Interview: Natural Olympia Champ Tamer Barakat Explains Why He Incorporates Olympic Lifting

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In a Generation Iron interview, Natural Olympia champ Tamer Barakat details his vegan diet and why he incorporates Olympia lifting during the off-season. 

We discussed natural bodybuilding, training, and nutrition with Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (PNBA) 2021 Natural Olympia Classic Physique Masters champion Tamer Barakat. Barakat informed us of what led him to compete in natural bodybuilding and explained why he’s a vegan and how his diet looks. Also, Barakat divulged his training routine, including why he incorporates Olympic lifting into his weightlifting sessions, in a Generation Iron interview.

Tamer Barakat Q and A

Below are a few questions and answers about Natural Olympia champ Tamer Barakat’s workouts and diet.

Q: What got you into bodybuilding, specifically natural bodybuilding? 

A: “I have been into sports since a very young age, Born and raised in Egypt, my first introduction to sports was football (soccer) and after trying different sports, I got into Judo during my early teen years and competed at the national level through my high school years, it was during that time (around 15 years old) that I started lifting weights for strength as part of my Judo training. I loved being in the gym and seeing the results and changes to my physique as I continued to lift weights. 

Around the age of 17, I got into bodybuilding and loved the whole process of training and being in the gym with my buddies. I did my first competition at the age of 19 and continued competing until the age of 21 winning National level amateur competitions. I stopped competing at 21, as I realized that as a Natural B/B I would not be able to compete at a plain playing field. 

Nonetheless, I continued training because I loved being in the gym. At the age of 27, I relocated to the US for work, but It was not until 2020, at the age of 49, that I coincidently discovered the INBA PNBA and the world of Natural B/B, and while I thought my time with B/B was over, it turned out to be that it was only starting (I always wondered why I stayed consistent with my training and nutrition for that long, for almost 30 years since my last comp at the age of 21, now I know why!!)”

Q: What’s your training routine look like? 

A: I believe that variety and change are key to continuous improvement, so I change my routine every 4-6 weeks. during offseason I work out 5 days a week focusing on 1 muscle/day and cycle through 4 weeks of strength (3-6 reps) then 4 weeks of size (8-12 reps) and finally 4 weeks of pump (15-20 reps including supersets, dropsets…etc), de-load for 1 week, then start over again with some new/modified exercises. 

As I get into prep, I switch to a push/legs/pull split also doing 5 days a week, and every 6 weeks I would switch the exercises to continue stimulating growth and to get the results I need. I also incorporate Olympic lifting (clean & jerk and snatches) during my offseason (1-2 times/week) to gain more strength and to trigger a higher neuroendocrine response.”

Q: How does your nutrition look in-season and off-season? 

A: “I am Vegan for the animals, so everything is plant based. I mostly eat the same thing daily whether it’s in or off season, the difference is the quantity of food. I get most of my protein from my Vegan protein supplement, usually mix it with oatmeal and/or drink it as a shake, rest of my meals are typically a mix of rice/quinoa, mushrooms, salad and seitan/tofu/tempeh….etc”

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