This is a surreal journey through the heart and mind of 46 year old natural bodybuilder Kane Sumabat. A portrait of his principles and his passions: SHRED TILL DEAD.
SimplyShreddedTV Episode 6: SHRED TILL DEAD
Height: 5’10” – 178 cm
Weight: 175 lbs – 79 kg
I’ve often been told that I am considered laid back, living a bohemian lifestyle. For most of my adult life I’ve managed to eschew the conventional 9 to 5 workday. Though friends and family members believe that my life is indeed dictated by this laissez-faire attitude, the gym members that witness my workouts have a different perspective. I was born in Manila, Philippines in 1968. My mother worked as a pharmacist, and my father was an engineer with his own consulting firm. In 1973, both of my parents gave up their professional careers for the prospect of a better life for their children by moving to Toronto. Once in Canada, my mother stayed home to raise her five children, whereas my father had to take two full-time blue-collar jobs to support us, because his degree wasn’t recognized in Canada.
As many can attest, the life of a first-generation immigrant is rarely one of comfort and luxury. But thanks to my parents efforts, my siblings and I hardly noticed.
As a child, I recall my father beginning every morning with a routine consisting of various calisthenics. Almost 40 years later and he still begins his days the same way. When I was 12, my father bought my oldest brother a York barbell and dumbbell set, complete with concrete plates and plastic collars. I was the one who immediately took to it. The wall charts that accompanied the weight set was to be but the first of a multitude of routines I was to follow throughout my lifetime. By the age of 14, besides on comic books, I began to spend my allowance on magazines such as “Muscle & Fitness” and “Musclemag.”
It was in my teens that I also saw “Pumping Iron” for the first time. While Arnold was impressive, it was actually the physique of Serge Nubret that inspired me. By the time I was 16, my parents bought me and my younger brother my first workout bench, along with a cast iron weight set.
My father also set up a pull up bar and heavy bag in the basement. It was also during this time that my bedroom walls were adorned with the images of Frank Zane, Serge Nubret, Scott Wilson, Steve Reeves, Samir Bannout, Bob Paris, Mohammad Makkaway, and one of my earliest crushes, Gladys Portugues. Developing my physical attributes, however, was not my only interest. I had displayed an early aptitude for creative endeavors, both in the written word and in visual media. After graduating high school, I studied English Literature at the University of Toronto. In 1991, while I was still a student, I was offered a personal training position at a commercial gym.
Although I enjoyed the job immensely, after just a year, I left when I was accepted into a prestigious full time program for Illustration that presented me with the opportunity to realize my artistic dreams.
For most of the 35 years since I first held the barbell in my hands, I’ve trained. During that time, my goals have not always remained the same.
My early ambition to pose on stage and compete as a bodybuilder was supplanted by the prospect of stepping in the ring as a kickboxer. In my mid 20’s I was content to look fit, and essentially maintaining the gains from my earlier, more earnest efforts. Eventually, complacency replaced consistency, and my workouts became sporadic, at best. Finally, I walked away from training altogether. I had erroneously assumed that the time spent in the gym was a distraction, and prevented me from applying myself career-wise.
During this period, I lapsed into a deep depression that affected both my professional and personal life. It was at the end of 1998, at the age of 30, that on a whim, I returned to the gym.
The passion was immediately rekindled, and I’ve remained faithful ever since. From that point forward, I’ve made my best gains. Gains I attribute to hard work, focus, and drive, but just as importantly, to consistency. Everything came to full circle when in 2001 I also resumed personal training. My goals for training still continue to evolve. I have also come to the realization that for me, training is an end in itself. I’ve never been one to be motivated by angst or by competition – simply, by passion. While I enjoy the benefits of improved appearance, health, and strength, they’re all secondary. I can be found at the gym six or seven days a week, and at various times, twice per day.
I’ve often wondered if my enthusiasm and zeal actually hinder my progress, as it sometimes seems to take greater effort of will to give my body the much-needed rest.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
High Frequency Training
(AM) Heavy Horizontal Push/Pull
- Wide Grip Pull Ups: 6 sets x 10 reps (2 min rest)
- Bent Over Row: 3 sets x 8 reps* (2-3 min rest between sets)
- Single Arm Dumbbell Rows: 2 sets x 10 reps* (2-3 min rest)
- Snatch Grip Rack Pulls: 4 sets x 6 reps (2-3 min rest)
- Barbell Bench Press (Flat): 3 sets x 8 reps* (2-3 min rest)
- Dumbbell Incline Bench (Ideally 15-30 degrees): 2 sets x 10 reps* (2-3 min rest)
* On last set, it can be taken to concentric failure.
(PM) Vertical Pull
- Weighted Wide Grip Pull Ups: 5 sets x 5 reps
- Front Lever Swings: 4 sets x 6 reps
- V-Bar Pull Downs: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Stiff Arm Pull Downs: 2 sets x 12 reps
- Wide Grip Pull Downs: 1 set x 25 reps
- Barbell Push Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
- Dumbbell Press: 4 sets x 6 reps
- Dumbbell Laterals: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Strict Barbell Press (No leg drive): 2 sets x 12 reps
- Barbell Push Press: 1 set x 25 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets x 12 reps (1 min rest)
- Calf Press Machine: 4 sets x 12 reps (1 min rest)
- Leg Press: 4 sets x 12 reps (2-3 min rest)
- Overhead Squats: 6 sets x 6-12 reps
- Leg Extensions: 4 sets x 12 reps (1 min rest)
- Lying Leg Curl: 1 set x 25 reps, 1×15, 1×10 (1 min rest after 1st set, 30sec rest after second set.)
