Name: Juan Smith
Height: 1.75 m
Competition weight: 80 kg
Current weight: 90 kg
Current city: Pretoria, South Africa
Occupation: Financial Adviser
You moved from rugby into more bodybuilding, How did you get started in bodybuilding and fitness?
I have always had an interest in bodybuilding from a young age. I would walk to the back of a CNA and look at the magazines and wanted to look like that.
I was injured in rugby and was never allowed to do a contact sport again as the risk was too big.
I entered Jaco de Bruyn‘s shop in 2010 and I asked him if it is possible that he can help me get into fitness and bodybuilding as he was the name to go to and still is till today. So we started my prep for my first show, WBFF 2012.
Tell us a bit about the prep for your first show and how it went and what made you enter?
Well my first prep for my first competition was full blown prep as I never do anything half way.
- It consisted of 6 weeks of a bulking diet where it was a basic 60/40 split carbs as I wanted to gain a bit of muscle.
- Then from 8 weeks out it swapped and changed to 60/40 split protein. I am a guy that was never fat and always quite built as I did a lot of sports like sprinting and rugby as well as cricket. So I don’t need much time to get lean.
The first prep is always hard as you know nothing and your mental barrier gets tested in ways you have never been tested before, as I believe this is mentally one of the most difficult sports in the world. I took my first prep just a serious as I take my prep now, but it was more a process of getting to know my body and what works and what doesn’t. You have to go through this and learn and get to know your body.
But yes I follow full-blown prep from the start as I am very competitive as a person and always want to do my best.
What made me enter?
I have always done very well at sport and I have played both rugby and cricket at the highest level. I have always wanted to inspire people to be better and help them, and that will never change. To make a change in people’s lives was my plan from the start.
You moved from the more physique divisions to the classic bodybuilding division recently, what made you make the change?
I was always told when I did Muscle model that I was to ‘bodybuildersish’ and when I did fitness my physique displayed was too big. So when my coach Jaco de Bruyn and I heard IFBB was bringing out this category in SA we jumped at this opportunity! It has suited my body and the results is what we hoped and worked very hard for.
I believe that every single athlete needs to find where they fit in and what division is for them otherwise you will always be unhappy and never get your desired results.
How important is the mental aspect of this sport? How do you keep a positive motivated mindset and attitude through setbacks?
The mind is the battleground, not the gym and physical aspects. The mind is where you win and feel that feeling of accomplishment. Mentally I have never been challenged like this. BUT I like what I have been through this year (on a personal level) I just proved that if you are strong mentally your body will follow and anything can be done.
I have never seen a setback as it makes me negative as from a young age I have had many and my mother and father always told me it makes you stronger and will make you a better person and that has stuck with me till now.
I believe every single individual needs setbacks and needs to feel failure as it makes you better and mentally more tough and able to handle situations better. But friends and family is probably the most important here and the person in your life (partner) needs to understand what you are busy doing and what you are trying to accomplish with what you are doing.
Everybody has mental doubts and goes through setbacks it’s; how you handle them and take them and turn them into something positive. If you can make peace that failure will always be part of the journey you win the mental battle. It’s not always easy but I see it we only live once and to be great and to get to that top level in any form of your life whether its bodybuilding or work or relationship wise you need to be able to handle setbacks.
I guess I have always been a strong person and my support system is insane from my mentor Jaco de Bruyn and family and friends I am very lucky, this I know.
Tell us a bit about your prep for the Arnold Classic Africa where you won your classic bodybuilding division:
Supplements I used:
- BCAA’S were used during training as this prevents muscle breakdown and helps promote new muscle tissue growth.
- 100% Advance whey protein. I love this protein as it has a fast release and slow release protein source in so it absorbs quickly in its first stage which is ideal to make sure it goes to the trained muscle group and then has a protein source that releases later on again keeping my body fueled and anabolic throughout the whole day as I consume a serving early morning and late at night before bed.
- L-Glutamine. I used this after training as it helps with muscle recovery and improves protein metabolism.
- Around 2200 and 3000 calories, depending on what muscle group I trained. For example, on leg day I would try and up my calories a bit as this muscle group demands more energy.
- From 4 weeks out we started tampering down the calories from between 2200-3000 to around about 2000-2200 a day.
I have a very fast metabolism and get lean easily. Meals was prepared by cant flex fat. I am a financial adviser; Getting in my meals was easy as my meals were prepped by a company called Cant Flex Fat. I literally woke up and packed my meals in my food bag and left home so it was relatively easy.
I did cardio directly after my weights session except on leg day where I didn’t do any cardio. From week 14 to 8 I did cardio on the treadmill only walking on an incline and getting my heart rate between 125-130 bpm for 20 minutes 4 times a week. From week 8-4 I did cardio on the treadmill only walking on a incline and heart rate between 125-130 bpm for 30 minutes 4 times a week. From week 4-2 I did cardio after weight training only, walking on the treadmill at a slightly higher incline and my heart rate between 125-130 bpm for 50 minutes 4 times a week. Then from week 2 till show day I did no cardio as I find my body falls flat then.
I use the scale and fat calipers and the mirror when practicing my posing to see what body parts need some more work or need to get leaner. My legs respond the quickest on my body and gets lean very quick. My stomach gets lean much later in my prep and I feel this is a area I can work on a bit harder.
