12 Questions with THE RUSSIAN OAK...


Anton Ryskin, AKA The Russian Oak, has been universally likened to a young Arnold Schwarzenegger - and in this comparison photo between Arnold and Anton it's not hard to see why! Today he talks exclusively to Liftness about how he got into bodybuilding, his lifestyle and future projects.

Hi Anton, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. First of all, how is everything going?

Hi Matt, glad to hear from you, all going pretty good, I am on my way to the top or something like that Ha ha! As you can see, even Mike Tyson is talking about me, that's just kinda magic...

So lets do it!

1. Right! So how did you get into Bodybuilding?

I started when I was 18, and before bodybuilding I was dedicated to MMA and Muay Thai for 2 years, so I started this sport at just 16 years old. It was just one day when I was motivated and inspired by Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali videos on youtube... So it all began from them I can say. Very interesting... I realise it just now, oh my god...!

2. You nicknamed yourself The Russian Oak after Arnold Schwarzenegger's nickname The Austrian Oak... Tell us more...

Well, this nickname was given to me by my gym friends, so when I was thinking about my nickname for Instagram etc (@russian_oak) I picked this one, why not!? It was very long ago. And I was never thinking people will see me and I will become famous... So now many of them judge me, they're saying "a nickname must be given, you fool!", I want to say to them that I forgot to ask anyone how to live, what to do, and what nickname to pick! Haters gonna hate right? Ha!

3. Who was it that first noticed you looked so much like Arnold?

Well, that was a friend of my dad when I was 15, he looked at me one day when I had long hair and he said "damn, your son is Arnold!"

From most angles, Anton has a very strong resemblance to Arnold!

4. Where and when did you first start training?

My first weight training was at 16 years old, when I came to the sport centre for the 1st time, I did all kinds of cuuurls curls curls and chest flys, ha ha!! I was dreaming about Arnold's chest, but at that age he was nothing for me, really! But few days later the MMA coach asked me if I wanted to train how to fight, so I made a decision and I was dedicated to this for 2 years, then I started bodybuilding in a fitness club called "Alex-Fitness', where I still am at right now, almost 4 years!

Anton pulls a variation of the 'most muscular' pose at Alex-Fitness, Moscow.

5. What was the first competition you ever competed in?

My first competition was so unexpected even for me. To qualify for the Moscow Amateur Olympia (my 2nd comp) The Russian Bodybuilding federation told me to compete in the Moscow Championship... IT WAS ONLY 7 DAYS OUT, IMAGINE THIS! So, I started my prep!!! You can see my photos from this competition on my Instagram (@russian_oak), scroll to the October photos (2015)... But that was the wrong competition, and I was rejected from the Olympia 5-6 times, but I said to myself "Anton, you will compete on the Olympia stage." So as you can see, it happened because of my perseverance and maybe some kind of rage.

Anton (far right) performs a 'side chest' pose for the judges at the Moscow Olympia 2015.

But if it wasn't for my lovely girlfriend Daria, I might have just sat on my ass and never competed! She gives me so much support, and in return all I want is to make her smile!

Anton with his biggest motivation, Daria!

6. Where did you learn all the weight training techniques from in the beginning?

ALL techniques I learned from my 3D anatomy and bio-mechanics imagination, I can't explain what this is, but I imagine in my head where the muscle insertions are and what each is doing and what would be better to do for the muscle to work harder and which exercise is better... Or I just created my own exercises.

Anton doing a filming project with a friend at Alex-Fitness, Moscow.

7. How has Bodybuilding and Fitness changed your life?

Well, I was always interested in a healthy lifestyle, I have never been drinking or smoking (not even tried). So I was always on a healthy way of life! It changed my appearance, but not my heart. Some people started to envy me, this is so funny to me, even when they find out I am a natural bodybuilder and they're trying to tell me I am using banned substances, poor people...!

Anton performs a twisting back double bicep pose, made popular by Arnold.

8. Could you give the Liftness readers a brief outline of your training program at the moment?

My training is instinctive, so I keep it all in mind. My advice to all lifters, never try to copy someone's work. Imagine an artist copying someone's actions for his OWN masterpiece ? NO, it's YOUR masterpiece, and you must draw it by YOURSELF!

9. What do you change about your Nutrition between a muscle building phase and a fat cutting phase?

Well I always do high-carb, when I am starting to cut I just lower my calorie intake from Carbs and I train even harder than usual.

Another shot from the Moscow Olympia stage - Anton with an awesome 'side chest' pose, October 2015.

10. Do you have any exciting bodybuilding projects or opportunities coming up soon?

I will answer with one quote: 'If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.'

11. As a Natural Bodybuilder, what are your goals for your bodybuilding career?

I never tell people what am I going to do. I even can't say to myself sometimes, I don't see it clear enough, but I believe it's all going well.

12. Lastly, apart from Bodybuilding what other interests do you have and are you working on anything you would like to share with our readers?

Yes, I am a beginning actor, and of course, here you go, this is my 1st commercial on Russian TV ha ha!

Thanks so much for sharing with us Anton, it has been a pleasure to have you contribute to our readers! Good Luck with everything!

Cheers! Wish you all the best!

Happy Lifting!

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