Shaka Smith

Shaka Smith, also known as ‘shakastrong’, built upon his sporting beginnings to become a successful Men’s Physique competitor within the NPC. Back in his childhood, he became heavily active – taking part in water polo and swimming throughout his high school years.

As he progressed in his fitness journey, he moved to Los Angeles in 2011. Ever since then, Shaka’s career has taken off – becoming a lawyer, actor, and fitness model over the years.

Because of the great physique he was able to build, Shaka has gone on to achieve success in his fitness career – finishing in 1st place in competitions such as the 2011 NPC San Francisco Championships, and the 2012 NPC Gold Coast Muscle Classic.

This is his story:


 

Shaka Smith showing off his shredded body.

Athlete Statistics

Full Name: Shaka Smith
WeightHeightYear of BirthNationality
155 - 165lbs (70.3 - 74.8kg)5'8" (172.5cm)1987American
ProfessionAliasEra
Fitness Model, Men's Physique Competitor, Lawyer, ActorShaka Strong2010
Weight155 - 165lbs (70.3 - 74.8kg)
Height5'8" (172.5cm)
Year of Birth1987
NationalityAmerican
ProfessionFitness Model, Men's Physique Competitor, Lawyer, Actor
AliasShaka Strong
Era2010

 

Shaka Smith smiling at the camera holding a trophy.

Accomplishments

Career Achievements

  • Fitness Model
  • Men’s Physique Competitor
  • Lawyer
  • Actor

Competitive History

2014

  • USA Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 12th place

2012

  • Excalibur Championships (NPC): Class A – 2nd place
  • USA Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 7th place
  • Arnold Amateur: Men’s Physique Short – 3rd place
  • Gold Coast Muscle Classic (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st and Overall Winner
  • Iron Man Naturally (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st and Overall Winner

2011

  • National Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 15th place
  • San Francisco Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A, 1st and Overall Winner
  • Tournament of Champions (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st place
  • North American Championships (IFBB): Men’s Physique Class A – 14th place
  • USA Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 5th place
  • West Coast Classic (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st place and overall
  • Southern California Championships (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st place
  • Orange County Muscle Classic (NPC): Men’s Physique Class A – 1st place

 

Shaka Smith showing off his lean physique in a photo shoot.

Biography

Active Childhood

Born in Miami, Florida, Shaka’s sporting ambitions date back to his childhood, where he began to take part in competitive swimming from the age of 8. He developed a thirst for success from an early on, which allowed him to move onto water polo by the time he reached 12 years old.

Because of his heavily active lifestyle, Shaka was able to build an athletic physique once he reached his teenage years. As Shaka says: “I always had an athletic physique growing up primarily swimming and playing water polo”.

During this period, Shaka was required to train in the weights room to improve his performance in water polo. At first, this was something that Shaka didn’t enjoy. In his own words: “I was introduced to the weight room and wanted no part of it. It was foreign to me and I felt fit and initially couldn’t see how it could benefit me”.

However, that soon changed when Shaka began to train in the gym to stay in shape after college – quickly finding a love for lifting weights. From this moment onward, Shaka increased his knowledge of fitness – learning more about training and nutrition. Here’s Shaka recalling the moment when training in the gym became a passion:

“After college without sports to remain active and fit, I returned to the gym and just started to learn, and what I learned I began to love”.


 

Shaka Smith showing off his ripped abs.

Moving to LA

Outside of fitness, Shaka’s ultimate goal was to become a successful actor. In an attempt to achieve just that, Shaka made the decision to move to Los Angeles in 2011. Shortly after his relocation, Shaka came into contact with James Ellis, who became Shaka’s mentor in the weights room.

Under the influence of James, Shaka was able to take his training to the next level. Alongside this, James made Shaka realize that he had the potential to become a success on the bodybuilding stage.

As Shaka recalls: “As knowledgeable as I felt before training with James, his training jumped me into a level that made it plausible to really compete and think about a career in the fitness world”.

Competing in the Men’s Physique Division

James helped Shaka to prepare for his debut competition, which was just months after Shaka moved to Los Angeles. Shaka entered the 2011 NPC Orange County Muscle Classic, in which he finished 1st place. Immensely proud of his excellent achievement, Shaka set out to further his experience within the men’s physique category.

Because of his great performance, Shaka’s motivation was greater than ever. His hard work in the gym soon paid off, when he finished in 1st place once more, in the 2011 NPC Southern California Championships.

In 2012, Shaka was able to storm to two successive first and overall competition wins, in the 2012 NPC Iron Man Naturally, and the NPC Gold Coast Muscle Classic – proving his capabilities on the bodybuilding stage.


 

Shaka Smith exercising in the gym with a cable.

Training

Shaka’s Lifting Preferences

Shaka prefers to train using light weights with high repetitions, after he found that this was the method of weightlifting that delivered the best results. As Shaka says: “The lower weight and higher reps doesn’t leave my muscle fatigued and sore like it would if I were lifting heavy”.

