Jean | Interview of an aesthetic natural bodybuilder

This article will take you 6 minutes to read. Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section, they will be answered!

Today’s interview is about Jean.

Jean is French and is a natural aesthetic beast! If you were looking for a dining table… you have found the perfect back. Jean will share his experience… and let us tell you, there is a lot to learn from this guy!

Hello Jean, when did you start going to the gym and what were your first steps like?

Hi there, I was quite skinny and was 16 years old when I started the gym. I got big pretty quickly even though I was not following the best practices out there.

I was not very consistent and I went out a lot, nothing was taken very seriously when I started.

skinny natural bodybuilder

I don’t know if it is due to good genetics but I had certainly made these beginner gains. I got used to the movements pretty quickly even though there is always some nervous adaptation process to go through. 

My methodology was not perfect but I was always giving it a 100%, so that might have explained the pretty quick results.

Before that, I used to do basic stuff like push ups and abs at the swimming club. I used to practice a couple of sports when I was younger.

What type of sports were you practicing when younger? Has it been beneficial for the gym?

I started at 6 or 7 years old and started competing in swimming at 14. I also used to go bike riding a lot with my father. Thanks to swimming my body had certainly set to develop well and give me some good shoulders and back. 

skinny natural bodybuilder on the beach

There are a few studies which confirm that sports you do at a young age then later benefit you when going to the gym. Swimming was also always an explosive discipline. I used to sprint a lot. I was a pretty explosive person and we could say that the same applied at the gym. 

At 16-17 years old, I started watching videos and learning more. At 18 years old, I got into studying Sports and science so I literally went deep into it and bought myself a book from F. Delavier.

I then finally stopped swimming to focus fully into the gym.

Why the gym and bodybuilding?

I went to the physiotherapist and he was shocked by the difference between my upper and lower body. He basically told me there was an imbalance and my legs were very small compared to the rest.

I thought I’d give the gym a go and work on my legs. In the end, I just enjoyed it and kept at it. 

Were there any other reasons to get started? Just a desire? a lack of confidence?

There is always something to do with improving confidence but my focus was on myself and not much for others. Growing up in Lille also was not always easy. It’s easy to get in trouble for no reasons at school or in the streets. When you go to the gym and you think about these things it definitely gives you a bit more motivation! 

What impact did the gym have on your life?

Some people will admire your results and others won’t. Guys probably admire you more than girls (lol)! When you go to the club, guys will ask you about the gym and how much you can bench-press.

before and after natural bodybuilder

Family and adults usually are the ones who will tell you it’s too much.

I know people will usually want to get a good body to please the opposit sex but I’m a loyal guy and I have had a girlfriend for 5 years. I’ve got nothing to say about other girls! 🙂

What’s the secret to this aestheticism? Your back is just like a dining table! Any strong parts or weaknesses?

Haha, I’ll take that compliment! But like everyone else… I do have weaknesses too. But yeah, as a whole, I think I was blessed to have pretty good genetics.

wide back natural bodybuilder

Chest is definitely lagging, my upper chest is very flat… the eternal natural bodybuilder problem. I’ve done decline on cables for that. I have started doing a lot of reps on this exercise and I learnt how to feel it and recruit it so that on the heavy sets I can make some gains. 

I am not for the pumping sessions or a big fan of the “mind muscle connection” everyone talks about. But for weaknesses, that’s pretty true in that sense.

My abs are not very visible, despite being lean. They’re also not symmetrical.  Perhaps getting them thicker would help, but nothing you can do with the symmetry.

I also definitely have weaknesses with my rear shoulders and my shoulders tend to fall down. It’s getting a bit better over time as I have stretched and worked on that issue quite a lot. 

ripped arms natural bodybuilding

Strong parts are back and glutes. My legs exploded when I started going to the gym. Again that was one of the first reasons I got started. My external lats are great but I don’t have much thickness.

The best tips you have for bodybuilders who are getting started or intermediates?

Don’t try and go too fast. Start with the basics.

Positioning yourself right before the movements is very important. 

There is so much info out there because everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel, but it’s always about the basics. I’d advise to stop with advanced techniques. Learn about your flexibility and know the right range of motion you can use.

It’s also important to write down a plan. Enjoy your beginnings as well, don’t get too harsh on yourself when starting. Make it fun first. As said earlier, when I started, I did not have a proper routine. And even though I’ve had beginner gains, it did not last forever.

I was complicating things. After a year or two and after the beginner gains, I was not getting stronger anymore. I’d practice supersets and advanced techniques which don’t make sense with too much volume.

At some point, I stagnated because I was not looking for progress. I was pausing, controlling my movements – but too much. It’s not that controlling is not good, but when you forget about progressing then it’s pointless.

That’s when I started following progressive overload and eating a lot, taking more rest between sets of strength exercises.  

Your point of view on changing a training routine?

Once you have the right thing which work, why change? 

biceps cage natural bodybuilder

You are restarting from 0 again. You’ve nervously learnt the movement but then change it straight away -which does not really make sense.

What you can maybe change are isolation movements. Sometimes when I get too bored that’s what I do, but not that much. As long as my main compound movements are going up in strength then my isolation movements also tend to go up.

Isolation movements really are the things I use to get the volume in. Eating a lot also is important. Too many people say they eat a lot but they don’t.

What do you think of the fitness industry?

There is a lot of hypocrisy. People who take steroids and have sponsors can’t really reveal the truth. Then it creates problems with young people not seeing the reality.

There basically are two schools in the natural world: 

Some naturals are complaining about how they can’t do anything. 

They are finding comfort in the fact they are natural and they can’t reach any level. They’ll say some people are not natural even though they are. 

Others get frustrated because they believe they can reach those extreme levels naturally but they can’t.

It’s not easy.

People will also judge you when you are a good natural, that can be a bit frustrating.

At the end of the day, you have to know what’s really important. I am natural and will stay natural. Even if I don’t progress much anymore as long as I can still train, that’s the most important for me. I’ve had injuries so as long as I can train I am happy.

When it comes to the gym, experience or science?

When it comes to finding tips, you can trust both experience and science.

Science can just sometimes be a bit overrated. Science evolves all the time and it’s not always representative. Listening to someone with good experience and who has proven to have a good background and progression can be great for mentoring!