How did you get started with bodybuilding and weight training?
From an early age I have always been passionate about sport. I was a member on the team sheet of every sport available at school growing up; football, rugby, basketball, hockey, athletics, you name it I was there. I was always very competitive and just loved to be quite physical; the issue I had was although I was reasonably good at a lot of sports, I was never the best at any.
I was always pretty skinny as a teenager and this became more and more prevalent to me as I tried to continue playing rugby and football, sometimes for teams 2 years above my own age. Everyone was bigger and stronger which made it hard to compete.
Determined to get stronger I remember when I was about 14 or 15 I got a small set of plastic weights, none of which went heavier than 5kg. In the beginning even they were a struggle for most exercises! In truth I had no idea what I was doing and, like many boys my age, spent most nights just doing endless bicep curls.
When I was at college a close friend of mine was a member at the local gym and he used to take me once a month using guest passes. He had a small amount of experience (more than I did)at the time so he showed me the ropes. From the beginning I loved it. I was always begging him to get more passes.
My college had a small gym, but during the day it was only open for a short period - at lunchtime - when it would always be absolutely rammed. At the time I found it pretty intimidating and being quite shy I never really had the courage to go on my own. After a while, I realised that the gym was open in the evenings and took it upon myself to start going on my own. I would wait until late in the evening, when I knew it would be quiet, and started to go more and more regularly. Pretty soon I was hooked. I would convince a few friends to come with me, but none of them lasted more than a few weeks at a time.
Where does your motivation come from?
I think for me the main thing is that I am never satisfied. This applies to most things and not just bodybuilding. I am maybe a little bit of a perfectionist and always want things to be better than what they are. I am quite hard on myself in a sense as I never think that I am (or things are) good enough but this just drives and motivates me to keep working at it until they are.
Although if I'm completely honest, when it comes to fitness/bodybuilding I just love everything about training. I wake up everyday excited to get in the gym. I love the pain of pushing myself to the limit. I love the feeling of being pumped (not quite as much as Arnold did) and I love that feeling of soreness the next day after a hard session.
I very rarely find myself needing motivation to train. I think if someone turned around and told me that no matter how hard I trained I would only improve by 0.01% each year I would still be in the gym slugging away for that 0.01%, 7 days a week.
Often the area where I need motivation is my nutrition. I find sticking to a diet when trying to drop weight pretty tough. I mean, I love to eat so when I can’t it’s a real psychological battle. I have to think about the end goal, think about why it is that I’m doing it and remind myself that the rewards are far greater than one little moment of satisfaction.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
For the past few years this has been my go to routine. With slight adjustments depending on training periodisation and my goals at the time I often find myself returning to this format. I feel that an increased training frequency is far more beneficial for most lifters, as opposed to the usual bodybuilding bro split that only trains muscle groups once a week.
A1 Back Squat 5x5
B1 Leg Press 4x10
C1 Leg Extension 4x30
C2 Leg Curl 4 x8
D1 Narrow Stance Smith Machine Squats 3x16
E1 GHR 3x8
E2 DB RDL 3x16
A1 DB External Rotation 3x8
B1 DB Shoulder Press 4x8
C1 Incline Bench Press 4x8
D1 Tricep Dips 3x8
E1 Decline Cable flys 3x16
E2 Dual Rope OH Tricep Extension 3x16
D1 Behind the Neck Smith Machine Press 3x16
D2 Plate Hold Around the Worlds 3x10
F1 DB Laterals 3x20
F2 DB Rotating Skullcrushers 3 x 20
A1 Narrow Grip Pulldowns 4x8
B1 T-Bar Row 4x8
C1 Dual Handle Low Pulley Row 3x12
D1 Wide Grip Underhand Pulldowns 3 x16
E1 Dual Rope Pullovers 3 x 20,16,12
E2 Dual Rope Facepulls 3 x 20,16,12
F1 Trap Raise 3x8
F2 Rear Delt Fly 3x16
G1 Spider Curl 3x10
G2 Zottman Curl 3x10
A1 Front Squats 4 X 10
B1 High & Wide Stance Leg Press 4 x 8
