Dennis Shed Over 100 Pounds And Competed In His First Bodybuilding Show!

Dennis spent a good portion of his life yo-yo dieting, falling short of reaching his fitness goals. Then he decided enough was enough. Read on to see what helped Dennis to kick his fitness into gear and achieve a weight loss of more than 100 pounds!


Vital Stats

Name: Dennis Aldridge

Email: awl8up@cox.net

Bodyspace: AWL8UP

Dennis Aldridge Dennis Aldridge

Before:

Age:
30
Height:
5'10"
Weight:
300 lbs
Body Fat:
36%
Waist:
50"
Hips:
54"
Thighs:
30"

After:

Age:
41
Height:
5'10"
Weight:
198 lbs
Body Fat:
5%
Waist:
32"
Hips:
37.5"
Thighs:
24"

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Why I Got Started
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Even as a child bodybuilders intrigued me. I was the chubby kid who always wanted to have a lean athletic build. My little league football coach was a bodybuilder and was larger than life. I loved to go over to his house and watch him workout on his old universal machine and assorted free weights. I had no idea how, but I was going to be like that one day. Little did I know that I would be 41 before I achieved the vision in my head.

Like many males my first experience with lifting weights was in high school football. I loved lifting but never really had the knowledge and consistency to transform myself. My knowledge of lifting was "powerlifting" focused as that translated to functional performance on the field. After high school I continued to lift weights while I served in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman and Paratrooper. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm we lifted almost every day in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. We were fit and ready to fight! After leaving the Army, I worked my way through college. These were very dark years with regard to my fitness as it was not my primary focus. When I finally graduated with my MBA in 1999 I tipped the scales at just over 300 pounds. On a day that I should have been very proud of my accomplishment I was miserable and embarrassed by how I looked. I had hit rock bottom. This was the start of my journey into transforming myself into who I am today.

I Loved Lifting But Never Really Had The Knowledge And Consistency To Transform Myself
+ Click To Enlarge.
I Loved Lifting But Never Really Had The Knowledge
And Consistency To Transform Myself.

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How I Did It
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After graduate school I switched my focus to becoming fit. I decided to follow the Body for Life approach written by Bill Phillips and EAS. I learned the importance of proper diet and supplementation. Most importantly, I learned that had to be consistent in executing my diet, resistance training, and cardiovascular training. In the following year I was able to lose 120 pounds and weigh in at a lean 180 pounds. For the next three years I stayed relatively lean and slowly put on muscle. I swore I would never go back and then everything changed in 2003 when my son was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This really turned my world upside down as I had no control over our future any more. I've always been the type that believed with hard work I could overcome anything. Unfortunately there was nothing I could do to make this situation better. During this time the gym remained my stress reliever but I began eating whatever I wanted. By 2006, I was 263 pounds and ready to pull myself out of a life of self-pity. I started to focus on dieting the way I had six years earlier but my body was not responding. I needed a new approach.

I decided to seek the assistance of a personal trainer that was a National Level NPC competitor at the time. This was the point in which I started bodybuilding. The training and diet differed dramatically from anything I had done in the past. I trained four days per week in the gym and did cardio anywhere between 4-6 days depending on how I felt. My diet consisted of eating four food meals per day and two protein shakes. The food meals did not contain any processed foods, transfats, or sugars. This was my baseline diet and helped increase my metabolism. To reduce body fat we then cycled my carbs by having low days and baseline days. The first year I made significant progress and was able to drive weight down to 240 pounds and my bodyfat percentage down to 13%. After this I was able to make progress but it was minimal. Somehow I could not drop my body fat below 10% to achieve the vision I had as a boy.

I've Always Been The Type That Believed With Hard Work I Could Overcome Anything
+ Click To Enlarge.
I've Always Been The Type That Believed With
Hard Work I Could Overcome Anything.

In 2009, I decided to try the ketogenic (Keto) diet advocated by Dave Palumbo at Species Nutrition. This diet eliminates all carbohydrates and essentially replaces the calories with healthy Omega 3 and 6 fats. I was really skeptical when I started as I had tried Atkins diet several years before and it was not something I believed could be maintained long term. Never the less I started the Keto diet and was astounded by the results. The first few days were rough as my body transitioned from using carbohydrates as fuel to using Ketone bodies stored in body fat as fuel. The first week I had a large drop in weight and then averaged around 2 pounds per week after that. The best thing about the Keto diet is the one free meal per week where you get to eat whatever you want. In fact, you are encouraged to eat a huge meal in order to shock your body. This ensures that you will not plateau. I was able to reduce my weight to 210 pounds and my bodyfat to 8% in 2009. I had proven to myself that I could diet and get results. The next step was to do a bodybuilding show.

