Height: 5’11” – 180 cm
Weight: 198lbs. – 90kg
Part 1 Interview: Simplyshredded Interview
I was a basketball player when I was younger. I had two basketball workouts a day and a weight workout in-between. I didn’t eat regularly because I had no clear idea on how to structure my diet. A couple of times I basically passed out because I was too tired and I didn’t recover properly.
As an ectomorph I was naturally pretty lean and I also did a lot of aerobic exercises during the day, so I couldn’t gain muscle mass back then.
After I stopped playing professional basketball I spent a year in the army. I got out of shape and it was very hard for me to decide in which direction I should go with my life.
Since fitness was my second passion behind basketball, I decided to put all my effort into it and that was the turning point for me.
Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?
It was tough for me when I wasn’t very well off financially and I had to work two jobs in order to make enough money to keep going in the direction that I wanted. I worked as a personal trainer during the day and as a security guard at night.
It was hard because I didn’t get enough rest, but it was worth it. When you really, really want something, nothing can stop you from achieving it.
What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?
Most people believe that once you have achieved the body that you always wanted, everything else comes easy after that. Well actually the hardest part is maintaining your physique over a long period of time. It costs me as much effort to stay in this shape as it cost me to achieve it. I have to give 100% all the time and if I start living like most people do I quickly get out of shape. A lot of people think that they give it their all, but they are actually far from that; they say they do everything at 100%, but things still don’t work out for them.
Only after they have seen how a single day of my life goes, they find out that the effort that they put in is about half of what is actually needed.
What motivates you to keep going and push harder?
My motivation comes from my fans, who support me all the time and my clients, who I helped transform their lifestyle and bodies.
What is your next goal?
My goal is to promote fitness as much as possible around the word. I will strive to make the fitness model physique become the standard for a male body.
I have a lot of projects in my head that require time and due to my job I never have enough of that.
What is your current training philosophy?
I always liked heavy workouts, so I still continue to lift heavy. Regardless of whether I’m bulking or cutting, I still lift heavy. If you’re a natural athlete with an ectomorph body type (my body type is actually a mix between ectomorph and mesomorph) you should use heavier weights to maintain good muscle density. I train one muscle group per day, because I train often, about 6 times a week.
I don’t pay attention to the particular days of the week and I only rest when I really feel I need rest. Most of the exercises that I do are different every time. Only the basic exercises such as squat, bench press and deadlift are always present, but I also try to do them in a different way every time.
I have noticed that a lot of personal trainers and professional fitness models are always trying to change things up in order to stress the muscles. They use different techniques, which sometimes take them away from the basic principles, which are that the range between 5 and 8 repetitions is the best for achieving muscle hypertrophy and that increasing the weight in a certain exercise also stresses the muscle. So I try to make small changes, while sticking to the basic principles of bodybuilding at the same time.
Day one: Chest/Abs
- Flat Bench 4×8
- Incline Bench 4×8
- Decline Bench 4×8
- Pullover 4×8
- Hammer Press 3×8
- Dips 3x failure
- Weighted Sit Up 4x failure
- Hanging Leg Raise- 4x failure
- Side Bends 4x failure
Day two: Back/Traps
- Bent Over Row 4×8
- Deadlift 4×8
- Pulldowns 4×8
- Pull Ups 4×8
- Cable Row 4×8
- Shrugs 6×10
Day three: Delts/Forearms/Abs
- Military Press Behind The Neck 3×8
- Machine Press 4×8
- Lateral Raises 4×8
- Weight Plate Front Raises 4×10
- Dumbbell Front Raises 4×8
- Reverse Pec Deck 4×10
- Reverse Fly’s (on incline bench) 4×8
- Weighted Sit Ups 4x failure
- Hanging Leg Raises 4x failure
- Side Bends 4x failure
- Side Crunches 4x failure
- Wrist Curl Behind Back 4x failure
- Reverse Wrist Curl Over Bench 4x failure
Day four: Triceps/Biceps
- Close Grip Bench Press 4×8
- Pushdowns 4×8
- EZ Bar Skull Crushers 4×10
- Cable Kickbacks 4×8
- EZ Bar Curls 4×8
- Wide Grip Curls 4×8
- Hammer Curls 4×8 (each hand)
- Concentration Curls 4×8
Day five: Legs/Abs
- Squats 4×12
- Squat (to bench) 4×12
- Bulgarian Squat 4×12
- Quad Extensions 4×16
- Stiff Leg Deadlift 4×12
- Leg Curls 4×16
- Glute Kickbacks 4×20
- Calf Machine Raises 4×20
- Seated Calf Raises 4×20
- Leg Press Calf Raises 4×20
- Weighted Sit up 4x failure
- Air Bike 4x failure
- Side Bends 4x failure
- Barbell Twists 4x failure
Favorite form of cardio?
