Teen Bodybuilder of the Week: Alex Morrison

Teen Bodybuilder of the Week: Alex Morrison! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

At 15 years old I was weighing in the 140's and was the biggest nerd you ever met in your life. My thing at the time was creating and running websites and computer programming, and I even had the glasses and braces to match. That was about the time my mom noticed that I had been losing weight, probably from being on the computer so much and skipping meals, and I was fed up with being skinny so I started lifting with the football team after school.

That was my first experience with free-weights, and then I joined my local YMCA soon after that. I met Thomas, who was the personal trainer on staff at the time and is now one of my best friends. He set me up with a basic workout routine on the machines and I followed that like clockwork until I had built up enough of a foundation to switch over to free-weights. That was in November of 2002 and the Y has been my home away from home ever since.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I've changed my workout routine many times since I started training. I've been through every split you can imagine and what I've found is that everyone is different, and not everyone's body will respond the same way to a particular method of training as everyone else's. Dexter Jackson only trains 3 days a week, but it works for him.

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Basically though I hit each muscle group either once or twice a week. If I'm doing everything twice a week, I'll only stay on that temporarily, and then switch back to hitting everything once a week. I try to keep my body guessing so it doesn't get used to the same workout routine, because if that happens then I'll stop seeing results. If I'm doing everything once a week, then my split will look something like this:

Arrow Once A Week Split:

I like to get at least one or two days of cardio in every week during the off-season, as opposed to almost two hours of cardio a day during the last few weeks of contest prep, so my one day out of the week that I'm off from weights in the off-season will most likely be reserved for cardio. When I hit each muscle group twice a week, my split will look something like this:

Arrow Twice A Week Split:

    Day 1: Chest, Biceps
    Day 2: Legs, Shoulders
    Day 3: Back, Triceps
    Day 4: Cardio
    Day 5: Chest, Biceps
    Day 6: Legs, Shoulders
    Day 7: Back, Triceps

This is a much tougher split for me because when I train a muscle group I like to hit it from every angle that I can, and completely exhaust it to shock it into growth, but if I have two muscle groups to train, then I can't put as much focus into each one unless I'm training twice a day, and that opportunity can be hard to come by. So when I switch to this split, it's usually to shock my body to get past a plateau.

Also if I'm on this split for several weeks, I'll usually train chest with biceps, and back with triceps for a week or two, and then switch to training chest with triceps, and back with biceps. Once again this constant change is good because your body won't grow and adapt to a method of training if you've been doing the same one forever.

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

Whether I'm in the off-season or training for a competition, I always try to get between 6 and 8 meals a day. In each meal I make sure I get a source of protein, like boiled egg whites, but usually a lean meat such as chicken or turkey, a source of complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or brown rice, and a mixture of starchy and fibrous vegetables like carrots, peas, corn, and broccoli or green beans respectively. I also love my sub sandwiches that I get from Jersey Mike's, always with whole wheat bread.

In between meals if I'm at the gym, working, or in class, I'll make sure I have a protein shake with me. If I'm training for a competition I use Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey Protein, and if I'm in the off-season I'll either use Cytosport's Muscle Milk or CytoGainer.

It can be hard to gain weight in the off-season if you're naturally lean, especially for people between the ages of 18 and 25 because of the metabolism being so high, but for what we put ourselves through in the gym, our bodies must be replenished. You can train in the gym all day but if you don't give your body what it needs to grow, you won't see any results, so never be afraid to eat.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I can't say there's one product that has contributed to the majority of my gains because I take a variety of supplements. So besides proper training and diet, I would contribute my gains to a combination of protein powders, usually from Optimum Nutrition and Cytosport, multi-vitamins like Universal's Animal Pak, amino acids from Healthy & Fit, some form of creatine and glutamine, and various pre-workout supplements like MuscleTech Gakic, which is great for a strength boost.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

To me, this is the greatest sport in the world. It challenges you not only physically in the gym but mentally most of all because it teaches you discipline, determination, patience, and through your training and diet it motivates you to be the best you can be, in every area of life and not just in the gym or on stage.

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For me, bodybuilding has given me confidence that I didn't have back in my computer nerd days, and it has taught me that if I want something, I have to work hard for it because there are no shortcuts in life. This sport has made me a better person and given me respect for the smaller things in life that most people take for granted.

I will continue bodybuilding for the rest of my life, for it will always be a part of me because I wouldn't be who I am today without it. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said perfectly, "Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body."

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

Right now I'm taking a year off to put on size for when I plan to compete again when I'm 21 in the junior division, since I'll be too old for the teen division next year. I've competed six times in three years, and recently won my first competition, the 2006 NPC Elite Muscle Classic teen division, and before that I was the runner-up by half a point for the Mr. Teen North Carolina title.

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My goal is to compete in the junior division until I win the overall, and then move on to the men's open divisions and compete until I qualify for a national competition, and if I do all of that I'll just take it from there and see what happens.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Never give up no matter how many obstacles you come across. Whether you hit plateaus in your training or if life just isn't going your way, never quit. This sport has brought me through some tough times in my life and I've learned that no matter what goes wrong, there's no better way to deal with it than to work it out in the gym and then deal with things later with a clear mind.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

I will always look up to and respect the bodybuilding legends that helped bring this sport into mainstream culture like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but my personal favorite is Ronnie Coleman, and I would like to thank him for all the support and encouragement that he's given me in answering my e-mails. He is an awesome guy, a great role model and really cares about his fans. If anyone deserves 9 Sandows it would be this man, and I hope he gets it when he comes back next year.