What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with figure?
I don’t come from an overly athletic background, I horseback rode and competed in jumpers, and played rugby in high school. I started lifting in grade 11/12 but it wasn’t til after high school that I became hooked. I was always so inspired by the girls I saw practicing posing at the gym.
One day I decided I wanted to do it and the rest was history. My brother was always an inspiration as well, being a pro triathlete. I guess it runs in the Killam family! I love how fitness is a lifestyle, it’s not just a hobby. To be successful you must practice it day in and day out, and you really need to love it.
What do you love most about figure?
I love that everything is dependent on you, this is not a team sport. You can’t lie to yourself and expect to see the results you want, you get out what you put in. I love competing, it’s my passion, even when it gets rough at times.
The gym is my alone time, to unleash, kind of like meditation. The amazing people I have met and friendships I have formed along the way are incredible. Everyone is so supportive and all on the same page with the lifestyle we lead.
What were the major milestones that gave you that "extra" motivation boost?
Honestly, winning my class at the SWFC’11. That was one of my happiest moments, it took everything to not crinkle my face and bawl on stage. I had pushed so hard and was so determined, and it paid off. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted that, how hungry I was for it! I went from placing dead last at that exact show 1 year prior, to winning my class.
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing how far I have come, from placing to progress pictures. In 2 years I have come so far, and am confident I am only going up from here. I want it bad and am determined, and it’s gotten me this far. When people tell me I have inspired them to go to the gym or to push harder, that in itself makes it worth it too.
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
I plan to one day grace the Olympian stage, like my figure competitor idols. For now I am working towards competing at the 2013 Canadian Nationals, where I plan to take top 5 and qualify for the North Americans in PA (20 days later.)
From there I will try for the Arnold Amateur. I would love to have earned my pro card within the next couple years, being the youngest CDN IFBB Figure Pro.
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
Right now I currently lift weights 5-6 days a week. Each day I focus on specific body parts, usually 2 per session (besides legs and back.) I am training delts and back twice a week, as these are areas I need to grow. Everything else is just once per week, and I am going to start training legs doing only bodyweight exercises with lots of plyometrics.
I’ll do this because in figure, you want a nice V shape; big delts and back, tapered down to small waist. You don’t need overly developed quads to give you that X shape like you do in bodybuilding, and I have built well developed and hard legs.
How often do you perform cardio?
6 days a week right now, but it depends on how far out from competition I am, which will also determine if I do 2 per day sessions. I like to switch it up, doing HIIT, medium intensity and long and low cardio. I also hit the track once a week for a good sprint workout.
How often do you change your training routine, and do you periodize your training?
I switch things up every 4 weeks or so. I personally think this method has many benefits, in terms of keeping things fresh and keeping the muscles, mind and body guessing. I let my trainer Tyrone Ashmeade make the call, sometimes we will totally switch things up for 2 weeks. He looks at how I’m feeling and what my body is up to and we play it by ear from there.
What are your thoughts on fasted cardio?
I believe it has its place especially during contest prep, as long as done correctly. This means not waiting too long to do it after waking, ensuring you fueled properly the night before, and not doing super intense cardio.
Which do you prefer, and why…stead state cardio or HIIT?
I love HIIT! If it looks like I took a shower after cardio, I know I had a good sesh. I love doing tabata sprints and feeling my lugs burn. This is where you go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then stop for 10 seconds. Do this for 3 minutes and then rest 1 minute. Repeat a few times and you are cooked!
What are some of your best training tips for someone who just wants to get ripped?
Training tips? I would rephrase that to say dieting tips! I believe it’s about 75% diet and 25% training. Decrease your carb intake, lean protein, moderate fat. When you eat carbs, eat them for energy and that’s it. As far as training goes, lift heavy and don’t skip the cardio.
How important is progression of weight in some form, in the muscle building process?
