Over 40 Amateur Of The Week: Master Plan

College football taught him discipline. Bodybuilding kept him motivated when his successful gridiron career ended. Now he plans to dominate the Masters heavyweight division.

Name: Jeff Thomas
E-Mail: baleadr@yahoo.com
BodySpace: thomas422
Age: 43  Height: 5'7  Weight: 210 lbs off, 196-198 lbs contest
Location: Springfield, IL
Years Competing: 20

How Did You Get Started?

I started lifting weights for sports when I was 17 years old. After a successful college football career, I needed something to keep me motivated in the gym, so I did my first bodybuilding competition in 1992. I placed first in the middleweight division in a novice class.

From that time on, I have been hooked on the bodybuilding lifestyle. Since that first competition, I have competed in several shows at the light heavyweight division.

After taking an eight-year hiatus from competition, I placed first in the open light-heavyweight division of the 2011 Midwestern States Bodybuilding Championships in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and in March of 2012, I placed second in the Master's 35-45 division and second in the light-heavyweight division of the Mid-Illinois Classic. I plan on competing at an NPC Master's Nationals in July of 2012. The advice I would give all bodybuilders is to eat clean, train hard, and sleep sound.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

After following just about every type of workout and rep and set schemes, the type of workout that has worked best for me throughout the years is a heavy weight/low-rep scheme, which focuses on compound movements. I believe that for pure strength and pure mass, compound movements, with great form, are second to none. Because of my belief in lifting heavy with compound movements, I follow the MAX-OT philosophy of lifting. The basic philosophy of MAX-OT is as follows:

  1. Train only 1-2 body parts per workout.
  2. Spend no more than 30-40 minutes per workout.
  3. Only 6-9 "working" sets per muscle group (does not include warm up sets).
  4. No forced reps. Count only reps that you get on your own.
  5. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
  6. Train each muscle group once every 5-7 days.
  7. Take a one-week break after 8-10 weeks.

After a 10-week MAX-OT cycle, I will take a four-week break; lifting lighter weights and more reps. This gives my joints and tendons a break from the workout demands of the heavy weights and intense sets.

On my non-lifting days, I will do 30 minutes of light cardio followed by abdominal work.

Why Do You Love Fitness/Bodybuilding?

What I love the most about bodybuilding is the discipline that it takes to be successful. The discipline acquired through bodybuilding has a trickledown effect into all aspects of life. As a teacher and a coach, I see myself as a role model to all of those athletes and students who I come into contact with everyday. I not only want to be a role model intellectually, but physically. When my students ask my age, they are amazed that I look the way that I do at 43.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

Initially, my motivation to follow a healthy lifestyle came from the demands of sports. I needed to be in top physical conditioning to be the best athlete on the field. When I started competing, I realized that it is much better to eat healthy and follow a structured workout plan year-round opposed to a hit and miss workout and nutrition plan like most people do.

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

I am a highly self-motivated person. I constantly set goals that will stretch me, so I can grow physically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually.

What Are Your Future Fitness/Bodybuilding Plans?

In 2012, I plan on competing in the Master's Nationals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After that show, I will take some time to add at least 10 pounds of muscle. My plans are to compete at the heavyweight division in 2013.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilding Competitors?

Three of the most important things that I can tell other competitors are:

  1. Eat clean year-round for constant gains.
  2. Don't get comfortable with your workouts; constantly experiment. There is no growth in comfort!
  3. Be consistent with your nutrition, workouts, and sleep. The body thrives on consistency.
Who Are Your Favorite Fitness Competitors/Bodybuilders?

Because I grew up in the 1980's, my favorite bodybuilders are Rich Gaspari, Lee Haney, and Lee Labrada. Two of my favorite contemporary bodybuilders are Branch Warren and Jay Cutler.

What Features Do You Use On Bodybuilding.com?

I download a lot of recipes from Bodybuilding.com. Sweet potato pancakes are my favorite. I also order supplements and download bodybuilding information from the many articles.