Interview with “the Giant Killer,” IFBB Pro Shaun Claridaby Andrew Berry on August 26, 2015
Andrew: Hey Guys. Today we have a special interview with Mountain Dog Client Shaun Clarida, fresh off his IFBB Vancouver Pro 212 victory. Hey Shaun. Thanks for taking the time out to do this. It’s been a week now. How does it feel?
Shaun: I feel great. I feel very relieved having now finally solidifying my spot at the Mr. Olympia 212 Showdown. I celebrated for a few days but then got right back to work.
Andrew: Now growing up, what got you into bodybuilding? Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be a bodybuilder or were you an athlete that needed something to do once sports were out of the picture?
Shaun: I grew up around the weights but never knew what bodybuilding was. I always worked out but just wanted to have abs. It wasn’t until I got into college that I met a local bodybuilder who taught me everything about the sport and he prepared me for my first contest.
Andrew: So, speaking of your first contest, I did some research on your contest history. You have been at it for a while now. You started out in the NPC and then moved over and became a professional in the INBF. After success in that organization, you switched back to the NPC. What prompted the move back? More competition? Needing another challenge?
Shaun: I had a great run with the INBF/WNBF but was ready for a bigger stage, new challenges and I wanted to finally make my run for my IFBB Pro Card. It was a very tough decision to leave being one of the top guys in the WNBF to starting from the bottom in the NPC and no guarantees of earning my pro card. However, I decided to just go for it and I’m glad I did.
Andrew: That took some So you won the Bantamweight class and your pro card at NPC Nationals in 2012 then took almost a two year break before getting onstage at your first professional show. Why the break? Did you feel there were improvements that you needed to make before competing again?
Shaun: I competed year after year with never taking a break. I was new and I needed time to improve and add a bit more muscle before stepping onto a pro stage. So this was the perfect time to do so.
Andrew: Going forward from 2014 where you placed 13th and 12th in the New York and Toronto Pro shows respectively, this year you have had steady improvements in your placing in the same shows as well as the Puerto Rico Pro show. All of this leading to your first pro victory in Vancouver. What would you attribute the improvement to? What are you doing differently?
Shaun: 2014 was a test run for me. I got my feet wet and knew what I needed to do for 2015. I hooked up with John Meadows to improve my physique and bring up lagging body parts. So the change of mindset and programs, as far as training/nutrition, allowed me to make a splash and climb the ranks this year and eventually was able to get my first pro win.
Andrew: So how did your training change when you first started working with John? Were you focusing on bringing up any body parts in particular?
Shaun: My training was particularly aimed at improving both my chest/back. We added a 2nd day for both those body parts in order to improve them. As far as my other training, it was rapidly changing week-to-week, different rep ranges, different grips, etc. These techniques really helped me make drastic improvements.
Andrew: How about your nutrition? It sounds like you have always had a fast metabolism. What changes did John make to your program?
Shaun: My diet didn’t really change much from what I’m used to. Only thing we focused on was keeping my protein sources really lean; fish, eggs, turkey. We kept a close eye on my carb intake week by week. The goal was to get leaner, so there were days where my carbs were very low and if we were too flat or way ahead of schedule, we’d bump them up a slight bit.
Andrew: So, switching back to future competitions, you are qualified for the Olympia! How does that feel and what will be your mindset over the next month and a half?
Shaun: I honestly did not expect to be competing at this year’s Olympia. The goal coming into the season was to do well enough and hopefully qualify for the 2016 Arnold Classic. Now that we have the show win under our belt and the Olympia qualification, I have accepted and mailed off my contract. My mindset is that its just another show. Thinking about the level of competition and competitors competing could impact me, so I continue to just not think about it being the Super bowl of Bodybuilding or that the world’s best athletes will be on stage with me. My mindset will be the same as it has been all year; go in at my best and give it all I got.
Andrew: And what are your plans after the Olympia? It’s been a long but productive season for you. Will you take some down time? And what about 2016? What are your goals going forward?
Shaun: I always tell myself that I’m going to take time off but knowing me, I will be right back in the gym the very next week working toward the 2016 season. I plan to send my request to compete at the 2016 Arnold Classic, which was the original plan.
Andrew: Wow, the Olympia and the Arnold Classic about 6 months apart. Just stepping on both those stages in a career is a major success. Now, a lot of guys think that once you become a professional bodybuilder, you don’t need to work a traditional job anymore and that it’s all easy street from there on out. Was this the case for you? Tell us a little bit about your home life. What do you do for work and how do you balance being a professional athlete with having a regular life?
Shaun: No Way! Getting your pro card does not mean the money will be rolling in. There are many top pros who still have to work a regular 9-5’s and do not have a sponsorship. There are very few that can survives solely off bodybuilding. I’m lucky that I have a sponsorship that pays, however, I still work part time as a trainer. It’s the best job for me because I am able to make my own schedule, which is very important for me.
I’m also very lucky that I train with my girlfriend everyday, so we are always spending time together. She is super supportive of me and my career and understands completely when things get tough or when I get into particular moods, due to the diet. We still make time to go to the movies or go to the park. I don’t want it to be just about me. I’ve made that mistake in the past and refuse to let the sport takeover my personal life.
Andrew: Shaun thanks for taking the time. I wish you the best of luck on the rest of your preparations for the Olympia and congratulations to you and John on your success this season.