Andrew, aka Mezza, is a World Champion Bodybuilder who is known for his excellent condition and focus. Andrew kindly agreed to a telephone interview for MuscleTalk, to give us an insight into his training and competition career.
HA: Hi Andrew, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us.
AM: Hi Hazel, thanks for asking me.
HA: To start from the beginning, how old were you when you started training and how old are you now?
AM: I first started training when I was 9 years old with a dumbell at home; I'm 33 now, so I started at a young age.
HA: Where abouts are you from and where do you train currently?
AM: I'm from Halifax and I train at Gemini fitness currently.
HA: What made you decide to start working out?
AM: The Marvel Superheroes, the Incredible Hulk, all had big muscles and I wanted to look like them. Rocky too was another favourite, it was either going to be boxing or bodybuilding and I chose bodybuilding! I had a Mr.Olympia video tape which I watched over and over again, the physiques had me glued. I used to draw muscles on me with a felt tip pen and then pose in the mirror. I was dedicated even at a young age, training regularly and trying to eat more protein. I even used to take tins of tuna to school with me and eat them in the school loos!
HA: You have had an extensive and very successful career so far, in different federations, at what point did you realise you wanted to start competitive bodybuilding?
AM: I realised I could compete naturally; I have been scared of needles since I was a kid, and I decided to go for my first competition in 1998, the ANB (now NPA) Yorkshire Championships. I won the Novice Class and took the Overall Title, which was the first time a Novice had won the Overall on the first attempt.
1998 ANB Yorkshire Champs - Novice 1st and Overall winner
2000 ANB Yorkshire Champs - Under78kg 1st and Overall
2000 ANB British - Under 78kg 1st
2002 NABBA - First Timers - 1st
2002 NABBA - Mr Yorkshire 1st
2002 ANB Yorkshire - Under 78kg 1st, Best Poser and Overall
2002 EFBB Warrington - Intermediates 2nd, Best Poser
2002 ANB British - Under 78kg 1st
2002 EFBB Finals - Intermediates 3rd
2002 Natural World 2nd
2005 NABBA NE - 1st
2005 NABBA Mr Yorkshire - 1st
2005 Fitness Expo - 2nd
2005 NPA Yorkshire - Under 78kg 1st
2006 NABBA Mr Yorkshire - 1st
2006 NPA Yorkshire - Under 78kg 1st, Best Poser and Overall
2006 BNBF Central - Middleweight 1st and Overall
2006 Musclemania Britain - Lightweight 1st and Overall
2006 NPA British - Under 78kg 1st and Overall
2006 NABBA Pro Am - 2nd
2006 UIBBN World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, Italy - 1st
2006 Musclemania, California - Lightweight 3rd
2008 Fame World Championships – Runner up
HA: What's your marital status and does your partner support you in your training?
AM: I'm single at the minute but I have a 2 year old son Levi from a previous relationship.
HA: What's your day job?
AM: I run a supplement shop, Solidbodys, and I have my own website www.ultimate-natural.com. I advise people about contest prep, conditioning, that includes techniques I have used over the years that work every time. Also if you do not want the super striated look, I can get you in great shape; eg the beach look, abs out, lean and muscular. I also do guest posing.
HA: You have a DVD out, can you tell us about that please?
AM: It's called "Mezza - Ultimate Natural". It was filmed during off season training and it includes extras like posing and diet. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it took about 9 months to make.
HA: Do you have a sponsor?
AM: Reflex sponsors me.
HA: And which supplements do you use?
AM: I use Growth Matrix, BCAA's, L-Glutamine, Peptide Fusion, L-Carnitine, , Tribulus, Udo's oil, Reflex Micro Whey.
HA: How do you alter your nutrition when you have a competition coming up?
AM: My first diet help was from John Hodgson. I wasn't sure what to do in the run up to my first comp, so I rang the number on my Chemical Warfare tub and they said to go round. John and Dorian were there and had a look at me. John wrote out my first plan. I lower my carbs, and now I find eating beef good and having good fats necessary for energy levels, and using the Udos oil too.
HA: How often do you train and do you have a training schedule?
AM: I have changed the intensity I train with over the years. I felt I was overtraining before so I have cut down the number of sets I used to do. It's about finding a balance and listening to your body. Normally pre-contest I will do cardio, walking, six times a week. I don't overdo it as I don't want to loose muscle. I split my body part routines over the week and rest at weekends.
HA: Do you ever have problems with motivation for training?
AM: Competing does have its rewards but I feel a bit sad and frustrated that in natural competitions, I can't get any further. I think better rewards should be given to the competitors. Overseas size seems to be more important but condition and completeness are important.
HA: Which Bodybuilders inspire you?
AM: Shawn Ray, Lee Lebrada, Eddie Robinson, Rich Gaspari, Mike Quinn, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates and more!
HA: Do you have any useful tips to share with MuscleTalk members whom you can draw from your experience?
AM: Good nutrition is just as important as workouts in the gym!
HA: Many thanks for taking the time to be interviewed and on behalf of all the MuscleTalk members, I'd like to wish you all the best in your future competitions.
AM: Thanks and I would just like to say thanks to Reflex, my sponsors and Julian Wright and Tony Barnes and everyone who has helped me.