James Collier: Hi Avril, you're a very active MT member (with the name ripped_glutes) and a frequent poster with helpful advice for other members, so thanks for agreeing to take art in this interview for us!
JC: How did you get into working out and what made you go down the bodybuilding route?
ACK: I was practising martial arts for many years but when I changed jobs it was onto a constant back shift which meant I had to give up training and also teaching. I had to find something I could do around my shifts. As I had been interested in bodybuilding since school days I decided it was time to follow that sport.
JC: How old were you when you started training and how old are you now?
ACK: I began bodybuilding at the age of 32 and i am now 41.
JC: Where about are you from and where do you train?
ACK: I live in the west of Scotland near the town of Troon where the Royal Golf is held. If you are a golfer you will know where that is, or at least heard of it.
I train further up the coast in Saltcoats at a gym called Auchenharvie Fitness Centre. It's a small hardcore gym where the members have keys and can train at any hour of the day or night.
JC: What competitions and categories have you competed in and where did you place?
2000 EFBB Mansfield Classic, Physique Heavyweight - 4th
2000 SFBB, Physique Heavyweight - 1st
2001 ProLab Classic, Figure - 2nd
2001 NABBA Scotland, Figure - 2nd
2001 NABBA Europeans, Figure - 5th
2001 NABBA Britain, Tall Figure - 4th
2001 WPF Europeans, All Figure - 4th
2001 WPF Worlds, Tall Figure - 5th
2001 SPF Scottish Figure - 1st
2001 WABBA Miss UK, Figure - 2nd
2002 ProLab Classic, Figure - 1st
2002 NABBA Scotland, Tall Figure - 1st and overall
2002 NABBA British, Tall Figure - 3rd
2002 WABBA Miss UK, Figure - 1st
2002 WFF Universe, Tall Figure - 3rd
2003 ProLab Classic, Figure - 1st
2003 NABBA Scottish, Tall Figure - 1st and overall
2003 NABBA British, Tall Figure - 2nd
2003 NABBA Worlds, Tall Figure - 5th
2003 NABBA Europeans, Tall Figure - 4th
2003 WFF Universe, Tall Figure - 3rd
2004 NABBA Scotland, Tall Figure - 1st and overall
2004 NABBA British, Tall Figure - 1st
2004 NABBA Worlds, Tall Figure - 3rd
2005 EFBB Mansfield Classic, Physique Heavyweight - 1st and overall & Best Presentation
2005 NABBA Universe, Physique Heavyweight - 4th.
2005 UKBFF British, Physique Heavyweight - 3rd
JC: What's next for you in your competitive career? What shows have you got coming up?
ACK: I am currently having a year off competitions to try and gain a little bit more muscle which I feel I cannot do while dieting for most of the year. I don't know what competitions I will do yet. I'm busy concentrating on my training at the moment. I will wait and see what gains I have made and what shows are available to me.
JC: What's you ultimate goal in bodybuilding competitions?
ACK: I have already achieved my goal which was to get a top 6 in the NABBA Universe. I plan just to continue with competitions as long as I look OK in a bikini, ha ha!
JC: Off season do you like to stay relatively lean or do you bulk up a fair bit?
ACK: I enjoy my food too much to stay lean. I do watch to a degree what I'm eating and when i eat it.
JC: How strict is your diet off season? Do you eat clean while trying to gain size or do you allow any junk food in your diet?
ACK: I don't tend to eat junk food as such. My downfall is chocolate! I don't eat pastries or pies. I always stick to chicken or steak even in the off season. I have good days and bad days with food as does most folk.
JC: How many times a week do you train and for how long?
ACK: I'm in the gym for approx an hour or just over. I train 4 days a week.
JC: Do you ever have problems with motivation for either sticking to your diet or for training?
ACK: I am motivated in my training as I've been training with a new training partner for nearly a year now and he shouts at me if he thinks I'm slacking or can do better, as I do with him. As for my diet, in the off season I eat what I like within reason and while dieting for a show my partner, Gary encourages me and keeps my head level, as do the other lads in the gym. As there are quite a few lads who compete out of my gym, we all tend to help each other to keep on with it.
