Team Monkey's Andy Beckett drops some shiny pearls of wisdom on his training schedule and staying on track with his nutrition and long term goals:
How long have you been competing for?
Not long, I stepped on stage for the first time in 2013 at the Miami Pro. It’s still all new to me but I’m really enjoying the process of getting stage ready. It's something to keep me focussed and disciplined, especially when you know you're going to be showing all your results on stage.
What prompted you to compete?
I’ve always been into sport, I boxed from a young age and played football so I’ve always been an active person. Watching guys like Rob Riches got me into fitness modelling and it fast became something I wanted to prove to myself. Could I stand on stage in front of all those people? It was a huge adrenalin rush, nerve racking but addictive at the same time.Since that first competition my passion to be a natural athlete has become the main driver. Staying natural is the most important thing to me. I believe I can build a competitive physique without the use of drugs. I know my friend and Monkey team mate, Louis Brogan, used this drive to push him towards his recent UKBFF win.It’s the exact same reason that neither of us went to Bodypower - full of big guys selling bullshit. They should be selling steroids and HGH, not workout plans. I don’t want to be that guy. When people ask me for advice, I want to be able to look them in the eye and tell them with honesty what has worked for me. Without hiding a dirty little secret. If you want to use steroids that's fine, but be honest about it. Lying to people about what's attainable is fraud.
Tell us a little about your weekly training schedule and the type of training you do?
Usually it involves four to five sessions a week, based around weak body parts. These get hit two to three times a week but I lower the volume to account for that. I increase the frequency and lower the volume, a philosophy I gleaned from Eric Helms. It works for me. I’ve never found the traditional bodybuilding split effective but you should always do what works for you.I train a lot in my home gym in the garage. It makes sense to have your gym as close to you as possible. The easier it is for you to train the less excuses you have. I mainly use my home gym for core and supplementary work. I also train at two others gyms depending on what training I’m doing and where I’m staying.
What's the most difficult thing about your nutrition?
I find it hard to get in the volume of food I need. Working nights can make it difficult. Prep is the most important thing and I prep two days ahead to keep on top of things. Some people prep for the week but I like to keep my food reasonably fresh. Two days works well for me but everyone will find what works for them. We all have different schedules and commitments and making it work for you is the most important thing with regards longevity.
Fat loss is obviously high on the agenda for most people with summer upon us, what would your advice be?
For me it’s really simple. Portion control is vital and it’s about trial and error, eat slowly so you don’t overeat, and try to hit the right portion size. Be sure to do some high intensity interval training (HIIT) at least twice a week if fat loss is your main goal. The biggest potential pitfall is overcomplicating fat loss and not being able to stick with it. I'm not a big fan of fasted cardio and the likes but again, you have to do what works for you.
What are your three go to exercises and why?
At the minute it’s deadlift, squat and pull ups/muscle ups. I vary pull ups with different grips and positions. Rope pull ups for example, transfer well to deadlift and grip strength. I don’t use straps and prefer to really work my grip strength when trying to hit the bigger numbers. I'm really focussing on the deadlift as that's been a weak spot for me. I find working on weaknesses really helps to develop mental toughness.
What’s your favourite ab exercise?
I don't have one favourite and keep it functional to hit all the different planes of movement, plank to hit stabilisers and inner core, then rotation, such as Russian twists, extension, wheel roll outs and finally flexion with a crunch. I usually hit those four movements in a circuit. No one exercise hits all areas, and for me it’s important to be functional as I lift heavy objects at work, so I need to protect my back with strong core strength.
Why do you think some people never reach the targets they set for themselves?
For me work tends to get in the way, but I try to work around this as much as possible. Some people don’t have the time to eat and move because life gets in the way with work and social engagements. You have to find the right balance with everything and make it work for you. I think that’s the key. If you allow fitness to take over your life then it will have no longevity. It has to fit in comfortably with your other commitments.Being realistic and slowly building over a period of months is a better idea than diving right in and training six times a week. It's better to train three times a week for two years than six times a week for four months. Always be thinking consistency and longevity. Through these things come great results.
When do you plan on competing next?
I’m looking ahead to 2016, as I’m spending some time enjoying myself right now. Still training hard but without the pressure of prep which is really allowing me to focus on weak spots. Competing isn’t everything and I like to get the balance right. I’ve always wanted to compete at the WBFF in Iceland but I’ll have to see where that falls next year.
We look forward to seeing a lot more of Andy over the next year...