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BODYBUILDINGPRO.COM Interview: Ali Amini Interviews Ali Amini

Bodybuilding consists of two phases: both the offseason phase and precontest phase. Training, nutrition, and supplementation vary accordingly depending on what phase a bodybuilder is in. These days, the most elite bodybuilders in the world often hire nutrition gurus to aid them in their program during both phases. Ali Amini is the #1 pre-contest guru in the Gulf region. He has helped many excellent bodybuilders achieve their all time best condition. In this interview, he speaks about his profession as well as some of the finer details of contest preparation and the bodybuilders he has assisted.

Ali Amini at the 2007 FIBO

Click below for an interview with one of Ali Amini's clients: top flight PDI pro bodybuilder Sami Al Haddad

==> Sami Al Haddad Interview

  • What is your educational background?

      Information Technology, Computer Science

  • What made you decide to work with bodybuilders and not other types of trainees?

      I started with Bodybuilders but now I work with all kind of athletes. I have martial arts, basketball, track and field...etc.

  • When and where were you born?


    Ali Amini with Ronny Rockel

  • Where do you currently reside?

      I work in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and live in Manama, Bahrain

  • Who are you currently training and what can you tell me about their progress?

      I have four main athletes in Bahrain, Hassan Saleh and Arafat Yaqoob (Asian Champions) and Abbas Khedair and Abdelwahid Alasfoor (Local Champions) then I have two bodybuilders from Egypt Ahmed Esmat (IFBB World Champion) and Mahmoud Shawi (Musclemania Jr. Champion) I am also working with Wong Hong (IFBB Pro) and a couple of other guys that I cannot mention now because I don't want to influence their placing/judging in the region. I will disclose their names at a later time this year.

    Ali Amini at FIBO 2007

  • What is your training and nutritional approach?

      It's a little bit of every approach. I try out everything and see what works best then assemble all that woks together. Training wise I mainly follow the Mike Mentzer/Dorian Yates approach for most of the muscle groups. Of course each training is uniquely tailored for each individual depending on his weak poins. Some approaches I have are standard for all and that is why a lot of people think I use the same method of training for all. For example I do the one are dumbbell rows and 21s differently than what all others do. And I give it to all of my athletes. That doesn't mean they have the same training means I recommend my method rather than the regular ones for various reasons.

      And nutrition wise I do it all...I do low carb/high protein in the beginning then see how it goes. Sometimes the carbs go higher that what we start with (especially if it the first time I am working with someone) and sometimes I lower it even further. And I have guys that are following the ketosis diet (Hi protien/fat and no carbs) but I find this type of diet doesn't work with every one. It depends on the body type and metabolism you have.

  • What does it take to be an expert in the bodybuilding industry and be classified as a guru?

      A lot of information and a lot of connections with concerned people in the research and medical world but above all that you have to make use of others' expertise instead of wasting time in experimenting what others have done.

      Unfortunately there is no certification program to do what we do. The certification programs and nutrition degrees are not compatible with what actually works/we do in the sports industry. The nutrition, training and supplementation (performance enhancement substances) have evolved rapidly in the past 10 years and I guess the curriculums were not updated at that pace.

    Ali Amini with Jay Cutler

  • Are you still working with Wong Hong? What do you think of his physique and progress?

      Wong actually has a classic physique and that is what we lack these days in the industry. As for his progress I think he is doing very well. We play it safe and although he was a bit depleted this year in the OZ [2007 Australian Grand Prix] he was still at his best condition ever. So by September you will see what progress we have made.

  • Is your program very specialized and built for individuals or do you use generally the same format for all bodybuilders who you help to prepare?

      It is always different. But because I get the same questions a lot I tracked myself and found out what similarities I have in my programs.

      Most of the time I have oatmeal in meal one. I never start with flat bench press for chest (always incline).

      And that's pretty much it. The rest is always tailored accordingly and against what I see.

  • Do any of the bodybuilders you train use synthol? Do you agree with Nasser El Sonbaty's comments that 95% of people in the industry use it?

      I hate Synthol. And as for the 95%, if you can do it with out slips and signs of synthol...then all the power to you. But I never recommended it or think that I would one day.


    Ali Amini with Frank McGrath

  • Do you feel it is very important for a bodybuilder to build great strength? Does this generally have an effect on muscle quality?

      Yes. If you don't get stronger your muscles will halt at a certain stage so getting stronger means more blood flow (cell expansion) and more hypertrophy. And all the lifts should be done in a strict movement but with heavy weight. For example I do the one arm dumbbell row in a very strict manner. So if you can row with 150s in a regular method...with my method you will barely do 120s...but the feeling will be much heavier, and that's what counts.

  • What do you think of

      It is a great place as long as people don't take it personally...I think getbig has added an entertainment value to the sport of bodybuilding.

  • What do you think about the bodybuilding industry currently? Do you agree with the judging and the types of physiques that win shows?

