Chad Shaw (Natural Bodybuilder) – A/k/a The Natural One! Interview with

August 18, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug, Video Interviews

Learn how he got ripped, bulked up and stayed ripped!

Chad Shaw is a natural bodybuilder who also goes by the name of…

The Natural One

Which is one of the key reasons why I wanted to get him over on the site, because he is living proof that you can build lean muscle mass, bulk up and more importantly, keep your definition.

Oh yea, he also maintains his physique along side demanding profession, like most of you here!

What you will learn!

  • Why adversity is your friend
  • Why no one can get in the way of your goals
  • The benefits of the fitness and bodybuilding lifestyle
  • If my Train Insane concept really works?
  • How Chad has fun with fitness?

About Chad Shaw

Chad Shaw is a fitness column writer and natural bodybuilder (Since 1984).


  • 1991 Mr. Wisconsin teenage division champion.
  • 1995 Midwest Wisconsin Natural heavyweight champion.
  • 1996 Midwest Wisconsin 2nd place light-heavyweight.
  • 2000 Team Universe 3rd place heavyweight.
  • 2004 Midwest Wisconsin 2nd place light heavyweight
  • 2006 Mr. Wisconsin (A non drug tested show) 6th place out of 16 in the light heavyweight class.
  • Most recently –  A finalist in the spokes model search and appeared in bodybuilding.coms magazine ads
  • Was featured in Planet Muscle magazine and has been chosen for the cover of World Physique magazine. Most recently, he was named Mr.March on

Side Body

Angled Bicep

Slim Waist Line

Mid Body

Outer Arm Pose

Upper Arm and Shoulder

Chest and Abs

Standing Relaxed



(Click images to enlarge)


Connect with Chad

Chad on Facebook

Chad on Bodyspace

The Interview


Stay-Fit Bug: One of the most recently discussed topics here is the challenge to build muscle (which requires carbs) and keep the body fat percentage down at the same time. One of the key reasons why I wanted to interview you was because of your excellent display of muscle definition (and bulk) and display of very little body fat. How have you managed to overcome this challenge?


Chad Shaw: First off, thank you for the kind words. Carbohydrates have really gotten a bad rap in the bodybuilding and fitness industry as of late. The truth is, carbohydrates aren’t the boogey-men that so many people in this industry make them out to be. Where people run into trouble gaining body-fat from carbohydrates is in their timing. If you ingest the wrong carbohydrates at the wrong time of day you will encourage fat gain. If you ingest them at the right time you will increase the anabolic activity in your body and experience better muscle gains and recovery.

High Glycemic carbs like simple sugars, cold cereal, white rice, potatoes, and bread, to name a few, are great carbs to ingest right after an intense workout when glycogen levels are depleted. Doing so will cause a dramatic insulin spike which will reload the muscles with glycogen and drive essential amino acids into the muscle cells to support recovery and growth. Now, should you ingest these types of carbs in the middle of the day if you’re sitting behind a desk at work, or at night time before bed, then these high glycemic carbs are your worst enemy because they will spike insulin levels, which will drive the sugars directly into the fat cells since it is unlikely the body will be depleted of glycogen at these times.

Sugar is actually toxic to our nervous system, so that when sugar enters our blood, our body must do something with it to avoid toxicity. It will use that sugar for immediate energy, which is what you need right after a workout, or, if it doesn’t need that sugar for energy, it will store it as fat very rapidly.

During the early part of the day, I will take in just enough low glycemic index carbs, like fibrous, whole grains and green leafy vegetables to maintain my energy levels and stave off hunger. Activity levels play a big part of how many carbohydrates you require in a day. I sit on my butt at work all day so there are some days I may not take in over 60 grams of carbs. My body doesn’t require it. I wouldn’t suggest this practice to a construction worker or landscaper though. These jobs are much more physical and some of those guys may need to take 400-600 grams of carbs in a day.

Stay-Fit Bug: That last point is important for sure, which is why I encourage individuals to analyze their lifestyle first when they come to me with their struggles.

Stay-Fit Bug: What special dieting tips would you give to those who are struggling to keep their body fat percentage down?

