Train Loco Nation! How we doing? Today we have an awesome interview with Natural Pro Bodybuilder Evan Godbee all the way from Australia. Evan is a fellow Team Norton teammate of ours and is in the midst of competing as a pro for the first time in the United States. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt coaching clients, training clients in person, and being a bodybuilder himself. We really have a ton of respect for Evan and the way he carries himself and his integrity and we feel he is really going to make some noise here in the States, especially working with Alberto Nunez from 3DMJ. So without further ado, if you are a competitior and want to get to know the awesome Evan Godbee then fasten them seat belts!
– Chris and Eric
DDT: Could you give us a little background info on who Evan Godbee is?
Evan: I’ve been lifting for 12 years now. I started in my final year of high school (2002) and continued it throughout my time at University where I studied Physiotherapy. I worked as a Physiotherapist for numerous years after graduating but now I work as an online physique coach. I began competing in 2009 despite never previously having any intention to ever compete. My last show was the INBF World Championships in 2011 and after an extended off season I will be making my pro debut in a matter of weeks.
DDT: What got you inspired and into the fitness-health-bodybuilding industry?
Evan: I think there are various reasons. I think the first is that I was always very skinny as a kid and teenager so I wanted to add some muscle to my skinny frame. The second reason is that I was studying (and still do study) martial arts and I wanted to add some “padding” in the way of muscle so that I would be able to take hits a little more easily. I also figured getting stronger would indirectly help me be a better martial artist. The third reason is I think like many of us I was always fascinated by muscular super heros and actors like Arnold and Stallone in action movies when I was growing up. I have no doubt that influenced me to some degree. I always wanted to look like Arnold in particular.
DDT: You live in Australia but you won your pro card over here. Now you will be competing as a pro in the United States. What made you want to compete as a pro in the states?
Evan: I earned my pro card in 2011 at the INBF World Championships in 2011. I won my division (Heavyweight) to take it out after having placed 6th in the Light Heavyweight division in 2010. I worked with Dr. Layne Norton for that 12 week prep and that point was my introduction to counting macronutrients and flexible dieting. So it’s all been upwards from there and I have to give Layne credit for that as well as for getting me into amazing shape at that time.
In terms of what made me want to go after my pro card in the states. The first thing I should mention is currently (and at that point in time) there were no pro qualifiers in Australia for natural bodybuilders. If I wanted a pro card I had to compete internationally, plain and simple.
The second thing is I have always been a big supporter of the INBF/WNBF. I did my first show with the WNBF (in Australia up to this point the INBF/WNBF has been called WNBF Asia Pacific). The shows here were small but I liked the way they were run. I liked the fact that I was doing WNBF shows and it was clear to me that the competitors were for the most part actually getting tested and really were natural. Whereas I competed at and attended other local shows which claimed they were 100% “natural” and something just wasn’t adding up. Everywhere I turned were mini Kevin Levrones and Flex Wheelers and despite the federations claiming in grand speeches that they were all about natural bodybuilding, testing officials were nowhere to be seen. This is not to say everyone who competes in these federations is questionable but certainly a larger proportion are questionable than in the WNBF. So my decision to compete with the WNBF of course led me to one of the biggest shows in the world – the INBF/WNBF World Championships.
I had actually competed at the INBF World Championships in 2010 in New York City and just plainly thought it was a really well run show with high quality competitors in both the pro and amateur ranks. After placing 6th in the Light Heavyweights and missing out on a trophy by literally one point I knew I could do some real damage if I could just bring that “pro” level conditioning the following year. Which is why I actually contacted and hired Layne Norton six months before my prep with him began. I knew I was going for my pro card and I knew a good coach could get me there with the conditioning I needed. Needless to say we achieved that.
Lastly I liked that the INBF World Championships did not require me to qualify by competing at another amateur show prior to the Worlds. That I think is actually a big deal because it made for a perfect prep with no stress and no need to travel other than to the actual Worlds in New York. I was able to plan and execute everything perfectly without wasting my time at local shows.
Evan: The biggest thing as I see it is you know everyone is going to be high quality. Especially if it’s a big show. Everyone on that stage is either a World Champ or has at least won an overall at a pro qualifier. They are professionals for a reason. So my approach this time was to really take a long off season to add muscle all over, but especially to my weak points. That was the first crucial part and I actually took three years off from competing to achieve this. I only did one short mini cut during that time which was four weeks for a guest pose so the rest of the time I was in a surplus and making gains. The second part of my approach has been to really bring in the best condition that I can possibly bring. I want to be the most conditioned heavyweight on that stage! So that’s meant a longer prep. The total until my final show will be thirty three weeks. Not to mention it has been a very well planned and intelligent prep under the guidance of coach Alberto Nunez of 3DMJ who is an absolute genius. So that’s the plan, it’s been executed very well and I hope it pays off.
