We talked with Aaron Charles Mossadeg in April, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, my name is Aaron Charles Mossadeg and I’m a 27-year-old actor from Singapore.
When I started working out in November 2011, I didn’t think I’d achieve any of what I have today. I was a very skinny kid growing up but football in school and skateboarding out of school kept me lean and athletic.
I only decided to hit the gym to get back in shape after I saw myself slowly but surely becoming skinny fat and, with the inevitable conscription into two-year National Service looming large. Of course, I was also motivated by seeing my other skinny friend develop some abs while I had lost mine and wanting to look better for the ladies.
My friends taught me a basic split covering bench press, inclined bench press, overhead press, pull ups, lat pulldowns, bentover rows but I was quite hesitant and reluctant so I refused to diet or workout any more than I had promised. I even had to be persuaded into learning the daunting Deadlift.
I learnt that pain equated to growth and I looked forward to the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after each workout because it was evidence that I had tortured my muscles enough for them to grow. I quickly got addicted to it and even bugged my friends whenever I wasn’t sore.
Within months, there was a gradual change to my physique and I was one step closer to that Brad-Pitt-in-Fight-Club look that many young men sought after. People started to take notice and I received a lot of compliments and this set me up to take full responsibility for my newfound lifestyle.
I did a lot of research on my own, created my own regime and hit the gym on my own to achieve my own personal goal: To achieve a balanced, aesthetic physique that was popularized by the likes of Zyzz, Marc Fitt, Frank Zane and Jeff Seid.
And that’s probably the most beautiful thing about bodybuilding or working out: It’s You vs You. You can’t buy it, inherit it, borrow it or steal it.
Years later, I’m now an actor and commercial model who’s known for his physique on top of his ability and work ethic, and I inspire others to follow my path. Like Zyzz said, “We’re all gonna make it”.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
While I neglected my legs for a lot longer than I’m proud of, the biggest turning point for me came in 2016 when I got the role of a university student who basically lived in the gym.
This required me to get my shit together, add another day to my regime, make squats a staple in my routine and consume more calories than I wanted just to bulk up to the appropriate size.
And this is when I created my best regime so far. To date, several friends of mine have also found success with this easy, balanced split.
- Day 1: Bench Press 5×5, Inclined Dumbbell Press 3×10, Cable Flys 3×10 (dropset at the end), Barbell Bicep Curls 3×10, Dumbbell Curls/Preacher Curls/Spider Curls 3×10 (dropset at the end).
- Day 2: Deadlifts 5×5, Bentover Rows 3×10, Lat Pulldowns/Pull Ups 3×10 (dropset at the end), Overhead Tricep Cable Extensions 3×10, Tricep Cable Extensions 3×10 (dropset at the end).
- Day 3: Squats 5×5, Overhead Press 5×5, Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3×10, Side Lateral Raises 3×10 (dropset at the end), Leg Press 3×10, Calf Raises 3×10.
In 2019, I decided to lose the bulk that I had gained in 2016/17 because it was limiting some of the roles that I could do, and I didn’t want to look stiff on screen so I’ve been focusing more on strength via four big, compound lifts with as little volume as possible along with arms to achieve a leaner, aesthetic look.
- Day 1: Deadlifts, Bench Press, Barbell Curls, Dumbbell Curls.
- Day 2: Squats, Overhead Press, Overhead Tricep Cable Extensions, Tricep Cable Extensions.
I’m currently chasing a higher 1RM but it’s admittedly tough when I’m restricting my overall size and therefore strength. Although I am enjoying how the smaller details like diet and form become increasingly important when you do heavier, more intense lifts because it really forces you to perfect your form and overall approach so that you can achieve that 1 single repetition.
Once in a while, I change it up to a more hypertrophy based routine to break the monotony and work on the other surrounding muscles with different exercises like Inclined Dumbbell Presses and Bentover Rows: in my opinion the best back exercise after Deadlifts.
I still play football so that helps with the cardio a little and I do a variety of other sports for a holistic regime like Muay Thai, rock climbing and skateboarding.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I think that we have to decide for ourselves what we can commit to and never fall short of that. Like if you can only do twice a week for an hour at a time, then sure. But stick to it.
However, if you know that you have to skip one day in your weekly regime, have the flexibility to adjust it so that you don’t skip one muscle group all together and you still have a well-balanced workout for the week. Even if you can only hit the gym once that week, do a full-body workout!
I think that the idea of “skipping” a workout easily leads down the slippery slope of giving up and having a routine is very important when it comes to bodybuilding because the mind and body react the best to it.
