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Andrew Coulson - Business Entrepreneur and Body Building Pioneer

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Andrew Coulson

Business entrepreneur and a well-known name in the bodybuilding industry – that's Andrew Coulson in a nutshell – although his journey to success has certainly been a roller coaster.

He began training at the young age of fifteen as a means to deal with bullying. He quickly found solace in the gym and became intent on putting on some serious gains.

He never had the desire to compete, however, but he knew he wanted to give something back to the bodybuilding community.

So he began judging for the UKBFF whilst also working on his personal business enterprises.

With a background in marketing and communications, Andrew set up a company at 18, which grew organically and through acquisitions. By 24 he had a staff of 50 and £3 million in the bank.

Business was thriving but the banks stepped in and decided to foreclose on marketing and above the line businesses and within days he went from £3 million in the bank to zero.

This hefty blow only spurred Andrew on even more and fast-forward to now and Andrew's hard work and dedication had paid off.

He set up Body Coaches and developed a world-class product – Protein Bites.

Andrew Coulson is undoubtedly incredibly down to earth, passionate and inspiring. He has faced and defeated challenges beyond comprehension with one constant – his love for the sport of bodybuilding.

Here's his story…

Training Plan:

I train 4 times every week or every 8 days dependant upon my recovery.

Day 1: Chest and Triceps

  • Chest decline press - 3 progressive warm up sets then just 2 working sets.
  • Incline press - one set to simply feel the weight etc. - then just 2 working sets at max weight
  • Incline flies 2 working sets.
  • Triceps they are already warm so I just do some very light work to get the elbow joints ready for the heavy sets.


  • I do 2 working sets of skull crushers but I don't over extend backwards it does not suit my body and I get a better feel not over extending.
  • 1 working set of pushdowns.
  • 1 working set of single arms cable reverse grip pushdowns to the side of the body.

Day 2: Back

  • 2 moderate weight conventional pull downs just to warm up the shoulder joints this is not to work my back.


  • 2 working sets narrow reverse grip pull downs
  • 2 working sets single arm dumbbell rows
  • 1 working set reverse grips bar bell rows
  • 1 working set of seated wide grip

Also with back I then do rear delta
I do one working set for rear delta

Andrew Coulson

Day 3: Shoulders and Biceps

  • 2 working sets of front raises
  • 2 working sets of lateral raises
  • 2 working sets of dumbbell press


  • 2 working sets of single arm concentration curls
  • 2 working set of ez bar stood curls

Day 4: Legs

  • 5 minutes of warming up the core etc.
  • Then seated leg extensions 3 progressive warm up sets…. then just 2 working sets of leg extensions
  • Leg press - 1 set to feel the movement for the joints … then 2 working sets of heavy leg press
  • Hack squats 2

That's the quads done!

  • Hamstrings: 2 warm up sets of 15-20 reps then 2 heavy sets 6-8 reps of lying leg curls or seated leg curls
  • Calves: 1 warm up set then 2 heavy working sets of seated raises

…A note about training

You have 3 phases of strength with the weakest one actually being the positive (basically in most instances the lifting of the weight).

The second phase of strength is the static you are stronger on the static!

The third phase is the negative.

Too many people think about just lifting weights, so somebody doing a incline bench with their rep very often focused on the lift and does not take much note of the negative (lowering of the weight).

Therefore logic says that if you are not practicing the controlling the negatives you are actually missing half of the rep.

As we keep saying more muscle gets damaged on a controlled negative and it's that exact damage that the body repairs and eventually ones hopes gains more muscle.

So you are missing the most important part of the rep if you are not working the negative…

Andrew Coulson

Now here is the punch line, when have you gone to complete muscular failure in a rep. When you cannot lift anymore! NO...

Given the muscle is stronger on the negative in proportion to the positive once the positive goes logic says the weakest part of the muscle has fatigued first.

But you are there to hit the muscle and create most fibre damage so just because you may have failed on the positive does not mean your muscle has been totally fatigued.

