Trainer And Force Factor Athlete Alex Turner Talks To M&S
What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with lifting?
I started working out right out of high school, as I graduated at a mere 112 lbs. I did not want to be the skinny kid anymore, so I progressed quickly in the gym, and increased my knowledge of fitness daily.
I jumped up 26 lbs in my first year, and over the next few maintained a body fat percentage of no higher than 5% while growing to a overall high of 196lbs. I absolutely love the fact that this is an individual sport. I control what I gain, and what I don’t!
What were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivational boost?
I would have to say that my first major accomplishment was winning a show. When I took first at my NGA show, it was a feeling like no other holding that trophy. The next greatest feeling in the world was waking up to a “Congratulations” email from Force Factor! It literally was everything I had been working towards; sponsorship.
From that point on, it has continued to open doors and I have continued to embrace every opportunity since. I now can proudly call myself not only a Force Factor athlete, but a Gym Shark Athlete as well as a Big Back Grips Athlete!
What keeps you motivated?
I would have to say a lot of my motivation comes from the people and support I surround myself with. Nothing pushes me harder than someone taking the time to tell me what a difference I’ve helped THEM make in there own lives. Nor does it compare to the feeling of seeing your energy levels boosting one another during a lift.
Another major motivator would easily be the changes I can physically, and mentally see in myself. This sport not only sculpts a physique but a healthy and strong mindset as well! It truly is a mind, body and spirit lifestyle if you choose to live it that way.
Who were your heroes growing up and how did they help inspire you to get involved with muscle building?
I draw a lot of my inspiration from my father, who was a nationally ranked powerlifter while still a junior in high school. He has helped push me and fill me with knowledge that I can truly thank him for. I am surrounded daily by big names in this industry, and it is always humbling, and appreciated being able to draw support and motivation from them!
Kris Gethin and Marika Johansson are a few others that really motivate me, along with IFBB pro Steve Cook. I have watched Steve’s career take off, and with us both being from Boise…Truly have tried to follow in his footsteps, in every aspect. From keeping a positive outlook, to helping others, and staying true to who I am.
What does your current training and split look like, and what do you like most about it?
I will do anywhere from 30-45 minutes of High Intensity Training, that will consist of Stairmaster, wind sprints, or my favorite lately has been running the Boise State University stadium stairs!
My favorite abdominal workout would have to be super-setting hanging straight-leg raises, with knee raises. I also end just about every set with a drop set, until failure. This I feel allows me to break down every part of the muscle group I am working, while pumping extra blood into that body part for added pump, muscle separation, and hardening.
How often do you perform cardio?
I perform cardio daily, in 20 minute regimens. I will end each lift, with 20 minutes of Stairs. Every Sunday as I mentioned earlier, I practice my HIIT or High Intensity Training. I feel the HIIT keeps my metabolic rate up, and helps me keep my “shredded” look. It helps me to burn body fat while leaving the majority of my lean mass alone!
What are some of your best training tips for someone who wants to look good and get ripped?
My best training tip I can give to someone wanting a lean and cut look, without necessarily wanting to step on stage would have to be proper form and weight. Often I see others wanting to obtain that look, while “throwing or struggling” with heavy weight for low reps.
What I have come to find, is that using a lighter weight, moderate if you will…while being able to obtain higher repetitions and higher set ranges will ultimately give you a tighter, leaner look that that of a higher weight lower rep workout. So don’t mind what anyone thinks, or how you look using lighter weight. Concentrate on form, and really focusing on that muscle group you are working.
What are the most underrated and overrated muscle building exercises?
I feel a lot of the basic, staple movements have been overshadowed by the “new and popular” workout routines people are coming out with on what seems to be a weekly basis nowadays. I still believe that benching, squatting, rowing, and leg pressing are definite NECESSITIES in anyone’s regimen.
I try to do my best to stay true to many of the original and “proven” lifting techniques as I know they work well with me, and have been around since the beginning of weightlifting and bodybuilding!
