FitnessRx Interview: Alex Carneiro


Age: 27
Height: 5’11
Weight: Off-Season: 213 pounds; Contest Weight 195 pounds

What got you started in the gym?

I began this journey in the summer of 2008. My parents had left me with my older brother during my summer vacation and he immediately realized I was going to be bored the entire summer if I had stayed home and played videos games all summer, since I was nowhere near my friends. My brother then decided to venture me into his local gym where he himself would go once in a while for the occasional spinning class or lifting session. It only took a few steps into that gym and seeing the big guys that at that moment I told myself “I want to look like these guys one day”. So it became part of my life ever since I was 17.

FitnessRx Interview: Alex Carneiro

What are your 3 favorite exercises?

Calf Extensions, Rope Triceps Extensions and Hammer Curls. Now I’m not saying these are the best for someone as the answer to that would then be: squats, military presses and pulls ups in my opinion. But something about those 3 exercises I mentioned really create the best muscle mind connection with my body and I truly enjoy performing them.

How would you describe your approach to training?

Truthfully my approach changes every month depending on what season of the year I am at. During contest prep mode or for photo shoots I like to stick with higher reps of 12-20 and really squeeze the muscle as much as possible. Those squeeze/contractions are really important to bring out the detail of the muscle. When I am not getting ready for a shoot or show I like to go a little heavier and vary my exercises to just mainly compound and drop a lot of the machines and isolation exercises I do. I go back to deadlifts and heavier squats as well with more functional style outdoors cardio.

What is your favorite intensity technique?

I like them all. I believe they all have a role into your training protocol. Supersets aren’t really my favorite though, I like being able to give one exercise it’s full attention, but when I do perform supersets I make sure the second exercise on the lineup is strictly isolation. So for example I would go from a standing biceps E-Z barbell curl to a preacher curl to isolate the biceps. I truly like forced reps – they force you to go beyond your own limits. Obviously you need a spotter for those and you can’t always rely on having one all the time. What I do tell people is to choose one or two – sometimes I see guys doing super drop forced reps (yeah all of them together) and that over time will not benefit the body anymore.

What is you typical weekly training split?

Monday AM Fasted Cardio PM Back Width & Abs
Tuesday AM Fasted Cardio PM Chest & Calves
Wednesday Quads, Hamstrings
Thursday AM Abs PM Back Thickness & Calves
Friday AM Fasted Cardio – Biceps & Triceps
Saturday Rest or Upper Chest & Abs
Sunday AM Fasted Cardio

Which is your favorite bodypart to train?

Delts and chest. I believe its because after I get a good pump in these two areas I feel much larger than I truly am and I am more motivated to push harder.

FitnessRx Interview: Alex Carneiro

DAY 1: Back Width Workout

Machine Pull-Ups 5 x 12-15
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns 5 x 12-15
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns 5 x 12-15
V-Bar Lat Pulldowns 5 x 12-15
Dumbbell Pullovers 5 x 12-15
Lat Pulldowns with Rope 5 x 12-15

* I stretch in between all sets for about 10 seconds to open up the lats

DAY 2: Chest/Calves

Smith Machine Incline Bench Press 4 x 12-15
Cable Crossovers 4 x 12-15
Machine Bench Press 4 x 12-15
Pec Deck Flyes 1 x 100
Hammer Strength Incline Bench Press 4 x 12-15
Seated Calf Extensions 7 x 21
Standing Calf Extensions* 7 x 21
Sets 21 Reps
Standing Bodyweight Calf Raises 1 Set till failure

* Switching feet/toe positioning every 7 reps

DAY 3: Quads/Hamstrings

Smith Machine Squats 5 x 15
Leg Press 5 x 10
Walking Lunges 4 x 12 (each leg)
Leg Extensions 4 x 25
Seated Leg Curls 4 x 25

*Foam roll and stretch for 5 to 10 min after every leg workout

DAY 4: Back Thickness Workout

Close Grip Machine Pull-Ups 3 x 15
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 4 x 12
Wide Grip Bent-Over Barbell Rows 4 x 12
Barbell Shrugs 5 x 10
Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows 3 x 12
Close Grip Seated Cable Rows 3 x 12
Low Back Extensions 4 x 20

DAY 5: Biceps/Triceps

Cable Biceps Curls 1 x 100
Triceps Rope Extensions x 100
Decline Bench Triceps EZ Bar Skull Crushers 4 x 10-12
Dips on machine w/ weights 4 x 12
Overhand Triceps Bar Extensions 4 x 15
Dumbbell Hammer Curls 4 x 12-15
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls 4x 12-15
Standing Biceps 21’s x 2

* I stretch my arms in between each set

DAY 6: Upper Chest/Abs

Smith Machine Incline Press 1 x 50
Incline Hammer Strength Press 4 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes 4 x 20
Low Cable Flyes 4 x 15
Twisting Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 10 (each side)
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 15
Cable Rope Crunches 4 x 20

What are a few nutrition “Do’s” and “Don’ts” you’ve learned over the years?

Nutrition is truly the key to changing your body so it’s crucial to have it nailed down if you really want to achieve what people says is unachievable.

DO: Weigh your food. You need to know how much you are eating and not just guess it

DO: Make sure you add your veggies in your daily routine. You can’t overstate the importance they play in immune system strength and overall health.

DO: Drink 15-20oz of water with your meals. Not diet soda or juice.

DON’T: Have more cheats than you need during the week, even if you felt like you worked really hard. Keep it a balance for your goals

DON’T: Replace your macros with junk food and expect to feel good and strong at the gym. Processed foods have so many negative effects you cant even imagine. Have your cheat once or twice a week, but don’t replace more than 20% of your meals with junk food and tell yourself its okay because they fit your macros.

DON’T: But a bunch of “diet” or “light” foods thinking they are healthy. Organic and natural don’t always mean they will help you achieve your goals.


Meal 1: 6 egg whites + 1 full egg yolk , ¾ cup oats & 1 scoop Whey
Meal 2: 6oz chicken, tilapia or turkey with 7oz sweet potato + 1 cup steamed veggies
Meal 3: 6oz chicken, tilapia or turkey + 1 cup white rice + 10 asparagus sticks
Meal 4: 1 ½ scoop Whey Protein + 1oz unsalted almonds
Meal 5: 7oz salmon or steak with 6 oz sweet potato and 1 cup steamed veggies
Meal 6: 1 cup fat-free greek yogurt, 1 scoop casein + 10 almonds in the mix

What supplements do you take?

Whey Protein
Vitamin C
Fish Oil
Creatine Monohydrate
BCAA + Glutamine

When you are in a leaning out phase, what cardio works best for you?

I don’t like HIIT. I know many people that over the years doing HIIT have joint and cartilage problems. The one time I did HIIT for a contest prep I felt like I lost a bit of muscle and that was because I did not compensate for the calories being burnt. Personally I don’t mind steady state on the treadmill. I perform fasted cardio almost every morning and then sometimes I will add 20 to 30 min more after my workouts if I feel like I still have some body fat to lose.

What motivates you to get to the gym and stay on point with nutrition every day?

Sometimes motivation can be hard to get, especially on those low carb days were you feel like your soul has been sucked out of your body and you don’t even want to move. But once I get to the gym I know that this is my passion, my life and job and that I need to inspire myself and others to push even when the light in tunnel is very small. I tell myself how far I have come and that this is the time to push and give it all. I would rather cheat on a gym session and not give it my best than cheat on my nutrition. As incredibly hard as it can get I remind myself that the way I look will be dramatically affected by what I eat. I’ll have 1 to 2 cheat meals per week to balance my mind and body, but that’s it.