Chad Shaw: I always tell people to take in small but frequent meals (at least 5 per day), consisting of quality, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low glycemic index carbohydrates. All too often people try to lose fat by only eating 1 or 2 meals per day. Doing so will lead to a metabolic melt-down! When you go long periods without eating, the hypothalamus in our brain will release chemicals to heighten the sensitivity of the fat cells so that when we do eat, more of the nutrients we consume will be stored as fat!

This is a primitive survival mechanism our bodies are equipped with to protect us from being malnourished. Also when we don’t get enough nutrition, the body will metabolize its own muscle for a protein source which will cause your metabolism to slow down even more. Muscle loss is what you don’t want if you’re trying to lose fat! If your goal is to lean out, then your aim should be to add more muscle to your frame!

Stay-Fit Bug: That is one of the core rules fast metabolism building, yet I still meet people that simply do not believe in following that. Thank you for being yet another person that helps in setting us straight!


Stay-Fit Bug: I know you suffered from injuries, as described on your Bodyspace profile…

  • Ruptured discs in your spine due to a severe back injury
  • Scoliosis
  • A ruptured bicep tendon
  • Ulnar nerve damage
  • A torn rotator cuff
  • An absent an anterior cruciate ligament
  • A medial meniscus in one knee which resulted in many dislocations and cartilage tears that required surgery and then also your opposite leg was 4 inches longer than the other leg which also required intense surgery to correct.

But how did they all come about and how exactly has bodybuilding helped with the recovery of those injuries?

Chad Shaw: Well the scoliosis, being born without an anterior cruciate ligament on top of having a deformed knee, and also being born with a 4 inch, leg length difference, were all due to bad luck of the draw! This was the hand I was dealt and this is what I’ve had to live with. The other injuries came about as a result of me being stupid and refusing to listen to my body.

For example, the ruptured disks came about when I was in 7th grade, from me trying to lift weights that were way too heavy for me, using crappy form, and not stopping when I felt pain. When I began lifting at the age of 11, I just hit the ground running! I wanted to lift the world like right now, and didn’t consider being careful because of my physical idiosyncrasies so I paid the price for it.

The ulnar nerve damage came about when I was 21 years old and thought it would be cool to be a professional arm wrestler. Actually it was. I loved doing it, and I won every single tournament I ever competed in. After doing it for 1 year I began to have allot of pain in the inside of my elbow and also numbness and tingling in my hand. I went to a sports medicine doctor who examined me and told me I just had tendonitis, and that I could continue arm wrestling, and just to ice my arm good after tournaments. I took his advice and kept arm wrestling even though the pain kept growing worse. I didn’t care how bad it hurt, I would rip my own arm off before I would let anyone beat me, that’s just the mind set I had. I continued winning tournaments another 6 months until finally I realized something else had to be seriously wrong with my arm and I had to quit. I went back to the doctor and demanded that they do an MRI and they finally did. The results were terrible! The doctor said my alnar nerve was severely damaged to the point where it could never heal and that it would just deteriorate and I would lose normal muscle function of my hand and forearm and never be capable of lifting heavy again.

The rotator cuff injury came as a result of over training. I loved to bench press! I was the king of that exercise at my gym, so I did it too often, not allowing enough recovery time between workouts. Again I ignored the warning signs of my body and paid the price.

Last but not least, I was in the middle of an arm workout one day kissing some 90 lb dumbbells doing inclined dumbbell curls when one of those dumbbells kissed my ass as I heard a loud snap while I was hoisting up my 5th repetition, then suddenly I felt my shoulder drop way down, and my bicep began swelling, and balling up like soft ball. By the next day my bicep was all black and blue, and was swollen up huge! I went to the doctor and discovered that I had a complete rupture of my proximal bicep tendon. The doctor people with that injury normally don’t get it fixed because they often lose more strength post surgery. I let it go then and decided not to do the repair surgery. So taking a volatile approach to weight lifting caused me some nasty injuries, however, by taking a smarter, more controlled approach to weight lifting, it was a huge asset in helping strengthen my injured areas to get them fully functional again.

Stay-Fit Bug: Wow! And I thought I had it bad with my dislocated shoulders. One thing I can agree on there is that weightlifting also helped strengthen my injured areas. The dislocations are now almost non-existent.

Stay-Fit Bug: Do those initial injuries still affect you? If so, how did you deal with those challenges then and how do you deal with them today?

