Before: January 2, 2009
Weight: 251 lbs
After: May 2, 2009
Weight: 206 lbs
Why I Got Started
I've been training nonstop since the age of 14. I even did a few bodybuilding shows as a teenager. Although I haven't competed in a bodybuilding show for 13 years I continued to train like a machine never taking off more than a week at a time.
I often thought about doing a show again, but it never seemed as if the time was right. I have been stronger than average but into my late 20s and early 30s my physique was never a pleasant sight to look at with my shirt off. This year I decided to make a change for three reasons:
- I was set to get married on June 20th so I wanted to look my best for the big day.
- I left my job on the railroad to be a personal trainer full time and I knew I'd maintain a higher clientele if I looked the part.
- I was just plain and simple tired of being fat!
I started this diet and training routine on January 2, 2009 and set my sights on the NGA Heart of America on May 2, 2009.
How I Did It
The biggest deal for me was finding the ideal diet that would be simple to stick with. In the past I've always done the high protein, moderate carb, low fat, low sugar diet and the results were subpar so I threw that idea out the window.
I decided to try a high fat, high protein, low carb diet and it worked well for me. I maintained muscle, my strength kept going up every week and I had few cravings throughout the 17 weeks! I believe I found what works for me and will continue to use this very diet for future shows.
Click Image To Enlarge.
The Biggest Deal For Me Was Finding The
Ideal Diet That Would Be Simple To Stick With.
I was taking 3 scoops of Kaizen whey in the morning right when I woke up and another three scoops within 30 minutes post workout. I took 1 serving each of Universal Storm and EAA Stack both before and after workouts.
I stayed strict with my diet, taking-in the same exact six meals every single day in the same order. No restaurants, no seasonings, no barbecue sauce or mustard and no cheat meals.
I drank two gallons of water a day. I didn't even drink crystal light or flavored water. I'd eat dog food if it got me looking good on contest day!
When you start looking forward to eating almonds and cashews almost as if they are a cheat meal you know you're staying strict with the diet.
I followed a 5-day split to allow for more focus on each muscle group so that none take a back seat. I also wanted to keep the volume and intensity high.
Monday: Chest And Abs
- Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 6 reps
- Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Decline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Cable Crossovers: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets to failure
- Side Planks: 3 sets to failure
- Squats: 4 sets of 6 reps
- Hack Squats: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Leg Presses: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlift: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps
- Pullups: 3 sets to failure
- Bent Over Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 6 reps
- Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Cable Row: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Reverse Grip Pulldown: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Straight Arm Pulldown: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Military Press: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Upright Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Reverse Flyes: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Barbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 6 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Reverse Crunches: 3 sets to failure
- Machine Crunches: 3 sets to failure
- Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 6 reps
- Lying Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Seated Triceps Press: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 8 reps
- Preacher Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Concentration Curl: 3 sets of 15 reps
- Wrist Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Reverse Wrist Curl: 3 sets of 15 reps
On any chest move try to touch your shoulders together at the top of the movement. This will maximally contract the chest. Leave the ego at the door and don't try to break any records. It's not how much weight you use, it's how much weight it feels as if you are using.
For calves you must get a deep stretch at the bottom of the rep and get all the way up on your tip toes at the top. Too many guys throw on four plates on each side of a seated calf raise and just move weight up and down then wonder why their calves are so stubborn. Isolating the muscle is the key!
On any back movement you really must focus on pulling your shoulder blades together at the point of contraction to better isolate the back. Also, if you try to touch your elbows behind your back you will further isolate the muscle. It's impossible but mimicking the motion will make a big difference.
Thursday: Shoulders, Traps And Abs
On shrugs I like to tilt the head forward as if I'm looking toward the floor then just move the weight straight up and down. Doing so will allow you to get a deeper stretch and you'll also be able to raise the shoulders higher than if you are looking straight ahead. Think shoulders to the ears.
Arms are a smaller muscle group so there's no need to go extremely heavy. Focus on contracting the muscle being worked.
I tend to stay away from machines because I am a believer that free weights will build the most amount of muscle. The more compound moves I do the more fun it is for me as well.
During the last few weeks of my diet I happened to get a couple free servings of Nano Vapor in one of my bodybuilding.com orders. I loved it so I hopped on it the last 3 weeks before the show. It added a few carbs but they didn't seem to hurt and I was having monster workouts from taking it.
- Weeks 1 & 2: 20 minutes 6 days a week post workout
- Weeks 3 & 4: 30 minutes 6 days a week post workout
- Weeks 5 & 6: 40 minutes 6 days a week split into two 20 minute sessions. Once in the morning on an empty stomach and once again post workout
- Weeks 7 & 8: 50 minutes 6 days a week split into two 25 minute sessions. Once in the morning on an empty stomach and once again post workout.
- After Week 8: I started over at week 1 and repeated the whole process.
My two favorite forms of
cardio were the stairmaster and Life Fitness Elliptical machine. I kept my heart rate between 120 - 125 bpm throughout the entire session. I opted not to do
interval training although I was tempted but the low intensity cardio worked well for me.
In The End:
After dieting for 17 weeks I competed in my first show in 13 years. I took 1st place in the Novice Heavyweight division at the 2009 NGA Heart of America in Peoria, Ill. It felt good bein on stage again and the fire has once again been lit.
My wedding took place on June 20th and a good turnout it was. My personal training business is up and running with more than 30 clients and we are expecting a baby girl on October 18, so 2009 is a year to remember for me.
Click Image To Enlarge.
I Took 1st Place In The Novice Heavyweight
Division At The 2009 NGA Heart Of America.
Suggestions For Others
Read some of the mind articles on Bodybuilding.com. I believe the most important part to achieving what you set your sights on is creating the right mindset. First you must make your mind up that you really want to go after something.
Most importantly, you must make a true decision that nothing is going to stand in your way. Everybody "would like" to lose 20 pounds. Sure, who wouldn't? But are you willing to not have a piece of birthday cake at your nephew's birthday party?
Are you willing to not go out drinking after just running into old friends? Are you going to pass up the free food and drinks at your friends wedding? Are you going to prepare your meals ahead of time and stay on track with your workouts when you are out of town for a few days?
The point is there will always be a reason for not staying on track with your diet and training but you must overcome these obstacles to achieve your goals of losing weight. Nothing worth doing is easy.