Steve Asher Dropped 36 Pounds To Get In The Best Shape Of His Life!

Steve had been out of the weight room for 10 years because of a misdiagnosed heart condition. Find out how Steve decided he would get in the best shape of his life before he turned 46!

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Vital Stats
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Name: Steve Asher

Email: bo_flecks@yahoo.com

BodySpace: Bo_Flecks

Steve Asher Steve Asher

Before:

Age:
44
Height:
5'11"
Weight:
215 lbs
Body Fat:
24%
Waist:
40"

After:

Age:
47
Height:
5'11"
Weight:
179 lbs
Body Fat:
7%
Waist:
32"

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Why I Got Started
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Just after my 34th birthday I started having SVT's (Supra Ventricle Tachycardia) that caused my heart rate to jump to nearly 200 beats per minute when I was under exertion. Unfortunately, the doctors misdiagnosed it as mitral valve prolapse, put me on valve medicine and told me to stay away from weight training.

For ten years the tachycardia progressively got worse until in 2006 I ended up in the ER with a team of doctors shutting my heart down to get a normal rhythm back. It was at that time they discovered it wasn't a valve problem but an electrical problem. I had an extra electrical node in my heart causing the trouble.

All that time, I had been seeing a cardiologist (plumber), when I should have been seeing and electro-cardio physiologist (electrician). I was introduced to a doctor who had pioneered a procedure called a cardiac ablation in which a laser is used to "zap out" the extra electrical node. Once he fixed it, I was cured and free to start training again.

Ten years away from any real fitness training had left my body soft and atrophied. Because of my heart, about the only exercise I could do was playing golf a couple of times a week. You can drive by any golf course and see the level of fitness of the typical golfer. I averaged weighing between 215-to-225 pounds, and wore 36-to-38-inch waist jeans. My gut was a good 40 inches. I had a double chin and cellulite around my mid-section.

To make things worse, I was having back problems. In the summer of 2006 I picked up my 18-month-old son and threw a disk out so bad I had to be taken to the ER in an ambulance. It was a vicious cycle. I couldn't work out because of the heart problem, which caused my fitness level to get worse, which caused more heart trouble.

Man, I was out of shape and ready to start lifting again. The vicious cycle I was on for ten years had taken its toll on me ... especially my back. Because of the back problems, my training started out slowly and carefully with light weight training, brisk walking and some bicycling.

A couple of months later I was in a staff meeting where the check in activity was to create a license plate that set a goal for the year. My license plate said: FITBY45. I was asked what that meant. I said before I turned 46, I wanted to be in as good of shape as I was back in college. Some of the people in the room chuckled, but I haven't looked back since.

I decided to buy some gym equipment and train in my basement so I would not have to spend a lot of time away from home. At the time, I had three children under 3-years old, and was determined I would not allow my health to keep me from doing anything I wanted with them. My kids were great motivators to get myself back into shape and to stay in shape for many years to come. I was determined to never have to say, "No, I'm too old (or out of shape) to do that with you."

I Wanted To Be In As Good Of Shape As I Was Back In College I Wanted To Be In As Good Of Shape As I Was Back In College
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I Wanted To Be In As Good Of Shape As I Was Back In College.

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How I Did It
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Starting a fitness program after ten years away from training meant I had to think of myself as a beginner again. It was a tough pill to swallow after having managed a gym, and coaching the strength training program at the school where I teach. I swallowed my pride and put myself on the same program I would create for a beginner: basic full body work out, three days a week along with cardio and a clean diet.

I was amazed at how heavy the weights were and how rickety my body, especially my back, felt. Along with the weight training, I also walked or rode my bicycle on off training days. I followed this program for six weeks and made enough progress to move to a three day split workout. I followed varying three day splits for the next six months.

My size and strength slowly increased, but I looked terrible. I decided I needed to strip off the fat I had accumulated over ten years of sedentary lifestyle to see just where my muscles really were and then I could take inventory and develop a training program to address the needs.

I made the decision to cut the fat by doing a low carb/high protein diet with absolutely no processed sugar. For four months, I never went over 50 grams of carbs in a day. I did at least 30 minutes of cardio each day along with a 4-day split weight training schedule.

At the end of the 16 weeks, I was down from over 215 pounds at 24% body fat, to 162 pounds at 7% body fat. Of course not all of the weight I lost was fat. A lot of it was water weight and probably even some muscle. I made few strength or size gains during this time, but I was lean and had a visible 6-pack for the first time since college.

I Did At Least 30 Minutes Of Cardio Each Day Along With A Four Day Split Weight Training Schedule
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I Did At Least 30 Minutes Of Cardio Each Day Along With
A Four Day Split Weight Training Schedule.

I had been training again for a full year, and felt I really had a foundation to start for my road back. Everywhere I went, people who hadn't seen me in a while were asking how I got in such good shape. I even had someone tell me I looked like an underwear model ... not really the look I was going for, but I was really enjoying the attention.

