West Coast Update With Eric Broser - Toto Djong
By Eric Broser
My good friend, IFBB Classic Pro, Toto Djong, is a regular at Gold’s Gym, Venice, where he can be seen almost daily training with his partner and coach, George Thibault (also an IFBB Masters Pro).
Here is an episode of my show B Built by Broser where I trained Toto 10 days out from his last show.
Toto began his IFBB career in the 212 division, but quickly realized he would be better suited for classic. This turned out to be a great decision, as he made quite an impact in 2019, earning a higher placing in just about every show he entered. I have had the honor of putting Toto (and George) through several workouts using my unique training methods, and although they are both pros, they are always willing to learn something new and embrace new techniques.
Recently I decided it would be awesome to catch up with Toto and take this time to introduce him on my new GASP blog – “West Coast Update.” Hope you enjoy!
Eric: Thank you for doing this little interview with me my friend! Please start off by telling GASP readers how old you are; where you are from originally, and where you now reside.
Toto: It’s my pleasure Eric. Thank you for asking me to do this. I’m honored! My name is Toto Djong and I’m 42 years old. I was born in Jakarta Indonesia and came to United States in 1995. I’m a Santa Monica, CA resident, and have been for over 25 years now.
Eric: When did you start bodybuilding, and what got you interested in it? Did you have any mentors or idols in the sport?
Toto: I started lifting weights when I was 21 years old. I regularly went to gym with friends, but had zero real knowledge of bodybuilding, supplements or nutrition. Everything changed when I was blessed to meet veteran bodybuilder, George Thibault one day while in the gym (around 2008). He approached me and told me that I have great genetic potential, and should compete in shows. I took his advice and decided to give it try.
George taught me how to improve my lifting technique and train my body in a more logical manner. He also schooled me in nutrition, supplements and the proper dieting protocols for both gaining mass and losing fat. At the time I looked up to many bodybuilders, and appreciated both mass monsters and the more aesthetic physiques. Some of my favorites were Lee Labrada, Jay Cutler, Phil Heath and Kevin Levrone.
Eric: When was your first contest and what show was it? How did you do?
Toto: My first ever contest was the NPC Excalibur back in 2008. I prepped for 12 weeks under George’s guidance and got 4th in the bantamweight class. From then forward I was hooked on competitive bodybuilding!
Eric: At what show did you win your pro card? How did you feel when you achieved this amazing goal?
Toto: I won my Pro card at the 2017 NPC USA in Las Vegas (welterweight division). I took 24 weeks getting ready for this show. I spent the first 12 weeks in a size-gaining phase and then took the next 12 weeks to totally rip up my physique.
It felt amazing o hear my number announced, and even more incredible to be put in the center amongst the best bodybuilders in the country. It was a dream come true after spending 9 years working my way up in the amateurs - to finally reach my ultimate goal of winning my IFBB pro card. Yeah Eric, it’s felt great and was also so humbling at the same time.
Eric: Did you have any struggles or obstacles you had to overcome while working towards making it into the pros?
Toto: Because I work all day in a gym, training clients, I feel my biggest personal struggle is keeping up with my own workouts and nutrition. It can be exhausting work and often it is hard to find the time to get in all my meals and have enough energy to crush my own training sessions. However, I always find a way because this is the lifestyle I want. It’s all a mindset.
Eric: I believe you began your pro career in the 212-bodybuilding division, but have now switched to classic physique. Why did you make this change? Do you approach the classic class differently from the 212 as far as how you focus your training?
Toto: Yes my first pro show in 2018 was in 212 division – the IFBB Tampa pro. I was the lightest in that line up, weighing only about 173lbs. And because I was giving up over 30 lbs to most of the guys all I could manage was 14th place. I realized I would be better suited for classic physique, as my strengths are in my lines, shape and conditioning. My approach has not really changed, as I still just work as hard as possible trying to get better at every show.
Eric: When you prepare for competition what type of diet do you follow? Do you go super high in protein or stay more moderate? Are you a high carb guy, or do you prefer more fats?
Toto: I always been a fan of carb-cycling and have used that technique since my first competition. I generally keep my protein intake steady – around 250 g per day. On my higher carb days I will consume around 250 g per day, and on really low days, as little as 50 g. On low carb days I increase my intake of healthy fats. This keeps my energy from dropping.
Eric: You have outstanding quads – both in size and shape. What might a typical thigh workout be for you? What is your favorite quad movement?
Toto: I came from an athletic background - playing soccer and basketball in my younger years. I think that’s why my quads are somewhat dominant over my upper body. However, that does not stop me from killing my quads in the gym!
My favorites thigh exercises are leg extensions, squats, leg press, and lunges. But out of all of these movements I tend to favor the leg press. These seem to bring about the most development for me.
Eric: Yeah bro, those quads are crazy! You had a lot of success in your last few shows, placing as high as second in a very tough lineup. What is your eventual goal? Do you have aspirations of winning the Mr. Olympia one day?
Toto: Like everyone says, you have to pay your dues. I knew if I kept on doing the work and kept on showing up at every show better and better that I would be rewarded. My ultimate goal is to qualify to compete on the biggest stage in bodybuilding – the Mr. Olympia. And yes, just like so many other’s in my chosen sport, my dream is to one day even win it!
Eric: I think you have it in you my friend! Like me, you normally train in Gold’s Gym, Venice – “The Mecca of Bodybuilding.” Right now it is closed, and we all miss it quite profoundly. What do you love most about training in the most famous bodybuilding gym in the world?
Toto: Ahhh yes, the Mecca of bodybuilding. I think that Gold’s Gym, Venice is the best gym in the world. It is an honor to be able to train there. I love working out alongside so many great and knowledgeable people like you (“Merlin”) and Dave Bourlet (who loves bodybuilding and is such a humble person).
And of course, it’s amazing to see the superstars of our sport every day, such as Dexter Jackson, Shawn Rhoden, Silvio Samuel, and Danny Hester. On occasion I actually get to train among true legends like Arnold, Lou Ferrigno and Robbie Robinson. Every day I enter that gym my motivation and inspiration jumps to a higher level. We are like a big, happy family at Gold’s – a true brotherhood of iron.
Eric: Well my friend, it was so great talking with you and catching up a bit. You are on of the most friendly and humble people in the sport of bodybuilding and your work ethic and dedication is admirable. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your story with everyone at #TeamGASP.