Well with another week finished, the votes have been racking up here at Physique Of The Week. Alex Carmichael took 1st place for Week 3 and bagged himself a months supply of protein and two shaker cups courtesy of Goldstar Supplements and Smartshake! Physique Of The Week’s Craig Abbott caught up with Alex to find out a bit more about him and his training!
Craig : Hey Alex, congratulations on winning Physique Of The Week! I think you pretty much held the top spot for the entire duration! I’m just gonna start off by asking how you found out about the competition? And what made you decide to enter?
Alex: Thanks! Basically, my friend Jordan entered last week, and the offer of free protein and an interview was too good not to enter!
Craig: (laughs) I see! That simple! So, you look pretty ripped! How long have you been training?
Alex: I’ve trained consistently with a good diet since January 2011. I had sporadically trained in the past, but I was ill informed on both routines and diet. All of my best gains have come in the past eight or nine months. I suppose this speaks for itself on how important a well balanced diet with the correct ratios of macro nutrients is. It’s all too easy to fall into certain traps surrounding common bodybuilding myths, such as the classic “4000kcal a day to grow.”
Craig: Ah, yeah some good advice! So what first motivated you to start training?
Alex: My story is very similar to that of a lot of lifters. I was always very skinny through my teens and have the classic ectomorph make up! Combined with this lighting fast metabolism I was never going to be anything but small (laughs). University was quickly approaching, and I was inspired to change the person I was! I managed this by committing myself to regular training. One of the things I love about the gym is that it’s just an hour completely to yourself. I find it clears my head and gives me focus!
Craig: It clears your head? (laughs) You should try training with Rick! My head is done in by the time I leave the gym! Just kidding! So what are your plans or goals regarding your physique? Do you plan on getting bigger, competing or modelling?
Alex: I’m not sure. I’m fairly happy with my physique at the moment. I’m planning to lean bulk throughout the winter to add a bit more size, but with university and other commitments my current size is fairly easy to maintain. So I don’t plan any drastic weight changes! Natural bodybuilding is definitely one to consider for the future. But I don’t train to try and better any one else’s physique! I train because I love it! Modeling, or more specifically fitness modeling is definitely something I would love to get in to. But to be honest I have no idea where to even start with that, again it’s one for the future I think.
Craig: In the shape your in I would imagine you could slot right into modelling! If its something you want to do you should definitely look into it! So to get to your condition, what does your weekly training plan look like?
Alex: Well, I train 5 days a week and follow a flexible split;
Monday – Chest
Tuesday – Back
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Shoulder
Friday – Arms
Saturday – Compounds (Military press, Squat, and Heavy rows)
I train a mixture of hypertropy and strength training, and my workouts centre around volume training. I concentrate on two or three different exercises per muscle group, starting with a larger compound movement and then moving onto two smaller isolation exercises. I like to perform between eight and ten sets of the compound lift, with the first three or four in the three to six rep range, before performing the remaining five to six sets with a lighter weight, aiming for the eight to twelve rep range. The remaining two exercises are all in the eight to twelve rep range with four or five sets per exercise.
Craig: Sounds pretty intense Alex! So, to accompany this, what does your typical diet look like?
Alex: Well, my diet is very clean, which I think is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I try to eat a minimum of two-hundred grams of protein per day. Obviously this fluctuates, but if it averages out over a week to two-hundred then it’s fine, that’s my attitude towards fats and carbs as well. My carb intake is low at the moment, as I have just finished a cut and am maintaining low body fat. It would be unusual for me to eat more than one-hundred and fifty grams of carbs a day. I eat the majority of my carbs pre workout and they are low gi complex carbs, such as oats and bran. My fat intake is around seventy grams made up from ground flaxseed, eggs and meat sources.
A typical day would look like this:
Upon awakening – 50 gram protein shake, 40 grams of oats with 30grams of ground flaxseed and a bowl of berries(low carb antioxidant source)
Meal 2 – 3 egg omelette with 2 lean pork sausages and a bowl of bran flakes
Meal 3 - 1 chicken breast with salad and 40 grams of oats
Post workout – 50 gram protein shake and glass of fruit juice for a simple carb source.
Meal 5 – Lean beef source with a small serving of potato salad.
Craig: Your diet looks very dedicated! Do you have cheat days, or cheat meals?
Alex: Yeah, I think cheat days are a must to eliminate all the cravings I have! I tend to have them once a week and they REALLY ARE cheat days. Think huge fast food meals with share size chocolate bars. Cheat days also help to restore your muscles glycogen after a week of carb depletion.
Craig: Wow so you really go all out (laughs). Do you drink alcohol too?
Alex: I do drink alcohol, predominately on nights out though, and not really any other time. I respect people who don’t drink alcohol, but equally I’m no where a high enough level to not drink, and great physiques can still be maintained whilst drinking a couple of times a week.
Craig: Do you have any inspirational figures you look up to? What gives you your drive or motivation?
Alex: Zyzz… R.I.P… Was, and continues to be a huge inspiration to me in terms of training. My long term physique idea is certainly something which would be similar to his. Most of my motivation comes from sources much closer to home. I use the weights that I’m lifting as a benchmark, and try to better it each week, or add more reps. So I’m always striving to improve my training. Friends of mine with better physiques also help me to focus on goals, and motivate me to keep pushing myself. Ultimately though, the inspiration must come from within, if your heart isn’t in it you will not succeed to your full potential.
Craig: Some sound advice there Alex! Our readers can probably draw a lot from what you just said! Speaking of our readers, what do you think of our website?
Alex: It’s a really good idea! And gives people who maybe wouldn’t normally have the chance to showcase themselves a chance. Obviously the prizes are excellent as well, and very useful for a student like myself! Who wouldn’t want free protein? (laughs)
Craig: Yeah, I wish my protein was free! I’m always scraping the bottom of the tub! (laughs) Do you have any more of your wise words for our readers?
If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?
Alex: The piece of advice I always give to anyone starting out, is the importance of diet! If you plan to train with intensity, then your body simply has to be fueled correctly, with good sources of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. I’m convinced that diet is as important as lifting the weights itself. The difference in training with a good diet and training with a poor one is simply HUGE. Even people with busy schedules can maintain a strict diet, preparing food in advance is the key.
Craig: Thank you Alex. Congratulations again for winning Physique Of The Week! You are without a doubt a very worthy winner! Keep up the hard work and hopefully we will see you again sometime!