Pro bodybuilder Shaun Clarida is a giant. At 5'2", and 135 pounds, he has a physique capable of crushing even the largest of natural competitors. In our interview with Shaun, he talks training and diet, and what he loves most about the sport of bodybuilding.
Muscle and Strength: How'd you get the nickname, The Giant Killer?
Shaun Clarida: Being that pretty much every show I've ever competed in, I've always been the shortest competitor in my weight class, if not the entire show. While most believe that the shorter guys get overlooked, I have come to prove many people wrong.
In 2006, I competed at the INBF Natural Northeast America where I won my weight class (Bantamweight) and went on to win the Overall, beating out the four other heavier weight classes. I won my WNBF Pro Card at that show. Fellow pro and good friend Clarence McGill named me the Giant Killer that day.
Before stepping onto the pro stage, I competed at the INBF Amateur World Championships. I wanted to revenge my previous years 3rd place finish. I ended up, winning my weight class (Bantamweight) and again beating out the other weight class winners to take home the overall and be the 1st Bantamweight (150lbs and below) to ever win an overall title at the INBF World Championships. I only weighed 130 lbs that day. From that day forward, I was known to all as The Giant Killer.
Muscle and Strength: Many young trainees believe you have to weigh 260 pounds to look massive. You just mentioned that you won an INBF championship at half that weight. What can you tell the aspiring natural bodybuilder that has the wrong impressive about just how massive they need get be to a competitive natural bodybuilder?
Shaun Clarida: Whether your're competing on the natural or non-natural stage, bodybuilding is about the appearance you make on stage. You want to create the perfect physique with size, symmetry and conditioning. In this sport, one without the others is meaningless.
From experience, especially competing on the natural stage, conditioning is everything. You can be 200lbs of pure muscle but lack conditioning, competing against a guy that's 140lbs with decent muscle size but shredded. At the end of the night, that 140lbs guy is going to walk away with a victory because he brought the overall package.
You want to create the illusion that you weigh a lot more than you actually do. I've never seen them weigh a winner at the end of the night.
Muscle and Strength: How long did you train before you knew that you wanted to step on stage?
Shaun Clarida: I was never into bodybuilding and never imagined myself doing it. I got into weight training for the reason of gaining weight to wrestle for the Rider University wrestling team. I came into college weighing only 110 lbs and needed to get to 125 lbs.
I began weight training and started to see results and at that time, bodybuilding was still not a thought in my mind. A guy that trained at my gym, who was a competitive bodybuilder, noticed my gains and told me that I would do well in bodybuilding. I was always up for new things and a challenge, so I began to train for it and with his help, did my first show in May 2005. I got hooked and never looked back.
I was always into working out but didn't get serious with it until 2005, just a few short months before stepping on stage for the first time.
Muscle and Strength: Give us a little background on your competition record...how many times have you competed, and what have been your best placings?
Shaun Clarida: Stats:
- Weight: In season 130-135/ off season-145
- 2005 NPC Mid Atlantic-3rd -Novice Lightweight
- 2005 NPC X-Calibur-2nd-- Bantamweight
- 2005 NPC Muscle Beach-1st - Bantamweight
- 2005 NPC Natural Empire States-1st - Bantamweight
- 2005 NPC Northeast Open-1st/2nd- Bantamweight/Novice Lightweight
- 2005 INBF Amateur Worlds-3rd- Bantamweight
- 2006 INBF Natural Northeast-1st-Bantamweight & OVERALL(Pro Card)
- 2006 INBF Natural Hercules-1st -Bantamweight
- 2006 USBF NYS Natural-1st- Bantamweight and Jr. Lightweight & 2 OVERALLS
- 2006 INBF Amateur Worlds-1st -Bantamweight & OVERALL
- 2007 WNBF Pro Natural Mr. Mrs. Universe-2nd - Lightweight (DEBUT)
- 2007 WNBF Pro Natural World Championships-2nd- Lightweight
- 2008 WNBF Pro Natural World Championships- 3rd- Lightweight
- 2009 WNBF Pro Natural American Championships-2nd-Lightweight
- 2009 WNBF Pro Mid-America Championships-2nd-Lightweights
Most proud of:
- Winning the Bantamweight division at the 2006 INBF Amateur World Championships and also taking home an Overall victory.
- I was the 1st Bantamweight competitor in INBF history to win the Overall at the INBF Amateur Worlds Championships.
- Going through my 2006 season undefeated in the four shows I competed in.
- Placing 2nd competing at my first WNBF Pro Worlds Championships.
Muscle and Strength: That's quite an amazing string of top-tier placings? You must have a top-secret pre-contest diet?
