What is your fitness background?
I was always a very active individual and played a lot of team sports growing up. At 15 years old I decided that I wanted to try an individual sport so I took on boxing. I grew up watching guys like Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. dominate their opponents in the ring. I quickly developed a real love for the sport and competed as amateur fighter for 7 years. I trained at Ring 83 a local boxing gym in the Montreal area with Russ Anber former trainer of both former WBO world champion Otis Grant, and MMA fighter George St-Pierre’s present boxing coach Howard Grant.
Training there allowed me to learn more about hard training, focus and discipline. It was an incredible experience that definitely helped shape me as an athlete. It was also a stepping-stone to helping me uncover my body’s potential for weight training, bodybuilding and fitness modeling.
Sherif Kamal fitness model.
During my amateur boxing career I started incorporating weights into my training. I would spend hours boxing and lifting weights trying to get my body in the best shape possible so that I could have every advantage in the ring. I used to on average spend ¾ of the week boxing and the rest lifting weights and building my body. Eventually I found myself incorporating more weights into my overall training as my interest for bodybuilding grew.
It wasn’t until college that I really started taking my weight training more seriously. I met former 5 time “Mr. Canada” and IFBB Pro Andre Begin who taught me the ins and outs of training along with its history going back before the Weiders. He also shared many mental aspects that he said were extremely important if you were serious about changing your body.
Nature’s Fitness Model Training Raw!
According to him the importance of mental preparation before, during and after every workout was just as important as the workout itself. I worked very closely with him studying the basics of mainstream training, the Weider principles, and all his personal methods closely. I also got my certification as a personal trainer while studying his methods.
What were the major milestones that gave you that “extra” motivation boost?
They say that every defeat has attached to it its valuable lesson. It wasn’t until I reached my late twenties that I started to notice my training becoming less effective. I trained hard, on a consistent basis and intensely but for some reason the strategy of working harder was just not doing it anymore. At 27 I gained 33 pounds of unwanted waste and my body started to feel and look worn out. This was the beginning of my whole new approach and philosophy on training. Those extra 33 pounds were the best thing that ever happened to me. Re-visiting my health and nutrition was definitely the major milestone that gave me the extra boost to continue with my training.
Sherif Kamal with boxing glovesThe real learning began for me when I started looking closely at raw nutrition and training the inner body. I already had a background of basic nutrition from my certification as a trainer but the idea of repeating the same mistakes was not something I was interested in. I felt my training was not the problem. I decided to look closer at the type of nutrition that most of us were brought up on and that were going around in the gym. By studying all these old theories closely it became obvious to me why all the meat, dairy, whey protein, and heavily refined foods were not helping optimize my health. I spent three years reading, researching and experimenting with raw nutrition, plant based diets, different herbs and superfoods.
I tried different training methods that I used to train with before to see if the performance, energy and strength improved with all the fresh raw living nutrition. I noticed incredible results doing this and realized how training on raw food diet was much more effective and efficient than any other popularized bodybuilding diet for creating lean muscle.
These results where internal as well as external. I finally felt like I was connecting with my body at all levels rather than just the outside. Building muscle took on a whole new meaning for me a more holistic one. I started to understand the power of raw live plant based nutrition and what it did for my body’s health. I later decided that with all the results I was getting that I would at 29 years old begin competition as a fitness model. My goal is to demonstrate the power that raw food training has and what it can do to help people build lean muscle.
What keeps you motivated?
My motivation comes from people’s negativity towards what I am trying to do and their interest in it as well. It’s no secret that the environment that surrounds me is full of people who are approaching their training completely different from me. Most athletes start the search for different strategies when they feel that theirs is no longer working or that they may have compromised their body a little too much in the past for their sport.
The truth of what you expose your body to is revealed eventually when nobody’s around and your having problems digesting food and going to the bathroom. I am one of few fitness models out there that is building his body on a raw plant-based diet. I am not a fan of dead food! Training and competing all raw means 80+ of what you are eating does not include eating any meat, dairy or refined foods. Also I do not take any synthetic supplementation, whey protein, creatine, growth hormone, steroids or any body enhancers of any kind.
My drive and motivation comes from wanting to prove to people young and old that you can create a super physique with nature’s best and proper holistic balance. I never put health on the side to building muscle. Health creates muscle not the other way around. Preservation and longevity is the big picture that I see when I train, build my body or prepare for a competition. Staying clean throughout fuels me with loads of energy and fires me up to keep me motivated not only to build muscles but also to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sherif Kamal, raw foods diet
How often do you perform cardio?
I do not believe in cardio to lose weight or to cut up for competition. This is a short-term solution that will not clear what is actually causing weight gain or covering your muscle definition. When the body accumulates waste that it cannot absorb, utilize or waste it stores it and fat or waste starts to accumulate. Cardio is good for endurance and cardiovascular not to shred your body or lose weight. Every strategy has its purpose and place.
I do however believe that you can lose weight temporarily with cardio but this will be short lived. Doing hours of cardio to lose weight is similar to cutting a weed from its stem versus pulling it from its root. It might look like its not there temporarily but eventually it’s just going to grow back as soon as you stop cutting it!
