Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello my name is Nick Staro and I’m 26 years old. I was born in Tbilisi, Georgia but both of my parents are from Russia. I am currently living in Greece for almost 13 years.
I make my living as a certified personal trainer at a gym in Athens. I coach people online and advise them with nutrition and training programs. I have been lifting weights somewhere between seven to eight years and before that I was into Muay Thai, MMMA, and boxing.
The reason I started weight training was because as a child I was a big fan of super heroes, I always wanted the body of one and knew the only way was the gym. After 3 years of training, I learned about the competitions and the men’s physique category.
I wanted to compete but I never had the time nor the knowledge required. I decided to hire a coach who I have been training under for almost five years and consequently became a good friend of mine.
I was supposed to compete last year for the first time in men’s physique division, but I had a serious motorcycle accident, which thankfully I was able to recover from.
On May 10th of 2019, I participated for the first time at the nationals here in Greece, in men’s physique division and took 2nd place as Mr. Hellas. I could not have got through this without the help of my coach, my girlfriend, and loved ones.
I love bodybuilding and everything about it: Diet, training, coaching, etc. When I have any free time I produce music.
Describe a typical day of training
First thing in the morning when I wake up is a cardio session on an empty stomach. The duration depends mostly on my current goal and training period. I do cardio all year around five to seven days per week.
The type of cardio depends on my current goal, if I am trying to burn fat it will be 30-60 minutes of LISS or 20-30 minutes of HIIT. If I am trying to lose fat faster, I am doing both on the same day. I use the stationary bike in my house and the treadmill when I am at the gym.
For weight training, I prefer to do push, pull, legs, usually six weight training sessions per week, each session lasts 40 to 60 minutes. I prefer high intensity and low volume training, I have concluded this is what works best for me.
Post workout I mostly use fast digestive carbs, like vitagro, cream of rice, rice cakes or a banana. I also use a protein isolate along with creatine from Scitec Nutrition.
How do you keep going and push harder?
Since I was a kid nothing was given to me for free. I always had to put out work to earn it. My grandma was putting me to wash dishes in order to earn my snacks or to let me go outside and play. While I was growing up I had the mentality that if you want something you need to work for it.
Even when I don’t feel good or feel tired and exhausted, I still will manage to go to the gym and workout because nobody is going to do it for me. Everyone has the time to follow their dreams if they really want to.
The hard part is to find what is most important to you, what you want in your life and invest your time, money and energy on it.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now, I’m focused on my competition prep and online coaching for my clients. The goal after every competition is to make positive changes and progress on my body’s composition until I step on the big stage and earn my Pro card.
Business wise, I want to continue coaching people online.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
After all these years of training I had some set backs. Unfortunately, on May 6th of 2018 I had a motorcycle accident and had to go through surgery.
After three months of not being able to move, I lost 15kg/33 lbs but that didn’t break me. I started training again on August 1st 2018 and before December I gained almost 12kgs back.
Otherwise, I like to have deep tissue massages once or twice a month. I pay big attention to training smart in order to avoid serious injuries. I do proper warm ups for every workout and the corresponding stretches at the end of each one.
I am trying to have at least six to eight hours of sleep each night. The key is to have good food quality and rest as much as possible.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
On and off-season, my diet doesn’t change too much from my prep diet. What I mean is that I do increase daily calories but not too much and use only good quality of foods: Chicken, rice, sweet potato, lean beef, cream of rice, oats, veggies and fruits.
Once a week I have a cheat meal, it can be burger and fries and maybe some ice cream. For a competition prep and fat loss, I cut all cheat meals and fruits 16 weeks prior.
Before every training session, I have my pre workout meal, which includes slow digestive carbs, protein and some good quality fats. For energy, I like to use zero calorie energy drinks, like Monster, Hell, Red Bull.
My diet plan includes quality food choices for each macronutrient.
For protein I use: Ground beef, chicken breast, egg whites, whey protein and Greek yogurt.
For carbohydrates I have: Oatmeal, rice, sweet potato, rice cakes, fruits, cream of rice and honey.
For fats I have: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado, eggs and peanut butter.
I completely trust my diet plan on my coach. He has given me a detailed program of the meals I must have along with the ingredients and the quantity. This way, I don’t have to count my own calories and I am able to focus on tracking the diets of my clients.
On bulking or cutting season, the only thing that changes is the total amount of daily calories. My diet is ‘clean’ all year around.
If I want to go out for a coffee or to the movies, I remember to take my meals with me. If I am invited to a party or a special event, I just drink Diet Coke or water. I am not a fan of alcohol so I do not like to party at night and get wasted. I only drink a glass of wine every New Year’s Eve. I drink two cups of coffee through out the day.
My supplements include: Whey protein (Scitec nutrition), protein isolate, creatine monohydrate, multivitamins and fish oil. Everything else, in my opinion, is waste of money.
On my off season, once a week I have a cheat meal, usually on Sundays and it will be a burger with fries and ice cream afterwards.
I always try to not get too fat on my off season bulk though. I achieve this by not exceeding my total calories by too much. The surplus will be between 250-350 kcals at most.
Once I am feeling soft, I cut back on carbs and any excess calories and do cutting for a small period, like two weeks. Keeping my cardio routine also helps me stay lean.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Every morning I have a daily pep talk with myself:
- You want it? Get up and work for it!
- If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
- Nobody is going to do it for you.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Best advice I can give to someone who is starting his fitness journey is to not be arrogant. Try to learn as much as possible from everybody and find what works best for you. There is too much information on the internet, some of it is bad. You need to make sure your information is from a trusted source before attempting anything.
Also, the only way to succeed in something is to fail multiple times and try again. You need to have patience, self control, self respect and be willing to put in the required work.
People nowadays want fast results but are not willing to work hard for it. There is no magical diets, pills and supplements that will give you the body you are dreaming of. All you need to do is stick to the plan, follow the correct nutrition, and train hard. It is your body so investing in it is the best decision you can make.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, I do! I coach online and you can reach me from my channels listed in the next question.
I take my clients seriously so their goal becomes my goal. What they need to understand is that I cannot do the work for them. I will tell them what they need to eat and what exercises they need to do.
I give supplement and cardio guidance as well but at the end of the day all the hard work they need to do is left on themselves. I monitor them twice a week and am available to answer every question 24/7.
Every client can choose between: 1, 3, 6 and 12 month programs with better prices the longer the programs is. There is also a one-on-one personal training package if you live here in Athens.
Where can we learn more about you?
Ready to get really fit and inspired?
I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.
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