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Matthew Kroczaleski

Full name: Matthew Raymond Kroczaleski

Nickname: Kroc or Matt Croc

Date of birth: December 8, 1972

Height: 5’9”

Off-season weight: 275

Contest weight: 255

Current residence: Grand Ledge, Michigan

Years training: 29

Occupation: Pharmacist, former U.S. Marine

Marital status: Married to Lauren

Children: Logan, 12, Garrett, 10, Maxx, eight

Hobbies: Drawing, working on old muscle cars, reading, traveling

How did you get into powerlifting and bodybuilding? From as early as I can remember, I was always fascinated with size and strength. I was messing around with weights as young as six years old, sneaking into my dad’s room and doing curls with his dumbbells from Sears. When I was nine, I made my first weight set out of an iron pole and milk jugs I filled with sand and a bench out of a wood plank laid across two cinder blocks. My dad later made me additional plates by melting down lead from old car batteries. In high school I started entering powerlifting meets we had against other schools, and I was horrible. Contrary to what some people assume, I was not genetically gifted in either size or strength, and I’ve worked very hard for all of it. My genetics were probably better suited for distance running.

Who inspired you when you were starting out? I can’t point to any one person. I saw “Pumping Iron” and Arnold in the Conan movies, but I was also buying all the bodybuilding magazines as far back as junior high. Getting big and strong just seemed like what I had to do­­—like it was my destiny.

Top titles: Powerlifting: ’06 WPO World Champion, making the greatest total ever for the 220-pound class, in any federation—2,551; bodybuilding: ’10 NPC Michigan Championships, heavyweight, 1st

Best competition squat: 1,014

Best competition deadlift: 810

Best competition bench press: 738

Favorite bodyparts to train: Chest, back and traps

Favorite exercise: “Kroc rows” (heavy dumbbell rows); has done 300×13, 205×25, 175×40

Least favorite exercise: Cardio, a necessary evil!

Best bodyparts: Chest and back

Most challenging bodypart: Legs and arms—I’ve only been training them hard for less than a year now.

Obstacles overcome: I refuse to let anything stop me from reaching my goals, and I won’t listen when people tell me I can’t do something. In 2004 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Four days after I had my right testicle removed, I was back in the gym squatting. I was bleeding heavily through my incision, but I didn’t care. The injuries I’ve had are almost too numerous to mention: I’ve had full or partial tears in both biceps, my left calf, my left pec, my right quad, my left lat, twice in my left triceps and once in my right. Eight weeks after one surgery on my distal biceps tendon, I set a new bench press P.R. at a Metal Militia bench seminar. My 1,014-pound squat happened six months after I tore my quad. I actually made many of my best lifts not long after injuries. Almost every time I got hurt, people tried to tell me I was all done in powerlifting. That’s for me to decide, not anyone else. I believe strongly in the power of the mind and the force of will in the face of adversity.

Do you have a quote or a philosophy you try to live by? If you want to beat someone, you have to be willing to do what he won’t. There is no substitute for hard work.

How do you stay motivated? I think about my goals and what I want to accomplish. I don’t believe in making excuses or setting limits. The mind controls the body.

How would you describe your training style? Even though I don’t train exactly like a powerlifter now that I’ve switched to bodybuilding, I would still call what I do power bodybuilding. The reps are usually higher than what I did as a powerlifter, and there are far more isolation exercises, but staying strong on all the basics is critical with me.

Training split: Sunday: arms; Monday: legs (emphasis on quads); Tuesday: chest; Wednesday: back; Thursday: shoulders; Friday: legs (emphasis on hams)

Favorite clean meal: Tilapia and rice

Favorite cheat food: Pizza

What is your favorite ­Muscletech Hardcore Pro Series supplement, and why? I love Nitro-Tech Hardcore Pro because it’s so versatile. I mix it into my postworkout shakes and into my morning oatmeal, and it tastes delicious.

Goals in the sport: In powerlifting I want to deadlift 900 pounds, bench-press 600 raw and set the all-time record in the 242 class. I also want to become the first world-champion powerlifter to turn professional in bodybuilding. Since I’ve just started competing in bodybuilding and really haven’t been training for pure mass very long, it’s going to take a little while—but I will do it.

Kroc-Style Training

Day 1: Legs (quads emphasis)
Squats 5 x 10-20
Leg presses 4 x 10-20 (last set is often a long drop set)
Log lunges x 2 rounds (done outside with a section of telephone pole)
Lying leg curls 2 x 20
Seated band leg curls 2 x 20
Standing or leg press calf raises 2 x 25

Day 2: Chest
Flat-bench presses 5 x 5 (done over weeks in wave progression)
Incline dumbbell presses 2 x 20
Bodyweight dips x 50-55 (or add 100 pounds x 20)
Dumbbell flyes 2 x 20

Day 3: Back
Deadlifts 7 x 10-1 (working up from 135 to 700-plus pounds)
Dumbbell “Kroc rows” (warmup) x 2 (work set) 1 x 10-30
Chins: alternate wide- and neutral-grip sets for 100 reps total
T-bar rows 4 x 10-12
Reverse-grip barbell rows 2 x 20
Barbell shrugs 2 x 10-20
Shrugs with farmer’s walk apparatus 3 x 20

Day 4: Shoulders
Barbell or plate front raises 2 x 20
Leaning laterals 2 x 20
Behind-the-back cable laterals 2 x 20
Reverse pec deck flyes 2 x 20
Standing thick-bar presses 3 x 15-20

Day 5: Legs (hamstring emphasis)
Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 10-20
Rope pull-throughs 3 x 15
Lying leg curls 2 x 20
Seated leg curls 2 x 20
Standing leg curls 1-2 x 20
Leg extensions 2 x 20-40
Leg presses 2 x 20-40
Standing calf raises 2 x 25
Seated calf raises 2 x 25

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Arms (alternate doing bi’s or tri’s first)
Cable pushdowns 3-4 x 20-30
Close-grip bench presses 3 x 20
Bench dips (drop sets) 3 x 30-40 total reps
Lying triceps extensions 2 x 20
Barbell curls 2 x 20
Machine curls 2 x 20
Hanging concentration curls 2 x 20
Spider curls (facedown on incline bench) 2 x 20

Daily Diet and Supplements

Meal 1: Oatmeal mixed with Nitro-Tech Hardcore Pro Series, fat-free cottage cheese, fresh fruit
Supplement 1: Intravol mixed with Nitro-Tech Hardcore Pro Series
Supplement 2: Meso-Tech Complete with 32 ounces skim milk
Meal 2: 12-16 ounces lean red meat, baked red potato, fat-free cottage cheese, 32 ounces skim milk
Meal 3: 6 whole eggs plus six eggs, whites only; 2 whole-wheat English muffins with all-natural peanut butter; 32 ounces skim milk
Supplement 3: Meso-Tech Complete with 32 ounces skim milk
Meal 4: 12-16 ounces chicken or turkey breast, baked red potato, fat-free cottage cheese, 32 ounce skim milk IM

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