Listen to this interviewThe Bulk Hackers robot can read Mads' interview aloud for you (playtime 10 minutes and 46 seconds) 🤖
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I’m Mads Phikamphon, 44, from Denmark and the founder of Bulk Hackers (the site you are on right now!).
Besides running Bulk Hackers, I have a daytime job in programming + my sideproject Madlisten, a Danish site that helps people save money on their groceries.
I have been into sports since I was young and into fitness a bit on and off. My main sports have been running for many, many years and climbing for the last 6-7 years.
After I started at a new job, I found out that the company has an excellent gym and I therefore got more serious about fitness and building muscle.
So now, after being more serious about fitness, I have run into a problem: I’m getting heavier and heavier, which causes problems with my performance in running and climbing :(
But I guess that’s a quite common problem to have when you combine fitness/bodybuilding with other sports.
Besides sports, I love programming and also enjoy reading books.
Compared to most people my age, I’m annoyingly healthy (more about that in the questions below).
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I combine fitness with running and climbing, so a typical week consists of 1-2 x running, 2 x climbing and 2 x fitness.
When I go to the gym, I’m usually there for less than 30 minutes. Might sound a bit lazy, but I’m going all in when I’m there and see more muscle development than people who are there longer, but doesn’t go all in (i.e. people who just go around without a plan, pushing random machines a bit and lifting random weights a few times).
For a few months I have been following a muscle growth program, but because of the issues my increased weight is causing, I’m looking into changing to a program that focuses more on strength development.
I prefer to do my training using the machines. Got some bad experiences with the weight bar, so prefer to play it safe here.
Since my gym is at work, I most often go there with 1-2 colleagues. But if nobody else is going, I’ll just go alone.
I really enjoy going to the gym, so there is no need for me to be motivated to go there.
When I come home from the gym, I down a whey protein shake.
To make sure I improve in the gym, I keep a training log. I also bring a watch (my phone on silent), so I can keep track of breaks between my sets.
Concerning cardio, I’m running 1-2 times a week. Wish I could run more, but some old injuries have been causing problems for years (I used to run marathons before I got the first serious injury which took me out for more than a year).
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
As I mentioned before, I really enjoy going to the gym. So most of the time it’s easy-peasy for me to get down to the gym.
If my motivation is a bit low, I pull myself together and go anyway. There’s a reason some people around me call me extremely disciplined :)
To make sure I improve in the gym, I keep a training log and make sure I always go all in. If I didn’t go all in, I might as well not go.
Because my gym is at work, it’s quite easy to find time for my training. I just go there after I finish work and go home a bit later.
Most of my other sports (running and climbing), I do with my family and friends. Because I do it together with my family and friends, it’s much easier to find time for it.
It also helps that our children are not that small anymore and that both of them really enjoy sports.
So the only real problem I have fitness-wise is injuries. As I get older, I seem to get more injuries and be out longer because of the injuries.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now, my training is going quite well. But I need to change my program, so I can grow my strength more than my muscle size (because of the problems the increased muscle weight cause for my running and climbing).
Within the next 5 years, I aim to get more muscular and have a more defined sixpack. It was definitely easier to get a sixpack in my twenties, but I don’t think it’s impossible to regain it properly when you are 40+.
My diet (LCHF, low-carb high-fat) have helped me immensely with staying fit and slim, so I plan to stay on that diet. But if possible, I would like to introduce more vegetarian elements into my diet (partly for ethical/environmental reasons and partly as an experiment to see how it affects my performance).
Besides my own fitness, I plan to grow Bulk Hackers like crazy :) Would love for the site to share lots of bodybuilding/fitness stories, so more people can get inspired, fit and healthy.
If I could start my fitness journey over, I would have started being serious in the gym earlier. There’s a gym right next door to where we live, but I didn’t get serious about the gym before it turned out that there was a gym at work.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Injuries are the biggest problem in my fitness journey. I seem to get more injuries as I get older and the injuries take way longer to heal.
To stop potential injuries from developing, I use a foam roller quite often (the beast version with lots of big bumps).
