Nigel St Lewis Interview

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Nigel St Lewis Interview
  • Age:

    37
  • Height:

    6'0" (183cm)
  • Chosen Sport:

    Natural Bodybuilding
  • Years Training:

    16
  • Off-Season Weight:

    106kgs
  • Competition Weight:

    94kgs
  • Competition Records:

    I won two British titles in my first competitive year as a natural bodybuilder.

  • Training Information:

    How much time do you spend training per day?

    This all depends on the muscle groups being trained on the day. My leg days seems to go on forever as it takes me longer to recover in between sets, on average I would say 90 minutes.

    What is your current training split?

    This year I decided to change things up a little, I’ve prioritised what I consider, not necessarily weak points, but muscle groups I feel I need to work on for when I do eventually compete on a world stage. So as you can probably work out from my current split quads and hamstrings are a priority to me right now. Always aim to work harder on what you consider your weak muscle groups.

    Monday: Quads, hamstrings and calves

    Tuesday: Chest and triceps

    Wednesday: Back and biceps

    Thursday: Hamstrings, shoulders and calves

    Friday: Rest

    Saturday: Quads and calves

    Sunday: Shoulders

    What are your maximum Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift weights?

    I get asked this a lot, especially at my gym and the honest truth is I’ve never done a one rep max on anything, in the past I’ve benched 180kg for 4 reps, squatted 220kg for 5 reps and deadlifted 220kg for 5 reps, however the way I see it is I’m a bodybuilder not a powerlifter. Yes, I lift heavy as I’ve always believed this is the best way to stimulate growth, but that being said I know my capabilities. Every time I arrive at the gym my intention is always to cause maximum damage to my muscles regardless of the weight being lifted. I leave my ego at the door.

    What type of cardio do you find most effective when trying to lose body fat?

    HIIT (High intensity interval training) without a shadow of a doubt.

    Going out for a long continuous jog is great, however, personally I find it tedious and boring. And because I’m such a nice guy I will share with you one of my trade cardio secrets I use during competition prep at the end of every gym session...

    CLEAN and JERK! Aim for 5 to 10 sets, rest no longer than 45 seconds between sets, and aim for 15 to 20 reps per set. The weight I use for this is 60kgs. Now I must warn you this is absolute torture if done correctly! I employed this during my prep as I worried about burning muscle tissue doing traditional cardio sessions. This is like doing HIIT with weights and I promise you it works. Good Luck!

    What are your 3 favourite exercises and why?

    Bench press, deadlifts and squats in that order.

    Why? Basic compound exercises are needed to build a solid foundation for muscle growth! My personal favourite of the three would have to be bench press, as it's the exercise I’m best at, however if I had to choose one exercise from the three it would have to be squats. I often say I wish most gyms would get rid of their upper body equipment for six months to a year to allow everyone’s legs to catch up to their upper body. You wouldn’t put 13 inch wheels on your Ferrari for good reason...

    How many guys at your gym do you know that are huge up top with next to nothing at the bottom? I call them the chest and bicep men. Believe me, it isn’t a good look... some common excuses that I often hear are “I run for my legs” or “it hurts my knees” or “my legs are already massive” LOL! "Man UP" is usually my thought when I hear these excuses.

    Squatting is a brutal exercise... I don’t know many people who enjoy them, but once you really get into doing them and you begin to see the results they can become enjoyable in a strange way. I would advise any up and coming bodybuilder or anyone thinking about bodybuilding to squat; do not neglect it like I once did. You can find studies showing that squats and deadlifts increase the release of growth hormones & testosterone more than any other exercise. These are natural muscle building hormones.

    What are your 3 least favourite exercises and why?

    I had to think about this one for a while, and frankly I'm struggling... the only ones I can think of are firstly "good mornings". If you happen to be familiar with this exercise I would advise you to use extreme caution when doing it. Although it's an OK exercise for your glutes and hamstrings it puts massive pressure on your lower back. Deadlifts I've also classed as one of my favourite exercises however, good form and a manageable weight is essential. There are several videos on YouTube and Facebook of guys using the most horrendous form with weight they're clearly incapable of lifting, which is great for training your ego. Leave your ego at the door, train hard, but smart and always practice good form before loading up the plates. Do not learn this the hard way.

    How many hours do you sleep a night?

    I would love to say 8, which is the recommended amount, however due to my hectic lifestyle I would say on average 6. Not ideal or recommended.

    Are there any unique training tips you use that you would like to share with us?

    I wouldn't necessarily call this a tip, but I often see guys training who are not eating right and wondering why they aren't making the necessary gains. This maybe stating the obvious but it's worth remembering that you don't grow in the gym. What you do after the gym, how you recover, what you eat and how much you rest has a direct result on the end product - your physique. Yes, train hard, but always aim to get those meals in... and I'm not talking about Burger King! Remember you're a body builder now you cannot afford to eat like a normal person if you're serious about training.

  • Dieting/Supplementation Information:

    Do you bulk and cut? Or stay lean all year round?

