Jimmy The Chin interviews Stephen ‘screamer’ Manuel The IPF World Powerlifting Silver and Bronze Medallist. Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, Technical Meathead and SBD sponsored athlete.


Stephen screamer manuel powerlifter

Hi stephen. Thanks for letting me interview you.  Could you tell us more about yourself. How long have you been training in powerlifting, what weight class do you compete in and what got you into the sport of powerlifting?

I’ve been training in Powerlifting for around 8/9 years. I had my first competition just before my 18th birthday and I’m now 26.

I’ve just recently moved up to the 105kg class as I feel in the long run I will be far more effective in this weight class and I think with the mass I put on during the off season it’ll be a bit of a tough cut this year and I’ll likely come backwards.

Although I’ve only been competing 8/9 years I’ve been lifting weights almost half of my life. I started at around age 14 when I started playing Rugby for my local team. I was always the shortest and smallest in terms of bulk on the pitch. I was generally the quickest and most agile on the pitch too, but I had no mass on me so I thought “I need to try and get bigger to have a chance of not getting thrown around if I do get caught in a tackle.” So it was my “Little man complex” that started my strength journey off but my Powerlifting came about with a lot of luck and I was instantly hooked.

When I left school I wanted to make money, so I decided I’d study rich people stuff, get a job at a desk and be minted by the time I was 30. Well after 3 months of studying IT, business studies and accountancy I was fed up, hated life and was getting £30 funding per week for college on a Thursday, buying 30 x £1 drinks on student night in Shields and generally hated life. I dropped out of college, but would still regularly go to the gym. At that point I hadn’t even considered fitness as a career and had barely scraped a C at GCSE Science because I was uninterested in Science as a subject. However, I heard of a college around an hour away offering an A-Level equivalent course (BTEC National Diploma) in Sports and Exercise Science so I decided to quit college and enrol there. The only thing I enjoyed was training and drinking and I figured I may as well try and make a career out of something I love and I’ve never heard of a professional pisshead so that got me into Sports College.

Once I was in Gateshead Sports College I suddenly loved Science and was excelling across the board. I got awards for being the best academic student there and was also performing well in Rugby Union, Rugby League for the College and also got offered trials for the North of England Colleges and I was also playing American Football for Gateshead Juniors.

I was training for American Football on a Sunday one afternoon and I got talking to a man in the changing rooms about my training for rugby and football etc. and he said “You should get powerlifting”.  I had no idea what he meant and was pretty shy so I just laughed it off, then a few weeks later I was in the gym training with some college lads and then this group of big guys came in and started setting up a squat rack and bars and lifting. I just watched from a corner and was like I HAVE to try that. So a few weeks later, I finally built up the courage to ask if I could join in, I competed about 6 weeks later and broke some British Junior records and I was addicted.


Do you have to cut a lot of weight for competition? What’s your off season weight and height stats?

I typically cut around 7-8kg to make weight. I’ve done bigger cuts (biggest is 107-93) over longer periods of time but I had significantly less muscle mass on me despite being a lot heavier. I made the decision to move up about 2-3 weeks prior to writing this and I’ve been around 102-103kg and still have SOME abs, I don’t see the point in trying a cut. I may as well get stronger and bigger. So right now I’m around 5’6 and 102-103kg – a bit of a chode really.


Can you tell us what some of your best lifts are in competition and the gym?

Well we all know it only counts on the platform so as much as I hate telling you my gym lifts I suppose I’ll have to now! I’ve hit a 300kg squat in the gym 290 on the platform, 200kg bench in the gym and a 197.5kg on the platform, and a 330kg deadlift in the gym and a 315kg in a competition. Just looking for that day I put it all together on the platform, I’m in pretty good shape leading up to the British Classic next weekend so we’ll see what happens.


Some impressive numbers there stephen.

You recently competed in the worlds 2014 IPF at powerlifting and brought home the bronze which you weren’t too happy with due to you have cramping issues.  Have you managed to figure out how to prevent this for next year?

I’ve looked into a number of things and I believe was a combination of the weight cut, although I made weight pretty comfortably, and the altitude of Potchefstroom, South Africa where worlds was held. However, I don’t want to make any excuses for myself. The fact is I was unprepared, performed badly and even on my best day, I was still off the pace of the top two. I wasn’t happy with the experience but I’m glad it happened because I’ll know to allow myself more time to acclimate to a strange or a different environment to what I’m accustomed and I’m a smarter lifter because of it.

Highlights of Stephen Manuel from the 2014 IPF Classic World Powerlifting Championships, in Potchefstroom, South Africa. 

You have the look of a bodybuilder aswell as a powerlifter.  Do you combine a lot of higher reps in your training and isolation exercises?

I don’t have the look of a bodybuilder right now, let me tell you that! Haha, but yes I do combine a lot of higher reps in training and isolation exercises. I think we are seeing a big shift in the way people train and I think to truly get better you have to be open to many different forms of training to constantly be able to give your body something new to adapt from.


Can you let the readers know a typical day in the life of what your diet and training looks like for ?

This has changed a few times due to me not being able to devote as much time to training the way I used to. Right now I typically hit 2 lower body, 2 upper body days and 1 day where I attack any weak muscles/movements. I don’t typically worry too much about carbohydrate intake, a typical lifting session doesn’t eat anywhere as much glycogen as what people think. I don’t really time my food either, I just cook a load of food and try to eat it all within my day. I’ll typically eat around 8 whole eggs, 6-8 chicken thighs, 1-2 eight ounce steaks, 1/2 a kilo of mixed vegetables, some noodles, 2-3 bananas, 1-2 apples and if I’m still hungry I’ll have 1 or 2 protein bars and always have a BCAA supplement following training. I’ll keep a few scoops of protein on me at all times in case I get stuck with no food.


You’ve ran program’s like smolov before. Is this something you’re still following or do you write your own program’s?

Let me start this by saying Smolov is a crazy ass program and you need some big balls to get through it! It will take you to new levels of fatigue and you need a hell of a lot of time on your hands to do it. I also think too many novices are trying it and putting themselves at risk of hurting themselves and also limiting their potential for long term gain. It makes nonsense to go from squatting once per week with moderate volume to suddenly squatting 4 times per week with moderate to extreme volume -ESPECIALLY if you were improving squatting once per week. I felt like I needed something extreme to improve as when you get towards the top end of the strength spectrum you just your ass for 10-15kg extra on the bar in a lift in a year. I was able to get 10kg extra on the bar all 3 times I did smolov. However, those gains were short lived – it is not a long term, sustainable program in my opinion, it’s a peaking program for short term gains and nothing more. I typically used the smolov base cycle to get ready for a competition and that was it. Other than that I write my own program’s and am working on my own little cycle right now.

Stephen manuel powerlifter

You compete in a tested federation but you’ve mentioned recently that people comment, suggesting you’re not natural.  Do you have any message for the doubters? Or any words of encouragement to someone looking to get big and jacked like yourself?

I think if you look at my progression over the years it speaks for itself. I reverted back to unequipped lifting in 2011 after a fairly successful equipped career. My best totals for the year and the lifts I achieved in those comps are as follows:
2014 – 800kg 292.5/192.5/315
2013 – 772.5kg 280/187.5/305
2012 – 727.5kg 265/180/312.5
2011 – 677.5kg 235/165/277.5
There’s no time point where I suddenly put 100kg onto my total in a year. It’s all steady gains and not getting injured, through training anyway. If I’m on “The Juice” I need a new dealer!

My message for any doubters I have, and I have experienced this myself, is firstly to accept that I am better than you because of one thing and one thing only; work ethic. I wasn’t blessed with genetics, I don’t take anything illegal, I just work my ass off to get better. I used to say that I won’t become World Champion because I can’t train hard enough because I don’t take drugs. Then after my first ever International I placed 9th and was beaten by well over 100kg. My view point changed that day. Was it more likely that the other 8 people that beat me were taking drugs, even the ones who beat me by only 5, 10, 20kg? Or was it more likely that they were just better than me? Then I asked myself “why are they better than me?” I put it down to them training harder than me and from that point on I made a commitment to increase my work in the gym to whatever it took.

Afterwards I partied, had a good time and soaked up that fun because at that moment I vowed to never be beaten by that amount again and to not settle for mediocrity again. My next international i just missed out on 3rd place overall and took home a gold medal in deadlift. I accept that drugs are taken even in tested Feds and I don’t care. I think they make it easier to work harder but they don’t make the work easier.

My attitude that I wasn’t champion because everybody else took drugs was the same bullshit I see to this day on social media. I work harder than most, therefore I am and DESERVE to be better than most.


Favourite powerlift?

Squat – love the thought that if I fail I’m screwed. Plus being a half African midget my glutes are primed for big squats!


Favourite powerlifter?

