need to be bigger to match that huge, wide upper body of yours. Has that been a priority in this off-season?
I’ve always been proud of my symmetry, and I think I’m pretty balanced. People only talk about my legs when I’m off. Of course, I do need more legs. If I could buy bigger legs right now, I would! When a guy like me who is tall and wide and he goes flat, my legs are the first thing to go. I lose the fullness and separation, and it’s a horrible look.
But the balance and symmetry are still there. You can’t win a show without legs. My physique looks more complete when I’m full. I am working extra-hard on my legs because people talk crap about them. This is why I love criticism. They think they’re hating on me or making fun of me, but they’re making me better. They make me that much more aware that my legs need to grow. I never have anyone training with me on leg days now; they just train me and push me. I have two people on my ass on leg days. I do a lot of single-leg movements.
I often go right from a single leg extension to a Bulgarian split squat for the same leg. I like to superset single-leg presses with V-squats, just burning up my quads. There will come a time when my legs become my best body part. I have good separation and lines on my glutes, which a lot of guys don’t have. People have seen me at my worst. They don’t know what my best looks like.
Do you do more single leg movements now due to the fact that one leg is longer than the other, and that left knee can go backwards? I can see how just the different leg lengths would make squatting a bad idea.
Yes, squats and hack squats are not good for me because one leg takes a lot more of the load than the other. That’s why I had that minor injury doing hack squats a couple of months ago. I have to stay totally focused or else that knee can go back. That’s why I say I didn’t choose bodybuilding, bodybuilding chose me. And this year is going to be the beginning of the Boogieman’s reign.
You’re already announced the three shows you will enter this season: the Chicago Pro, the Tampa Pro, and the Texas Pro.
Those are not small shows! I’m pumped to win all three of those and then roll into the Mr. Olympia.
You’re not working with a coach, but I suspect most guys can handle their own off-season. Contest prep is a different story. So far Chad Nicholls and George Farah have both prepped you. Are you talking with any coaches about possibly working together?
I have no interest in working with anyone else. Bodybuilding is a business, and we don’t get paid a lot of money compared to other sports. We also have a short window to be our best as a Pro. If you’re jumping from coach to coach and not learning from all of them, you’re a fool. I worked with Neil Hill for about a year after I turned Pro, just to see what the Pros were doing. From there it was Chad for the two shows I did as a rookie.
After that I did a couple months of off-season work with Abdullah. Finally, I was able to win two shows last year with George. I have failed, I have won, and I have learned so much about myself and my body. I just need someone to be that set of eyes for me. No bullshit, no ass-licking, just let me know how it really is. I’m in a good place.
I’ve got my training partner with me. He’s been with me for six years and has seen all my ups and downs. We know what works and what doesn’t work for my body. It’s been a great off-season, and I attribute it all to food and MuscleTech products!
I’m glad we talked about your daily meals, because a lot of people have no idea how much food it takes to support that much muscle mass, especially with a fast metabolism like yours.
People don’t realize that food is absolutely everything. I don’t care how much gear you take or even how many supplements—if you don’t eat enough, you will never get anywhere in bodybuilding. Take another guy who eats all the right stuff and never misses a meal, and let’s say he takes a fraction of the gear as that other guy. I guarantee you that guy will look a lot better. Gear works, but it’s not the secret to success.
Last subject—the rise of the Nigerians! We saw that at the Arnold Classic with Samson Dauda winning and Andrew Jacked in third. Did you ever think that West African nation where you were born would start producing so many champion bodybuilders?
It's so amazing to see, and the coolest thing is that I know both of those guys. I knew Samson since my amateur days in Europe six years ago. I knew Andrew from Dubai when he was training with Larry Wheels. We actually trained together for a couple of months over there before he was even thinking about ever competing.
To see my two fellow Nigerians doing so well is very motivating and inspiring. Very soon, all three of us will be at the top of the sport together. Nigerians have crazy genetics. I went back there last year for the first time in over 20 years to surprise my parents, and I attended a contest. The guys and girls were natural, and they didn’t even know how to diet.
They eat African food all day long, and it’s all carbs, very little protein. You should have seen the shape on them and the potential.
I am really looking forward to seeing the new and improved version of the Boogieman this year, Blessing.
It’s going to be a very exciting year for me, for MuscleTech, and all of bodybuilding!
Visit our Shop to Buy the Best Body Building Supplements
Read Our Top Read Content: