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Powerlifter and Fitness Model Nathaniel Massiah on Gaining Strength While Staying Lean

Nathaniel “Nate” Massiah is a rapidly rising name in the strength and fitness space. At 20 years of age, he’s started a University Degree, developed a massive social media following, and stays ripped while competing as one of the UK’s strongest powerlifters.

Massiah placed second in the 2022 British Powerlifting (BP) British University Championships with a total of 730 kilograms (1,609.4 pounds) in the 93-kilogram class on April 2, 2022. BarBend caught up with the Londoner to find out more about his brand and how he stays so lean while hitting PRs.

Image courtesy of MyProtein.

[Related: Strongman Hafþór Björnsson to Compete in Powerlifting Meet In December 2022]

Love of Strength and Fitness

“When I was around five years old, I was clearing out the loft with my dad, and I found his old bodybuilding magazines from the 90s,” says Massiah. “I was instantly drawn into the sport of bodybuilding, admiring the way guys like Dorian Yates and Kevin Levrone looked. When I got older, I started watching fitness YouTube with guys like Rich Piana and David Laid and started seriously weight training from the age of 12. Then at 14, I just wasn’t fully happy with the way that I looked and decided to commit myself to bodybuilding and powerlifting. I haven’t looked back since.”

YouTube made a serious impact on Massiah. At age 14, he launched his own channel. Initially, he uploaded content to share most aspects of his life, including hair styling tips and, of course, fitness footage.

“I hit 1,000 subscribers in December of the first year, then had slow and steady growth up until about 4,000 subscribers in August 2019. It was at this point everything changed: I made a video about the fact that I had gained all nine’s (the equivalent of As) in my GCSEs (UK high school certificates), and that video blew up. At this point, I had a large number of fitness videos on my channel, so once that video blew up, YouTube started recommending my previous content too.”

It’s not difficult to see why viewers would become loyal followers of Nate’s social media content. At 16, he hit a 260-kilogram (573.2-pound) deadlift. At 17, he deadlifted 300 kilograms (661.4 pounds). At 18, he crushed 320 kilograms (705.5 pounds), and at 19 he locked out 325 kilograms (716.5 pounds).

Massiah has spun a lot of plates before his 20th birthday. While the rising influencer was accepted into the prestigious sporting university of Loughborough, he decided to put that on hold so that he could focus on strength and bodybuilding — he’s now backed by top brands like MyProtein.

Hitting PRs

“I started doing deadlift singles on a weekly basis in order to practice what it would be like to go for a one rep max,” shares the powerhouse Massiah. “For this, I’ll use a slightly lighter weight and increase this weekly. I also started doing deadlift variations, like deficit Romanian deadlifts. I also started creatine which I think made a slight difference, and my deadlift has continued to increase.”

Nathaniel Messiah
Image courtesy of MyProtein.

[Related: Powerlifter Jen Thompson (67.5 KG) Unofficially Breaks Bench Press World Record with 148.5 Kilogram (327.5 Pound) Lift]

Staying Lean While Gaining Strength

“The simple premise is not to let your body fat get too high during your ‘bulking’ phase,” shares the fitness influencer. “My approach is to lean-bulk from September until March, slowly gaining weight in a small calorie surplus in order to maximize my strength without gaining too much fat.”

“During this period, I usually dedicate most of my time to powerlifting style training… or, more accurately, power-building, because I train in a hybrid style incorporating both bodybuilding and powerlifting.” Massiah continued, “then, from April until July, I cut down to pretty low body fat levels. During this period, I’m usually not too concerned with powerlifting as I’m primarily training in a bodybuilding style.”

“As much as I love powerlifting, I can’t do it year-round, it just gets too boring for me,” says Massiah. “So, I use bodybuilding to add some variation. Then, throughout July and August, I try my best to maintain this body fat level, and then the cycle continues.”

“In all honesty, genetics plays a big role, not everyone can maintain a lean physique while gaining strength, but I definitely think people would find it easier if they took my approach rather than going on huge dirty bulks where they gain way too much fat and then spend months trying to burn it off.”

Massiah’s Workout

  • Deadlifts — Single-rep sets with 90 percent of one-rep max. Then two sets of four reps.
  • Deficit Paused Deadlifts — 3 x 6
  • Lat Pulldowns — 4 x 10
  • Hamstring Curls — 3 x 12
  • Machine Rows — 3 x 12

Gym Bag Essentials

Massiah says that “a lever belt, liquid chalk, pre-workout, and wrist wraps” are essential gym bag accessories when heading out to a session.” And, with the continuation of building his brand always at the forefront of his mind, Massiah also takes his camera and tripod along for the ride.

When it comes to recovery, the heavy lifter says that Epsom salts are a go-to for him. Massiah also works to improve his stretching, as he feels that this keeps him limber and less prone to injury.

[Related: Nabil Lahlou (67.5KG) Deadlifts 362.8 Kilograms (800 Pounds) in Training]

What’s Next For Nathaniel Massiah

As a MyProtein-sponsored athlete, Messiah is building serious connections in the fitness world and now boasts more than 138,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of this article’s publication.

I want to be the strongest 93kg junior powerlifter in the UK by 2024, have one million subscribers on YouTube, and build a successful brand.

As if all that isn’t enough, he wants to put that lean frame to the test by entering a natural bodybuilding contest too. We’ll see how conditioned of a package he brings to the stage when he poses for the judges.

Featured image courtesy of MyProtein.