This will probably draw some heat from people within my federation but I’ve been listening to a lot of the Mark Bell Powercast and some of the guests he has on there are fantastic to hear from. Despite being a lifter from a tested federation I can’t help but be inspired by some of the untested lifters like the Lilliebridge family, Dan Green, Mark Bell, Eric Spotto. I don’t want to speak for those individuals but some of the things they say regarding PEDs makes a lot of sense, it is a choice, you should research the potential benefits and side effects and decide what you want to do with no pressure from your peers etc which is something Mark Bell has clearly stated. So I have no problem looking up to somebody like that, despite them using PEDs to get stronger.

It is my firm belief that whilst there is a segregation between tested and untested federations, and rightly so, that doesn’t mean that there should be animosity towards lifters who take PEDs, as long as they compete where they are meant to compete.

A quote that stuck with me from a documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” comes from Westside Barbell coach, Louie Simmons. He said “your morals are your morals, not mine. Who am I to judge your morals, and who are you to judge my morals? They’re my morals.”

There is a lot of truth to that and I see a lot of tested lifters sitting on their high horse criticising “unnatural” lifters. I don’t see myself as a “natural” lifter. There’s nothing “natural” about the BCAA with elevated leucine content I take after training. There’s nothing “natural” about my ZMA supplement to help my recovery at night. There’s nothing natural about the D-Aspartic acid in my “natural” testosterone booster, yet all my supplements go through stringent testing to ensure that what I put in my body is not illegal and I won’t test positive for anything whether I’m tested in or out of competition. There are people out there who pop hundreds of pills a week and then get butt hurt over people squatting loads of weight who “can’t be natural.” The whole natural/unnatural thing is a load of bullshit really.

Me looking up to these guys shouldn’t be seen as me being inspired by PEDs and lifters who use them. It makes me think that there is another level out there and I firmly believe that I can get there without taking anything illegal within the constraints of the IPF. Another inspiration to me is Layne Norton, he is such a beast being able to compete at the highest level in both Powerlfiting and Natural Bodybuilding and he has a shit ton of respect from me for his dedication to his craft. He’s a super nice guy too.


Agreed.  Im also a fan of Layne Norton.  What do you do to do unwind or relax on recovery days? I know you like watching ‘bojack horseman’ so I know you have good taste in telly.

I’m usually doing something either working, reading, planning program’s etc, but nothing beats spending time with my girlfriend. We are like passing ships with our schedules right now so it’s always nice to chill with her when we get the chance more than anything. I also love spending my admin days in a coffee shop, fuelling up on my pre-prepared meals with an Americano or 5.


Favourite cheat/dirty meal?

Too many. I really love sweet stuff like donuts, cookies, birthday cake – if you ever see a reduced birthday cake it is a sin to not buy it…FACT!


Do you drink alcohol and if so favourite tipple?

Yep, not always but when I have been hitting training hard I like to have a few ciders particularly Strongbow (reminds me of being 15…18 if you’re reading this mother), Somersby, or Rekorderlig if I’m feeling fancy.


Favourite song to lift heavy to?

Mostly metal or punk rock, like the skater kids.

You should all check out my favourite band right now. Pavilions – awesome band whom I know personally and also have the pleasure of coaching their guitarist – he gets less and less weak every session!


One tip for our readers on losing body-fat?

Don’t go to the extreme. Don’t do things if you don’t like them. The perfect program is the one you can do that has the least negative effect on your life, you enjoy the most and more importantly – progress with.

Those are some vague things but to answer the question takes more than one thing to really get to it. My advice is to make one small, positive change to your lifestyle until you do it without thinking about it and then add another.

I always wonder and ask how long somebody has been unhappy with the way they look/feel for. It might be 3 months, it might be 6, it could be 3 years – whatever. I don’t understand why you’ve put up with this for that long and then expect to be the next top supermodel in 2 weeks by starving yourself and doing cardio. With that in mind…BONUS TIP!

Don’t be scared of lifting and eating – you need to add muscle to increase metabolic rate, which will help contribute towards burning calories (in the form of body fat), which coupled with a reasonably clean – NOT NECESSARILY COMPLETELY CLEAN diet will help you drop a dress size or get back into those jeans you’ve had hanging up for the last 2 years. Get your calories and protein in, muscle cannot be made with no fuel.


One tip for gaining muscle?

