BNBF British Bodybuilding Champion Nigel St Lewis Talks With

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I began weight training from the age of 19, back then the fear of looking like the average man on the street drove me to the gym, however I was only interested in training my chest and biceps, and this is what I did. In fact thinking about it my training back then was purely to develop big arms and chest to impress the females, in a word it was ridiculous. However despite my ridiculous training routine I did develop impressive arms of which I was extremely proud. It didn’t take me very long to see results, unlike some of my friends, and this kept me motivated. As the months and years went by I made some impressive gains, however back then I had no legs or back development, I simply neglected training them. Those muscles to me were not visible, I could hide my legs by wearing trousers, I couldn’t see my back so I really didn’t care, and the females were complimenting my physique, so I didn’t see a problem. Fast forward to 2010, where after some internet research I found out about natural bodybuilding, I recall saying to myself well I’ve spent all these years training, and looking at some of these guys I’m pretty confident I could do quite well. I continued my research into natural bodybuilding until one day I came across a natural bodybuilder called Rob Hope, to cut a long story short that was the day I decided to become a bodybuilder.

I guess that is how I got started, it has been such an extraordinary journey and I have loved every bit of it.

Where does your motivation come from?

I care about my physical appearance, just as you are what you eat, you are what you look and this keeps me motivated. This may sound like vanity to some, but that really doesn’t bother me. I always remember a quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The worst thing I could be is the same as everybody else, I’d hate that”. Like I’ve mentioned previously, looking like the average Joe scares me. Now that I’m a bodybuilder I simply want to be the best I can be, my legacy is important to me perfecting my craft and being known as one of the greatest natural bodybuilders to have ever walked this earth.

That is what I strive to be, now if that doesn’t keep me motivated nothing will.

What workout routine has worked best for you?

Go heavy or go home. From the first time I started weight training, I’ve always trained as heavy as possible. I’ve tried the alternative but I found that it just did not suit me. I train on average four times over a five day period, one rest day, and repeat. I’ve always consistently trained heavy, I typically use a weight that allows me to achieve between 10 and 15 repetitions with good form before failure, this may not suit everyone but I believe it allows me to get the best out of my physique.

I’ve tried other methods but I found that it just wasn’t for me, I simply stick to what works.

Monday: Legs/Calves/Biceps

  • Squats: 5×12/15
  • Leg Press: 5×15
  • Walking Lunges: 5×30
  • Leg Extensions: 5×12/15
  • Standing Dumbbell Curls 4×12
  • Seated EZ Bar Curl 4×15
  • 21’s. Using EZ Bar 3 sets

Tuesday: Chest/Triceps

  • Flat Bench: 4×10/12
  • Incline Bench: 4×10/12
  • Incline Dumbbell: 4×10/12
  • Dumbbell Flys: 4×12/15
  • Skull Crushers: 4×12
  • Tricep Dips: 4×15
  • Tricep Cable Extensions: 4×15

Wednesday: Shoulders/Calves/Abs

  • Smith Machine Press: 4×12
  • Dumbbell/Arnold Press: 4×10/12
  • Dumbbell Flys: 4×12
  • Shrugs: 5×12
  • Seated Calve Raise: 4×20/25
  • Standing Calve Raise: 4×15/20

Thursday: Back/Hamstring

  • Deadlifts: 5×10/15
  • Dumbbell Rows: 4×12
  • Lat Pulldowns: 4×12
  • Barbell Rows: 4×12
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 5×15
  • Good Mornings: 2×15
  • Leg Curls: 5×15

Friday: Rest/Cardio

  • 45mins Cardio


If you have to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

Bench Press, Deadlifts and Squats, in that order. Why? Well because basic compound exercises are needed to build a base, my personal favourite of the three would have to be bench press, as its the exercise I’m best at. However if I had to choose one exercise from the three it would have to be squats, I often say I wish most gyms would get rid of there upper body equipments for six months to a year, to allow everyone’s legs to catch up. You wouldn’t put 13 inch wheels on your Ferrari for good reasons. How many guys at your gym do you know that are huge up top with next to nothing at the bottom? Believe me it isn’t a good look. Squats is a brutal exercise and I don’t know many people that enjoy them, but once you really get into doing them and you see the results they can become enjoyable in a weird way. I would advise any up and coming bodybuilder to start squatting and to not neglect it like I once did.

Train your legs, train them hard and the rest of you body will grow, fact.

What is your diet like?

Healthy, I try to keep my diet as healthy as I can at all times, regardless of whether I’m prepping for a competition or not. I simply like being in shape year round as you are what you eat.

Sample Diet:

  • Meal 1: Porridge with Milk and 6 Scrambled Eggs
  • Meal 2: Chicken or Turkey Breast, Brown Rice and Steamed Vegetables
  • Meal 3: Chicken Breast or Steak with Potato and Steamed Vegetables
  • Meal 4: Fish with Brown Rice or Potato and Steamed Vegetables
  • Meal 5: Protein Shake
  • Meal 6: Eggs, Cottage Cheese and Steamed Vegetables

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

HIIT, without a shadow of a doubt! Going out for a long continuous jog is great, however I find it tedious and boring.

Research has also shown you burn calories faster doing HIIT, which if you think about it makes sense.

What is your supplementation like?

Nothing beats a solid meal, I believe to many people get carried away with supplements and need to be reminded that the majority of them are simply meal replacements.

They are not a magic potion, yes supplements are great, but please treat them for what they are. The only supplements I take is a good source of Whey Protein.

Favorite Quote?

I have several, but one particular quote always stood out to me as it sums up what we put ourselves through as bodybuilders.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious”. – Vince Lombardi

Photography: Glyn Dewis Photography