What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with bodybuilding?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been an avid sports fan. It's a family trait. In fact my entire family were sports crazy. I played every sport going from football to cricket. It really didn’t matter what sport it was as long as I could be competitive, I simply loved sports.
Growing up I remember being in awe of my cousin, now my cousin was no bodybuilder but he weight trained, I remember looking up to him like he was some sort of Greek god simply because he had huge arms and chest I wanted to be just like him.
I began training from the age of 19. Back then the fear of looking like the average man drove me to the gym. However I was only interested in training my chest and biceps, and this is what I did. My training back then was purely to develop big arms and chest to impress the females and gain respect from my friends lol. In a word it was ridiculous, however I did develop impressive arms and biceps, of which I was extremely proud.
It didn’t take me very long to see results and this kept me motivated. As the months and years went by I made some impressive gains, however back then I had no legs or back development. I simply neglected training them, those muscles to me won’t visible. I could hide my legs by wearing trousers. I couldn’t see my back so I really didn’t care, and the females were complimenting my physique, so I couldn’t see a problem.
Fast forward to 2009, when I found out about natural bodybuilding on the Internet. I recall saying to myself well I’ve spent all these years training and looking at some of these guys, I’m pretty sure I could do quite well. I continued my research into natural bodybuilding until one day I came across Rob Hope. That was the day I decided to become a bodybuilder.
I had never seen a natural physique like it and to this day IMO he’s still the greatest natural bodybuilder to have ever graced the stage. This is when my journey began and it has been some journey thus far.
What do you love most about bodybuilding?
This may sound extremely biased but in my humble opinion bodybuilding has to be one of the toughest sports on the planet both mentally and physically. The challenge this sports provides is unrivaled; one you cannot comprehend until you experience it yourself. It's true anyone can be a bodybuilder, but not everyone can be a champion.
This sport isn’t for the faint hearted and this is what I love most about it. The challenge it provides. There is no team, it’s you battling against yourself. The ups the downs, it’s very much a mental battle as it is a physical one. The discipline required to stick to your goal right to the end, and develop a show stopping physique. This is what I love most about this sport.
What keeps you motivated?
Prior to stepping on stage as a competitive bodybuilder I trained because I loved training. One of my all time favorite quotes was by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, "The worst thing I could be is the same as everyone else, I’d hate that." Nothing scared me more than looking like the average Joe, and yes there is an element of vanity, but that really doesn't bother me.
Now that I've decided to take up bodybuilding competitively, failure is what motivates me, and failure to me does not necessarily mean finishing second, third or even last at a competition. Failure to me is stepping on stage knowing I could have been better knowing that I did not prepare well enough. I did not give it 100 percent. That to me is failure. It scares me and that is what keeps me motivated.
Who were your heroes growing up and how did they help inspire you to get involved with bodybuilding?
I’ve already mentioned my family were sports crazy. My late grandfather was the worlds biggest boxing fan. We would happily sit through hours and hours of boxing matches. I can clearly remember the Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Haggler, Roberto Duran and Tommy the Hitman Hearns era, shortly followed by the Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, and Iron Mike Tyson domination of the heavyweight boxing scene. These were a few of my sporting idols as a child. These guys were my inspiration, my heroes and still are to this day.
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
In relation to my sports, to be known as one of the best natural bodybuilders to have ever competed, to help natural bodybuilding get the recognition and respect it deserves, to continue competing for as long as I can. I’m also excited to see where the sports takes me, and to inspire people to live a healthier happier lifestyle.
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
Go heavy or go home. From the very beginning of my bodybuilding adventure I’ve always trained as heavy as possible. I’ve tried the alternative but found that I’d leave the gym feeling inadequate, almost like I hadn’t push myself, I hadn’t achieve.
I train on average four times a week over a five day period, one rest day and repeat. As I’ve said previously I train heavy generally using a weight that would allow me to get anything between ten and fifteen reps with good form. This may not suit everyone but I believe it allows me to get the best out of my physique. It has worked for me so far, so I’m sticking to it.
If I was able to push one more rep or increase the weights slightly in my mind I’ve taken a step forward, and to me that represents progress.
Which do you prefer, and why…stead state cardio or HIIT?
HIIT, more commonly know as interval training, no question. To me this is the best form of fat burning cardio, and recent research has confirmed this. I do this for anything between 30 minutes to 45 minutes twice a week.
Is that it? I hear you say lol, yes it is. I stay pretty lean in the off season, besides I let my diet do the fat burning. The last thing I’d want to do during competition prep is a bunch of cardio that is sacrificing hard earned muscle in the process.
