Serkan Cetin: How The German & Turkish National Champion Developed His Physique.

An interview with national champion Serkan Cetin. See how he prepares for the competition season and what activities he enjoys in the off-season.
The attainment of a muscular physique is something most people visiting this site would want to achieve. The ways in which to go about this are subject to many theories and much speculation - many look for a quick answer, only to find that none exist. Indeed. Many potential champions give up on the bodybuilding goals in frustration due to unwillingness to commit themselves over the long term.

The one certainty in bodybuilding seems to be the role consistency, trial and error play in formulating an effective training, dietary approach, and the developing of a world class physique. One man who has discovered the importance of consistency is Germanys Serkan Cetin.

A weight trainer for nearly 20-years, and former Tae Kwon Do champion, Serkan, 31, displays one of the finest physiques in the world. The Dusseldorf natives overall goal was to become one of the bodybuilding's best - he has achieved this with his placing of 2nd in the 2002 IFBB World Championships as well as the titles of Turkish National Champion (four-times) and German National Champion.

Serkan believes there are no secrets to developing a championship physique, just hard work and a great training and dietary regime - things he has perfected over the years. I recently learned of Serkans bodybuilding strategy, and noted its progression, and the corresponding improvements he has made. Learn how Serkan developed his body today.


[ Q ] Hi Serkan. You are just beginning to become famous for your Bodybuilding achievements in the US. Tell the readers about yourself and your bodybuilding philosophy.

    A: I'm the youngest of three children, all boys. During my childhood I tried several sports, from soccer and judo to gymnastics (matwork). At the age of 12 years I came to Tae-kwon-do which I kept doing and where I wanted to compete. I was able to succeed pretty soon and among other titles became national champion in school. I was always very ambitious and had a strong volition.

    Everything I did I gave 100% and wanted to be the best!

    One day a friend of mine took me to the gym of the Dusseldorfer Rheinstadion (A big Stadium which had a little weight-room), where I started my first training with weights.

    I wanted to get stronger for my Martial arts. I liked the feeling from the beginning, so you could find me in the gym every weekend while still pursuing Tae-Kwon-Do.


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    However, after two-three months I visited a small gym in Ratingen which inspired me because it had a huge variety of machines as well as dumbbells and barbells compared to the other gym.

    The rapid development of my body was so exiting that I decided to quit martial arts in favor of bodybuilding. Now nothing could stop me and I trained six-days a week with maximum intensity. After two years of training I made my first appearances on stage.


[ Q ] What is your height, age, and current weight and measurements?

    A: I'm 169cm high and I don't know my measurements, because the only important thing for me is what I see in the mirror.


[ Q ] Where were you born and where do you currently live?

    A: I was born on 10.03.1973 in Dusseldorf, Germany and live in Ratingen on the outskirts from Dusseldorf.


[ Q ] You made some significant gains in muscle size from 1991 through to 2003. Please outline the processes you followed to make these improvements. Exactly what improvements have you made?

    A: The most important thing that helped me to make these improvements are in my head. It all began in my head. The motivation, ambition, endurance, and volition that brings me forward. This is the most important thing.

The nutrition and the training are the next points that were necessary on my way up. This all in combination with continuous help to bring me the results I have seen in the last few years. Private balance is also very important for me!


[ Q ] What are your current competition goals? What is your ultimate bodybuilding goal?

    A: My goal was and is still to be one of the best in my sport! To reach this, I will give my best and I hope in five years to reach this goal. I also want to be a successful fitness model, because I think there will be much more money to earn as a bodybuilder in this area.

    I'm only 100% focused to my next targets and don't waste my mind on targets that are so far away. The participation at the Mr. O is a result of being successful to reach the targets and a worthwhile goal.


[ Q ] What has been your biggest bodybuilding achievement? What has been your most disappointing moment?

    A: I didn't know exactly what the biggest achievement was, but my first victory (overall winner) in the men's class, I was only 21 years old. That was a great moment for me.

    I had a lot of disappointments in my career, so I couldn't say which was the biggest.

    For me the disappointments were very important to make me and my mind stronger. This is was one factor that has brought me forward. Every disappointment is a motivation for me to come back better and stronger.


[ Q ] Please outline your competitive history.

    A: Since 1991 I compete in over 60 competitions! In this time I experienced also many defeats! The most important victories are: 4 x IFBB Turkish national champion, 2 x IFBB German national champion and runner up (after doping test) at the IFBB World Championships in 2002.


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[ Q ] What other interests do you have? Do you do anything to support your bodybuilding endeavors or are you exclusively a bodybuilder?

    A: The most important thing for me is, that my life is not only bodybuilding and that I'm not thinking the whole day about this sport. Other interests are good for mind balance!

    Some interests of mine are my cats, collecting old comics, the computer and of course the time with my family. Several themes in culture, science and history are also interesting for me.


[ Q ] Describe your current training routine. What are your favorite exercises and body-parts?

    A: I get the best results with a four-day/week split!

