Building muscle is high on the agenda of most readers on FitMag, so you are going to like our guest. Zack Khan is undoubtedly the freakiest pro bodybuilder from the Europe today! More than that, many would argue Zack is one of the freakiest IFBB Pro’s on the circuit, and I wouldn’t disagree. Zack’s stats command respect! King Khan possesses arms which nudge closely to the 24’’ mark, a body weight which tips the scales at over 300lbs and what’s more crazy he achieved all of this before he reached his 30th birthday! So you wanted to learn about gaining muscle? Have you ever had the chance to get advice off anyone quite as big as this? Probably not! Find out what ZKK has to say about training, nutrition and supplementation now!
Zack, thank you very much for joining us today, it is a real honour!
It is my pleasure mate, thank you!
OK, let’s get into it. Can you tell us what first got you into training?
Back in the day I loved watching movies like Rocky, they really inspired me! From here I got into boxing, but I injured my shoulder and my coach suggested I go to the gym to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. From here I got hooked, 6 months later all I was doing was training! I realised I enjoyed it more than boxing, that is where it all began.
Looking back what were the most common mistakes you made?
When I first started training I spent way too much time in the gym. Over training was my biggest mistake as a beginner.
So how long would you train for now Zack?
For smaller body parts such as biceps, I will train for 20-30 minutes. Bigger muscle groups such as back I will train for around 45 minutes. People tend to rest too much between sets! Between warm up sets I rest for about 30 seconds and for working sets I spend no more than 1-2 minutes! At the moment I train with 2 partners so we just go in straight after one another. This way we keep up the intensity!
''For bigger muscle groups such as back I will train for around 45 minutes!''
Great point, it is all about intensity guys! What are the top 3 points you would give as advice to beginners in regards to their training?
Guys, you need to avoid over training! Training for too long and too often will only hold you back, it won’t help you grow! My second point would be to keep tight form. It is really important your form is good because you are going to hit the muscles AND decrease your chances of injury. Finally, I would advise you stick to basic heavy compound movements. Exercises such as bench press, deadlifts and squats will all help you develop a foundation for the future.
Great advice from King Khan! Zack, obviously we all know you suffered a very serious injury about 18 months ago. For those who are unaware can you tell us exactly what you did?
Sure! I ruptured both of my patella tendons clean off my knee caps. This means they had to be reattached and then from there it has all been about small steps.
NASTY! How is your progress?
You know, there have been ups and downs. Not long into my rehab after the tendons had been reattached I had an infection in my left knee. As a result they had to operate on it again but now I am making steady progress. Before my injury I would squat 550lbs for reps as where now I am doing 200lbs. the injury itself is completely heeled, it is just a case of rebuilding my strength within my legs once again!
Zack I think any true athlete, from any sport will find this inspiring! What kept you going?
When it first happened I really thought my career was over you know. Then I began to see it as a challenge, in the same way I saw getting my pro card as a challenge. Bit by bit I started working towards recovery and that is what I am doing now! Having such a close and supportive family and group of friends really kept me going. Doing my video blogs and seeing the huge following from my fans also really helped, I am really grateful for all of their support!
''King Khan always inspires people, including myself -'' Digital Editor of FitMag, Adam Gethin with ZKK at Neil Hill's infamous Dungeon Gym back in 2009!
What advice would you give for anyone who is injured?
In regards to avoiding injury I think you need to make sure you feel right. If there are pops, cracks or any other noises or pains in a joint of muscle you don’t normally get keep an eye on it. As you warm up it may go, but IF it doesn’t feel right don’t go in for a heavy set. The thing is, with my injury I had warmed up and I was ready. I felt great, I felt strong and my form was perfect. On hack squats you can’t really cheat which is what I was doing when my knees went pop!!! That is why I can’t really say I regret doing the exercise because I was doing nothing wrong; it is just one of those things. Being a bodybuilder can be hard on the body, like driving a car, from time to time you may expect to have a bump. It is the same with injuries; it is just unfortunate it was as serious as this!
Great advice! Now let’s switch the focus of conversation. In regards to nutrition how important is it on scale 1-10?
Nutrition is 50% of the equation, without it you cannot build muscle, recover and make progress. It is like putting diesel in a racing car. You can’t expect that racing car to perform if the fuel isn’t good enough. Nutrition is really important!!!
You heard it from the King himself, get your food together! What are the most common mistakes you see people make with their diets?
When guys look to bulk up they eat anything because they think it is all about eating LOADS of food. They don’t focus on the quality of the food, which is more important. Your body can only digest so much food at once, so eating loads of extra calories won’t necessarily benefit you.
With fat loss, people go to the other experience. They go for zero carbs and only eat 1-3 meals a day thinking it will work. The body doesn’t work like that and I think that people need to learn that!
For me, I think to gain muscle you want to eat more calories than your BMR (Basal metabolic rate) and to lose fat; you need to be in a deficit. BUT, you must make sure that the calories you are eating are from quality food sources.
What are your top 3 tips for beginners in regards to nutrition?
I think the most important piece of advice with your diet is to learn about your own body! Some people need to eat every 2 hours; others may only need food every 4 hours. If you constantly feel bloated when you eat every 3 hours, increase it to every 4 hours! Learn what works for you, be consistent and enjoy it. Everyone is an individual, so the most important thing you can do with your diet is learn what works for you!
GREAT advice again! What does your diet look like?
Meal 1 - 150g oats, 1 banana, 2 eggs, 10 whites.
Multi-vitamins, amino acids and BCAAs.
Meal 2 – Nutrex Muscle Infusion shake with 1 piece of fruit.
Meal 3 – 400g Jacket potato, fibrous vegetables and 300g salmon.
Meal 4 - 150g oats with honey, 2 scoops Nutrex Muscle Infusion shake.
Pre-workout – 2-3 scoops of Nutrex Hemo Rage.
Post-workout – 2 scoops of Nutrex Muscle Infusion with 2 scoops of Nutrex VoluGrow.
Meal 5 - 300g steak, asparagus, broccoli with 120g brown rice.
Meal 6 – 150g Cottage cheese with bio yogurt. Then I have 1 scoop of Nutrex Muscle Infusion with peanut butter and Udo’s Choice Super 6 blended together.
In your diet you mention a range of Nutrex products, the company who you work with. How important are supplements to any athlete today?
Very important! If you look at the days of Arnold and compare them to today, the difference is HUGE! Now we have new research and science behind supplements. They are really important and can really make a difference.
In regards to Nutrex, all I can say is I feel really luck to be part of this brand because I legitimately use all of their products and believe in them. You see a lot of pros endorse a brand yet they don’t really use that brand, they use another brand. For me, Nutrex are awesome and I love all of their products!
To get the full Nutrex range please follow the below link at MonsterSupplements.com!
Awesome! So what are the top 5 must have supplements for beginners in King Khan’s eyes?
In my opinion you should start with a quality Multi-Vitmain, a Protein Multi-Blend, BCAAs, L-Glutamine and Creatine.
That concludes the interview. First of all I would really like to thank Zack on behalf of MonsterSupplements.com and FitMag for joining us today! I am sure a lot of our readers will find your advice really helpful and inspirational! Keep up the good work and we really look forward to seeing back on stage in 2012 Zack!
Thank you guys for having me, it has been a real pleasure and I am sure you will see me again on FitMag soon!