Here's a sneaky side chest pic 6 days before stepping on stage in Italy for the World Championships! I'm carb depleted so muscles are not as full as they could be but I'm happy with my size/conditioning and I'm ready to battle. Only 144 hours to go!!!! Sam
After a few sets of no less than 15 reps on the squat and the same again on the leg press it was time to up the ante and really put my quads to the test. So I supersetted with 3 sets of the hack squat with a narrow stance (to bring out my outer sweep development) immediately followed by dumbbell lunges (leaning forward to place more emphasis on quads rather than hips). Give it a go for an insane quad pump and to test your ability to handle pain!
Click here - For online nutrition/exercise plans
With just 7 days to go before competing in the NPA British BodyBuilding Finals, I decided to increase my workload to burn the miniscule bits of fat that remain on my body! Hill sprinting is a fabulous way to to do this as well as toning the hamstring and glutes, improving lung capacity and cardiovascular fitness. Just ensure you're sufficiently warmed-up - a light 5-10 minute jog, followed by bodyweight squats and lunges and 2-3 medium paced hill sprints - then you're good to go!
Following my chest and biceps workout I did eight 30 second all-out hill sprints with a couple minutes recovery. I then went for a 40 minute bike ride down the canal to complete my 3 hour workout. Sam
With just 11 days before I compete in my second bodybuilding contest - the NPA British Finals (yikes!), I'm very happy with both my muscularity and conditioning. I've worked very hard on my weak points and that included a lack of definition in my quads. Therefore, today was my second 2 hour leg workout in 4 days (I don't advocate this for everyone but my body and immune system can handle this). So the workout went like this..........
Seated Leg Curl (4 sets, 15 reps)
nice slow tempo, fully contracting hamstring especially at the end of range
Prone Leg Curl (4 sets, 12 reps, last one being a drop set)
Stiff-legged Deadlift on shrug machine - (4 sets of 13)
nice deep stretch, pausing at bottom of lift to force the hamstrings to work harder
Leg Press - 45 degree (4 sets, 20 reps - 10 wide stance, 10 close stance)
these are a killer but has really helped with my quad outer-sweep development
Barbell Squat (Pyramiding up 200kg x 13)
the is the heaviest weight I've squatted for this prep, the weight felt light - so I thought "why not?"
Hack Squat (4 sets, 12 reps)
pause at bottom to reduce any momentum to work quads harder
Barbell Lunges (2 sets, 24 steps with 60kg)
leaning torso slightly more forward than usual to place more emphasis on quads rather than glutes
Leg Extension (5 sets, 15 reps - last being a dropset)
....followed by some 3 different glute exercise. This is my last heavy leg session before the British, I'll do a light session next week. Feeling very good and can't wait to get onto that stage in 11 days!
With barely 3 weeks until the British NPA finals, I've worked super hard on every aspect of my preparation to improve on my debut overall winning performance at the Yorkshire's 4 months ago. No resting on laurels here!
I've made major changes with my resistance/cardio training, nutrition as well as stage presentation to help me step up a few of levels and to improve on the picture you see here.
I've trained like a beast over the last few months, training up to 3 hours a day/6 days a week to improve on my weak points
I've included a balanced mixed between steady state and high intensity interval training to burn the fat
I've kept my calories and carbs much higher on this prep to keep my metabolism fired up as well as giving me more energy to train
I felt that I didn't do myself justice with the way I performed a number of poses, so I've been working hard to correct this
These changes seemed to have worked and I'm ready to hit that stage again! Not long now........
It's reassuring to know that my body fat percentage is only 32% four weeks from the British Finals - as my bathroom scale showed this morning!!
There's a reason why I don't recommend my clients use these as an accurate body fat measurement - because they're not accurate. A set of body fat calipers in experienced hands will give a much better result.
Well I'm off to do my daily 7 hours of cardio to get it down from 32% to sub-10%!!!
I had a fab leg workout today, it consisted of mainly isolation exercises to improve detail rather than build general mass, which I'm already happy with. It went like this......