What are some of your best training tips for someone who just wants to look good and get ripped?
Consistency is key, regardless if you're a competitive bodybuilder or simply someone wanting to stay in shape. Do not allow yourself to fall off. If you do, get up, dust off and start again. To me it all comes down to how badly you want something. If you want it enough you will get it.
I would say set yourself goals/targets, realistic photos of someone you would like to look like physically, then set yourself a time in which you would like to achieve that look. There's no time like the present, why not start now? I can't stress this enough. If your inconsistent with your training, diet, etc, you will achieve inconsistent results. It's really that simple.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
You are what you eat, never has truer words been spoken. Train hard/smart, eat well, and for any up and coming bodybuilders out there, my advice to you is do not neglect leg training. Train your legs and train them hard. There’s nothing worse than a house without a foundation. Irrespective of whether you intend to compete, this is my advice to you.
What are your favorite 5 muscle building exercises and why?
Bench press, deadlifts, squats, shoulder press, barbell curls, in that order. Basic compound exercises are needed to build a base. My favorite of the five would have to be bench press, as it's the exercise I’m the best at. However if I had to choose one exercise from the five it would have to be squats. I often say I wish most gyms would get rid of their upper body equipment for six months, to allow everyone’s legs to catch up.
Squat is a brutal exercise. I don’t know many that enjoy them, but once you really get into doing them they can become enjoyable in a weird way. I would advise any up and coming bodybuilder, or anyone thinking about bodybuilding, to start squatting. Do not neglect it like I did.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
Diet. Diet is key to getting into shape. If your diet isn’t right forget about getting shredded. And you can also forget about that six pack to. Yep sorry guy, but it’s the only way. Of course you must in cooperate a relative amount of cardio to assist with fat burning, but like I said at the beginning if the diet isn’t right its not going to happen.
What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
Maxiraw WPI Intensity protein shake.
What does your cutting eating plan look like?
- Meal 1 - 100 grams porridge mixed with Maxiraw WPI intensity, protein 6 eggs.
- Meal 2 - Chicken or turkey breast, brown rice and veg.
- Meal 3 - Steak or chicken breast with brown rice and veg.
- Meal 4 - White fish fillet or tuna and sweet potato.
- Meal 5 - Maxiraw WPI intensity protein shake.
- Meal 6 - Cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, veg.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
Nandos. For those who do not know it’s a South African restaurant that serves grilled chicken.
What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?
Neglecting leg training as a youngster, a huge mistake I will always regret. I always advise any young bodybuilder to train your legs and train them hard. If I had to get rid of every machine in my gym and keep one it will be the squat rack, no question.
Anything provided by my sponsors Maxiraw. Without sounding bias they are a fantastic supplement company, currently using their turbo tester apple and pear BCAAs and WPI Intensity protein.
Which athletes do you admire any why?
Since I’m a bodybuilder I would stick with bodybuilding and say Rob Hope. Not many may have heard of him, but in my opinion he had one of the most phenomenal physiques I have ever seen on a natural bodybuilder.
Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?
Music is a must for me. My headphones are permanently on once I hit the gym. I often find it takes away from distractions, motivates me, and keeps me focused. Often people refrain from asking you question such as how did you get so big, lol, when they see the headphones.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
"The worst thing I could be is the same as everyone else." - Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious”. - Vince Lombardi.
To me this sums up what we put ourselves through as bodybuilders.
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
You can find my fan page on Facebook by searching my name.
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?
Yes, do it, it's that simple. I admit bodybuilding may not be for everyone. It's one of the most disciplined sports out there. I’m sure any bodybuilder would agree, it takes a certain type of person to do this weird and wonderful sport. Discipline, dedication, desire are just but a few of the things required. If you haven’t got that you can still have a go, not sure you would be any good though.
So for anyone contemplating giving it a try, I would say go for it, what have you got to loose. If you don’t you may forever ask yourself, what if?
What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?
I simply refused to put any drugs in my body not prescribed by a qualified medical professional. I sometimes even find it difficult to take an aspirin. I have nothing against the people who do it unnaturally. I suppose in the end it comes down to personal choice and I choose not to.
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
Funniest thing you’ve seen at the gym recently?
One of the funniest was quite recently, young guy no more than 16 walks into the gym looking a little bemused at the seated calves raise. He picks up two 10 kgs dumbbells, places them on the handle of the machine, sits down and proceeds to carry out the exercise. Within a few seconds he realizes this was completely incorrect, so he got up slightly embarrassed and left, lol.
Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?
I am a huge Manchester United Fan. If by some miracle you have not heard of this formidable team, they are an English based football team, or soccer if you’re American.