Weight: 180lbs (175 on stage)
D.O.B: December 16th
Birthplace: Hampshire, England. (Now lives in Dallas, Texas)
Occupation: Executive Producer/Presenter (www.1stPointMedia.com)
Background: BSc in Media Technology. Surrey University
Best Lifts: (no assistance): Bench Press 305lbs, Deadlift 565lbs, Squat 455lbs
Total Number of Competitions: 25
Age Started Training: 14 years old
Rob Riches first stepped on stage in 2005 and won his first competition. Nicknamed Rob ‘Hollywood’ Riches for his golden tan and spiky blonde hair, it didn’t take long until Rob was in Hollywood a year later, winning his first world title as a junior bodybuilder. His presence grew as he continued competing across a range of categories, including bodybuilding, fitness, and physique competitions, adding another world title to his belt after winning the World Fitness Model Championships in 2009 in Canada. During those years, Rob has been featured in numerous fitness magazines, including many covers, as he expanded upon helping others achieve their fitness goals.
With a University degree in video production, Rob quickly paired his two passions together: media and fitness, and helped launched a fitness channel on Sky TV, now seen by millions of people all over Europe. To this day, Rob continues to provide online videos showing how he works out and cooks, as well as documents his competition preparation. Stay tuned as we follow Rob on his path to the British Finals in October!.
1. How Did You Get Started In Fitness?
I was always active as a kid, following in my cousin’s footsteps in sports. I was big on mountain biking in my teens and when I was 14 I fractured my shoulder during a nasty accident. After 6 weeks with my arm in a sling, I wanted to build up my strength again to carry on racing in downhill events. I got my cousins old weight bench and dumbbells and set up a little home gym in the garage. Every night after school I would lift weights in the garage, following articles in bodybuilding magazines I would buy. I learned everything I could about weight training, and after just a few months could see a big difference in my body. A year later, I was introduced to a local bodybuilding gym and spent most of my time outside of school at this gym, learning proper technique and lifting heavier weights. I would write down everything I did in each workout so that I could better it next time. I was motivated to build my body up like the ones I saw in the magazines. I developed my own programs and was soon helping others do the same. Needles to say I didn’t spend much time on my bike after I picked up my first dumbbell.
2. What Did You Look Like Before You Started Training?
I’m often asked if I was a fat or skinny kid before I started lifting weights. I don’t think I was either. My mum always told me I had a physique and stood out at the swimming pool. I ate like any other kid and kept myself active through various sports. I guess you could say my body was primed for weight training, and as soon as I began lifting weights, my body responded well.
3. What Was Your First Competition?
I was 21 when I entered my first competition. It was the BNBF (British Natural Bodybuilding Federation) Central Qualifier in July 2005. I had been encouraged to enter the show by an experienced competitor who trained at the gym I was working at. I entered the Novice category and was up against guys much older and bigger than me. I gave myself 8 weeks to diet and trained specifically for the competition, to lower my body fat levels and enhance muscular definition. I studied all the poses that I would be required to hold, and put together my own posing routine after watching numerous videos of other competitors. I had little help from anyone, except to spray tan me, and although I was the youngest on stage, my conditioning stood out and I won first place. That was the start of my passion to compete.
4. How Did You First Start Modeling?
I think of modeling as many different things, from posing on stage, to perfecting which poses show off certain muscles at their best. After winning my first show, I wanted to have some professional photo’s showing me in my best shape. I had never posed in front of a camera before but quickly became more comfortable as I leaned which sides and angles worked best for me. This was an important process to helping me learn how to walk and stand on stage, and the difference it made when I smiled or looked more serious. After building up a small portfolio of different photo’s, I began sending these out to various modeling agencies, describing my abilities and passion for fitness. Nothing happened at first, but slowly I would started to get booked for photo shoots and campaigns. I had to constantly work at it, doing new photo shoots to update my portfolio, and looked at it as more fun than work, as it allowed me to document my look at various stages of my training.
5. Is There Anything You Would Have Done Differently?
There are 2 main things I would do differently. When I first started training I saw results quickly as my body responded to lifting weights for the first time. After the first year my progress became slower, so I began changing my routine almost every month in the hope that I would shock it into adapting and progressing. For nearly two years I didn’t see much gain at all. I then stuck to one routine for several months and just focused on improving my strength so that I could lift more. It didn’t take long for me to see my body start to grow again. If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have changed my routine so many times, and just stick to one for at least 3 months, getting stronger each week. This proved for me to yield the best results.
The second would be not to think of my training as either ‘bulking’ or ‘cutting’. In my early stages of training, I would sacrifice all my conditioning to try and bulk to add more muscle, but all I really did was let myself go and lose focus on why I started training in the first place – to look and feel the best I could. I found that over an 8 month period of bulking and then dieting to remove the fat, I would end up no different than at the start of the bulk. It was just a waste of time. I found much better results by simply staying lean and allowing more calories and cutting back on my cardio if I wanted to add more muscle. Rest is also an important factor in growth, so If I wanted to grow, I would train less so my muscles could fully recover
In the Morning: CLA & Ripped.
Taken together upon waking with plenty of water, 30 minutes before cardio. On days where I feel I need a little more of a push, I also have a small black coffee, sweetened with Stevia from my Kuerig Coffee Maker.
After Cardio: BCAA 4:1:1 & Glutamine
It’s important to keep the essential amino acids topped up, plus with the first meal of the day, it will help raise the spectrum of amino acids within that meal.
Before & During Training: Tri-Creatine Malate & RUSH
3 capsules of creatine 30 minutes before weight training, and 3 again immediately after to help support the production of ATP during intense lifting. I sip on RUSH throughout training as it contains a blend of hydrolyzed whey, muscle pump activators and modified fast-acting carbohydrates to help fuel my muscles during lifting. It’s also sugar-free and a delicious orange-pineapple flavor.
Post Workout: Pro Performance Whey
2 Scoops of Pro Performance Whey taken after training helps drive protein synthesis and improves muscle recovery. I usually take the Mint Chocolate and mix it in a blender with ice, cold water, and a banana or handful of blueberries.
Before Sleep: BCAA 4:1:1 & Glutamine
30 minutes before sleep I will take a serving each to help keep my amino acid levels topped up over night.
Rob is preparing for his return to the stage at the UKBFF British Finals on October 19th and 20th 2013 at the Harrogate International Center.
Due to the success of the 12-part series Rob did with Muscle & Fitness in 2012 called ‘Nice Body but what can you do with it’, the two fitness giants have teamed up again to produce and number of E-books detailing how to train for such sports as Powerlifting and Crossfit.