This week, we bring you a conversation with Sheridan Taylor. Those of you who are familiar with our blog may remember our chat with him back in November 2019, where we discussed how meal prepping has aided his training as a professional Thai Kickboxer and personal trainer. Now, with the current pandemic halting plans in many sporting arenas, we thought we would take the opportunity to catch up with him, and see what he has been up to since our last chat. As it happens, Sheridan hasn’t been letting the pandemic hold him back in the slightest! Where others may have taken the opportunity to slow down and wait for it all to blow over, our own personal Igluu ambassador decided to roll up his sleeves, pivot his attention, and move into the competitive world of bodybuilding.
So, Sheridan, things have changed quite drastically since the last time we spoke! What have you been up to? What has changed in your professional life?
Yes. The whole world is going through a massive change, so my goals and ambitions for 2020 have not gone to plan.
Since my last fight in November 2019, I have been eager to get back in the ring. I was as usual back to training within a couple of days and my mindset was on bigger and better things. After a nice, relaxed Christmas break I was back to it for the year 2020… but as you know, a lot has been affected!
I have not been able to fight due to the pandemic this year, but luckily enough I have been able to train with my brother/coach Lewis Taylor (head Coach of Minotaur’s gym) just as much, if not more throughout the first and second lockdowns in the UK.
Unfortunately, during these intense months in lockdown, trying to fuel the hunger of being ready for a fight seemed to slowly burn out and I just needed something else to set goals for.
Me and my coach sat down and agreed this would not only be better for me physically, but mentally also….This is when I found Physiques Gym in Hemel Hempstead.
When the gyms opened back up, I had a desire to get out of my home gym, and try a different environment. Luckily enough Lee-Anne from Physiques Gym contacted me through Instagram and offered for me to come down and try out the gym and gave me a free day pass, I was hooked….. I think within just 2 days I was already signed up for a month’s membership and agreed to do my first men’s physique bodybuilding show in just 6 weeks’ time… this fuelled the fire I was looking for.
A different environment, a new goal, and a new challenge!
I was/still am training like normal for Thai boxing, but when it got close to my show day I had to stop Thai-boxing for a month, mainly because my body was just burning too much for me to keep the look we wanted to bring to the stage, and I had to give 100% focus for the tasks ahead.
I ended up doing 3 back-to-back bodybuilding shows, and those who are involved with or know the sport know how hard ‘peak weeks’ are, let alone 3 back-to-back peak weeks! However, I was determined to give 100% and showcase what I had…. we ended up getting 3rd place in all shows, a ticket to the British final in 2021, and on my last show, I got my PRO card! This was beyond what I thought I could achieve, especially in 9 total weeks. The boys I was up against have been training for years, with massive experience and I come in taking first call outs, top 3, and a Pro card…. I could not be prouder of myself and those who supported me throughout. I can’t wait to show everyone what I can do for this sport. The feedback from it all has clearly shown me I have something to give to this sport, and I want to bring myself to a much higher level. With the right amount of time, I will show what I can really bring to the stage.
The following is what I achieved in those 9 weeks:
First Show PCA – Sunday 11th October 2020
PCA UK Open Juniors – 3rd Place
First Callouts and a ticket to the British finals 2021
Second Show 2Bros – Saturday 17th October 2020
2BrosPro Men’s Physique Novice – 4th Place with First call outs
2BrosPro Men’s Physique UK Open Short – 3rd Place
Third Show NFMUK – Sunday 25th October 2020
NFMUK Junior Men’s Physique – 3rd Place
NFMUK beginners UK Men’s Physique – 3rd Place
NFMUK Pro Men’s Physique Short – 3rd Place
Like I always say… I couldn’t do this without the people that support me, from my loved ones, the gym family to the randoms that wished me good luck, I am so humbled by it all.
What made you pivot to this new endeavour? And have you finished fighting for good now, or is this a temporary thing?
Being a fitness freak, I just knew in myself that even if I wasn’t able to fight, I didn’t want to let myself get off track and slack off, or fall into a dark hole because I had no set goals ahead. I thrive off hard work, no matter what it is, and I’m glad I’ve come across such a beautiful sport.
As for fighting, I would be stupid to throw away what I have in Thai boxing, I am currently UK Number 7 and hungry to get that UK Number 1 spot. Showcasing what I have loved doing since I was 10 years old. We still have the future goal ahead but unfortunately due to COVID-19; it just slowed the process down…. but defiantly not the end goal in Thai-boxing!
This new transformation that you have undergone is quite staggering to see. What kind of dietary changes had to be made to achieve such an eye-catching look?
Not a lot has changed in dietary form, in terms of the foods I eat, it was just the amount and right food sources to eat, day by day. I was lucky to have been coached by Chris Alexander (owner of Physiques Gym) who took me under his wing and studied every little aspect of me to get my diet right. He knew I am a hard worker in and out of the gym, but for this sport, the ball was in his court, and just look at what he got me to achieve.
In the simplest possible way of explaining my diet, I was eating 6 meals a day, at the exact times I was meant to, with everything weighed out to the gram. The right protein, carb & vegetable portions suited for my body and physique, for the bodybuilding world, food is fuel, it wasn’t the most spontaneous foods, because really It was a lot of chicken, rice, and veg… but if you want to achieve your goals, you need to eat and train in the right manner.
Thanks to you guys at Igluu Meal Prep, I managed to have all the right containers I needed to be able to store all my meals. This made my prep a whole lot easier and organised compared to using standard plastic take away containers!