It’s very important, I would think this is common sense, however some people don’t get it. If you are lifting the same weight and doing the same exercises, how can you expect improvement? Your workouts will become stagnant if you are looking for results.
What are some of the biggest training mistakes you’ve made?
Biggest training mistake would probably be over-training. I love lifting and I admit I have made the mistake of doing extra, other than what my trainer had laid out for me for a particular training session.
I did this a few weeks out before Nationals during a back workout, I decided to do some cable rows at the end of a workout. I was getting a great stretch……and pulled my lat. Not good! This made posing extra difficult and recovery time sucked.
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
Gym pet peeve has got to be people who bash and throw their weights around unnecessarily…and then don’t put them away. Or the obvious, not wiping down your sweaty goodness after using a bench or machine.
A huge pet peeve of mine is the onslaught of new years resolution-ers that crowd the gyms, sporting their fancy new gear, curling in the squat racks….and then are gone by February. I’d respect them if they kept it up and learnt gym courtesy.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
Decrease your carb intake! There is no such thing as “toning” or spot reduction on your abs. To see them, you need to lose weight overall (don’t kid yourself now.) That Ab Circle Pro won’t do nothing for you unless you’re adding in some cardio and diet.
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
I love supersets, extended sets and going til failure. Most of my workouts I will go to failure on a few sets.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
During contest prep I make ALL of my meals for the week on Sundays. (No, they don’t go bad.) This means six meals per day, for 7 days, and put into their own bags by the days. Then during the week I don’t have to worry or stress about time for meal prep, makes life so much easier. Fail to plan and plan to fail ;)
Do you believe recomping is possible (gaining muscle while losing fat), and if so, is it as difficult as most people think it is?
I believe it’s totally possible, however, it’s a very fine balance.
What are thoughts cycles of bulking and cutting?
Do it gradual and have a method laid out. And “don’t worry bro, I’m bulking,” is not an excuse to eat anything and everything. We’re building muscle, not fat, people.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
The way to the heart of my inner fat self? Cupcakes and cheesecake. Take notes, boys.
What are your thoughts of niche diet approaches like the Paleo Diet, Adkins Diet, Keto Runs, the Warrior Diet, Intermittent Fasting, etc.?
All of these diets are different so I don’t have the same view on all of them. I like Paleo (what’s there not to like?) I don’t like keto for its muscle building properties, but it works great for some people for cutting. I think intermittent fasting is a very interesting approach with some cool research behind it.
What are some of your favorite supplements and why?
My staple supplements that I ALWAYS use are a good multi-vitamin, BCAAs (Anabolic State is the best tasting ever, with added glutamine & HICA,) Hemotropin and I’m really digging our newest IsoBolic protein flavor; strawberries and cream.
Which athletes do you admire any why?
Obviously the top figure pro’s such as Nicole Wilkins, Erin Stern, Larissa Reis, and I really admire Emily Stern’s physique.
Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?
Yes, need! I listen to everything but when I’m training I like metal, rock, rap, dubstep, and anything that helps me get in beast mode.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
"You live for this. You’re here to do this. There is a reason you are doing what you do. It’s called passion. It’s determination. And you know, that if you just do what you know is right, and what’s in your heart, you are invincible, unstoppable, unbeatable."
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
Find me on Facebook and check out Nutrabolics page facebook.com/Nutrabolics, follow me on twitter @RkThinkFit and subscribe to my channel on YouTube: RkThinkFitness.
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to compete in your sport?
Do your research, figure out which category and which federation you are best suited for first (Google is your friend.) It helps a great deal to enlist a trainer to help you through the process, I think this is an important step.
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
I like to…workout. I pick things up and I put them down?
Movies and TV shows you’ve enjoyed recently?
Family Guy is an all time favorite, along with Anchorman. I cried when I found out there is an Anchorman 2 coming.
Funniest thing you’ve seen at the gym recently?
Oh yes, those odd triathletes doing their funny “functional” movements. What is that all about? ;)
W Forrest Photography