Muscle-Munch talks with Celebrity Photographer: Mike Ruiz

Muscle-Munch talks with Celebrity Photographer: Mike Ruiz

How did you get started?

I started weight training when I was 20 but given that I was a model into my late 20’s, I was contractually obligated to maintain a certain weight and size. I didn’t start bulking up until 1998 when I was already in my early 30’s. This is when I got my first camera for Christmas and it immediately became the conduit for all of my creative expression.

What your diet consists of and why?

I try to eat lots of natural and healthy foods such as the ones I’ve listed below. I am sensitive to wheat and corn so I stay away from products made with either. I rarely eat simple sugars either, I’ve figured out what my body responds best too and I stick to it.

  • Kale.
  • Chicken.
  • Soy yoghurt.
  • Oats.
  • Hummus.
  • Peanut Butter.

What supplements do you use?

As of now I don’t endorse any brands so I don’t stick to any one brand-name of supplements. Like I say – my main focus is to derive my nutrition from the food I eat.  When I do have supplements however I will go for probiotics, psyllium husk, milk thistle and probolic/anabolic/anti-catabolic protein powders.

What does your current work-out routine look like?

I’m currently running a 5 day split which I really enjoy, I also try throw in 45 minutes of cardio every other day.

  • Monday: Legs & calves.
  • Tuesday: Chest.
  • Wednesday: Back.
  • Thursday: Biceps & Triceps.
  • Friday: Shoulders & Abs.
  • Saturday: REST
  • Sunday: REST

What made you get into photographing bodybuilders?

Photographing bodybuilders is a recent endeavour for me. My body of work consisted of photographing celebrities as well as advertising and editorial campaigns for fashion, beauty and cosmetics. However, I started shooting fitness models last year when I decided I wanted to do a study on the male form that was out of context with stereotypical images from those that I had seen in the past. This effort culminated in my first coffee table book ‘Pretty Masculine”. Now, word has gotten out about my work and I am contacted by body builders from all over the world, interested in having me shoot them. Never underestimate the power of word-of -mouth…(smiles)

What are your max lifts?

I don’t do any heavy lifting any more due to various injuries; I try aim for higher reps & perfect form.

How do you stay motivated?

As I’ve aged, I realize that my body doesn’t respond the way it used to when I was in my 20’s or 30’s. I metabolize my food differently and as I pushed myself hard in my 30’s I became prone to injuries. So, today, I take a more conservative approach to exercise. I make sure that I am deliberate in my movements and cardiovascular exercise is definitely a very important part of my regime. I make sure not to strain my joints and give my muscles enough time to recuperate and rebuild themselves. By the way, I am horrified when I see people lifting and using bad form. My partner and I tend to like to work out together and we spot each other. We tend to motivate one another to look our best, and as a result, we stay in shape while looking our best.

What’s your opinion on the run of the mill “Bulk & cut” way of training?

I don’t compete so I’ve never really tried to bulk or cut. My goal with working out is to just stay in shape and feel good. I maintain a weight of 216lb all year around.

What kind of cardio do you prefer? Steady state, HIIT or a mix?

Again, my cardio regime varies, depending on the day of the week. However, I always start by stretching. Then, I tend to “wail” on the eliptical for about twenty minutes to get my heart/anaerobic rate up and then I go into my workout routine. I finish up by doing 45 minutes of low impact cardio on the treadmill and then I wrap it up by doing some more stretches.

Who is your favourite bodybuilder, strongman or powerlifter?

I just photographed Antoine Vaillant who is 24 year old bodybuilder from Montreal and his body is insane for a 24 year old. He will be a big star if he continues on the path that he is on.

What music do you listen to while working out?

RuPaul, who is a good friend of mine, keeps my music fresh for me. He periodically downloads about three weeks-worth of music for me on my iPod. It contains a variety of music, but when I’m working out, I tend to listen to really high energy dance/underground music.

If you could give someone any advice, what would it be?

Eat for your metabolism. It took me a long time to figure out how to eat for my metabolism.

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