Swimming and water polo kept him fit during his college years. Later on in life, his desire to keep fit got him involved with the fitness industry. Today, Shaka Smith (aka Shaka Strong) is an actor, lawyer, fitness model and bodybuilding competitor, living in Los Angeles, California [USA].
Would you introduce yourself, please?
I am an actor, lawyer and fitness model living in Los Angeles. I moved to LA in January of 2011 to pursue a career in acting and fitness. I also began competing in National Physique Committee (NPC) shows in the new Men’s Physique division in April of 2011. Almost two years later, I am still competing and enjoying the journey.
When did you start your body transformation?
I have always been fit, primarily swimming and playing water polo through college. After college, I started to take the gym a bit more seriously since I no longer had sports to stay in shape. I also knew after law school I wanted to get involved in the fitness industry as well as pursue an acting career but was unsure of how to start.
After moving to LA I had a friend encourage me to compete in a new division called Men’s Physique in the NPC. After watching a show in March, I was ready to step on stage. April was my first show and after 13 shows down, I still enjoy competing!
My driving force has always been health. Being in shape was never about the look for me, but about feeling healthy and active and continuing to do so well into old age. That said, I am certainly happy that my physique has been reflective of the work I put in and the way I feel.
What keeps you motivated?
Of course I have my own sense of wanting to work harder, do better, be better. I feel progression is the key to happiness. However, I am fortunate enough to be in an industry where everyone I come across is a motivational powerhouse.
Even more than that, seeing people that have asked me for advice, actually apply it and get results that have not just changed the way they look, but improved their health with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, has been one of the biggest drivers of the work I have put in lately.
It’s an amazing feeling and I am just very lucky to share in some of those experiences with hard working people.
How many days per week you workout and your normal weekly workout schedule?
I workout every day – I don’t plan rest days. Sometimes life is unavoidable and you have to take a day off to attend to other matters. I always hated if this was around a planned rest day. So now I plan no rest days and when life happens, I am free to deal with it without feeling like my schedule is ruined.
I also pay close attention to my body, so when I do have those rare stretches when I have worked out a couple weeks straight, if my body tells me take a rest, I listen.
As for my actual workouts, they vary from day to day but I do full body workouts every day and employ low weights and heavy reps. I love feeling pumped all the time. A typical workout might look like:
- 10 minute run at 4.2 speed on 11 incline
- 5 sets of 15 reps of decline abs stacked with 10 reps of front squats (90lbs)
- 3 sets of 20 step ups with dumbbells (15lbs)
- 3 sets of 3 minutes of crunches and 3 minutes of walking lunges (30 second rest in between) (15lbs dumbbells)
- 3 sets of 15 standing side hip raises (12 lbs on cables with ankle strap)
- 3 sets of 20 incline chest using dumbbells (45lbs)
- 3 sets of 25 glute to ham situps
What is your favourite muscle group and your favourite exercise for it?
Abs – I feel so much stronger when I have a strong core. Good abs somehow make everything else just look a bit better too.
My best exercise for them is hanging windshield wipers – it really helps dial in my obliques and for me is always a good marker for how strong my abs are. You can see how I do them in this video:
I have also recently developed a 6 week at home ab e-book program, complete with an ab workout, cardio routine and nutrition plan. [link at the end of the article]
What’s your diet like?
A typical day could look like this:
- Egg white omelette (chicken, fresh jalapenos, onions & peppers)
- Shakeology (vegan protein shake)
- 6 oz. chicken or steak and a side salad (lettuce and tomatoes)
- Fruit as a snack usually an apple or orange
- 6 oz. chicken or steak and a side salad (lettuce and tomatoes)
What is your advice to anyone who wants to gain weight and build muscles?
Make a clear, defined plan and stick to it. This might mean writing your daily plan on a whiteboard you can see every day, or having a friend who becomes an accountability partner for you, or just putting your goals and routine down on paper. Without a plan it’s hard to stick to any workout program regardless of your goals.
Be patient. As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It can be hard to work your butt off day in and day out and see little to no results, but they will catch up on time. Don’t let not seeing what you anticipate derail you from plan you have set for yourself.
Listen, distil, apply. This basically means listen to all the advice you can get, read the magazines, the studies, and surround yourself with friends or people online who are knowledgeable about your goals.
Then, however, you must distil, and figure out what makes sense for you. Obviously if you’re trying to get toned to look good on the beach for summer, advice from a competitive bodybuilder on how to build an Olympia winning physique will not be entirely applicable to your goals, but there may be some nuggets of wisdom you can find.
And then apply – I probably should have said “listen” again after this too. When you apply, you need to listen and really pay attention to your body to see what your results are. Even after you have gone through distilling everything down, it may simply be that your body just responds differently to a certain type of training or diet that works well for someone else. Don’t despair, there are several different paths to achieving your ideal physique and not everything works the same for everyone.
What are your ambitions?
I would like to earn my pro card and compete as an IFBB pro. I also want to continue acting and finding great challenging projects that I enjoy.
Anything else you like to add?
Hope you get a chance to check out my 6 minute 6 pack e-book and try it out. I’ve been getting great feedback and looking forward to more.
[quote_box_center]Also check out www.myshakeology.com/dieselrx. Shakeology has been an integral part of my diet for over a year now – I cannot say enough positive things about it.