Martin Luther King Addo: An Interview With The Ashanti Warrior!

Formerly from Ghana, West Africa, New York’s resident Mr Muscle-Mania, Martin Luther King Addo, is a bodybuilder going places. Keep a close eye on Addo as he reaches for the top in future bodybuilding competitions.
Formerly from Ghana, West Africa, New York's resident Mr Muscle-Mania, Martin Luther King Addo, is a bodybuilder going places. In 2002 and 2003, Addo won the welterweight and middleweight divisions respectively at the Muscle-Mania Atlantic.

This year he won the overall with a perfectly packaged presentation of superbly conditioned muscle. Addo, who likes to be called the Ashanti Warrior as a sign of respect for his tribal heritage, is also a model, actor and personal fitness consultant who speaks four languages.

Despite (or perhaps because of) his recent successes, Addo considers winning the Mr. Ghana in 1995 and 1996 his greatest bodybuilding moment: testimony to a proud Ghanian son. I recently had an opportunity to talk to Addo, and found him to be a fascinating man with an illuminating story to tell.

Keep a close eye on Addo as he reaches for the top in future bodybuilding competitions.

The Interview

[ Q ] Hi Addo. What are you doing these days.

    Personal training, updating my website, attending yoga & massage classes, photo-shoots, giving massages and in a bulking phase of my present training cycle.

[ Q ] Busy guy. What age were you when you began bodybuilding and how old are you now?

    Began at 18, I'm 34 now.

[ Q ] How tall are you and what do you plan on weighing at your next contest Addo?

    5'10", and will be 190 at next show!

[ Q ] So what are your current competition goals?

    I will begin competing on the Muscle-mania "PRO" circuit later this year worldwide. I hope to represent Ghana someday in the NABBA Mr. Universe in the U.K.

[ Q ] These are some pretty impressive goals. What motivated you to begin bodybuilding in the first place. Did anyone inspired you to become a bodybuilder?

    Motivated & inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger in his movie " Commando".

[ Q ] Interestingly enough you are named after great civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Tell me about this naming.

    My dad was a great admirer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Ghanians and Africans in general, and by giving me his name it was his way of honouring Dr. King.

[ Q ] Although you were named after the great African American Dr. King, and have lived in the USA for some time, I am assuming you are still close to your tribal roots. In fact, you refer to yourself as the Ashanti Warrior. Were you raised to be a warrior in Ghana? What are your tribal connections?

    I am a member of the Ashanti tribe and was raised in the Ashanti traditions. As a child I was instructed in the Ashanti traditional dance "Adua" and I danced in the royal court in Kumasi for our King many times.

    My 1st language was Twi, the language of the Ashanti. I was taught Ashanti fighting techniques with swords and spears so as to one day be able to protect and defend our king and the whole royal court.

[ Q ] Does the Ashanti traditional dancing (Adua style), enhance you posing ability?


[ Q ] Judging from your recent web-site photos, you are supremely well balanced and conditioned physically. Do you find it hard to achieve this level of conditioning?

    It has been very difficult for me to maintain and increase muscle size. I'm always ripped and vascular by nature and due to my African based eating habits.

[ Q ] What weight training methods do you employ to get into this type of shape, and how often do you train?

    Off season I train 3x per week focusing on basic power-lifting movements, pre-season I train 5x per week with many super-sets, more dumbbells, and isolation movements.

[ Q ] What is your approach to aerobic training? What do you recommend?

    I need less than most people, but I highly recommend 3 aerobic sessions per week for cardiovascular and weight control benefits.

[ Q ] If you are ripped and vascular, as you say, by nature, and find that you need less aerobic training than average, how do you diet? Do you have a pre-contest phase?

    My diet doesn't change. I continually strive to ingest more protein and complex carbs with six feedings per day.

[ Q ] Speaking of diet, Ghanian foods seem to be very nutrient dense. Are you able to maintain some aspects of this diet today?

    I switched from African yams and cassava (yuca) to sweet potatoes and white potatoes. I still eat a lot of rice, usually brown rice in the USA. I have switched from corn based Ghanian porridge to oatmeal. I eat a lot more eggs here and have added cottage cheese, steak, and whole wheat bread to my diet here as well as pasta.

[ Q ] In terms of health, how does the traditional Ghanaian lifestyle compare to that of the West?

    Much more stress here (in the US) which can lead to health problems. Luckily I have discovered yoga here for internal-health and emotional well-being as well as flexibility.

[ Q ] The Ashanti are well known as fierce fighters. Do you apply this tribal fierceness, or aggressiveness, to your training and attitude to life in general?

    We are also a gentle, focused and patient people. We developed the reputation for fierceness because of our bravery in defending our kingdom from the attacking British. The Ashanti culture is my foundation and I am very proud of my people and our accomplishments. I live my life in such a way that I strive to be a proud son of the Ashanti Nation.

[ Q ] What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in life?

    Winning Mr. Ghana.

[ Q ] You won Mr Ghana in 1995 and 96. How did you train and diet at that particular point in time? Do you do anything differently today? If so, what?

    At that time, all I knew about training and dieting I learned from magazines I bought. Today my training and diet is based on knowledge I have gained from many different sources.

    I should also add that in Ghana my diet was low in protein because meat, dairy product and eggs were too expensive most of the time. The only supplement I could afford then was cod liver oil. I had to trade the clothes on my back and my shoes for milk! We ate a lot of fish and I lived near the ocean!

[ Q ] Do you have any disappointing career moments?

    Going to L.A. to compete in my Muscle-mania and being disqualified due to the late arrival of Tower Air.

[ Q ] What do you consider to be your strong points (physically and attitudinal)?

    Physical stamina and great genetics. Attitude-wise, my optimism and positive attitude. I'm also very hard working, not lazy.

[ Q ] Sounds like you have all of the ingredients to do very well Addo. Any weak points though?

    Calves, but they're coming along much better for me. Weight gain is a continual challenge as are training injuries.

[ Q ] Among the current crop of professional bodybuilders, who do you consider to be physically the most impressive?

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone starting a bodybuilding program?

    Stick to the basic multi-joint exercises and be patient.

[ Q ] Any final comments?

    A special thank you to my mentor, David Lazik in NYC and my talented webmaster in Montreal, Robert Burch. Thanks too, to all my fans and admirers for your love & support, especially a sponsor in Tacoma, WA., Mr. George Cabe.

Thank you very much for time Addo. Do you have a final message for bodybuilding enthusiasts worldwide?

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