USN athletes are all over the GNC blog! This week we have our 5th USN ambassador gracing the GNC blog, 2x World Natural Bodybuilding Champion, Richard Gozdecki. Rich is not only a natural bodybuilding champion but an all-round top athlete having been competitive at swimming from a young age and more recently indoor Rowing and Powerlifting; qualifying for the British drug free Powerlifting finals later this year.
In addition, he is one of the most humble, down-to-earth, friendliest Bodybuilders and always makes time for his fans and aspiring bodybuilders. He has visited many GNC stores all over the UK and is now here to give you an insight into his training and lifestyle.
Guest Writer – Richard Gozdecki
During my competitive season in 2012 GNC asked if I wouldn’t mind writing a short article about myself, training, diet and bodybuilding. At the time, I was over trained, under nourished, worried about competing and didn’t have a spare minute in the day. Now I’m 3 stones heavier, enjoying my training and have all the time in the world. So without an excuse, this is who I am.
Richard in 2011 after winning his first WNBF World Heavyweight and Overall title
For those of you who are not familiar with me, I’m a professional Natural bodybuilder from the UK. I’ve been competing for only 5 years now, during which time I’ve been fortunate enough to win some major titles worldwide. Most recently in 2012 I retained my WNBF World Heavyweight title in Atlantic City and also added the European title to my name earlier in the same year. I guess this means I have should have all the answers to what make a better physique, but in reality I’m still learning myself. Its only through time and experience you learn the most valuable lessons, but I’ll try to outline some important tips from my own experience as we go.
Training is my life. I love it. I day dream about training all day, and then I love my time in the gym once I’m there. Once I’ve left the gym, I’m already planning the session for the next day. I think it is due to this passion for training which has led to my success in sport. If you can find something which you enjoy in your session, then it is never a chore, never a burden and always a positive highlight to any mundane working week. Having said that, training can’t be number 1 priority.
Life, family, work and friends, all come before training in my book. Therefore, it is up to me to get my time management right, in order to get my training done, all meals prepared and eaten on time, and still have time to see my loved ones. Sometimes this means a bit of rushing around and a lot of forward planning, but not missing training or meals is vital when wanting to improve your physique.
During the off-season, I do like to socialise as much as possible. True to English tradition, socialising means going out on a Saturday night and having a good old drink. In recent years I have very much calmed down, due to the fact I’m getting old, but in my early 20’s I still managed to build a decent physique ‘socialising’ quite a lot. It’s all about getting that balance right and once you’ve cracked that, you’ll improve your physique and have an army of friends backing you to the top when competition time comes!!!
Like I’ve said before, I love my training. Finding what you love about hitting the gym day in day out will always be the best way to make good gains. I have always liked volume training. Drop sets, super sets, giant sets and pre exhaust are some of my favourites. A lot of people say that higher weight and low reps works better to stimulate growth, but I stuck to the training I enjoyed and forced out some great results. If you want to go heavy and low reps, do it. If you want to use more explosive power movements, do it. Whatever it is that you’re doing, just be consistent, be honest with yourself about form, reps and weight lifted and soon you’ll have the physique you have always wanted and done it in your own way!
Richard with USN Team mate Max on the March/April issue of The Beef
Whether you’re bulking, slimming down or just maintaining the weight you are, diet is the key factor to your success. Once again, I truly believe this is something that can only be worked out on your own. You have to enjoy what you are eating all year round, otherwise it simply will not be something you can stick to. This doesn’t mean pie and chips 6 times per day. I’m not a massive fan of fish. During my contest prep, I avoid fish all together and opt for more eggs, chicken and steak.
Due to this I tailor my calorie intake to suit. I love all of my meals when I’m dieting: egg on toast, chicken, veg and potatoes, oats and protein, are some of my favorites, which make it easy for me to stick to. I don’t work out the exact macronutrients, I pretty much ‘wing it’ as far as quantities go. I am however, very consistent, never miss meals and never get too hungry. When I’m bulking, I get all my meals in, on time, without fail, and then anything else which isn’t nailed down is mine too!