Thirty weeks prior, I selected the 2010 Arizona Open Bodybuilding Championships as my first show. I decided I would try to put on muscle for three months and then diet into my show. This was a mistake as I added too much body fat during the growth period. I knew to get the most benefit from the diet that I needed a coach so I hired Dave Palumbo to make adjustments to my diet, workout, cardio and supplementation. This was critical as I only had to execute the plan and not second-guess myself. We started dieting 19 weeks out and I was able to drop 51 pounds by the day of the show. I was in the best shape of my life and had achieved the vision I had as a 12-year-old boy. I have never felt such a sense of accomplishment as I did that day. The contest results didn't even matter as I had already won. I ended up placing forth in the Masters class, which was icing on the cake. I then unexpectedly found out that I had inspired my family and friends as many of them realized they could lose weight and become fit. I now feel a sense of responsibility to pay it forward and have decided to offer training and diet services as a side job. I had so many people contribute to my success that it was only right for me to help others to feel this good.

I Had Inspired My Family And Friends As Many Of Them Realized That They Can Lose Weight And Become Fit
+ Click To Enlarge.
I Had Inspired My Family And Friends As Many Of Them Realized
That They Could Lose Weight And Become Fit.

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Supplements
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These are the supplements I took while dieting the final 19 weeks:

When I'm not trying to lose body fat I take the following additional supplements:

Note: Supplement dosages and schedule listed below in Diet section.

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Diet
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This is the baseline diet I followed the final 19 weeks while preparing for my show:

Meal 1:

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

Meal 5:

Meal 6:

Note: The meals are interchangeable and can be consumed in any order. Have a cheat meal once per week on the same day. Make it the last meal of the day so you do not cheat again.

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Training
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TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW
Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Giant Set - Four or more exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
FST 7 - FST (Fascial Stretch Training) -7, a training system developed by Hany Rambod and used on his clients, targets the fascial layer directly beneath the skin and above the muscles with seven sets performed for a final exercise.

Day 1: Shoulders/Traps

Warm Up Giant Set:

Superset:

Day 2: Legs

Warm Up Superset:

Superset:

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Chest/Triceps

Day 5: Back/Biceps

Day 6: Abs

Superset:

Light pump up of a lagging body part. Usually delts or biceps. 2-3 exercises for 3 sets of 15 reps

Day 7: Off

Note: For all upper body exercises I try to only take 60 seconds between sets. For Legs I will take 90-120 seconds between sets. The frequency of my cardio is anywhere between 4-and-6 days per week. I do low intensity cardio with my heart rate between 110-130 beats per minute. Duration is anywhere between 30-and-60 minutes.

For All Upper Body Exercises I Try To Only Take 60 Seconds Between Sets
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For All Upper Body Exercises I Try To Only Take 60 Seconds Between Sets.

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Suggestions For Others
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Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and not something that you do just to meet a short term goal. I yo-yo'd for years because I lacked consistency, mostly in the diet. It is critical that you achieve a balance between diet, cardiovascular training, and resistance training. If you achieve this balance and are willing to put in the work, you can be assured that your goals will eventually be met.

Everyone's body responds differently so you must experiment with different diets and training methodologies. The good news is that all the information you need is contained somewhere within Bodybuilding.com. I found this resource critical as I researched the alternatives for what worked best for my body type and age.

Bodybuilding Is A Lifestyle And Not Something That You Do Just To Meet A Short Term Goal
+ Click To Enlarge.
Bodybuilding Is A Lifestyle And Not Something That
You Do Just To Meet A Short Term Goal.

In closing, remember that if this were easy everyone would do it. It's the journey that makes the results so sweet when you have actually achieve that vision in your head. Mine was a long journey, but I believe I've finally figured out the equation that I can live with long term. I can truly say I've never been happier in my life. Best of luck and reach for the stars!

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