I was the small kid in school until I suddenly had a growth spurt in the summer holidays and in under a year I went from being one of the smallest/shortest kids to one of the tallest. At 17yrs old I was out benching my school sports teacher and all of the guys in the year above! This is what really got me into lifting, from then it was just about learning. Also when I got to University after a year out travelling, my best mate at university was a Swedish gym addict so it was a perfect fit.
Working with physique athletes, motivation is not really an issue, they normally have plenty of self-motivation and drive, otherwise they wouldn't be in the game right? It’s more about contact. I have clients all around the world that I prep for different competitions but whether they are 3miles away or 3000miles away, I always make myself available to them when they need me. The closer to a competition, generally the more support they need. Variety is also an important factor, lacking variety just leads to stagnation in both the mental and physical state.
In terms of keeping them on track in different training phases and nutrition, I just make them fully aware that if they don't stick to the program, they won't be where they want to be, simple. The hardest part of coaching physique athletes is the off-season training. They are so used to being lean and having visible definition that when I up their kcal's and change their training phases around to focus more on growth and muscular gains they sometimes get demoralised due to slight increases in body fat and general condition. I always have to reassure them that the more they focus on the off season training, the easier it will be to bring them into condition, and the better they will look! As I always say, in physique competitions, its how you look on the day that’s important, not 3/8/20weeks out. For sure I don't want my athletes to put on excessive body fat, but you have to be willing to sacrifice condition slightly during off-season to come back stronger and better in the next competition.
The usual, over training medial rotators and not training legs enough… or ever! Also as a newbie it was all about the training, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted without any real consideration for kcal's/macros/balance. I made some good progress in those years but an example of my meal of choice back then post training… a MASSIVE bowl of pasta with about 1/2 jar of mayonnaise, 2cans of tuna and about 6 chopped up boiled eggs!
I don't work very well with people who are not serious about getting results and don't understand the discipline and drive that’s needed to achieve them, this is why now I work predominately with physique athletes and hand picked personal one to one clients. I am tolerant and understanding with my clients but at the end of the day, their results reflect directly back on me, so I will always do everything in my power to ensure they do well and are happy with the result.
For a long time I didn't listen to music because I always had a training partner so we would just banter during sessions. Now I much prefer to train alone so music is very important. Get the Beats on and hammer out a good session.
Deep House music and old school Hip Hop. At the moment I'm actually loving training to Electric Dance Music…It's crazy!
I always think of that quote from Arnie:
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens.”
Of course I don't think of the whole quote…. but I always think, "this is the rep that will change me, the others were just warm ups"
This year has been different and involved a lot more planning and structure to my training, something that had been lacking for a good 2 years or so. Coming back from a month in Brazil and Christmas in Europe I was feeling very out of shape and needed something to focus on, it was an obvious choice for me to choose to compete with the WBFF. I tossed up between competing in Denmark in April or Orlando in May, eventually a weeks holiday post competition in South Beach swayed my decision. Having that to focus on was a major motivator for both my training and my work. If your own training is going well, your self worth and motivation increases, then everything else in life just becomes easier.
Even though I was travelling for 8 weeks prior to my competition in Orlando I still managed to stick to my prep plan and eventually won my category to become a WBFF Pro Muscle Model.
My current ambitions are to make sure my sure my girls, #TeamTBC, bring their best condition to stage in Vegas at the WBFF World Championships. I am prepping athletes for both the amateur competition on the friday and the Pro's competition on the Saturday, which I will also be stepping on stage for with one of the best muscle model line up I have seen to date! This is the first time the WBFF worlds has been held in Vegas and the competition is looking very strong in every category!
After the world championship, I plan on running a group of seminars/workshops both in the UK and abroad, similar to the ones I took in Brazil and Australia. They will be geared towards both competitors and the general public focusing on everything from basic nutrition and training techniques to advanced techniques for the more experienced athletes.
I will be looking to take my first seminar in New York towards the end of November and I am planning a 2 months trip to Australia next spring travelling down the East Coast taking seminars in all the major cities along the way.
Little to none of the classic cardio. I saw a post the other day that made me laugh, it basically went along the lines of…"what do you do for training?" I lift weight… "What do you do for cardio??" I lift weights faster!
This has some truth…. I base 'cardio' sessions around a more of metabolic approach to weight lifting, high-density circuit based resistance training. I would much rather group 10 isolation/full body exercises together in succession with minimal recovery than spend 45mins on a firkin elliptical machine… I recent had a client warm up on one of those… he had to tell me how to use it!
During the final stages of prep I sometimes add in some LISS.
My current split is:
PM: Back (Reps range 8-15 depending on exercise and order)
AM: Legs Push
PM: Legs Pull (rep range 6-10, heavy compound exercises, squats/split squats/leg press/good mornings)
Wednesday - Shoulders
(Reps range 8 - 15 depending on exercise and order)
I always finish shoulders off with a tri set of frontal raises, seated lateral raises and cable rear felt flyes.
Thursday - Rest
Friday - LEGS
(Rep range 12-25, this is a high volume legs day when main focus is density,
shorter rest breaks, more supersets and higher reps)
Saturday - Arms
(Rep range 8-12, antagonistic pairing (1set of biceps followed by
1 set of triceps, 4-5 super sets in total)
Sunday - REST
Normally to bring myself in condition for a show/shoot, e.g. Orlando WBFF in May, I used carb cycling and constantly changed the mix of High and Low days. I started off with 2 low days followed by 1 high day on constant rotation.
This was about 12 weeks out, gradually moving toward the competition I tapered down total kcal's and Low days went as low as 2300kcal (250gP/50gC/122gF).
I would also increase the number of low days the closer I got to competition. It was very hard trying to control this pre Orlando as I was travelling and teaching in Brazil, Australia and Singapore for 6weeks prior to the competition but I managed to stick to it the best I could.
I do love Phil Heath, he has definitely brought back aesthetics into bodybuilding.
One of my best mates Shaun Stafford of course, and Jaco de Bruyn.
Tom Brazier, Total Body Conditioning
Year of birth - 1983: Weight: 106kg Height: 189cm
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