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Interview with Amazing Bodybuilder, Powerlifter Ray Kearney

Q. Let’s start here, what is your name?
A. Ray Kearney

Q. How did you got involved in this sport? What was the tipping point to become athlete and decided to compete?
A. I am a former rugby player that suffered a lot of injuries with my knees so was forced to give it up. By nature, I'm a very competitive person and needed a new challenge. I was already in love with the gym at this point as I weight trained for rugby. So it was bodybuilding or Powerlifting. And at the time with the condition of my knees I chose bodybuilding as it wouldn't be as hard on the joints. And after my first competition I was hooked. And only very recently I started competing in powerlifting.

Q. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
A. My morning routine starts with fasted cardio with my dogs. I find it a great way to start my day gives me more energy, puts my mind in a good place for the day.

Q. How long have you been training?
A. I've been lifting weights for over 10 years but only training for bodybuilding for 4 years.

Q. How many people have you encouraged into the sport since you started?
A. I've influenced 2 people directly into starting to compete and hopefully a lot more indirectly.

Q. What was your body like before you started training?
A. I was overweight most of my life wasn't naturally a muscular guy very soft no tone and not much strength.

Q. How do you keep yourself motivated and on-track through the gruelling dieting in the last few weeks?
A. I have developed the attitude of not accepting average from myself. I spent most of my life being average or below average at most things so one day I woke up and refused to be average anymore. It's too easy to make excuses on why u failed. I'd much rather talk about why I succeeded in achieving my goals.

Q. How do you manage your diet when you traveling close to the competition time?
A. Simple I don't travel. And if I absolutely have to. I cook and pack my food for the trip.

Q. How do you handle the stress of it all?
A. Sometimes it's hard as anybody that competes will know. But stress is an illusion created in our minds so I refuse to be controlled by it.

Q. Do you get more attention from the people now that you are in such good shape?
A. Yes I do. Not all positive attention. Some people have a very negative view of the sport and the appearance of an over muscled physique.

Q. What is your favourite supplements offseason and getting ready for the competition?
A. I don't depend highly on supplements. I'd much rather eat more food to acquire the nutritional profile my body needs. But a stable would be a good quality whey protein isolate.

Q. How does your training schedule looks like and what do you include into your training?
A. My training varies a lot depending on if I'm preparing for a bodybuilding competition or powerlifting competition. Most of the time I train 6 days a week. I would aim to hit my powerlifting movements heavy once a week and the rest of the time use high volume push, pull, legs type split.

Q. How many exercises per body part do you typically do in a workout, and what body parts you train per training session?
A. Depending on the body parts I do 6 to 8 exercises per session.

Q. How much weight will you normally gain during the off-season?
A. I normally gain from 10kg to 15kg in the off season.

Q. How about tanning/makeup/hair preparation for a contest. Can you tell that I'm still overwhelmed?
A. Well don't thinking too much about hair and makeup lol. But I use sun beds coming up to contest and then use pro tan to tan up for the day.

Q. What is your philosophy on diet?
A. Eat for necessity not for pleasure.

Q. Any holiday eating tips?
A. Ya. Don't go on holidays while in prep lol.

Q. What kind of workout program do you follow?
A. I don't follow any particular kind of program. I listen to my body analyse my physical appearance and change my training accordingly. When I train I train by how my muscles feel so if my doing an exercise I don't even count reps I keep pressing until I fail or until I get the desired feeling and pump in the muscle.

Q. What about working out while you are on the road?
A. Well I just look for a local gym that I can use. But I try not to travel during prep.

Q. Do you believe in workout programs like Insanity or P90X, CrossFit and such?
A. No!

Q. What competitions have you participated in and what were the results (bikini/fitness/figure/bodybuilding)?
A. I competed in 2012 RIBBF National championships first timers class and finish in top 6. Then the following year I competed in the same competition in the novice class and placed 2nd. Also coveted in the NABBA Mr. Ireland competition that year and missed out on the top 6. The following year I had to pull out as I suffered another setback with my knee and had to have surgery. Got back on the stage in 2015 and jumped into the RIBBF nationals over 90 class to see how I compared with the biggest and best in the country missed out on top 6. But I will be back.

Q. What do you wish you had known before you started doing shows?
A. To not play rugby lol. Should have started earlier.

Q. What do you feel is the most important thing a bodybuilder/fitness/figure/bikini can have in order to be successful in this sport?
A. Hard work ethic and consistency. It's easy to work hard for a short time and achieve a goal but to keep going day in day out year after year to build a better physique that's the hard part.

Q. Is it not very hard to exercise and lift on such a low calorie diet? I am talking about the pre-contest diet. I know you follow a very low calorie pre-contest diet. Don't you get hungry?
A. I don't get hungry as I eat constantly. But energy levels are very low on low carb diet which makes it extremely hard to train. That's where ur mental fortitude comes in. That's why everybody doesn't compete because it's hard.

Q. Does your social life include others that are not into fitness or competition, and you deal with that when you pre-contest?
A. Yes it would. But I don't let anything affect my preparation. I don't drink anyways so that's not a problem.

Q. How much this kind of active life style, being (bikini/fitness/figure/bodybuilding) athlete changed your life?
A. It's changed my life dramatically. It's changed my mindset and the way I face other problems in life. It has been an education.

Q. Who is your favourite bodybuilder, fitness model, and/or athlete?
A. Kai Greene.

Q. What is your favourite healthy meal?
A. My favourite healthy meal would be turkey burgers with sweet potato fries.

Q. Favourite guilty indulgence?
A. Pizza and chips with a tub of Ben & Jerrys

Q. What is your favourite exercise?
A. The deadlift. It's the King of lifts.

Q. What is that one body part that you just can’t seem to bring up or make it look like you want?
A. My arms. I feel they are much too small to match the rest of my physique.

Q. What is the best asset of your physique/body?
A. My back used to be one of my weaknesses but I think my back is probably my best asset now.

Q. What are your methods for breaking through a plateau?
A. Changing between heavy lifting and lighter high volume work.

Q. This is important for everybody, but how do you deal with injuries if had any, and if you did how did you worked through those injuries to comeback even stronger and better?
A. I'm constantly struggling with injuries especially my left knee which I've had 4 operations on and have a lot of wear in there so it is a constant battle. But I always find a way. If something isn't working or is hurting me I try another technique. I find lower intensity with more frequency works best for my knee.

Q. What are your future plans?
A. I plan on competing in the RIBBF nationals this year and also plan on doing several powerlifting competitions.

Q. What do you want our readers to know about you that they couldn't find out from seeing you on stage or in print?
A. That I'm really just a big softie lol.

Q. Any life changing stories you would like to share with our readers? Maybe its personal, but you would like readers to learn about you, your struggles, something what can teach others, change they life?
A. Well I suppose my knee injuries were life changing for me. I might have never found bodybuilding if it wasn't for that. Just because one door closes doesn't mean it's the end of the world. Focus your energy on what you can do rather than what you can't. Stay positive and work your ass off.

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