This is a story you truly do not hear about every day. Just a few weeks ago Thomas Bakke became pro at the Junior USA’s where only 3 Pro cards were awarded for Men’s Physique. He decided to make his pro debut 2 weeks later at the Northern California Pro. A small show, it was nonetheless stacked with four Olympians on the card. Unwavered, Thomas proved victorious at NorCal beating out the four Olympians and other seasoned competitors. Do we see a new rising star coming up through the ranks? We certainly think so! After the show, we were able to catch up with Bakke and ask him a few questions for this exclusive interview.
Thomas once again congratulations on your Pro Win. It was just a couple of weeks ago you got your Pro Card. For all of those just getting to know you, what is you history in the NPC?
So I started competing in the beginning of 2016. Did two shows just for fun and then decided I wanted to get a little more serious. My friend Jonny Bernstein introduced me to Ryan Bentson and under his coaching we achieved 3 npc overalls, my pro card and now my O qualification.
So in competing for you Pro Card at Nationals. What was running through your head when you got first place and wen to overall?
In my mind my biggest competitions was my teammate chris Bryant who was in my class. So once I won my class I was pretty confident that I was going to be able get top 3 out of the 6 classes to earn my pro card.
After a show, we all crave that cheat meal. What was your go to cheat after your Pro Card Win?
After finals, I already had donuts ready to rock-n-roll back at the hotel room. But after a couple of those, I went to a late night place called the Early Bird Diner in downtown Charleston. There, I ordered their meatloaf sandwich which was suggested by the waitress (bad idea). I wasn’t happy with it so ended up at IHOP getting a stack of pancakes of course. Can’t go wrong with pancakes.
It’s always a great accomplishment to get your Pro Card and competitors usually take a little time to improve. Why did you choose you Pro Debut at the North Cal Pro only 2 weeks later?
I chose NorCal as my pro debut because I won the overall in November at the Sacramento Championships. At first, I was going to take a break but figured I’m in the best shape I have been in and knew I could improve and come in tighter with the two weeks I had to train for it. I had also been eager to see how I compare amongst the pro’s.
With 2 weeks of prep, What adjustments did you make going into North Cal?
In the two weeks I had I didn’t make many adjustments. I went right back to same cardio and training regimen that I was doing for my pro card. The only thing I changed was I took out fats from my diet because I had a really good re-feed after I got my pro card. I wanted to get back to a depleted state to be ready for NorCal.
Just doing your Pro Debut is nerve wreacking, but you stepped on stage with 4 Olympians. How did you stay composed on stage?
Going into this show it only had 7 guys but 4 of them were Olympians which actually made me push harder in the two weeks I had. As far as being on stage, this was the first show. I was nervous as F#%k! When we were pumping up I remember my hands shaking a little bit and I was the first one to enter the stage. But once we were out there doing comparisons it went away and I was so focused on just staying tight and fighting for that center spot.
After Pre-Judging you left the stage being Dead Center. What was running through your mind?
Leaving the stage dead center was for sure a good feeling and gave me a confidence boost going into finals. But I never try to get my hopes up too much. Anything can happen at finals depending on how each competitor shows up.
Typically after Pre-Judging the plan is to come in better for finals so when you’re rejudged you can solidify your placing or in some cases move up. Whats was you’re plan of action for Finals?
In between prejudging and finals, first thing I had to do was go and pick up my dozen donuts from THE BEST damn donut shop called Bakers Donuts. Then, I went back to the hotel room had some boiled chicken with rice cakes and tried to take a nap but my mind was all over the place. A couple hours before finals I went to Carls jr. And got a plain 6 dollar burger which tightened me up and put a smile on my face.
As a competitor, we dream of getting our Pro Card and then of course there is always that first Pro Win. Was it everything you expected?
It honestly felt like I was in a dream. I remember them calling out the top 5. As they got closer to number 1, and they still hadn’t called my name, all I could think of was “Can this even be possible?” As an amateur, I would look up to these guys and can it really be possible that I just beat them… once they called Dean for the number 2 spot it felt like my heart stopped. I didn’t know what to think and when they called my name for first I was just lost for words.
So now you’re Olympia Qualified and there are 14 weeks to go for the big show. What are your plans for going into the O?
So my plans going into the O are to train harder than I ever have of course! I’m now training for the biggest show with the highest ranking Mens Physique competitors from around the world. There are going to be no half ass days or lazy cardio sessions. I’m giving it my all. As far as nutrition programming I leave that to my coach Ryan Bentson, but we will be trying to put on some size throughout the prep.
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