Posted on 20 Oct 2013
7 min read
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with popular UK bodybuilding Pete ‘PJ’ Wisbey in the run up to the UKBFF Finals on Sunday October 20, 2013.
He shared some excellent, actionable advice on training and nutrition at an elite level, which is essential reading for anyone who’s considering competing in the near future.
Hi Pete, how’s it going?
Yeah I’m all good thanks.
I won’t lie, I’m a little excited to be competing this weekend.
It’s going to be a great showing and I am happy to be part of it.
So, you won the Light Heavyweight division at the UKBFF East of England championships and you’re now heading into the British Finals.
What has changed between your contest prep between the two shows or has it been a similar build up?
Not a great deal really.
The only thing that has changed is I’ve upped my cardio about two weeks out and this last week I made some changes regarding salt intake and water.
I will also be carb loading on oats and white rice this time and be putting more carbs in as I was very flat on the day.
Reading your ‘Prep for the British Finals’ thread on the Muscle Talk forum, you seem to be doing a lot of high volume/high rep range work.
Is this pretty standard procedure for you in the run up to a show?
Yeah that’s right, I train like that around four weeks out.
As you can probably see, that’s when I decided to do a journal on Muscle Talk, so that’s why I mention it.
The reason is you’re not really building muscle at that stage and you’re very low on carbs.
Having an injury so close to a show is a bodybuilder’s nightmare, or any athlete for that matter.
On that note, what do you do differently in the off season?
What does a typical training week look like for you during that time?
I am currently working with James Collier from Muscle Talk and 1 Rep Max and we haven’t done a plan as of yet.
My normal plan is heavy weights, around the 6 -12 rep range, and maybe a drop set or two but I also include longer rest periods.
I also have a Wednesdays and Sunday off and I only do 3 x 30 minutes of cardio after my weights sessions.
I will be doing my off season progress journal on Muscle talk next year, so watch out for that too.
I’ll also be putting up videos on my YouTube channel so people can keep up-to-date if they are interested.
After this season of competition what are your goals for the next off season?
Well my main goal is to put on more size.
I have a lot of work to do but I feel I could do the 100kg, so we will see.
The most important thing is to be consistent and remain injury free.
I also don’t want to ruin my shape, so it all could change.
Looking at the results of the East of England Competition, the Men’s Physique category had a huge number of contestants.
Has this been a common theme recently and what is your opinion on this new category?
It has a bit of a negative vibe from what I’ve been hearing.
I personally think Men’s Physique is good for the federation and fitness, but at the same time the classes are so big that men’s bodybuilding is suffering.
I’ve been to many shows this year and the physique class is so large that the shows just overrun.
When you have family and friends that pay to see you on stage coming on at 9:15 at night in the overall, it is so late, being a Sunday and all, that it puts them off coming.
Also it is not ideal for a bodybuilder trying to remain in condition for all that time and it is stressful.
If you could only give three pieces of advice to anyone looking to compete for the first time, what would those three things be?
Firstly, be prepared and organised at all times.
I usually work a day in advance.
Secondly, practice posing.
It’s very important to have good stage presence.
And thirdly, have one pair of eyes and listen to them only.
Every man and his dog offers advice, so stick to your guns and trust your second eyes.
When did you decide to do your first competition and how did it go?
Well, after going to the gym for a while I thought ‘I am ready to do this’, and it was what I wanted to do.
I competed in the UKBFF Midlands Classic at the Alexandra theatre.
I remember I just wanted to compete.
There were about 10 other competitors there and I was happy to finish in the middle.
I remember turning to my mate backstage and saying, “Let’s go”.
When they called the top three he stopped me and said, “No wait you might get called”, and I did!
I made the top three – even beating a British champion!
Well, he wasn’t at the time!
I came third and was so happy to get a trophy and a good write up in The Beef.
Obviously nutrition is going to play an extremely important role in the build-up to any contest.
What does a typical day look like for you in the run up to the finals?
What follows has been my diet for the last three weeks and throughout the pre.
The only thing that changes is the numbers for carbs.
I have found this diet to be great.
It keeps me healthy and works well with me and my work.
|06:30||Shake 40g whey + 20g waxy maize + 70g oats and 100g mix berries|
|08:30||25g oats + 40g whey + 1 apple|
|11:30||200g chopped chicken with spinach leaves with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 200ml fresh orange juice|
|14:00||30g oats +40g whey + banana + handful of pumpkin seeds|
|16:00||30g oats +40g whey + banana|
|Pre-workout (16:30-17:00)||10g BCAA|
|Post-workout||40g whey + 30g waxy maize shake|
|19:00||250g of lean steak/chicken/fish, 1-2 small new potatoes with 4 broccoli florets + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil|
|20:30||200g virtually fat free yogurt with 20g whey + 200ml fresh orange juice|
I also drink around 6 litres of water a day.
And, again, what changes do you typically make to your diet in the off season?
A cheeky ‘dirty bulk’ down at McDonald’s by any chance?
Ha, you have my attention!
To be honest it’s pretty much the same.
Not as many shakes as they are replaced with chicken lean meat or fish.
As for the carbs they are 100g oats and 200g cooked rice with meals.
I will be also working with James after the finals to and will put the diet and pictures up on my Journal.
I still eat pretty clean all year round.
I am a big eater and have cheat meal every Wednesday and Saturday night.
When you do have a ‘cheat meal’ what would that be for you?
Cheat meal, what a great word!
Funny, I like Chinese but mainly I like cooking my own cheat meals.
My favourite is Spaghetti Bolognese, garlic bread and a mountain of cheeses.
Then after, waffles, ice cream, chocolate sauces and cream.
Man that question has my mouth watering!
Yeah, it’s probably a little mean to go on about food so close to a competition, so let’s change the subject.
You can only do three exercises for the rest of your life, which three do you pick?
Squat, incline press, and deadlift.
Love ’em all.
When it comes to training, what is your overall philosophy?
Heavy weights? Time under tension?
Or do you like to mix up a few different things?
Well I do like working with an off-season, so heavy ass weights, then bringing it in a bit so my other muscle fibres get worked.
I see lads lift heavy all year round.
They just get injured and you have to remember that we are bodybuilders not powerlifters, and throughout the year your body takes a battering.
I always have deep tissue massage.
I have I guy who really gets in there and cleans me out.
I am a big believer in that.
Lastly, why do you refer to yourself as ‘PJ’?
Ha! The answer is my full name is Peter John Wisbey, hence, PJ
Well Pete, thanks for your time, and good luck at the British Finals.
No doubt everyone at GymTalk will be rooting for you!
Let us know how you got on!
Thank you guys for the interview!
I will be sure to let you know how I get on.
I’d also just like to thank James Collier for his time and Alpha Gym owners Luke Nichols and Aaron Lambo for letting me use their gym.
Also, my close mates Luke, Pat, Neil and training partner Nathan, my family, and most of all, my partner, she has been a little gem.
To connect further with PJ, you can follow him via his social media platforms:
And make sure you stay tuned for more Gymtalk interviews coming your way soon!