Bodybuilding for me is about habit. Sleep is a massive part of your bodybuilding day. If you’re not getting enough sleep, or a decent quality of sleep then your growth will suffer. I’m a morning person. I love waking up in the morning, I feel very positive and excited about the events lay ahead of me that day. I am fortunate enough to be in a job I enjoy. I work shifts, so 5am starts are a regular occurrence.
During competition prep, I walk for an hour before work, so this becomes 4am starts. I base my sleep around 7 hours per night and tailor my bed time to suit. Thanks to sky plus, I can record any programmes after Newsround! :-) It’s also worth trying different supplements which can aid you to fuel your sleep. I switch between, D-Aspartic acid, USN ZMA and USN 19 AnabolTesto. These can all aid in your hormone production and also improve the quality of your sleep.
If your diet is no good and you are relying on supplements to make up your calorie intake, you will probably not be getting the results you want. Supplements are exactly that, an aid to supplement your diet, not replace it. When your diet is right, Supplements can be used to dramatically change a physique.
For me, there are 2 types of supplement. The ones you can see and feel working, and the ones which work behind the scenes doing the mundane jobs to help you grow.
Pre-workout drinks, creatine, caffeine, energy drinks and some recovery drinks can all be felt in some way. Some give you a pump, make your muscles harder, make you stronger, increase endurance and give you a mental stimulation which can boost your workout. These are great, as you know they are working so you feel like it is value for money.
There are also the supplements you can’t feel, BCAA’s, Protein drinks, Glutamine, HMB, ZMA, Tribulus, Multi vit’s, Vit C, Omega 3’s, Joint care and many, many more. These all work in the same way as the others but just behind the scenes. The trick is to find a balance of what works for you, what you can afford and what you can be CONSISTENT with, month in, month out.
My top 5 USN Supplements:
Pure Protein, IGF1 – Great all-rounder, used any time of day, low in calories, high in protein, BCAA’s and glutamine and tastes great.
Creatine Anabolic – My favourite USN supplement. Strength and endurance goes through the roof using this. Best used to get through plateaus in your training.
BCAA’s – Used pre and post workout, or during meal times. Increases protein synthesis and helps promote a quicker recovery.
Hardcore Whey GH – Read the label, it’s got everything in! I use this during my contest prep as its low-calorie and carbs, but increases strength.
19 Anabol Testo – Increases hormone production and boosts performance in the bedroom! ;-)
Setting targets is one of the best ways to monitor progress, stay motivated and give you an indication if you are improving. Saying “I want to be a World champion is a great target!”, but that is not the only goal. Being better than you were the day before, week before or even month before is the best way to see if you are on track. Set your goals so that they are achievable and smash them!
If you want a bigger bench press, pick a number 5kg above your max and give yourself 4 weeks to hit it. If you want to lose weight, aim for 4 or 5lbs in 4 weeks and smash it. Small improvements and by regularly succeeding will be the best way you will get a better physique and be happy with the results.
Rich hitting a most muscular
Photography by Fivos Photography
My thoughts on being a World Champion…
I was absolutely over the moon in 2011 winning the first World Title. It was an amazing feeling and I was immensely proud. During the year that followed, something clicked in me that I had to go back to defend it. I really wasn’t satisfied and I had convinced myself it was a fluke or a bad decision. I questioned myself, if I had really deserved to win. I knew the only way to find out was to go back to prove it to myself. This could mean losing, which had crossed my mind and fueled my training that year. Having returned, and successfully defending the H/W title I can honestly say I’m satisfied. The pressure is off now for me to enjoy my training and make some small gains until I decide to compete again.
What are my goals for the future?
I don’t just feel like a bodybuilder. I think I can achieve so much more in sport if I diversify and try new things. Being satisfied with bodybuilding for now, means I have an opportunity to put my time into something else. With the backing of my sponsors USN, we have decided to have a go at powerlifting. I’m not expecting to be a World Champion any time soon, but I would like to see how strong I can get in the following months.
Further than this, I would just like to stay fit, healthy and be able to continue training for as long as possible, meeting new people, learning, developing and enjoying sport. When training is good, life is good.
2x WNBF World Heavyweight & Overall Champion