Shaun first competed at the 2007 UKBFF London & South East Championships where he won his class. Later that year, Shaun won the British Championships as a first timer. Continuing his success in 2008 he took the UKBFF Light Heavyweight title. Shaun then received an invite to compete at the Arnold Classic World Championships where he stunned the judges and earned an impressive 2nd place.
Hazel Adames: Hi, Shaun, I know you are very busy so thanks for agreeing to this phone interview for us.
HA: How old were you when you started training and how old are you now?
ST: Hi Hazel, thanks I'm happy to. I played rugby to a national level when I was younger so I guess my first time in a gym was when the rugby coaches took us to the gym for training. The coaches got us doing some basic exercises to build up strength, core strength to help with our rugby. I was 15, 16 then and I'm 32 now, so I have been training a good few years! My Uncle used to be a bodybuilder too, not a competitor but just for the enjoyment of training. So I did have a good strong physique to start with.
HA: Where abouts are you from and where do you train currently?
ST: I'm from Maida Vale, London. I grew up here and it's a good place to live, pretty central to everything. I train at Genesis gym, owned by Dave 'Bulldog' Beattie, so there are lots of powerlifters there too.
HA: What's your marital status?
ST: I'm single.
HA: Well done on joining the Myprotein Team recently. How is that going?
ST: Oh it's been great, a positive thing. I have been using their products for years now so it is great to be sponsored by them. They are such a big name now so its good publicity too. I was at the Body Power Expo with Myprotein and we were swamped!
HA: What are your thoughts on the Body Power Expo, is it a positive event for the industry?
ST: It was a fantastic start for an expo in this country. It did remind me of the Arnold expo where I was a couple of months ago but on a lot smaller scale. The atmosphere at the NEC was electric. I had a great time there as a representative of Myprotein, lots of people coming up to me. I had a long chat with Kai Greene too; a nice guy who's posing is phenomenal. I've seen him pose at the Arnold too and he just captivates the audience.
This county needs this type of event on a regular basis, which will help the sport be seen by the general public as more mainstream like in America. The athletes would be more respected too as others would get more of an understanding about what dedication and effort goes into the sport.
HA: You are currently training for the British Finals and have your eye on the pro-card. Can you tell me about your training and nutrition plans for this?
ST: My off season weight is around 92 kg and my competition weight is between 83-84 kg. I like to take it steady with the diet so I'll start around 10 weeks out. I have a guest spot at the UKBFF Jersey show on the 6th June, so I have made a start to improve my condition for that. I don't hold a lot of fat off-season so I don't have to go mad with dieting but try to keep it on an even keel. I prefer to increase my cardio than reduce my food intake!
I will eat clean and then depending on how I look I will cut my carbs in the last 2 weeks before a competition. I watch there is not too much salt intake then either, but I don't bother with sodium manipulation.
With my training I train as heavy as possible all year round. Then 6 weeks prior to a competition I will drop the weight and use high reps and feel the contraction to get as much detail in the muscle as possible.
I feel my back is my lagging body part so I really concentrate on that to get as much cuts as possible. With cardio I do one hour on the treadmill in the morning and evening and nearer the competition I will do an extra half an hour in the afternoon but only if I think I need to.
HA: At the finals, who do you think will be your main rivals both in your weight class and the overall?
ST: Everyone! You can never underestimate anyone. Bodybuilding can be hit and miss, one day you are looking pretty good and the next you can either be better or worse. So I know there will be some great competitors there but I'm determined to walk away with that pro-card!
HA: Other than training and living the lifestyle of a competitive bodybuilder, what is your day job and what else do you like to do in your spare time?
ST: I am a housing officer for the local council. I don't get that much spare time (food prepping takes up a lot of time!) but I love to go out to restaurants with friends, watch films and I love music too.
HA: Do you have any useful tips to share with MuscleTalk members which you can draw from your experience?
ST: Do what you do and enjoy it. Don't let the stress get to you! You don't want to loose the love of training so make sure you keep enjoying it. Keep it simple and stick to the basics.
HA: Shaun, it's been a pleasure and on behalf of all the MuscleTalk members, I'd like to wish you all the best in the British Finals!