MUSCLE MODEL PHYSIQUE TIPS

UPGRADE YOUR BODY WITH TIPS FROM WBFF PRO MUSCLE MODEL JAMES ALEXANDER ELLIS......

James Ellis


ARTICLE ESSENTIALS

  • Push yourself because no one else will do it for you!
  • Use training intensification techniques to develop your weak body parts
  • Bulk-up from a lean starting point to gain quality muscle mass fast
  • Get ripped by using the science of carb-cycling
  • Hitting a pool party in Las Vegas is an experience you have to try!

If you've been following SCI-MX via social media, then you might already know that one of our athletes, James Alexander Ellis, has recently placed 6th of 32 Pro Muscle Models at THE WBFF WORLDS in Sin City – Las Vegas! Check out how James upgraded his physique to mix it with the best of the best muscle models – and get the tips you need for insane results from your own training....

YOU WERE THE HIGHEST PLACING UK MUSCLE MODEL AT THE WBFF WORLDS – A PHENOMENAL ACHIEVEMENT! WHAT'S THE NO.1 SECRET FOR REACHING SUCH GREAT PHYSIQUE RESULTS?

YOU have to push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you! That's what I did a year before this year's Vegas contest – I said to myself that it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was committed to getting there and making the top 10. You need to set a challenging goal and then start focusing on all the things that will get you there – the training, the consistency, the nutrition, the supplements. But it starts in your head – so make a defining goal and never, ever quit! Sometimes you have to make sacrifices – I moved from Cheltenham to London after last year's WBFF, so that I could train in a hardcore gym alongside other serious muscle models. Get out of your comfort zone and watch your results transpire!

YOU HIT THE VEGAS STAGE IN TRULY AWESOME CONDITION!
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE TO GUYS LOOKING TO UPGRADE THEIR PHYSIQUES?

I was really chuffed with the condition I achieved on contest day – when I woke up and looked in the mirror I was shredded and it meant that all the months of gruelling work and weeks of strict eating had been worth it! Although I finished one place higher at the 2013 Worlds – this year was a much bigger achievement, because the level of competition was ridiculous! So how did I achieve my best ever physique? Basically, at the end of 2013 I analysed my body to see where I needed to improve from previous competitions. I've always been aware that my quads grow easily and I was told by a few shrewd judges that I should just maintain them for the class of competition I'm in; since they were already spot on. What I needed was enhanced physique balance – to add solid size to my shoulders and arms, and more of a V-taper to the legs.

I think it's essential to be honest with yourself – take selfies from different angles and see where you're genuinely in need for improvement. Ask for advice from others – and welcome constructive input!

BODY UPGRADE TIP: Identify which body parts are slacking and intensify your training and nutrition strategy to bring them up to par fast! I recommend following the approach I use with my clients and have been using to prep for Vegas... Train the body part(s) every four days, accompanied by an increased calorie intake after the sessions (+ 500-1000kcals). Follow this strategy for 4-6 weeks then go back to one session per week.

JAMES' UPPER BODY UPGRADE SESSION (PERFORM ONCE EVERY 4 DAYS)

Triceps
Close-grip bench press 3 sets x 6-8 reps
Narrow grip dips 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Cable stack tricep press-down drop set*

(*set the pin at a resistance level you can make 2 good reps with, then lower the resistance by 1-pin every time you reach failure. Work your way up the weights stack until you're using the light weights and your arms are on fire!)

Biceps
Preacher curls 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Standing barbell curls 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Cable stack bicep curl drop set*(*use same method as for triceps drop set)Shoulders
Dumbbell shoulder press 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Lateral raises 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Front raises 3 sets x 8-12 reps

HOW DID YOU EAT TO MUSCLE-UP FOR VEGAS & WHAT'S YOUR BEST LEAN BULKING TIP?

I followed a bulk-up plan for several months at the beginning of my road to Vegas, which was essential to add the upper body muscle that I'd pin-pointed as being crucial for a top 10 placing. I like to start out with decent ab definition when I begin an all-out assault on muscle growth – it's a key strategy that I advise the lads in my gym to follow, if they ask for advice. There are several big advantages to this approach. Firstly, you can really up your calories and add a little body fat without getting out of shape, which makes it much easier to get ripped in 6 weeks when you start dialling-in your diet. Secondly, the leaner you are, the higher your testosterone is likely to be – fuelling maximum lean growth! Use a T-booster such as TESTODRIVE HARDCORE™ alongside this strategy and you'll get awesome results.