JC: What kind of cardiovascular work do you do?
ACK: In the off season I don't do any as my job is pretty active. During show prep I use a stepper or I walk early morning and late at night.
JC: in brief, what's your typical daily pre-comp diet like?
50g oats made with water and a serving of whey
Salad with chicken and 4 rice cakes
Serving of ProPeptide
Salad, rice and chicken
Sprouts and/or broccoli with chicken or turkey
8 egg whites scrambled
ProPeptide before bed
I sometimes make an egg white omelette with mushrooms, onions, peppers or whatever I have in the fridge. During the final month of dieting, I go down to between 5 and 15 grams of carbs per day as i find it hard to loose fat. I have a cheat hour once a week during the show diet which helps my metabolism and stops me eating the neighbour's cat! But its low fat stuff and I have a bit of chocolate and ice cream.
JC: Which supplements do you use? Do these differ on and off season?
ACK: I use calcium, vitamin B, vitamin C, zinc, a multi vit, omega oils and a few others I can't spell ha ha. I only take a multi vit and cod liver oil in the off season.
JC: Do you have any useful tips to share with MuscleTalk members which you can draw from your experience?
ACK: Don't wear a diamante or lace backed thong on the leg press...its sore! And if you are seeking help for a competition diet, listen to one person only. Don't listen to half a dozen because each one will give you conflicting advice. Pick a person you trust and who has had a bit of experience with competition diets.
JC: Does your husband/partner train too? Is he very supportive to you in your training, lifestyle and competing?
ACK: My partner Gary Keith does compete and he is brilliant with me during dieting, even if we are both dieting at the same time. If it's just me who is competing he drives me all over the country to my shows without a complaint. I couldn't ask for better. As we share the same sport it makes our relationship stronger as we both understand the things we are going through with diet or training, etc.
JC: Tell us a little about yourself and you family in general please.
ACK: I have three grown up children from my previous marriage. Twins of 18 Ryan and Shelley and a daughter of nearly 21 Adele. I work as a prison officer. Gary is a cable joiner and joins live electric cables for the electricity board. To relax we love going to the cinema and going out for a meal. I love to bake but generally only do that while I'm on a diet (strange, I know!), I don't eat what I make I give it away to neighbours or the boys in the gym.
*** Avril's daughter, Adele was involved in a horrific attack.
JC: Other than training and living the Bodybuilder's lifestyle, what else do you like to do in your spare time? Do you get much time to relax?
ACK: When I'm not at work or the gym I love DIY. I've usually got some kind of project on the go. I watch TV or visit friends and I love going to bingo!
JC: How do people outside of bodybuilding circles react to you as a bodybuilder and your bodybuilding lifestyle?
ACK: Most admire me for what I've achieved as there are very few females who train with weights in Scotland in general. Others just look at me as being odd for wanting to be muscular.
JC: Avril, as you're a regular on forums, especially MT, do you feel that people's knowledge of nutrition and training has improved since bodybuilding forums have become so popular?
ACK: I feel that members using forums are the best way for them to get up to date info on diet, training and other useful things surrounding the sport. Also some people may be too shy to ask for help in some of the larger gyms around the country whereas they only need to ask a question and they will get a wealth of members leaving answers. I think forums are a great thing.
JC: We know that you're famous for your ripped glutes, which is why you chose your board name 'ripped_glutes'. The quality in your glutes is amazing, how do you achieve this?
ACK: Genetics I think. No other reason. They get ripped before I have any abs showing through. I even have lines in the off season when I'm 2 stone over show weight. But perhaps using a stepper for cardio will keep them tighter than if i was to use a stationary bike, for example. The glutes being striated has not done me any favours in the figure classes as i was always being marked down as they looked too physique-like. It made me look too hard. Hence why I've changed over to the physique class, as suggested by a NABBA judge.
JC: 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 career. See you on MT!!
ACK: Thanks for having me do this interview, and i will indeed see you there!