By Two-Time 212 Olympia Champion Shaun Clarida
Sponsored by MUTANT
Q: Several people have recommended “touch-up training,” a technique where you add just a few sets for lagging body parts at the end of every workout. Have you ever tried this, and do you think it works?
A: I did try this years ago thanks to my coach back then, the late John Meadows. Hamstrings were an area he really wanted me to bring up, so he had me doing two to three sets of lying leg curls at the end of my back days. I will still do forearms at the end of back or arm days to get them better. I’m big on using added frequency in general when it’s needed. Chest has always been an issue for me and I’m always trying to improve it. I have two chest days. As I write this, today is my heavy compound chest day with all dumbbells. I’ll come back a few days later and do what John used to call a “pump day” with more machines and cables. The rest periods are shorter on pump day and the reps are higher because the goal is to get as much blood into the muscle as possible in the shortest amount of time. Getting back to your question, I would try a few sets of a lagging body part at the end of another workout. I believe it will definitely help.
Weird Workouts on TikTok
Q: The basics have worked so well for so many people for so many years to build size and strength, but I see so many fitness influencers making up weird and complicated exercises for fresh content on their IG, TikTok, and YouTube platforms. Do you feel that these men and women are having the wrong type of influence for the people out there who still need to build a solid foundation?
A: You can say “to each their own,” but you can’t argue the fact that the basics like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts have worked for many decades and all the champions have done them. That’s how we all built our bases. I hate seeing people trying to reinvent the wheel coming up with bizarre variations on exercises. It’s all for show. But you know what? If it works for you and you are seeing improvements in the mirror, by all means keep trying those. Just know that the basics have worked for millions of people, and they will keep working.
Don’t Count Calories
Q: Shaun, you have been known for consistently getting into excellent condition for years now. I hear about the importance of counting calories when trying to get lean so that you are sure you are in a caloric deficit. Do you weigh and measure everything you eat when you’re dieting and tally up the calories, or have you done this for so long that you are able to just estimate portion sizes by looking at them?
A: I don’t count calories, but I do weigh all my food. Having been competing for almost 20 years now, I can eyeball portion sizes and come very close. But because I am so anal about doing everything perfectly and I always want to be in the best condition possible, I still weigh everything I’m going to eat. You can’t leave anything to chance when you’re trying to be the best in the world at what you do.
Close to Show, I Eat Less
Q: I remember another 212 legend, Jose Raymond talking about how he liked to see how little he could get away with eating toward the end of a prep. Do you do that, or do you keep the food high until the very end?
A: Honestly, I prefer to eat less as I get close to a show. I know my body very well, and the less I eat the better I personally look. That’s why I love morning shows. I get up and literally have half or a quarter of a meal and I’m ready to go. Some guys need to fill out with tons of food. I’m the complete opposite as my coach Matt Jansen will confirm. The more he sucks me down with less food and water, the more I pop. I keep my roundness, and my condition and core are both tight. It really freaks me out seeing people eating junk like Pop-Tarts and doughnuts backstage. That stuff would destroy my stomach! I suspect a lot of guys don’t really need a ton of food to fill out either, but they are afraid to try eating less.
So-Called ‘Fake Natties’ Aren’t Fooling Anybody
Q: Does it bother you to see “fake natties,” men or women who are clearly using PEDs to anyone who knows what the enhanced look is yet claim to be drug free, or do you shrug it off? After all, you were a legitimate drug-free bodybuilder for years yourself.
A: It doesn’t faze me or bother me whatsoever. People can say or claim whatever they want. I know what I have and haven’t done. I started training naturally and competed naturally from 2005 until 2012. I was a WNBF pro and was drug tested many times. I don’t care if anyone wants to make false claims. That’s on them, and it doesn’t affect my life one way or another. It puzzles me how many people are obsessed with “Natty or Not” debates on YouTube videos. A lot of times the subject is a movie star. It’s not like they are in the Olympics or trying to compete in natural bodybuilding, so why do they care? Maybe it’s more relevant when the person in question is trying to sell you something like a program or a supplement and telling you it’s why they look the way they do, but we all have eyes. Those of us who have been around a while know what natty looks like, and we also know what the enhanced look is. They aren’t fooling anybody.
Shaun’s MUTANT® Stack
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