Before (January 2004)
Weight: 240 pounds
Body Fat: 28%
After (January 2008)
Chest: 50 1/2"
Calves: 16 1/2"
Contest Weight: 195 pounds
Off Season Weight: 215, with goal of reaching 225 for 2008 and to compete at the April 2008 OC Classic at around 205-210 pounds.
Why I Got Started
I discovered my interest in bodybuilding when I was around 15-years old, before Arnold made bodybuilding popular. From the start, it was difficult for me to make gains and my body was slow to respond. I regretted sports in High School because I was weak and skinny. I couldn't even do 1 pull-up! It wasn't until I reached my 30s did I actually start to make solid gains in strength and I slowly started adding muscle mass.
How I Did It
Initially, I attempted to train, eat and sleep according to Arnold's instructions in his book. I would read other theories and experimented. Eventually I returned to training around the basic core exercises designed for mass. I kept a weight training journal and made it a goal to add 5 more pounds on the bar each week for the major compound exercises.
I remember on back day I would do countless sets of wide grip chins at work until I hit 100 reps total, then after work I did heavy dead lifts and every week I added 5 more pounds until I was lifting 455 pounds off the floor for reps.
After building strength in my back I found my interest shifting to calves, training them heavier and heavier each week until I was doing over 1000 pounds on standing calf raises. Body weight at my peak was around 180-185 pounds.
After making progress in strength gains through training 4 consecutive years, my interest in bodybuilding was diverted to other causes which totaled 4 years away from the gym.
By the time I returned to the gym in late 2003 I had put on some 45 pounds and ballooned to 240 pounds. I was now 41 and the days of not being able to gain weight had now caught up with me. After several months of struggling with the diet to get the fat off I came across a bodybuilding magazine that revealed IFBB Pro Milos Sarcev as the leading authority on diet, nutrition, training and contest prep for pros around the world.
I decided to pay for Milos' services. Milos taught me a world of information and got me on track by teaching me to balance protein, fats and carbohydrates in my diet. He was impressed by my journals and my posing in my progress pictures and he took a liking to me. We became close friends. It was never my goal to be a competitive bodybuilder but Milos kept hinting that I should.
Eventually Milos dared me and so I entered my first show in April 2006 and walked away with a trophy at the OC Classic in Anaheim, California. I've since entered 2 more shows: the Tournament of Champions in September 2006 and the LA Excalibur in December 2007. I continue to make progress and improve with each competition.
I've tried countless supplements over the past 4 years. Each one has a time and place in one's diet. The more you study nutrition the more you learn. Besides teaming up with Milos for my first competition and learning his theories, I've teamed up with Rokni Mirghamami and Steve Kappra for my second competition. Rokni taught me the importance of the whole food diet for leaning out and I was taking virtually no supplements other than vitamins.
The diet plan was crazy but it worked well for me. Steve taught me the value of cycling carbohydrates and this also worked well for me. For the Excalibur competition Milos prepped me for the final 4 weeks. This was the most radical diet so far, but I agreed to follow him 100% and I went from 9.6% body fat to 4.7% in 4 weeks. Again, because I had to drop so much fat in such a short time, I was on a whole food diet but also used Milos' KNS Preload, Xxpload and Reload workout drinks before, during and after training.
In addition, I used Branched Chain Amino Acids before I did my early morning cardio to prevent muscle loss while burning fat reserves. The mainstay supplements that I continue to use are Whey Protein Isolate, Creatine, L-Glutamine, BCAA's, daily vitamin packs, ZMA and Essential Amino Acids. I get my essential fats from Omega 3 eggs, walnuts, peanut butter and avocados.
My Sample Diet
My diet will change according to my goal. When preparing for a competition I will generally increase protein and essential fats and decrease carbohydrates to burn off fat reserves. For maintaining I try to follow the competition diet as a base but will enjoy carbohydrates at times. I tend to be more carb sensitive as I have gotten older and I cut back on carbs when I start to smooth out. For mass training I aim for a 50/50 ratio of protein and carbohydrates and keep the fats below 80g per day.