The root of muscle definition, hard abs and losing real weight from the inside can only be done by restoring the body to its natural state through live plant based nutrition and proper cleansing. The rest will eventually slow you down, accumulate, compound and take away any definition of muscle you might have under that hard work. I never perform cardio to shred up or lose weight.
Do you supplement your weight training and cardio with any other physical activities?
I do supplement my cardio and weight training with roadwork, boxing and martial arts. I do not do this for the purpose of losing weight or cutting up. The boxing is to keep my hands quick and make sure I maintain those fast twitch muscle fibers, the martial arts mainly Judo is to practice my technique and the roadwork acts as a de-stressor that helps me disconnect, get into a rhythm and get in my zone.
Fitness model Sherif KamalWhat are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
The most common mistakes that I have seen especially with young bodybuilders and fitness enthusiast is their focus is in the wrong place. Building a strong quality body with dense muscle comes from proper raw nutrition, consistency in the gym and the right focus. When I say the right focus I mean keeping your mind plugged into what you are doing one day, workout, set, rep at a time.
Too many people rely on others thing besides their own will to build their body and self up. Supplementation is a form of leverage, and in some cases a handicap. It should not be seen as a replacement for the intensity you bring to every one of your. Some bodybuilders make the mistake of reducing the intensity of their workouts while they increase the quantity of their supplement because it taste good, thinking that they can build or maintain their muscles because the picture on the bottle says so.
The reality is that the base of your nutrition and the work done in the gym on a consistent basis is what is building the real body and definition. Most placebo pills last short term and the results of those pills can only been seen by the ones using them.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
Abdominals I have always believed are created in the kitchen not in the gym. When eating a raw plant based diet the accumulation or waste tissue that is covering your abdominal and other muscles starts to shed. The best tip I can give all the bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts is to add more fresh greens, fruits, nuts, and seeds to your diet.
to fast from heavy meats, dairies and refined foods. Train your abs everyday or every other day and stop wasting your time on the cardio machine. There are plenty of people running on those things for years and never shed a pound or see their abs ever. Never use weights for abs and make sure that you train all parts of the abdominal muscle (lower abs, upper abs, mid section, side oblique) every time you train.
Oh yes, I forgot, make sure you squeeeeeze. Without a contraction your not communicating with your abdominals. Its all about communicating physically, chemically and psychologically with your body.
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
The most advanced training technique I have learned is the technique of not closing your mind to one school of training. I have seen so many fitness gurus, trainers and bodybuilding experts swear by their methods only to realize that they only worked in certain cases or for certain individuals. I do believe in some fundamentals such as changing your strategy to constantly shock the body so that it can continue to grow or adhere results.
The body is extremely adaptable to physical repetition. I also believe strongly in free weights and isometrics as a means of building the base of your body. As far as the technique that you use each one can give a different result. Every strategy has its own application. The level of intensity that is brought to any strategy or technique determines how effective it is going to be.
Example of this would be to do the exact same workout twice one focused and plugged in the other only mechanically. Training has a lot to do with your mind along with the physical aspect of it. The strength of one athlete’s mind versus the other is what really separates the one’s who get real results from the one’s who are chasing a dream.
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
I don’t cook daily or for the week. I don’t cook daily, hourly or weekly. Over time I have come understand the power of fresh raw plant based nutrition and how it works best for training in any sport. The most bio-available form of nutrition is plant based raw nutrition. I eat most of my nutrition in liquid form most of the time and the base of my eating comes from plants not dairy, meat, chicken, fish or eggs.
Most of the meals I consume are extremely dense in nutrition but more importantly have a incomparable absorption rate relative to your standard meat and potatoes. More and more are using the line of its not what you the food contains its what the body can actually absorb. Well I definitely agree with that but I’ll even go further then that. Its not only the absorption that you need to concern yourself with it’s what negative effects are coming with the food that you are attempting to utilize.
Sherif Kamal absSo many bodybuilders have chronic constipation but do not talk about it. This is especially common after competition. Also the most vital components that exist in on your body is not the muscles your carry around it’s the organs. The food and diet that you prepare and eat has to be organ friendly. Training and looking in shape can go beyond the early twenties if this proper balance is taken into consideration. The main focus of my training and eating is always efficiency. Body efficiency is my obsession not mass. Your body is alive so feed it live foods. I’ll never go back to eating dead food and feeling dead.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
My favorite cheat meal is a cooked spelt crust, vegetarian pizza with no cheese on it.
What are some of your favorite supplements and why?
I think supplementation is a subject that many are curious about and where a lot of the confusion in modern bodybuilding is. First off, I want to say that the only supplementation that I use is always in the purest and raw form. Also it has to be plant based or derived from a plant-based source.
Where I see most of the confusion in supplementation is where you see people trying or taking something because their friend did or because they believe the supplement is going to provide them with real muscle. There are so many supplements out there that do anything but build muscle or contribute to your health. Actually there are many that destroy your health and pull on the organs and liver.
My favorite supplement is the one I need at the time that I need it. I think one of the best alternative protein supplements out there today is Sunwarrior protein. It is a plant based brown rice protein. Sunwarrior has an amazing taste, is hypoallergenic, has an 85% assimilation rate and most importantly does not bloat you. I would highly recommend this over any whey protein, especially if the whey is not agreeing with your system or you are experiencing bloating.
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