Inside Burn Box, Joel sat down for a chat with the athlete who helped bring the art of natural, drug-free bodybuilding to the Belizean fitness experience. A man who has won over 15 bodybuilding titles, including four Mr. Belize titles, three Caribbean titles, two Central American titles, and two international titles—all within the last decade.
Pics, Courtesy of Clayton
Joel is pedaling a bicycle upstairs in the club’s indoor cycling studio, as the IFBB Elite Pro bodybuilding star and master trainer explains how important it is to warm-up before a workout, especially at an older age. Keep scrolling. Here, their uplifting conversation in full:
Joel Bruster: How old are you?
Clayton Greenidge: [laughs] I’m 53, soon to be 54.
JB: What’s the best reason for hitting the gym?
CG: Best reason?
CG: It aids longevity and overall health. Working out is not something that is natural to us as human beings, but when you get into your routine and make it a habit, you feel positive. I love that feeling. It makes me better; it makes me creative. It’s a lot of positive energy.
JB: When you workout, do you listen to music?
CG: No. No, I don’t. The reason for that is I try to focus on what I’m doing rather than use music to kill the silence or to take away from the pain. I want to really feel what I’m doing; to be more in tune with my body.
JB: Would music be more of a distraction then?
CG: Yeah. A lot of people use it as an aid. It’s just like an energy drink or something. I use my natural body. Once I’m warm, I’m fine. I’m okay: I like doing things naturally.
JB: What do you think about cheat days? Is it something you promote or advise against while training?
CG: I think it’s a reward for all your hard work. It’s not something that you do continuously. It may be once a week, but it depends on your goal; it depends on where you are for what you want to accomplish. Say, for instance, you want to get ready for a photoshoot or something like that, I’d recommend it. When you are stuck with a routine over and over, after a while, you get bored. A cheat day is something you look forward to right after the photoshoot. That’s how you should look at it. For me, right after a competition, it’s what I do; I have a cheat day. I go and I eat whatever I want, and I feel so positive. I feel like, yes, I deserve this. But I’m not going to eat something and regret it afterwards. When you do a cheat day, you must eat it and enjoy it. Food is something you must enjoy.
JB: The reward after the work.
CG: Yes! You have to give yourself a little tap on the back—it’s needed. As human beings we need to do that.
JB: So, let me ask you some questions about the Mr. Belize Championship. You held the title for more than once?
CG: Yes, four times. I had it in 2017, ’18, ’19, and 2022.
JB: How old were you when you had this ambition to become Mr. Belize?
CG: Hmm, in my forties.
JB: I know people in their forties that are just getting into fitness and they think it’s so far-fetched for them to even attempt to get into shape, much less become Mr. Belize.
CG: That’s true! I always wanted to do something special. But earlier in my career I did not do that. I always felt in the back of my mind that I did not fulfill something that I had and really, really wanted to do. It was something unfulfilled, and I just needed to do it; and I accomplished it.
JB: Tell me about how you approach developing the ab muscles.
CG: Okay, well, to be honest with you, it has a lot to do with your diet—what you eat, and when you eat. What I do is stay away from ultra or over processed foods and refined sugars.
JB: So, would that be one of the first steps in dietary changes?
CG: Yes, get rid of the processed foods and refined sugars. One thing I’ve observed over the years with my clients is that when you take these things out of the diet magic happens. And then for every client that stop eating after 6 pm, I’ve seen significant changes in their physique. What is happening there is nothing magical, you know. It’s just a matter of giving your body time to digest the food. We need to give our digestive system time, and give it a break.
JB: What about exercise?
CG: Okay, one exercise is the vacuum. And the reason I say the vacuum is because it works your transverse abdominis, which is the belly band, or the inside of the abs, the internal abdominal muscles. What it does is it holds all the organs and everything in place. If you work on that, you will see great changes in the flatness of the stomach, especially women who have had a baby. They can use this technique; it’s very helpful to pull the stomach back in place.
JB: The vacuum.
CG: Yes, the vacuum. It’s an excellent exercise. It’s something that was practiced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He promoted it a lot.
JB: I remembered one last point. Tell me about your idea of excellence.
CG: Well, my philosophy is ‘proper preperation, prevents poor performance’ so I think excellence is something you should pursue in life. It’s the highest achievement, the highest accomplishment; it’s the pinnacle. Why should you thrive for anything less. You should exude it in everything you do.