- BNBF WELSH Qualifier Lightweight champ 2006.
- BNBF WELSH Overall champion 2006.
- BNBF FINALS Lightweight 5th place 2006.
- BNBF NORTHERN Qualifier Lightweight champ 2008.
- BNBF NORTHERN "Best Wheels" 2008.
- BNBF FINALS Lightweight 4th place 2008.
What is your background and how did you get started in bodybuilding?
I got started by accident, I begin on search engines on the internet. I typed in yahoo "how to gain muscle and lose fat" and the first match was an American bodybuilding forum. What was good about this forum was that it catered for the natural athlete, which was great because it definitely put me on a good path and one which I can look back on and be thankful for. I basically started in my garage with a few weights, bench and barbell and began from there. I feel it's important to build a good base because that's what stands you well in the future, my advice is to treat each body part with the same intensity as you will only suffer in the long run with lagging body parts.
Why do you love bodybuilding?
I like bodybuilding because it's a hobby and part of my lifestyle. I like the challenge of improving my physique all the time. Being a natural bodybuilder you have to patient with your progression. I think natural bodybuilding has made me wiser, more confident and a better person.
What is your training philosophy?
For me it's anything goes, I am quite flexibly with my approach to training so depending on my mood my workouts can vary with sets, reps and exercises. I say, keep it fresh and always look out for new ideas, that way you will always improve.
I like to isolate my training and I am a believer in mind over muscle. This approach has worked well for me when training legs, people tend to look at my physique and automatically assume that I have good genetics when it comes to my leg muscles without taking into account how I train them...I suppose that is a natural way of thinking.
Also I am very competitive with myself, so training on my own is no problem although this past year I have been trying with a good mate of mine and fellow competitor and my training has improved because we have both learned from our own weaknesses and turned them into positives.
What's a good workout routine that has given you results?
This routine has worked well for me, sets and reps vary.
- Monday: Chest & Abs
- Tuesday: Hamstrings & Biceps
- Wednesday: Shoulders & Triceps
- Thursday: Quads & Calves
- Friday: Rest Day
- Saturday: Back & Traps
- Sunday: Sports/rest
I have recently taken up badminton and play that when I can. I also change my routine from time to time and will take the day off when needed. Sometimes I will have 2 days off other times I will have 1.
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Leg press machine, I like the variation that my leg workouts have included at the minute.
- Isolation deadlift (cannot perform the free bar deadlift due to a spine injury) you know you have worked when performing these, so it must be good.
- Incline barbell press, I would then use the barbell to perform bicep curls and skull crushers
What's the best training tip you could give to others?
Be consistent and use plenty of variation. Be open to constructive criticism as this will no doubt improve you in the long run. Variation is important on many levels, 1.) it keeps the body guessing 2.) it prevents boredom when working out.
What is your philosophy on nutrition?
This depends on body types I suppose. I tend to eat sensibly during the week as I am more organized due to work. I prepare my food the night before, which I think is important. Preparing your own food can save you money rather than buying your lunch at the supermarkets or take outs.
I do like takeaway food but not too much as your training will only suffer with poor nutrition, I believe everything in moderation is fine, if that's chocolate, takeaway and alcohol, as you do need a life outside of bodybuilding.
When competing though, it's a different matter, you have boundary's and the above treats should be a no no imo.
Give us a typical day in your off season diet:
I eat plenty of oats, sweet potato, white potato, and protein intake varies from chix, steak and fish. I do tend to eat comfortably and do deprive myself of good home cooked food. I like takeaways too.
- Morning: Oats and berries mixed with water microwaved and then once cooked add my protein powder.
- Mid morning: 2 apples and a protein bar
- Lunch: Sweet potato and spiced chicken breast
- Mid lunch: Smaller portion of sweet potato and chicken, sometimes a will have a meal replacement shake. But I tend to stick with as many solid meals as possible.
- Post workout: varies from waxy maize or maltodextrin with aminos and then 10 minutes later my protein powder with water.
- Evening meal: This can vary, white potato and flamed chicken breast with veggies or sometime baked beans and coleslaw ;-) Or another home cooked meal.
- Late evening: Grape nuts (high fibre cereal) with protein powder and skimmed milk.
What are your favorite meals and foods?
I do like sweet potato for off season and oats, both are solid carbohydrates to have in your diet. I like to have white potato mixed with low fat cheese with veggies and spicy chicken breast. Steak is good too - medium to well done too ;-)
Favorite cheat food?
I am quite easy for cheat food, I like Pizza, burger and chips, Chinese. I do prefer savory over sweet, though cheese cake and apple crumble and custard go down well. ;-)
What supplements do you use that give you great results? How do you use them?
- Whey protein, first thing in the morning with oats and post workout.
- Waxy maize/Maltodrextrin - post workout with whey
- Pre-workout Drink - I am hooked on these drinks, Great for pumps, focus, energy before a workout and strength. Though I think it's good to swap brands each month.
What brands do you think are offering the best products at the moment?
What do you think is a good off season muscle building stack?
Eat plenty, and lift heavy. Supplement wise I would add in creatine. If you metabolism is high then you can get away with eating more junk foods in the off season, though with slower metabolism I would increase your calories slowly, to make sure you are not gaining too much fat.
What do you think is a good pre-contest/fat loss stack?
I don't rely too much on fat burning supplements, hi intensity cardio seemed to work well for me and CLA capsules. Once you have a good diet sorted, add in your cardio gradually but don't heavily rely on it. Then add in supplements like CLA, Green Tea and keep steady progress on your weight loss. Once you have stop losing, then summarise your diet again and look where you could improve it.
Advice For Others
What are the 3 best tips you'd give to someone thinking about competing in natural bodybuilding?
- Go to show, see what it is about and ask the questions.
- Try and get the advice and help from someone you trust (preferably someone who has competed or somebody who has prepped a competitor before).
- One you begin dieting, keep taking progress photo's every two weeks or so, this will help to see your progression. When dieting a lot of negatives thoughts and doubts will enter the mind, these photo's will indicate if you are on track or need to improve. You will get some days where you will look great and other days where you won't, that's just the norm. Photo's will help to reassure that everything is fine and it's just the mind playing games.
What is your best advice for looking your best on competition day?
Tricky, I would say less stress helps, relax as much as possible. Get your tan right and get the colour dark as the lights will bounce off it well (I myself didn't have a good 2008 with tan, so I will be going back to the tan I used in 2006). Looking your best on the day is the result of all your hard training and having a solid diet. On the day should be about enjoying it and looking confident on the stage.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who's having trouble staying on track?
You have to be honest with yourself, ask the questions, Could I improve my diet? Was that workout good enough? My moto is "there's always room for improvement" you stand by that and that is motivation in itself. Stay positive and get advice and constructive criticism from others.
What shows have you got coming up, where can we see you compete?
My next competition will be next year, not decided which show yet.
What would you like to achieve in your natural bodybuilding career?
Just to better my last performance, if I improve from last time I will be happy.
Who are your favorite bodybuilders and idols?
I Don't really have bodybuilding idols, I just respect people who are willing to give up their free time to help others out achieving a goal that I once had. I do admire Arnold though, just through what he has achieved, bodybuilding, films etc.