- BNBF Jnr Mr Scotland 2006 1st Place
- BNBF Jnr Mr Britain 2006 2nd Place
- Prolab Classic Novice Men 3rd Place
- NABBA Jnr Mr Scotland 2007 1st Place
- Mr Caladonia Jnr Scotland 2007 1st Place
- UKBFF Jnr Mr Scotland 2007 1st Place
- BNBF Jnr Mr Scotland 2007 2nd Place
- BNBF Jnr Mr Britain 2007 1st Place
- PNBA Jnr Mr Olympia 2007 2nd Place
- BNBF Jnr Mr Britain 2008 2nd Place
- BNBF Jnr Mr Britain 2009 1st Place
What is your background and how did you get started in bodybuilding?
I left school with a love for sport, health and fitness so I went to college to study health and fitness in 2004. After 5 years of studying I’ve recently graduated student with an honors degree in sport and exercise. I now have interests in molecular signaling and sports medicine. My original intentions were merely to get my certificate and get a job as a gym instructor. I felt if I was going to get a job in the fitness industry I should at least look the part, theirs nothing worse than a chubby fitness instructor giving weight lose advice after all.
After a year of training chest and arms a couple of local bodybuilders (one a former Mr. Universe competitor) suggested I’d make a good natural bodybuilder. I looked into natural bodybuilding and realized it was something I could be good at and it gave me something to train for in the gym. I sort of used myself as my own science experiment I applied all my knowledge gained from studying with remarkable result. I overhauled my whole approach to training and nutrition, put on a bit of size, started reading the magazines and became a fan of the sport. After that I guess I was hooked. The same bodybuilders from the gym took me under their wing and got me ready for my first show, and the rest is history.
Why do you love bodybuilding?
I love natural bodybuilding for lots of different reasons, and it would be hard for me to sum it all up during the course of this interview because I’m sure I’d forget something and leave it out. One of the main reasons though I love this sport is the way your body changes over time. It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment to see improvements in your physique as a you progress knowing that all the hard work your putting in is actually paying off. Another reason is that I simply love to train and lift weights. I’ve always loved doing sports and sometimes found the training more exciting than the sport itself. I guess that’s why this sport seems to suit me down to a tee.
What is your training philosophy?
I’m a big believer in periodization. I think its one of the only ways you can continue to get consistent progress and it keep yourself injury free. At the same time I think as a natural bodybuilder you need to be strong to build a decent amount of muscle. A typical cycle will last usually 6 weeks with a transition between phases and an anatomical adaptation phase prior to starting a program. The program I followed this year looked something like this Anatomical adaptation, Muscular Endurance, Hypertrophy, Strength, Powerlifting, Hypertrophy, Strength, Powerlifting, Hypertrophy.
The major difference in training on-season to off-season is; training is purely hypertrophy based with emphasis on sticking to the 12 – 8 rep ranges with slightly shorter rest periods 30-45 seconds. I also don’t try for any personal bests or advanced training techniques such as assisted or forced respond. I’m sensible with the weights I use. I don’t believe in burning yourself out when prepping for a show. After all the muscles been put on in the months prior, the goal should be simply to maintain that muscle so why kill yourself when prepping for a show.
What's a good workout routine that has given you results?
This is a hypertrophy based cycle Ive also found I seem to get the best gains when I maximize recovery, so I only train using a 3 day split.
- Monday - Chest, Shoulders and Biceps
- Tuesday - Legs
- Wednesday & Thursday - Rest
- Friday - Back, Triceps and Traps
- Saturday & Sunday - Rest
|Monday - Chest, Shoulders and Biceps|
|Barbell Bench Press *||3||8 to 12|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press *||3||8 to 12|
|Weighted Chest Dip **||3||8 to 10|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise *||4|
|Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Fly *||4|
|EZ Bar Curl *||3|
|Barbell Preacher Curl *||3|
|Seated Dumbbell Curl ***||2|
* Note: One minute rest between sets
** Note: Use as much weight as you can in the rep range
*** Note: 30 seconds rest between sets
|Tuesday - Legs|
|Squat *||4||10, 8, 6, 20|
|Leg Press **||3||8 to 12|
|Leg Extension ***||3||10 to 12|
|Leg Curl ***||4||10 to 15|
|Calf Raise ****||5||16, 12, 8, 6, 20|
* Note: Pyramid weights, last set as heavy as possible for rep range, longer rest 2-3 mins.
** Note: As deep as possible, high stance feet wide apart, 2 min rest.
*** Note: 1 minute rest, focus on squeeze rather than weight.
**** Note: Heavy as possible in rep ranges, 1 min rest.
|Friday - Back, Triceps and Traps|
|Deadlift *||3||6 to 10|
|Pull Up, Lat Pull Down **||3||10|
|Bent Over Row ***||3||10 to 12|
|T-Bar Row ***||3||8 to 10|
|Barbell Shrug ****||3||10 to 16|
|Close Grip Bench Press||4||6 to 10|
|Cable Tricep Extension *****||2||10 to 12|
|One Arm Cable Tricep Extension With Rope *****||2||10 to 12|
* Note: Warming up on this exercise is important, long rest 3 mins on heavy sets.