Get your calories in first and foremost. Training does not get you bigger, training breaks you down. It’s the fuelling before and mostly after that adds muscle. Eat more animal proteins, particularly red meat to up your cholesterol so your body can actually make the muscle building hormones required to stack on some muscle.

Stephen manuel before and after

Screamer know a bit about gaining muscle

Any Future goals and achievements you have lined up other than being world champion?

That is the main goal, obviously. I’d like to get better at balancing my life to be honest. Someday, I would like to run my own Strength Studio and train a team of strength enthusiasts on top of having a regular job. I am volunteering in a community centre near where I live one or two evenings a week right now and me and my buddy are going to continue to run a weightlifting and powerlifting club there for the kids. These kids come from rough areas and the community centre do a great job getting them off the streets. I see a lot of myself in them and had I made a few bad decisions growing up I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I want to help them improve their lives and hopefully have a future British Champion in the making. They better not take any of my records though!


Thats great stuff Stephen, good for you.  Best thing about being lean, jacked and strong as fuck?

The women! Obviously! Haha, no – honestly knowing that barring some freak accident that when I’m getting older and when I’m in my 50s/60s I’m still gonna be moving well, having fun with my kids and grand kids. That’ll be worth the world to me when the time comes, for now I’m happy just having a focus.


Thanks for the interview stephen screamer manuel. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you with the gold soon at the worlds, you’re a very competitive hard working young guy.

Thank you for the opportunity Jimmy, I really appreciate it. I’d like to thank my sponsors SBD for believing in me, my girlfriend for putting up with my shit and my family and mentors of past and present for making me the athlete and person I am today.


Check out the montage of Stephens recent training  from SBD apparel 

You can reach stephen ‘screamer’ Manuel below and I highly recommend you subscribe to his YouTube channel. He gives out some solid advice for aspiring powerlifters.

Twitter – screamermanuel

Instagram – screamermanuel

Website – wwww.screamerfitness.co.uk

Youtube – screamermanuel

Facebook - screamerfitnessnugget



What riding a motorcycle can teach you


What riding a motorcycle can teach you.

I’ve always related my life to riding my motorcycle.

….NO! I haven’t lost the plot. Hear me out on this one….

Inspired after reading Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: 25th Anniversary Edition I decided to write down all things that I had resembled riding motorcycle with life.  Check out the list.

 A New Skill

Learning to ride a motorcycle can be daunting, but nothing in life that is worthy is easy.

You will come across new challenges in your life and if you want to experience the good life and taste the fruits of your hard work then your gonna have to skull sweat for a while.

Learn the skills to ride a bike. Just like life you will need to read everything you can to help propel you in the right direction.

Learn how to handle the bike on your journey in case you hit a bumpy ride or fall off.  When you fall off get back on again.

Embrace the risk.

Riding a bike can be a dangerous and a life of uncertainty. Aim to be scared a little, a life of safety is a life for the average.

I learned to ride when I was 34. Your never too old to learn anything in life even when the negative naysayers suggest it’s the start of your midlife crisis.



Man Up, its going to be a bumpy ride

Yes, you’ll be cold, wet, nervous, scared and mentally exhausted but like all things in life you need to face your fears and overcome them by just doing them.

Life will throw you some curveballs but its not the time for whining like a baby.

You are the driver of your destination.  DO NOT let anyone de-route you from that.

Toughen up. This ride is long. Your ass is going to hurt for a while. Deal with it. Stop being a sensitive little soldier.


No Room For Passengers

Leave the back seat drivers at home.

No need for negative naysayers on this ride.

This is YOUR ride and no-one else’s.

As cruel and as hard as it may sound, if your in a relationship and spending the rest of your life with someone who wont support you achieving your final destination then i’m afraid there is no room for them.  Time for them to hitch a bus ride and leave them standing in the gutter.  This is a lone rangers journey.

Enjoy the freedom of your journey. You are the master of your own destiny. There are no passengers or back seat drivers. This is your life and your life only. There’s no room for negative naysayers on this ride.


motorcycle life

Not even room for her


Prepare For The Journey

Theres no sat navs on this journey (well, you can if you’re into that kind of thing).  You need to read up and study your end goal and destination.

Learn your route from a mentor.  Take your motorcycle and life to a place it hasn’t never been or seen.

Your life is about MOVING FORWARD…… Stop standing still.


 Don’t be afraid to change your route

Life is about change.

Changing for the better to experience new thrills and achievements is a good thing.

It doesnt matter if you’ve been riding the same road for 2 hours straight, if you want to change direction and aim for a better place then go for it.

