Have you always been in shape? No, I was an overweight kid until I was in 8th grade when I began weight training in my basement with my dad for lacrosse and boxing, my two high school sports.
How did you get started in physique competitions? After I sustained a severe concussion during a lacrosse game, which took me out of contact sports for life, I needed something else in my life. I had always loved weight training and once I started to get interested in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, I dieted down 8 months for my first natural show!
Describe your training philosophy: My training style is such that I work 1 body part per week. During my workouts, I take that specific muscle that I am training for the day, beyond failure and ensure I cannot do another rep. I will then not train the muscle again until it is fully recovered! (This means sometimes having to take a specific muscle off and allow to it rest for 5-7 days.) What this is doing is maximizing your time in the gym. By completely exhausting a targeted muscle, you are breaking it down so far that your body reacts by regrowing the torn down muscle mass and adding muscle mass in order to try and adapt to the stress you put it under. But because you are working so hard, your rest and recovery is very important. As long as your nutrition is in check and your getting adequate rest and recovery, you will be forcing your body to gain so much freaky muscle mass, you’ll be amazed at the results! As far as repetitions, sets, and weight is concerned, I switch up my routines every workout and utilize every tool. (High weights with low repetitions, low weights with high repetitions, low sets with high repetitions, low repetitions with high sets etc.) Everybody’s body is different so find out what type of training style works for you and as long as you give it 100%, your body will grow!
What are your favorite exercises? I love big compound movements, so really anything with a barbell like squats, deadlifts, presses, etc.
What is your diet like in the off season? Same as precontest, just more food! I always take in complex carbs from whole sources and high protein sources like chicken and eggs. I look at what people call “dieting” as a lifestyle change. What I eat, is my lifestyle nutrition.
Describe your diet during contest prep: During a contest prep, my intake is lowered. I keep the same foods I eat in my offseason.
What supplements have worked for you? Whey protein, amino acids, and multi-vitamins are the only supplements I use and have helped put my body is a constant state for optimal growth. Supplements are just that, they are helpful IN ADDITION to a perfect diet and training regime.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Find out what your passion is in life, and give it a 110%!!!
What have you learned about yourself as a physique competitor? I have learned that you need to be physically strong as well as mentally strong. I found that I have a very strong mind and I feel because I have that strong will and drive, I can accomplish anything!
What are your plans for the future? As I have only done 1 show at this time and only training for bodybuilding for about 1 year, I still have A LOT to learn and look forward to that learning experience! I plan to continue pushing my body past it’s limits and earn a Natural Pro Card, graduate from school as a Registered Dietitian, become personal training certified in order to open my own personal training and nutrition company, and, as always, become a better person by helping all others around me to achieve their goals!
Articles by Alex Kikel: