How I Won The 2003 Body-For-Life Contest - Part 3: Nutrition & Supplementation.

I would like to outline in three articles how I won the 2003 Body-For-Life Contest. This third part will be on nutrition and supplementation.
[ Part One ] [ Part Two ] [ Part Three ]

I would like to outline in three articles how I won the 2003 Body-For-Life Contest. The first part was on weightlifting, the second part was on cardio, and this third part will be on nutrition and supplementation.

First off, I want to apologize this article has taken so long. I've received so many e-mails asking about this article, and/or about my nutrition in general. I moved to a new area, started teaching at a new school, moved into a new house, had to set up my classroom, and prepare for the upcoming school year.

All of these commitments took up so much of my time. Fortunately, my life has settled down somewhat. I was able to finish this article, and I will also answer all the questions I've received in upcoming Q and A columns.


Nutrition During The Contest

During the Body-for-Life contest, my nutrition didn't change much until the last week before I took my photos. Please keep in mind that my nutrition was tailored around my schedule as a teacher. If my schedule would have allowed, I would have set up my meals a little differently, but probably not by much.

The only changes I would have made would have been to switch some meals around, but I still would have eaten the same meals.


Guidelines For My Nutrition

(Just as a note, most of these guidelines still apply to my diet now after finishing the contest)

  • I basically ate regular food meals when I had breaks (before school, during lunch, at home in the evening), and used shakes when I didn't have time for a regular meal. Even though I had time after working out for a regular food meal, I still chose to use a shake and I'll explain why later.

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  • I ate 6 meals per day, 3 whole food meals and 3 MRP's (meal-replacement shakes). I tried to alternate MRP's and whole food meals. Sometimes if I was up later, or my meals were spaced closer together, I would eat 7 or 8 meals per day. If time permitted I might have more whole food meals than MRP's, and on days when I was busier than usual, I might have more shakes than whole food meals.

  • My three whole food meals are basically the same: a 6-8 oz protein source (or a can of tuna), 2 cups of green beans, and a tablespoon of Udo's oil. The protein source was usually chicken, turkey burgers, or a can of tuna.

    Sometimes I might cook up some salmon, or have scrambled eggs (8-9 whites with 2-3 yokes). If I had salmon I didn't take the Udo's oil, because salmon already contains healthy fat, and if I had scrambled eggs, I wouldn't take the Udo's oil, because there was already so much fat from the yokes.

  • I don't mix fat (Udo's oil) and carbs in the same meal. The reason is that I don't want my insulin elevated when I'm consuming a large amount of fat/oil. I know even when I take the oil my insulin is elevated from other carbs I've eaten during the day, but at least it's not spiked like it would be from consuming carbs and the oil at the same time.

    This is why my whole food meals are absent of carbs, except for the carbs in the green beans. Therefore, the only carbs I have during the day come from my 3 shakes and green beans.

  • For my three MRP's I use Myoplex Deluxe. On my five workout days, I also had one serving of Synthevol HP (EAS' low-carb creatine with a transport system - it has been discontinued) and Cytovol HP (EAS' glutamine with a transport system) after working out. Then I had my regular Myoplex Deluxe approximately 20 minutes later.

    Learn more about EAS Myoplex...

  • Even if I had the whole day off, and could eat exactly as I pleased, my nutrition still wouldn't have looked much different. On the weekends when I didn't teach, I still pretty much ate the same: 3 whole food meals, and 3 supplement meals. Sometimes on the weekend though, I might have 4 or 5 regular food meals, and only 1 or 2 shakes.

  • Even though time allowed me to have a whole food meal after working out, I always choose to have a shake after working out. I think it's important to consume a shake at this time so it's digested and assimilated quicker.

    Our muscles are like sponges after working out, and you want to get quality nutrients to them as soon as possible. Whole food meals take longer to digest. The other reason is that you want to get in around 1/3 or your daily calories in the three hours after working out. Shakes digest faster, and allow you to eat again sooner; therefore, making it easier to get in all those calories.

    Whether you're dieting, cutting, or whatever, you still want to get in 1/3 of your daily calories during this time. There's much less chance of the calories being stored as fat during this time since you're metabolism is elevated.

    In other words, even when dieting/cutting it's still in your best interests to consume 1/3 of your calories soon after working out to ensure those calories are used efficiently and not stored as fat.

  • Although not stated in the schedule, I also used a mulit-vitamin and mineral supplement with each of my three whole food meals.


Example Of A Typical Weightlifting Day

  • 6:00am - Betalean HP with ephedrine (it hadn't been banned yet)

  • 6:30-7:15 - Cardio

  • 8:00 - Regular food meal - 6-8 oz chicken (or can of tuna), green beans, and oil. I would rather have had a shake at this time, so I could have some carbs after cardio; however, I had to eat my regular food meals whenever I had the time, and this was one of those times.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't want to have fat (Udo's oil) and carbs in the same meal, so that's why there were no carbs in this meal.