Three Favorite Exercises

Here’s Shaka talking about his three favorite exercises:

  1. Squats: “Working legs gives you a great pump and raises the body’s testosterone.  Having strong legs also helps me with my primary forms of cardio, running, swimming, rowing, and stairs”.
  2. Kettlebell Swings: “These are so effective at burning calories and are fairly low impact. Research has shown that a 20 minute kettlebell workout is equivalent to running a mile at a 6 minute pace”.
  3. Burpees: “I just love these. I’m a huge fan of pushups and who doesn’t like jumping up and down continuously?! These always challenge me and get my heart rate up and work my entire body – its more of a love/hate relationship but they are effective!”.

Shaka’s Training Split

Shaka enjoys working his full body every training day, as this allows him to build lean muscle at a fast pace. In addition, he performs 30 – 60 minutes of moderate intensity cardio. His seven day training split looks something like this:

Day 1

  • Squats: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Front Deltoid Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Deltoid Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Hanging Knee Raise: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 2

  • Leg Extension: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Lying Hamstring Curls: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Incline Bench: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Decline Bench: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Barbell Flat Bench: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Front Cable Lat Pull-Down: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • T-Bar Row: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Hyperextensions: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 3

  • Squats: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Alternating Biceps Curl: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Standing Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Cable Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Triceps Kickbacks: 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Hanging Knee Raise: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 4

  • Leg Extension: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Lying Hamstring Curls: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Front Deltoid Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Lateral Deltoid Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 5

  • Squats: 2 sets 50 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Incline Bench: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Decline Bench: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Barbell Flat Bench: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Front Cable Lat Pull-Down: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • T-Bar Row: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Hyperextensions: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Hanging Knee Raise: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 6

  • Leg Extension: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Lying Hamstring Curls: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Alternating Bicep Curl: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Standing Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 25 reps
  • Cable Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Triceps Kickbacks: 3 sets of 30 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Leg Lifts: 4 sets of 25 reps

Day 7

  • Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Two-Handed Cable Pull-Down: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Standing Behind The Back Wrist Curls: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Standing Cable Forearm Extension: 3 sets of 35 reps
  • Weighted Abdominal Crunches: 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Hanging Knee Raise: 4 sets of 25 reps

 

Shaka Smith on the bodybuilding stage.

Nutrition

Shaka’s Meal Plan

Shaka aims to stay as lean as possible throughout the year, following a diet which consists of ‘clean’ foods. His nutritional preference is a high protein diet, which allows him to quickly recover from his intense workouts. Occasionally, Shaka will reward his hard work with a cheat meal to add balance to his diet.

A meal plan which he follows is listed below:

  • 1st Meal: Whey Protein Shake
  • 2nd Meal: Chicken Breast with Salad or Brown Rice
  • 3rd Meal: Bowl of Fruit with Almonds
  • 4th Meal: Post Workout Whey Protein Shake
  • 5th Meal: Chicken Breast with Salad or Brown Rice
  • 6th Meal: Whey or Casein Protein Shake

Shaka’s Top Ten Foods

Here’s Shaka’s top ten favorite foods which form part of his daily diet:

  • Egg Whites
  • Tilapia
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Black Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Grapefruit
  • Mangos
  • Brown Rice Tortillas

 

Shaka Smith on the bodybuilding stage.

Idols and Influences

James Ellis was the one person who made Shaka realize his true potential in fitness, encouraging him to step onto the bodybuilding stage. In Shaka’s own words:

“He stepped up my training to a new level. Everything he did in the gym was technical, there wasn’t one thing that was not deliberate from the number of reps, to precise angles, and even speed of the reps at different parts of the motions for certain exercises. Adopting this level of consciousness for my training made a huge difference”.

Jay Cutler and Arnold Schwarzenegger are two of Shaka’s biggest influences. Their immense success on the bodybuilding stage is something which Shaka greatly admires.

Here’s Shaka talking about his huge respect for Arnold: “He was smart in the way he trained and had an unmatched intensity and drive. He has been a great ambassador for the sport and continues to be today”.

As he’s part of the fitness industry, Shaka is motivated by many of the people that he meets on a regular basis. In particular, he takes huge inspiration from those who seek advice from him. As Shaka says:

“I am fortunate enough to be in an industry where everyone I come across is a motivational powerhouse. Even more than that, seeing people that have asked me for advice, actually apply it and get results that have not just changed the way they look, but improved their health with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, has been one of the biggest drivers of the work I have put in lately”.


 

Shaka Smith performing crunches.

What we can learn from Shaka Smith

If there’s one thing we can take from Shaka Smith’s story, it’s that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and trying new things can help you to reach all of your fitness goals.

As Shaka says: “Don’t be afraid or intimidated. Each day you work out, you’re one step closer to your goal, no matter how far you think you may be” – Shaka Smith

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