      The industry is pretty stable these days and that is not a good thing. It should always be in a growth phase. I was disappointed with bodybuilding being taken out of the Asian games in 2010, but I am hoping things will work out and they will get it back in. I would like to see more media coverage like broadcasting shows on ESPN or having bodybuilders talk on National Geographic or the Discovery channel.

      As long as bodybuilding is judged upon personal opinions you will always have the "agree and disagree" issue. What I think is the judges should be changed from time to time and having different people from different sports or industry who follow bodybuilding closely is a very good idea. X-Mr. Olympia are great examples to be judges then you have wrestlers who are very close to bodybuilding Like Triple H and John Cena.

      What I would like to see rewarded is symmetry before muscularity or condition. No one mentions symmetry these days. It's either comments that the guy is muscular or conditioned. So these day it doesn't matter if you are symmetrical or not as long as you have muscles and come in dry. I would really like to see the symmetrical bodybuilders get rewarded.

      As for the amateur division...I would highly recommend most of the judges be changed, and more updated and educated (bodybuilding wise) people take over.

  • Do you think that there is anything that Ronnie should do to have a better showing at the 2007 Mr. Olympia?

      I heard that Ronnie had some problems in 2006. And I guess him and Chad will make the right modification to achieve the best shape.

  • How can people contact you if they wish to have your assistance in their preparations or training?

  • What do you think of drugs in bodybuilding?

      Drugs are there in every sport. But because bodybuilding is a physique contest people think of drugs as soon as they see the athletes. Then we have the athletes who go to the extreme and get sick on stage and all the assumptions go to drug use.

    Ali Amini Markus Ruhl

  • Do you agree with King Kamali when he said in his column in Musclemag that it is mostly insulin that causes the guts on modern bodybuilders?

      Not only insulin. Some people react differently to GH and get a gut just from using GH even at moderate dosages.

  • Tell me about your life outside bodybuilding.

      I am the guy next door. I hang out with my regular friends who are not bodybuilders. Of course I have to stay in shape all year around because I represent a healthy approach to the sport, i.e., I still maintain my natural look and stay fit to reflect what I am capable of. I have a nerdy look because I always have my glasses on but I always make fashion statements with the unique clothes that I wear and it is clear that I workout so it is hard to make out my personality unless you know me.

  • What are some common mistakes bodybuilders do during their diets which affects their condition on the day of the show?

      love handles or dangling stomach and say we have you are actually fat and what you are holding is lipo. So he stays like that and loads on diuretics and the day of the show and afterwards you see him complaining about diuretics and people assume it was a drug issue.

      Cutting sodium very early has been an issue (at least in this part of the world) and there are bodybuilders who cut sodium for like 2 months or so.

      Going with bad brands or unknown brands of performance enhancement substances does lead to sickness. You should either go with reputed brands or don't do with any at all, especially these days where a lot of underground counterfeits are surfacing.

  • Do you believe that "a calorie is a calorie"?

      Yes. But types of calories at different times of the day have different reaction ... so to calculate calories for indication purpose is valid.

  • Do you think that some foods should not be eaten at all during a diet, regardless of quantity, or can anything be eaten provided it is eaten in moderation?

      For bodybuilding contest prep I always stay away from Lactose (dairy products) and fructose (fruits) but I always recommend them in off-season specially low fat goat milk, goat cheese and yogurt.

  • How do you get bodybuilders to drop water towards the day of the contest?

      I usually depend on Carb/sodium depletion and loading. Also I cut water intake and use diuretics if necessary. I prefer loop or thiazide diuretics I was never a big fan of potassium-sparing but do recommend it some times when a diuretic is required and nothing good is handy. But while using any of them the diet has to be modified accordingly to prevent cramps and hypo/hyperkalemia issues. And I never touch osmotic diuretics to drop water/weight for a contest.

  • Is bodybuilding 90% diet?

      I would say Nutrition and proper supplementation (including drugs) is 70% of the battle. A lot of bodybuilders think that training is not that important, that is true to a certain point but beyond that point you won't grow unless you train hard enough plus how can you rectify your weak point with out the proper targeted exercise for a particular muscle??

  • How important is cardio?

      For some body types it is optional but for some it is crucial. I always emphasized doing cardio even in the off-season. You can always nail a better condition with cardio if you know what type of cardio suites you. Cardio is not only tread or step mill ... any sustained activity could be a cardio vascular training.

  • What do you think the future of bodybuilding is?

      I guess the IFBB (Amateurs Division) are doing a good job in trying to spread the sport in various events. And I would love to see the country that holds the World Championship to at least have Media coverage and broadcast the event on the local channel and forward it to other countries' federations who can broadcast it on their channels.

      PDI was the healthiest thing that happened to the sport of bodybuilding since the last decade. A lot of bodybuilder got the chance to do shows and place hi even though the line ups were not that strong. Hopefully this year more people will join and more shows take place thus more recognition and exposure of the sport of bodybuilding.

    Ali Amini at FIBO 2007

Take care,

Matt Canning

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