- Name: Fazc
- Height: 5 ft 11 in. Or 5 ft 10 in on a Squat day.
- Weight: I vary between 90kg/198lbs and 100kg/220lbs
- Occupational Field: Education
- Years training: 12
- Favorite TV show and film: Stargate-SG1 and favourite film is probably Bloodsport.
- Hobbies outside training: Whisky, Steak, Philosophy, Sociology. I read a lot and write a lot. I think writing is just as important, if not more than reading, to cultivate your own ideas rather than just ingesting someone else's.
- Degree: Computer Science
- Certifications: B.Sc, PGCE, M.Ed and in a few years Ph.D.
What are your personal and professional accomplishments in weight training?
I have won a total of 8 regional competitions in both the BDFPA and GBPF and competed in 2 national competitions for the BDFPA. I have also competed in 5 Grip competitions, winning 3, run by David Horne and 1 local Strongman competition in my first year of training. My best competition lifts are 260 equipped Squat, 260 equipped deadlift, 200 raw squat, 140 raw bench, 230 raw deadlift. My best gym lifts are 255 equipped Squat, 182 equipped bench, 260 equipped deadlift and 227 raw squat, 155 raw bench, 235 raw deadlift.
In terms of professional accomplishments, I have a long list of articles I have written for various companies and people. Starting with writing for The Hardgainer magazine in 2002, since then I've written a bunch of articles that I have filed away and recently I have shared some with Btb at M&B and it's sister site M&S. I'm currently working on compiling all of these and adding to them to form a book. I don't have any release date as it's far from being done.
What first motivated you to start training?
It wasn't so much motivation to train as it was de-motivation for the fact that I sucked at Football (Soccer)! Haha! It was December 1999 and I had injured my ankle again playing some football with friends. That December I quit football and started lifting weights in January 2000. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is your favorite lift?
It has to be the Bench. Let's face it, it's a relative pleasure compared to Squatting and Deadlifting.
What keeps you motivated to continue to work hard and progress?
My goals, I've always been a very goal-orientated person. Injuries and time only amplified that; I have limited time left, as do we all, and that time should be spent realising our goals.
I never wanted to be the type of person who after setting himself a goal, slacked off afterwards. I couldn't be that type of person, if I say it's going to happen then it needs to happen. Otherwise you really are on a slippery slope in life.
What has been the biggest obstacle you've ever faced in achieving your goals?
Hmmm that's a tough one. Currently a large part of what runs through my mind to do with training is injuries and particularly a very long comeback from a massive hamstring tear in 2007. That injury was almost a game-breaker for me, I had such momentum prior to that injury and afterwards I had a huge number of minor injuries to the same area for the following year or two until I just literally had to give up any thoughts of heavy lifting. That injury really did beat me down, mentally and physically, not just that once but repeatedly over the course of 2 years. Every time I tried to lift heavy something else went, it was an incredibly frustrating time of my training life and indeed my entire life. It was as if a large part of me had died, in my own way I mourned for the loss of what I felt was a part of my personality and my very being.
Coming back from that injury was a painstakingly slow process. I had to leave behind any thoughts of rehabilitation and embrace a new approach. A new challenge to lift well, consistently and to get in shape. I employed massive volumes of work during that period, doing high volume full body routines up to 5-6 times a week. In it's own way it was just as hard and I was finally seeing progress, but this time in a different direction. It was physique and fitness based, but it provided that sense of competition which the injury left me without. Slowly I realised that now only was I now in good shape, larger, fitter, faster and stronger than before but I was also beginning to lift heavier and heavier. Deadlifts up to 400lbs were possible again, Squats up to 400lbs were possible and I went heavier and heavier. Pretty soon I did a few precarious Squats in gear and finally in February 2012 I won the West Midlands regional competition Squatting and Deadifting 260kg each and I knew I was back. As I said at the time, whatever happens after that point is well and truly a blessing. One of my proudest accomplishments is having the continued mental fortitude to see through what ended up being a 5 year come back from that potentially game-breaking injury to do what I love to do. I am a weight-lifter and I am a competitor and I will be for as long as I live.
Do you have a favorite forum member?
Haha! I have a few favourites actually and I'll leave it at that! Odds are if you are a favourite poster of mine you already know it.
What is the greatest thing we could do to improve the forum?
There really isn't much lacking here in my opinion. I have been fortunate to be part of a good few communities. Communication is the key, forums should be modelled as if you could have the same conversation down at the pub. No ego's, no bullshit.
How would you summarize your training style and belief in training?
I work very hard for two weeks then relax for a week. Over time I push the envelope of volume, frequency and poundage.
In terms of what I cover in a general week I think a multi-angled approach is necessary. I don't do very well with the same lift over and over (but that is a viable approach for some people). I need variation. I try to cover work for the:
- Top-end of the lift which usually involves equipment.
- Bottom-end which usually involved paused and/or box work.
- Low rep work, which normally happens with lift-specific work.
- High rep work, which normally happens with variations or assistance.
Over the course of the week I will hit every lift (or variation) three times a week bearing in mind the variations listed above. So in a given week for example I may do this for the Squatting muscles:
- Geared Squat singles - Covering low rep and top-end work.
- High rep raw Front squats - Covering high rep
- Squats in knee wraps to box - Low end.
That's just for an example but it's generally a fair reflection of my week.
If you were given the controls to the gym music system what would you play?
Haha, it would probably involve a lot of rap. But I am partial to a bit of rave/techno Prodigy style stuff.
