Byron Sakha – The New Physique Sensation
“One on One Interview with Natural Bodz Editor Steve Jones”
I caught up with the new Musclemania® Physique Category Champion Byron Sakha and asked him to share some of his secrets to bringing a winning package to the stage. Read on as Byron shares some of his knowledge and insights into his training, diet and winning mind-set.
What made you decide to compete in your first Physique and Modeling event?
I’ve been training most of my life and have always been into health and fitness but earlier this year I was doing a lot of travelling, spending a lot of money, and going out every weekend indulging in the night life scene. It was all great fun but ultimately both my health and career were paying the price by being put on the side line.
Committing to a competition was the best way for me to get back on track as it is a most enduring challenge which requires absolute mental focus and discipline, and is a great test of will power. I ended up absolutely falling in love with the journey, because not only did I meet so many amazing and inspirational people along the way, but I can say first hand that what this competition did for my mind is leaps and bounds beyond what it did for my physique, and the knock on effect it had in other areas of my life has been incredible.
What type of diet do you follow leading into an event?
Firstly I get my daily calorie intake right in determining the appropriate amount of protein, carbs and fats that best suit my body type. My diet then consists mainly of clean eating with healthy foods such as oats, egg whites and fruit for breakfast on a typical day. Following breakfast would be 4 meals spread evenly across the day which are made up of a protein source such as chicken, meat or fish; some carbohydrates such as basmati rice or sweet potato; and lots of green vegetables. And finally before bed a slow release protein drink such as casein. There is always room for variation and so long as I’m hitting my calories then it can be quite flexible. It is important to also be getting the micronutrients in your diet and not just focusing solely on the macros. The amount of calories would be high at approx. 4000 when 20 weeks out from the comp and then I slowly work it down every week or two whilst adjusting my training routine to ensure I am losing body fat and not too much muscle.
My wonderful coach Eugene Yip keeps an eye on my progress by measuring my body fat using the callipers, taking girth measurements and also checking my body weight twice a week. Continually tracking your progress is a must and having a great coach makes a huge difference so I’m truly blessed to have Eugene.
How many days a week do you train and do you prefer weight training over cardio, what works best for you?
I train 6 days a week and personally prefer weight training because it improves muscle tone whilst still burning calories. You can adjust your weight training session to be high intensity if you want to burn more calories or lower intensity if you’re more focused on increasing muscle mass or muscle tone. There is certainly a place for cardio as cardiovascular fitness is important to overall health. Leading up to a comp I will increase the duration of my cardio sessions each week which typically includes 3 HIIT sessions a week (such as sprints) and 3 LISS sessions per week (such as walking) on alternate days. This will enable me to burn those extra stubborn layers of fat. All in all I think a combination of weight training and cardio will provide the best balance to one’s overall health.
How important is it to maintain a balance in life, what’s your success mantra?
I believe balance is everything. If you have too much of any one thing then something else naturally has to give. Therefore it’s about finding the right balance in terms of your health, relationships with family & friends, as well as career ambitions so you can be working towards your goals but also enjoying the journey towards obtaining them.
My success mantra would have to come down to the simple fact that there can be no excuses. Nobody ever achieved great success without grave difficulty, and if it were meant to be easy, everyone would be doing it. So the question always keeps coming back to “How bad do you want it and how hard are you willing to work for it?”
How has fitness changed or enhanced your life?
It has enriched my life in every possible way. Once you catch the fitness bug there is no turning back. It doesn’t mean you have to compete to enjoy the benefits of being fit and healthy. Anybody can do it, and I have seen so many people’s lives transformed once they began exercising and eating healthier. Call me biased but I believe people who exercise are generally happier than people who don’t. Exercising is so rewarding as it provides greater clarity, improves body shape, increases vitality, and enhances overall sense of well-being.
Favourite motivational quote?
I have too many but one that I particularly love is:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour has been the reward for what he gave.”
– (John) Calvin Coolidge
To read the full interview with Byron purchase Volume 6 Issue 4 of Australian Natural Bodz link