Andrew is without a doubt in my mind, one of the most awesome Natural Bodybuilders I have ever met. He was the first to break into the USA Natural stronghold and actually stand toe to toe with them, so impressive was Andy’s size, balance, and condition.
A ‘natural for life’ athlete I may add, he was out of this world then and now.
Look, I’m a little guy. I know so because I get all the jokes.
In my bodybuilding career I made the best of what I had.
Used my trump cards if you will; my condition, balance, and posing.
But you always look to what you don’t have, always focusing on what you would like more of. With me it was bigger – stronger – powerful looking.
I used to look at Andy and wish I looked like him. God I use to think he looks frigging huge, ripped, and strong. I use to joke back in the mid 90’s that he looked like a natural Mike Mentzer.
Andy and I go way back, he is still awesome now, and competing at 50 if I’m not mistaken. He is also one of the most humble, modest, and gentle giant of a man you will ever meet.
I am so pleased to have Andy here for you on Brothers In Iron.
Hey Andy, first can I just take this opportunity to thank you for taking time to do this interview.
Let’s get down to this.
Hello Ian thank you for inviting me to do this interview for your new site ….just one thing before I start I’m not 50 for another 3 years ha ha …..
Sorry mate ha ha, Andy, please tell us when and how you got started with all this bodybuilding business. Please incorporate in your answer; your inspiration and early role models, the type of training you did back in those early days, and also when and what was your first show.
I started training with weights when I was 13, a school friend suggested we start training, we used to train at home with a few weights we had, and after a couple of years I joined a gym. My first inspiration was my older brother Stephen, he was very good at athletics and he did a bit of weight training, he never competed in bodybuilding but he had a very good physique ….he used to buy bodybuilding mags which I would read so I think that’s where my bodybuilding aspirations came from.
As I got more into the bodybuilding I got more into the science of training, in particular, Arthur Jones’ High Intensity principles and then of course Mike Mentzer, who popularised this method of training who also became one of my inspirations, along with Dorian Yates.
My first Competition was in 1987 – the Mr Derbyshire – I won the under 18 class against 17 other competitors, I posed to a tune from the Rocky film.
Now, I know you are still competing and looking incredible.
Please give us a rundown of your most recent achievements, and also ones from the past that are stand outs in your career
My recent achievements include 2013 NPA Pro-am 2nd, 2013 NPA Britain masters Over 40s 1st, UIBBN World Masters O-40s 1st, 2014 NPA Pro-am 2nd, 2014 NPA Britain Masters O-40s 1st, UIBBN World Masters O-40s 2nd, 2015 NPA Pro-am 4th, 2015 NPA Britain 2nd.
The stand outs from my career are winning the first contest I entered. Also winning the Heavyweight ANB Britain in 1995 and 1997 and also winning the overall Britain title that year then going on to win the UIBBN World U-85kg class.
I think one of my proudest achievements was competing in the WNBF Pro Worlds in 1998 and out of a class of 45 I placed 5th, it was only at this point I thought I must’ve got a decent physique even though I’d won other titles.
Other stand outs were winning the first ANB Pro-am in 2001 and placing 5th at the EFBB (now UKFBB) Britain in the Light Heavyweights. And finally winning the 2008 NPA Pro-am the first contest I did after tearing my pec in 2005, I was devastated when I got injured but winning this contest gave me the confidence that I could still compete.
I know you’re a devoted family man, and Karen and Asha have always been your devotion. How did you have to structure your life and training through all those stage years?
There’s never really been any issue maybe because I’ve trained and competed from a young age, and as Karen and I have been together from school it’s just been the norm in our lives. I even competed the week Asha was born in 1988. Karen’s quite laid back so it was easy to just work round my contest prep with holidays etc.
Throughout all those years of competing and training, what would you say has been your most productive routine?
Like many others I probably copied the high volume/frequency routines found in most muscle magazines. Looking back I made good gains from an early age but my most significant gains in terms of mass came between 1991-93, when I started to train High Intensity style.
I always enjoyed training legs and back doing squats, leg press, hack squats, stiff leg deadlifts standard and partial deadlifts, T-bar rows, long cable rows, b/bell and d/bell rows. It gave me a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I finished a hard leg or back session and still does.
