Knowledge is power, or should I say ‘applied’ knowledge is power. In an industry where there are a million and one different theories to achieve the same results it can be very difficult to become empowered by the right knowledge. It is very important one is selective about what they listen to because listening to the wrong advice will become a huge obstacle between yourself and your desired goals, and more than that it could potentially be harmful to your health. This is exactly why FitMag only brings the very best athletes from around the world to offer you the advice you need to make headway on your journey to success.
Enter Mr Rob Riches! Rob is possibly the best known fitness model in the UK and even in the world! This guy, who was once just another teen with a dream simply to build muscles to attract girls in school, has now risen to become a global fitness superstar! Abs you could grate cheese on? Check! Perfect male physique which makes the ladies go ‘WOW’? Check! All of this has been achieved through following correct training principles, proper nutritional plans, being consistent, planning ahead and of course staying motivated! The name ‘Rob Riches’ offers an alternative description to what most men would describe they would love to look like. This dude really has got it all! With that said, let’s try and soak up as much information as possible as we head into an interview with the man himself!
Rob I am really grateful that you have taken time out to share your experiences and knowledge with MonsterSupplements.com! I know a lot of our customers will really be thrilled to see your face on the front of our site!
You guys are very welcome, that was quite an introduction. I would really like to thank you guys at MonsterSupplements.com and FitMag for having me and, I hope that your readers will enjoy and learn something new from this interview.
OK Rob, let’s go back to the start. What was it that actually first got you involved with the gym?
At the time I was about 14 years old and I was really into mountain biking. I was at that age where I was constantly searching for that one sport I could really excel at. Team sports weren’t really my thing because it came down to your performance on the day as well as your team mates. This is why I tried out a lot of individual sports like tennis, a range of other racquet sports and then finally mountain biking. One day I was speeding down a hill on my race spec GT bike through a woodland, I was approaching a tree stump so I tried to clear but my back wheel didn’t come high enough off the ground. Long story short, I was sent over the handle bars and I didn’t wake up for about 10 minutes. When I finally came around my shoulder was in a very bad way. After I had been to A&E my mum suggested I join a gym to help strengthen the muscles again.
At this time we had a window cleaner who was called Bob Campbell and he just so happened to be a world champion weight lifter! One day I was stood in the garden reading a Men’s Fitness magazine and I said to Bob ‘’how can I have abs and biceps like this?’’ Bob replied saying ‘’you have to train and build a complete physique!’’ Just around the corner Bob had a ‘gym’ and I use the term loosely because it was an ex-boy scouts hut turned gym. It was here Bob taught me the basics of training properly and how to use a training split correctly. So that is the long and short of how I first got involved with training.
Great story! So Rob, having spent a few months in the gym what were your initial aspirations? Where did you see this taking you, if anywhere at all?
If I am brutally honest it was as much about the bragging rights of being the biggest guy in the school as anything else!!! If I couldn’t be the best footballer, or the best looking guy with the girls I had to be the biggest. At the time I had no intentions on competing, I just wanted a body which made girls go ‘WOW’ when I took my top off. I think that a lot of guys, if they are honest, are motivated by this factor especially when they start training.
Sure! I think we all like to feel confident with our body mate! In your late teens you worked as a gym instructor/personal trainer. How does one go from being a regular guy showing people the ropes in a regular gym to international fitness superstar?
First of all, I am going to ask you what you think a ‘fitness superstar’ is.
Well I think it is somebody who quite clearly has a huge following of fans due to their efforts in and out of the gym. It is clear to see many people idolise you because of the physique you have, the knowledge you share and because of your personality. How does a regular trainer make that transition?
First of all I was a gym instructor, you know the guy who shows people how to use machines properly. However, even back then I had a ‘sales’ side to me. Every month I would call new members and ask if they had any friends and family who wanted to join. From there I would take their contact details and call them. Many would decline, however because I was consistent and called so many people every 4 weeks we did have a steady influx of new members every month. I think this is something I took with me later on in life when I began to compete.