Well my training doesn’t change up until 6 weeks out. Where I would usually have a rep range of between 10-12 reps I would push up my rep range to between 15-20 reps range on all exercises. I will also tend to do more supersets and drop sets on a muscle group like chest, back and legs. Where I would normally do normal bench press I will now add a superset like bench press and cable cross overs in one set. With legs I would do leg press and lunges together with a large rep range between 30 reps per exercise, where normally I would do heavy weights and rep range between 12-15 reps. For back I would take up my rep range from 10 to around 15 reps and concentrate more on contraction then on moving heavy weights. I do some tensing between sets as this has shown me some great results, as I find that more striations and definition show on show day.
What are your future plans:
I will only compete next year and my main aim will be to qualify for an international Arnolds. But definitely do Arnolds Africa again next year. I will be staying in Classic bodybuilding category as this is a division I love and enjoy most doing and I feel it suites my physique best. I would most definitely love to get my pro card in IFBB and stand on an Olympia stage with the best.
I am slowly starting to travel and getting invited to be at expos around the world so I will have to be able to prep for shows and travel which is hard and finally make a full time career out of the fitness and bodybuilding world. There is still a lot of hard work to be done.
You also secured a sponsorship with wawan protein from the middle east, tell us a bit about your duties with them?
Yes I did and how fortunate am I. They are a huge international brand and I am signed next to some big names so they definitely don’t play around. They are simply an amazing supplement store (all around the middle east) so we get our supplements each month from them and can select from a wide variety like Pro Supps, EHP Labs, Reflex so what we like we get.
They also fly us all over to attend expos where they have a booth and represent the brand at these expos. We are fully sponsored and they cover most of our expenses when it comes to competing and we get to compete internationally once a year where they cover everything. All they want for us is to post about the brand and give them exposure and just showcase what an amazing brand Wawan really is, and to always represent them where ever we go.
What are your top nutrition tips to a guy trying to gain mass and muscle but who just doesn’t seem to be winning?
Well it all depends on your body type. A guy like that should definitely eat a high calorie diet and not be scared of having loads of carbs every meal (clean carbs). Try and literally have carbs from morning till you go to sleep.
What process do you follow when its time to start getting ready for a competition?
- Well, I do believe in a cheat meal so I will have a cheat meal once a week up until 2 weeks out.
- Gradually start dropping carbs as we near competition, increase my reps and do more drop sets.
- Up my cardio but stop cardio 2 weeks out as my body responds better when I am not doing cardio the last two weeks.
- I definitely exercise at a high pace those last 6 weeks as it burns more fat.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- 6:45 am: Upon waking up I will have my oats and whey protein and all my multi vitamins. I will always have a water bottle with me and sip on it throughout the whole day between meals.
- I will have my pre workout 45 minutes after this then get ready to go to the gym.
- I usually hit the gym at 8:15 am for about an hour.
- I will have a whey protein shake straight after my workout and my first meal 30 minutes after that.
- I will shower and get straight into my work and work about up until 4 pm.
- I have my last meal at around 8 pm and then I am in bed around 10.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
Consistency is everything with diet day in and day out. Listen to your body. I feel that South Africans especially, over diet sometimes. And I definitely believe in a cheat meal once a week.
Diet should be monitored and changed by your coach as needed and try to get to know how your body works and what works for YOU.
What do you usually eat pre and post workout?
- Pre workout: Oats and whey protein.
- Post workout: Chicken breast, sweet potato and half an avo.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training schedule, how many times a week do you workout for and how long are your training sessions?
I workout 6 days of the week and have one rest day. I have found that training heavy doesn’t work for my body so I would rather concentrate on my form then on worrying about how much weight I move. My training sessions are usually never longer than an hour.
My training split (for Arnolds):
- Monday: Back and biceps | cardio
- Tuesday: chest, triceps and abs | cardio
- Wednesday: Quads and calves
- Thursday: Shoulders and triceps and traps | cardio
- Friday: Arms and abs | cardio
- Saturday: Hamstrings, glutes and calves
How does your training differ from off season to pre comp, if it does?
I increase my reps and I will make my rest periods shorter and add more cardio.
What are some of the mistakes you see guys making when preparing for a competition and trying to lean down?
- Over dieting.
- Doing too much cardio and not listening to their bodies.
- Training without a goal or plan and not being mentored or coached by someone.
I believe no matter who you are you just need that someone to “report” back to as it keeps you sharp and on your toes.
Do you enjoy any other forms of training besides the gym?
What are your three favourite exercises and why?
They make my legs grow and make the cuts on my legs deeper.
2. Dead lifts
They’re not just for the back it’s a whole body workout and makes my back nice and thick off season.
I just love doing arms, who doesn’t?!!!
What’s your take on abs training and what kinds of training do you do for them? Do you think it is necessary or is it more genetics?
No I believe that abs can still be trained to display better on stage. Yes I believe the form of your abs are genetics but you can still train them as they will appear thicker on stage and increase your strength with all your other body parts.
What is the most common question you get asked?
- What supplements do I use?
I will reply EHP labs products.
Favorite Influential bodybuilders:
“You take care of the small things day in and day out and the big things will take care of themselves”
Favourite female fitness icons:
Best piece of advice you ever received?
A good training programme can never outwork a bad diet.
What advice would you give to someone just wanting to lose weight and get in good shape and be healthy?
Eat clean and train hard. And build up knowledge about how diets work and training programmes. I have loads of friends that are qualified personal trainers and usually give them these peoples contact details.
What competitions have you competed in and your placings?
- WBFF Fitness model | Top 5
- IFBB Millennium Gold Plate 2016
- Novice u80 kg | 1st
- Classic bodybuilding | 1st
- Africa Arnold Classic 2016 | Classic bodybuilding up to 1.75m | 1st