Name: Dino Hodzovic
Sponsored by: Team Project Goliath
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Snapchat: @dinohodz
When did you first start training?
I think, like a lot of people, it all started with a set of Dumbbells in my bedroom. I had played Inline Hockey for Cardiff before that, which was probably the start of playing competitive sport. Soon after that, my older brother was a competitive Strongman, so I got introduced to the Mecca of lifting and all things heavy, dirty, big and beardy, Dave’s Gym (Cardiff). I suppose I’m lucky to have been exposed to a lot of styles of training from an early age. It has definitely built a solid base for me to work from now.
What sports do you/have you played?
In University, I made the jump to rugby. I played blindside flanker. I just loved catching an 8 trying to be sneaky off the side of a scrum. Anyway, after that I became obsessed with the UFC and started training in MMA as well as kick boxing and BJJ. Loved the sport and trained in it for a few years. I ended up taking an amateur boxing fight and winning, but never took it further. Sometimes I think I’ll live to regret that.
After deciding that I wasn’t going to the UFC to kick Jon Jones’ ass, I discovered Olympic weightlifting. This, for me, was the perfect balance of technique, power and mental strength. After winning a small competition, and a few near injuries, I decided that I would coach the sport. Since then I’ve trained with a lot of the Welsh Powerlifters at Dave’s Gym, as well as a handful of bodybuilders picking up all kinds of training styles, creating a complete mashup of how I train now.
How often do you train?
I don’t stick to a set plan per say. If you trust yourself to train hard, you will get to the gym if and when you can. A lot of the time I train twice a day. If I’m going heavy, I’ll train the once. Every so often my body is screaming so I’ll take a day or so off.
How long do you train for?
Again, it depends. If I’m in for a bodybuilder-style session, I’ll keep it short and high in intensity. If we are going for a PB squat, it will take a lot longer. Morning Cardio is always short and sweet, around 20-30min.
What are your goals?
Fitness goals? At the moment, I don’t have any major goals set in stone. In the past I’ve had goals that have consumed my entire life. I’ve done that. Now, I’m just happy to train, whether it’s pad work or strongman or whatever I feel like doing on the day. If you enjoy the process, hypertrophy / shredz / strength / fitness and all of that are a side product of training and exercise. Until a new sport comes my way and grabs my attention enough for me to compete, I’m quite happy where I’m at.
Which is your favourite muscle group or exercise to train?
Exercise? Squats. Squats are King. Want 6-pack abs? Squat. Want big biceps? Squat. Think you’re a tough guy on the leg press, what do you squat?
With all the egos found in a gym environment, the rule I have is that I have to see it before I believe it. You got a 300kg squat? Great. Until I see it, I won’t fully take your word. Depth or nothing.
Can you talk through your weekly workout?
Like I said, I train most days so it usually comes down to what isn’t hurting. Morning Cardio is a given. Then if I’m feeling fresh I’ll hit one of the major movements: The squat, deadlift, bench press (or push press) or some Olympic lifting. If I’m not 100% on the day, I’ll isolate a muscle group, proper BB style and hit that. If there’s anything outside of the ordinary or looks fun, I’ll fit it in and give it a bash. So long as you train hard, whatever you do, it’s all gains.
Do you follow a particular diet?
You know what, I have done in the past. It’s been a journey of discovery with regards to diet. Back in the day it was a dirty bulk to pack on some serious size. After that, I discovered the keto diet. It worked well for my first cut, but as you know it’s tough to hit keto and to sustain it. It opened the doors for a low carb approach. This consisted of not really tracking, but simply avoiding carbs mostly. Again, it worked.
Nowadays, I don’t diet. I don’t like the idea of dieting to peak condition and then rebounding (much like bodybuilding). I simply want to be lean all year round. I live my life by seven pretty simple principles. Check out the hashtag on Instagram, #prettysimpleprinciples to see what I’m talking about. Eat well, hit your protein, focus on mindset and sustainability and enjoy the process. That’s the best way.
What supplements so you take?
I take creatine and protein mostly. Creatine, I think is a no brainer. It has gotten more and more good press with more studies backing its positive effects not only on training but general health too. I mix my protein in with yoghurt for breakfast, and with oats post-workout. Can’t get enough protein.
On top of those, multivitamins are pretty standard as well as a pre-workout. I take caffeine. Just caffeine. I avoid other pre-workouts simply because caffeine does more than enough for me.
What music do you listen to when training?
Hah, it’s gotta be some drum and bass, or a bit of dirty dubstep. Go hard or go home.
Who do you look up to or admire?
Honestly, anyone who excels at what they do. If I see something on that next level, I’ll look up to it. I’ll study their every move. I’ll see what I can learn from them and apply it within my own life/training. I don’t tend to idolize celebrities, but I’ve come across a handful of people in my time that have inspired me to really push myself.
My brother (@projectgoliath), in his strongman days, used to say to me ‘You don’t want to be the strongest person in the gym. You want to be the strongest person in the world. Find those who are, and base your training and goals around that.’
What is you best achievement?
Ouch. Tricky one. I think, having dragged myself through so many sports in my time, to not only be (relatively) injury free but to now have the opportunity to coach is a great achievement. Showing a novice all of the different styles of training available and seeing them soak it up and apply it is, for me, a great achievement. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with athletes too. A like-minded person who wants that edge? Being involved in their development offers great fulfilment.
What advice would you give anybody who wants to start training?
Enjoy yourself. You’re new. Consistency is key, especially to begin with. Going in and blasting yourself with diet and gym may not last. If you start small and enjoy it, you will keep going.
The more you get stuck into this game, the more you will learn. Crazy PBs and being shredz can all come to you, but to start with, find what you enjoy and do that. From there it will naturally grow and progress to a point you start to seek out dietary advice and start to train with the right people to guide you on your journey. If you enjoy the journey, your goals will just come to you.
Any final comments?
Hey, if you don’t already, check me out on social media and give me a follow. This is for those wanting to learn about how easy diet should be, as well as those wanting a taster of the different training systems out there that can used.
I also run 2 mini-series that are worth checking out.
1/ #keepcalmandmorningcardio – This looks at how simple (and sometimes silly) your morning cardio should or could be. Ditch the crosstrainer, go outside and start pushing cars up and down your street! Remember though, ‘keep calm, and morning cardio’.
2/ #alloftheshoenotaclue – is part-parody, demonstrating the correct use for lifting shoes, and when you should most certainly not wear your lifting shoes (re: treadmill. Yep, we’ve all seen it!)
Images by @genesisimagesuk, get in contact!