Name- Ray Sedrak a.k.a The Natty Professor
Height- 177cm/5 ft 8′
Years Training- 5 years
How did you get started in the gym?
Growing up as a child, I played football (soccer) for as long as I could remember, which culminated in playing semi-professionally, alongside national level athletics. I eventually got to the point where I had to sacrifice my aspirations to play professionally in order to further pursue my studies at university and throughout this time, I signed up at my local gym just purely to stay active. Once I saw results in muscle gain and strength, it became an addiction and I guess you could say that the rest is history!
What is your biggest source of motivation, What drives you?
With the rise of social media, we are able to connect and network with so many like minded people, this eventually become a huge source of motivation for me. I was able to be inspired by athletes that I now had exposure to on an unprecedented level and unimaginably, I apparently inspire and motivate others too! So, I guess being a part of the wider fitness community and being so closely connected to like minded people kept me going on the days where I wasn’t feeling it so to speak. That said, of course growing up as your typical ectomorph and being one of the skinnier guys was in itself a struggle. The gym gave me self confidence and I couldn’t possibly put a price on that either.
Out of all the comps that you have competed in, which one is the most memorable?
Believe it or not, I am yet to actually compete, however with good reason. Despite being one of the hottest trends these days, I am of the standpoint that we should always respect our beloved sport and hence, to take your physique to a competitive level requires time. Muscle growth is a painstakingly slow process and I strongly urge those who are just starting their fitness journey to be patient before stepping on stage. There are several competitions, seasons and federations, competitions will always be there, so why not bring a package that is highly competitive and the best that you can bring? That said, preparing for summer, as well as expos and photoshoots is always a whole load of fun and a great method of practice without pressure, so that you can take those experiences when you do decide to prepare for a competition!
Do you have any interesting comp day rituals?
Well, if I ever need to look my best before an expo, photoshoot or event, I am a firm believer in getting a massage the day before. We spend so long hammering away at our bodies in search of continual gains that sometimes we forget just how worn down we might be. Think about it this way, you spend all your time following a regimented dieting protocol, grinding through your sessions as best you can as well as getting your cardio done, that you forget to give your body some TLC. Believe me when I say that your body can look completely different simply just by giving it the opportunity to have some well earned relaxation. Call it hormonal, placebo or whatever you like, but I guess the only way to truly know is to see for yourself.
If you could tell the younger version of you that’s just starting out in the gym, one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would most certainly tell myself two things. Firstly, learn how to deal with the bad days. The days you’re dragging your feet into the gym, not wanting to be there, missing reps and unable to get a pump. Those days where you’re feeling like you aren’t progressing and wondering why you’re even doing it in the first place. Many people, myself include, can easily turn one off day into a whole week if not a month and it is that horrible cycle of feeling like you have to start back at square one that ultimately deters people from truly succeeding. I would have taught myself to see things through when they got tough! The second thing would be to pay attention to the details and write them down. How many calories and macronutrients I was consuming, whether my weight was changing according to my goals, how much cardio I was performing and my training volume of weight lifted, as well as sets and reps performed. These little pieces of information set a benchmark for you, a standard to continually maintain and surpass as well as allowing you to make adjustments to your plan. Going in blind only leaves you in the dark with a lot of guess work to do. Training smart is just as crucial as training hard.
What is your current training schedule?
I am currently performing a Push/Pull/Legs/Repeat/Rest schedule which assists me with being able to factor in frequency into my weekly split. Hence, literally every muscle group will be trained twice per week as opposed to the typical “bro style” of one muscle group, per day, once per week. There is an incredible amount of scientific evidence to suggest that muscle growth is more efficient by training a muscle several times per week. This split also ensures adequate recovery between training the same muscle group again in the week, hence keeping training performance at a high standard too.
What is your current diet?
I am an avid Flexible Dieter so my diet is subject to change, even on a daily basis. That said, I ensure that a minimum of 80% of my daily calorie and macronutrient intake is comprised of whole, unprocessed and raw foods that are dense in their micronutrient profile and provide satiety which is vital whilst dieting. Having a combination of fibrous fruits and vegetables, as well as amino-acid rich, complete protein sources is fundamental to health, performance, recovery and metabolic function. Of course, the remaining 20% of my intake is attributed to foods that I enjoy and crave, ultimately assisting with my psychological and emotional state while i’m dieting.
What have you found to be the hardest obstacle when prepping clients?
I find the most difficult factor about keeping my online coaching clients in check has absolutely nothing to do with nutrition. In fact, a large part of what I do is mostly being a psychologist and a counsellor. Dieting can certainly play mind games with you and if you don’t have sufficient support and direction, you leave yourself open to making drastic decisions based on emotion or totally derailing your progress due to the simple fact that you may be demotivated or see clarity in what you are doing. I know coaches who get coached for this reason. Having an objective, unbiased opinion as well as something as simple as a pep talk or positive word can go a long way when you’ve been dieting for months on end.
If you woke up tomorrow and couldn’t be a bodybuilder, what else would you focus on?
I would definitely chase my childhood dream of becoming a professional football player. There are some things that you grow up with and ultimately hold a place in your heart for the rest of your life.
What has been your greatest success so far?
There would be far too many to list, however noteworthy mentions would be the creation of my own Online Coaching business, graduating from university, purchasing my dream car and paying for it all on my own, and of course, I take a great deal of pride in having created a reputation for myself in the fitness industry through my social media profiles.
How do you see your life in 5 years?
I would love to be heavily involved in the fitness industry, so of course this extends to my Online Coaching business, but I would also love to travel the world so that I can continue to educate, inspire and motivate people from all over the globe. My ultimate aim is to be paid to live my dream, but given that this industry is highly competitive, i’ll certainly have to put my head down and work hard in these next 5 years!
With such a busy lifestyle, what do you do to unwind/ for fun?
While the temptation is there to simply state that the gym is my method of fun, I actually prefer to be completely away from it. I like to stay off social media and my laptop too. Nothing makes me more happy or relaxed than good company and good food. They may be the simplest of things, then again, they are typically things that we tend to neglect.
What is something people might not know about the_nattyprofessor?
I used to have a habit of changing my hair colour! At various points I even had blue hair, pink, red and green, as well as more….natural colours too.
Fun facts with the_nattyprofessor:
Kai or Phil? Without a doubt Phil.
Go to cheat meal? A burger or pizza, ideally both.
Favourite exercise? There is nothing more satisfying than nailing a seriously heavy deadlift.
Most embarrassing song on your playlist? There might be a few of these, but Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez helps me get through my cardio!
Coke Zero or Pepsi Max? Coke Zero, but only if it’s out of a glass bottle. Trust me, it tastes different!
Favourite Quote: “The wolf climbing the hill is hungrier than the wolf on the hill.” – from Pumping Iron
Where can people reach you?