    The off season is the time most bodybuilders use to grow and I’m no different. However, some bodybuilders use this as an excuse to eat whatever they like all in the name of bulking and gain unnecessary fat in the process. Yes, you do need a certain amount of fat to grow, however I’m forever conscious that if I gain too much fat in the off season it only means I have to lose it again once the competitive season restarts. I also like being in shape. This to me is a lifestyle. No, it’s not easy but nothing worth achieving in life is. I keep myself in relatively good shape year round.

    What does your typical meal plan look like?

    Meal 1: Porridge with water or milk and 7 scrambled eggs

    Meal 2: Chicken or turkey breast, brown/white rice or potato and steamed vegetables

    Meal 3: Chicken breast or beef steak with potato and steamed vegetables

    Meal 4: Fish with brown rice or potato and vegetables

    Meal 5: Protein shake

    Meal 6: Eggs/cottage cheese and vegetables

    Meal 7: Casein protein shake

    When you diet, do you cut carbs completely out of your diet? Or do you taper them down?

    I never EVER cut carbs completely, that to me would be completely ridiculous. I do not think I’d be able to function, so my carbs are tapered down if and when necessary. A lot of bodybuilders play around with carbs by having high and low carb days... I don’t. Through trial and error I know roughly how much I need to consume per day to get into show condition, so I stick to that. If I see no change in my condition and I assess my condition on a week by week basis, I make the required adjustment. It’s that simple.

    Tell us about your most challenging experience while dieting and how did  you overcome it?

    Bodybuilding can be a very lonely sport at times when dieting. Sticking to a diet and eating the same food repetitively for months can become mundane, especially when it appears everyone else is out enjoying themselves. This is a tough, tough sport and we certainly do not get the recognition we deserve in comparison to some other sports (especially the natural side of bodybuilding). Dieting can be hard, but when I log on to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter and there’s someone telling me I’m their inspiration, well, how can I ever give up? Plus I genuinely love what I do. 

    What is your favourite clean meal?

    Oatmeal with milk and a couple scoops of MAXIRAW WPI intensity protein powder with a banana and some almonds.

    What is your favourite cheat meal?

    NANDOS! Do you have Nandos in Australia? I love it :-)

    What are your 3 favourite supplements and why?

    Nothing beats a solid meal. I believe too many people get carried away with supplements and need to be reminded that the majority of them are simply meal replacements. They are not a magic potion. Yes, supplements are great, but please treat them for what they are. The supplements I use regularly are protein powder and branch chain amino acids, all supplied by my sponsors MAXIRAW.

  • Personal Information:

    What led you to your chosen sport?

    For as long as I can remember I’ve always been an avid sports fan, it’s a family trait. In fact my entire family are sports crazy. I played every sport going around... you name it, I played it! I simply loved sports. As a kid I remember being in awe of my cousin... now my cousin was no bodybuilder, but he trained. I remember looking up to him like he was some kind of god simply because he had huge arms and a big chest. I wanted to be just like him so I began weight training from the age of 19. Back then the fear of looking like the average man on the street drove me to the gym, however, I was only interested in training my chest and biceps so that is what I did. In fact thinking about it now, my training back then was purely to develop big arms and chest to impress females! LOL! In a word it was ridiculous. However, despite my ridiculous training routine I did develop impressive arms and biceps, of which I was extremely proud. I suppose the man upstairs blessed me with some half decent genetics.

    It didn’t take me very long to see results unlike some of my friends and this kept me motivated. As the months and years went by I made some impressive gains, however back then I had no legs or back development. I simply neglected training them... to me they weren’t visible. I could hide my legs by wearing trousers and I couldn’t see my back so I really didn’t care. Plus, the females were complimenting my physique, so I couldn’t see a problem. Long story short I learnt the hard way and I still have moments in my head now where I laugh at how I once did things! Ha ha!

    Fast forward to 2010 and after some internet research I found out about natural bodybuilding. I recall saying to myself “well I’ve spent all these years training and looking at some of these guys I’m pretty confident I could do quite well”. I continued my research into natural bodybuilding until one day I came across an athlete called Rob Hope. To cut a long story short that was the day I decided to become a bodybuilder. I had never seen a natural physique like it and to this day in my opinion he’s still one of, if not the, greatest natural bodybuilder to have ever graced the stage.

    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

    As a multiple world championship holder and to be known as one of the best natural bodybuilders to have ever graced the stage. God willing.

    Who are your role models and why?

    My mother. Firstly I believe she gave me my genetics and secondly, she simply inspires me. She is the one person that makes me believe I can achieve greatness.

    What are the 3 words that best describe you?

    Dedicated, Stubborn and Determined.

    How do you manage the balance in your life and find time for everything?

    Prioritising. You must decide what is important to you in your life. It's too easy to forget that our time on earth has an expiry date. I intend to make the most of my time here and my intention is "to inspire before I expire". So I simply make time for what I believe is important.

    Do you have a quote that you live by?

    Everything happens for a reason.

    Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    What is your favourite sport outside of your chosen sport and why?

    The list is pretty much endless, formula one, rugby, cricket, football. I'm a sports fanatic. I even started watching Aussie Rules Football once, but I couldn't work out what was happening so I went to bed :-)

    Is there anything else you would like to leave us with?

    Train hard, train smart. If you want to be a bodybuilder you gotta eat like a bodybuilder and stay consistent with your training, consistency is key.

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