Kevin Prendergast Talks With

My name is Kevin Prendergast born in 1984 from the hometown of Toronto, Ontario Canada. I am a Muscle Mania competitor placing 4th in the open novice division in Vegas 2008. Currently I am attending Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario for a BAA in Technical Illustration.  I have no immediate plans to compete but I would like to do a show closer to home in the near future.

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I actually started working out with dumbbells in my room around the age of 12, but I really got serious about it around the time I reached grade 10. As a credit to graduate high school my school offered a weightlifting course that was completely separate from Gym class.  It’s rare for most schools to offer such a class but I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to pick it up when I did.  I cannot say for sure if any one person inspired me in the beginning, I guess it was already installed in me from a young age to look and be as strong as I could be.

Where does your motivation come from?

When I first started I just wanted big arms and shoulders, I wasn’t one of those chest guys.  I guess I did it to get attention from the ladies but once I got past all that it became something more, it gave me meaning to an otherwise pointless life.  Something to get up to, something to accomplish every day. I’m sure everyone at some point feels as if they are here to do something and once you find that thing you just do it no matter what else in your life comes up.  Although I may look young I’ve been training for 10+ years, 5 days a week so I’m at a point where it is just second nature and I fear the unknown of not training.  I go out to the gym floor with the mentality that I have to do as much as I did before if not more.  And if I can’t move as much weight as I did last week then I get really pissed off at myself.

What is your training philosophy?

Train till failure every time other than warm ups.  Obviously this cannot be done for exercises like squats or bench but for the majority of exercises where the weight won’t crush you you’ll be fine. Do each body part once a week spread out over 5 training sessions if possible.  If you’re really hitting each muscle hard enough you will discover that it is not possible to do the larger muscles groups together in the same workout (ex. legs with shoulders, or back with chest).  Each of those muscle groups requires your full attention/exertion so spread those four out with smaller body parts like biceps, triceps, calves, abs and traps.  So based on my groupings above it is possible to space this out over four days if you went with a split like this: Monday –    Back & Biceps, abs Tuesday –   Chest & Triceps, abs Wednesday – Off Thursday –  Legs, calves Friday –    Off Saturday –  Shoulders, traps, abs Sunday –    Off  Train heavy, do at least 3 sets per exercise including one warm up and attest 3 separate movements for each muscle group.  I go by the old school method of 10-12 for arms and 15-20 for legs but these numbers are not set in stone.  It is often even best to drop down as low as four reps for heavy chest movements or back exercises such as deadlifts.  I like to do two working sets that get progressively heavier (the latter set being in the 4-6 range) before I do a drop set in the 10-12 range to finish it off.  Never miss a workout, and if you do you better have a good excuse to tell yourself.  Treat it like a job, honestly it’s not fun but as people we are defined by are jobs, we have a desire to go out and get something done no matter how hard it is.  I always tell myself that if it were easy everyone would do it and then in the end what would be the point of doing something that was easy.

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

Bench Press, Squats and Bent Over Rows, I know everyone says Deads, but when I really think about it, rows work the overall back a little better. You may not be hitting as much of the legs in that kind of a movement but if you’ve already got squats covered then it doesn’t really matter.  So onto Squats, they hit the largest muscle groups in the body, the quads and hams.  Feet can be positioned in or out giving you variety on the inner and outer thighs as you train but overall they just seem to work the legs harder than any other exercise when done properly.  I often get asked about my legs and what I do to train them, I always say everything starts with the squat… smith machine squats though, I go too heavy to trust myself with free weights and it’s much safer on the lower back.  Wear a weight belt for the final work sets and keep your head up as you go through the movement.  As for the final exercise, the Bench Press works the overall chest in a way that simple pulley machines cannot.  Most of those machines are on a horizontal plane for your arms to move which takes away the force of gravity so right away it’s not the same… there is no side to side movement where the auxiliary/smaller muscle groups can take over and support the weight.  The dumbbell bench press is great for this but it lacks in a smooth approach.  Dumbbells can be oversized and rather large now a days with all this neoprene coating making it hard to handle and/or bring together at the top of a movement.  Allot of energy is wasted just getting dumbbells into position so for these two reasons I place Barbell Bench Presses above Dumbbell Presses.

