Off-season weight = Around 15-16 stone
Comp weight = Last Competition NABBA UK 2013 13.3 stone
Height = 5 foot 9
Favorite body part to train = Back
Least favorite to train = Abs
Can you list your shows and outcomes of each?
2012 Yorkshire Open Castleford (Novice Class) 1st place
2012 Central Britain (Novice Class) 4rd place
2013 Yorkshire Open Castleford (Under 90kg) 3rd place
2013 Central Britain (Class 1/2) 6th place
2013 NABBA UK (Class 2) 7th place
Why and how I got into weight training – When I was a child I was very much into playing football and getting into all the usual mischief but had no real interest in weights (although I did always watch Worlds Strongest Man with my dad at Christmas). As I got older I continued playing football and it wasn’t until I met a couple of bodybuilders at work that I realized I wanted to develop more muscular size (initially to assist with my football). I continued training with both weights and cardio for about 4 years, before joining a hardcore bodybuilding gym and that’s when I fell in love with the sport.
Firstly what has been the most difficult period in your life, has it made you a stronger competitor and person and how have you moved forward from this difficult period?
I think the most difficult period was about 5 years ago (May 2009) when I was getting ready to enter my first show the NABBA North East First Timers. I had dieted for about 20 weeks and was entering the final week of my prep (feeling reasonably good). I received a lot of varying advice and suggestions regarding water intake and thought I was supposed to cut my water 7 days out so I did starting on the Sunday. By the Tuesday I was feeling quite ill and cramping a lot but carried on until the early hours of Thursday morning when by body went into shock, I was paralysed from the neck down and my organs were closing down. I was rushed into hospital and was very lucky as the doctors said that I was about to have an heart attack if hadn’t got to me as quick. I spent 8 days in hospital without being able to move and after feeling returned to my body I still couldn’t walk very well without tremendous pain for about 6 months. A side effect of this was that my pancreas packed in which has left me as a Type 1 Diabetic which means I have to inject insulin with meals and have a weak immune system. All of this has meant I have had to fight a lot harder to try and be competitive and improve as a bodybuilder and know the importance of good nutrition, timing of nutrition and of course water intake. Unfortunately I have recently also got IBS (diabetics are more susceptible to illness due to the weaker immune system) which makes it difficult to eat and train some days, but I’ve sought advice from a number of top bodybuilders who have similar illness who have been kind enough to share their experiences and knowledge with me – Anth Bailes who is a fellow diabetic and Neale Cranwell who is a IBS sufferer). But as they say, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger and I realise that I am fortunate to still be able to continue with the sport I love.
Early mistakes I made – I’m afraid I committed all the usual bodybuilding crimes when I first began such as not having structured diet or training regime and thinking the more I trained a body part the better it would be (and yes it was nearly always chest and arms in the early days).
Changes I made to start making progress – My main catalyst for making gains was firstly join the correct gym (a very hardcore bodybuilding gym), which gave me access to quality bodybuilders and their knowledge, and following on from this having a structured diet and training regime made the world of difference. I am a firm believer in that nutrition is the key and have spent many years reading up on various diets, food groups, macros and timing of intake in order to maximize my potential. Unless you feed your body with the correct nutrients at the correct time you will not progress no matter how hard you train.
Balancing work, family life and a bodybuilding lifestyle – In the “off-season” this isn’t a major issue for me as I reduce my training to 4 to 5 times a week and only do limited cardio. When preparing for a contest this is much more difficult as I do fasted cardio first thing in the morning, then spend 8 hours at work, followed by weight training at nights up to 6 times a week at this point. My meal prep is always done the night before so some days it seems that all I do is train, work, eat and sleep. This can be very difficult on my family and friends so I always try to make Sunday a day when I spend time with the kids. I think that sometimes we don’t realise that our families and people close to us suffer as much as we do at contest prep time.
Diet, pre comp / cutting and post comp / off-season – I tend to eat very clean all year round and come contest prep time I’m extremely strict as I like to be as shredded as possible on stage (as this is a strong point for me when competing against much bigger bodybuilders on stage). My typical diet last year was low carb, low fat, high protein (including my favorite venison) so my typical daily meals 4 weeks from a show would be something like:
100g oats plus 50g protein powder
100g jacket potato plus 250g chicken plus broccoli (or turkey nearer show time)
100g jacket potato plus 250g chicken (or turkey nearer show time)
60g brown rice plus 300g white fish (cod usually) plus broccoli
Train then post workout protein drink (50g)
250g venison steak plus salad
8 eggs scrambled (3 full, 5 whites only)
Off season would be similar apart from I’d double carbs and probably add in 2 to 3 cheat meals a week.
