Experience is probably the most sort after quality among idols, and you should seek out those who can offer you advice following many years of experience. If experience was a commodity, you can bet it would be rather expensive considering the many benefits it can bring to you. Today, you get the chance to learn from one of the most experienced IFBB Pros on the planet, Eddie Abbew! Having graced the stage for a decade, including shows like the Arnold Classic and Mr Olympia in 2007 Eddie is certainly a bundle of knowledge and experience. Today, Eddie still remains very youthful and in fantastic shape at the age of 47. Recently Eddie has taken over a gym now known as ‘Eddie Abbew’s Olympian Gym’ which I am sure is an amazing place to go and train! Let’s not waste a moment longer, I am really excited about this interview!
Eddie, thank you very much for joining FitMag today, what an honour it is to have you here with us!
No problem at all!
First of all let’s discuss training, what motivated and inspired you to hit the gym?
At the time I was 140lbs; I was skinny and didn’t like it. From the first day I started training I set a goal to double my body weight in a 5 year timescale!
Nice goal! When you first began training what were the most frequent mistakes you personally used to make?
Thankfully, when I started training I started reading Muscle & Fitness magazine, and there was always a section called Kinesiology. This part of the magazine always analysed in great depth a certain exercise and really went to town, explaining everything in great detail! As a result I never really made any mistakes as a beginner in the gym because I always followed the advice of this one particular section from the magazine.
Great! So from the very beginning you had a great appreciation for biomechanics and the best way to stimulate the muscle right?
So what was your training style when you first started and what is it today?
When I first started training I was a volume trainer, and today I still am. Very rarely did I ever finish a set before 15 repetitions and I always did around 20 sets per body part as well. The reason for this was that I really enjoyed that feeling in the muscle when it burns and when it feels pumped. I never got that from doing very low repetitions, all I got was achy joints. From the beginning my goal was to build muscle, not strength so I never really cared what weight I was using because it didn’t matter!
I would so a lot of drop sets with my workouts, for example if I only managed 5 repetitions with a weight on bench press I would strip some weight off the bar, do 5 more repetitions, then do the same until I hit 15 reps.
Great – it obviously worked for you! I know you said strength was never important to you but I heard through the grape vine you are pretty strong. Is this true?
Years ago I would squat about 7 plates a side for 4/5 repetitions, then do drop sets all the way up to 15 reps. Today I cant do that because I injured my lower back so I have to be very careful.
Once I bench pressed 620lbs (282KG) for 2 repetitions and then again did a drop set from there, however that was too heavy because I caused a pec tear under my armpit. Ever since my chest never felt comfortable lifting very heavy weight on the bench press so I won’t go for more than around 160kg today.
That is crazy strong! Mind you, 160kg is hardly toy weight! Eddie, what would you say are the most common mistakes you see in your own gym today with beginners?
There are many. Very often you will see guys come straight in and hop on the bench press with heavy weight. No warming up, no stretching no anything which is crazy and very dangerous. Another one you see a lot is the training partner looking elsewhere whilst his mate is squatting. If the guy squatting needed his partner to help, he wouldn’t be ready which is also very dangerous. Something else I see a lot is when people shoulder press, they bring the weight down far too low which puts a lot of stress on the shoulder joint. Then you have the most obvious one, too much weight with terrible form!
So what would your number 1 piece of advice be to beginners, in relation to their training?
Be very careful who you take advice from. Everybody offers advice and there are so many places on the internet with conflicting advice as well! Time and time again I see beginners cause themselves real issues because they listen to the wrong people. Be very careful who you listen to is what I would say!
Great advice! Moving on to nutrition, what mistakes did you make as a beginner with your food?
When I first started I was a student so I was always experimenting with different diets. I would used to count the protein in bread, beans and everything else I ate! I would eat a lot of wrong foods when I began. Personally I have an extremely fast metabolism so I struggled to gain weight; I would even resort to eating a box of doughnuts right before bed every night to force my body to grow!
Did I hear right that you used to blend your chicken and steak?
Yes as I progressed and learnt more about nutrition I began to eat more of the right food. Bearing in mind I was eating 1.5kg of chicken a day, it was very hard to eat it all the time. So I would throw cooked chicken breast in a blender with some water and then neck it!! I did also try this with steak but that tasted bad!
The one piece of advice I heard which enabled me to gain muscle was from Shawn Ray! He said, if we tell fat people to eat small frequent meals to lose fat, surely we need to eat big meals less frequently to gain muscle. From there that is what I did. Each day I would eat 4 big meals, with blended meat and I would eat the carbohydrates solid. It worked very well for me! Many of the people who train in my gym also blend their meat as well now because it is so easy to do!
Thankfully, I enjoy my food even when I am eating 7-8 meals a day!!! Maybe one day I will try it though! So what would your top piece of advice be for beginners in regards to nutrition?
Make sure you seek the correct advice and follow it consistently! Don’t bother skipping meals; you cannot afford to do that! Training makes you catabolic, eating makes you anabolic! So don’t spend too long in the gym and make sure you get your recovery shake and meals in! To grow you have to sustain a positive nitrogen balance in the muscle, the only way you can do this is why eating every 3 hours and with the right foods!
Super stuff! So how important are supplements in your opinion Eddie?
Supplements are so important, I cannot emphasise that enough! I even make my children take certain supplements such as minerals, vitamins and healthy fats because I am such a big believer in them!
When you’re dieting to get in shape, the diet you follow can often be unhealthy and deficient in certain nutrients, minerals or vitamins. This is why supplements are so important in my opinion as a professional bodybuilder, for everybody to use!
You have been signed with Sci-Tec for some time, what is it that makes them such a great brand?
I have remained with Sci-Tec over any other brand simply because their products are excellent, they work and they have a very good range of products.
To get the full range of Sci-Tec Nutrition products from MonsterSupplements.com please follow the link below! As used by IFBB Pro Eddie Abbew!
What are your top 5 must have supplements for beginners to gain muscle mass?
Personally I feel a whey protein, L-Glutamine, creatine, vitargo for post-workout recovery and a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement as well. These are supplements which I feel every person who workouts out should day!
Awesome! Eddie, thank you so much for joining us it has been an absolute pleasure!
Thanks for having me, I have really enjoyed myself!
There you go guys, yet another extremely experienced IFBB Pro sharing with you their knowledge and experience!