(AM) Heavy vertical pull/push
- Wide Neutral Grip Pull Ups: 6 sets x 12 reps (2 min rest)
- Close Neutral Grip Weighted Pull Ups: 4 sets x 6 reps (2 min rest)
- V-bar Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8 reps* (2-3 min rest)
- Strict Barbell Press (no leg drive): 3 sets x 10 reps* (2-3 min rest)
- Dumbbell Laterals: 3 sets x 10 reps* (2-3 min rest)
- Overhead Shrugs: 4 sets x 12 reps (2 min rest)
*On last set, it can be taken to concentric failure.
(PM) Horizontal Pull
- Chest Supported Rows: 5 sets x 5 reps
- Single Arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets x 6 reps (per side)
- Snatch Grip Rack Pulls: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Bent Over Raises: 2 sets x 12 reps
- Low Cable Rows: 1 set x 25 reps
- Flat Barbell Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets x 6 reps
- Hammer Strength Incline Press: 3 sets x 8 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Fly’s: 2 sets x 12 reps
- Incline (feet raised) Pushups: 1 set x 25 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: 6 sets x 8 reps (90 sec rest)
- Calf Press Machine: 6 sets x 8 reps (90 sec rest)
- Leg Press: 6 sets x 8 reps (2-3 min rest)
- Overhead Squats: 8 sets x 4 – 8 reps
- Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets x 20 reps (90 sec rest)
- Calf Press Machine: 4 sets x 20 reps (90 sec rest)
- Leg Press: 3 sets x 15 reps (2-3 min rest)
- Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 15 reps (1 min rest)
- Single Legged Curls: 3 sets x 15 reps (per side/ 1 min rest)
- Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets x 15 reps (90 seconds rest)
- Wide Grip Pull Ups: 8 sets x 8 reps (90 seconds rest)
- Reverse Grip Bench Press: 4 sets x 8 reps * (2 min rest)
- Overhead Single Arm Cable Extensions: 4 sets x 12 reps (per arm/ 90 seconds rest)
- Dip Machine: 1×25, 1×15, 1×10 (1 min rest after 1st set, 30sec rest after second set. Rest 1 min before proceeding to next exercise.)
- Rope Handle Cable Pressdown: 1 set x 25 reps, 1×15 reps, 1×10 reps (1 min rest after 1st set, 30 sec rest after second set. Rest 1 min before proceeding to next exercise.)
- Reverse Barbell Curl: 4 sets x 12 reps (immediately followed by)
- Barbell Curl: 4 sets x 12 reps (90 seconds rest between cycles)
- Incline Hammer Curls: 1 set x 25 reps, 1 x 15 reps, 1 x 10 reps (1 min rest after 1st set, 30 sec rest after second set.)
- Superset ladder
- Perform 10 reps of chin ups immediately followed by 1 rep of overhead squats. With no rest or as little rest as possible in between return to do 9 chin-ups and 2 reps of overhead squats.
- This continues until you perform 1 rep of chin ups and 10 overhead squats. Record total time.
Before every upper body day, perform 3 cycles of face pulls and pressdown supersets at the beginning of the workout. Example: 40lbs./30 reps of face pulls supersetted with 15 reps of pressdowns to be repeated with no rest for 3 cycles.
If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?
- Pull Ups: Vertical pulling motion probably contributes the best to developing back width that gives you that v taper everyone desires. Pull ups are also a superior exercise to Lat Pull Downs. While EMG studies are questionable, Brett Contreas once found that it had the highest levels of lower rectus abdominis activation surpassing every ab exercise imaginable – even ab wheel rollouts and hanging leg raises.
- Overhead Squat: This one exercise simply requires so much strength not only in the legs, but shoulder girdle and core as well. As Dan John said “You can send your athletes to all the yoga classes in the world, but the overhead squat develops athletic flexibility. As for leg strength, that is the only way to get out of the hole in this exercise. You can’t lean forward, twist, bounce or cheat in anyway. The bar will come off the top and you will have to start again.”
- Reverse Grip Bench Press: In the past I’ve only thrown this exercise in on occasion for triceps but recently read that it hits upper chest even more than incline bench press. Where incline bench hits upper chest only 5% more than a flat bench press does, reverse grip bench press apparently hits the upper chest 30% more than the conventional flat bench press does. More triceps and upper chest for the win!
What is your nutrition like when trying to get into peak condition?
Actually, I’ve recently been experimenting with incorporating Intermittent Fasting with my IIFYM approach. I train fasted and usually don’t consume my first meal until after 4 pm. Once or twice per week I also try to push the fast to 20 hours. Priority is still given to hitting specific numbers in my total calories and protein.
As an experiment, I’m actually trying to fit in one to two dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts per week in my current diet while hitting my macros.
Some define themselves by their education or career. Others define themselves by their salaries and material acquisitions. But whether it is the subtle application of oil to canvas, or the straining and heaving of hard iron, I choose to define myself by my passions.
Video by Miguel Valenzuela
Credits & Sponsors
Special thanks to the sponsors who made this video possible:
- Music by Distorted Memory
- Thank you to Monster Gym
SHRED TILL DEAD Produced by APTECH Films