** Note: Add weight to pull ups if possible, 1 min rest.
*** Note: Emphasis on form, 1 min rest.
**** Note: Feel the stretch, 1 min rest.
***** Note: 1 minute rest.
If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
I think these three exercises should be the foundation of any resistance training and conditioning program. All three exercises are multi-joint compound exercises, which stress several different muscle groups along with stabilizer, secondary movers and core muscles. The stress these exercises also place on the central nervous system and endocrine systems further emphasize the importance of using these exercises in your bodybuilding program. I’ve personally made all three exercises a mainstay in my program for the last 4 years now and put most of my gains in strength and size are down to these 3 exercises. I think if you want to be taken serious about training you have to be serious about these 3 exercises.
What's the best training tip you could give to others?
The best piece of advice I could give is to watch your form. Correct exercise technique is essential not only to ensure progress but also for the sake of injury prevention. IF a weights to heavy for you to handle with proper form then its time to move down to the lower end of the dumbbell rack.
What is your philosophy on nutrition?
Protein is not the be all and end all, keep it clean and more importantly eat enough quality carbohydrates and fats. I think it’s tragic when I talk to so many experience bodybuilders stuck in a rut eating ridicules amounts of protein where are the carbs I ask these guys? Nearly all of them seem to make the same mistake your body is a carb machine so give it what it wants!
Give us a typical day in your off season diet:
I usually drink around 4 liters of water per day, and I substitute chicken breast in my meals for white fish and red meat twice a week. I also eat pretty clean with the exception of the weekend where I may deviate otherwise a off-season diet looks something like this:
BMR + PAL = 3000 Kcal
- M1: 150g oats, honey, 600ml semi skimmed milk, 5 eggs and 2 yolks, multivitamin
- M2: Extreme Nutrition Mass
- M3: Basmati rice 200g, seasoned chicken breast, vegetables
- M4: Extreme Protein Bar
- Pre Workout: Liquid Fury, Kr-revolution, BCAAs 6g
- Train: BCAAs 6g while training
- Post Workout: Extreme Build and Recover + Leucine, Kr-revolution
- M5: 225g white potato, chicken breast, vegetables
- M6: Repeat Meal 3
- M6: Extreme Protein
Give us a typical day in your diet (contest prep):
My approach to contest dieting is fairly simple its merely a case of eat less than you did during the off-season based on the diet for the off-season. My latest contest prep for 2009 looked something like this:
3000 kcal off-season – 400kcal = 2600kcal contest diet
- Meal 1: Whey protein 50g
- BF: 150g Oats in water, whey protein 50g.
- Meal 3: Extreme Protein 50g.
- Meal4 : White rice 120g, chicken breast and fiberous vegetables.
- Meal 5: Repeat Meal 3.
- Pre Workout: Liquid Fury, Kr-revolution, BCAAs 6g.
- Train: BCAAs 6g while training
- Post Workout: Extreme Build and Recover + Leucine, Kr-revolution.
- Meal 6: 300g white potato, chicken breast and fiberous vegetables.
- Meal 7@ Extreme Protein 50g.
What are your favorite meals and foods?
I love chicken, steak, potatoes and anything with cheese or BBQ sauce, so I’m normally more than happy with any meal containing any of these. I love my mothers homemade soups, spaghetti bolognaise, or a good beef burger.
Favorite cheat food?
Chinese food, namely chicken egg foo young or lemon chicken. Oh, and I love Ice Cream.
What's the best nutrition tip you could give to others?
Eat less more often, try to avoid snacking and instead have a scheduled meal plan. If you have something down on paper then you’re more likely to follow it. Be consistent your body is a machine after all so keep giving it the fuel it needs to grow, and you’ll get results. Don’t skip meals.
What supplements do you use that give you great results? How do you use them?
- Extreme Kr-revolution, I take around 4g per day on training days and 2g on non-training as a maintenance dose. I’ll take Kr-evolution pre and post-workout as outlined in my diet plan. I use this supplement right up to, and including on the day of a bodybuilding show. Kr-evolution is an alkaline based creatine so you get all the benefits of creatine without any of the bad stuff like bloating, cramps or water retention. I know for a fact it allows me to lift heavier, train harder, train more intensely and recover quicker.
- Extreme Build and Recover, an all in one post-workout recovery shake. High in good quality amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, Kr-revolution and HMB does the body need anything more? The good thing about this supplement is the fact there is nothing artificial, all the ingredients are sourced to be as natural as possible rather than having the inclusion of artificial colorings, sweeteners, gums or probiotics. I take this supplement after every workout and is always a staple in my diet.