I used various training splits but the one I used the most and still do is the 3-way split training:
Back and Chest on Monday
Legs, Calves and Abs on Wednesday.
Shoulders, Tri and Bis on Friday.
I have known you for years and seen first-hand the simple way you would diet for an event. You relied on hard work and basic foods to bring in an awesome condition.
Please tell us about your diet structures back in the day.
My diet then as now consisted mainly of vegetables, oats, cereals, bread, rice and pasta. Turkey, chicken, tuna, cod, eggs, peanut butter and whey powders split between 6-7 meals. I would and still do eat like this all year round. I will eat crisps and the odd take away when not preparing for a contest. I never counted calories or weighed food but used the mirror as a guide.
Though for my most recent contests I watched my carb intake more closely and increased my fats.
Now as we are a bit long in the tooth mate, I know I have had to make some changes to my training. Warming up more, and more attention to every rep for safety. Please tell us if you have had to make any modifications in your training. Do you train fewer days or more, and what is your current program.
Due to injuries to my lower back, shoulders and pecs picked up over the years I have to be very cautious in exercises I use, and the way I perform them. I still train as hard as I can but sometimes I forget I am not in my 20s/30s any more! I still follow the 3-way split as mentioned before but I can’t use as much weight on some exercises but I think I am better at making the weight work for me rather it work against me.
So that said Andy –can you give us a current typical leg session.
Sure a typical leg session of late consists of hamstrings- 2 warm up sets of b/bell stiff leg deadlifts then 1 proper set of 20 reps.
1 set of seated leg curl with one drop reps 15/8-10
1 set of lying leg curl 10-15 reps.
Quads- 2-3 warm up sets of leg extensions I also include 2 warm up sets of 45 degree leg press in-between these so as I can have the machine loaded and ready to go after leg extensions of which I perform 1 set of 15-20+ reps.
I don’t stop at a prescribed number of reps, so whatever is failure then that’s number.
Then on to leg press for 1 set of 15-20+ reps.
At the moment these are performed with feet relatively low on the platform in a narrow stance.
Then its on to hack squats with 1 warm up set which is more so for my lower back, then 1 proper set of 15-20 reps again with a narrow stance.
These reps are performed CTNL style (constant tension non lockout)
All the reps in all the exercises are performed in a deliberate fashion so each rep mirrors the other.
This is hard to do especially at the end of a set when your instinct tells you to speed up.
Then on to squats with one warm up set then 1 proper set of 15-20 reps.
I have to be careful with squats as with most exercises due to lower back injuries.
Calves consist of 2 supersets of seated calve raise with donkey calve raise.
Going into the future, what are your goals in training and life?
As long as I have good health I will continue to train. As far as competition goes I enjoy competing and getting in shape, but I’ll take each year as it comes. I have competed in my teens, 20’s, 30’s and 40’s so it would be good to compete in my 50’s.
Karen has been with you through it all. Also I understand Asha is doing some training, how’s that feel to see your passion being passed on.
Karen has supported me from my first contest both practically and mentally, she’s also the one I can count on to tell me honestly how I’m looking when I’m preparing for a contest. Asha doesn’t really do weight training as such mainly outdoors stuff hill walking and cycling, she leads a very healthy lifestyle so its good to know I might have inspired this.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for his or her support and help over the years?
Firstly I’d like to thank and acknowledge my training partner Shane whom I have trained with for the last 30 plus years, he’s dedicated to training never misses a session and like Karen is very honest when assessing my condition when I’m getting ready for a show.
I’d like to thank yourself Ian for supporting me through your Natural Press magazine and giving me honest feedback and encouragement when I’ve been to see you before contests.
Also I want to thank Michael Phillips and the ANB/NPA for their support and giving me the opportunity to compete in this country and also abroad and all the articles Michael has written over the years for various mags.
Finally Karen, Asha and my family and friends who all support my bodybuilding endeavours.
Thank you so much for the interview. I am sure our readers will benefit from this.
Good luck in all you do my friend, love to you and your family.