Chad Shaw: Yes they do still effect me to this day. The worst has been my knee that is absent the ACL. Mostly because I’ve suffered multiple dislocations that caused all the cartilage in my knee to get tore up, so I had to have all the torn cartilage scoped out, which has left me with very little cartilage left in my knee. This has led to severe arthritis. Any time I sit or lay down, then stand up, I have to stand for a bit and work my leg back and forth to get the pain to subside before I can begin to walk. It causes me pain all day, but so what? There are many people out there who live with much worse pain then I have. The only thing keeping me going I think is taking my Super Cissus Rx and Cosamine ASU.

I still train my legs heavy to keep up the size however, I need to wrap my knees good when I train, and I’m not able to use a very deep range of motion on most exercises. I use allot machines because they are less stress on the joint. I can do Smith machine squats, but free style squats are out. I still have back issues on occasion and I’m a frequent flier at the chiropractic office but those treatments have worked miracles for me! Surprisingly, not having my proximal bicep tendon hasn’t affected my bicep strength at all! Where I do feel a weakness from it though is in any type of over head movement that involves pushing weight above my head. Also, I can’t spread my arms quite as wide out as what I used to when performing various fly exercises for my chest. When you have an injury or disability you just simply learn to adapt and experiment with different exercises to determine what you can or can’t do.

Stay-Fit Bug: What is the most important piece of bodybuilding injury prevention advice you would give to fellow bodybuilders. Newbies and pros alike. After all, we all need reminders every now and again… right?

Chad Shaw: First off, don’t over train! Over training I believe is responsible for about 98% of career ending injuries. As you grow stronger and lift heavier weights, you end up cutting an even deeper inroad into your bodies recovery ability which must be compensated for by an increase in recovery time between workouts in order to allow for over-compensation or muscle growth to occur! Marathon workouts will only set you back. If your spending much more than 30 minutes in the gym each lifting session, then you’ve been there too long! This isn’t only a waste of time, but it is counter-productive!

Secondly, listen to your body! If you’re in the middle of a set, and something doesn’t feel right, quit and live to fight another day. If you begin to feel pain which is not to be mistaken for a burn, then that is your body warning you that something is wrong, and that you may be on the verge of a nasty injury!

Stay-Fit Bug: This is a constant hot topic that people still tend to ignore. I really do hope that people take note of what you’ve just said here.


Stay-Fit Bug: Intense training is a must if one want’s to build real muscle, like you have. What I like to call training insane! Are there any killer intense training routines you can share with us. A routine that will shock the hell out of our muscles?

Chad Shaw: I agree! In order to trigger an adaptive response in the body, you must train very intensely! My workouts are brief but of the highest level of intensity. I get tons of questions from people about how to gain better over-all chest development. This is my current chest routine that has been producing awesome results for me! Don’t let the low volume fool you, if your pushing yourself all out, then this will kick your ass!

Flat Dumbbell Press or Bench Press

3 warm up sets (not to failure), progressively adding weight on each set. Then 1 heavy set of 6-10 reps to complete failure.

Smith machine Inclined Bench Press

Perform 1 warm up set (not to failure), Then do 1 heavy set of 3-6 reps to complete failure + 10 second rest pause, drop weight 10-20%, push to failure, + 10 second rest pause, drop weight 10-20%, then push to complete failure.

Cable Cross-Over or Fly machine

Warm up set (not to failure), then 1 set of 8-12 reps to complete failure. Hold weight statically as long as you can on last rep!

The low volume scenario is definitely where so many people get it wrong. Less = more!


Stay-Fit Bug: ”I know now from experience that you should never ever give up on your dreams or anything your passionate about and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t realize your dreams and make them come true no matter what your circumstances are!”

That’s a quote from you, which is also straight from your Bodyspace page, which directly relates to an article I wrote recently.

Why You Are Ripped And Why Your Friends Are Not (Negative B*****ds)

Did you get any negative responses from friends or family members when you decided to take up bodybuilding?

Chad Shaw: Oh yeh! Ha-ha! My parents would blame body building for every problem that occurred in my life. Any injury I had even though I was born with all these physical malfunctions, they would always tell me

“That damn weight lifting is going to kill you if you don’t stop!”

