Stephen Box And The Art Of Bodybuilding

Athlete Interviews

Q. What was your childhood dream job?
Stephen Box: As a child, I had a huge passion for art and in particular Leonardo da Vinci’s work on the human anatomy. I spent hours recreating his drawings. I suppose my dream job would have to become an artist, which looking at it now I am not far off. Bodybuilding to me is art, except I am sculpting myself and my client’s physiques.

Q. How did your career in the fitness industry start, and why?
Stephen Box: My journey started whilst at school and university. I was playing volleyball whilst training to get into the GB squad. I thought that the more I could learn about training, nutrition and performance, the better the athlete I would become. Unfortunately, I never made it into the GB squad. I still enjoyed playing, but I redirected my efforts into becoming a PE teacher. When still studying at University, I was being approached on many occasions to start modelling, so I decided that once I had completed my teaching degree, I would focus on modelling and used my knowledge from university to enhance my training and keep my body in shape for shoots. I was extremely lucky and within a year I had modelled for some of the top brands in the world such as Dirk Bikkembergs, Kooga Rugby, Raging Bull, The Watch Shop and I did the underwear campaign of Next too.

Q. What does a normal week of training look like for you?
Stephen Box: Off season, I am training 5 times a week. I like to hit all muscle groups 2 times a weeks and I place more volume on my weak areas, or the muscles that I want to bring up. I do this simply by calculating the volume on each muscle and will manipulate the variables to achieve the desired effect. In order to hit muscle groups twice per week my split looks like:

Monday - Upper Body (back, chest, shoulders, biceps & triceps)

Tuesday - Legs (hams, quads, glutes, calfs & core)

Wednesday - Rest or light Mobility.

Thursday - Pull (back, rear delts & biceps)

Friday - Push (chest, shoulders & triceps)

Saturday - Legs (hams, quads, glutes, calfs & core)

Sunday - Rest or light Mobility.

Q. What is your supplement stack?
Stephen Box: I tend to stick to the basics, so currently I use:

- Omega 3, 3g EPA & DHA every day, however if I eat oily fish I won’t supplement as there is no need.

- Vitamin D, 2000u per day as I don’t get much sun light.

- Whey protein, to help me hit my protein targets when needed.

- Creatine 3-5g per day, all year round.

- Multi-vitamin, just to cover all basis.

- Occasionally I will use BCAA, carbohydrate powders, green drinks and beta aniline.

Q. What will you be eating today?
Stephen Box: I follow flexible dieting from ‘If it fits your macros’, which basically means I can eat what I like as long as I hit those targets. I make sure I eat 80% single ingredient foods and the other 20% will be whatever I fancy on the day. This means I have a varied diet. I get all the nutrients I need, it is flexible for my lifestyle, I can enjoy social events and most importantly I eat the foods that fits my preference.

Q. How do you stay motivated?
Stephen Box: I love competing and I love seeing progress, so that motivates me to always better myself each year. Because I coach other competitors, I like to stay accountable and on top of my game. But my diet is so easy and I love training so staying motivated is easy.

Q. What is your favourite exercise?
Stephen Box: This is a tricky one and tends to change, however for the last year I would say the back squat is something that I love doing, but I am also enjoying lat pull down and cable row, mainly because I am finally achieving full activation and the pump is insane.

Q. What is your most hated cardio exercise?
Stephen Box: As I see cardio as a simple way to burn calories, I try to avoid the machines that take the longest time to burn the amount I need to get through as I find it quite boring. I do find the stepper quite effective and efficient way of doing cardio.

Q. Your top 3 workout tunes?
Stephen Box: DMX - Party Up; David Guetta - Party Hard and 50 Cent - In Da Club

Q. Best thing about being a fitness athlete?
Stephen Box: This is an easy one! I recently have been given a few opportunities to speak and present around the UK on the scientific approach to changing body composition which I have really enjoyed. What I found most rewarding however, was presenting my story and message to schools and to inspire a younger generation to work hard, and to be true to themselves.

Q. Who are the best athletes you have trained with?
Stephen Box: In 2014, I went to the Arnold’s in Australia and was lucky enough to train alongside the X Man, Toney Freeman, whom then came over to help me on my back workout. He certainly put me through my paces and showed me a thing or two. I’ve also had some great sessions over the years with James Alexander Ellis, Shaun Stafford and Layne Norton.

Q. Which athlete from the past or present so you wish you could train with?
Stephen Box: I would love to train with Ben Pakulski, I have learnt an incredible amount from his seminars on biomechanics and muscle activation and I know training with him would only improve my learning.

Q. What has been the best moment of your career so far?
Stephen Box: I would say that 2015 has been my greatest year as a competitor. In October, I won the UKBFF fitness model division and in November I placed 5th at the IFBB UK Olympia.

Q. What are your goals for 2016?
Stephen Box: I recently launched my own coaching company which will be focusing on coaching athletes who want to compete through the use of science and evidence. This year, I will be competing again with the UKBFF and I hope to represent the UK abroad at the Olympia.

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