Edgaras Lindinas, our Weekend Fitness & Studio Duty Manager, competed in one of the UK’s most prestigious bodybuilding championships for the first time last month. Edgaras – a former professional international sprinter - came fourth in the UKBFF’s ‘Sugar Classic’ competition out of 220 participants. He talks about his tough training regime and how anybody can get into weight-training….
Q. How did you end up competing in the UK Bodybuilding Fitness Federation Championship, which is highly regarded amongst international bodybuilders?
A. I love a challenge. My body-building or ‘body sculpt’ journey began three years ago when I trained for ‘Iron Man’ which is a huge event (2k swim, 90k cycle ride and a 22k run). After that, I wondered what other challenges I could take part in. I wanted to compete with the best bodybuilders in the UK, so last month, I competed in the UKBFF’s ‘Sugar Classic’ Bodybuilding Competition after three months of training. My category was bodybuilding up to 90kg and I won fourth place out of 220 participants.
Q. What’s the difference between body building, sculpting and weight-training?
A. Body building is training towards specific goals to improve your body physique, adding more muscle onto the weakest points. Sculpting or conditioning is trimming your body fat and trying to get the best possible muscle definition. Weight training is any resistance training working on muscle strength and endurance.
Q. How have you managed to achieve your goals?
A. I’m only satisfied when I know that my goal is really hard to achieve. To compete in Iron Man and UKBFF’s Sugar Classic, I had to be engaged 24/7. I had to adapt my lifestyle and include late evening work outs until the gym closed! I’ve progressed from being a sports enthusiast to training myself to a more advanced level of bodybuilding. I’ve had to change my social life and eating habits. I’m more aware about the food I eat and I always make sure I get enough sleep to recover properly.
Q. How has the YMCA Club played a role in your training?
A. Our gym is the perfect place to train your body and have mental support to achieve your goals. Look what I have achieved with our facilities, hard work and discipline.
Q. What have you learnt from the experience?
A. My main highlight has been the transformation of my mind and body. Since I started to sculpt my body, I’m also more aware of different training techniques. I have gained a better understanding of how the human body responds to extreme conditions such as long intense cardios, low water, low carbs and high protein.
Q. How important have your friends been during this journey?
A. Most of the time I train with my friends. It’s more fun and we learn new techniques from each other. They encourage me to do that extra set when I think I can’t do anymore! This journey would not have been possible without them. They have encouraged me to stay focussed every step of the way and have helped me move towards my goal. I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped me.
Q. What is a ‘normal’ day for you?
A. My day is very active! I love early mornings, so I wake up around 5am. After breakfast I start the day with a light cardio and abs workout. After that, I usually see my clients and teach cycle, circuit or abs classes. My break time is my ‘work out’ time. I always get the most out of it - so shorter, more intense weight sessions are always waiting for me. After work, I always do weights, cardio and abs sessions. I aim to train two to three times a day.
Q. What do you usually eat?
A. A variety of food throughout the day is a must. My food, water and salt intake are very important and help to define my muscles and physique. My diet consists of very balanced carbs, proteins and fats like oats, chicken, fish, eggs and nuts. I also eat lots of different fruit and vegetables to help my intake of minerals and vitamins. I keep my days SMART so I can track food and see how much I eat. Time to time, I eat a little treat like cheesecake – my favourite dessert!
Q. Do you ever avoid certain foods at certain times?
When there’s only twelve weeks left before a competition starts, I have to be very disciplined and work towards this final goal. We call this the ‘Big Focus Goal’. During this time, I have to avoid cheesecake which is a big loss to me!
Q. Do you take any supplements?
A. I believe, if you have a well-balanced diet, you don’t need any supplements. I always make sure that I have some branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which produce protein.
Q. Would you recommend weight training for everyone?
A. Yes, it’s for all types of people and has health benefits. Weight lifting is good for your muscles, bones, mind and overall fitness. It’s not just for men. Like running or dancing, it’s for everyone.
Q. But sometimes people get addicted to it – why is that?
A. Weight training produces testosterone and endorphins or ‘happiness hormones.’ It also helps you look great and increases your physical abilities.
Remember - overall fitness is more important than just lifting weights.
Q. Would you recommend bodybuilding competitions like the one you took part in?
A. It’s only for people who want to challenge themselves. It’s not as easy as it looks. Bodybuilding needs mental strength. It’s not just a simple workout then rest. You are 24/7 conscious about what you do and what you eat. It’s very intense and it trains both body and mind. You train for three months and only get ten minutes on stage. You must enjoy the whole process and have the stamina to see it through until the end.
Q. How do I get started?
A. You should start lifting weights with professionals, so you learn the right techniques from the beginning. The YMCA Club runs ‘free weight lifting’ one-hour workshops for members which I highly recommend.
Q. How can I avoid hurting myself during weight-training?
A. If you are new to weight-training, please tell a member of the YMCA Club team before you start lifting weights. When you learn from us how and why things are done, you will prevent injuries.
Q. Would you enter into a body sculpting competition again?
A. Yes, the next one is in the New Year!