Award-winning produce
Freshly prepared for you
Rated Great on Trustpilot
Next day delivery available
Award-winning produce
Freshly prepared for you
Rated Great on Trustpilot
Next day delivery available

Joe Rubino - Body Builder

Vital Statistics Current
Height 5’5
Contest Weight : 170lb
Off season: 190s (lb)
Contest BF%: approx. 5%
Joe Rubino has been bodybuilding for the last 26 years although his path to bodybuilding success has been far from an easy one.

He lifted his first gym weight at just 16 years old having watched his elder brother go through an incredible transformation from flabby to fit at the same age.  In fact, Joe says he turned himself into a modern day Hercules.  A feat Joe was determined to emulate.

He began lifting regularly after his Dad bought him a lifetime membership at a health club and didn’t take long for him to start out benching most of his peers.

At 18, he weighed in at 154 pounds and benched 360 yet while he had the strength and the ability to powerlift, he didn’t have the tone and lean look he wished for.


You see Joe has a naturally slow metabolism and at this young age he didn’t fully appreciate how important nutrition was in getting lean.

All that was about to change, though, when in 1992 an old friend of his moved back to his hometown after living with pro bodybuilders in California.  Joe and he became training partners and things finally started to change for Joe.

His training partner was super strict with his diet, impressively so, and Joe asked him to overhaul his diet to get the look he craved.  It only took a few months and Joe was soon in the best condition of his life.  He did his first show in 1992 and placed 4th!

Just one year later, Joe returned to the Michigan Novice winning the lightweight title but in 1994 things began to take a turn…

After a few disappointing results, his dreams of qualifying for the nationals were squashed and Joe became depressed.

He developed a lot of bad habits and, at a time where substance use (or abuse) was at an all time high in the bodybuilding world, Joe too dabbled in performance enhancing drugs.

Nubain was his drug of choice because of its anti-catabolic properties and the fact you could get high from it.  Soon, though, Joe went searching for a stronger high and became a “full blown junkie and heroin addict” at jut 23.

Joe hit rock bottom on a trip to South Padre Island and “needed a fix so bad [he] drove to Mexico, only to end up in a nasty bathroom in a city off the beaten path away from the tourist area.

[He] injected what [he] thought was heroin, but that turned out to be cocaine, and [he] thought [he] was going to breathe my last breath… By the grace of God, [he’s] still alive.”

He lost his job and moved to Chicago to get away from bad company and get clean. 

He soon found solace in his faith and the gym and while it took years for him to get is self-esteem back, Joe became the manager of a boutique headhunting firm, got married and had two brilliant kids.

In 2011 Joes old training partner got in touch and asked him to take a look at his new workout.  He tried it once and got the itch to start training like a pro once more.

Now, Joe regularly competes and, at 43, has a body most people in their 20’s would envy!

He very kindly took time out of his busy schedule to chat to us after his recent Physique Of The Week win – here’s what he had to say…

Interview with Joe Rubino

Hi Joe, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!  Let’s start with the basics ­ where are you from, what age are you and what is your day job?

I live in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  I'm 43 and I'm the Sales Manager a small boutique staffing/headhunting firm downtown Chicago

Tell us more about your athletic background and how you got involved with weight training?

Growing up with two older brothers it was hard not to be competitive.  I wrestled in High School and loved playing pick-up football in the neighborhood.  My one brother was extremely overweight and he started lifting at 16, I was 11 at the time and he went through a transformation from being extremely overweight to a modern day Hercules. 

He was my inspiration at a young age to start lifting. At age 16 I got a membership at a local gym and started lifting regularly.

Why did you enter Physique Of The Week?

I saw a local athlete post the online competition on a Chicago Athlete Facebook page and followed the link and said, “hey why not.”

How did you feel  when you found out you’d won?

I was elated! The support I have from the bodybuilding/fitness industry is truly a blessing.

What do you enjoy most and least about your training?

