Weight: 243 lbs
Weight: 235 lbs
Why I Got Started
I had been in fairly good shape until about age 37 and slowly, yet surely I let myself go. The before picture is me at Kawaii February 1, 2002. In April of that year, I went to see my Doctor about a reoccurring ear infection. He hadn't seen me in a while and had come back for some tests.
He sat me down after the tests were done and he received the results and said if I wanted to live much longer, I needed to change my ways. My heart rate was up, my cholesterol was up, my blood pressure was up, and it was caused because my weight was up! At least that was the theory. My Doctor said he was going to give me 2 months to exercise and change my diet. If that didn't work or worse yet, if I didn't change my ways, he would start to medicate me to try and correct the problems.
That day I went to a gym and joined. In seven months I went from 243-to-191 pounds. I did cardio three days a week and weight trained 3 days per week. I went on a low carb diet and it worked well for me.
How I Did It
In January of 2003, I started to weight train more seriously. I had a basic knowledge to get me started. I loved it! By the time I hit 50, I was in the best shape of my life since my 30s.
As time went by, some of the bodybuilders kept pestering me to compete in a Bodybuilding Grand Masters class. I gave it some thought and looked around the gym and saw a young man who had just won a large Bodybuilding show and asked if he would be interested in training me. That was more than three years ago. Since that time he lead me to five competitions with two championships and five placings. This year I will hit the stage at the NPC Masters Nationals in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Since I'm a competitor, I have a regimented diet and training program. I take about 4 weeks off far as cardio goes after my last competition, yet stick to my diet and training all year.
My diet is about 8 meals per day, 5 with food and 3 are protein shakes. The diet breaks up like this: 350 gms protein, 150 to 350 gms of high complex carbs and 150 gms of low complex taken in my pre training shake and post training shake. 1 cup of veggies a day, and a mixed green salad 2-or-3 times per day. I'll have a cheat meal and eat anything I want about 2-or-3 times per month.
I weight train 5 days per week, broken down like this:
I do 3-or-4 sets per body part. I spend 40-to-50 minutes weight training a day. Cadio is done in the morning for 45 minutes 6 days per week. I train almost exclusively with high reps and low weights. And by high, I mean really high. For example, it is nothing for me to do 100 reps leg press, or 25 reps dumbbell incline bench press.
I try to keep the reps on most exercises at 15 or more reps. I know you will hear you have to lift heavy to get big, well I believe it is more about the squeeze and intensity of the movement, then big weights. I'm not saying lifting heavy won't work! Of course it will, yet if you're over 50 and want to compete, there are alternatives that will work.
|OVER 40 BODYBUILDER OF THE WEEK: ED COOK|
I was at a seminar with IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf, Melvin Anthony, and Valentina Chepiga and they cautioned all of us to be careful about lifting heavy as you may injure yourself and be out of commission for 6 months or more. Dennis said, "You have to ask yourself, are you a bodybuilder or a power lifter?"
Suggestions For Others
If I were to give advice to someone who want to transform their body, I would say one thing, "Intensity, with consistency, brings density!" You have to be disciplined. The days you feel the worst about yourself, the days you feel tired, worn out, out of it, what ever it is that's bringing you down, you get up, get off your butt, and train like h*ll! I don't believe in "over training." I believe it is a myth. I believe it is nothing more then poor training, poor diet and laziness.