C1 Reverse Lunge 3x16
D1 Lying Leg Curl 3x8
D2 Foam Roller Hamstring Curl 3x10
E1 Low & Narrow Leg Press 4x20
F1 Split Squat 3 x 12
A1 Low Incline DB press 4x8
B1 Seated Military Press 4x8
C1 Narrow Grip Bench Press 3x8
D1 Incline Cable Fly 3x20,16,12
D2 Machine Chest Press 3x10
E1 Standing DB Shoulder Press into Seated Shoulder Press 3 x10/10
E2 Poliquin Raise 3x10
F1 OH Tricep Extension 3x10
F2 Underhand Tricep extension 3x10
A1 Overhand Grip pulldown 4x20,16,12,8
B1 Pendley Row 4x8
B2 Incline DB row 4x12
C1 Single Arm Cross-Body Cable Pullover 3X16
C2 Single Arm Cable Rear Delt Fly 3x8
D1 Overhand Grip Machine Row 3x12
E1 Snatch Grip Rack Pull 4x8
F1 Cable Reverse Curls 4x16
Sunday: Rest day (Off season)
Cardio Calves & Abs (During prep)
12 x 30s on 30s off sprints on the rower
12 x 20s on 40s off sprints on the watt bike
Seated Calf/Ab Rollouts 4 x 20/10
Smith Machine Calf/Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 16/16
Russian Cable Twists/Single Leg Calf 3 x 16/16
If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
DEADLIFTS – For me, I love the deadlift. It has to be the king of all exercises! There are so many different ways to perform deadlifts which can be used to alter target muscle groups, both lower and upper body!
SQUATS – A leg day isn’t complete without squats. It is true you don’t have to do them… but I don’t know why you wouldn’t! I've got to say that I enjoy narrow stance high bar squats in particular - they’re great for quad work!
SHOULDER PRESS – Again there are many variations and ways to shoulder press. I love all pressing exercises but something makes you feel particularly powerful about pressing heavy weight overhead. Shoulders are also key to building that V-taper and making the waist appear smaller, so the bigger the better!
What is your diet like?
The majority of my diet is what I imagine a lot of people would consider “clean”, mostly containing nutritious whole foods and for the most part and avoiding overly processed food. I do occasionally indulge in the odd “cheat meal” but I will often factor this into my macros if I am dieting down.
The most important thing to remember with your diet is calories in vs calories out. If you want to lose weight you HAVE to be in a calorie deficit! Although that’s not to say you can eat absolutely anything as long as the calories match. It is important to consider the macronutrient as well as micronutrient breakdown.
Here is a simple diet that I like to follow:
Meal 1: 6 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 150g of mixed fruit, 80g oats, 50g spinach
Meal 2: 200g chicken, 150g rice, 100g mixed salad
Meal 3: 1 scoop whey, 30g dextrose
Meal 4: 200g chicken, 200g sweet potato, 100g green beans
Meal 5: 200g lean beef, 200g sweet potato, 100g green beans
Meal 6: 5 egg whites, 1 whole egg , 1 scoop casein
When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?
I like to use a combination of both. I feel that each play an effective role in helping fat loss and that there is a time and place for either. When I have the energy I am quite a fan of sprint intervals, which help me to burn more calories in a significantly shorter time period and therefor reduce the monotony of cardio. Often I’ll perform sprints on either a watt bike or a rowing machine. However, as I progress further through a diet and my energy levels start to run low, sprints require far more energy and will power. This is where traditional 'steady-state' cardio comes in.
What is your supplementation like?
Pre workout – caffeine, taurine, creatine, beta alanine, citrulline malate, glutamine
What are you doing now… to take you where you want to be tomorrow? Or If you are not where you want to be… what are you doing to get yourself there?
"What are you doing now to take you where you want to be tomorrow?" Justin St Paul
What’s in your gym bag?
Theres a few things I always keep in my gym bag just in case. Starting with my gallon water bottle, I try to drink as much water as possible while I train and I feel having a big bottle really reminds me to keep knocking it back. I always carry my lifting belt, a pair of lifting straps as well as chalk in there as I like to switch it up and not become reliant on either. Alongside my pre and post workout shakes I usually keep a couple protein bars handy too just incase I get caught out and can't get a meal in when I would like to.
How can we get in touch?
Website: http://www.justinstpaul.com/ (under construction)
Youtube: Justin St Paul