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Tamer Elshahat

Muscle Magic from Egypt

Tamer Elshahat is no ordinary up-and-coming bodybuilder. He’s one of those lucky guys who are blessed with a great classic shape, a small waist and wonderful proportions. Don’t think those attributes mean he can take it easy, though. On the contrary, the guy is as disciplined as they come, and he’s got an inspiring work ethic.

Growing up in Egypt, Elshahat was motivated by another bodybuilder from his country, the legendary Mohamed ‘Magic Egyptian’ Makkawy. I picked up some great training and nutrition tips while interviewing this new generation of Egyptian muscle magic, so read on.

DY: Give us a little background on yourself.

TE: I grew up in Egypt, and I came to California nine months ago. I’m 27 years old.

DY: What are your height and weight?

TE: I’m 5’9′ and 195 pounds.

DY: How long have you been training seriously, and were you athletic as a youngster?

TE: I’ve been training about 11 years, and, yes, I was very athletic. I played soccer and ran track and field in high school.

DY: Do you play other sports or have any other hobbies?

TE: Yes, I’m quite artistic. I like to draw, I like reading, and I play chess.

DY: I’ve noticed that many top bodybuilders like to draw. I think it helps to have an artistic eye when you’re looking to develop good shape, symmetry and proportion.

TE: Yes, you must be able to assess yourself on those qualities and adjust your training to build quality. A well-developed eye is definitely an important skill in bodybuilding.

DY: Speaking of drawing, what drew you to bodybuilding?

TE: I’ve always admired quality physiques. In 1990 I met a former world champion from my native land, Mohamed Makkawy. His physique was amazing. I wanted to look like that, and I also wanted to emulate the grace of his posing onstage.

When I was younger, I put pictures of Makkawy and other great champions on the walls of my bedroom, and I used to visualize myself looking like that.

DY: So you use visualization to help motivate your training and diet?

TE: My ultimate goal is to become world champion and eventually turn pro. Visualization is a key element. You have to develop the mind of a champion. It takes great discipline, desire and determination to become a champion. It’s something I work on every day. It’s even more important when you’re a drug-free athlete.

DY: What is your diet strategy, on-season and off?

TE: I am fortunate to have a very high metabolism; I stay within my competition weight all year. I tend to eat four to five meals per day, plus two protein shakes. I like to keep the carbs moderate and the fat low, with high protein.

DY: Can you give us a breakdown of your daily menu?

TE: Sure.

Meal 1
6 egg whites, 1 yolk
Green salad
1 scoop Muscle-Link Pro-Fusion
4 amino acid capsules
Vitamin C
Vitamin-and-mineral capsule

Meal 2
1 Muscle-Link Muscle Meals shake
(immediately after training)
1 scoop Muscle-Link CreaSol

Meal 3
(15 minutes after workout)
1 serving Muscle-Link RecoverX
4 amino acid capsules

Meal 4
(45 minutes after workout)
1 serving Muscle-Link RecoverX
4 amino acid capsules

Meal 5
(one hour after workout)
Chicken breast
Green salad
1 scoop Muscle-Link Pro-Fusion
1 banana
Vitamin C
Vitamin-and-mineral capsule

Meal 7
Green salad
1 scoop Muscle-Link Pro-Fusion
4 amino acid capsules

Meal 8
1 Muscle-Link Muscle Meals
4 amino acid capsules

Meal 9
4 egg whites
Green salad

Before Bed
1 Muscle-Link Muscle Meals
GH Stak

DY: Do you have a cheat day?

TE: Whenever I feel I need to. I listen to my body.

DY: How do you overcome training plateaus?

TE: Usually, I give my body a rest and then change my workout. I avoid plateaus by changing my workouts and exercises often.

DY: How did you find what works for you?

TE: I am very in tune with my body and muscle. I sense what works.

DY: Do you do anything unique for motivation or to set goals?

