Height: 180 cm.
Weight: 100 kg.
MarioFit: How did you start with bodybuilding ?
Since I was always interested in philosophy and I wanted to optimize my intellectual and spiritual existence, I found bodybuilding as the best way to optimize my physical being. My first encounter with bodybuilding was an image of a bodybuilder in a sport magazine back in 1980. I simply couldn’t believe that man could look like that… I was fascinated! The next think I remember was the huge urge to look like that; hence I was ready to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. But I couldn’t envisage how hard and long the road to success would be. We didn’t have gyms in those days, there were only few guys who were training in their basements or garages with few dumbbells and a barbell. So the source of information simply didn’t existthose days in Yugoslavia. As I managed to get few dumbbells I performed only biceps curls, shoulder press, and for chest I would do countless sets and reps of press ups. I didn’t have any equipment in the beginning, no machines, no benches, no squat rack, so I didn’t train legs, pull downs etc. Then in 1981 I went to the army where I met with some advanced bodybuilders who introduced me to bench press, bent over rowing, pull ups and some other basic exercises (using the equipment available to us). Since my enthusiasm and motivation were sky high, I managed to bring my body weight from 67kg to 86kg in one year in the army! I was doing up to 20 pull ups, benching 80kg and for legs I was doing a lot of sprints. It did work for me… But although I changed a lot, I was still far away for my imaginary ideal physique…After the army I started studying Philosophy in Skopje, and in my auntie’s basement I improvised a small gym with a squat rack, bench press and pull down machine. It was enough to give me the decent improvement, and in six moths I managed to bench press 160kg! In those days I didn’t know what protein powders were, not to mention vitamins, minerals, creatine, glutamine, amino acids and other supplements which are now available to everyone everywhere. But I ate a lot of meat, eggs, chicken, liver, rice, porridge and also a bad stuff (I didn’t know then…) like chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and my body weight went up to staggering 112 kg in the first year of training! I knew that I put a lot of fat, but as my strengthdramatically increased I was happy…
MarioFit: What workout routine has worked best for you ?
Over the years I have trained different workout routines, depending on my strength level, experience and knowledge that has always been improving. In the off-season I prefer to train 5 times a week, completing the whole body in 4 workouts. I always train the same muscle group on Mondays and Saturdays, rotating the cycle and starting always with the different muscle group on Mondays.
Monday – Back and calves
Tuesday – Shoulders and arms
Wednesday – Calves and legs
Thursday – Off
Friday – Chest and Abs
Saturday – Back and Calves
Sunday – Off
I would then start with shoulders and arms following Monday, in the same training pattern. Regarding the number of exercises, sets and reps, I do the following:
1/ Hammer flat press 4-5 sets, 10-15 reps
2/ Incline dumbbell press 4-5 sets, 10 -15 reps
3/ Decline press machine 4-5 sets, 10 -15 reps
4/ Cable cross overs 4 sets, 12-20 reps
5/ Dumbbell Flyes or peck deck 4 sets, 12- 20 reps
1/ Wide grip pull down or pull ups 5 x 12-20
2/ Barbell bent over rowing 4-5 x 10 -12
3/ Close grip pull down 4 x 12
4/ Seated cable rowing 4-5 x 12
5/ Seated rowing machine 4 x 12- 15
1/ Front Squats 5 x 12-20
2/ Leg press 5- 7 x 12 -20
3/ Lunges 4-5 x 24
4/ Leg curls 4 x 12
5/ Straight legs dead lift 4 x 12
1/ Dumbbell or machine lateral raises 4-5 x 12
2/ Seated Dumbbell press 4 x 8 x 12
3/ Dumbbell upright rows 4 x 10 -12
4/ Bent over dumbbell lateral raises 4-5 x 12
1/ Dumbbell curls 4 x 12-15
2/ Machine biceps curls 4 x 12 – 15
1/ Rope push downs 5 x 12 -20
2/ Over head rope extensions 4 x 12 -15
3/ Machine dips 4 x 12 -15
1/ Hanging leg raises 4 x max
2/ Floor crunches 4 x max
3/ Abs machine 4 x 15-20
As you can see, I do a lot of work in order to get the maximum stimulation for muscle growth. As I have tried all possible training systems, from 40 sets per muscle group, heavy duty with one set per exercise, descending sets, super sets, staggering reps, forced reps, negative reps etc. I have come to the conclusion that the system that I’m using now in the off-season works best for me and also for most of my clients. This is not to say that systems that I have mentioned didn’t work for me and will not work for you; they had their importance in some part of my bodybuilding carrier, but over time one learns what is best for him…
It is IMPORTANT to understand that it is not the reps that matters but rather the time under tension during the set. Therefore, you can perform 20 reps in 20 seconds or 10 reps in 60 seconds, making 10 reps last longer than 20 reps! SO, focus on the time under tension, as your muscle don’t know how many reps you have done, but how long you have stress the muscle through continuous tension…
My training system for competitions is a different story… My best results have come from training every muscle twice a week, training 6 times a week twice a day. ‘Cardio’ didn’t play important role in my training ever, as it doesn’t help at all in burning fat and preserving/building muscles. Actually it does the opposite! I write about that in detail in my latest e-book ‘NashFit Training’ which is available from my website.
