Ahmed Saleh interview
Ahmed Saleh: fitness enthusiast interview for Skinny Muscles

Ahmed Saleh is a Sydney based fitness enthusiast. He is 22 years old and holds a degree in Civil Engineering and Masters in Project Management. Even though Ahmed is focussed on his career, he finds time to work out at the gym six days a week. Find out what motivates him and how he manages to work out six days a week while building a career as a Project Manager.

Would you introduce yourself?

My name is Ahmed Saleh, aka BigA. I’m a 22 year-old graduate of Civil Engineering from UNSW. I also hold a Masters in Project Management from the University of Sydney.

My heritage is a mix of Egyptian and Lebanese, but I was lucky enough to grow up between Dubai and Sydney. I moved back to Sydney permanently when I started university in 2007.

I currently weigh in at 75Kgs at a height of 180cm.

When did you start your body transformation?

It started during the last semester of my Bachelors degree, when I would get really frustrated working on my Thesis. I figured hitting the gym would help me blow off steam. I didn’t take it so seriously back then though.

After graduating, I began my Masters but during my free time, I went to the gym more and more – I was finding it so addictive and the concept of “working out” interesting.

I started watching documentaries and videos about the lives of body builders and the lifestyle transformation they go through. It seems that many people have misconceptions about how easy they think this all is.

I started getting into it more and more, with Ronnie Colemann being my initial motivation, followed by Kai Greene and other fitness figures such as Lazar Angelov and Rob Ritches.

I decided to fully commit to a fitness regime in November 2011 with the aim of putting on size.

I was doing quite well, and then my mate and fitness model Tom Imanishi approached me and suggested I participate in the Australian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) competition with him. This gave me a rejuvenated sense of motivation and forced me to take a different approach to my training. I started to “shred”, which was a whole new ball game to me but I embraced the challenge. I started a serious shredding phase with a level of motivation I had never felt before.

What keeps you motivated?

My first point of motivation started by watching videos; Lazar Angelov and Ronnie Coleman being two that I followed.

This was definitely kicked into gear even more when Tom Imanishi convinced me to take part in the Australian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) competition. To be honest, I was very sceptical at first but agreed and this alone gave me a whole new perspective about motivation, dedication and hard work.

To top that, Tom and I train at the same gym so it was nice to motivate each other as much as we could, even though we knew we would be competing against one another. It was fun for us to push each other to the limits. People who saw us train would actually never have thought we’re competing against one another, on the contrary they would think we were on the same team!

After getting right into it, I decided to create my own little fan page which many of my friends and family followed. This has given me so much motivation and that extra accountability, which keeps me going and forces me to push myself through that extra mile so that I achieve the physique I required.

It was always important to me and I felt obligated to give back something to the people that supported me, and to everyone out there who’s keen on achieving their goals and get right into the training process. So I started sharing my page with more people outside of my friends and family network and posted information about nutrition, training and motivation for everyone as well as answering any questions about nutrition and training.

What is your workout schedule like?

I started with four days a week and then increased the intensity to six days a week . That’s how I felt I was achieving more for my body and getting the results I needed.

My new program is tailored to suit the body parts that I feel might be weaker. I’m more than happy to share my bulking and shredding program that I was on with anyone that wants to have a look or use it.

Ahmed Saleh’s workout schedule:

Monday – Shoulders, Traps & forearms

  1. Seated dumbbell rotation press (warm up)
  2. Rear delt dumbbell/rear delt cable flys
  3. Seated military smith press
  4. Standing lateral raises
  5. Dumbbell/smith machine shrugs
  6. Reverse Ez bar & wrist curls (superset)

Tuesday – Legs & Lower back

  1. Squats
  2. Front squats
  3. Lying hamstring curl
  4. Stiff legged dead lifts
  5. High foot leg press
  6. Good mornings/dead lifts

Wednesday – Chest & Triceps

  1. Incline chest press superset incline dumbbell flys
  2. Bench press
  3. Lying Ez extension/ skull crusher
  4. Triceps push down/ Rope pull down
  5. Dips

Thursday – Back & Biceps

  1. Lat pull down / weighted chin-ups
  2. V-bar rows
  3. Barbell rows (wide grip)
  4. Close grip pull down
  5. Olympic barbell bicep curls
  6. Hammers
  7. Arnold concentration curls

Saturday – Legs & Calves

  1. Squats
  2. Front Squats
  3. Leg press
  4. Seated Leg Extension
  5. Lunges
  6. Donkeys/Calf Raises

Sunday – Chest

  1. Incline chest press super-set incline dumbbell flys
  2. Cable Flys
  3. Decline Press
  4. Dumbbell pullover

What is your favourite muscle group and your favourite exercise for it?

My favourite muscle group is the trapezius (traps) because the veins in my traps and shoulder area pop out. My favourite traps exercise is dumbbell shrugs.

What is your diet like?

An example of my diet would be something like this:

Morning:

  • 3 Full Eggs + 3-5 egg whites + a glass of fresh orange juice.
  • A cup of American coffee.

Lunch: (split into two with a 3 hour gap in between)

  • 1st lunch – Half a cup to 1 cup of brown rice + a can or two cans of tuna.
  • 2nd lunch – Half a grilled/steamed/boiled chicken, lean steak or grilled/boiled/steamed fish + Veggies (mix of carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms etc.)

Dinner:

  • 2 rice cakes + salmon/ grilled chicken (200g) +some fruits.

Supplements:

With supplements I believe you got to try a few of them to see what works with your body as each body reacts to different supplements in different ways. Personally my supplements are as follows:

  • Whey Protein Isolate: mid-day and pre-workout
  • Isolate or Hydrolyzed Protein: Post workout shake
  • Casein: before bed
  • Alcarnatine: pre-workout shake
  • Glutamine: pre-work out shake and before bed time shake
  • Amino Acids/BCAA’s: Intra workout
  • Taurine: Pre-work out shake

In addition, I also take fish oil and multivitamins as they promote good health and wellbeing as well as healthier joint structure.

What is your advice to anyone who wants to gain weight and build muscles?

I strongly believe that once a person is able to control their eating habits, whether going for a bulking diet or a shredding diet, it makes the whole process easier and they would definitely be seeing the results they need. Making your diet work hand in hand with your work outs is essential. Keep in mind that 75-80% of body transformation is due to your diet.

My advice would be get used to eating clean and healthy, and take control of your eating habits which will make life much easier. Having said that, I would also recommend whilst at home, jumping on the internet and reading what’s out there, getting different perspectives of how different people train etc. You will be surprised how much you can learn and how it can actually help you.

What are your ambitions?

My future plans remain within my profession. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to open my own Project Management engineering firm and continue to enjoy the profession I love. I have made an everlasting commitment to the gym and I will definitely continue to hit the gym always with the same flair, determination and intensity that I do now.

I can show people that it doesn’t matter if you’re working or studying (I did both and it is definitely not an excuse), if you want to change your body and life around you can get right into it and stay dedicated without any excuses.

Is there anything else you like to add?

I would like to thank my sponsors – Direct Nutrition Australia (DNA), who have helped me achieve what I have and have been with me through all the changes and phases I’ve been through. They don’t only sell supplements but provide you with all the information and assistance required for you to make your own decision on what would work for you and what you want to buy.

I want to thank the whole DNA Team as each and every one of them is inspirational and unique in their own way and have inspired many and continue to do so.

[quote_box_center]May the Shredding Force be with you.

Facebook: facebook.com/AhmedSalehBigA
Sponsor: DNA – facebook.com/directnutrition [/quote_box_center]