TE: I always strive to look better. I’m never satisfied with the way I look. I think you have to have a steel-willed determination to be the best and never let up on that.

I visualize myself bigger and better to motivate my training. Also, I get motivated watching Dorian Yates’ training videos.

DY: What is your life philosophy?

TE: First is my belief in God. I like to live a simple life. I don’t like conceit. I stay away from partying and from negative people.

DY: What strategies do you use for success in life and business that you’re able to carry into bodybuilding?

TE: Patience, tranquillity and peace within.

DY: Break down your training schedule for us.

TE: To get ready for a contest: Six days a week twice a day. I use three to five exercises per muscle and eight to 10 reps per set’and about four sets per exercise.

Off-season: three to four days a week, three to five exercises per muscle and eight to 10 reps per set. I stay with about four sets per exercise.

Here’s how I split in the off-season:

Day 1: Shoulder, triceps
Day 2: Chest, biceps, forearms
Day 3: Back
Day 4: Legs

Here’s my twice-a-day contest split. I train six days a week:

Day 1
A.M.: Shoulders, triceps
P.M.: Back

Day 2
A.M.: Chest, calves
P.M.: Quads, hamstrings

Day 3
A.M.: Biceps, triceps
P.M.: Abs, calves, traps


For large muscle groups I always do 16 to 20 sets total. For smaller bodyparts I do nine to 12 sets.

DY: Can you list your typical routine bodypart by bodypart?

TE: Okay.

Incline dumbbell presses 5 x 8-12
Flat-bench presses 4 x 8-12
Decline presses 4 x 8-12
Cable crossovers
or pec deck flyes 4 x 8-12

Wide-grip pulldowns 4 x 8-12
Narrow-grip standing
pulldowns 4 x 8-12
T-bar rows 4 x 8-12
One-arm rows 4 x 8-12

Seated behind-the-neck
presses 5 x 8-12
Standing one-arm
dumbbell presses 4 x 8-12
Lateral raises 5 x 8-12
Shrugs 4 x 8-12
Bent-over laterals 5 x 8-12

One-arm cable curls 3 x 15
Standing barbell curls 4 x 8-12
Cable preacher curls 4 x 10

Lying extensions 4 x 10-12
Pushdowns 4 x 10-12
One-arm dumbbell
extensions 4 x 10-12

Reverse curls 4 x 10-12
Cable work 4 x 10-12

Leg extensions 4 x 10-15
Leg presses 4 x 10-15
Hack squats 4 x 8-12

Lying leg curls 6 x 10-12
Stiff-legged deadlifts 4 x 12-15

Standing calf raises 4 x 10-15
Seated calf raises 4 x 10-15

Situps 1 x max
Pulley crunches 3 x max

DY: How does the switch happen for you’going from normal to contest mode?

TE: I get motivation before a contest by training as though the contest is the next day. If I had to walk onstage tomorrow, would I be in shape? That game always keeps me training very hard.

DY: How many weeks out do you start your preparation?

TE: Six.

DY: Only six weeks!

TE: I believe in eating clean and keeping my bodyfat low all year so when contest time comes, I’m not that far from being in top condition.

DY: Do you use supersets?

TE: At times I use supersets and tri-sets just to mix it up.

DY: What about cardio?

TE: No. I might do cardio a week before a show but not that much.

DY: What about range of motion? I see a lot of top bodybuilders using shorter ranges.

TE: I use full range of motion and slow, deliberate movements always.

DY: What is your overall philosophy about bodybuilding?

TE: I’m proud to be a natural bodybuilder. I stay motivated and on top of my goals while keeping a healthy balance in my life. I’ve developed a connection between my mind and my body. When I don’t have that, I take the day off.

Editors note: To visit the Muscle-Link Web site, go to www To contact Tamer for training consultations, contest preparation, guest-posing appearances or modeling, call Scott Forrest at SMASHCUTS! (310) 213-3333. IM

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