In the gym, when I trained I was often asked by people what I ate, when I ate or what supplements I used. It began to dawn on me that I could potentially inspire people on a much larger scale and hopefully help educate them. In 2005 when I was 21 I entered my first competition in the BNBF where Neil Smythers or Mr-X as he is known, helped dial me in. Amazingly I won, and I say amazingly because there was a guy there about 5 stone heavier than me and he has a great physique!!! When I got back to the gym which I trained at there was a photo of a guy in one of the fitness magazines – he was ripped with spiky blonde hair. Some guys in the gym asked if it was me, of course I said no because it was a guy named Paul Amos. However, it got me thinking well if he can get into magazines then maybe I can too! Without sounding a bit crazy I became a bit of a stalker. I found where Paul trained, I emailed him with a very over the top message conveying just how much he inspired me. Paul probably thought I was a bit weird when he read it!!! Then Paul invited me to train with him and that is where I really began to become inspired to push myself as somebody in the magazines.
Each week I would learn about different fitness magazines in different parts of the world and then email them a letter with some of my photos. My thinking was that if I contacted enough people then surely at least one would get back to me!
Then by 2007 I had won the FAME championships, MuscleMania and the NPA championships. When I won MuscleMania I was invited to compete in the world championships in Hollywood which I won. Approximately 6 months afterwards I received an email asking me to come out to LA and do some magazine work, to which I gladly obliged. From here I met some very influential people and the rest is history as they say. It has basically all been about having the drive to learn about the industry, see myself as a product and really market myself to the whole world. If you think because you are in great shape the phone will ring you are wrong, because it wont!
For anyone who wants to achieve great things in the fitness industry whether it is to appear in magazines, on the TV or whatever else here is my advice. Set aside at least 2 hours a week to get on the internet and research a specific country and what fitness magazines do what in that country. For example, one week you may do Sweden, another week it might be the USA and then next week it could be Canada. As you do this you will notice cross-over’s between different networks. You begin to get familiar with the names of editors, photography teams and influential people. All of this knowledge can go a long way to getting to where you want to be. Not everyone will get into the fitness magazines, but I can assure you if you do try you will meet some great people, learn lots of new things and potentially see new opportunities.
That is such an insightful answer Rob! Often you will hear how to get into the shape that is required to be in the magazines, but nobody discuses the ‘business’ side of the coin. I think our readers will really like that, I know I do!
Great! At the end of the day it is all about being persistent with your efforts, have the scope to look beyond the body. What can you offer a magazine, TV show or supplement company? Appeal to particular populations? A great story people can relate to? Specialise knowledge? Whatever it is you need to find your niche and really focus on it!
That is awesome! Changing the subject a little, how did you train at the beginning of your working out days and how has that changed, if at all?
From the beginning I always used a split routine, hitting different muscle groups on different days. I always like to stick to relatively basic heavy training with straight sets, although sometimes I did do super-sets and higher intensity training. This wasn’t something I did much because I didn’t enjoy it, and for me to stick at something I have to enjoy it.
Today I stick to the same kind of principles; the only real difference is that I train more instinctively now. What I mean by this is that my training split isn’t regimented as it used to be, I train muscle groups as and when I feel they are ready. Now I am more experienced I do also focus on weaker areas of my physique more. For example, my rear deltoids and back were weak areas for me so I really started to focus on them.
Awesome! So what were the key mistakes, if any, you made in the gym as a beginner?
I was fortunate enough that I had Bob to show me the ropes. My form was always pretty good; I used a proper training split and seemed to do everything by the book. The one mistake I did make looking back was over training! I would always be thinking of a reason to go to the gym. As it was only a 2 minute cycle away I would always go and train the body part which was aching the least. Maybe if I had embraced proper rest more often I could have been better!!!
That shows the importance of correct guidance I think. For all you beginners out there it is imperative that you follow the correct advice - luckily you have FitMag! What are the most common mistakes you see beginners make in the gym?
Listening to other people I think. There are so many people who will offer advice who don’t know any better than you do! My advice would be to find somebody who really inspires you with great videos, articles and stick with them! Trying to do what everyone tells you won’t work!
Obviously, trying to lift too heavy, poor form and over training are all common mistakes many beginners make in the gym. Really, don’t do it! Make sure you are training properly. If you are lifting too heavy the target muscle wont be engaged which means the muscle cannot grow.
