The basics – How old are you, which university do you go to and what do you study?
I am 19 years old, studying medicine at University College London.
How did you get into fitness?
When I was 15 my mum and I went shopping at Sports Direct and I discovered my first dumbbell; a beautiful 10kg. When I tried to pick it up it felt like I was picking up Thor’s Hammer! My mum noticed this and decided to get it for me. From then on I started using it at home alongside my pushups and abs circuits. When I turned 16 I started my first job as a pool lifeguard and trained at my small local gym and got my first few pumps and I started to grow these mythical muscles that I never even thought I would ever see. I have been hooked ever since!
What made you want to compete?
As my physique started taking shape, I felt that it was the right time to truly challenge myself. I have always been quite a shy person but I feel that training and lifting has given me the confidence to come out of my shell. I feel that competing has given me a “lift-off”, if you pardon the pun, from my comfort zone and this is exactly what I need to drive me onwards.
How many competitions have you done? Is this year’s SPC your first? How are you feeling about it?
My first competition will be the Miami Pro World Championships on 19th March 2017 in the teens fitness model category and MASS SPC 2017 will be my second. I am feeling excited with a hint of trepidation at stepping on stage in front of so many people. However, I see this as an opportunity to display the hard work that I have been shifting day in day out ever since I picked up my first dumbbell.
What is your training like during prep?
My training during prep is very intense with absolutely no more than one minute rest between sets but I have been doing my best to maintain decent strength levels during what will ultimately be an 18 week prep for SPC. I do not train with a specific split per se; I simply train the body parts that are not sore that day! I enjoy training antagonist muscles by super-setting them; I get a great pump from this style of training! Usually I train four days on, one day of cardio. So on day one I would do chest and back thickness, day two I hit legs, day three shoulders and back width and day four any body part I feel is lagging! On day five I do high intensity intervals for cardio with core conditioning.
|1||Chest and back thickness||Flat bench press superset barbell row, 12 reps each exercise for 5 sets
Incline bench press superset with T-bar row, 12 reps each exercise for 5 sets
Flat dumbbell bench press superset with chest-supported dumbbell rows, 15 reps each exercise for 6 sets
Incline dumbbell flyes superset with decline pullovers, 20 reps each set for 4 sets with a drop set 20-20-20 for the last set
|2||Legs||High bar barbell squat 4×10-12
Front squat 4 x 8-10
Lunges 4 x 12 each leg
Leg extensions superset with lying hamstring curls, 6 sets pyramid up 12-16-20 and back down
Calf raises 30 reps superset with 15 Romanian deadlifts for 4 sets
Goblet squats and sissy squats on toes 30 reps each to finish
|3||Shoulders and back width||Dumbbell shoulder press superset with wide grip weighted pullups, 4 sets of 12 reps each exercise
Seated Arnold press superset with wide grip lat pulldown, 5 sets of 15 each exercise
Machine shoulder press superset with underhand hammer strength lat pulldown, 4 sets of 8 each exercise
Barbell pullover superset with upright rows, 4 sets of 20 on each exercise to finish with one big drop set of 20-20-20
|4||Lagging body parts – currently hamstrings and chest||Stiff legged deadlifts
Incline and decline bench press
|5||Cardio and core||Stepper machine one minute at 60 steps/min then one minute at 160 steps/min repeated 12 times.
Decline situps with barbell, decline torso rotations and leg raises – superset 20 reps each exercise for 6 sets
What is your diet like during prep?
My diet has consisted of a wide variety of foods, consisting of anything that grows, runs or swims! My diet has been macro based with a gradual increase in caloric deficit, which has been quite mentally gruelling for a glutton like myself! At the start of prep I was eating 2600 calories a day, with 300g carbs, 180 grams protein and 50 fats. When my fat loss plateaued I decreased by 150 calories and slowly decreased carbs. I am currently in my 14th week and on 2100 calories a day with 250g carbs, 160g protein and 50g fats. To counter fat loss plateaus I have simply added some more cardio and lowered my calories by 100 when necessary.
How do you stay motivated during prep?
I stay motivated by remembering why I started taking training so seriously; I want to be unique and I want to show to others that if an average person like myself can get into shape, they can too. One of my biggest motivators is the fear of letting myself down. I have always trained for myself and to bring the best I can with what I have. Giving anything less than my best would be a waste of my potential and it is the fear of that that drives me to keep going even when I am drained.
How do you manage your studies alongside staying in shape?
For me it’s about prioritising my goals in life. If you want something enough you will go out and get it done; everyone has 24 hours in the day! My degree is very lecture-heavy but I will wake up at 5am and train early in the morning if that’s what I need to do. More often than not, I train between lectures. The key for me is to keep rest times to a minimum; this stops me from time wasting at the gym and increases the intensity of my training!
What are your fitness goals for the future?
I hope to one day compete in the UKBFF men’s physique division and maybe, through hard work, I can pick up a shiny trophy, but who knows what will happen!
Vote for Oliver