Posted 24 June 2011 by Interview:

Shaka Smith

Do you remember the first time you picked
up a dumbbell?

Yes, it was in college. Part of training on the water polo team was also training in the gym. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled about it - it was foreign to me and I just felt out of place.

What mistakes did you make as a newbie?

If I can think back to a single thing that made a difference for me it was decreasing the time between my sets. When I first started, I was definitely waiting until I felt "good" before continuing sets. I noticed better results when I made the change.

How do you manage to stay motivated and consistent?

Music has always motivated me. I always make sure I have a good playlist handy even in the car to motivate me before I go workout. These days though, stepping on stage to compete is my biggest motivator and watching how dedicated the other guys in the field are keeps me going.

How do you feel about the new men's
physique division?

The new division is great. Part of the fun actually has been the guesswork in figuring out what the judges are looking for and how to get there. I'd also say having just completed my second competition and following the others here and around the country, its crazy how quick the bar has been raised each time - having this as motivation has been awesome.

What are you most proud of?

Just competing. Stepping on stage was a huge deal for me. No matter what shape you are in, stepping on stage in an auditorium full of people and having judges rate your physique is never easy. So finally doing it, I just had a personal sense of accomplishment.

How long do you usually spend in the gym?

I like to make sure I get 30 min to an hour of cardio every workout so each
session is usually between 2-3 hours.

What rep ranges do you prefer?

I prefer to do lighter weights and go 15-20 reps for 4 to 5 sets.

What is your training routine like?

Well I don’t have a specific routine. I tend to do full body workouts everyday and of course when you train hard you're prone to strains and soreness often and on those days I just work what doesn't hurt. I do cardio everyday and train some part of the legs and abs everyday (usually there is always a calf session). Since I don't go heavy I am able to train some of the same body groups more than once a week. I never plan a rest day just because we all have those inevitable days where we can't make it to the gym whether its work or just listening to my body and taking that break, but since I am in the gym so often I don't need to worry about those days and in fact its a good thing to get that rest. But a sample week might look like;

Monday: chest, legs, abs, run, swim

Tuesday: back, legs, abs, run

Wednesday: shoulders, legs, abs, run, swim

Thursday: chest, legs, abs, run

Friday: back, legs, abs, run, swim

Saturday: shoulders, legs, abs, run

Sunday: legs, abs, run, swim

What is your diet when trying to get in peak condition?

Well my show diet is carb depleting for two weeks. I probably have under 60g per day during that two-week period. I have a protein smoothie 3 times a day (blackberries, blueberries, coconut water & whey protein) and go with codfish for lunch and dinner instead of my usual salmon since it is less fatty. The night before, I go with a heavy carb meal, usually pasta and chicken to get the muscles that extra life after depletion for the next day.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

I deal with it by having them. I don't keep any of them in my home, so I do make sure if its something I want I have to go out to get it, but aside from the two weeks leading into competition I don't believe in denying myself anything. On a personal level I wouldn't be happy and its not something I could sustain for the rest of my life. If I have some of those foods, I just increase the intensity of my workout accordingly.

What do you think about when you have to
dig deep and push out that last rep?

That it’s supposed to be hard and it’s supposed to hurt. If working out and getting those last reps were easy every single person would be extremely fit, but it takes hard work and I just try to remember that - it takes hard work!

Who are your favourite athletes, bodybuilders
or fitness models?

Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt are two of my favorites. I was a sprinter in both swimming and track and really admire the accomplishments of these two. As for fitness modelling James Ellis, who I've gotten to train with has been extraordinary - he's got a great physique, an awesome training regimen, and a great focus that has been inspiring.

What are your future goals?

I'd like to continue competing and become a pro. I'm an actor as well and look forward to continuing that journey and taking it as far as possible.

What top 3 tips would you give to anyone
wanting to get CutAndJacked?

  1. Mentally resolve yourself to the fact that it will be hard.
  2. Find friends and family and support each other, either as training partners or people who get you motivated - there are several online fitness communities - I'm on BodySpace and its a great online resource.
  3. Don't be afraid or intimidated. Each day you workout, you're one step closer to your goal, no matter how far you think you may be.

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