Here's a typical bulking day for me during the Vegas prep:

Breakfast: Fillet steak, 2 eggs, 100g mixed nuts, bowl of oatmeal wih protein
Snack: PRO 2GO® DUO BAR + apple + TRI OMEGA EFA™
Lunch: Chicken breast, salad drizzled in olive oil, 1 cup basmati rice
Pre-training: OMNI MX® HARDCORE + X-PLODE HARDCORE™
During training: BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™
Post-training: OMNI MX® HARDCORE
Large post-workout meal: Caribbean chicken, rice, whey protein smoothie with milk GRS 9-HOUR® PROTEIN blended with peanut butter + TRI OMEGA EFA™

LEAN BULKING TIP: Carbs combined with protein are your ticket to packing on muscle mass – but loading-up on carbs post-workout will help you make awesome lean gains, due to enhanced muscle sensitivity to suck-up nutrients. Consume OMNI MX® HARDCORE immediately after your workout, then consume a large post-workout meal of lean protein and carbs, around 90 minutes later.

ONCE THE EXTRA MUSCLE WAS BUILT – HOW DID YOU GET RIPPED & CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR ESSENTIAL TIPS?

Once I'd added enough size I spent a month or so in maintenance mode, since I didn't want to shock my body with an extreme switch in calories. I slowly tapered my energy intake down and then really attacked the fat for an intensely focused 8 week period. My essential tip for effective fat loss and to get into single digits is carb-cycling – phases of very low carbs, cycled with periodic higher carb days.

For example: 4 days of under 100g carbs, followed by 1 day of 300-400g with lots of potatoes, rice and oatmeal.

Carb cycling works by draining glycogen and setting-up a hormonal environment where the body taps into stored body fat for fuel. The re-feed replenishes energy levels and kick-starts your metabolism which will take a hit when dieting hard! Things got tough a few weeks before the show – I took carbs down to 50g a day and reduced the frequency of my carb-ups to once a week. Whatever diet strategy you follow, you need a similar amount of protein to maintain muscle – I shoot for 2g per kg of body mass.

Low-carb day:

Breakfast: Fillet steak, 2 eggs, handful of mixed nuts
Snack: ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN + TRI OMEGA EFA™
Lunch: Tuna salad, drizzled in olive oil
Pre-training: ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN + X-PLODE RIPPEDCORE™
During training: AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™
Post-training: ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN
Large post-workout meal: Chicken with grilled veg, Greek yoghurt with blueberries GRS 9-HOUR® PROTEIN blended with almond butter + TRI OMEGA EFA™

On my carb-up days I followed a nutritional intake as per my bulking meal plan – more carbs and more calories! I also became skilled at making protein desserts – awesome for sanity without ruining my hard work. In the final week of contest prep my diet was essentially lean meats (ultra-lean beef or chicken), green vegetables, a dash of essential fatty acids and protein shakes. Three days out I was simply eating chicken and asparagus – a great vegetable for safely removing excess water from beneath your skin to get the 'shredded' look with excellent definition. The night before the show I strategically added some clean carbs (rice and sweet potato) back into my diet to load my depleted muscles with glycogen and ensure I woke up looking ripped and pumped!

DID YOU PARTY IN VEGAS AFTER THE SHOW?


Hell yes – the biggest party city in the world was right on my doorstep (or over my balcony to be precise!). We hit the MGM "Wet Republic" water party for starters, which was like an experience straight out of Spring Break – bikini clad women, ripped dudes, awesome tunes and the cocktails flowing. Next-up we grabbed a cab and instructed the driver to take us the best place in town to EAT BIG and do things 'Vegas style' – destination Outback Steakhouse - Strip, Casino Royale! I went straight for the prime fillet steak covered in crispy breadcrumbs, followed by awesome deserts; carb heaven! The rest of the night was party time – casinos, show girls and clubbing until the early hours – if you're going to do Vegas, then do it right!

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