Super advice! What is a normal training week in the life of Rob Riches then, Rob?
This is a sample week, but something like this is quite normal –
Monday – quads & calves (I like to split hamstrings and quads up to really focus on the separation in my legs!)
Tuesday – hamstrings
Wednesday – day off (maybe some calves)
Thursday – back & biceps
Friday – chest & triceps
Saturday – off
Sunday – 0ff
I will do some cardio all year round, anywhere between 30-60 minutes low impact a few times a week. Obviously for a photo shoot or competition I increase my cardio. Occasionally I will do higher impact cardio to spike my metabolism, but I don’t enjoy high impact cardio much!
There it is - the blueprint training plan to Rob Riches! Now you know guys!!! Moving on to nutrition, Rob can you tell us on a scale of 1-10 how important good nutrition really is?
People will often say ‘’Rob what percentage of the equation is diet?’’ The truth is I really couldn’t give a number; all I know is that if you are eating clean you will progress, if you don’t you won’t! Diet really is everything!
I am so glad you said that! This is one of the main points FitMag likes to reiterate to all of the MonsterSupplements.com customers! You heard it from the best, diet is everything guys! Can you an outline of what your diet should look like?
For mass gaining I would recommend a 35 protein: 50 complex carbohydrates: 15 fats ratio.
For fat loss I would recommend a 45 protein: 35 complex carbohydrates: 20 fats ratio.
In terms of calories I like to use the analogy of a slider with the numbers 11 and 22 at either end. For mass gaining multiply every pound of body weight by a number close to 22 (or even 22 if you are an ectomorph) and this will indicate the amount of calories you need, roughly as a guideline. Then divide this number by the ratios given above for mass gaining.
For fat loss, multiply every pound of body weight by 11 or a number close to that end of the scale and then divide this number by the ratios given for fat loss!
Of course this is only a rough guideline but from personal experience I have found this really works for a lot of people, and certainly myself!
That’s great! What advice would you give to beginners in regards to nutrition?
Really focus on FPT – this stands for Food/Portion/Timing!
As I showed above, it is all about getting the correct amount of nutrients from each meal at the right time of the day. Following this you won’t go far wrong!
What are the most common mistakes you see beginners make with their nutrition?
Often you will see beginners jump on ‘no carb’ diets and eating poor quality food sources. I would never try and talk somebody’s theory down, however I don’t feel that certain diets which advocate eating as much as you want of certain foods as long as they are not complex carbs are very healthy.
Focus on getting the best quality food sources for your protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
What are the best sources for each nutrient group?
Protein – chicken breast, lean beef, oily fish, egg whites, protein powders.
Complex carbohydrates – wholegrain pasta, wholegrain rice, oats, sweet potato.
Healthy fats – nuts, natural nut butter, egg yolks, sees, flaxseed oil.
Rob, I know with your new media business in LA you are quite a wiz kid in the kitchen in front of the camera! Have you got a favourite recipe you could share with us?
Sure, no problem at all!
OK, this is something I like to call the Casein Soufflé. Many people will ask me what I eat at night before bed, so here it is!
5 egg whites
Grind up 10-12 almonds in a blender into powder
Put the egg whites and almond powder in a mixing bowl together and add 1 scoop of chocolate Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein a long with a teaspoon of Stevia
Mix all of these ingredients with a fork and place in the microwave for 60 seconds
Remove from the microwave and add 1 teaspoon of natural almond butter, stir again with a fork and then place back in the microwave for another 60-90 seconds (depending on the power of your microwave)
Remove from the microwave and slice into small squares, poor into a bowl and place them in the fridge for 10 minutes to set
Nutritional profile – 40g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 12g healthy fats
This is the perfect bed time meal and it tastes like chocolate cake! This feeds your muscles for around 7 hours through the night which helps combat catabolism. The healthy fats from the nuts also prolong this effect which is great!
That sounds delicious! On my next MonsterSupplements.com order I will be getting some Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein so I can make these! Thanks for sharing that with us!
Moving on to supplementation, obviously you are with Optimum Nutrition. Just how important are supplements to the modern day athlete?
