Home Biography Interview



By Rosemary Hallum

 Muscle Mag – july 1998 –


One of the most enjoyable aspects of going to a major show like the  or the  is the opportunity to meet interesting people there.

At the last  I noticed an exceptionally buffed, good-looking, refined and well-dressed couple who “looked like they were somebody”, and I wondered who they are.

I found out when Robert Kennedy and Johnny Fitness introduced me to them: Dr. Massimo Spattini end his lovely wife, Cinzia.

Spattini, six feet tall and , is a leading M.D. in his home country of Italy, devoting his career to bodybuilding and health, with specialties in nutrition and fitness.

Spattini cuts quite a figure, with the combined looks of Steve Reeves and Marcello Mastroianni, elegant bearing like Serge Nubret, and the solid physique of a competitor in near-contest shape.

Cinzia – “Her name is from the Greek and means moon”, explains Massimo with feeling – is shapely and beautiful enough to be a fitness contestant.

Spattini, I learn, is busy enough to need one or two clones. “My work is wide ranging”, he  remarks in an understatement. He has a health/aesthetic center in which he helps clients to lose weight, improve their skin care, and enhance their appearance.

He’s president of the Accademia Olympia, a bodybuilding school where he does double duty working with patients and clients on diet and nutrition, and helping bodybuilding competitors with contest preparation.

As if that weren’t enough – A 31-hour day!” murmurs Cinzia – Massimo also is an adviser and consultant for food companies; write about nutrition, fitness and physique for three Italian magazines (Cultura Fisica, California Sport&Fitness and Sportman ); and works with the promoters of California Sport, a FIBO-like expo held in Italy. “This year we’re having a   as a feature. Bodybuilders everywhere know about   in !”

Then up rushes Samir Bannot, ebulliently grabbing Massimo in a bear hug. “Massimo has heart and muscle and brains!” Samir exclaims. “We were workout partners, training together for the ’88 Mr. .” With a wink Samir adds, “Ask him how he met his wife”.

“We met in my health clinic,” responds Spattini, to which Samir laughs boisterously. He kids, “Another case of a doctor taking advantage of a patient!” and bounds off.

“Cinzia came to me with a little extra weight” explains Massimo, “holding some water and needing some diet correction and training with the right exercises. She said she had a home gym, so even though I don’t usually make home calls, in this case [laughing at himself] I made an exception.” Adds Cinzia, “That was one year before we got married”.

Massimo has loved bodybuilding since he was a teenager. “At 17 I saw pictures of Steve Reeves, Frank Zane and Arnold in the bodybuilding magazines. I wanted to become like them. But it wasn’t that easy in ’75 in . Dumbells and weights were hard to find, and there weren’t a lot of well equipped gyms around as there are today. I went to an ironworker and asked him to make me some dumbbells and barbells like I’d seen in a Franco Fassi magazine.

I didn’t know anything about weight training, so I just did 100 push up every day and some isometric exercise I found in an encyclopedia.

“I was a tennis player then, weighing only  – very light! I was happy when my tennis coach at school gave me some exercise with weights. My body changed immediately. I loved it. Weight training helped me develop more muscle and gain some mass. I become stronger in tennis and interested in building my body some more.”

Spattini was temporarily sidelined when he had a motorcycle accident in which he broke an ankle. “I couldn’t run”, he recalls, “and I couldn’t play tennis, but I could train”. He continued working out during the rest of his high-school years. “And I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”



Dr. Spattini says his training has to be efficient because he doesn’t have any time to waste. His daily schedule is very full, and his work and responsibilities are very demanding, so he has to get the most out of this workouts. He follows a two-on/one-off/two-off schedule.

“I normally use heavy weights only on the first exercise for each muscle group”, he says “I use moderate and light weights for the second and third exercises, always concentrating on making a good mind-to-muscle connection. This way I employ a combination of approaches for each muscle group:

  • An explosive movement on the first exercise, with just one second up (on the upward motion) and two seconds down (on the downward motion).

  • Isotension on the second exercise, using a moderate weight, concentrating upon feeling the muscle and making a good muscle-mind-connection, and always maintaining full tension throughout while lifting for three full seconds and lowering for three full seconds.

  • On the third exercise, with light weight, either moving the weight with very fast momentum or doing the exact opposite, going slowly and lifting the weight four seconds up and five to six seconds down.

Massimo does not use the same weights all the time. The poundage may very depending upon several factors, including his energy levels, professional work load, whether he’s using machines or free weights, if he’s lifting slowly, and whether he’s travelling and working out in a new and different place. Therefore he has listed only the weight for the first exercise in each muscle group.