I prefer regular cardio or sprints. I don’t like doing that in the gym though; I just don’t have the mood for that. I like cardio in the park, even when it’s cold outside.
I run pretty much the same distance every cardio session and I try to finish faster than the previous time I ran the same distance. Next time I would sprint for 100 meters, followed by 1 minute of walking, then sprinting again and switching between the two paces for a certain period of time. I don’t do cardio for a long period of time because that causes me to lose a lot of muscle mass. Also I try to avoid some types of HIIT, which have more arm movements, because that also causes me to lose muscle mass.
Basically I never do cardio for more than 20 minutes and I suggest other ectomorphs stick to that duration as well.
Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?
I bulk when I’m trying to look bigger but also to increase my strength. So I bulk during the winter, when my body fat % goes to about 10-12% and I lift very heavy in order to be able to gain at least a couple of pounds of clean muscle mass. Right now I am almost at the maximum of my potential, but since strength parameters are increasing, that means I can increase my muscle mass as well, so every year I try to increase a little bit of quality muscle mass. When a person has reached his genetic potential, it is very hard to gain more muscle mass; without using anabolic steroids of course. Beginners put on muscle mass very fast, because their muscles take any type of pressure on them as a type of stress.
Only after a certain period of time they adapt and the strategy for each person should be changed in order to keep progressing.
The difference in my bulking diet compared to the ones I used in the past is that now I add more fat to my menu; both saturated and unsaturated. The reason for that is that it helps me maintain higher levels of testosterone, which actually has a very positive effect on my strength and my muscle mass gains. As far as my cutting diet, nowadays I go for longer periods on a low carb diet, instead of going on a ketogenic diet. Keto diets cause me to lose a lot of muscle mass. Most of the time I would be on low carb or carb cycling diets, but mainly low carb, because I’m able to maintain strength and muscle density. On the other hand, being on low carb diets do not allow me to burn fat very quickly.
- Meal 1: Oatmeal, Eggs, Peanut Butter & Grapefruit
- Meal 2: Rice, Chicken & Broccoli
- Meal 3: Pasta, Tuna Fish & Avocado
- Meal 4: Rice, Chicken
- Meal 5: Salmon & Green Salad
- Meal 6: Cottage Cheese & Broccoli
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
The fact that I do what I like and I also motivate people to work out. This is what is important to me. My sponsorship contracts with Mutated Nation and Nike are also achievements of some kind for me. Some websites nominated me for the most aesthetic physique and for the best fitness model of 2012, so that also gives me a lot of confidence as well. Very soon an interview with me should be coming out in Men’s Health magazine in Bulgaria, which is also an achievement for me, given the fact that Men’s Health is one of the most popular magazines worldwide.
But the main thing for me remains motivating people and helping them transform their bodies. This is what I live for.
What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to reach their goal physique?
- To be patient – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
- Staying consistent with both your diet and training routine
- Never giving up no matter the obstacle that is placed in front of you
To achieve what others won’t, you have to do what others don’t!