I was much shorter than my siblings so they would say…

“That damn weight lifting is stunting your growth, that’s what the doctor said!”

Then, if my grades began to slip in school they would say…

“You better lay off that damn weight lifting and worry more about your grades or you won’t have any future!”

My parents felt this way because they didn’t understand bodybuilding. The concept just didn’t make sense to them.

Stay-Fit Bug: Did you receive positive support, after all your older brothers were bodybuilders who also inspired you to get into bodybuilding, right?

Chad Shaw: Outside home, it seemed like most people had a great deal of respect for my efforts because I was so young when I began and was very developed for my age. In grade school and middle school my older brothers were very supportive and encouraged the desire to be a body builder. Since they are 7 and 10 years older than me, they weren’t around most of the time I was weight lifting. They were at the age where they were more concerned with dating, getting out with friends, and trying to move out of the house on their own, so they were moved out before I finished middle school. After that it was seldom I would train with them. It seemed like when I really got into body building, they sort of lost interest in it. Now they don’t do it at all, though, they have fantastic genetics for building muscle.

Stay-Fit Bug: I regularly talk about the importance of making the bodybuilding lifestyle ‘fun’ on this site, as I believe that having fun is a good way to ‘stick to it’ and stay fit for the long term.

I already know that you love the entire bodybuilding experience (The gym, the soreness) as do I! But that may often lead to boredom for some people. My advice to them is to structure their lifestyle around their fun activities. Do you agree with that?

Chad Shaw: I agree with that 100%! It’s important to have balance in your life! This is another reason why I favor short but intense workouts. #1. They are more productive, and #2. They allow you to have much more free time to do other things you enjoy.

Stay-Fit Bug: Do you take up any other ‘fun’ activities to keep yourself fit and active?

Chad Shaw: Although I’m very busy with work and also writing articles, I do make time to do other things I enjoy. I love walking my dog, going fishing, chopping wood, working in my yard, and in the winter time I like sledding.

Stay-Fit Bug: Sledding is a popular one that I spoke about at towards the end of last year.

Stay-Fit Bug: How have you changed internally, mentally and emotionally since entering the world of fitness and bodybuilding?

Chad Shaw: Internally, I’ve gained a great deal of confidence and determination to pursue goals and go after what I want in life. Mentally and emotionally, bodybuilding has worked wonders for relieving stress, and giving me a much more complete sense of worth. I feel so welcome and appreciated in the world of body building and fitness. I can’t really say that about some of my other roles in life. Being a part of this community has been more rewarding than anything in my life!

Stay-Fit Bug: What’s the next step for Chad Shaw? What are your short term/ long term goals?

Chad Shaw: Well, like most body builders I want to build the absolute best possible physique that I can! I love writing and educating people on the subject of body building and I do it as a hobby right now. A long term goal for me is to some-day write for a big magazine or do something related to this industry for a living. Many people have the misconception that I make a lot of money writing for several websites and being published in magazines and ads, but the truth is I have never made 1 penny off of doing any of it. I do it because I enjoy it. It sure would be awesome to actually get paid enough money to make a living doing something that I truly enjoy so I plan to make that happen one day. Till then my face is to the grind stone like most people, doing what I have to do in order to get by and have good health insurance for my family and I.

Stay-Fit Bug: Finally, What is the one, most important and valuable piece of advice that you would give to those who want to build their body for the better… just like you have?

Chad Shaw: The best piece of advice I can give is to keep your focus! So many people are ‘gung ho’ about transforming their bodies at one point and then get distracted by some adversity in their lives that causes them to leave their dreams by the way-side. My advice is to always keep your goals close at heart at all times and never lose sight of them no matter what obstacles fall in front of you!

People I see are very creative at inventing excuses that prevent them from working out of keeping a clean diet. People need to stop telling themselves CAN’T! If you believe you can make something happen then it’s possible, however, the opposite of that is also true!

The biggest obstacle that stands between you and your goals isn’t your job, it isn’t your husband, your wife, boy friend or girl friend. It isn’t the quality of your gym equipment or how fancy your workout gear is. It isn’t your age, your financial status or the weather. Your biggest obstacle that keeps you from realizing your goals is your MIND! So put away the excuses and stop saying “can’t” and start telling yourself “CAN!”

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