Just be clear on your destination.

Like riding a motorcycle you need to keep a clear head, Stay focused on the road ahead and your finally destination.

This is your end goal. Do not take your eyes off the road.


Enjoy The Ride

Enjoy the surroundings, this is your life.

Some people hate the journeys and are all about the destination.

Breath in the air and enjoy the wind on your face but don’t neglect the road laid out in front of you.

If you stare to long at the scenery your direction will change.

Look too long at the gutter and you will aim for it.

Take Care

Look after your bike.

It needs care, attention, love and Maintenance.

This is your vehicle to your destination.

Without the correct care, time and attention you’re likely to damage the chain, a wheel or the engine.

Nourish the bike with the correct fluids and fuel as if it were your own body and mind.

You need it to be working at 100% efficiency to achieve your ultimate destination.

Let the bike breath and cool down.  Let it rest. You can’t reach your destination throttling full speed 24/7.

The grass isn’t greener

I love old motorcycles that have been given a new life.

I think they represents our own lives.

We’re all too eager to throw away our possessions and trade in for new.

We always believe that something else is better than appreciating what we have today.

An old rusty motorcycle that has been unwanted and tossed can be cared for and brought back to glory with personal touches that make the bike unique and personal.

We too are unique and individual.

We each have something that can be displayed and shown to be special.


Pay It Forward

Give back.

Share what you’ve learnt along the way and the experiences of your journey.

Help others to find and realise the road to their destination and purpose in life.

When you ride a motorcycle, you are quite often noticed by other bikers and you exchange quick nods and acknowledgement to say ‘I can see you riding your bike on this lovely day and enjoying the journey too’.

Always initiate the nod or wave and pay it forward.

Just like your journey through life, if you uphold good manners then you will create a ripple effect and that rider is more likely to pass on his nod of acknowledgement to future riders.


You are not average, you’re a biker.

Go and take on the road to your life!!


What riding a motorcycle can teach you

lifes a journey

photo credit: Sky Noir via photopin cc
photo credit: Faster and Faster via photopin cc
photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc


Superman Gifts for Men

 that any superhero fan will love

 If you’re a big superhero fan like me you’ll love these superman gifts for yourself or a loved one.  I’ve just purchased the ipad cover and the iphone cover and currently own a superman wallet. This is my own ‘present’ list to hand out for anyone who loves me and i think the ideal superman gifts for most men.

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Classical Superman iPad Air Case


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Protect against scratches, dirt, fingerprints and other daily damages.
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A personalized case would brighten your mood and bring back great memories


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Classical Superman iPhone 4/4s Case


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Classical Superman iPhone 4/4s Case


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100% New and Ensure Quality
Protects your mobile phone against scratches, dirt, fingerprints and other daily damages.
Does not peel or crack or fade
Quick and easy access to all Phone features Screen Display,Dock Connector,Headphone port,microphone,and Camera Lens




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Classical Superman iPhone 4/4s Case


Custom Superman Comics Design 3D Printed Carrying Case for iPhone 4 4S Casehome-02985








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Superman Comic Strip Wallet



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Officially licensed merchandise
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DC COMICS SUPERMAN Classic Comic Art Bifold Wallet


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Superman Wallet


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Man of Steel [Blu-ray]


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Every superman film needs the latest and great ‘man of Steel’ movie.







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Man of Steel – Limited Edition Steelbook


Man of Steel – Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]









Superman Smallville Black Jacket


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Are you braver than me to wear this?
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Inner Material: Lining: Viscose
Premium Stitching in Same Contrast
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Superman Jacket – Red Smallville Leather Jacket


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Even braver?
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Inner Material: Lining: Viscose
Premium Stitching in Same Contrast
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Classic Superman Cartoon Image Boxed Mug


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Stoneware mug
Dishwasher Safe
‘Superman’ Design





Superman Dressing Gown – Fleece


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The men’s fleece bathrobe has a big Superman logo on the back and a smaller one on the front
Machine washable fleece
2 front pockets and a cotton belt
Adult size only, so great Superman gifts for men’s sizes medium to extra large





Mens Superman Lounge Pants


Mens Superman Lounge Pants, DC Comics Lounge Pants, Mens Nightwear, Small – XL

Official Superman lounge pants
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High quality, comfortable to wear

Elasticated waistband and tie cord





Superman Large Canvas






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Converse Chuck Taylor DC Comics Unisex Laced Canvas Trainers

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Sole: rubber
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