Here is a sample of my diet. Monday through Friday is my training schedule and on weekends it is the same except I don't have the training supplements, so the calories are lower on the non-training days.
|2 scoops TrueProtein.com BCAA Boost||17|
|8 egg whites scrambled||32|
|69g (1/7 bag) Trader Joes chopped spinach||2||2|
|2 tbsp French onion dip||1||6||2|
|1 1/2 cup Trader Joe's toasted oatmeal flakes||6||2||46|
|1/8 cup raisins (or 1/2 banana)||0.5||15.5|
|1 cup NF milk||9||12|
|8oz chicken breast, baked||54||2|
|2 tbsp peanut butter||7||16||7|
|2 scoops KNS Preload||11||9|
|2 scoops KNS XXpload||22||19|
|1 scoop BCAA's||5|
|2 scoops KNS Reload||25||24|
|1 scoop WPI||27|
|1 banana or dried fruit||30|
|2 slices Trader Joe's Bavarian Rye||6||32|
|4oz Trader Joe's pastrami||26||4||1|
|1oz light Swiss cheese||8||4|
|Romaine lettuce and mustard|
|8oz top sirloin steak, olive oil, salt & pepper||54||20|
|4 egg whites + 1 Omega 3 egg||18||4.5||1|
|4oz Afghan chopped greens salad||2||4|
|2 scoops blended slow release protein||51||1|
I am a cook and for years now I have been pre-cooking and packaging all my meals for the week on the weekend. This frees up a lot of my time during the week. And since all my meals are measured and packaged I can take them with me and I am more apt to stay on my diet.
I continually mix up the training program. In the past, I used to follow the same program for 6-7 weeks before changing it. Now I try to mix up the routines from week to week and will try to incorporate different training methods like heavy for 6-8 reps, drop sets, negatives, and slow sets to always keep the body guessing to prevent adapting and to prevent boredom in the gym.
Depending on who I am training with, I may do my standard 1 hour fast passed workout where I train 1 large body part and 1-2 smaller body parts per session, or I may go all out and train to complete failure in a circuit-style workout that lasts nearly 2 hours. Because my brain tends to overpower my body, I tend to favor the condensed workouts over the exhausting 2-hour workouts. I would rather put more effort into fewer exercises.
- Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 10, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Incline Barbell Bench Chest: 3 working sets of 10 reps
- Chest Superset, 3 sets total:
- Chest Superset, 3 sets total:
- Biceps Tri- Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- Seated Biceps Curl Machine: 10 reps
- Preacher Curl Machine: 10 reps
- Seated Close Grip Curl Machine: 10 reps
- Forearm Barbell Wrist Curls, 2 sets of maximum reps
- Back Tri- Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- 3/4 Deadlifts off Rack, 10 reps
- Wide Grip Chins, 10 reps
- Smith Machine Bent Over Rows, Heavy, 8-10 reps
- Back Tri- Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- Seated Cable Rows, 10 reps
- Seated Close Grip Cable Pull Downs with V-Bar, 8-10 reps
- Seated Wide Grip Lat Pull Down Machine, 10 reps
- Hyperextensions, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Triceps Tri- Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- Standing Barbell Presses (or Seated Dumbbell Presses), 8-10 reps
- Shoulders Tri-Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- Cable One Arm Side Laterals, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Peck Deck Machine Rear Laterals, 3 sets of 10 reps
- Shoulders/Traps Tri-Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
- Smith Machine Upright Rows, 10 reps
- Smith Machine Front Shrugs, 18 reps
- Smith Machine Rear Shrugs, 18 reps
- Inline Bench Lying Dumbbell Shrugs (face down), 18 reps
- Seated Ab Crunch Machine, 3 sets of 25 reps
- Full Squat, 4 working sets, 10, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Leg Press Machine, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Seated Leg Extension Machine (or Barbell Lunges), 3 sets of 10
- Quad Superset, 3 sets total:
- Hamstring Tri-Set Circuit, 3 sets total:
Cavles & Forearms
For each body part I do 3 working sets of 10 reps. For triceps and traps I do 18 reps. Calves and abs are higher reps, 25-50 range. On the few power exercises I will sometimes go all out for 4-5 sets and start with 10 reps and finish with the heaviest set for 4-7 reps when my training partner is up for the challenge.
Suggestions For Others
I'll give you the same challenge Milos taught me from the beginning: Set your target and aim for the nearly impossible. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You are never too old and it's never too late to make gains and transform your physique.
Experiment with exercises and nutrition until you find what works best for you. No single diet or exercise plan fits everyone; they must be tailored to fit your goals and lifestyle. Give everything you do 100% effort and commitment. Nothing done half hearted brings full rewards. And, always remember to re-rack your weights.
You can get more suggestions and learn more of the diet and training plans I followed over the course of my transformation on my transformation page on Milos' website. You will have to first sign up to be a member of Milos' board.
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