Can You Become A Champion Bodybuilder On One Meal A Day? Meet Fred Sanya! 5

Can You Become A Champion Bodybuilder On One Meal A Day? Meet Fred Sanya- Kenyan Bodybuilding Champion!


Fred Sanya- Kenyan Bodybuilding Champion

I got an email from my good friend and photographer, Dennis Lee about a guy that he had met in Kenya named Fred Sanya. Fred was a Kenyan bodybuilder that was coming to America to compete in the November MuscleMania contest and Dennis asked if I could meet Fred and give him some guidance with regards to his training and diet, as where he lives in Kenya, the gym is made up of homemade weights, made from cement. More astonishingly Dennis told me that Fred was truly a sight to see in terms of his impressive muscle mass, but that he was even more impressive since he only ate one meal a day. On hearing that I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help out Fred. I had just received a letter from a bodybuilder in Benin who was in a similar situation and wanted to know if I could help him out in some way as well and I always do my best whenever I hear these stories as I know all too well what it is like to try to build a champion level physique on just one meal a day myself.


Fed Sanya Back In The Gym In Kenya

Bodybuilding On One Meal A Day

As a teenager in Trinidad, I never had enough money to afford the ideal number of meals and would struggle to eat four times a day. I actually started my career as a personal trainer at the advice of my coach as a way to get more money to buy my food. At the time I only got paid once a month so I only had enough food for about 3 weeks. For the last week (or sometimes two depending on the length of the month) I would only have enough for one main meal and as hard as it was it never stopped me from the pursuit of my goal. Hearing about Fred, I thus felt an immediate kinship and arranged to have him meet me at the 19th Street Gym, where I train and my personal training business operates.

To say that I was impressed by Fred would be a true understatement. He came in, all full of smiles with a friend of his who was helping him get around for the day and I shook the hand of this giant of a man. He stood just about six feet tall and at about 220lbs with a barrel chest and impressively wide shoulders. His physique spoke of the years of training that he had put himself through (Fred at this point has been training for over 8 years now) and that he was able to accumulate such amazing proportions eating one meal a day spoke legion to what he would accomplish in the months to come. Fred was so happy just to be here, and we sat down in the gym lobby for a while and spoke about bodybuilding, training and the difference between what it is like here in the United States and his native land in terms of the food and training equipment.

Fred Sanya- Most Muscular

Fred Sanya At 19th Street Gym

Not Much Gym Equipment But Plenty Of Spirit

Fred said that in his country there is so little food and the gyms are so run down that you just have to train hard and do the best that you can. Some of the competitors in Kenya also take steroids, which Fred is dead set against using and welcomed the idea of coming to the United States to compete in drug tested contests. I sympathized with him, as when I started competing in Trinidad, there was no such thing as a drug free contest. Steroids were very much a part of the competitive landscape and my decision to not not go that route was  very difficult one, but I stood fast and was able to be competitive nonetheless.

I told Fred about another bodybuilder that also had very little access to good food at the beginning of his career, but was able to compete and build a championship level physique, my good friend, Kai Greene– who in my opinion was one of the greatest natural bodybuilders of all time, during the period that I was with him competing in the NPC. Kai and I would spend hours talking about the importance of passion, and that most people simply didn’t understand the concept of making your dreams a reality no matter what the obstacles are. Fred is a great example of just that as he never complained about what he didn’t have he just trained hard and was able to accomplish great things in the process.

Fred Sanya Shows His Guns!

Fred Shows The Champion Level Form That He Was Able To Build Drug Free!

Victor Munoz, Victor Martinez’s coach and a friend of mine walked by and I introduced him to Fred. Fred was very excited to meet the man behind one of the top IFBB pros on the circuit today and Victor shared some of his words of wisdom as well. Hailing from Cuba, he too knew what it was like to not have everything at your fingertips as it is here in the United States. He said that Fred had a lot of potential  and that he would do really well over here, but that he needed to eat clean at all times, since the food over here is plentiful, but it is really easy to start eating the wrong things. Fred was very excited to learn that Victor Martinez actually trained at the 19th Street Gym and could hardly wait to see the place.

Fred’s typical workout regime in Kenya revolved around the very basics, squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, rows curls and bench presses with not very much else. Fred trained 6 days a week twice a day (that’s not a typo) and has made tremendous gains from this remarkable regime. Some might say that his unconventional approach is not an effective one, but the proof as they say is in the pudding and Fred’s physique does indeed speak volumes for the validity of what he was doing. As someone that gained over 100lbs over the years with three fifteen to twenty minute workouts, I know for a fact that very often the unconventional can produce some unconventional results! I told Fred about my own high intensity training routine of 10 minute workouts and he was incredulous.

“How can you work the muscles in such a short time?” he asked with a puzzled expression on his face, so I did what I always do when asked that question, I took him for a workout! Fred had also never trained in a real gym, so when we descended into the sprawling sea of iron that is the 19th Street Gym, he was dumbfounded. I reminded him that though the many machines offer a great degree of variety for many body parts, the basics of what got him to where he was in the first place should never be forgotten. He wanted to train legs and so I took him through a paces of a Naturally Intense leg workout!

Fred loved every minute of it, and after the first round of hamstring curls (which, by the way he had never done before ), clearly feeling the effects, he boomed,

“Please! We are not finished yet?”

We were not, after launching into a set of squats, verticals and calves he was barely able to walk. Total training time, 8.5 minutes and Fred looked at me with a great smile, shook my hand and said,

“Maybe I need to think about training a bit like this, I have never felt like this before!”

At this point my other clients at the gym had arrived and Fred warned them,

“Be careful with this guy, this training is no joke!”

Kenyan Chamion Fred Sanya And I Hamming It Up For The Camera!

Me & Fred Hamming It Up For The Camera!

In Fred I could really see the passion that I and so many others have over the years and I look forward to helping him and seeing him go straight to the top of the sport. I hope that his example helps inspire you and many others that you can indeed make your dreams a reality without drugs, and even without the many protein powders and supplements that are so much a part of training today. All you need is a burning desire to succeed and a real commitment to never give up, no matter what!


Please note that all material is copyrighted and DMCA Protected and can be reprinted only with the expressed authorization of the author.

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You can see more of Fred at his website at


Update- 12/2/09- Congratulations to Fred Sanya on winning his class at the 2009 Musclemania and I am honored to have been able to help him with his diet and training. He truly is a champion at heart!


Celebrity personal trainer, Kevin Richardson is an award winning health and fitness writer, lifetime drug free bodybuilder, founder of the Naturally Intense High Intensity Training and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City. Get a copy of his free weight loss ebook here.


5 thoughts on “Can You Become A Champion Bodybuilder On One Meal A Day? Meet Fred Sanya!

  1. Bret Salzer Oct 16,2009 8:59 pm

    This article is really something special, Kevin. I bet you could get Fred’s story published more widely, there’s a ton of human interest there.

  2. Crasty Oct 17,2009 2:21 am

    Interesting and informative. But will you write about this one more?

  3. Brown Oct 21,2009 11:02 pm

    I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often!

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