As long as people are consistent with the FPT eating principles and are training hard supplements are very important. What they do is help fill the gaps which your diet cannot fulfil.
For example, after a workout it is much more beneficial to have a whey isolate protein with waxy maize starch and micronised creatine monohydrate rather than a solid meal, or even an energy drink. Supplements are so advanced now they can really make a huge difference when everything else is in place.
What does your supplement stack look like?
I use the following supplements all year round –
Optimum Nutrition HydroWhey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein
Optimum Nutrition Egg Protein
Optimum Nutrition CLA
Optimum Nutrition L-Carnitine
Optimum Nutrition Micronised Creatine Monohydrate
Optimum Nutrition BCAAs
Optimum Nutrition ZMA
Optimum Nutrition L-Glutamine
Optimum Nutrition Digestive Enzymes (these are a MUST for me! They really enhance overall nutrient assimilation)
To view the full Optimum Nutrition range at MonsterSupplements.com, as used by Rob Riches please follow the below link!
So what are your top 5 MUST have supplements for beginners?
This is a tough one, but here they are!
- Clean whey protein (Optimum Nutrition HydroWhey)
- Casein (Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein)
- Micronised creatine monohydrate
I am not just saying this but, Optimum Nutrition are genuinely an amazing brand with amazing products. I personally know endorsed athletes from other brands who use Optimum Nutrition products behind closed doors which I think is interesting.
That is exactly the same tip 5 I would have picked! These are your bread and butter products guys, get them in before any other products on your list. So what does the future hold for Rob Riches?
An awful lot!!! Right now I have been running my new media business for the last 10 months with my business partner. We are so busy with that, we are filming all the time and hopefully the future will be full of new opportunities for us.
I have a new and improved website ready to launch at the end of 2011. This website has been in my head for years, I have always wanted to give back to my fans and this is one of my ways of doing it. I have invested a lot of my own money into the site to create a tool. It will help people create the perfect diet plans for them, based on their body type, likes/dislikes and goals. The guy who is developing the site for me also worked on Audi’s site!!!
Who knows what else? I have been approached in the past to work on movies, on TV shows so perhaps more opportunities like that may come a long. I have kind of moved on from magazine work and done a full 180 because I want to focus on my new projects. Having said that, if a magazine wants to do a shoot then of course I will.
The future sounds very exciting for you Rob! So to finish, we have a rather special treat for all of our readers. Why don’t you tell the MonsterSupplements.com customers what we have in store for them?
OK – I am running a competition in conjunction with MonsterSupplements.com and their FitMag to offer TWO customers the chance of a lifetime. On the 26-27th of November I am flying over to London from LA where I will be running a training workshop. Here all the people who attend can ask me questions on training, nutrition and supplementation as well as the business side of the industry.
However there is much more than that. Muscle & Fitness magazine will be there with top photographer Simon Howard. Everyone will get a professional photo taken by Simon as well as a FREE Optimum Nutrition goody back with supplements and t-shirts in. To top it off, ONE lucky winner will also get the chance of a full professional photo shoot and be able to appear on the front of a UK fitness magazine.
So, the prize is TWO VIP passes to this weekend for TWO MonsterSupplements.com customers. These normally cost £600 each because it is a very costly event to put on, so that’s a combined prize worth £1,200! Adam is going to publish the exact details of how to enter and win this competition very soon, but whoever wins will have a great time that’s for sure!
To enter this exclusive competition to get 2 FREE VIP passes to Rob Riches workshop on the 26-27th please follow the below link, 'like' MonsterSupplements.com Facebook page, then enter your name and email. Thereafter please go to Rob's website, mycontestprep.com!
This competition is really exciting for us and whoever wins will I am sure, have the time of their life! MonsterSupplements.com are the only site in the UK who are fortunate enough to offer our customers this chance with Rob and we are very grateful to Rob, for that! Full details of this competition are available through the following link.
To conclude the interview I would like to thank you Rob for joining us from sunny LA, sharing with us some great stories, knowledge and expertise. It has been a true pleasure, thank you!
Likewise, thank you very much for having me. I am really looking forward to meeting the guys who win this MonsterSupplements.com competition!