How did you get into bodybuilding?
Ever since I was young I loved cartoon figures and wrestling and wanted to look like those guys, so I started training in the gym. I quickly got a buzz from the way I started to look. Then a couple of years ago a personal trainer told me he thought I could go pro, so I did a few shows. The first one was the Mr. Britain Muscle Mania natural body building competition, which I won. That opened the door to a sponsorship deal with Reflex nutrition. From there I decided to enter Mr. Universe 2013 in Miami in June, and somehow I managed to win that too after only two years as a bodybuilder. I’m very proud of that.
Are there any rituals you go through before going on stage?
I have a little red wine to cool my nerves and help with my vascularity because the ethanol in it doesn’t require any digestive breakdown to be absorbed by your muscles. I also use certain workouts to get a quick pump, especially to emphasise weaker areas. To do well in a bodybuilding competition you need symmetry and size, so if I feel my deltoids aren’t in proportion with my traps before I jump on stage, I do some delt-specific moves, such as raises. I also take on some sugars to give me some spark on the stage
What’s your weekly workout like when you’re training for a show?
I train twice a day, once during lunchtime – I’m an investment banker so I have to fit training around my day job. On Monday I hit my legs because I think they’re the toughest part of your body to build and it’s best to get the hardest work out of the way first. I also do some abs work. On Tuesday, I hit my abs and shoulders, and on Wednesday I do my legs again and my side abs. Then in my second session I do my chest. My Thursday lunch break is all about delts and abs. Then after work I’ll concentrate on my back. Friday is for calf work (my calves are my weakest muscles) followed by triceps and biceps at the end of the day. I use the weekend to recover.
Which of your workouts do you enjoy the most?
Definitely back training. A big back makes you feel more powerful and confident than any other body part. I do a lot of deadlifting to build my back because it releases so much growth hormone. My back is my secret weapon during a competition – it always helps me score well with the judges.
If someone wanted to get into bodybuilding what would you say are the three moves that would bring them the biggest gains?
Deadlifts are great for the reasons I mentioned earlier, and a strong back also gives you a stable base to build other parts of your body. Squats are great for total body size and shape. As well as working your biggest muscle groups – your legs and back – they help you develop a great six-pack and give you the strength you need to do almost every other move in the gym. My third recommendation would be the lat pulldown, which is great for helping you develop an awesome v-shaped look.
How important is diet to bodybuilding?
It’s more important than anything else. You can be working out hard but if your diet isn’t right, you won’t get any kind of return. You need to be really on point with your ratio of protein to carbs, the types of each you’re taking on and when you’re taking them. I was on a high-protein diet for Mr. Universe. A lot of people say it’s hard to put on muscle when you’re trying to stay lean, but I disagree. You just need to keep your energy levels up by taking on lots of good fats and protein – broccoli, chicken, fish, nuts, avocado, those kinds of things. Thanks to my diet I didn’t even need to do cardio to get myself show-ready.
What do you eat during the off-season?
I change my diet a little when I’m not getting ready for a show. At the moment I’m just maintaining, so I have more carbs to give me the extra energy to break down fibre and put on more bulk before my next show in Vegas in November. In October, I’ll go back on my protein diet. I stay pretty lean all year round by eating clean all week and letting my hair down at the weekend. It gives you something to look forward to and makes staying on track a bit easier. Everyone should have one cheat day per week. Your calorie intake should vary so that your body is in a state of metabolic shock. This will force it to break down more fat, keeping you lean.
What supplements do you use?
The main supplements for growth and recovery are amino acids, glutamine and whey protein. I also take casein, which helps with protein synthesis while you sleep.
Do you need to take supplements if you want a bodybuilder’s physique?
Absolutely – it’s almost impossible to get all the nutrients you need for optimum growth and leanness from food. To get a strong, well-proportioned body you need to train hard and eat and sleep well. If you pay attention to those three things, you’ll get into amazing shape.
Keep up with Tyrone Ogedegbe on Twitter: @Ty9Og (opens in new tab)
Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.
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