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James Alexander-Ellis – WBFF Pro Fitness Model & Strength Coach Talks With T&T!

James Alexander-Ellis – WBFF Pro Fitness Model & Strength Coach Talks With T&T!


How Did You Get Started In Bodybuilding?

I started lifting weights at aged 18 inspired specifically by the physique of a guy in a film called “Crying Freeman” – he reminded me and my friend of a more muscled version of Bruce Lee! The actors name was Mark Dacascos. The cover models of magazines like Muscle & Fitness, Muscle Media and MuscleMag also inspired me. My friend and I decided that this was what we needed to look like!! So we used his weights set at home and started, rather hit & miss, training every other day to try to build muscle. I made a few gains pretty quick but I plateaued fast without dietary commitment and it went a bit flat for a few years as University, alcohol and girls were a major distraction!!! I resumed, with some greater commitment about 6 years later and got my first ever PT!

James Alexander-Ellis Pics

What Is Your Best Accomplishment So Far?

I have many, as the last 12 months has been a rollercoaster. I have had many proud moments and would thank many people for helping me – but they already know who they are!
It’s got to be my recent placing at the WBFF World Championships in Canada back in August. Taking 7th place out of 25 of the very best Competitive Fitness Models in the world is something that makes me feel very proud and has made all the hard work worthwhile.

Yes my previous wins and first places at other shows have been great (Notably my win as Male Fitness Model at WBFF Fitness Atlantic – thanks to Brian Cannone – and subsequent Pro Card!), but to compete at the highest level in the world and still place well, and be given a medal, is so rewarding. The event was even broadcast on Internet Pay Per View to 10,000+ viewers. A first for this growing sport!
James Alexander-Ellis Transformation

What Is It Like To Compete?

The process on the day is a mixture of warming camaraderie, physical discomfort, extreme boredom, mental pressure and excitement, not necessarily in that order. Being on stage makes it all worthwhile, but there is so much going on behind the scenes and in the long build up to the event that most people don’t see. It’s like training for any sport at an International level. A few brief minutes of performance, for many weeks or months of work.

Could You Give Us An Idea Of What Goes Into Preparing For A Competition?

For me, it has just been going through the “conditioning” process. Getting my body fat down to a low level (6-8%) and keeping my muscle mass intact whilst doing it. For me this starts 10-12 weeks out, and as I go along I generally add in more and more elements to my training (especially CV) and take out more and more from my diet…. For my next show however (Worlds 2013) my prep will be longer as I will have a Hypertrophy (muscle-building) phase of 10-12 weeks first, followed by a 10-12 week cut.


What Is It Like To Be A Personal Trainer? Best & Worst Aspects?

Best aspects: Talking all day long about my favourite subjects. Showing off my exercise technique! Being admired and inspiring people. The satisfying feeling of knowing you have helped someone feel better about themselves. Choosing my own hours. Not having a boss shout at me ever!

Worst aspects: Getting sick of seeing the gym, and thus not feeling as inspired to train every day sometimes. Working a permanent split shift of mornings and evenings. Occasionally giving a client EVERYTHING and getting so little back, that can be heartbreaking from a professional level.

What Is Your Workout Routine?

I follow Poliquin training systems, as I am qualified to PICP Level1, undertaking my level 2 as we speak. I trust him implicitly as a strength coach and mentor. So I generally use German Body Comp (or variations) for my accumulation and cutting phases, and then things like German Volume Training for hypertrophy, then a typical 5 x 5 strength block as an Intensification phase.

So off-season, accumulation phases might be German Volume Training, or even an Upper lower split 5 days a week. Intensification phase might be 5 x 5. Minimal CV aside from HIIT 3 times a week.
Jason Ellis Abs Pics
On season/contest prep: accumulation might be GBC (3 sets of 6 supersets, 12-15 reps, 30-60 secs rest between), with advanced GBC (heavier, more sets, less rest) as intensification phase. I will also undertake phases of heavier lifting even in “cutting mode” to shake things up a bit and also to help ensure I don’t lose any muscle mass.

This would be 5 sets of 5 reps, or 6 sets of 3 reps, compound exercises of course! More cardio, with twice daily sessions, 60mins CV early on empty stomach then 60 mins weights in evening (when “fed”)

Here’s a typical week of contest prep “On Season”/”Off Season” Routine (On Season = more gym time, more CV. Off Season = more gym time, less CV):

James On Season Routine:

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: GBC or Advanced GBC workout (full body split – 8-15 reps of 3-4 sets)

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: GBC or Advanced GBC workout (full body split)

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: off

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: GBC or Advanced GBC workout (full body split)

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: GBC or Advanced GBC workout (full body split)

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: GBC or Advanced GBC workout (full body split)

• AM: 10 mins HIIT then 60 mins low intensity CV.
• PM: off


James Off Season Routine


• AM: German Volume Training Chest & Back (10 sets of 10 supersets)

• AM: German Volume Training Quads, Hams & Abs (10 sets of 10 supersets)

• AM: off or just HIIT

• AM: German Volume Training Shoulders & Arms (10 sets of 10 supersets)

• AM: off or just HIIT

• AM: Routine begins again, GVT Chest & back etc

• AM: GVT Quads & Hams & abs

James Alexander-Ellis Gym

What Is A Typical Daily Diet & Your Supplementation Like?