So, you are probably wondering, what was different between a fighting diet and a bodybuilding diet? well not a lot in terms of food, but a whole lot on how much you consume and what types of sources you consume. I went from having low carb diets and as minimal meals as I could, just to keep scale weight down, this led to me always feeling hungry and actually developing an eating disorder. The truth is that the number on the scale is a false persona that can cause fighters to have a very unhealthy and unhappy food life.
During lockdown, I would feel so guilty about wanting something so simple like a bowl of cereal or a donut I would starve myself and try to burn up to 4000 calories a day (no lie… running half marathons, 2-3 hours on an exercise bike, hitting pads all in one day, etc) for that one meal that I would still feel guilty for… I was so obsessed with the weight on the scale I actually looked the worse I have in terms of body image and doing so much damage to my body due to so much exercise and not the right nutrition to replenish it.
So, when I transitioned into the bodybuilding world, I found the perfect eating proportions and moderations that were best suited to me, and it actually helped me look amazing and not put on too much weight (something that that I thought might happen). I stepped on stage only 4kg above my fight weight, but looking 15kg bigger. It was insane for me to see how bad my eating disorder was and how I was not fuelling my body well enough.
I owe a lot to the Physiques Gym family and I must give credit where credit is due, Chris is an amazing coach and I have developed a new long-lasting friendship because of his belief in me and the sport. I am proud to represent Physiques Gym in Hemel Hempstead.
What does your exercise regime consist of now, and how does it differ from fight training?
As it stands, I am incorporating both fight training and weight training every day, Monday to Saturday with rest days on Sundays. This has progressively shown an increase in strength, conditioning, fitness, and explosiveness…. I have never felt so good.
The difference between this new plan and my old fight plan is literally just the weight lifting. I was scared to implement weight training to my fight training because I was worried I would stiffen up or become slow, but making sure I’m getting the right balance from both has only increased my skills.
Which have you found to be more of a challenge, training for bodybuilding, or training for fights?
Both are incredibly challenging and those who dedicated themselves to the sport have my respect. Not only does it test you in the sport but your outside life too, if you don’t have the balance for the love of the sport and your personal life it can cause more problems than good, so for me it was a challenge to make everyone around me happy as well as myself.
If I had to pick which one is more challenging in terms of fight prep and stage prep, then defiantly fighting. Imagine knowing you’re prepping for a fight to go head-to-head with someone that is also wanting to win and take your head off, as well as trying to train to your maximum potential, while starving yourself, dehydrating yourself, and going to death’s door to cut weight with zero energy... to me nothing has compared to that physical and mental battle.
Personally, I found it was a luxury to lift weights and eat 6 big meals a day to look great and step on stage without having to come home in absolute pain, my body bruised and battered, struggling to sleep from having an absolute war with someone for 15 mins in a ring.
The best thing I found out, was no matter what consequences and sacrifices that comes with the sports, the glory and reward feel the same. Hard work shows and no one can take that away from you.
Do you have any advice for those who may wish to follow in your footsteps, or at the very least may wish to attain a physique closer to yours?
My advice to anyone that wants to better themselves is to do it for you and you only. You are the only obstacle in the way of achieving what you want to achieve. Ignore the naysayers, and do not look back.
I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who believe in me, a real family not only from blood, I work hard to achieve my goals not only for me but for them too, without those people, it’s a lonely road, so always be humble and appreciate those who are there through thick and thin.
Finally, everyone’s look, life, and goals are different. It’s good to see people’s success and how they got there but don’t ever get off track of your own path.
What does the immediate future for you hold? With all the current global issues at play, what is in the pipeline for you?
Like always, my goals are set and I’m forever chipping away for that number 1 spot in Thai boxing, adding titles to my name and making myself a well-known fighter around the world.
As for bodybuilding, I’ve already set the goal and will be looking to compete again in 18 weeks with an improved physique, looking for my 1st place spot. Chris and I knew this would be the road, and as soon as I finished my last show, we were straight on track to be better and ready for 2021. I look forward to continuing with Chris and Physiques Gym ready for the 2021 season.
With this global pandemic still in the way and things changing daily, I have no idea when I will be fighting or if shows will still go ahead in 2021, but one thing is for sure…. I will be ready
Has COVID-19 made much of a difference to your training? Has training outside of the gym been difficult during periods of lockdown?
I have been privileged to have my own fully functional boxing gym and weight gym, so when I wasn’t able to get down to my Thai boxing club (Minotaur Gym) or Weight lifting club (Physiques Gym) my training is never effected.
Do not get me wrong, nothing compares to being in that gym atmosphere with your teammates around you, training hard, pushing you as much as you push them, and bouncing off everyone’s energy. So not having that during lockdown was a struggle but I am always in contact with the people I surround myself with, making sure everyone is okay and everyone is continuing to train.
Just remember that the only time you are actually growing and improving is when you are uncomfortable, so pushing yourself when you are most uncomfortable is a different mindset you have got to unlock to push towards your goals and dreams.
I always find time to get training in. Training is my remedy, and without it I would go insane. Some people see training as a chore, but it is my lifestyle and if I could train every second of the day I would.
Do you have any current meal prepping favourites that are particularly good at building muscle mass?
Whole foods work best for me, so being able to just eat clean, fresh ingredients is a favourite of mine. I find that sticking to foods that you find you can eat over and over again without getting sick of it works best. You have got to incorporate what your body works best with, so for me, I find that chicken or fish is something I enjoy eating, and different seasonings and ways of cooking them also spices things up.
I do incorporate cheat meals and supplements when need be as this helps trick my system into thinking food is plentiful and that it is okay to burn through fat stores, I find that when I do end up having my cheat meal, it helps me reset my urge, get back to eating healthy whole foods, and spike my hormones that are responsible for my metabolism. insulin regulation and replenishment of my glycogen levels.