DDT: What did this off season consist of training, cardio, and nutrition wise?
Evan: Good question. Let’s cover training first. Up until early 2012 I was actually doing a body part split (once/week frequency) except for legs which I had already been training twice/week for a while (since 2010 I think). At that point in time I believe I started looking into training variables and periodization and decided that it would be wise to try increasing my training frequency for other body parts. So I set up a new training split where I was essentially hitting each muscle group twice per week. The split for the most part was Chest/Back, Shoulders/Arms and Legs repeated twice/week ie six days on with one day off to rest. I incorporated a planned variety of rep ranges into my training (3 – 15 reps) whereby I would actually set up different days specifically for those rep ranges eg Monday might have been Legs and I would do say 6 – 10 reps only for all the exercises on that day. In the off season I am capable of handling massive volumes and that is what I did. I did all the big movements but I included a lot of accessory work and targeted that work to the muscle groups which required it most. For example my hamstrings were my weakest body part so I did a lot of work for them. For the last eighteen months I actually trained them four days/week sometimes coming back late at night to the gym for an exclusive hamstring workout because that is what it was going to take. My hamstrings still aren’t my strongest body part but they are certainly a lot bigger than they were. I was under no illusions that powerlifting or sticking to compound lifts only (as important and valid as they are) was going to somehow bring up the body parts that indeed required focused attention.
In terms of nutrition I didn’t reverse diet out of my 2011 show. In fact I’d never even heard of reverse dieting as I was new to counting macros. I overate after my show. But you know what? I don’t regret it at all. I was overseas and I enjoyed the food. I put on some body fat but no more than I had in my previous off season. I actually enjoyed it because as I was still training I got bigger and stronger. I am not someone who is going to have a cry about putting on a bit of body fat after a show and start cutting again. I just got straight on with my off season. Having said that whilst I will enjoy myself after this show as well I will restrain myself and take a healthier approach to post contest instead of just eating everything in sight and then probably bring my calories back to maintenance when I get back to Australia. Anyhow I digress. So in 2011 after I had traveled and come back to Australia I loosely tracked macros, started using My Fitness Pal (which was new to me then) and ate the same thing a lot of the time. When I got bored with a meal I’d swap it out for something else that fit my numbers. After a while of doing this I was more or less able to “eyeball” my meals that I would swap in and be very close to my intended macros even when eating out. I did go through a period of upping my macros (carbs and fat) gradually and eventually got up to 4300 kcals. However I felt uncomfortable at this intake and I probably won’t go that high again or if I do I might play with macronutrient ratios and food sources to make my numbers a bit more comfortable to hit. So the summary answer to my off season nutritional approach would be loose macronutrient tracking, with consistent food choices, some eating out and some gradual pushing up of calories.
Cardio I did a little bit of at one point in the off season just because I felt I should be doing some. It was one HIIT session/week I believe. I found to be honest that it was reducing my recovery a little and personally I was better off without it. I prefer training at karate one to two times per week because it is an activity I actually enjoy. In the Summer I would go bodyboarding at the beach generally once/week which is actually quite cardio intensive. Beyond that going for the occasional walk was nice.
DDT: How about prep, what did the game plan look like when you first started prep and how did it change along the way?
Evan: The plan was to do a more assertive cut at the beginning of prep as my body fat was obviously higher and I wasn’t at much risk of atrophy, have a diet break in the middle of prep and then begin to dial it in for my shows. I think for the most part this has worked out exactly the way we have planned for it to work out and we’ve been able to stick at least nutritionally to what we planned in the beginning. Training programming has had to fit around the rest of prep and how I’ve been responding but generally that has gone smoothly too.
Evan: The warm up show went really well. We didn’t do a peak week for this show just rather a one week diet break but I feel I executed everything perfectly in the lead up and on the day (with the help of my support crew). I feel that I looked my all-time best. I was surprised with my placing (third) as I felt I was fighting for first or second but that’s just the way it happens sometimes in bodybuilding. Despite the placing it was a good day, I had all my friends and family there to see it, I looked my best and I wouldn’t change anything about it at all. I think it reminded me (having had three years off) though just how long and stressful a show can be so I will now have that in mind going into my pro shows.
DDT: If you could travel back in time, what would be the one thing you would do differently in your young competitive career?