MarioFit: What is your diet like?
If you are following my YouTube videos, my Facebook page and my websites, or you have read my books, you will probably know that I’m not very much in favor of carbohydrates. As they cause unwanted hormonal response in our bodies, hence accumulating fat, slowing absorption of amino acid and indirectly causing whole bunch of cardiovascular damages, my diet is made mainly of sources of protein such as eggs, low fat cheese, chicken, fish, liver, red meat, and fat sources such as eggs, cheese, nuts, fish oil, olive oil and coconut oil, while my carbs come from lot of vegetables and some fruit.
Meal 1/ 4whole eggs, 150 gr. of ham, 20 mil of fish oil
Meal 2/ 300 gr of chicken, mixed salad, olive oil
Meal 3/ 250 gr minced beef, steamed vegetables (broccoli, French beans)
Meal 4/ 300 gr of tuna or salmon, steamed vegetables
Meal 5/ 150 gr. of cottage cheese mixed with 60 gr of protein powder (bland) and coconut oil
If I feel hungry between the meals, I would eat an apple or handful of almonds…
MarioFit: What is your supplementation like?
If I can pull out the most important supplements that you should take that would be definitely the following three: fish oil, vitamin C and vitamin D. This is what I take:
1/ fish oil – 20 -30 ml / day
2/ Vitamin C – 1-2000 mg / day
3/ Vitamin D – 5000 IU / day
4/ B complex – 50 mg. each / day
5/ Vitamin E – 400 IU / day
6/ Zink picolinate – 50 mg / day
7/ Magnesium Citrate – 500 mg / day
8/ Milk Thistle – 2-4 tablets / day
I don’t count protein powders as supplements but rather as food. The ones that I like are always the blend of different proteins. Some people prefer the whey, but that is a personal choice. For me, blend is better. I use protein shakes sometimes in the morning 60 min before a workout, sometimes after a workout, but most often I like to mix it with yoghurt or cottage cheese and have it as a meal.
MarioFit: What are your future plans in the fitness industry?
Right now I’m running a personal training business, but hoping to open a new gym soon. I’m always writing new books, articles, working on my blogs and also on my YouTube channel. I’m not thinking about competition right now, but that is always a possibility… As I have done 46 competitions in my career, the most memorable being wining MR Yugoslavia in Skopje in 1988, I really have to have a very good reason to do it again.
MarioFit: Where does your motivation come from?
Well, motivation is a critical condition of human nature. I always believed that we are all, more or less the same when it comes to intellectual, spiritual and physical capabilities (excluding extraordinary cases in positive and negative sense), but what make us different is really that hunger, that motivation to constantly do better in all fields of our lives. Some people have it more than others that will show in their general progression through life.
Back to bodybuilding, I didn’t do it and I’m not doing it for the reason to have bigger biceps or to lift more than others. My motivation was to prove to myself that I can learn more, do better, chisel my body and satisfy my aesthetic criteria. Anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics are never ending challenges that attract me constantly do dig deeper, understand more and apply that knowledge in order to contract muscle better, isolate better, stress better, recover faster etc. If I don’t read a new chapter, write another page or learn something new I feel as my day was wasted and therefore that never happens. Also, a man gets to a stage when improving himself stops being the only goal, while helping others to improve becomes even greater motivational force. That was the main reason why I decided to write all my books, articles and do my videos on YouTube. I hope that answering your questions will also help your readers become more interested in educating themselves further and understand how human body works, where to look for motivation and see their progress as a consequence of conquered knowledge rather than accidental happening that came from copying others.
MarioFit: Your favorite motivational quote?
‘aut viam inveniam aut faciam’
I’ll either find a way or make one