MUSCLE MODEL RAMAN KESHA
When and where did your journey into the world of health and fitness begin and who or what inspired you to get into weight training?
I used to watch my father weight train when I was young so that was my first inspiration, I lifted my first weight when I was 6 years old to try and be like him and always dreamt of becoming a muscle man. At the age of 18 while involved in Rugby League I decided to study genetics to work out the best way to structurally build my body to become the best athlete I could.
Congratulations on your victory at the 2016 Natural Bodz Asia Pacific Championships where you took out first place in the Muscle Model Category. I believe this was your first competition, how did it feel to achieve such success in your first ever stage appearance?
It was a great feeling at the age of 41 to enter and win my first comp. It was amazing to know that all my hard work had paid off. I felt really proud but also humbled to beat the other great competitors.
Are you involved in any other sports or have previously had success in any other sporting endeavours.
I have had success in the Martial Arts world, achieving 2nd Dan Black Belt for the NZ Karate Academy. I also played in a Premier Rugby League team in my younger days.
Do you believe involvement in these sports has helped forge the physique you have today?
Yes, I believe it was the building blocks to the physical form I have today.
You are a part of the highly successful Team EPA Australia headed by Joshua Hohua. How did you find the whole Team experience and camaraderie leading into the event?
Absolutely amazing, great family-like atmosphere which made the experience of my preparation more enjoyable and easy. We all built each other up both during prep and on the day so when someone won it felt like we all had in a way.
What do you do for a career and have you any advice for those that say they don’t have time to get to the gym because of their busy schedules?
Currently working in civil construction, often working 10 hours a day. Gym should always be about wanting to go not forcing yourself to go, you can always make time for a session, even if it’s only 45 minutes, that’s still enough to make gains. It’s a lifestyle and you just make it work!
How important do you feel it is to have professional guidance leading into an event in regards body conditioning and stage confidence?
I think it’s very important, to have a great coach behind you takes the stress off you and allows you to focus on what you need to. The guidance I received from Josh, particularly with posing (also meal prep), was invaluable and gave me the confidence I needed to win.
Nutrition is always a stumbling block for many looking to compete for the first time. What sort of diet did you follow leading into the Asia Pacific event. Are you a high protein –low carb person or preferred the more balanced approach?
My nutrition was completely under josh’s (EPAs) guidance. It was more of a balanced diet, I am lucky to have a high metabolism so I was able to keep my carb intake up and didn’t have to drop the calories too much. I was on to 1700 calories on my last week.
How important is mental focus and a positive attitude when it comes to getting into great physical shape?
It’s the biggest part in my opinion. You need to have the focus to be able to go the gym and get the most out of your workout. If you go in there dragging your feet, you won’t get the results. For that 1 hour or so, while in the gym, you just need to dominate and focus and push yourself in order to make changes.
Do you believe in having an off season or prefer to stay in good shape year round.
I try to stay around 9% body fat all year round What’s the maximum weight anyone should gain post comp? For male and female? Male – 10-15kgs
Female – 7-8 kgs
How many days a week and what sort of program do you follow leading into a competition? Can you provide our readers with an example split?
5 days gym, 2 days off. Then 4 days gym 1 day off, then 6 days gym 1 day off. Program is based on my problem areas when leading up to comp. For example I wanted to grow my legs so I worked them heavy 3 days a week. My program is very specific to me and getting the biggest gains on my ‘problem’ areas so I had good symmetry on comp day.
Are you a big cardio man or prefer to use diet and weight training to drop body fat prior to a show?
Definitely diet and weight training. I did almost no cardio prior to the show!
How important is it to have a good family and support crew behind you when preparing for a show?
Very important, I believe in positive vibes at the gym and home life helps create a better athlete.
Do you use any special training techniques if so can you share some of them with our readers?
My training is very different to the norm, I incorporate high reps, high intensity, plyometrics and kalisthenics into my training to focus on creating lean muscle. But I will combine that with heavy weights in the same session. I ensure every workout is different and never the same so the body never knows what has hit them!
Free weights or machines, what works for you?
Mainly free weights, because it allows me to get full range of motion and make the mind – muscle connection that is so important (but so under-utilised)
Apart from weight training what other forms of exercise do you include or recommend for those seeking a physique like yours?
High intensity training, plyometrics and kalisthenics.
How do you stay motivated to maintain that hunger to succeed?
I always want to be better than yesterday. The desire to win is pretty motivating in itself, I didn’t enter the comp to compete I entered it to win so the motivation was easy.
What are the most common mistakes you see in beginners when it comes to weight training?
Poor technique and only training upper body (often forgetting to train lower body or not train it enough)
The Physique class is somewhat new and gaining a lot of popularity. Why do you feel it appeals to many guys out there?
It’s a more natural looking body type, it’s not so much about huge muscles as it is about aesthetics and symmetry so that will appeal to many guys that don’t want to or cant get huge.
For any aspiring athletes looking to compete in a Fitness Model/ Physique event where do you suggest they start?
Find a good coach, it’s that simple.
How important is water prior to an event are you an
advocate of water loading or any other kind of tweaks in water intake?
Yes, I am an advocate of water loading. It worked for me and has worked for a long time.
Do you use sport supplements in your nutrition plan, if so which ones?
Good quality protein, BCAA, L-Glutamine, Creatine, Fish Oils, Glucosamine & Zinc, Test Booster.
Do you document and count calories, protein and grams of carbs when working out your diet or prefer a more instinctive approach?
Leading up to comp I definitely counted and measured calories as nutrition is such an important part of prep etc however off season is more an instinctive approach.
Do you find that your body responds better with certain foods than others? E.g types of carbs/proteins?
My body responds very quickly to small changes in nutrition, I noticed the biggest change when carb depleting leading to comp day.
We host a number of Events in Australia, do you feel that these events are a great place for aspiring athletes to gain exposure, opportunities and experience?
Yes, I think it’s a great platform to elevate your profile in the world of competing. If you do well and get attention this can lead to sponsorship e.g supps, gym wear etc and other great opportunities and of course just the experience of competing in these events is wonderful on it’s own.
Who do you admire most in the industry?
I look up to a few great athletes around the world; Jeremy Buendia is one that stands out; I admire his success and physique but also the fact he is humble. Also Ulisses Junior for the same reasons. Thanks to the power of social media I have been able to follow these guys through their comps and training and have learnt alot.
Who do you admire most outside of the health and fitness industry?
My Karate Instructer of 16 years, Henare Heta (NZ Karate Academy, Whangarei, because he taught me how to be a man, taught me how to be humble and how to respect others and I will always admire him for that.
How do you feel about the use of drugs in sport, and is there any room for improvements to keep it clean?
I feel like it has got out of control and is way too accessible for people to get their hands on low quality drugs which leads to negative reactions both mentally and physically. Everyone is looking for the quick fix to get the body without having to work too hard for it and I am really against it. There is room for improvement, I think if you decide to enter into a natural bodybuilding comp then you should be prepared to take a test earlier than comp day because people are still using prior then going off the gear in time to test clean for the day. That is not natural.
What do you do to relax?
Spend quality time with my wife and my baby daughter, trying new cafes, going for walks.
What are your immediate goals in respect to your career and competing in the next 12 months?
Ultimate goal is to qualify and compete in Musclemania Fitness Week in Las Vegas 2017 as part of the Natural Bodz Australian team and to compete in Asia Pacific Gold Coast 2017 to achieve my Pro card.