Monday – Chest, Delts

Machine presses – 4 sets x 6 reps, .

Incline-bench presses – 3 x 10

Cable crossovers – 3 x 12


Presses behind the neck – 4 x .

DB lateral raises – 3 x 10

One-arm cable lateral raises – 3 x 10

Tuesday – Calves, Quads

Standing calf machine – 3 x .

Calf presses – 3 x 12

Seated calf machine – 3 x 20


Leg presses – 4 x .

Leg extensions – 4 x 10

Squats – 4 x 12

Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Back, Traps, Rear Delts

Chins – 4 x 6 using bodyweight plus 40-lb. weight between the feet

Lat machine behind the neck – 4 x 10

Pulley rows – 3 x 12

Traps and Rear Delts:

Lateral raises w/body at 90° – 3 x .

Lying side laterals – 3 x 10

Rear-delt machine – 3 x 12

Friday – Hamstrings, Biceps, Triceps

Leg curls – 3 x .

Standing leg curls – 3 x 10

Deadlifts “with stretched legs” (i.e., legs fully locked out, with no flexion in the knees) – 3 x 12


Standing alternate DB curls – 3 x .

Incline-bench DB curls – 3 x 10

Concentration curls – 2 x 12


Cable pushdowns – 3 x

French presses – 3 x 10

Kickbacks – 2 x 12

Maintaining Low Bodyfat:

Apart from regular cardiovascular work, Massimo has this to say about his diet: “I always maintain my standard shape (210- at 6’1”, with 7 to 9 percent bodyfat), even though I have one day a week – usually Sunday – of ‘free diet’. Some people call this a ‘cheat day’, but I don’t think of it as cheating. Rather, you’re free to eat whatever you wish on that day. I have everything! Cake, ice cream, pizza – everything! (laughing) But then that one day a week is enough, and I’m content to go back on my regular diet”.

Massimo says what he eats on that day won’t become fat, explaining, “My body doesn’t have time to store it as fat since I get right back on my normal exercise and diet regimen and burn it off”.

Genetics has a great deal to do with what you need in your diet and how you manipulate your diet, according to Spattini. “For instance, when I want to increase definition, I gradually cut back my carbs, mostly at breakfast and lunch. For my particular body composition, eating carbs in the morning causes my body to produce fat, so I eat them in the evening. That schedule makes me more relaxed and helps me sleep better. This effect has been confirmed by experiments and studies.”

Massimo’s daily liquid intake is a minimum of three-quarters of a gallon of water, which he regards as necessary for good hydration of the body. He also has a cup of coffee in the morning and before his workout.

  .m.           (breakfast)    10 egg whites

1 whole egg

1 slice (2-.) brown bread

1 tps. peanut butter

11 a.m.                        MET-Rx pack w/1 tsp. flax oil
  2 p.m.            (lunch)             3 cups brown rice (100g)

½ lb. tuna w/1 tsp. olive oil

1 slice brown bread

   5 p.m.                        MET-Rx pack

1 tsp. flax oil

   8 p.m.           (after training) 1 tsp. honey

½ lb. fruit

40g whey protein

  9 p.m.            (dinner)            . pasta

½ lb. skinless chicken or turkey (alternated w/lean red meat twice per



1 tps. olive oil

1 slice brown bread

 12 midnight             2 cups plain nonfat yogurt

40g whey protein

1 tsp. flax oil

Note: If Spattini wakes up during the night to go to the bathroom, he drink a glass of water with 40g whey protein.


“Supplements are an important, vital part of my total nutritional program”, says Spattini. “I need the combination of diet and supplements to fuel my body properly for my work and training”.
 Breakfast                                      1g vitamin C

1 multivitamin/multimineral tablet

2g glutamine

2g creatine monohydrate

50mg DHEA

 Lunch                                               1 B-complex tablet

2g creatine monohydrate

2g glutamate

 Preworkout                                 50mg DHEA

1 combination antioxidant tablet, (500mg vitamin C, 100mg

vitamin E, 20mg  beta carotene, 100mcg selenium, 50mg zinc)

3g arginine piroglutamate

5g BCAA (branched-chain amino acids)

2g glutamine

 Postworkout                                5g creatine monohydrate


2g glutamine

 Dinner                                             Same as lunch
 Before Bedtime                           3g arginine piroglutamate

2g glutamine

500mg phosphatydilserine

Sometimes 3mg melatonin

“At that time there was a lot of confusion about nutrition in bodybuilding. I figured you are what you eat, so I went to study at the top medical university offering the best training in nutritional information. My studies concentrated on nutrition and weight training, biomechanics and endocrinology, all with a focus on bodybuilding.”

