For more than a decade, Shameen Adams has been at the top of the South African bodybuilding pile. Earlier this year he won the overall title at Muscle Mania in Las Vegas, beating competitors as much as 30kgs heavier than himself. The 75kg Adams is relatively light, but exceptionally well proportioned and widely respected for his longevity and his ability to stay close to peak form throughout the year. We asked him for some tips to help aspiring bodybuilders achieve their goals.
He turns 46 in December, but you’d never say so. Most guess his age to be a maximum of 35, and there were gasps of disbelief when he revealed his age at the recent All Africa Mr Olympia competition in Harare, Zimbabawe, where Adams won the overall title.
You’re very consistent, there’s minimal fluctuation in your form from season to off-season? Yes, I’ve learned about balance. I’m not obsessed with bodybuilding so I’m able to maintain good form throughout the year, every year. I might put on 5 or 6 kilos in my off-season, whereas other guys will put on 20-30 kilos. I diet for 6-8 weeks to for a competition and they have to diet for 6-8 months. That balance includes family and work. Always put family first because they are your support in any goals you may want to reach.
How do you achieve this consistency? I basically eat the same foods and portions in and out of season. Only difference is I add some spices and sauces to my food during the off-season. I hardly touch dairy and I avoid junk food.
Is it difficult to do this? Not really. I’m a very focussed guy. I never compete to maybe win, I compete to win. So my chances of winning are far better if my general condition is always good. I have a great foundation all the time and it’s a matter of just fine-tuning.
You have excellent proportion, any muscles you’d like to change? No, that would be foolish. Why change a winning formula. To be honest, I reached my optimal physique a few years ago, so now I just maintain it.
Can others become this consistent? I’m sure they can. But it requires discipline and focus. It’s a way of life for me now. My body is my work tool. I earn my living and support my family as a result of what I’ve achieved in bodybuilding. I wouldn’t want to ever change that and that’s my motivation.
Any specific advice you can give newcomers to bodybuilding? Yes, use free-weights before you consider machines. Free-weights is seen as old-school, but it’s still the best way to build a solid foundation. When I started out, there were no fancy upmarket gyms and very little in the way of supplements. It’s changed a lot and obviously supplementation has helped bodybuilding move to a new level. But I’m proof that it’s possible to build a firm base mostly with commitment.
Any secret tips you can share? Well I can tell you that there are no secrets to success. It’s all about putting in the hard work over time and being patient. Time and patience are everything.
(compliments of USN)