Full name: Fred Steve Smalls II
Nickname: Biggie Smalls
Date of birth: October 8, 1975
Off-season weight: 280—but from now on, no more than 260!
Contest weight: 225
Current residence: Townsend, Delaware
Years training: 17
Occupation: Personal trainer, nutritional consultant, contest prep coach
Marital status: Married to Karen
Hobbies: I was a dancing minor in college and still love to dance. I also do choreography for fitness and bodybuilding competitors and cheerleaders. I love playing with my kids and listening to music.
How did you get into bodybuilding?
At 13, I was too heavy at 5’ and 180 pounds. My mom was concerned and took me over to The Training Center, where I run my business today, many years later. She got me a trainer to whip me into shape, and he was a powerlifter. I competed successfully in that sport, and in 1996 I was the world champion in two federations, the ADFPA and WNPF. There were also two state champion bodybuilders at my gym, To-Ze Manjerico and Dave Dollar. I fell in love with that look and wanted to have a muscular physique and win my state show. The owner of my gym helped me get ready for my first contest, the ANBC Delaware, which I won. People told me I had great potential, so I wanted to keep going.
Who inspired you when you were starting out?
I liked Shawn Ray’s physique, but when I saw Flex Wheeler guest pose in my area in 1996, I was blown away that a person could possibly look like that. I was also influenced by Ronnie Coleman’s work ethic and training intensity. Of the guys out there today, I would say Kai Greene is my favorite. He’s just a straight-up freak.
’03 NPC Jan Tana Classic, heavyweight, 1st, and overall; ’09 NPC USA Championships, heavyweight, 3rd; ’09 NPC National Championships, heavyweight, 3rd; ’10 NPC USA Championships, heavyweight, 3rd
Favorite bodypart to train:
Chest—I can do good reps with 455 on the bench.
Narrow-grip pullups—they get my whole upper body pumped.
Least favorite exercise:
Incline dumbbell curls—the burn is excruciating!
Most challenging bodypart:
I could always use bigger calves, but right now I’m also focusing on getting more of a sweep and drop to my hamstrings.
In 2005 I had a severe injury to a tendon in my wrist after a bad spot on heavy incline dumbbell presses—it caused my hand to almost turn fully around. I couldn’t even hold a 12-pound dumbbell. The doctors said I had two options: either lift very light weights from then on or train heavy until the tendon fully tore so they could go in and reattach it. Instead, I chose to rehab it on my own by gradually increasing my weights, and now it’s fine. But that episode definitely taught me not to take training and competing for granted or to assume they would always be there—because you never know which workout or contest may be your last.
What’s your bodybuilding philosophy?
Focus plus discipline equals results—and always strive to be better than average.
How do you stay motivated?
I want the feeling of being the best. I love to train, and most of all I want to show my kids that if you work hard and never give up, you can accomplish anything. I also get so much love and support from my wonderful wife Karen, and that keeps me going every day for sure!
How would you describe your training style?
I switch up my angles and rep schemes after every three workouts so that they never get stale—and also to prevent injury. The volume is fairly high, and my favorite intensity technique is drop sets.