Evan: I think I would have started squatting and deadlifting earlier on as I didn’t start incorporating these into my training funnily enough until 2012 after I had already won my pro card (just goes to show you can have a great physique without them). But I’ve found them to be very beneficial movements so I would have started them earlier on. Additionally I would listen to my body and “instincts” more and would have probably avoided some sidelining injuries as a result.
DDT: At times life throws challenges at you to test your mental toughness and heart as a person. What has been your biggest challenge in life and how did you overcome it?
Evan: In 2009 I became unemployed, depressed and kind of lost career wise. That was a really tough time for me to move out of. I honestly felt like a loser at times. I never gave up though. I always set some goal for myself to attain even if it was small. Even though sometimes I think I was aiming too low, at least I was still aiming higher than where I was at the time. I ended up going back to college (hard move for a University graduate) and finished my personal training certification. Anyhow I was able to start my own business personal training which I eventually transformed exclusively and successfully into online coaching. Looking back now I have come a long way but it has really taught me the importance of passion for what you do and the necessity to strive for continuous improvement.
DDT: What kind of advice can you give to an aspiring bodybuilder who’s barely beginning their journey in training and nutrition?
Evan: What I would suggest initially is just get in the gym a few days/week and learn basic correct form. You know what, if you are a true novice I’d say don’t even do squats, deadlifts or bench press for a while. Workouts with a variety of machines, free weights and cables learning to use them correctly is going to challenge your neuromuscular system and leave you sore for days. You will also make good gains no matter what you do during that time. If possible consider tracking your protein intake to make sure you are getting enough for your body weight. After a few months of lifting either hire a good strength coach to learn some of the more complex compound movements or if you cannot afford that do your own research on squat, bench and deadlift form and learn the movements properly. At this point you might wish to investigate macronutrients and figure out your intake and whether it is suitable for your goals. If you have a lot of difficulty with this a good coach will be able to help you. But in most cases I would wait until the end of your first year of lifting or the point at which you are entering the intermediate phase of lifting to start thinking about hiring someone to help you with your bodybuilding journey.
DDT: What is your favorite lift and why?
Evan: Interesting question. I do like the big three because they are complex and there is a real technical biomechanical side that goes into performing them successfully and a degree of individual variation which goes along with that. However I really like training back and moving some heavy ass weight so I am going to say T Bar Rows because they are badass and I really just like the way the movement feels.
DDT: What does your current training protocol consist of?
Evan: Currently I’m doing a DUP split where I am doing three big lifts each day (5 days with a 6th accessory only day). The lifts are OHP, Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press and Row. Each day as mentioned I perform three of them but at reduced intensities (70 – 90 %). Each day has a different focus with load, reps and intensity eg speed, strength, hypertrophy etc. Afterwards I get to take control and perform my own accessory lifts of choice.
I am also doing about 1200 kcals worth of LISS cardio each week right now.
DDT: Your favorite controlled-indulgence meal is______?
Evan: There are so many to choose from but I’m going to say sushi is a favorite of mine.
DDT: Part 1) What does Evan like to do for fun in Australia? Please don’t hold back on us 😉
Evan: When I’m not bodybuilding or helping others achieve their goals (which does take up a lot of my time) I like to spend time at the beach, spend time with my friends, train at the karate dojo, go walking/take amateur photos around scenic areas of Sydney, eat and try new and delicious food and sometimes just do the quiet homely stuff. I’m not a huge party animal most of the time.
Part 2) What does Evan like to do for fun in the states?
Well in the past I have spent a lot of time training at Venice Beach (Golds Gym) which I love! I have also in the past attended Layne Norton’s VIP Camp which was a once in a lifetime experience. I love seeing my friends over there who I have met along the way. I am just about to spend a few weeks training at Golds Venice in the lead up to my pro shows which will just be awesome. After my shows are done I am going to a few different areas, going on a few tours including a day tour to Yosemite and a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, sampling some of your delicious food and buying a truckload of treats to bring home with me for the off season (pumpkin and gingerbread poptarts FTW!). I’m also actually going to be heading on a day hike with my coach Alberto Nunez which I’m really looking forward to and will no doubt be a highlight of my trip. I’m going to climb a mountain instead of just eating a mountain of food! 😉
Evan: Currently they can follow/contact me at:
My website: www.muscleacademy.com.au
My email: [email protected]
Instagram and Twitter: @evansoooon
DDT: P.S. Look forward to getting a lift in with you at the MECCA in Venice 😉
Evan: Guys I am looking forward to it and thanks for having me!
About Evan: Evan Godbee is a WNBF Natural Pro Bodybuilder and owner of Muscle Academy offering individualised online coaching for nutrition and training – offseason, contest preparation and general enquiries. B. App. Science (PHTY)
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