10 minutes on the stepper, contracting quads on each step & focusing my mind on the task ahead
Close Stance Leg Press
To target the outer sweep (vastus lateralis) - 3 working sets x 12 with the last set being rest-pause
Once again to concentrate on outer sweep - 3 working sets x 12 with the last set being rest-pause
Dumbell Step Ups
Very much like a lunge but it isolates the quads - 2 working sets x 15 steps on each leg. Very tiring!
2 working sets - 40 steps
Single Leg Extension
3 sets x 15 reps
3 sets x 12 reps - fully contracting & squeezing quads
Seated Leg Curl
3 sets, 10 reps - holding & squeezing at end of range
Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlif
3 sets, 10 reps - pausing at bottom of exercise to fully engage the hamstrings
Seated Abductor Machine
3 sets, 20 reps
I was happy with my strength levels during my back workout today so I decided to go for a heavier than usual deadlift as my final exercise. It felt pretty comfortable, so I think I may push it up to 300kg over the next few weeks as long as my contest dieting doesn't weaken me too much
I constantly see people at the gym trying out funky new exercises that they either got from magazines or friends. Funnily enough the people I see with the best bodies tend to stick with the good old fashioned basic exercises that have worked and stood the test of time. Don't waste your time constantly trying out the latest fad exercises, simply stick to exercises we all know that works, keep perfect form and try to train past the pain barrier on all your working sets to get real results!
Though if you reach a plateau in your training, then by all means switch up some of your training or exercises.
After my winning exploits at the Yorkshire NPA championships 10 weeks ago I've been invited to compete at the British championship in mid-October, which is a mere 11 weeks away.
I've started my contest diet today and I'm looking to improve on my weak areas, achieve a more muscular look as well as improving on my condition further. I'm looking forward to the hard work, discipline and pain over the next 3 months to see what I can achieve. Wish me luck! Sam
My training hasn't felt great recently but it seems to be coming back now. I was very happy how easy the 220kg felt especially after a full workout with my back already pre-exhausted
Need to develop more overall shoulder mass? Try this shoulder-press exercise on the Smith machine. Ensure the bar comes to dead stop at the bottom of every rep to fully engage the deltoids. I used roughly 90kg here for 3 sets of 8 reps.
If you want to make the exercise a little harder - don't lock out the bar, this will keep more constatnt tension on the shoulders.
Just had a quick leg session with the emphasis to try to improve my general size and outer sweep mass. I've altered my training style to include a lot more reps and use slightly less weight. Both seems to be coming along nicely. Sam
I'd just like to say a major thank you for the overwhelming support I seem to be receiving from all quarters for my novice body-building performance tomorrow. From friends, gym members, the NPA group and random strangers!
This journey started in February 2013, with a plan to compete at the end of 2014 to give me enough time to gain enough muscle and improve my physique. Then 16 weeks ago I made a snap decision to compete rather than wait for the perfect moment.
Well the moment of truth has arrived and I think I've prepared well, worked very hard and made sacrifices. I've also had great support and invaluable advice from champion body-builders Akin Fagbohun, Dominic Haley and Ricky Moore - thanks guys.
I'll post results as soon as I can and wish me luck!!!
For those of you who were enquiring about when I'll be competing - here are the details.
It's on Sunday 25th May @ Huddersfield Sports Centre, HD1 1TW. The show starts at 1pm but I'll be on stage in the Novice Heavyweight class at approximately 3pm.
Tickets are £14 on the door
Just 4 days to go with the show on Sunday......eeeeek!!!
Today I completed my final chest, shoulder and traps workout after doing legs and back on Monday and Tuesday. I've been re-carbing this week to refill my muscles with glycogen after 2.5 months of depletion. You can see that my face looks a bit gaunt from all the weight that I've lost (20lbs), I've managed to achieve 'the look of death' which I was going for, this probably means I got my dieting right. Though I don't recommend this for my average personal training clients!!
My final training session is on Thursday then I'll be putting my final preparations in place but trying to relax up until the big day.