How do you fit your training/diet in around your career? What sacrifices have you made?
This is a tough one, the best thing I ever did was to get a home gym. It shaves a lot of time off your day. I can spare a couple of hours on a training night to train and eat. But if that were stretched to 3-4 hours including travel time to a gym it would be difficult.
I wouldn't allow either the gym to interfere with my career or family/marriage though. A man needs to have his priorities in order.
What would be your number 1 tip for a young guy/girl aiming to build strength?
Your routine should be comprised of the big 5 done frequently at least 3 times a week. The big 5 include Squats, Deadlifts, Benches, Presses and Chins or variations of the above. Get strong, but not fat, and you can worry about the rest later.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in the gym?
Moaning, groaning or shouting by attention-grabbing young men in particular when they're lifting nothing but light weights. I mean why would you draw attention to the fact you're weak. I'd be embarrassed.
What kinds of people do you like?
Honest, supportive, loving people.
What kinds of people do you dislike?
Deceitful, incompetent people.
What single event in your life has made the biggest impact in making you the man you are today?
I think the biggest impact in making me the man who I am today was the passing of my father when I was a kid. I had a very different up bringing as a result of that trauma so early in my life. There was no-one to give me the kind of direction a man can give, my mother was fantastic and has been fantastic ever since but direction is something else altogether. When you're in that situation you have two options; you can either continue to look for direction in anything or anyone and many young people do just that, getting involved with all sorts of suspect organisations and even gangs who prey on young people or you can take the other route and provide your own direction. Throughout my life I've provide my own direction, and with support from my family have become the man who I am today.
I'm going to share a personal story; I had a good friend of mine who I knew from primary school. We both took similar paths in life and had similar situations occur, he also lost his father about the same time I did. He didn't handle things as well and the last thing I heard was he got involved in gangs and ended up in the wrong situation at the wrong time. He is currently serving 25 years in jail. I often think about that, small changes and deviations in decisions you make as a youngster can often have dire consequences. That event was a major reason why I got involved in the field of education, the correct guidance and example at that age can have such a massive influence.
Should steroids be allowed in sports?
There are far worse things in life. Let's get some perspective people. My personal preference has always been not to use anything and I've also never used any recreational drugs either, that's just my preference but whatever. I'm not going to judge anyone who does.
One thing I don't like about steroids is that they can make people stupid. Not growing? Take a pill. Bench lacking? Take more stuff. Not lean enough? Take different stuff. Don't like to work hard? Don't worry you taking all kinds of stuff! And around and around it goes. When this type of person comes off you really can tell.
Over training – real threat or over hyped and misunderstood?
Good God... reams have been written on this subject. I tell you something the funniest thing I ever read on the subject was by a famous HG contributor who said something to the effect of 'I always overtrained when I was a youngster but I still made lot's of gains'.
So what he's saying is that he always overtrained and still made gains? Hmmmm whatever you say mate, cos that doesn't make any sense. I stopped reading anything from that guy since then, honestly where do these people get their ideas. Do they even think about what's coming out of their mouths when they say this stuff? They wouldn't know overtraining if it hit them over the head.
I would say that most people are just unconditioned to make the type of gains that would even come close to realising their genetic potential.
Most people are too ****ing lazy to do the conditioning, diet and capacity building work to enable them to prosper from productive routines, it's not indicative of a generational gap either. Lazy, incompetent, excuse-ridden people have been born, lived and died for many generations.
What is your calories, and diet like?
Currently I'm on somewhat of a fat-loss kick. For the past 5 months now I've been experimenting with Intermittent Fasting. Initially I started with a Leangains (see Martin Berkhan) type of approach and later I went to a Eat, Stop, Eat type of deal (see Brad Pilon). My calorie intake is low on most days and I usually opt to eat 1-2 large meals per day.
It's a good approach. It's certainly easier to maintain your calorie deficit over the day, in fact it's so easy you have to be disciplined not to overdo things and cut calories too far as that leads to the inevitable rebound a few days later as hunger gets the better of you.
I would recommend reading Pilon's ESE book, it's interesting.
How important is diet to you?
It's not as important as it should be or even as it used to be when I was lighter, I'll say that much. When you're actually serious about winning competitions then diet should be just as much of a priority as training and rest. It's easy to down a whole load of fried chicken, biscuits and chocolates and then proudly proclaim to the internet you're an 'off-season powerlifter' or something to that effect. No you're not mate, you're a fat **** who has excuses ready for why he doesn't watch his diet and you will be beaten in competition by the guy that does.
How often do you train and where?
I have trained anywhere from 18 times a week to as little as 4 times a week in the past few years. Always at my home gym.
Best thing you ever bought?
Probably my home gym.
Describe your perfect day.
I don't get to see my friends anywhere near as much as I'd like to. So time with my wife, friends and family would be great. Preferably with some good food, perhaps a BBQ and definitely a heavy training session thrown in.
And ice-cream, also use of a hammock and business socks.
Your favorite food?
Definitely a rare to medium-rare steak, a nice whisky on ice and good company.
Your most disliked food?
Not much really, I'm not a big fan of fast food though.
Your favorite quote or words of wisdom?
I just think you should make the most of whatever era of life you're in. When you're a kid, then be a kid and do stupid immature kid stuff. When you're a young adult then go have fun, shag around (if that's your thing), make friends and party. When you're married and ready to settle down then be the best husband/wife you can be. When you're a parent be the best parent you can be. If you can do all of this at the right time you can't have any regrets.
Thanks for asking me to do this interview!