Written by Ron Harris
08 January 2021



To the Maxx!

Maxx ‘The Destroyer’ Charles Is Ready to Move Up in 2021!


By Ron Harris


From Max to Maxx


When Haitian immigrant Max Charles turned pro seven years ago at the 2013 USA Championships, I was curious to see how he would fare on the flex-for-pay circuit. He had serious height and width at 5-foot-11 and 265 pounds, but even he knew the pros were going to be a whole new level. “I wasn't that excited when I won, if I am being honest,” he divulges. “In my head, I was thinking this was only the beginning and I had a lot of work to be done before I could be a good pro.” His shoulders, arms, and chest were insanely thick and full, but there were other areas that needed work. Most of the improvements needed to come from the waist down. Maxx had avoided squats for years due to lower back issues and a bizarre injury in which a vein burst inside his left calf, but once he got back to the squat rack, the wheels started to catch up. At his pro debut at the 2014 New York Pro won for the second year in a row by a new guy they called Big Ramy, he cracked the top five. A year later on the same stage, he would place third behind two hometown Dominican-Americans, Juan Morel and Victor Martinez. Maxx was clearly going to be a legit contender for years to come. It was this year that he added an extra “x” to his name, just because he felt like it. And hey, XL doesn’t really fit a man walking around ripped at around 270 pounds – that’s at least an XXL!


The Man Who Did It All Wrong and Still Looked Incredible


If you follow a fair amount of pro bodybuilders, the term “cookie-cutter” might come to mind with regard to how they eat and train. It’s blindingly similar. That’s probably why Maxx drew so much attention once his methods became public. That attention was mostly negative, as many fans seemed outraged at how great Maxx was able to look in spite of doing everything “wrong.” Trust me, I can totally relate to the frustration of doing your best to follow “the rules” of training and nutrition only to see someone who flouts them making you look like you don’t even lift, bro. First off, Maxx was infamous for grossly overtraining. Workouts are “supposed” to be 60 to 90 minutes long, yet he routinely logged three to three and a half hours in the gym. We are supposed to take rest days to recover, at least once a week if not more often, yet Charles was in Bev and Steve’s Powerhouse Gym every damned day without fail. We are told that eight to 12 reps are ideal for muscle growth, and that high reps are a waste of time. Charles would average 20 to 30 reps per set, and was often witnessed using rest-pause and drop sets to extend the rep totals to 40 to 50. But wait, it gets even worse. You’ve had it hammered into your head over and over to use a full range of motion on your reps. Maxx trained with mega-heavy weights, but the reps were never even close to full. “I do about half the range of motion on most exercises, getting the stretch but not going anywhere near lockout,” he told me back in 2014. Upon further “hater” analysis of his training on video, I surmised that “half rep” was a generous term in many cases. But I always say you can’t argue with results, and whatever he was doing obviously worked well for him.


Maxx Charles 1



Eating Like a Bird, Looking Like a Beast


I’m sorry to say it gets even worse when we talk about Maxx’s nutrition. Bodybuilders need to be eating machines. Eating the standard three meals a day is woefully inadequate to fuel the training, recovery, and muscle growth that allows bodybuilders to display such extreme development, with bodyweight and muscle mass far in excess of the average human. I’ve been around quite a few pro bodybuilders over the years, and they are always in one of three situations: I just ate, I’m eating, or I need to eat soon. They’re always hungry unless they just finished a meal. Maxx defies all of that. “I’ve never had much of an appetite, even when I was a kid back in Port-au-Prince,” he tells us. In fact, he related a story where an old girlfriend called his mother out of concern, believing he was depressed and not eating. “My mother laughed and told her I’d always been like that,” he says.


For a long time, the myth around Maxx was that he only ate one meal a day. That was true, and it wasn’t. “In the off-season, I would make one big meal of maybe 12 ounces of chicken and 3 to 4 cups of rice with beans, and I could never eat it all at once,” he explains. “Usually it took me all day, maybe three sittings, to finish it.” Even his former coach Fakhri Mubarak used to marvel at how a man carrying so much size – 300 pounds easy most of the year – could subsist on such meager sustenance relative to his peers. “Once he told me that one of his Bikini pros ate more food every day than I did,” he recalls. “We both got a laugh out of that.” I strongly suspect his intake of juice and soda played a major role in this. He confided to me back then that every day he would drink 2 to 3 gallons of fruit punch or strawberry-banana V8 juice along with Sprite and Mountain Dew. Of course, all that changes once he begins prep. All that soda and juice is cut out, and Maxx diligently eats six to seven meals a day like a normal pro bodybuilder dieting for competition. Even then, his appetite takes a good while to pick up. “I’d say that until four to five weeks out, I’m rarely hungry and I don’t have any food cravings at all.”


How Quarantine Changed His Training


You will be pleased to know that Maxx’s training isn’t quite as unorthodox as of recently, and it’s all thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. Each of the 50 U.S. states had their own restrictions, and as it turned out, New York’s gyms were shut down longer than almost anywhere else. Maxx did the vast majority of his training for the 2020 New York Pro and California Pro shows in a friend’s garage, since New York Governor Cuomo didn’t allow Bev and Steve’s to open up until just before then. Maxx no longer had the option of loading stacks and stacks of 45s onto Hammer Strength machines. “I didn’t have a lot of heavy weights at my disposal, so I had to make less weight feel like more.” He did that by increasing his ROM and focusing on squeezing the muscles on each rep, just like a lot of us did in our own makeshift home gyms with limited equipment and weights. “In the past I didn’t feel like full reps were as effective for me, because I felt I lost tension on the muscle as I neared the end point,” he says. “Now that I was able to really master that mind-muscle connection in my friend’s garage gym, I am applying the same style to my workouts at Bev and Steve’s, even though I have access to all the weight I want there.”