What I like most is pushing myself to the point most people never go, I continually tell myself when I’m training that I am the hardest worker in the gym and I need to prove that to myself.  This drives me to take my sets “past the pain” threshold. 

What I like least is not having a training partner on leg day.  Leg day is the pinnacle of all training days and having someone driving you is essential.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Personally, Jesus Christ is my inspiration. Professionally and athletically would have to be IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski.  [He’s a] genuine guy personally, and very giving in his knowledge to help others become their best.

Do you have a favourite motivational quote?

I do, it’s “NO FREE LUNCH! “

You need to put in the hard work and have discipline with nutrition, there are no short cuts. Also someone telling me “You can’t do that” motivates me like nothing else.

What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

I plan on going back to school to get certified in nutrition and training and that endless pursuit of the IFBB Pro Card.

How often do you perform cardio and what’s your favourite CV workout ­ HIIT or steady state cardio?

During the offseason I’ll do HIIT once a week.  Come contest prep, depending where I am, I will do HIIT and Steady State, sometimes HIIT 2x a day come crunch time.

For HIIT, I like using the Spin Bike where I have easy access to the tension/resistance lever, so I can turn it up for my ALL OUT intervals and also like using the battle ropes.

Do you switch up your training routine every once in a while?  If so, why and how often?

For the last few years I have been training with lots of volume, lightweight and a lot of tension time, focusing on contacting and executing my movements with proper form. 

I am now incorporating some periodization where I will go heavy and take more time between sets, to get the best of both worlds, powerlifting and bodybuilding.

What’s your biggest gym or muscle building pet peeves?

Ugh, people not racking their weights, poor gym etiquette.

What training advice would you give to those who want to get fit and lean?

Take less time between sets, make your sets last longer by doing rest pauses, drop sets and make sets last at least 40 seconds.

Likewise, what nutritional advice would you give?

Track your food intake with an app like MyFitnessPal, manipulate your intake and give it TIME!! HIIT Cardio is a must.

What does your pre and post workout nutrition and supplementation look like?

PRE/Intra and Post workout nutrition are the most important protocol in my nutrition regimen. 

I consume 25% of my daily carbs pre 12.5% 1 ½ hours before training and intra 12.5% (usually a HBCD carb intra with BCAAS) .  Post workout 25% of daily carb intake.  

What is your favourite cheat meal or foods?

Ginos East Pizza OR Portillos burger with fries.

We know you compete quite a bit ­ but what do you think your greatest  achievement is?

I recently placed 7th overall at Team Universe on July 5th, it was my best condition to date however they bumped the Lightweight class to 205 and below and the top 6 were all 200+, I was very happy with my condition and could not be happier with what I brought to the stage.

Which athletes do you admire and why?

I admire IFBB Pro Mark Dugdale. He is a leader in and out of the gym, great father, husband and role model. IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski, he has helped me turn my calves around in the last year and of course going old school, Lee Labrada.  Being as short as he was he still managed to look great and compete with the big boys.

What’s next for you?

I am looking to compete in the 2015 Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Being part of C620 Nutrition has really helped me be the best I can be. Brian Melancon comes endorsed by industry guru Layne Norton and has been changing lives. One of the most humble people I know and am proud to have him in my corner come contest prep time.

He is a magician with what he does during peak week!

Nutrition Plan

Nutrition close to show time: 6 meals a day. 300 Grams protein, 150-110 Carbs, 40 Fat

Off season 6 meals a day. 300 Protein grams protein/ 200-490grms Carbs/ 60-100 Fat

Training Plan:

This shows my 4 day split but I will change up and train legs 2x a week come Autumn.

I rest 30 seconds between sets and 45 seconds between supersets.

Each set lasts from 40 seconds to 4 minutes.


  • 1 hour cardio and abs


  • Off


  • Back, traps, biceps, forearms


  • Shoulders/Calves


  • Rest


  • Legs


  • Cardio