I am a type 1 diabetic and also suffer from acute IBS and I’ve noticed that my health has been suffering the last year or so and I’ve been in a lot more pain, so for this off season I have been lucky enough to get Neale Cranwell to do me a diet to help ease my symptoms (as he is also an IBS sufferer) whilst allowing me to progress in bodybuilding ……… I will keep you updated on how this goes
Training styles and routines – I would say that I’m an adaptive trainer and alter my approach depending upon my goals at that particular time. I generally use the tried and tested exercises and equipment (free weights etc.) but incorporate different training systems to shock my body and keep it guessing and ultimately growing (including dropsets, super sets, high rep sets and even low rep “powerlifting style” exercises). I log all my workouts, including weights, reps, sets etc. in a training diary to ensure I am progressing with my training. I am currently using a Y3T approach and feel I am making good gains on this system so far.
With knowledge comes power, as science moves forward at an incredible rate what advances in recent training/diet methods have made the greatest impact on your growth as a bodybuilder?
In my opinion the greatest improvements have been in diet, nutrition and supplementation which have allowed bodybuilders to move to a completely different level in terms of size and condition. We have greater knowledge of different nutrients, the effects on our bodies, timing of food intake etc. and this is all available in magazines and of course on the internet. Supplements have improved significantly which I think is especially important at contest prep time, we now have things like carb free pre workouts to get through those gruelling workouts, BCAAs to protect the muscle especially when dieting, an abundance of fat burners, and different proteins for different times of the day and different periods of prep, such as Casein, Multi Blends, Isolates etc. Training has improved and become more scientific (fascia stretching etc) but time under tension and increasing the load on the target area are the way to build quality muscle. If you look at the majority of the top bodybuilders they are still using very similar exercises to what Arnold did in his day and although machines are used today, many of these are the plate loaded “Hammer Strength” style machines which mimic free weights as close as possible. I always believe that a split along the lines of 60% nutrition, 20% training and 10% supplementation in terms of importance is key, not forgetting adequate rest and recovery.
My weak areas and how im going to try and improve these – In my opinion my main weakness is lack of overall size (I tend to lose a lot of size in both legs and arms approaching a contest and this is an area I need to address). I feel I need to make sure I don’t over diet and over cardio heading into a show as I tend to lose quite a lot of muscle in the final 2 weeks trying to get that dry shredded look. I am hoping that I can make some good lean gains this off season with an improved diet and also pay particular attention to squeezing the target muscle (rather than ego lifting).
Main strengths – I think my main strength is that im 100% dedicated to bodybuilding (some may call it a bit obsessive) and I love the sport and will do whatever I can to improve in it. I feel im grounded and not especially bothered about winning trophies (although that is a bonus) and just focus on bringing a better Mick Casey to the stage than the previous time and keep moving forward.
Which gym do you represent and are you sponsored? – I represent the gym I train at called Ziggys Workhouse Gym in Rotherham and they help me get ready for my competitions (allowing competitors to train for free and offer discount supplements / clothes etc.). Both Karl and Shaz the owners of the gym care deeply about their members as both athletes and friends. I’m not actually sponsored by a particular supplement company although Manimal Nutrition in Rotherham have been very good to me and provide me with supplements at cost which is extremely helpful as it can be an expensive sport.
People I would like to thank for the help along the way – Since the day I walking into my first “proper” bodybuilding gym I have met so many interesting and helpful people who have become really good friends and supported me in good and bad times. In no particular order (and I apologize if ive missed anyone): Scott Heaton for being there and encouraging me from day 1 and also being a great training partner and friend; Karl and Shaz Taylor who believed in me, supported me and always make me feel welcome in their gym, to all the guys at Ziggys gym who support me, especially my training partners Mick Stocks, Joe, Dan and Kieron; Lee and Helen and all the guys at Muscle Fusion and finally Gary Lister, Moz Felstead, Neale Cranwell, Paul Duce and Becky Williamson for all time they’ve taken to give diet, training and posing advice. Although bodybuilding is a very individual sport having the correct people supporting you makes a world of difference.