Alexander Hughes interview
Alexander Hughes: fitness model interview for Skinny Muscles

He is a fitness model who advocates vices. He is a foodie who enjoys a night out. He is Alexander Hughes. Find out what motivates him and how he maintains his cover model body.

Would you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Alexander Hughes, and I’m a 25 year old Fitness Model and Personal Trainer from Oxford. My 9-5 job involves heading up Public Relations (PR) for a National Institute. In the evenings and on weekends, I see my clients as a Personal Trainer.

When did you start your body transformation?

The catalyst behind my early years in the gym was my desire to gain an edge on my teammates. I was a tri-sport athlete at an American High School in Bethesda, Maryland. While I naturally excelled from an early age, my adolescence saw those around me grow faster and nullify my natural abilities.

I first started weight training at 15. Up until the summer of 2010 my progression had been very inconsistent due to lack of real principle understanding and a penchant for partying.

In the summer of 2010 I started consistently training again after a two year hiatus, and by the end of 2011 people were suggesting that I get into modelling. I had my first photo shoot in May of last year (2011) with Simon Howard. Two weeks later I competed at the Miami Pro European Championships. Everything sort of snowballed after that and I found myself shooting every couple of weeks.

What keeps you motivated?

I like the attention I guess (not entirely joking). I think that anyone in this industry who says any different is a liar or delusional. Why else would you dedicate hours to improving your physique?

You’ll hear some guys allude to the satisfaction they get from improving their lifts, or others suggest that they thrive off the discipline involved. Not true. These are facets of the process that give you satisfaction, but not their true motivation. As a personal trainer you have to tap into people’s primary motive behind seeking your guidance, and it always stems from a desire to look better.

Looking good has never being difficult for me. I’m fortunate enough with the genetics I have that I can maintain a fairly decent physique with moderate levels of effort. My goal now is to see how far I can go with this, and not from a size viewpoint. I’m far more concerned with proportions and having a marketable look.

How many days per week you workout and your normal weekly workout schedule?

My routine is forever changing, so this is difficult to answer without going general. I typically aim to workout 5 days a week. I spent May – December of last year (2011) shooting, so my training was constantly shifting from depleting, peaking, rebounding and so on. Admittedly, I made very little progress during this time as I was chronically calorie depleted.

As I write this I am 11 weeks out from my next show. I’m working closely with my prep-coach Scott Francis to maximize overload and tease out as much growth during this small window of surplus calorific intake as possible.

We’re working on more or less an upper-lower split, and utilising rest-pause protocol. I can’t give too much away, but he’s structured my prep in phases so the next will involve more conditioning.

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

Shoulders, every time. If I had to choose just one exercise it would be going heavy on a push-press and really emphasizing the negative portion of the lift.

Although recently I’ve started throwing in standing behind-the-neck presses on the Smith machine at the end of my shoulder work and squeeze out whatever’s left. I’ll fight for upwards of 20 seconds for that last rep on the Smith machine – I’m a sadistic bastard.

What’s your diet like?

Again, this changes frequently. While shooting, I was carb-cycling at six days low, one day high (back-loaded). Now that I’m effectively in a growth phase, my carb intake on training days is relatively high in comparison. I taper back on rest days, but still consume the bulk of my carb intake back-loaded. Irrespective of whatever phase I’m in at the time, protein intake is always high; fats are always moderate to high.

I’m the Fitness Model who advocates vices. I’m a foodie who enjoys a night on the tiles. Some people take the whole fitness lifestyle far too seriously, and forget to live in the process.

I’m 25 years old and I work six days a week and evenings. I’ll never deny myself something I want, whether it’s a Red Velvet cupcake or a few glasses of Jack Daniels at a bar. I seem to do alright in spite of this.

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

Don’t bulk. Gaining weight should be the least of your priorities. If you’re doing it right you should sit roughly around 10-12% body-fat year round.

If you’re just starting out and not ready for a commercial gym then get yourself some weights and learn the basics at home. Refer to YouTube and other websites for instruction. Once you have a foundation that you’re happy with then you really need to join an actual gym and open up your training potential.

One of the fundamental stumbling blocks for skinny guys from the outset is low self-esteem. I’ve been there, and I’ve presented research on Muscle Dysmorphia at a national level. No one is judging you, and everyone has his or her own insecurities. Pay those around you no mind, be consistent and be grateful that you get to eat a great deal more than the weight-watchers battling away beside you.

What are your ambitions?

My ambitions are lofty by anyone’s standard. I feel you have to be that way in life. Setting realistic goals is safe, but setting your intentions low is only going to scratch the surface of your potential. I prefer to hold myself to an impossibly high standard. I may not reach it, but I’ll be a lot further than many would have expected.

To put it into perspective, at the beginning of 2012 I decided I wanted to get into Fitness Modelling. I created a list of goals which at the time seemed ridiculous. Compete on stage, put a portfolio together and get ten photo shoots under my belt, get sponsored by a supplement company – to name but a few.

By the year’s end I’d competed at the Miami Pro European Championships, done exactly ten photo shoots and signed sponsorship deals with not one, but two supplement brands. Set your intentions high, make them ridiculous. Who really gives a **** if you don’t achieve everything you set out to, you’ll be further along than you would have been had you played it safe.

Anything else you like to add?

As I mentioned, I’m competing again in 11 weeks time. I’m putting the final touches together on a video series detailing my road to competition, so look out for them on my website (listed below).

Follow me on Twitter and check out my Facebook page if you’re interested in following my career in the modelling world. Please feel free to get in touch, as I’m always happy to help out where I can.

[quote_box_center]Website: www.alexanderfitness.com
Twitter: @1LXANDER
Facebook: facebook.com/AlexanderMDL
Sponsors: www.fightlinediet.com and www.heroenergy.co.uk
Photography credit: Simon Howard – www.snhfoto.co.uk; Matt Marsh – www.mattmarshphotography.co.uk; Justin Tayler – facebook.com/JustinTaylerModels; Chris Harper FBIPP – www.thephotographersportfolio.com [/quote_box_center]