Medical schooling was very demanding, Spattini found. He had to study 10 hours a day. “I learned a lot, but I didn’t train very well,” he laughs, “and  the stress of all the work and tests caused me to lose ”.

After six years of medical school Spattini earned his M.D. degree (called Dr. in ).

“Right away I started training again – training to compete!” He obviously did a good job because one year later he won the Italian championship.

Then came further studies, three years focusing on nutrition and four specializing in sports medicine. “I still always trained regularly because I like to be in shape – not just for my work, but for myself and my life. Right now I have a balanced workout with weight training, cardio, running, and sometimes tennis, my old sport.

Maybe I ‘ll return to competition soon and do the Masters Universe.

How good is Massimo when he works out? Plenty. “For 12 years I’ve been coming to the  to train with champions – Samir Bannout, Lee Labrada, and now Misko Sarcev. I also take champions over to  to appear in seminars. We’ve had several stars from Lee Haney to Mishko”.

Cinzia is so lovely and well trained that I ask if she plans to compete. “no”, she replies, smiling. “Competing is very difficult and all-consuming. Besides”, she laughs, “you can’t have two stars in one family! I work as an executive secretary in my father’s construction business. I enjoy training, eating right and keeping in shape. Massimo designed my training to help me accomplish my goals:

  • To be healthy and strong and look good.

  • To be shapely, firm and symmetrical. The fitness body like is Debbie Kruck’s.

  • To develop my legs so they’re as toned as my upper body”.

“Sometimes there’s confusion about what a fit, well-training woman should look like “, comments Massimo. “In  muscles for woman aren’t appreciated very much. It’s considered inelegant for a woman to have muscles sticking out of her dress!”.

The basic problem for each individual, he feels, is finding or deciding upon the right limits of the physique development he or she wants. “Reeves, Zane, Paris, Flex – those are the most aesthetics men to me. The standards have changed – and still are changing – in both bodybuilding and fitness.

“The first time I saw a fitness woman,” says Cinzia, “I felt small in comparison. When I began training, I didn’t like it a lot, and I knew I didn’t want an extremely vascular, shredded look. Now I really enjoy working out. I love the feeling of being in condition”.

Massimo laughs. “She’s more fanatic than me now! When we go  anywhere on vacation or business, the first thing we do is go to a gym. She doesn’t want to miss a workout”. Cinzia smiles, adding, “An important reason I like to train is that I get to be with my husband”.

Massimo custom-designed Cinzia’s training and diet program. “ She’s gifted in her frame, with proportion and symmetry, wide shoulders and small ankles. But if she doesn’t eat good food, she retains some water, usually around the waist.

“Her training is five on and two off, working gluteus every day or every second day, and working every other muscle once a week. She trains heavy for her – but never with excessive weights – with strict, perfect control, and going slowly”.

Spattini also designed a diet for Cinzia. “Nutrition is so individualized that what works for one person wouldn’t work for everybody. Your hormonal response to food depends upon your biochemical makeup.

With this diet she doesn’t retain water.

Breakfast:   Yogurt

1 tsp. of  90% protein

1 tsp. Met-Rx

1 tsp peanut butter


Lunch:         ½ lb. chicken breast

(or lean beef or tuna)

Steamed vegetables

1 tsp. peanut butter


Afternoon snack before training:

1 cup grape juice with

1 tsp. protein powder


Dinner:        1 cup rice or potatoes

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. flaxseed oil

¼ lb. chicken breast

1 cup vegetables, especially

Broccoli and tomato

½ apple

Neither Massimo nor Cinzia has difficulty sticking to a diet. Both like the way they feel when they eat right. “I feel good, less full in the stomach” says Cinzia, “when I follow a healthful diet. I feel well all the time. But after I eat junk food, I feel no good”. Massimo adds in agreement, “Following a correct diet is better for your body”.

Massimo’s plans for the future include writing a book on “some aspect of nutrition and endocrinology”, perhaps importing supplements from  and starting a supplement business in , and competition.

For the Spattini as a couple, both want to have time for themselves to train, have good food, and enjoy life. Cinzia asks: ”What could be better? When you’re in condition you enjoy everything more”. And with a sly smile Massimo agrees: “Everything!”