I always us some kind of carb cycle, whether bulking or cutting. For bulking, I take in MORE carbs more frequently, especially post workout. Bulking might be 4000Kcals a day, including 300g protein and 100g carbs on lower carb days and 300-500g on high days. Protein shakes feature more heavily in this phase.

For cutting, I would use a short cycle of very low carbs days with a high carb day. EG: 50g Carb E/D for 3-5 days then 300-500g Carbs for 1 day. This may be 2000-2500 kcals a day on low carb days, but keeping protein high at 250-300g. Less shakes, more solid food and vegetables.

For supplements, my sponsor INNER ARMOUR kindly supplies me with everything I need and they make some of the best quality Protein powders going! (I decided this very quickly based on the amazing flavours, mixability and the fact that they gave me no gastro-intestinal stress or bloating like I have found with other brands)

I use their Blue-Line Iso-Maxx whey isolate for post workout only, Black-line Casein for pre-bed time, and their Blue-line Quad Protein also. I take their pre-workout “Test-Pump”, their Glutamine (for its anti-catabolic properties) and also Lipo-Rx as a fat burner, which I take pre – CV, mainly as an energy booster.

I also use Black-line BCAA-Peak, as I have always been a believer in the power of BCAAs. I have also been testing their latest natural testosterone booster called “TEST-PEAK” which I have had some good results from. Check them out at

The only other supplements I take regularly are a Calcium supplement (as I generally avoid dairy, especially Cows milk) a quality Omega 3 fish oil – like Eskimo 3, and a ZMA type supplement to help with sleep and natural test boosting.
James Alexander Ellis Fitness

Any Staple/Classic Healthy Meals That You Always Eat?

Chicken/Turkey Breast x 200g, Sweet Potato x 200g and Broccoli & Cauliflower x 200g. Perfection on a plate! (Or possibly replace the Chicken/Turkey with a Salmon Fillet x 2 for some healthy fats).

What Is Your Favourite Cheat Meal?

It varies depending on where I am and what mood I am in. I’m not a fussy eater. Anything full of fat & sugar will do! Recent favourites have been Fast Food (McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc) as well as Takeaway Indian Food also.
Chocolate will ALWAYS feature in my cheat meal; recent indulgences include homemade Belfast Cupcakes! Possibly the most gourmet sweet treat I have ever had… Jill McConkey can take the blame for this discovery.

What Are Your Tips For Success For Beginners?

Surround yourself with images of your idols, as this will inspire you daily. Ask questions of your superiors, knowledge is power. Stay consistent and be patient! The body does not change overnight. And finally…. If you want something bad enough, you will dedicate yourself, make sacrifices and you will achieve.
James Alexander-Ellis Photos

What Is The Best Advice You Have Ever Been Given?

I have benefitted from so many people’s advice over the years its hard to pin down a specific “best one”.

A previous Personal Trainer Paul Eastwood once got me to look into Metabolic Typing, and understanding how different people respond to / metabolise carbohydrates in different ways. Through consultation with him we realised I’m not much of a “carb –type” (I’m a Fast Oxidiser if anyone knows what that means) and this has been a real breakthrough for me when it comes to dieting and fat loss.

Also my colleague and mentor Emma Brace whose advice in any situation has always taken the form of something like “You can do it JJ” or “You are the best etc”. It’s invaluable having someone close to you pumping you with self-belief all the time!

If You Could Start Training Again What Would You Do Differently?

I’d use better form when lifting, I’d have recorded my workouts more diligently, I would have gotten a PT sooner, and I would have manipulated/understood my carb intake at a much younger age – I would have been in much better shape in my twenties if I had done all these things!

How Has Competing To The Highest Level Changed Your Social Life?

It has alienated people, some close to me, some of those that barely know me – I’m not sure which is worse, being mis-judged by your friends or by those that have never really known you. This is a sad fact of life. You discover your true friends are if you ever have to abandon them for short periods of time. If they are there when you come back then they are true.

On the flip side, through competing, I have made so many new friends and contacts, which admittedly are recent and sometimes casual “additions” to my social circle. I have found this very rewarding. I LOVE meeting like-minded new people; it’s great to share stories and fun times with people who understand your obsessions. Feels like family! (I can mainly thank the WBFF for this!)
James Alexander-Ellis Competition

Do You Have Any Tips/Tricks On How To Balance Your Time Effectively?

No because it is my worst personality trait. Anyone got any tips for me? I tend to be just keeping the plates spinning as it is.

Have You Ever Felt Unmotivated And What Did You Do To Come Back?

During the middle of my 12 week competition prep for the WBFF Worlds 2012 I plateaued for a good 2-3 weeks where I didn’t improve my condition and didn’t lose any body fat. I temporarily lost hope and considered dropping out so as not to embarrass myself and let down my friends and fans.

This mindset lasted for about a week or two – I didn’t share it with anyone, so as not to make it “real”. I simply talked myself round: “TRUST IN THE PROCESS. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I simply worked a little harder and tightened up my diet a bit more and tried to get a little more sleep. I simply kept the faith that it would work, as it had done before. Admittedly I am still new to this so I didn’t have years of experience to go by, but a couple of weeks later things were moving again and my motivation levels followed suit.

What did I learn here? Never give up hope, if you want something badly you MUST keep going through adversity and setbacks!

For More Of James Check Out:

Twitter: @JamesEllisPT
Facebook: JamesAlexanderEllis
Youtube: JamesEllisPT
You Can Contact James At: [email protected]

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