Paul Shed 31 Lbs, Cut His Body Fat, And Competed On Stage!

Paul wanted to shape up and be in the best shape of his life so he could compete again. See how he transformed his diet and exercise routines and took control of his fitness!

Vital Stats

Name: Paul Erlandson


Bodyspace: abeachparty

Paul Erlandson Paul Erlandson


194 lbs
Body Fat:


163 lbs
Body Fat:

Why I Got Started

I have been a fan of bodybuilding since 1984. I trained for many years, but never ate correctly. I entered one natural bodybuilding competition (NGA) in 1993. However, I did my own contest prep, and did it poorly.

After that contest, I allowed myself to slowly go downhill physically. I gained about 5 pounds during every Michigan winter, and never really took it back off in the spring. During this time (1994 - 2007), I trained half-heartedly, ran a bit, and settled into raising our two children. I still attended a few local bodybuilding contests every year.

By November of 2007, I definitely disliked my image reflected in the mirror. It was near the end of that month that I came up with the brainstorm of entering a bodybuilding contest just after my 50th birthday. I figured it would be a good way to motivate myself. By picking a specific contest and paying the entry fee as soon as possible, I reduced the chances that I would back out of the contest. My wife agreed to cook any special food during my entire pre-contest phase. My hope was to look better at 50 than I had in my first contest at 35.

I competed in July, 2008 at a weight of 152 pounds. I competed again in July, 2009 at 150 pounds. My most recent contest was in March, 2010, and I weighed 163 pounds for that contest.

My Hope Was To Look Better At 50 Than I Had In My First Contest At 35
+ Click To Enlarge.
My Hope Was To Look Better At 50 Than I Had In My First Contest At 35.

How I Did It

Because my contest prep had been so weak and clueless, I wanted to hire an expert this time. I ended up hiring Cameron and Tracy Bodner of Total Package who work out of Colorado. They came up with my pre-contest diet, as well as my workout and cardio schedule.

Approximately once per week I sent my coaches a set of 12 photos, consisting of four quarter-turns, and the eight compulsory poses. They assessed my progress, and made any necessary adjustments to my diet and cardio.

As the contest approached, they had me doing more cardio (up to a total of about 7 hours per week), and eating less. I must say that I didn't ever feel super hungry on their diet. I think this is because they had me eating a small meal approximately every three hours.

One thing that amazed me was that I thought they would have me on all kinds of thermogenic supplements, but I didn't take anything like that at all. The results were achieved strictly through diet and cardio. Cardio consisted, usually, of fast uphill walking on a treadmill.

My Results Were Achieved Strictly Through Diet And Cardio
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My Results Were Achieved Strictly Through Diet And Cardio.


5:30 am:

8:30 am:

11:30 am:

2:30 pm:

5:30 pm:

8:30 pm:


Meal 1:

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

Meal 5:

Meal 6:

I also drink 1.25 to 1.5 gallons of water throughout the day, not counting morning coffee.


Day 1: Legs

  • Barbell Squats: 1 warm up set of 10 reps, followed by sets of 10,8,4-6, each with progressively heavier weight
  • Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 15 steps, per leg
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps
  • Seated, Lying, or Standing Leg Curls: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Seated, Donkey, or Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 30,25,20 reps
  • 45 minutes on Treadmill (PM)

Day 2: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps

  • Barbell or Dumbbell Incline Press: 1 warm up set, plus 3 working sets of 10,8,4-6 reps
  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press: 1 warm up set, plus 3 working sets of 10,8,6 reps
  • Cable Crossover: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Machine Bench Press: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
  • Triceps Dips or Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
  • 45 minutes on Treadmill (PM)

Day 3: Cardio

Day 4: 45 minutes on Treadmill

Day 5: Back/Abs/Biceps

  • Deadlifts: 1 warm up set, 3 sets of 10, 8, 4-6 reps
  • Cable Rows or One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raise: 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
  • Barbell Shrugs: 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps
  • Hyperextensions: 3 sets of 12-16 reps
  • Crunch Machine: 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
  • Biceps Curls (EZ-Curl Bar): 1 warm-up set of 15-20 reps, 3 working set of 10, 8, 6 reps
  • 45 minutes of Treadmill (PM)

Day 6: Cardio

Day 7: Repeat Leg Workout from Day 1

Note: The next week would start with Chest, Shoulders and Triceps on Monday.

Suggestions for Others

At the beginning, almost any routine will seem to give you progress. I tried to stick with one lifting routine for at least eight weeks before tweaking it.

As for cardio and diet, my advice is to give yourself at least 50% more time than you think you will need, especially if you are starting out from a high percent bodyfat situation. I think I prepped 20 weeks for my first contest, and still barely got there. To me, slow and steady is less painful than trying for quick fat loss over a shorter prep period.

I also joined several different gyms (including a free one where I work), so that no matter where I got stuck during the day, I was always close to a gym and therefore had no excuse to skip a cardio session!

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