Simeon Panda was born in North London. He was always athletic and played rugby and ran track in school. Naturally tall and thin, he was inspired by a friend when he was 16 to try to bulk up by lifting weights. For Panda, bodybuilding was love at first sight. He is called a ‘natural’ bodybuilder because he has never used drugs or steroids to build muscle. Panda won the overall at the 2013 Musclemania Europe competition and now travels around the world judging competitions. Panda has graced the cover of numerous fitness magazines including Muscle, Inside Fitness and Fitness Rx. He runs training programs online and also has fitness accessories, supplements and a line of sportswear. Panda is a brand ambassador for Myprotein supplements. He currently lives in London and has been dating model Chanel Brown since 2012. Panda has millions of followers on social media. He is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 230 lbs. His body fat is below 7%.
Simeon Panda’s Diet
Panda considers diet to be as important as training, but he doesn’t think it has to be complicated. He eats fresh, healthy foods at regular intervals, adding up to about 5 meals per day. He makes sure to have plenty of protein, fish in particular, and he also loads up on vegetables like spinach, broccoli and asparagus. He doesn’t shy away from complex carbs like whole-grain rice. While he primarily gets his nutrition from food, Panda does take some supplements, including whey protein, glutamine and BCAAs.
- Medium Carbs 30% 30%
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- Medium-High Protein 50% 50%
Not Rocket Science
Panda says that if you eat clean and eat enough food including plenty of protein and veggies, you’ll see good results.
Panda says it is possible to build a naturally muscular physique without resorting to drugs or steroids. That said, he supplements with certain nutrients, including BCAAs, creatine, cod liver oil and whey protein.
Power Up With Protein
Panda eats all forms of protein, including steak and chicken, but fish is his go-to. He eats a lot of salmon, tuna and mackerel.
Eat Like You Mean It
Panda says that if you’re not seeing gains, it is likely due to what you’re eating — or not eating. He says what you eat matters more than how heavy you’re lifting.
Panda recommends tracking calories and macros in a food diary so you can see where you’re hitting your targets, and where you’re falling short.
Panda says it usually takes at least 2-3 months to start to see results, so be patient and don’t get frustrated.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Panda on Diet
‘You need to take diet as seriously as you do your workouts.’
Panda on Natural Bodybuilding
‘I fee like I need to show [people] what can be achieved through natural bodybuilding if you put in 110% and do it right.’
Panda on Fish
‘Fish is just easier to prepare.’
Panda on Carbs
‘Whole-grain rice is one of my main sources of carbs.’
Simeon Panda’s Fitness Routine
Panda says he was initially motivated to try bodybuilding because it seemed like fun. He went on to become a consummate professional.
Start At Home
Panda says there’s no reason to join a gym if you’re just starting out. Getting a set of weights and watching videos in your house is easy and effective.
Panda says competition actually helped him stick with his workouts. It motivated him to keep going, and ultimately to succeed.
Panda recommends studying winning poses to learn the correct presentation when on stage.
Set A Schedule
Panda says that if you want to see results, you must set a routine and stick to it no matter what. It doesn’t matter what time of day; all that matters is that you show up and do the work.
Start With the Basics
Panda’s top 3 exercises are the squat, bench press and deadlift. He says they produce more results, and anyone from beginner to expert should be doing them.
Use All the Tools
Panda says hitting the machines and using free weights are both good for beginners because they work the muscles in different ways, and there’s no reason to do exclusively one or the other.
Train Like a Bodybuilder
Panda says he made the beginner mistake of working all of his muscle groups nearly every day, and not seeing results. Then he learned it was better to focus on a single body part each day and allow it to recover for better gains. He says an upper/lower split is also okay if that’s all your schedule will permit.
Don’t Overdo It
Panda recommends waiting until you are more of an intermediate lifter before trying difficult techniques like supersets, drop sets and burnout sets.
A Simeon Panda Sample Workout
Be sure to warm up first to avoid injury.
Dumbbell chest press: 8-12 reps x 4 sets
Incline machine chest press: 8-12 reps x 4 sets
Machine chest flys: 8-12 reps x 4 sets
Standing cable flys: 8-12 reps x 4 sets
T-Bar row: 8-12 reps x 8 sets
Bent-over row: 6-15 reps x 8 sets
Lat pull down: 6-15 reps x 8 sets
Seated row: 6-15 reps x 8 sets
Single-arm row: 6-10 reps x 6 sets
Barbell overhead press: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Should press machine: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Dumbbell lateral raise: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Seated dumbbell front raise: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Seated rear delt machine: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Barbell shrug: 8-12 reps x 6 sets
Barbell squats: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Barbell pulse squats w/ handle: 10-15 reps x 6 sets
Leg press machine: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Dumbbell lunge to burnout: 5 rounds
Cable triceps push down: 8-10 reps x 6 sets
Dumbbell curls w/ arm blaster: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Diamond pushups: 8-15 reps x 6 sets
Close-grip pull-ups: 8-12 reps x 6 sets
Panda on Keeping Things Simple
‘Focus on the basics before adding anything more complicated.’
Panda on Squats
‘Absolutely nothing is more difficult and produces more results than the squat. Nothing.’
Panda on Deadlifts
‘The deadlift is the king of mass-gaining exercises. It works more muscles simultaneously than any other movement.’
Panda on his Routine
‘I normally do a warm-up set then go straight into lifting heavy. This has been the most effective way for me to pack on size.’
Panda on Winning at Bodybuilding Competitions
‘You may have a great physique, but if you don’t know how to present it right, you won’t do well in front of the judges.’
Panda on Finding a Team
‘Ask people who know the ins and outs of the sport to check out your physique to critique your strengths and weaknesses and watch your posing routine.’
Simeon Panda’s Supplements
Panda takes branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) because they do everything a bodybuilder is looking for: grow muscles, prevent wasting and speed recovery.
Panda supplements with the amino acid glutamine to prevent muscle breakdown.
Panda uses whey protein to make gains and increase strength. Protein is a bodybuilder’s go-to to grow, retain muscle and recover.
Panda also takes creatine monohydrate because it improves performance during intense workouts.
Cod Liver Oil
Besides eating plenty of fish, Panda supplements with cod liver oil, which contains lots of anti-inflammatory omega-3s that also supports brain and bone health.
Simeon Panda’s Lifestyle
Love At First Sight
Panda ran into an old school chum who had gotten ripped since they’d last seen each other. Panda says he went straight out and bought weights, loved working out, and never once missed a workout in those early days.
Panda worked out for years at home, and had a routine that he thought was great. Then he read a book on bodybuilding that opened up a whole new world of exercise and taught him an incredible amount about muscles and anatomy.
All in the Family
Panda has 4 brothers and a sister. He runs his online fitness and sportswear store with his older brother, Samuel.
Ignore the Nay-Sayers
Panda has been accused of using steroids, saying it’s easy to beat the drug tests at bodybuilding competitions, but he says he has photographic evidence that his bulking up was 100% natural. He has even taken a polygraph test on the subject to prove it. (He passed.)
Enjoy the Ride
Panda says like with everything, there will be downs as well as ups in every life path, and that it’s important to embrace the process and not get discouraged during the tough times.
Panda on his Early Training Days
‘I purchased weights that same day and fell in love with working out. I remember I would get back from college, excited to train.’
Panda on Achieving Dreams
‘I have always strived to be better. I love to see progress and I want to achieve the unimaginable.’
Panda on Studying
‘I read a book called ‘Strength Training Anatomy’ and it opened my eyes to the body…I think that is what I can hold my symmetry to now.’
Panda on Finally Joining a Gym
‘It was like a playground for me.’
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