Yelena Deyneko: Exercise is addictive; it makes you comfortable with who you are. In your case it became an art.
Calum Von Moger: You have to get in sync with your body. It’s a mental-physical connection and as a competitive body-builder you have to look at it as an art form, because it’s not just health and fitness, it’s how you envision a body should look.
YD: So you have goals of how you want your body to look and how you want your muscles to flex?
CVM: I think about it all the time. I know exactly how I want to improve every single muscle in my body. And it’s nothing crazy, it’s subtleties – twisting your wrist a bit further or flexing or squeezing. I make tiny alterations that no one else will pick up on but I can tell because I see it every day. Observation is important. You could take progress pictures to see how you’ve developed. For me, it’s striving to keep things symmetrical and in proportion.
YD: How do you connect to a muscle that isn’t easy to reach?
CVM: There’s a trick – practice. I couldn’t get it right the first time. It took a lot of practice and mental connecting to be able to trigger-activate certain muscles in my back. If I touch my hamstring or my cord when I’m training it, automatically I’m making a connection. Feeling it actually helps stimulate it. It just takes time and repetition until it becomes almost automatic.
YD: How do you absorb the energy of the audience and respond to judges?
You have to be flexible, open, smart and clever, and know that life is full of surprises. Not having expectations enables me. If something goes completely chaotic or out of order, I am alright.
CVM: You have to be flexible, open, smart and clever, and know that life is full of surprises. Not having expectations enables me. If something goes completely chaotic or out of order, I am alright. You learn from it and move on and don’t let it affect you.
YD: Do you have mentors or people who inspire you?
CVM: Many. My mentors come from all different corners of the globe. I’ve been able to learn from everyone I’ve met. I like listening to people with more knowledge and experience and I’m always ready to observe how things are done. I look at a lot of different men and I get inspired by achievements and how I can relate to the types of roles that they’ve played. Women too! You can’t live without women! My mother was an inspiration because she always pushed me.
YD: Do you have any obsessions?
CVM: The way I look at it is: Are you living for something worth dying for? I mean, we’re all just drifting in this universe like blobs of atoms clinging together. From the highest perspective, this is just temporary, materialistic, and once you’re gone, that’s it. Is there another, further purpose? Something greater you can be doing for someone else? I don’t know. I guess I’m still figuring it out.