James Collier: Hi Mike and thanks for agreeing to take part in an interview for all your fans on MuscleTalk, who have come up with some of the questions I am going to ask.
Mike Sheridan: No problem.
JC: You've recently signed a sponsorship deal with Sci-Mentor, who fixed this interview for us. Can I ask why you chose to move to these guys?
MS: Basically it was a choice to start with a new company. I was previously sponsored by ProLab who were really good to me. But with Sci-Mentor being a brand new company, they needed a new face and I felt I would be higher profile with them. Also Sci-Mentor's products are superior and are they are very advanced in what they produce.
JC: How old were you when you started training?
MS: I was 16 or 17 years old when I started training. I'm now 33.
JC: What made you decide to start working out/bodybuilding?
MS: Primarily to lose weight as I was overweight as a youngster. But then I started more weight training and got the bug straight away, so it went from there. It took over my life!
JC: How many years did it take you to become pro?
MS: Well it took me from starting training until I became a pro in 1999. But now is where it really starts. I have used the past few years to learn about how it all works and the politics. This year I've moved into the bigger pro ranks.
JC: Congratulations on being invited to the Mr Olympia contest this year. Did you ever see yourself on the Olympia stage when you first started bodybuilding?
MS: I don't think anyone does really. But it was always a dream in the back of my mind, as I guess it is with any keen bodybuilder. Now it's a dream come true.
JC: At what point in your career did you feel becoming a Pro was indeed a real possibility for you?
MS: 1999. Even then it seemed to happen really quickly. 1997 I competed as a middleweight, and I didn't think I had it to be a light-heavy. In 1999 I thought I'd give it a go and then I went onto the British and then got my Pro Card. It just happened so quickly in that year. I didn't compete to get my Pro Card, it just happened.
JC: How do you feel about making the Olympia and how well do you hope to place?
MS: Inside I'm screaming and shouting and am ecstatic! As far as placing goes, I really think if I get myself together I can make the top ten. I've got my weaknesses but I know what to do. There's no reason I can't make the top ten at all. I just don't want to be last! Deep down the top ten is what I'm aiming for.
JC: What weight do you hope to enter it at? Have you got a lot of body fat to lose to achieve this?
MS: I haven't got a great deal to lose really. I'm eleven weeks out now and I'm way ahead of my regular condition. I've improved symmetry and definitely put size on this year, now it's a matter of coming in on target. I'm not a person to weigh myself, so I'm not sure really; possibly 220lbs ish. I'm 5 feet 5½ inches, I'm a short arse!
JC: I haven't seen pics of you in the off season, just wondering if you prefer to stay relatively lean or if you like to really bulk up as much as you can like some pros?
MS: I used to bulk up off-season buy a few stone. But now I'm a pro-bodybuilder I feel I always need to look like one all the time. It's different for more established pros like Ronnie and Jay, everyone knows they're pros. I'm not a top name I need to look like a pro. I used to go up to 19-191/2 stone off-season, and with dieting I'd need to lose 4-5 stone. There's just no need for this, as I have proved and will prove again this year. I know Lee Priest used to bulk up loads off-season, but even now he's sticking in reasonable condition. It's not healthy to bulk up and lose all that weight quickly.
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?
MS: I allow myself a certain amount of junk, but basically I just eat a lot more food than what I diet on. I don't torture myself; if I want something I'll have it. If a couple of meals per week are cheating, I don't risk it getting out of hand. As long as you stick to the basic principles. Even on dieting I allow myself one cheat meal per week to keep myself going.
JC: Mike, you've a reputation for being very knowledgeable in training and nutrition, how did you gain this knowledge? Was this just from experience or do you have any formal qualifications?
MS: Experience, reading and trial and error. People need to learn about themselves and not follow other people's diets. I've been training 15-16 years, which is a long time to learn. I still change things now. Diet wise no one knows you better than yourself. I'm always reading and trying to employ different principles.
JC: What's the worst piece of bodybuilding advice you have ever been given?!
MS: I don't think I've ever asked for advice that much. I suppose in my early days when I used to ask other people who used to tell me to live on tuna and lettuce. So I suppose dietary advice in the early days.
JC: How many times a week do you train and for how long?
MS: With weights four workouts per week for 60-90 minutes max. I follow a split Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
JC: Do you ever have problems with motivation for both sticking to your diet and for training?
MS: Unfortunately no! I seem to have plenty of motivation. I love training. Training is so embedded into me; it's part of my life. Sad maybe?! At my level I can't afford to relax on it, maybe I could if I was a pro at the top. They can afford to relax a bit. I can't.
JC: Briefly Mike, what's your current training routine and how has this changed over the years?
MS: My training really hasn't changed much in the past 5-6 years. The way I train now, I don't train as heavy as I used to. I now use the mind-muscle technique which I try to apply for every rep. I use a higher intensity including drop sets. I no longer train hardcore mainly due to injury; I had an elbow injury which was so painful so I had to lay off the big weights. So I used lighter weights, more intensity and thought about each rep, which seemed to work, so I have stuck with this way of training.
People have their own way of training, but I encourage everyone to at least try this way, I think they'll be surprised.
JC: What kind of cardiovascular work do you do?
MS: I do two things, either the stationary bike or the stepper. I occasionally go for a walk some mornings for 30-45 minutes on a non-training day. I do more cardio pre contest, but I do include cardio all year round.
JC: In brief, what's your typical daily pre-comp diet like?
MS: For breakfast I have porridge oats with protein powder, egg whites and Udos oil. Then two hours later I have 10oz chicken with rice and veg, which I repeat 2 hours after this. Meal four is chicken or lean steak with rice and veg. Meal five is prawns and salad; and meal six is egg whites with fish.
JC: Lastly Mike, do you ever visit the MuscleTalk forums, and do you feel that people's knowledge of nutrition and training has improved since bodybuilding forums, like MT have become so popular?
MS: I try to visit Internet websites, but my main problem is time - I just don't get the time to go on. I do visit Platinum Physique, Muscle Mayhem and the CNP site, but I haven't really been on for over three months. I have looked at MuscleTalk, but am not a member.
I do think people's nutrition has improved with the Internet, but there is a lot of bad advice out there too. People need to get a good balance of information. It's difficult to get the mindset of a bodybuilder, it takes years, and people are so impatient. They have to realise this. My advice is people need to learn what works for them.
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 the Olympia this year and your future career.
MS: Thanks and no problem. All the best!