A lot of people say it hurts to use a foam roller, but that’s just because they are not used to it. As you get used to the foam roller, it stops hurting when you use it.
Besides the foam roller, I also use a small massage ball for an injury in my right foot (plantar fasciitis).
I don’t take any supplements to recover faster, but I try to eat quite healthy. I also get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
My diet is LCHF, low-carb high-fat. It’s been like that for close to 10 years, when I moved from a conventional diet (think food pyramid diet) to LCHF.
My LCHF journey started almost 10 years ago when I made a bet with a friend who could get a sixpack the fastest.
I won the bet by cutting out all fast carbohydrates by following Tim Ferriss’ slow carb diet for 15 days and thereby loose 7.2 kg (15.8 lbs).
I have found out that I more or less stay fit and slim when I eat LCHF 95% of the time, so I don’t worry about counting calories and tracking proteins, carbohydrates, etc.
I’m not 100% LCHF because I eat what people are serving when I go out. If people are serving conventional food when I go out, then I eat conventional food.
But if I’m going out to a restaurant where I can choose the food myself, I do of course try to go for a LCHF meal (except for burgers which are a sad, sad thing without the bun).
After almost 10 years, LCHF has become a lifestyle for me. I therefore don’t need any cheat days - and because I eat what people serve when I go out, you might say that I have some kind of cheat meals already.
LCHF keeps me fit and slim, so I don’t bulk and cut. I eat the same way the whole year.
But I do some fasting. Once a month I’m fasting for 24+ hours and every three months, my fasting is 72+ hours instead of just 24+ hours.
I have been fasting for a long time, so it’s not really difficult anymore (and it was also not really difficult the first time I fasted).
But if I get hungry when I'm fasting, I just drink some water - and I also keep drinking coffee when I'm fasting to avoid some crazy headaches (which I assume comes from caffeine addiction).
Concerning supplements, I take whey protein and creatine. My whey protein is from the Danish brand Bodylab (banana taste is the best) and my creatine is from Bulk Powders.
I take a protein shake every morning and also sometimes after training. Creatine I also take in the morning.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
The one book that has meant the most for my fitness journey is The 4 Hour Body. Lots of great tricks that I have used to win my sixpack bet and to gain a lot of muscles in a relatively short time.
I also really like Living with a Seal. It's a fun book that at the same time shares how we are able to do far more than we think we can.
I don’t have the patience to listen to podcasts, as it’s usually far faster for me to read than to listen to a podcast.
Therefore, I'm a big fan of podcasts with transcripts, so I can read things instead of listening.
In the gym, I always cross my fingers that they are playing something hard and motivating. Unfortunately there’s quite a few soft pop people at the gym at work, so I often end up listening to some soft stuff while I’m training :(
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My best advice for other people is that it’s never too late to start. Of course things are easier if you start out early, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get started now.
If I was new and knew nothing about training, I would either consult a personal trainer or read up on things (or watch videos on YouTube if I preferred that to reading).
Don’t really see a lot of stupid things in the gym, but I sometimes wonder why people doesn’t go all in when they are there (without going overboard and injuring yourself of course).
If you have made time to go to the gym, you might as well do some serious stuff there.
For both the gym and life outside the gym, I highly recommend that you learn to become more effective.
If you have spent some time learning to be effective, it’s incredible how much you can get done compared with most people.
To become more effective, I first and foremost recommend prioritized todo lists. Don’t start working if you haven’t got a list of what you have to do - and make sure the list is ordered, so you know in which order you will do things.
Also make sure you write the list down, don’t just pretend that you have the list in your head.
It’s just like when you go to the gym. You need to go to the gym with a plan - and you also need to work with a plan.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Fitness and training isn’t my main career, so I don’t take any clients. But I am a volunteer coach for a local running club.
Also I hope Bulk Hackers will help people get more inspired and more fit. That’s the purpose of the site after all.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My website is Bulk Hackers and I have done this interview with myself to share who I am etc. :) Besides Bulk Hackers, I also have a Danish food website Madlisten.
I’m quite passive on social media, so not really posting anything to Twitter, Instagram, etc.