  • 10:00 - MRP - Myoplex Deluxe

  • 12:30 - Regular food meal - same as the previous one.

  • 3:30 - MRP - Myoplex Deluxe

  • 5:00 - Betalean HP

  • 5:30 - 6:30 - Workout

  • 6:30 - Postworkout shake: Synthevol HP, Cytovol HP, followed 15-30 minutes later by another Myoplex Deluxe

  • 9:00 - Regular food meal - same as previous two

  • 9:30 - Bed

Note: the only difference between this schedule and a non-weightlifting day is that I didn't have the Synthevol HP and Cytovol HP at 6:30.


Breakdown Down By Calories, Carbs, Protein & Fat

Calories Protein Carbs Fat
8:00am 6-8 oz chicken 290 50 0 7
2 cups green beans 80 4 16 0
Oil 125 0 0 14.5
10:00am Myoplex Deluxe 340 53 28 4.5
12:30pm 6-8 oz chicken 290 50 0 7
2 cups green beans 80 4 16 0
Oil 125 0 0 14.5
3:30pm Myoplex Deluxe 340 53 28 4.5
6:30pm Synthevol HP 105 0 21 5
Cytovol HP 100 5 18 0
Myoplex Deluxe 340 53 28 4.5
9:00pm 1 can of tuna 150 32.5 0 1.5
2 cups green beans 80 4 16 0
Oil 125 0 0 14.5
Totals 2570 308.5 171 77.5


Why Did I Choose To Eat Like This?

  • I took in 171 carbs, but 48 of them came from green beans. 84 grams of carbs came from the 3 Myoplex Deluxe shakes, and of those 84 grams of carbs, 21 were fiber and the rest were from whole-grain, low-glycemic sources. 67, or over 1/3 of the carbs were consumed directly after working out.

What Is The Glycemic Index?
A ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index measures how much your blood sugar increases over a period of two or three hours after a meal. Carbohydrate foods that break down quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic index.

  • I wanted to take one tablespoon of Udo's oil for approximately every 50 pounds of bodyweight. I weighed 160 at the end of the contest, so I was close to meeting that ratio. I wanted the tablespoons of oil spread out over the course of the day, and they were: meals 1, 3 and 6.

  • I wanted to take in plenty of healthy fats (Udo's oil, and each Myoplex Deluxe shake had one gram of CLA). If you don't know the benefits of healthy fats, just trust me when I tell you that they're a huge benefit in gaining muscle, shedding fat, and improving your health.

    Almost everyone underestimates the benefits of healthy fat. I've been in contact with Chris Zaino, and he hasn't been writing for Bodybuilding.com, because he suffered from a very serious case of ulcerative colitis.

What Does Ulcerative Colitis Mean?
A disease that causes irritation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine and rectum. Also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

    Anyway, while recovering, he attributed much of his muscular and health gains to essential fatty acids. When you consume plenty of healthy fats, your body is quicker to shed the fat it contains.


Weightlifting Days Versus Non-Weightlifting Days

I worked out 5 days per week, and I did cardio every morning. On days when I didn't lift weights, I usually went back to the gym and did cardio again.

So basically, I went to the gym twice almost every day. The only real difference between my nutrition on a weightlifting days, and the two non-weightlifting days is that I didn't take the Synthevol HP or Cytovol HP on non-weightlifting days.

Also, on non-weightlifting days, I might have a regular food meal for my 5th meal instead of a MRP.


Some Changes Since The Contest


1. My Current Nutrition

I finished the contest October 4, 2003, so basically one year ago. Even though the contest is over, I still eat almost exactly the same. My nutrition is a little looser now, but for the most part, my diet is still very strict.

Success in bodybuilding is much more a factor of nutrition than training, so you have to be disciplined with your diet. Everyone thinks they're hardcore in the gym, but the real determinant of whether someone is a serious bodybuilder is how disciplined they are with their diet.

If you really want to know how hardcore someone is, ask them how many meals they missed, not how many workouts they missed.


2. Bracketing My Workouts

After the contest was over, I read an article on the AST website by Paul Cribb about "bracketing" your workouts: here. Many of you have probably heard of it before. I've read about the benefits of consuming a shake during a workout, then after, and this article recommends consuming a shake before and after; therefore, "bracketing" your workouts.

Anyway, I started taking a serving of Phosphagen HP and 1 scoop of MyoPro Whey before working out, and 1 serving of Phosphagen HP, Cytovol HP, and 2 servings of MyoPro Whey after working out.

When EAS came out with Phosphagen Elite, I started using that instead of Phosphagen HP.


3. Cardio

I did cardio every morning during the contest, and twice per day when I didn't work out in the evening. I said in my cardio article that I don't know whether all that cardio was necessary or not. Maybe I would have retained more muscle if I hadn't done so much cardio, but maybe I wouldn't have lost so much fat too.

Anyway, since the contest, I have stopped doing cardio every morning for a couple of reasons.