With that in mind, it’s also very important to have clear goals because then you can plan how you will achieve these goals and it will become more evident that each workout in the regime is taking you one step closer to them.
Through my routine, I want to be moving forward with each workout and that is motivation enough for me. So I know what I need to do to hit those marks.
Also, I’ve learnt that dragging my lazy butt to the gym and having a bad workout is far better than not working out at all.
Sometimes, I feel lazy and unmotivated but the first few warm up sets are enough to get the blood and endorphins rushing and I feel so much better by the time I leave the gym.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
In 2018, I became a qualified personal trainer under the National Council of Strength & Fitness (NCSF) in order to improve on my knowledge and pass it on to anyone who wants to improve themselves the way I did because I feel like the gym has given me so much in life physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I don’t have much time to actively train people so I use my platform as an actor to educate and inspire.
In the future, I hope that I can do more like guest write for fitness magazines and be an advocate for fitness in whatever capacity I’m deemed fit for.
And, personally, I’d love to maintain an aesthetic physique for as long as I live and prove that age is just a number and a convenient excuse for the lazy. Hopefully, I’ll hit all my 1RM goals before then.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
First of all, I think that everyone needs to learn that it’s not about the weight you move. It’s about how you move it. Ego lifting leads to injuries; plain and simple. Proper form and having a solid warm up is key for prevention.
I did, however, injure my right meniscus in 2017 while playing football and I had to take some time off any exercises that required my knee to be healthy.
I slowly worked around it and started to do some lightweight exercises as physiotherapy to strengthen the joint once it felt ready.
Patience is key and we must neither give up all together nor rush the recovery process. We’re in this for the long haul, not for immediate gratification.
And this lifestyle is supposed to make us healthier and stronger as we get older, not give us more physical and financial worry.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
When I was a skinny kid, I had very high metabolism so I didn’t have to be very strict on what I ate but I instead had to force myself to eat whatever I could to hit a high caloric count in order to put on mass. Now, I have a high muscle percentage so my metabolism is still high and I can afford to be quite lax on my diet.
However, I practice some basic rules like not consuming two carb-heavy meals in a day, consuming more protein than the average person, having most of my carbs as fuel before a workout on my active days, choosing complex carbs over simple carbs whenever I can, and generally being mindful of excessive sugar, processed foods, oil and fat.
Once in a while, to reset my system and lower both my subcutaneous and visceral fat, I do intermittent fasting.
A week or two before a photoshoot or scene where I need to be at my most ripped, I use water manipulation as well as drastically restrict my carbs to before a workout, restrict sugar to only coffee, and avoid all processed foods.
I’m currently taking MyProtein whey protein and MyProtein BCAA.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I was initially inspired by my friends who brought me to the gym but I quickly realized that we had different goals so I looked up to bodybuilders who went from scrawny to aesthetic like Zyzz and Marc Fitt.
Zyzz’s Guide To Bodybuilding was one of the best reads I ever had when it comes to working out and I recommend it to all beginners. Arnold’s Blueprint on YouTube is another must-watch from the legend and GOAT himself, and I think that it really simplifies the approach especially for newbies who might get caught up in all the fancy workouts and equipment.
I’m inspired and motivated by those around me who want to be better and put in the work to do so as well as those who ask me for advice. It’s a constant reminder of what I did to achieve what I have to day, and that I must never stop paying my dues.
Special mention to Jeff Cavaliere at Athlean-X for being hands down the best source of no-bullshit information on YouTube. That man has dedicated his life to sculpting his body and sharing his wealth of knowledge with millions without financial gain, and he is a huge inspiration.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
- Be consistent.
- Be patient. Stick to a program for at least six months once you’ve found one that suits your goals. They all work if you give them enough time.
- Leave your ego at the door. You’ll accomplish a lot more by slowly lifting a light weight with the right muscle than recklessly swinging a heavy weight using momentum.
- Warm up.
- Have a crystal clear goal and work backwards to where you are now. Create a detailed roadmap on how you will achieve this goal.
- You can’t go wrong with the classic lifts.
- Have a well-rounded regime and do not neglect lagging muscle groups.
- Unless you are using pre-exhaustion, start with the big, compound exercises then work your way down to the more isolated exercises to finish off the muscle. E.g.: Bench Press -> Inclined Dumbbell Press -> Cable Flys.
- Always improve yourself with advice and information from trusted sources like Athlean X who use actual science.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
No, I haven’t had time to officially coach or train anyone since early 2019.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?