Maxx Charles 2




The 2020 Arnold Classic: Maxx in 4K


Maxx was a stalwart figure on the pro scene and a constant threat for the top two to five at any show he entered, but he leveled up his physique at the 2020 Arnold Classic with a striking degree of conditioning rarely seen even among the Open men. His midsection and chest in particular were an amalgam of veins on veins, deeply etched grooves, and razor-sharp detail. And he’d given up no fullness for this; Maxx was bursting with round volume. This was the first time he’d worked with Milos Sarcev, who was able to help Charles dial the elusive combination of dryness and fullness in perfectly. It was a huge relief to Maxx after having failed to bring his best final package to the stage at any of the four events he’d entered in 2019.


“The thing people don’t understand about me is that I always get in shape and look crazy at a week or two out,” he explains. “It’s the final week that makes or breaks me.”


Maxx has learned some priceless lessons over the last couple of seasons about how his body responds to various factors. “I figured out that I can’t deplete my body too much, because if I pull too much, there’s no way I can fill back out in time.” Maxx is particularly ashamed of the look he brought to the 2019 Mr. Olympia. “I was so flat and stringy that I looked at the photos later and asked, who the fuck is this guy?” There have been times when it literally took him weeks after a contest to regain his muscle fullness. But Milos has an expert eye, and was able to make food adjustments that allowed Maxx to stay full while bringing the craziest condition of his life to the Columbus stage. “By the time I was about to get on stage, I honestly didn’t even care where I placed,” he reveals. “I knew a lot of people had written me off and said I was done after 2019, and I wanted those people to sit up when I came out and say, holy shit! Maxx looks awesome!” That refrain did echo throughout the press rows, as even those of us who’d seen Maxx compete a dozen or more times before couldn’t help but be wowed. In the end, his eighth place didn’t mesh with the impact he made, but Maxx was pleased. “The judges are only human and you can’t control what they like or feel you rightfully deserve, but I was very happy with the package I brought and how it was received.”


Maxx Charles 3


2 More Shows, and Rolling on to the O


Many pros chose to skip the remainder of the 2020 season once it became clear that contest dates were not only uncertain, but were impossible to rely on as the virus and governments were the ones in charge of what types of gatherings and events would be permitted. On top of that, gyms all over the world were shut down. Who would endure the rigors of training for a contest that might very well not happen, or might be postponed to a day months past the original intended date? For some pros like Maxx, making it to their Super Bowl, the Mr. Olympia, was imperative, and they were willing to roll with the punches and do whatever needed to be done.


The New York Pro was where Maxx made his pro debut; it’s his hometown, and he’d done it four times before. Even though the date was moved from May to July and finally September and the location would have to be in Tampa, Florida, Maxx was determined to make it to that stage in 2020. Granted, he wasn’t as insanely ripped as he’d been at the Arnold, but still, many felt he warranted better than the fifth place he got at the New York Pro.


“Honestly, I felt I should have won,” he shares. “But which top pro doesn’t feel he should win?” He had a near-win a week later in Las Vegas at the California Pro (remember, this is 2020 we’re talking about), getting narrowly edged out by Antoine Vaillant. The final qualifying show for the season was the Chicago Pro (in Atlanta), where his third place behind Akim Williams and Justin Rodriguez earned him enough points to secure his spot at the Mr. Olympia.


2021: A Year for Maxx to Rise


Things are looking up for Mr. Charles. He’s figured out how to peak, and he now has the support of supplement giant Redcon1 in his corner. He’s back training at The East Coast Mecca, one of the greatest gyms on the planet, and his 2020 showings gained him legions of new fans and respect as one of the best in the business. Watch for big things from this very big man in 2021!


IG: maxx_charles


Maxx Joins the Redcon1 Team!


“I’m more than excited to announce I’ve joined team Redcon1,” Maxx said. “I want to say thank you to Aaron and Eric for bringing me on board. I love the product line and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an innovative and exciting company. Their support will allow me to continue doing what I love and be better than I’ve ever been before. I’m ready to get back on stage and bring the fire! Look for a whole new and improved version of Maxx in 2021.”


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Breach® BCAA

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Fubar - Energy Shot

GI Juice®



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Contest History


2008 Eastern USA

Super Heavyweight Winner


2011 Atlantic States      

Super Heavyweight Winner


2011 NPC Nationals

Second, Super Heavyweight


2012 USA Championships

Third, Super Heavyweight


2013 USA Championships

Super Heavyweight and Overall Champion


2014 New York Pro

Fifth Place


2014 Tampa Pro

Fourth Place


2015 New York Pro

Third Place


2016 Arnold Classic

Seventh Place


2016 Arnold Classic Asia

Sixth Place


2016 New York Pro

Fourth Place


2016 Toronto Pro

Second Place


2016 Vancouver Pro

Fifth Place


2017 Arnold Classic

Third Place


2017 Arnold Classic Australia

Second Place


2017 Arnold Classic Europe

Sixth Place


2017 Tampa Pro

Second Place


2017 Mr. Olympia

13th Place


2018 Arnold Classic

13th Place


2018 Muscle Mayhem Pro

Third Place


2018 George Farah Classic

Third Place


2018 New York Pro

Ninth Place


2018 Tampa Pro

Third Place


2018 Toronto Pro

Seventh Place


2018 Romania Muscle Fest



2019 Mr. Olympia

13th Place


2019 Grand Prix Hungary

Seventh Place


2019 Japan Pro

Seventh Place


2019 Romania Muscle Fest

Fourth Place


2020 Arnold Classic

Eighth Place


2020 New York Pro

Fifth Place


2020 Chicago Pro

Third Place


2020 California Pro

Second Place


Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram