Bodybuilding Beast Luke Scherer Talks To M&S

18.9K Reads
Luke Scherer
Quick Stats
  • Luke Scherer
  • 10/01/86
  • Dominican Republic
  • 5'10"
  • Bodybuilding
  • 265lbs
  • 224lbs
  • 2
  • Overall win at the 2012 NPC Muscle Beach. Nationally, top 10 at the USAs.
  • Flexx Appeal, Hotbodz, X2X
Luke Scherer made the jump from football to competitive bodybuilding, and in 2 short years has managed to take home an NPC victory and a top 10 on the national level.

What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with bodybuilding?

Like so many competitors, I have been athlete my entire life, always playing baseball and football. I went to Middlebury college after high school for a football scholarship, and then I transferred to Temple University and played for the Owls.

After college, I was drafted for professional arena football for the reading express. (So far it sounds like the story of “The Rock”!) About a year after I stopped playing and decided to be a personal trainer, but honestly I missed the adrenaline rush of competing and being in top shape. With that in mind I started preparing for my first show which was when I met my girlfriend.

After a short yet fun-filled intermezzo of training as stunt men/woman together on the Philadelphia Stunt team, we decided to take our training to the next level and follow our true passion for competing and training others.  The one thing I love most about this sport are the people I am surrounded by everyday. Athletes just like me who have a true passion for the gym and  what it stands for. It has also led me to a path to help others.

What were the major milestones that gave you that "extra" motivation boost?

Luke SchererIt is very hard to define one event that made things click for me. I would see it more as an accumulation of details that formed a greater mosaic. Winning the NPC Muscle Beach Championship and placing top 10 at nationals made me truly realize that I have an opportunity to go far in this sport.

A cornerstone to my success is obviously my girlfriend Donna. Not only does she prepare my meals she also my toughest critic and my biggest fan. We support each other during competition prep and have built a fitness business together. That is certainly a solid foundation which now enables me to reach for that elusive IFBB Pro card.

What keeps you motivated?

Bodybuilding is truly a journey, there is never an end. The journey is the end, it is about the progress you make, the people you meet and the possibilities that arise. That is what keeps me excited even on a low carb day!

How often do you perform cardio?

I control my body fat mostly via my diet. To keep my cardiovascular system healthy, I typically do cardio 2-3 times a week at most, which consists of high intensity or just simple outside physical activity.

As I get closer to a show, I increase the amount of cardio I perform in order to curb hunger and get those last stubborn ounces on fat off my body.

How often do you change your training routine, and do you periodize your training?

The human body adapts amazingly fast, which was great during the ice age since it secured our survival. It is not so great for bodybuilding since it means that our routines can stall rather quickly. That being said, there are certain components I simply will not change much such as the amount of days I train. Everything else can be shifted around.

Recently I started varying my rep speed and numbers and I noticed great gains from shifting to a lighter, more tension focused routine. It also gave my body a chance to heal after being beaten up all these years!

What are your thoughts on fasted cardio?

At the risk of becoming rapidly unpopular I'll still say it: fasted cardio is not a good way to drop body fat in trained athletes. Science has documented over and over that the actual amount of fat lost is not greater than on someone who did at least consume some whey protein or BCAAs.

Furthermore, the overall energy output is lower, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the workout. And we have not even touched upon catabolism which occurs when training on an am empty stomach. So, no fasted cardio for me!

Luke Scherer

Which do you prefer, and why…steady state cardio or HIIT?

I do mostly HIIT cardio, simply because I get bored doing steady state (there is only so much ESPN Sportscenter one can watch when on the treadmill). Both ways eventually lead to Rome but I feel HIIT takes less time.

When I train legs twice a week, however I switch to steady state in order to avoid overtraining.  You can condition your muscles without the muscle loss, and this triggers fat burning more efficiently than steady state cardio.

What are some of your best training tips for someone who wants to look good and get ripped?

Honestly, there is not all that much of a difference between looking good and competing. You either make fitness a lifestyle or you do not. Granted, the competitor might have to diet a bit stricter than someone who simply wants to wow people at the beach. But then, once you are bitten with the bodybuilding bug, you are hooked.

So, the same things apply: find a routine and diet that work for you, sleep 7-9 hours a night, drink your water and buy your supplements at

How important is progression of weight in some form, in the muscle building process?

Luke SchererFunny you should ask that. Coming from a football background, I was all about numbers for the beginning of my career. 500lb decline bench, that sort of thing. As I get older, I came to realize that:

  1. Longevity is quite important and...
  2. That nobody can train when injured.

What is most important is the form being used with the weight. As long as your form is perfect with a good contraction (I prefer to keep all my negatives around three seconds) then you can increase the weight to challenge your muscles as they get stronger.

Did I mention that form is crucial?

What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?

I probably sound like a broken record saying this but they are usually not eating enough of the right foods. A clean diet with adequate macronutrients is the most important factor in order to build the body of your dreams.

On a very basic level consume 1.5 grams of protein, 2-4 grams of carbs and one 0.8 grams of fat when trying to gain muscle. Carb sensitive people might switch to a lower carb/higher fat approach. When cutting, simply half the carbs.

What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?

Aside from the obvious such as 100% diet and eating 6 balanced meals a day, I would suggest a culking approach during the off-season where you bulk from 10 days to anywhere to 3 weeks, then diet for a week. This way you'll stay reasonably lean and the summer diet won’t be so horrible.

What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?

I use a three step approach. My first line of defense are some amino acids with waxy maize right after my workout. Then, I'll have a banana with a whey protein shake. As for a solid meal I typically eat red meat post shake for creatine and a good source of protein, with a carb source like sweet potato or white rice within the hour.

What does your off-season bulking (eating) plan look like?

My genius coach Maik Wiedenbach does not believe in bulking so I do not really get too heavy. My bulking plan isn't too different from in season. I do up my protein intake and frequency of red meat for additional creatine and consume more complex carbohydrates. I have a cheat meal about 1 time a week which consists of sushi or sashimi or a large bowl of oatmeal.

Luke Scherer

How do you prepare meals?

Ever heard the line: "The first line of defense is in your cupboard?" Well I am truly lucky because I have all the domestic support one could ever ask for. My girlfriend Donna is a huge help by preparing our meals daily.  She is a nutritionist so also prepares meals for our clients to ensure their success.

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 have seen it done but it requires a lot of planning and good knowledge of training and diet. The best approach in my opinion is a carb cycling approach where you adjust the workouts around that days nutrition.

A typical cycle would be 4 low carb days with high volume depletion workouts, a rest/load day followed by a power workout. This works rather well in terms of staying lean while putting on muscle. For further reading, I recommend the Ultimate Diet by Lyle McDonald.

What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?

Sushi, protein ice cream, pizza, wings. I also love a plate of ground beef with white rice and ketchup.

If you could be one athlete or person for a day, who would it be and why?

Lebron James, to learn how a king lives haha! Seriously, I admire him not only for what he has accomplished but the way he did it. No scandals, no negative headlines; a true class act. Considering the expectations that were placed on him from age 17 on he was almost bound to fail and yet he did not.

Luke Scherer

Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?

Fun fact about me: I used to play drums in a band and I still enjoy jamming on African Drums. Aside from that, I love a good comedy or simply spending time with my family.

Movies and TV shows you’ve enjoyed recently?

To state the obvious: I thought Generation Iron was a well done documentary about the sport of bodybuilding without being too sensational. It truly showed the struggle and determination that goes into building a world class physique. I also got sucked into Breaking Bad. Too bad it ended!

Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?

Number one would be my old team Temple University. Being from Philly I stick with the Philadelphia Eagles (do we have a quarterback after all?), Phillies, Flyers and lastly, Miami Heat.

Photo Credits:

Ulrish Oehmen