Shaun Clarida: I don't have any secret diets that I follow. Off-season is dedicated to packing on the size, so I eat any and everything I want. My training is very intense so that is why I am able to stay pretty lean even in the off season and not have to worry about being out of shape.
In-season is very strict. My meals are the same each day all the way throughout my prep. I do not cheat on my diet, unless there is a special occasion.
- Breakfast: Oats, Egg Whites
- Meals 2,3,4: Chicken or Fish, Sweet potato or rice, Vegetables
- Dinner: Chicken or Fish, Vegetables
- Snacks: Natural Peanut Butter, Nuts, Rice Cakes
Muscle and Strength: Tell us about your training. What type of split do you use, and what are some of your training philosophies?
Shaun Clarida: I have a simple bodybuilding split, which consists of a single body-part per day. I train for about 2-2 1/2 hours a day. When I am in season, it can last up to 3 1/2 hours, which will include my cardio and abdominals.
- Mon - Chest & Calves
- Tue - Arms & Forearms
- Wed - Legs
- Thur - Shoulders & Calves
- Fri - Back & Forearms
- Sat/Sun - Rest or makeup day for anything I missed
Philosophy...Bodybuilding to me is not just a hobby or a sport; it’s a job and a way of life. In order to be the best at this sport, you have to be willing to give your all 24/7, 365. There is no such thing as an off-season in this sport. In order to achieve your goal, you have to be willing to sacrifice.
Muscle and Strength: Can you give us an idea of how many sets you hit each bodypart with...and do you train to failure on each set, or use any higher intensity training techniques?
Shaun Clarida: My workouts are always intense, whether that be off-season or in-season. I've tried many methods of training and come to find that volume training and lots of heavy weight has worked best for me. I like to fill the muscles with as much blood as possible.
A typical day in the gym can last anywhere from 2-3 1/2 hours. I typically train 6-8 exercises per body part for about 4-5 sets. My rep range is from 20-6.
In-season, I incorporate drop sets on pretty much everything.
Muscle and Strength: You have one of the best "bodybuilder" websites I've seen. Tell us about your site, what we will find, and how long you've had it up and running?
Shaun Clarida: Thank You! I've gotten many compliments about my website. The goal and purpose of my website was to show a representation of myself and give others detailed information about who the Giant Killer is.
I contacted INBF competitor, Steve Constantine in the summer of 2007 after seeing some of the work he has done with others websites. I liked his work and wanted to create a website of my own. It took several weeks of planning, creating and editing information and to get everything right and looking good. By September 2007, my site was officially up and running.
What you will find on my website is everything you need to know about me and my bodybuilding career; information ranging from photos, videos, media articles, contest history and much more. The one thing my site has that I really love is the blogger. It is my way updating any important information that goes on in my life in regards to bodybuilding. With Steve and me being extremely busy, we try to get the site updated as much as possible to keep everyone up to speed.
I hope to add some more information and new features to my site in the near future.
Muscle and Strength: What do you like best about the sport of bodybuilding?
Shaun Clarida: There is so much to love about bodybuilding. I love going to the gym and training for hours. I love seeing the results that I achieve from the hardcore training. I love being on stage and showing off what I've accomplished. I love traveling to different shows and meeting new competitors and fans. I love any and everything that relates to bodybuilding as a whole.
There not much to dislike about the sport, besides the dieting and 5:00AM workouts/cardio I have to do. But in the end, being able to accomplish my goals is well worth the dieting and early morning training.
Muscle and Strength: What's on tap for you in 2010, and what are your goals for next year?
Shaun Clarida: The WNBF Pro Worlds this November will be my 4th show this season. After dieting for 9 months, the only thing that will be on my mind for a long time is real food!
The last time I did this many shows in one season was when I first started competing back in 2005. It's extremely tough to stay on track and maintain, especially at the pro level.
I do not have any plans for 2010, at least not for right now. I will be finishing up my Masters Degree this fall, so my focus will be on that. My plan after Worlds is to take some time off to refuel, rebuild and focus on bringing up the body parts I feel are lagging. When I feel like I've made the significant improvements I need, then I will start to focus on what show is next.
My ultimate goal is to continue to compete and be successful. I want to be able to help motivate and encourage others, especially natural lifters and of course shorter bodybuilders that there is nothing that can hold you back. You just have to set your mind to a specific goal and don't stop until you achieve it!
"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work"
I want to give many special thanks to the people that have been in my corner since day 1 and have always believed in me and my dreams:
God, Mallory, My family, My 2nd family-The Browns/McCarthy, Dolo, Clarence McGill, Universal Nutrition, My sports club partners, All my friends and fans.