- BCAAs, you simply can't argue with the science behind BCAAs. If I could only take one supplement I would take these. I usually take around 20g from the start of my workout to the end. This supplement maximizes muscle protein synthesis without getting too technical when taken in the correct dosages. I’ve taken these for well over a 8 months now with some noticeable results from my 2008 to 2009 physique.
What brands do you think are offering the best products at the moment?
I only use Extreme Nutrition and I’ve had a lot of success using there products over the years so I have no intentions of using anything else anytime soon. So I guess to answer that question, it would be Extreme Nutrition. Extreme’s products are all great tasting good quality and good value for money. None of there products use any artificial sweeteners, gums or probiotics there also all ultra low in sodium and wheat protein, gluten and lactose. I’m not really into gimmicky products I see advertised in magazines, I don’t ever believe in the research they post and often question the science behind them. I sometimes have a inkling to try some new products but I always stick to what’s made me successful in the end and that has been Extreme Nutrition.
What do you think is a good off season muscle building stack?
I don’t always like to eat a lot of whole foods mainly because I rarely have time for it so I tend to use a lot of weight gainers. A good muscle building stack I got great results during 2009 was:
- Extreme Mass
- Extreme Build and Recover
- Extreme BCAAs
- Extreme Pro-6
- Extreme Whey
What do you think is a good pre-contest/fat loss stack?
The pre-Contest fat loss stack I used for 2009 was not too dissimilar from the bulking stack. I did however remove the extreme mass from my diet:
- Extreme Whey
- Extreme Pro- 6
- Build and Recover
- Build and Recover
Advice For Others
What are the 3 best tips you'd give to someone thinking about competing in natural bodybuilding?
Before answering this question I think its worth pointing out that not only am I a 2 x time British Champion and twice runner up, I have also been invited to Judge on several occasions for the BNBF.
- Make sure you do your homework and you’re ready to compete. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone up on stage that lacks muscle, carries a ton of fat, or is a combination of both. It's embarrassing to see. So if you are thinking about competing, make sure you go see a couple of seasoned natural bodybuilder who know what their talking about and be open to constructive criticism. If they don’t think you’re ready to compete, then take it on the chin and come back next year. Don’t be the guy at the back of the stage making up the numbers.
- If you decide to compete make sure you practice posing. Presentation is massive. I’ve literally seen tons of places in bodybuilding shows at amateur level decided purely on who can show off there physique the best. The sport is all about making shapes with your body and creating the illusion you’re much bigger than you actually are. You can have wide shoulders, huge sweeping quads and a barn door back, but if you don’t know how to pose then don’t be surprised if some smaller guys place ahead of you.
- Never go to make up the numbers. If you’re planning on competing then it means giving it your all for the contest. Every contest I’ve ever competed in I’ve went in with the attitude that I’ll be walking away with the title. If you have that attitude then there’s no way you can’t fail to train hard, eat clean and recover the best you can. After all you’re going to win so you’d be letting yourself down if you messed up in your prep.
What is your best advice for looking your best on competition day?
Put in as much effort as you can in the off-season and contest prep, and you can't fail. But look your best. Too many guys are back stage doing crazy things at the last minute trying to look their best. The reality is most of the things they do rarely make a difference. So just sit back and relax knowing you done all that you can and enjoy the whole day. This is your time now so don’t get stress have fun on stage this is what you’ve worked so hard for.
How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who's having trouble staying on track?
Myself I’m extremely competitive and with that comes high levels of intrinsic motivation to succeed, however we all lose motivation sometimes. I think it’s worth writing down your goals or doing a self-assessment or audit on yourself sometimes, asking yourself why you do what you do. I’ve found this always helps rekindle the fire inside and helps reassure you why your doing something. I’ve also always been expected to win shows and do well at the same time so sometimes I look to extrinsic sources for motivation. That is I think about all the people I who look up to me or want me to do well and who expect me to do well so this often refocuses me and helps me realize how much I want to achieve a goal.
What shows have you got coming up, where can we see you compete?
I recently just won the BNBF Jnr British Title for the second time tie-ing the record and making me the best natural Junior bodybuilder in the UK and one of the most successful of all time. My next goal is to win an overall title at a regional qualifier, and then hopefully a pro card.
What would you like to achieve in your natural bodybuilding career?
My ultimate goal is to compete in a professional world natural bodybuilding contest. If I could do that then I would feel like I’ve achieved something.
Who are your favorite bodybuilders and idols?
I think that’s an easy one. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dorian Yates have always been a massive Idols of mine. Their drive to win and commitment to be Mr. Olympia has always inspired me. Lee Labrada and Flex Wheeler always inspire me guys who were never the biggest but were always so put together you couldn’t help but be impressed. The list goes on though, Rob Hope and Ben Tennessen hold a huge amount of inspiration for me and show what’s possible to achieve staying natural.