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve in the gym would have to be “attitudes.” I started from nothing, and more than likely so did the biggest guy in the gym. I see so many guys walking around with big scowls and uninviting attitudes surrounding themselves, and make it nearly impossible for others wanting to learn new things to talk to them.
I try to be as friendly, and helpful as I can. I got plenty of advice that truly made all the difference in my progression, and feel that its only fair and nice to offer the same advice to the next guy.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
My best tip right off the bat would be low carb dieting. I definitely carb cycle, yet when am ON my carb days, never go higher than 250g. During my lower carb days or zero carb days, My abs truly come out. If you are hitting your lifts hard, hitting your cardio diligently and sticking to your HIIT…try dropping your carbohydrate intake.
It works wonders and will over time teach your body to hold and release water easier, for show prep, or anything else you may be training for. I have also found that carb cycling has allowed me to reach past plateaus in weight gain, while maintaining a low body fat percentage.
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
I take shorter rests in between sets, train with higher set ranges and always end with drop sets! This blows my pump through the roof, and gives me the hard, shredded look I desire!
What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
My current diet right now looks a bit like this:
- Meal 1 – 8-10 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal.
- Meal 2 – 6oz lean meat, (normally chicken) with asparagus.
- Meal 3 – 6oz lean meat, with asparagus, and ½ cup brown rice.
- Meal 4 – Protein shake, Dymatize ISO100 (2 scoops).
- Meal 5 (Generally post workout) – 6-8 oz of lean meat, generally red meat in the evenings to switch it up, with either 1 cup brown rice, or a side of sweet potatoes, paired with asparagus.
- Meal 6 – A snack that is usually a green apple, with another protein shake (1 scoop).
- Before Bed – A small amount of Lean meat, normally left over from meal 5, no carbs or vegetables with a scoop of Syntrax Matrix.
I drink about a gallon of water a day, and will have higher carb days once or twice throughout the week to help my body carb cycle better. These days would include an extra cup or two of brown rice or sweet potatoes into my diet.
What does your cutting eating plan look like?
My cutting plan is virtually identical to my normal diet. The only differences are that I remove my carbohydrates and re-implement them every 4th day. This shreds me up in a matter of days if not weeks.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
When prepping meals, I will generally grill 8-10 chicken breasts at a time. I steam several stocks of asparagus and cook my rice at the same time.
I will set out 8-10 Tupperware bowls, with a cup of rice, 5-7 large pieces of asparagus, and a chicken breast. This allows me nutrition when I NEED it, and makes meal prep an easy and enjoyable task.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
I rarely cheat, but when I do on occasion I am a huge frozen yogurt fanatic! I love a good bowl of fat free frozen yogurt with fresh berries on top.
How important is carb cycling when trying to cut fat and retain muscle?
I am a true believer in carb cycling, and feel it makes a huge difference in ones goals to cut fat while retaining lean muscle tissue. I currently use this technique and see great results from it!
What does your current supplementation plan look like?
I currently use Force Factor before my workouts, and pair it with Body Rush as my pre-workout. I also use Muscle Martini by GAT as my Intra workout, to help my body from going catabolic during my lifts.
I use Dymatize ISO 100 as my current protein and love the taste. It is low in calories, and zeroed out in carbs, fat, and sugar content. I think it is a great protein for anyone wanting to maintain a lean physique.
I also use a men’s multivitamin and fish oil. I use Beta Crete during my winter and bulking months, but generally drop all forms of creatine while cutting to help with ANY sort of water retention I may have.
Workout music – Don’t care, or MP3 player?
I generally listen to a mixture of rap, hardcore, and house music while lifting! I have several playlists and am constantly taking others songs to add to mine!
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
My favorite quote of all time is this; “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
What attracts you to the natural side of sports and competition?
It is a fair playing field, and it is that much more amazing to me to see the athletes I stand next to knowing that those results can be generated naturally and with correct dieting!
Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?
Being from Boise, I have support for the Boise State Broncos, although am an Oregon Duck at heart! I love college football. Second to the Ducks, I would have to say that the Boston Red Sox have me in there corner for life! Sorry for the ruckus that may cause in advance to all you New Yorkers! Haha.