The basics – How old are you, which university do you go to and what do you study?
I’m Alex, I am 20 years old currently studying for an Economics BSc at the University of Kent.
How did you get into fitness?
My fitness journey began with playing football from a very young age. I had gotten relatively far with football, doing enough to get into my hometown academy at Bournemouth, but sadly nothing was to come of that. Football helped me to attain good cardiovascular strength but I always considered myself to be ‘skinny’.
In the September of 2013 I began regularly going to the gym with my friend Kieron, and to this day we are still close friends and gym partners! But it wasn’t until around two years ago that I started taking bodybuilding seriously and is now an integral part of my life and the greatest passion of mine.
What made you want to compete?
After training seriously for a few years now I wanted to see how far I can push my body. I maintain a relatively lean physique year-round but I wanted to really push my body to its limit and give me an end goal to work towards. I am also extremely excited to document my journey to the competition and meet some fantastic people along the way!
How many competitions have you done? Is this year’s SPC your first? How are you feeling about it?
The SPC is my first taste of competing and I am extremely excited to step on stage with everyone. Prep has been very difficult at times, resisting the temptation of pizza and Ben and Jerry’s, but I am determined and have an end goal and it will all be worth it in the end!
What is your training like during prep?
During prep, I like to maintain as much strength and lean mass as possible. This means I still incorporate heavy compound lifts at the beginning of every workout. However, due to a recent lower back injury this has been slightly hampered.
My split usually follows something like:
- Chest and triceps
- Back and biceps
- Shoulders and traps
However, this can vary from week to week. For example, I am currently incorporating refeed days every 4-5 days and on these days I like to train lagging body parts as these are the days in which your body is in a much more anabolic state.
Each session will involve some form of heavy compound lift, and the rep ranges vary from week to week, varying from simple 5×5’s to 4×8’s and incorporating pause reps and higher volume days when I feel it is necessary.
What is your diet like during prep?
My current diet allows me macros of:
- Calories: 2,500 ish
- Protein: around 200g
- Carbs: 180-200g
- Fats: around 90g
A Standard day of meals would look something like:
- Morning: 150g chicken breast with 60g broccoli
- Before training: 100g oats with 30g isolate whey
- After training: 150g lean (5%) beef mince with 50g spinach and 250g basmati rice
- Mid-afternoon: 4 whole egg omelette with spinach
- Late afternoon: 30g pistachios and 30g whey isolate
- Evening: 2 slices wholemeal bread with 30g peanut butter
I like to concentrate my carbohydrates around training time as this is when they are required the most. I tend not to deviate my diet from this very much, however some meals may be swapped for tuna and other lean meats such as turkey. I find this helps me to stay regimented and not cheat or deviate from my diet.
How do you stay motivated during prep?
I always look forward to getting into the gym and smashing through a workout, constantly reminding myself that it will be worth it in the end when I am standing on stage knowing that I have given my absolute everything to be where I am. The thought of knowing I haven’t put in 110% is enough for me to stay on track and put in the extra work.
How do you manage your studies alongside staying in shape?
I find that regularly going to the gym and eating well actually gives me more time to study, and gives me more effective study time. My lifestyle is extremely regimented and this means that it is easy to allocate time to studying and allows me to be more productive during this time. Also, the thought of being in the gym or the next meal is enough to get me studying for a while!
What are your fitness goals for the future?
Post-competition I plan on slowly reverse-dieting and maintaining a steady bulk into next year. I have plans to compete again in the coming years, perhaps in the Miami Pro, but that is a long way off yet!
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
I am so excited to meet all the other MASS competitors in April and cannot wait to eat nice food again! Pizza is only 1 week away!