You may quite probably have more strength left in the muscles.

So hit that negative get your training partner to do the positive part of the movement and you hold that negative until you can hold it no more, just 1-2 slow reps

That is what you call complete muscle failure and you have depleted every area of the rep.

Meal Planner


Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

  • Same as meal 3 but I may throw fish in instead of chicken

Post Workout Shake:

  • 60 grams of carbs, 40 grams of whey isolate, DY creagen

Meal 5:

Meal 6:

Interview with Andrew Coulson

Ok, let's start with the basics, what age are you and how long have you been in the bodybuilding industry?

I am 46 and I've been working out since I was 15.

Tell us how and why you first got into Bodybuilding…

I first got into the sport because I was bullied when I was younger because of my dark skin. People tend to get involved in bodybuilding for one of two reasons, the first is vanity. Sex drives the sport and people do it because they want to look good. The second reason is for personal issues, such as people who have been picked on and bullied in the past.

Obviously people do it to keep fit too, however in my experience this is often not as prevalent as the other two reasons. After all, you don't really need a gym to keep fit! People do it because they want to look good and feel good about themselves.

You're obviously extremely dedicated to your training so why didn't you compete?

I never had a desire to compete but was always extremely interested in the sport and in fitness in general. Unfortunately the sport doesn't pay well and when it comes down to putting food on the table or working out, feeding the family wins.

What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue bodybuilding as a career?

Andrew Coulson

If you're just starting out, set your goal to be the best you can possibly be. Don't set the bar too high as you can only control what you do and the efficiency of your training.

Your body is unique. All you can aim to do is be the best you can be with the genetics you're born with. It is true that genetics play a part in bodybuilding however some of the greatest have not been gifted the best genetics. Work ethic and discipline can yield magnificent results in their own right. Genetics do matter at the very top level, however too many people use them as an excuse without looking at other problems in their bodybuilding plan.

I'd also tell somebody wishing to pursue bodybuilding that a physique is not aesthetic just for its size. Many people concentrate on vanity muscles such as chest and biceps and give too little attention to other important areas of their physique. Aesthetics is all about sculpting to gain symmetry and good proportions so that your body is balanced.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding the sport in particular around performance enhancing drugs – how much of bodybuilding success relies on these?

As it is, people who are looking to win competitions will have to consider the use of sport enhancing drugs. It is important to note that the usage of performance enhancing drugs is pervasive in many sports; I find it irritating that people pin point bodybuilding when there is plenty of evidence to suggest the prevalence in other sports – World's Strongest Man, cycling, sprinting, basketball and American football to name a few notable examples

The crucial problem is that people do not understand the fundamentals of the drugs they are taking, usually taking too much and too often; commonly in the hope that the potential side effects are “never going to happen to me”.

There has been an upsurge in the number of gym goers and those entering local competitions, as a result more are turning to sport enhancing drugs, including more steroids than ever. This has created an epidemic amongst young people turning to these drugs because they want fast results and yet are not knowledgeable about safe usage and the potential harmful effects. That's where these substances are abused.

Instead of training hard and concentrating on important factors they rely on these substances for their gains.

Young aspiring bodybuilders and those interested in fitness see videos of the top bodybuilders and decide that they want to achieve such a body. What they fail to see is the 15 years of hard training that has gone into honing that physique. These youngsters do not appreciate the work ethic and discipline required; muscles don't come out of glass bottles. I wish these younger people would appreciate the hierarchy of importance to be - work ethic, gym, nutrition, and rest.

Instead of training hard and concentrating on important factors they rely on these substances for their gains. I wish that more people understood there are no quick fixes. The greatest bodybuilders in the world have publically stated usage levels which are often below what an average person takes in a local gym. This is why I believe there is an epidemic.

Andrew & Ron Coleman

In order to stop this abuse the industry needs to work at educating people about the usage of drugs. However, misinformation and drug usage is already pervasive. Additionally, lucrative contracts within the industry disincentivise informing the public about the widespread use and safety of these compounds. Private companies will be unwilling to fund such an awareness and education program.