I still love doing cardio every morning to read my bible and pray; however, my schedule has prohibited me from doing so. Now that things in my life are slowing down, hopefully I'll be able to start a regular cardio regimen again. Another reason is that I haven't felt like I needed all the cardio. I have taken on an approach of only doing as much cardio as I feel I need.

For me, that means I want to be able to see my abs well and be within two weeks of doing a photo shoot. Right now, weightlifting and my regular day life burn enough calories to keep my bodyfat around a level that's comfortable for me.

How I Get Ready For A Photo Shoot!
Find out down to the very last detail on exactly how I train, eat, do cardio, supplementation, and final polishing tactics to get ready for a photo shoot.
[ Click here to learn more. ]



4. Intensity & Volume

I believe I worked out very intensely during the contest. In part 1, I outlined my training, including the number of sets I performed for each bodypart. Then, I still received e-mails from people saying, "Is that really all the sets you do? Come on, be honest with me, I know you do more than that." I have no reason to lie about the number of sets I perform, the rep range I use, or anything else for that matter.

I want everyone who reads my articles to be successful, so I put down the information I believe is the most beneficial. Consequently, it's the same information I apply to my own training. Since the contest I have increased my intensity even more, and taken off a couple of unnecessary sets here and there. My volume was pretty low during the contest anyway, but now it's just a little bit lower.

I'm going to write about this soon in an upcoming article, but I'd like to mention that I really don't think most people know how to work out intensely. If someone is working out with complete intensity (and I don't mean doing lots of forced reps or drop sets - I don't have a workout partner, and I don't do drop sets), then they don't need very many sets.

When you put 100% into every set and rep, you can't possibly do much more than the number of sets I'm outlining. I know some people are saying, "I work out with 100% intensity and I do more sets than that." I don't know what to say to these people, other than they need to drop their reps down to the 4-6 range, really focus on the negative, and take each set to complete positive failure.

Some of the best natural bodybuilders in the nation (Skip LaCour and Jeff Willet) work out this way, and they look great.

If you look at Skip LaCour's current training journal on the AST website he's doing 4 sets per week for quads and triceps, and 3 sets for biceps. I do more sets than that, but not by much. Hopefully you get the point.

A few years before I started the Body-for-Life contest, I used to train with 4 exercises and 4 sets each for chest and back, and my other bodyparts were high volume as well. Now, I can get a better chest workout with 7 all out sets, than the 16 I would do before. Why? Because 7 sets done with 100% intensity will always be better than 16 sets with 90, 0r even 95% intensity. The only time my calves are ever sore is when I do 5 sets for them. If I do more than 5 sets, they're never sore.

Why? Because when I tell myself I'm only going to do 5 sets, I push each set so hard, that I can hardly walk the next day. Those 5 intense sets will always be better than more sets with less intensity.

When I used to use more sets, my reps were too high, and my negative was too quick as well. 4-6 reps is a great rep range to use for mass, as long as you focus on the negative and leave your ego at the door. I try to leave my ego at the door, and I still feel really good about the amount of weight I lift.

I'm sure some people lift more for their weight, but here's an example of some weights I use to stay in the 4-6 rep range on different exercises: flat bench press - 265, incline bench, 215, weighted dips - 55, weighted pull-ups - 55, squats - 315, stiff-leg deadlifts - 255, military press - 155, barbell curl - 115, dumbbell curl - 60 (just reached that weight today). I weigh about 165.


My New Workout Schedule:

I worked out 5 days per week during the contest, but have recently changed to working out 4 days per week. Here's what my new schedule looks like (the number after each exercise is the number of sets):

Click here for a printable log of this workout.

I really can't stress enough how important intensity is when working out. By intensity I don't mean throwing the weight around, using sloppy form, using too much weight, making a lot of noise, performing super-sets, drop-sets, forced reps, etc. By intensity I mean, taking each set to complete positive failure.

4. Intensity & Volume

When was the last time you trained your legs and abs to failure? By failure I don't mean doing 20 sets for your legs and feeling wobbly when you leave the gym. You would have that same feeling from riding up a hill on a bike, and that doesn't mean your muscles are going to grow.

When your legs are wobbly walking out of the gym from doing 6 sets for quads, then you know you're working out intensely. As your sets increase, your intensity decreases.

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Perform a lot of sets and you'll improve your endurance, but not your muscle size. You wouldn't believe the intensity you can generate for a limited number of sets until you decide to do a limited number of sets.


My Use Of Eas Supplements

If you've read my other articles, you can probably tell I'm a Christian. Hopefully that lends some credibility to my honesty; therefore, please believe me when I tell you why I use EAS supplements.

I use EAS supplements because they work. That's the bottom-line. Yes, I was doing the Body-for-Life contest that is sponsored by EAS, and I'm a spokesperson for them now since winning the contest; however, I used EAS supplements before ever doing the contest and if I had never heard of the contest, I would still use their supplements.

When EAS flew me out to Colorado, I spoke with many of the people who work at their facilities, and I saw their labs. I trust EAS and the people who work for EAS.

View all EAS products...

Click Here For Part One.