Posted 16 August 2011 by Interview:

WBFF Pro James Ellis

What mistakes did you make as a newbie in the gym?

My biggest mistake that I made as a newbie was probably that I over trained. By overtraining I mean that I didn’t understand when you train a major muscle you often have a secondary muscle or two getting trained as well. Ex. Primary: Chest, Secondary: Triceps & Front Delts. So, I’d train shoulders the day after chest, which caused me to hit the front deltoid two days in a row. I made several mistakes like these until I really studied the anatomy of the muscle and thus began to put together the perfect weekly workouts.

How and when did you first land a job
as a fitness model?

The first thing I did was create a good fitness portfolio of images from one of my best friends and photographer Noel Daganta. Then I submitted those photos to the magazines and the photographers that shoot the magazine covers. As a result, I ended up doing a photo shoot with Ken Sergie and that landed me the cover of Exercise For Men Only magazine (September 2007).

What do you think about when you have to
dig deep and push out that last rep?

This is a funny one for me to answer, because I often think about King Kong standing on top of the Empire State building pounding on his chest. Sometimes even before I do my set I pound on my chest to get me focused and ready to rep it out. Since I am competing in the WBFF World Championship competition in Canada on August 27th, I now think about holding up the trophy as the winner.

We know consistency is key, what tips would you
give to anyone struggling to stay consistent?

I always say that you must set measurable and attainable goals. Visualizing those goals are key as well, so it may help to post a picture of what you would like your body to look like in the end to keep you motivated & consistent. Or maybe you have a video that motivates you like, ‘Pumping Iron’ or ‘Rocky.’ I just always tell myself that the only person I am letting down by not being consistent in the gym is myself and when I’m not in the gym, my competition is gaining ground on me.

What’s the best thing about being a WBFF Pro?

Before becoming a WBFF Pro I certainly did my research on all of the other organizations out there. The WBFF far outweighed any other organization, because they actually care about their competitors and will do all that they can to bring success to them and promote them as well. The WBFF truly sets the bar and I can’t thank Paul & Allison Dillett (President & VP) for all of their love and support towards their Pros.

Free weights vs machines what do you feel are the
pros and cons of both and which do you prefer?

Free weights
Pros – best way to build mass and definition,
Cons – you need a spotter to really push yourself.

Pros – You won’t be in danger if you don’t have a spotter,
Cons – Be careful which machines you choose as many of them are poorly designed and don’t work the muscle in the way that they should.

I personally like and use both free weights & machines as they will target your muscles in different ways, and it’s a great way to shock the system/keep the body guessing. I usually start with free weights though as I feel it is better to be fresh due to the balance that is needed with free weights. I will often finish off with a few machines and really focus on a nice tight squeeze.

What are you most proud of?

I would say I am most proud of my relationship with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ as I am walking Christian. I give the glory to the Lord for any and all of my accomplishments. Through the Lord I was able to land the covers of 8 fitness magazines last year & I am consistently working with 4-Time Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler on his FitnessVTC website as the virtual host & fitness professional.

How long do you usually spend in the gym?

I am currently training for the WBFF, so I am doing 45 minutes of cardio in the morning and about an hour and half of weight training in the evening every day of the week. In the offseason I usually do cardio for about 30 minutes 2-3 days a week, weight train for an hour and a half to two hours for six days a week.

What types of cardio do you do?

Currently I am just walking on the treadmill at 4.5 mi/hr at an incline of 2.0. In the offseason I like to jog on the treadmill or outdoors. I also enjoy the elliptical from time to time as it’s easier on the joints.

What rep ranges do you prefer?

I typically do reps of 12, 10, 8 and sometimes I’ll throw in an extra set with only 6 reps. I mainly like to focus on a hypertrophy, but on that last set or sometime two it’s to walk the line of strength training so that I will start to get a little stronger in my hypertrophy workouts.

What is your training routine like?