In the course of my training, however, I was presented with a dilemma. My mindset was to maintain the lean look I had worked so hard to achieve. The question was: how could I stay lean and still gain muscle?

Last year, I ran across two Bodybuilding.com articles that intrigued me. The first was titled, "Skip The Bulk and Stay Shredded All Year - A Simple Approach To Nutrition!" by Stuart Schaefer. The article outlined how to eat just the right amount of food to grow muscle using a Portion Control Diet, but not gain excess fat.

The other article was titled, "Arnold's #1 Get-Bigger Trigger: Power-Density Unlocks Faster Muscle Growth" by X-Rep.com. This article outlined the Power-Density method using progressive pyramiding, followed by density chasers. According to the article, bodybuilders interested in maximum size should emphasize the 2A muscles, which are dual capacity - they have both a power and endurance component.

I put both the Power-Density training method and the Portion Control Diet into practice to gain muscle mass while at the same time not add any body fat. I closely managed my diet to keep the necessary calorie balance and macros to build muscle, yet keep the excess calories out that would be stored as fat.

I Closely Managed My Diet To Keep The Necessary Calorie Balance And Macros To Build Muscle
+ Click To Enlarge.
I Closely Managed My Diet To Keep The Necessary
Calorie Balance And Macros To Build Muscle.

In other words, I do not need a bulk diet to gain muscle. This is the point that I opened my Over 35 Workout Journal and titled it, "Bo_Flecks' Training Lean and Power-Density Experiment." I wanted to be able to share my experience of training lean with others. After a full year of training, I have added nine pounds of lean mass and kept my body fat percentage where I have wanted it.

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Supplements
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The supplements I am currently using are:

Supplementation Schedule:

Workout Days:

Other Supplementation on Workout Days:

Non-Workout Days:

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Diet
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The idea behind the Portion Control diet principal I use is to be able to track your weight/BF% and easily adjust to your body's dietary needs based upon either adding or subtracting a portion of protein or a portion of carbohydrates from your six daily meals. Each meal would ideally be made up of 1 portion of protein, 1 portion of carbs, and 1 portion of vegetables.

A portion of protein would be about the size of your palm. A portion of carbs would be about the size of your fist. A portion of vegetables would be about the size of your open hand.

If you see that you are gaining unwanted fat, subtract one portion of carbs. If you are still losing weight, and you want to hold, add a portion of carbs.

An example of my current meal plan:

Meal 1:

Meal 2:

Meal 3:

Meal 4:

Meal 5:

Meal 6:

Approximate Calories: 2,600 Protein: 235g (45%) Carbs: 175g (34%) Fats: 112g (21%)

Meals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 are utilitarian and consistent. Minor changes are made with different condiments, spices, adding lettuce or tomatoes, and changing the vegetable up for variety. Meal 5 is different each day and provides the most variety, but stays within the parameters of the necessary macros and portion control. This has been very easy with just a minimal amount of tracking.

The bottom line for me where nutrition is concerned is that I put food into three categories: beneficial foods, okay foods, and bad foods. I try to make sure that I am selecting foods to eat that will be as beneficial as possible in meeting my bodybuilding goals. I don't mind eating some okay foods from time to time that are simply just going to be a wash. I don't think these foods have any real positive or negative impact of my training.

Of course, I want to have the food I eat to have a positive impact or else I am just maintaining what I've got. But I stay away from the foods that will work against my goals. Because I see those foods as something that can undo the hard work I've put into my training, it makes if very easy to stay away from them.

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Training
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The Power-Density training method I use is to attack my compound movements with a progressive pyramid approach using three heavy work sets, and two lighter high-rep chaser sets. My heavy work sets are generally in the 10, 8, 6 rep scheme, and my chaser sets are always to 15 reps. From week to week, I will add slightly more weight to all sets to increase resistance and make continual progress.

If I cannot get my full scheduled rep scheme, I will hold the weight for the next workout. Once I get the intended reps, I bump the weight up slightly on all sets the following week.

Day 1: Legs

Day 2: Chest/Triceps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back/Biceps

Day 5: Calves/Abs

Day 6: Shoulders/Traps

Day 7: Rest

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Suggestions For Others
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One of the best decisions I think I made was to start out by putting my initial training focus on cutting the fat off first. This did a couple of important things for me. First, by cutting 53 pounds of fat off of my body, I felt much better. I didn't have that big belly pulling on my lower back any more, and I had a new level of energy to put into my workouts.

Another thing cutting the fat off first did was to expose some obvious holes in my development. I was able to see exactly where I needed to focus my training, and start making the necessary improvements. Both of these things gave me a good foundation to really begin centering my attention on gaining the lean mass I wanted.

I feel like I've been given a new lease on life, and I am not going to waste it. Training lean will give me the best opportunity to meet the ultimate goal I have set for myself: to dance at my youngest son's 50th birthday party!

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