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

I cannot really say one is better than the other; it’s all about avoiding homeostasis so it’s best to switch it up.  I know it’s familiar to associate the comparison of marathon runners vs. sprinters.  Sprinters being lean and muscular, marathon runners being a lot leaner but also smaller in muscle mass due to the extra distance they cover.  The idea here is that short bursts will get you lean without losing a lot of muscle whereas prolonged cardio at a moderately quick pace will cause you to get lean but loose too much muscle.  Applied to a weight training regime it’s not really wise to go too deep into a calorie deficiency hindering your recovery process, so I’d recommend normal cardio at a medium pace followed by some interval training every other day to change it up and keep the body guessing.

What is your philosophy on nutrition?

Depends on bulking or cutting, cutting/maintaining I try to stay around 50%P, 40%C and 10%F.  Which is pretty clean.  If this is maintained throughout the week you could still take in 3 cheat meals a week and not notice much of a difference.  If you’re a hard-gainer and just starting out I would suggest a bulking phase in which your fats could get as high as 30%.  The best advice I ever got when I started working out was “eat!” Even when you’re full “EAT!”  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the same excuse… “I just cannot put on any weight” That’s bullshit, you’re just not eating enough.  At first you may not like it but after a while the body gets used to and combined with weight training it will eventually require it.  I know a lot of guys find it hard to get use to the fact that they are basically going to have to get fat to put on muscle but I don’t think it’s logistically feasible to add lean muscle while staying lean in a reasonable time span.

What are your favourite meals and foods?

Any type of chicken…  Chicken wings, chicken fingers, chicken breasts, chicken cutlets, chicken balls.  You just can’t go wrong with an animal that can do all that.  But strictly speaking of clean foods, chicken breasts are my mainstay along with oats and fish.  Honestly you have no idea how good Oatmeal tastes when it’s your only real carb meal after dieting for 12-16 weeks.

Favourite cheat food?

I eat a lot of subs as a cheat meal, but even still it’s not that bad in terms of excessive amounts of bad calories.  Good old Black Angus steak and cheese or just a sweet onion chicken teriyaki if I’m feeling too bloated already.  I often get two 12″ subs and eat them both in one sitting but honestly that’s only once a week if I’m in my maintaining phase.  Fries and chicken fingers are not bad either but I avoid hamburgers only because I’m afraid I’ll get a craving for them like I did during my initial bulking years and for that reason I have not had a hamburger in close to 6 years.

What supplements do you use that give you great results? How do you use them?

If you’re going to buy one supplement, buy Whey protein powder. It gets the necessary protein into your system faster and cheaper than most regular meals.  Taking down a shake is about the same as eating two 8oz chicken breasts in which both are equivalent to around 50-60 grams of protein.  But do not just take protein shakes as MRP’s, use them more like a “Snack” do not replace them for regular meals it’s just not the same as eating a solid meal.  Allow the enzymes to do their work and digest solid foods.  Powders just make it easier to reach daily caloric intake goals of 3,500-4,500 a day.  Do not worry about name brands either in the end it doesn’t really matter.  I buy whatever is on sale and I buy it in bulk! Just check the back labels and make sure the serving sizes are close to the normal scoop size of 30grams a scoop or so.  Because often a company will place a larger scoop size on the label just to make you think you’re getting more protein or carbs (if bulking) for fewer scoops when in fact they’ve just inflated the serving size.

Favourite Bodybuilders?

As for Pros I’d go with Darrem Charles and Richard Jones.  Both guys have flawless physiques and aesthetics that are unchallenged in this era of bodybuilding.  Not mass monsters by any means but their shape and proportions put them above the larger guys competing in the game today, at least in my mind.  As for naturals, I’d go with Jeff Rodriguez.  Guy is around my age but far more knowledgeable, I recommend any natural planning on doing a show to check his blogs if they want to learn how to drop calories for a contest or safely manipulate your water without dehydrating yourself.  Finally Layne Norton, dude might have a weird method for psyching himself up but fuck can he move some weight.  He’s done more for natural bodybuilding than anyone else and he’s won what… one big show? Great guy and highly knowledgeable.  Any serious natural has probably heard of these two guys already so it should be no surprise.

Favourite Quote?

“In the place before you’re made they give you all these options like if you’ve got wings or have you got feelings Or can you breathe underwater? He chose lifting ten times his weight and natural body armor, on the day his mother gave He came out as an insect” -Isaac Brock