A solid starting point would be to educate people on the fundamentals of bodybuilding, but when the world and Internet are selling quick fixes, it's very difficult.

What's more important, diet or spending time in the gym?

Most people think it's the gym but the fact is that bodybuilding isn't an endurance sport. If you spent all your time in the gym – when would you grow? It's ludicrous to think this and the fact is that you can build a world-class physique in less than 4 hours a week at the gym using weights.

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Muscular growth comes from load and intensity which stimulate the muscles to grow. However this growth will not occur without adequate rest and nutrition. The two areas are entirely complementary and necessary to yield optimal results.

When you go to the gym it's like you're digging a hole in the body's energy levels, it trains the muscles but it also attacks the central nervous system, only when that hole is filled up with correct nutrients will you see results.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I just can't do this anymore?” If so, how did you overcome these feelings?

Honestly – I've never had it. My discipline comes from my reasons for doing it. When you start young like I did it becomes your lifestyle, it doesn't feel like a challenge and it doesn't feel like work!

I would say if you're feeling the lack of drive, just remember why you began to train in the first place and remember we've only one body so we have to look after it.

What is your most favourite body part to train and why?

I don't really have a favourite part because they all hurt! Genetically though I'm relatively strong in the back and triceps.

If you had to pick one person for being your biggest inspiration in bodybuilding – who would it be and why?

Dorian Yates, Jodie Marsh and Andrew Coulson

It has to be Dorian Yates because of his work ethic and mental strength. He himself has said that those he competed against were born with better genetics but he out trained them, outsmarted them in their training and he had a 24/7 mental tenacity that I've never known from anybody else.

Nothing was ever given to him and he trained to suit himself. He went against the grain and everyone said he'd never make it but he was determined, trained hard and won Mr Olympia, six times.

His biggest competitor is himself. I take great admiration from his mental strength. Such mental strength doesn't just apply to bodybuilding and seeing it in him has inspired me to learn from his example and transpose this attitude in my day-to-day life.

How has your personal experience in the Bodybuilding industry helped you in your business enterprises?

I became a judge for UKBFF a subdivision of the IFBB because I wanted to help other bodybuilders reach their potential and give something back to the sport. After speaking to bodybuilders and getting asked by roughly 20/30 average gym goers daily for advice, it was apparent they needed guidance in all aspects. I felt that it was clear that people desired much more detailed knowledge and I came up with the idea for Body Coaches to bridge this information gap. Body Coaches online seminar platform was the first of its kind where bodybuilding and fitness professionals could share tips and experiences with their fans in real time.

I came up with the idea for Body Coaches to bridge this information gap

I was told during my position as a judge that I couldn't do it, I was getting too popular with competitors and it was recommended that I should stop giving them advice. I agreed to disagree with this particular individual and left the judging panel. The negativity I was told to show toward the athletes and gym goers was something that I could never do and it spurred me to create Body Coaches in part to prove the man who tried to hold me back wrong. I always acted in the best interest of the sport and competitors.

I certainly owe that man a big favour!

We know you're behind the Protein Bites range, where did you get the inspiration for these snacks?

I always wanted to launch my own protein range but the market is saturated at the moment. So I came up with an idea to develop a cereal that would allow health enthusiasts to get a sufficient intake of protein rather than having to subsidise with other protein rich foods. One day, though, I was driving to a meeting with my business partner eating two tuna sandwiches and a packet of crisps and realised I needed more protein – that's when the light bulb switched on.

We decided to put everything on hold and spent two years developing the crisp idea. Once it was at a stage we were happy with, we went to BodyPower Expo to see if there'd be a demand for a product like this and that I wasn't suffering from inventor syndrome! Luckily we had a huge response.

We effectively launched in the learning curve and decided to keep on adapting. One of the biggest issues we faced was how to make the crisps taste nice and keep protein high yet carbs and fat low so we developed two flavours that had a much greater nutritional index than the average crisp including 20g protein.