BLOG: 2 Weeks out
BLOG: 3 Weeks out
With 10 days to go I planned to go no higher than 160kg on squat today but ended up doing 200kg for 12 reps (my best for a while) - I guess the powerlifter in me is not happy squatting sub-200kg per session. I'm very happy to still be handling these sort of weights so close to the show to keep hold of my hard earned muscles. Adrenaline rather than the carbohydrates must be giving me the energy to keep going!
I then moved onto to couple of sets of 50kg lunges for 30 steps and hack squats followed by leg curls. After that I did one hour of cardiovascular training with 20 minutes of high intensity cycling included.
I'm happy with my condition as I've prepared just right for the show (so far!). So I'm looking to just coast into the show now - so it's gentle training, resting up and carb-loading from next week
Click link for - Online Exercise and Nutrition plans
BLOG Update - 2 Weeks Out
BLOG Update - 3 Weeks Out
BLOG Upddate - 4 Weeks Out, My 15 month transformation
Some people have questioned whether I have legs or not - as my wheels have never been on public display before, so I thought it was about time I got them out! The outer sweep could be bigger but the definition is coming on nicely as I drop body fat (another 2lbs in the last week).
8 weeks ago I as 106kg now I'm 97.5kg - that's 1 stone 5lbs lost in that period. I've tightened up my diet from last week - so calories which were between 3300 and 3600 calories is now a strict 2,800 and carbs which were between 250g to 300g carbs is now 210g.
As I've not had a single cheat meal or refeed day in 8 weeks I've decided today is the day to treat myself and increase my carbs upto 400g then it's back to the strict regime tomorrow. If you want results then sacrifices need to be made but I believe it's all worth it in the end whether you're competing, trying to build muscle or lose weight. Now pass me that tub of Hagen Daaz and litre bottle of Pepsi!
Link to 4 Week Update
I pulled a 250kg deadlift for 3 reps earlier in the week, so I thought why not do the same for squat - just for the hell of it. That's the last of the heavy triples with only 4 weeks to go. Dropping down to 8-12 reps from now on as not to get injured or put my body under extra undue stress.
Click link below for 250kg x 3 deadlift
When I decided to leave my career in Information Technology behind and pursue my dream of becoming a personal trainer, I thought what better way to learn about the body than to transform my own. I decided at the beginning of 2013 that I would enter a body-building competition some time in 2014, that day is nigh....4 weeks and counting to the NPA Yorkshire, on 25th May @ Huddersfield Sports Centre.
It's been an enjoyable, educational and disciplined journey as my knowledge has increased several fold with regards to how the body/muscles work, nutrition to build mass and lose weight. Also, how far would I be prepared to push myself to the limit to achieve my goals as I'd be expecting from my own clients.
Over the 13 months, I've trained 4-6 times per week, every single week without fail except for when I missed 10 days of training in December due to the flu virus. In February 2013 I weighed 93kg, September 2013 - 101kg, January 2014 - 106kg and April 2014 - 99kg. I put on this size due to training hard but in the correct manner, eating between 4,500 to 5,000 calories a day (even when not hungry) and doing this consistently over time. No short cuts.
I'll be looking to transform myself quite a bit yet from the last picture. Watch this space!
With my body low on calories and carbs, feeling lethargic, just completed a full 45 minute intense back workout and only started training deadlifts over the last 4 weeks after a 4 month lay-off......I decided what a better time to attempt my heaviest deadlift since my powerlifting days!
Needless to say I'm very happy with my strength and performance. The keys to performing this lift correctly, is to keep that bar as close to your body as possible, keep your chest up and keep your back as flat as an ironing board.
Maybe a powerlifting competition is on the cards after all this body-building malarkey!
Link to my 240x5 raw squat a month ago
After doing the 15 mile bike ride in the week I decided it was time for some real high intensity exercise as I was short on time and really wanted to get my heart rate going. I performed 15 all out sprints with 40 second rest in between.
Dominic Hayley randomly came over and took this pic as I was performing cable flyes today. Didn't realise I looked so scary - with only a face a mum could love!!!
LIKE if you like
Sam Watt - Champion personal trainer and nutrition advisor