That was in 1994 when I became the light-heavyweight and overall winner of the NPC Mr. Huntington Beach. Over the years that followed, I successfully competed in several more bodybuilding contests collecting a slew of trophies and awards.
Back then, my entire day revolved around contest prep: training fanatically, dieting religiously and focusing on nothing else but my bodybuilding goals.
My how things are different today. College, work, a wife and kids have all taken priority over training and nutrition. Over the last five years I have gone from weighing 235lbs. at 6% body fat to weighing 180 pounds at 12% body fat!
Perhaps you can relate. Once you were a glorious college or high school athlete. Today you are a dedicated family man with hectic work responsibilities. Once you were in peak condition, today your pants barely fit around your waist!
Well I recently decided that enough was enough. Perhaps it was a career change (I went from working in sports nutrition to ice cream!), or the fact that I recently turned 30.
Not only am I now surrounded by ice cream all day, but also my metabolism has begun to slow down. I felt that after five years of neglecting my physique, things could go from bad to worse. It was time to take action and so I decided to reintroduce exercise and nutrition into my life.
With my hectic workdays, demanding travel schedule and busy home life, I knew that I would have no chance of training and eating like I did back when I competed.
I needed to design a program that would both fit into my schedule, and also prove to be effective. I'm happy to tell you that the program I designed accomplished both goals.
In the last four months, I've managed to put on 20 pounds of muscle, and lose 10 pounds of fat. My waist is back down to 32 inches, I can see my abs and I am nearly as strong as I was five years ago.
If you are like me, busy with work and home life, and you wish that you could regain your body, then this 2-part article is for you. In part one, you'll read about a muscle-building fat-melting nutrition program that requires almost no cooking, and in part two you'll see a training routine that takes no more than four hours per week.
By the way, don't think this is some watered down p*ssy-@ss training/nutrition program. While it may be short and simple, it's by no means easy. Stick to it and I promise you that you will transform your physique in a matter of weeks. So let's get to it!
Part 1: Nutrition
The nutrition program is rooted in the high protein/low-carb eating philosophy. Over the years I've found that there is no better way to build muscle and reduce body fat than to ensure that you are providing your muscles with a consistent influx of high quality protein, while creating a carbohydrate deficit that results in your body fat stores being used for energy.
How much protein, carbs and fat you should eat is a function of many variables including your metabolism, activity level and fitness goals. For that reason, I cannot give you an exact ratio of carbs to protein or exact number of calories that you should eat. You'll have to experiment and find what works best.
Just keep in mind that you absolutely need protein throughout the day and that the key to controlling your body fat stores is in the amount of carbs you consume.
Below is the nutrition plan I've used for the last four months. While it is not close to the extreme pre-contest diet that I've used to get down to 3% body fat, it is ideal for anyone who does not have the time to prepare, cook and consume 6-7 whole food meals per day. And yes, it is effective.
As I mentioned before, over the last four months it has really helped me to add 20 pounds of lean muscle, while losing 10 pounds of fat.
| Meal 1: 5:00AM
Meal 2: 7:00AM
Meal 3: 10:00AM
Meal 4: 12:00PM
Meal 5: 3:00PM
Meal 6: 6:00PM
Meal 7: 9:00PM
|- (Pre-workout) Coffee + ECA stack + Whey Protein Shake
- (Post-workout) Protein Shake + Cottage Cheese w/Yogurt
- Protein Bar
- Meal Replacement Powder
- Meal Replacement Powder
- Chicken or Turkey or Red Meat + Vegetables
- Casein Protein Shake + Ice Cream
Why This Nutition Program Works:
First and foremost, it is simple, fast and easy. I couldn't tell you how many grams of protein, carbs and fat I'm consuming or how many calories.
I don't have time to measure everything out and count calories all day. Nonetheless, the meal plan is clearly high in protein, low in carbs, there is virtually no sugar and it is relatively low in fat.
I have to cook just one meal in the entire day and usually I cook enough for the following day, which means I'm only cooking every other day.
Notice that from 3 p.m. until 7 a.m. the following day I consume no carbs. By creating this carb deficit, my body is forced to use stored body fat for energy.
Proteins ... & Ice Cream?
Also, notice that every meal contains a fair amount of protein. This is key as my body needs it throughout the day to help rebuild muscle tissue.
The quality and type of protein is critical. Pre and post workout, I use a whey protein powder so that the protein is delivered to my muscles without delay. I prefer to use either Scitec's Whey BestTM or Next's Designer Whey Protein. Both are great brands with great flavors.
This is an effective and convenient way to consume high-quality protein. I recommend using Pro Lab's Matrix or Scitec's MyoMax Meal.
Both offer quality protein with a moderate amount of complex carbs. As for bars, I rely on Next Protein's Detour Bars. Not only are they unbelievably delicious, but they are also high in protein and low in sugar/carbs.
The final meal of the day consists of a caseinate-based protein that is low in carbs. Since it's the last time I'll eat until 5 a.m. the following day, it is important to use a protein that delivers a sustained flow of amino acids.
Did you notice that I have ice cream at night? How is this possible might you ask. Fortunately, Atkins Nutritionals has launched a low carb, zero sugar ice cream that fits well with my nutrition program. Obviously this is optional, but I find that it satisfies my sweet tooth and helps keep me on track with my nutrition plan.
On the weekends when I have more time I will cook breakfast, which usually consists of eggs, sausage and oatmeal. By adding oatmeal to my meal plan 1-2 times per week, I am able to replenish depleted glycogen stores and ensure that my body is able to perform at the gym.
Doing this also helps to jumpstart my metabolism by staggering my calories throughout the week.
Supplements vs. Whole Foods
You've no doubt noticed that I rely heavily on supplements. If I had more time I would probably consume more whole foods. However, that is not an option with my schedule. Fortunately, supplements have advanced to the point where in many cases, they are a better option than whole foods.
In addition to the various protein supplements that I use, I also incorporate creatine (Scitec's Trans-X), prohormones ErgoPharm's 1-AD) and an aspirin/ephedrine/caffeine stack (I have no brand preference here).
All of these supplements are secondary to protein supplements and I don't use them consistently. In fact, if you are a beginner don't waste your money.
However, as an intermediate to advanced athlete, you'll find that using these supplements can help push you through training plateaus.
So there you have it. A no frills, effective and easy nutrition plan that is guaranteed to help you pack on muscle while reducing body fat. The beauty is in its simplicity and convenience.
By consuming protein throughout the day you will ensure that you have a consistent flow of amino acids for your growing muscles. And, by controlling your carb intake you'll be able to keep your body fat levels in check.
If you are interested in reading about the training program that I coupled with this nutrition plan, keep an eye out for part two of "Mainstream Muscle."
About The Author
Yemeni Mesa successfully competed as an NPC amateur bodybuilder from 1992 to 1996. He has worked as a senior manager with several health and sports nutrition companies including
MET-Rx USA, Inc., Rexall Sundown and Sports Pharma. He has also consulted/brokered for a number of companies including
Scitec Nutrition and
Today he manages the partner brand division of Dryer's Grand Ice Cream where he works closely with a number of brands including Atkins, Healthy Choice and Silhouette.
Regarding his educational background, he holds a Bachelor's of Science degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.