Within the first 2 months, behind the scenes we decided to change the Sweet Thai for Peri Peri because we didn't feel the taste was strong enough. And that's what I'd call phase two of the development of the Protein Bites.

Protein Bites

However, we're now into phase 3 which will be on the market at the end of February (2014). I would go so far as to say for the first time I'm truly happy with the delivery of the product. Through a very technical system we have managed to put in double the flavour in the product and it has also allowed us, even incurring the huge obstacle of keeping the fat content down, to keep the product no less dry than an average potato crisp.

We have taste tested this against products such as Pringles and I would describe the product now not a protein snack but a healthy lifestyle snack with 20g protein – there is a big difference.

The thing is, we never aimed these crisps at bodybuilders. We wanted to create a healthy product for those people who follow a healthy lifestyle but we've contacts all over the world interested in the product.

Ironically people said this product would fail from the start. They couldn't see what I was trying to achieve. In 2013, I took some initial kitchen samples to the Expo and everybody told me not to do it, there was no market for it. Well, you don't tell a man like me not to do something because I always see the bigger picture… But hey that's life! People have opinions, and there's no hard feelings. As long as they're eating protein bites we're all good!

You're a very busy man, so what other business initiatives are you involved in?

I've a few new products in the pipeline for Protein Bites and we are launching them in America. It's been a bit of a roller coaster. We're always trying to improve the product so we always listen to what the consumer has to say as their opinion matters most. The response has been amazing.

If you hadn't decided on this kind of career – what else would you have done?

I have a background in marketing and communications predominately in strategic implementation of brands through graphical communication.

The first company I started was at 18 years old and I grew that business through organic and acquisitions, by the age of 24 I had 50 staff. The books were strong but in that year the banks decided to foreclose on many marketing and above-the-line companies and within two days my overdraft went from £3M to zero.

Andrew Coulson

The consequence of that was I had to put that company into bankruptcy and ended up packing my goods in a cardboard box and driving home.

I moved home to my parents and began working again from my mum's kitchen table. Life gives you these obstacles, but it's stuff like that that makes you stronger. You have to pick yourself back up and get back on track to where you were. I'm very much a person who gives full attention and energies to a task and it is this commitment and passion that drive me on.

I don't believe in wallowing in misfortune, bad luck or bad timing. You cannot change the past but you can learn and adapt to a new and often better situation if you really want to. I was not alone in that I had a very supportive network and the same goes for Protein Bites, which is a massive team of people working behind the scenes for our common goal.

Life gives you these obstacles, but it's stuff like that that makes you stronger.

If you could give just one bit of advice to an up and coming bodybuilder what would that be?

You get out of life what you put in and as far as bodybuilding goes every gym session, every meal, every period of rest and every supplement counts. You must make them count every single day and then just see where it will take you.

People look for different degrees of success, that's just human nature. But if you're passionate about what you do, don't be afraid to take some risks because I can guarantee you this, the road you set out upon will not be the one you finally walk. But if you never took that first step of conviction and faith, you're never going to get anywhere – make your own luck in life.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

The “impossible” is always attainable. I'll give you a prime example… My brother lives next door and when he used to go to bed at night and see my office light still on working away he used to joke that I lived in my office.

During a conversation four to 5 years later his exact words were – “you found yourself in a very lucky situation Andrew.” But that's far from the truth. The luck was created in those 4-5 years, 17 hours a day sat in that office.

I do believe in working extremely hard, sometimes to the detriment of my personal life, but I'll always be the first to rise and the last to sleep.

If you have an idea or a passion you wish to follow just go for it! Even if it doesn't work, at least you'll have tried. Don't ask what if, just give it a go and if you've the will, you'll find a way to make it work. And one more thing, good comes from good and if you can help someone else along the way, you will find your life to be richer in so many ways that have nothing to do with money.

If you'd like to ask Andrew any questions feel free to do so through Twitter (@AndreCoulson)