The Giant Killer
By Two-Time 212 Olympia Champion Shaun Clarida
Sponsored by MUTANT
Q: I see you use something called a GymPin to add weight to both machines with stacks as well as plate-loading machines like Hammer Strength and Arsenal Strength. Which machines do you need to do that for, all of them? Every post of yours I see it looks like you have every plate a machine can hold!
A: I use it on almost every machine that has a weight stack that you use a pin to adjust the weight for, because most of the stacks were designed to accommodate a certain level of strength that very few people go beyond anyway. A lot of times a weight stack will only go up to something like 200 pounds and the GymPin lets me add 25 or 45 more pounds to that. I do also use it for plate-loading machines like the Hammer Strength Incline Press for chest so I can add a sixth plate to each side since there’s only enough room for five 45s. It also comes in handy on certain leg press machines when the posts don’t allow me to put enough plates on to really challenge me. On most models I can push 13 or 14 plates a side if I’m going as heavy as possible. I’ve seen people do crazy things like using bungee cords or duct tape to secure extra 45s. The GymPin is a much safer and more convenient tool to add extra resistance. I feel it my duty to mention that no one should be adding weight to anything if you are sacrificing form, range of motion, or mind-muscle connection just to say you used x amount of weight. But if you are genuinely maxed-out with what a machine holds or allows for, use my code GK20 for GymPin at www.gym-pin.co.uk!
The Heat Is On!
Q: Your new home state of Texas went through a record-setting heat wave less than two months after you moved there. How did you handle all those days in a row that were well over 100 degrees outside?
A: Honestly, I love it. I’ve always been a fan of the heat. I love Florida and Texas weather. What isn’t so fun is that summer is also the rainy season in Texas. The storms here are just ridiculous. They are so loud I thought the windows were going to shatter! I wake up and it’s 70 or 80 degrees. It gets up to 100 or more by noon. I prefer the heat. You know I stay covered up almost all the time when I train. So don’t feel bad for me, I’m fine even at over 100 degrees!
Olympia Prep: Bigger and Better
Q: You are starting your prep for the Olympia, where you will defend your 212 title and hopefully earn your third win. Where are you at with your physique this year as compared to your starting point in 2022? I believe you hit an all-time high for your off-season bodyweight and strength.
A: I did get up to 215 pounds, which is crazy. I never thought I would be that heavy in this off-season with having a new baby and moving across country. I had assumed my training would have suffered a bit here and there with all that going on. But I have been able to get my training, meals, and cardio in every day without fail. I’d always heard “everything is bigger in Texas,” and now I believe it! I remember sending Matt Jansen my check-in when I hit 215, and I was surprised. That’s a lot for me. I will come in a little bigger at this Olympia than ever before, but the most important thing for me is conditioning. Nothing else matters if the condition isn’t top-notch. That’s why I never focus on my bodyweight. I’m more concerned with trying to improve certain areas like my chest and hamstrings. As I get stronger on those movements and add new lean muscle tissue, the weight does creep up. It’s been a great off-season and I also feel I’m going to grow into the show. I’m one of those guys who gets stronger in prep, so sometimes I have to be mindful and stay safe, so I don’t get injured. But I’m going to keep pushing hard, stay strong, and hold as much size going into the show as possible. Despite being 40 and already being as strong as I am, I still find I’m able to make strength gains.
How Being a Dad Changed Me
Q: Has being a dad changed your outlook on life at all yet? Most men say they feel like an entirely different chapter of their life has begun.
A: I feel like an adult now! I actually had this conversation with Branch Warren recently at Destination Dallas. I thought I was motivated and had purpose before, but becoming a father was like turning a switch. From now on, everything I do moving forward isn’t for me anymore. It’s for my daughter. Now she’s the reason I’m determined to improve and win my third Olympia title. She gives me a whole new fuel and drive to be the best I can be.
Home Gym, Texas Style
Q: Do you have any equipment at home?
A: My new home in Texas has a four-car garage, and I set aside two of the bays to be my “home gym.” In the past in New Jersey, I always had to drive to the gym for my morning cardio. It wasn’t a long drive, but I always thought I would save time by having cardio equipment at home. Now I can do that as well as abs, calves, and adductors. At home I have a Matrix Stairmaster, a Hammer Strength leg raise, an old-school Hoist seated calf raise, an Icarian calf press, an Atlantis ab crunch, a Nautilus ab machine, and Magnum abductor and adductor machines. I also got a new Nautilus hip/glute drive machine. This saves me a lot of morning trips to the gym, and of course I still do all my heavy training there.
Shaun’s MUTANT® Stack
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