Day 1 – Back; Day 2 – Chest; Day 3 – Legs; Day 4 – Shoulders;
Day 5 – Bis/Tris; Day 6 – Forearms/Rotators; Day 7 – Off (Important)

I usually throw abs in on days 2, 4, & 6 as well.
Weighted abs on day 2 & 6, non-weighted on day 4.

Cardio is done on days 1, 3, 5 in the morning on an empty stomach. Days 1 & 5 are usually on the elliptical at 65% Maximum Heart Rate (Mhr). Day 3 is HIIT cardio on the treadmill or outdoors. HIIT is cardio in which you do a 2 minute warm-up and then do 16 minutes of interval training, and end with a 2 minute cool-down. The 16 minutes of interval training is 30 sec sprint, 90 sec easy (1 interval), and you will do that 8 times.
The set/reps that I usually focus on are 3 sets of 12, 10, & 8 reps.

What is your diet when trying to get in peak condition?

Well I’m a few weeks from competition now and I’ve cut out all dairy, sugars, & artificial sweeteners. For liquids I have pretty much been drinking only water and protein. I am taking in less than 50 grams of fat a day. I’m also trying to take in about 263 grams of protein a day as that is 1.5 times what I want my body weight to be at the competition. I am on a 3 day program that in which I take in 188 carbs on days 1 & 2, & only 50 grams on day 3. I then repeat that program over and over. This trains my body to use fat for energy and carbs for muscle repair as it gets confused with the whole high carb low carb cycling. Closer to show time I will load up on water 5 days out and deplete to almost no water by the day of the show. I will also do carb depletion and sodium depletion before the show.
The only foods I am eating are chicken, eggs, broccoli, asparagus, rice cakes, rice chex, & oats. I would eat fish too, but I really don’t like fish.

Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?

I stay lean and cover ready all year round. 3-5 days is all I really need to get really diced up through a quick diet and cardio, but in general I am always ready to shoot covers.

What advice would you give to sometime trying to
get the best out of a photoshoot session?

If you are doing fitness cover attempts then I suggest shooting four different outfits and several different cover poses for each outfit as well. Some magazine may be picky about what you are wearing & on top of that they will always be picky about your pose, so cover your bases. I often try to get a girl to shoot with as well for some couples cover attempts. If you are going to diet to shoot covers, then you may as well get some couples cover shots out of it as well. You may get 2 or 3 different covers out of one shoot.

Who are your favorite athletes, bodybuilders
or fitness models?

Well, since I am an Indianapolis Colts football fan I must say that I am a huge Peyton Manning fan. My favorite bodybuilder has always been 4 - Time Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler. He is truly a great guy and it is an honor to be partnered up with him for My favorite male fitness model is Greg Plitt as he is truly the top guy in the fitness industry and I know he has worked very hard to reach that status. Max Wettstein is another good one as he was my very first fitness Idol and he helped me out a lot when I first got started in the business. Finally, I can’t forget Clark Bartram as he is an amazing man of the Lord and is always willing to be a helping hand. (Checkout Clark Bartram's interview with here)

What are your future goals?

First off, I plan on going to Canada on August 27th to become the 2011 WBFF World Champion. I also plan on being a sponsored athlete with a supplement company soon as well. A big future goal is to make an empire out of myself through my own fitness website, DVD’s, fitness products, and hopefully a fitness television show. The sky is the limit and I’m going to work my rear off to make these goals a reality.

What supplements do you use if any?

I use 100% Whey Protein, Time-Released Protein, Glutamine, Kre-Alkalyn creatine,
Omega 3-6-9, Pro-Biotic, & Amino Acids.

What top 3 tips would you give to anyone
wanting to get CutAndJacked?

  1. Train Hard or Go Home!!! Make sure you aren’t overtraining though as it defeats the whole purpose.
  2. Eat clean – I focus on high protein, low fat, and carbs only in the morning and before and after my workouts.
  3. Get plenty of sleep – If you are truly training like a freak then you should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Remember, this is when your body is repairing the muscle you break down, so give it enough time to do so.




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