    My Present Trainings Split Follows:

    Similar to my nutrition, training has continued to develop. I use medium heavy to heavy weights with the reps between 6-12. I prefer to do at least two heavy exercises in every session in the range of 6-8 reps. for larger muscles groups I do 8-10 sets (warm-up included) and for smaller muscle groups I do six sets.

    I always aim to give 100% in all my workouts. This gives me a feeling satisfaction. I train with high intensity all year round. I have no problems with overtraining; I give my body enough time for recovery and the necessary nutrients.

    My favorite exercises are chest and back.

What Rep Range Has Given You The Best Gains?

2-4 Reps.
4-6 Reps.
6-8 Reps.
8-10 Reps.
10-12 Reps.
12-14 Reps.


[ Q ] How did you train when you began bodybuilding? How has this changed?

    A: In the beginning, I trained with very high volume and duration. I trained six times a week and often for more than two hours. Similar to my nutrition, my training has continued to develop until today (medium heavy to heavy weights with reps between 6-12).

    I prefer to do at least two heavy exercises in every session in the range of 6-8 reps. For large muscles groups I do 8-10 sets (warm-up included) and for smaller ones I do six.


[ Q ] How much weight do you gain in the off-season? What is your reason for gaining this weight? Do you think off-seasons are important?

    A: My off-season weight is between 94-96 kg mostly. I must not stay all year in good shape but I am. I do nothing special for that. No diet as I mostly eat "clean" food. I try to eat more and junk food also in off season, but don't get really get a bulk look.


[ Q ] Describe your current diet. What are you favorite pre-contest foods?

    A: When preparing for a contest, the goal of a bodybuilder is to shed as much body fat as possible while at the same time maintaining the muscle mass that has been built over many years.

    One mistake which I have made in the beginning as a competitive bodybuilder was that I gained too much weight between contests, which forced me to lose up to 26 pounds. This was a hard and debilitating task. Nowadays I weigh just a few pounds more than my actual contest weight and as I record every contest diet, try to improve myself constantly and avoid old mistakes in the future.

    Usually I begin my diet 12 weeks out. Every two weeks I reduce my carbohydrate uptake and simultaneously increase my protein consumption. Dairy products are eliminated from my menu 8 weeks before the contest. Six weeks out I substitute pasta for rice and I avoid protein powders.

    During this phase the only food I consume includes chicken breast, egg white, rice, oatmeal, nuts, tomatoes, salad and some vegetables. Due to the fact that I am only a few pounds away from my contest weight I reduce my carbs slowly.

    While ensuring enough calories, I am able to keep my good mood and maintain sufficient strength for the hard workouts.


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[ Q ] In your opinion, what is the best way to get in competition shape? What is your view on aerobic training and fat-burning supplements?

    A: The best way to get in competition shape is for me to usa a combination of low carb, high protein, moderate essential fats and aerobic training.

    Most fat burning supplements are not good, but some can force the fat burning.


[ Q ] What is your view on supplements in general? Which ones do you use and why?

    A: I use various supplements and find them effective for adding muscle.

    My Basic Supplements Are:

    Everyone should look to ensure they eat adequate amounts of protein by using protein powders. This is the easiest and most efficient way to provide your body high quality protein. Creatine is another product that I feel provides excellent results. Glutamine is good for regeneration.


[ Q ] Who is your favorite bodybuilder and why?

    A: I didn't have one favorite bodybuilder. I liked the bodybuilders from the end of 80's and beginning of the 90's very much.

    There where athletes with absolute muscularity especially, and charismatic bodies, especially Lee Haney, Lee Labrada, Berry De Mey andShawn Ray (I heard he will compete again). Most of them had a big personality what I miss today. Read Shawn Ray's latest interview here.

    The body looked much more different. Today most of the pro's have the same look, with no charisma (not all). I see myself with the same body type (from the present bodybuilders) as Melvin Anthony, Richard Jones and Jaroslav Horvath, therefore it is understandable that I prefer these type of athletes.


[ Q ] What is your view on the future of bodybuilding? Do you think it will ever be accepted by mainstream society as a legitimate sport?

    A: I think, after I saw the NOC results, that this is the right time for a change in our sport. Away from these pure mass and weight to the combination of mass, symmetry, proportion and definition.


[ Q ] What are your strengths and weaknesses? Is there anything you would like to improve on?

    A: The best qualities are my symmetry, proportions, charisma and posing routine. My chest and legs are strengths. I want to improve my back and my triceps.


[ Q ] Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

    A: My goal was, and is still, to be one of the best in my sport! To reach this I will give my best and I hope in five-years I reach this goal. Also, I want to be a successful fitness model, because I think there will be much more money to earn as a bodybuilder.


[ Q ] Is there anyone you would like to thank for supporting you in your endeavours?

    A: I want to thank god, my family and all the friends and people that helped me in my career in the past and in the future.


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[ Q ] Is there anything you would like to add?

    A: I'm really pleased and proud of this interview. I like the USA and the people there very much (I was there for the first time last year in October).

    I did some advertisements in US magazines and a lot of people know me there from boards and my website. So at this time I have a lot fans there. I think this is good for me to give more information about myself and get more popular in the USA. Thank you very much for this chance.

    All the best to all readers.