Interview by Eric Lipton

Meshack Ochieng is a massively developed, 31 year-old natural bodybuilder from Kenya who has made a huge impact on the natural bodybuilding world!

I first met Meshack at the 2013 PNBA Natural Universe, and his level of muscular development was stunning! I was immediately impressed with his physique, but what really stood out was his kind, humble personality.

Meshack can you tell us some background information about yourself?

“I have a brother who is also a bodybuilder. He is the one who introduced me to lifting weights.”

Michael Otieno [-
Brother Michael Otieno [center] & Meshack [right]
My name is Meshack Ochieng and I am from Kenya. I come from a family of six, but unfortunately, two died so we are now four brothers. My dad died 10 years ago and my mum is still alive. I have a brother who is also a Bodybuilder, Michael Otieno. He is the one who introduced me to lifting weights when I used to stay with him.

Due to poverty, I wasn’t able to go to high school when I was in Kenya. That changed when I came to US and did get a GED. I used to be a tractor mechanic when I was in Kenya. I made a living from being a mechanic and a bodybuilder. Currently, I have a personal training certificate I earned here in Springfield, Illinois.

What has it been like living in the US?

“ I have to watch what I eat because there is so much processed food in the store, which is totally opposite to what we have in Kenya.”

Life here has been great compared to my country. I have been meeting friends and sharing experiences. I have been living here for more than a year now through my friend and sponsor Philip. I had an easy time figuring things out because Springfield is not that big a city. People are friendly and helpful here. I thought it would be tough for me to get used to the food, but I can say for sure that I am fine with the food. I have to watch what I eat because there is so much processed food in the store, which is totally opposite to what we have in Kenya.

When did you start training and what got you started training?

I started training in 2002. I used to lift building bricks and blocks. My brother, who is three years older than me, introduced me to iron and I never looked back since.

Can you tell us more about using the bricks and blocks to train?

“We use to go to building sites and get bricks or blocks and go make dumbbells and permanent barbells with them.”

We use to go to building sites and get bricks or blocks and go make dumbbells and permanent barbells with them. The problem was that you cannot make equal sides, the benches were not standard and had no cushioning, and sometimes we came in the morning and everything was heavier because of rain. Then, my brother and I started making benches and weights with scrap metal.

That is dedication! What do you think of the gyms in the U.S.?

“ The gyms in U.S. are quite excellent in everything, with more machines and lifting areas.”

Picture13The gyms in U.S. are quite excellent in everything, with more machines and lifting areas. There are more than enough weights so you don’t have to wait for others to finish.

How do think people feel about bodybuilding in Kenya?

Bodybuilding in Kenya is different compared to here because there we only have one federation to govern the sport and we don’t have categories of amateur and professional like here. It’s not a big sport and it used to be associated with bad boys, so I didn’t attract sponsors. But right now, it’s getting to its right place.

What got you to start competing in bodybuilding?

People used to tell me that I have a contest body and should one day try competing. I did it after several months later and won my class.

Can you tell me about your history in the sport – including some of the titles you have won and what organizations do you compete in?

I have won several contests here in the U.S. and in Africa too. The major ones are:

Mr. Kenya (twice), Mr. Kenya junior, Musclemania East Africa, Fame World Tour Africa (3rd), Mazo East Africa (2nd) INBA American Gateway, NPC Flex Lewis Classic, NPC Elite Physique, Musclemania Fitness weekend (2nd), and PNBA Natural Universe (3rd).

That’s a lot of success! What do you bring special to the sport?

I bring a unique physique to the game, mass with defined muscles. Usually people think that a natural bodybuilder can never have mass, but I have been able to prove them wrong. You don’t have to be with steroids in your system to get huge. Knowing how your body works is the key.

How do people react when they see your level of development?

“People still do not believe that I am a natural athlete.”

Picture14People still do not believe that I am a natural athlete. I have done several contests which are drug tested, but still some will say that I have a way to escape being caught positive.

What do you think allowed you to develop such incredible size?

First, I think I have the genes for the sport. My dad used to be built naturally though he didn’t attend any gym. Knowing your own body is the second thing. No matter how many coaches one hires to help prepare for a show, if you don’t know how your body works, then you will continue hiring more. Third is eating lean meals all the time. Don’t try to look like you have never been to the gym during your off-season, then start fresh when it comes to contest season.

Your mass really shocks people, what is your height and weight? 

I’m 5’2” and I weigh 185 pounds in the off-season and come down to 165 or 170 pounds in contest season.

Can you tell us about the style of training you use?

Picture16I train heavy in my off-season, but I try not to cheat. I minimize rest between sets and rely on free weights. I train five days a week and I am in the gym for two hours. I usually do four sets on everything.  I combine one large muscle and one small muscle in each session such as chest and biceps; back and triceps; quads and hamstring/ calves; and finally shoulders and abs. But I will change the routine after several months. I will always train for eight weeks then take one week rest. My reps range from 6 to 10 during my off-season, and 10 to 20 during pre-contest. I don’t do one max rep. I use weight I can control throughout the whole set. During pre-contest, I rest for only 30 seconds between sets. I like free weights because I think you support yourself and there’s nothing helping you. It’s just you and the weights, though nowadays some machines are designed in a way that they work like free weights.

Do you have any special dietary practices?

I don’t have any special diet for myself, but I try to diet on white meat most of the time and avoid fatty and sugary foods.

What do you want the world to know about you?

“…if you don’t know how your body works, then you will not achieve your goals.”

I want the world to know that a great body is made by no one else but you. You can have coaches and trainers, but if you don’t know how your body works, then you will not achieve your goals.

What are you goals?

Picture17My goal is to be an international natural bodybuilder who believes in himself, and be a PNBA Mr. Olympia one day. I want to convince all the owners of natural associations to come together and have one big federation that combines us all and look for good sponsors. There are very many athletes using the food supplements we see, but when it comes to sponsoring contests, they sponsor just one association. What can the leaders in natural associations do to attract these companies to sponsor more contests?

We use supplements, but all our money goes to sponsor other federations that we don’t compete in. With the sports federations, I feel like they should allow athletes to compete in any contest without saying that you’re from a different association and so you can’t compete, so long as one is ready to be tested 24/7. Bodybuilding is feared because of the drugs athletes use, but if natural associations can prove that there is a clean federation, we can be way up there.

Who or what inspires you?

I get inspired by all the true natural athletes. For someone who believes in healthy sport, I love you all!


2014 NPC The Wings of Strength Show

Men’s Open Middleweight 1st

Men’s Open Overall Winner

2013 NPC Elite Physique

Men’s Open 1st
2013 INBA US Gateway Natural

Men’s Open 1st

2013 NPC Flex Lewis

Men’s Open 1st

2013 PNBA Natural Universe

Men’s Open 3rd

2012 KBBF Mr. Kenya Nairobi Kenya

Men’s Open 1st

2011 Musclemania East Africa Championship

Men’s Open 1st

Men’s Open Overall Winner

2010 FAME African Natural Championship

Men’s Open 3rd



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