Name: Rick Johnson
Why I Got Started
I was never a real big guy and I lived in a pretty bad neighborhood so I originally decided to start training for improvements in martial arts. My dad was into bodybuilding and I remember how great I thought it was that he looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger compared to everyone else's parents. So at 14 years old I got my first bench and my first issue of Muscular Development and I've been hooked ever since.
I had times in my life that I was in a lot of trouble and things were rough but the iron always brought me back. I have been consistent for several years now and at the beginning of this a few years ago I was going through rough times, once I got back in the gym my confidence grew and I started accomplishing things that I felt I couldn't before.
I went back to school and am now an honor society student at Marshall University and I gained full custody of my daughter. I guess considering the path that bodybuilding pulled me away from I owe my life to it, who knows where I would be without it.
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Once I Got Back In The Gym My Confidence Grew And I Started Accomplishing Things That I Felt I Couldn't Before.
The iron has been good to me and I am known as a strong pound-for-pound guy, but strength and training are only part of the puzzle and I have recently come to realize it. I have been a member of the Bodybuilding.com forums for several years I am currently a rep for Betancourt Nutrition.
I enjoy running logs and workout journals on here it has kept me motivated and more consistent than ever before because I know if I don't post my workout there are people watching my logs that will tell me I'm slackin.' At the beginning of this year shortly after the holidays I had to take before pics for a sponsored supplement log and once I saw my pics up I knew something had to change immediately.
I looked terrible, I had let my diet go way too long and really hadn't noticed how tubby I had gotten. The thing was, yeah, I workout 5-6 days per week, but I was training like a powerlifter, I wasn't doing cardio, and my diet wasn't what it needed to be. I knew one thing was for sure I was not happy with the image I saw in those pics, I was truly disgusted with myself.
How I Did It
I used to use the standard methods and fad diets I have probably done them all mostly by altering my carb intake. Now I have a different approach on dieting. In order to be successful in changing your body you have to make a lifestyle change and it has to be something you can live with and do for the rest of your days or you eventually go back to square one.
Many of the dieting methods out there are destructive on the muscle tissue we work so hard to create and I personally want to keep every ounce I can when it comes to lean mass. People tend to immediately completely shut out the carbs and fats but in reality your body needs these things in order to function properly. Carbs and fats are not the enemy, portion and timing is what is truly important.
So here's what I did: I split my food into 6 smaller meals which are balanced with each having at least 30g of protein 15g carbs ( from either sweet potato, grapefruit, Ezekiel bread, brown rice or oats) and 10g of healthy fats and plenty of fibrous veggies. My macros on my meals do vary slightly with different protein/carb sources. By balancing your diet it slows and limits the amount of insulin spike in your body which in turn avoids giving me the bloated look.
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In Order To Be Successful In Changing Your Body You
Have To Make A Lifestyle Change.
My normal day to day diet may be a bit similar to a diabetic's meal plan. But with all that being said there is a time and place for manipulating carbs. I do have one day per week that I take in a large carb meal and ramp up my calories a little in order to ramp my metabolism up, then I typically lower my carb intake slightly on my day off.
A year ago I would've never believed this would work but it does and I am living proof. My old saying used to be that I can only be fat and strong or skinny and weak but that is no longer true since using this plan I have broken two gym strength records at the university I attend: wide-grip pull-ups with 33 reps, and the leg press record with 1608x1.
My training methods have also changed with the knowledge I have gained about supplementation and proper lifting here on the forums. I now typically focus more on tight form slow movements and mind muscle connection. I have made more gains since I swallowed my pride, quit throwing weight around with bad form and dangerous lifts.
I believe there comes a time where you have to decide if you want to do a one rep max with poor form and build your ego and possibly injure yourself or would you rather do it right take your time and build some lean mass.
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A Year Ago I Would've Never Believed This Would
Work But It Does And I Am Living Proof.
- Universal Animal Cuts: 1 serving
- Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil: 1 cap
Between Meals/Throughout The Day:
- Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy: 1 serving
I also make sure I take in 250-300g of protein a day from lean whole food sources and some of the supplements I use.
My training methods vary but this is my favorite workout schedule. I use extremely tight form with slow movements and long negatives. I also use pauses and static hangs to take the momentum out of movements.
I alternate light weight high intensity weeks of 12-15 reps for shape with heavier 5-8 rep weeks for strength and size I believe with this method I get the best of both worlds.
My training weeks vary in weight/reps for example:
- On Week 1: I will go heavy for strength and do 5-8 reps per set as heavy as I can go with good form on all movements heavy lifts take a bit more recovery so I usually take 1 min rest between sets.
- On Week 2: light weeks I will go for 12-15 reps and superset everything it will become apparent on how the supersets would go by looking at my workouts.
- On Week 3: repeat week 1 and so on.
A lot of people disagree with LISS training but I feel it is ideal for post workout since it doesn't deplete the body as much as high intensity cardio but I still have a day that I do nothing but high intensity.
As stated above rep range depends on whether I am on a high intensity week 12-15 reps or a high weight week 5-8 reps
Day 1: Arms
- Barbell Curls: 1 warm up set of 20 reps, 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Skull Crushers: 1 warm up set of 20 reps, 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- V-handle Cable Pressdowns: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Machine Curls: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Reverse Grip EZ-Bar Curls: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Rope Cable Pressdowns: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Kickbacks: 2 sets of 15-20 reps
- Cardio: 30-40 mins walking on the Treadmill, 3.5mph at max incline #15
Day 2: Obliques/Calves/Cardio
- Wood Chops: 6 sets of 20 reps each side (different angles: high to low, level, low to high)
- Weighted Oblique Crunches over the Back Extension: 4 sets of 20 each side holding DB
- Calf Raises on the Leg Press: 4 sets of 30 reps (with pauses every few reps at peak contraction)
- Torso Rotation: 4 sets of 20 reps
- Hanging Windshield Wipers: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Weighted Back Extensions: 4 sets of 30 reps (plate above head)
- Cardio: Optional between 30-45 min LISS or HIIT
Day 3: Delts/Lats/Traps
- Wide Grip Pullups: 1 warm up set of 25 reps (bodyweight), 3 sets of 8-15 reps (weighted)
- Close Grip Hammer Position Pullups: 3 sets 8-15 reps
- Standing Military Press: 3-4 sets of 6-15 reps
- Close Grip Barbell Shrugs: 2 sets of 8-15 reps
- Wide Grip Barbell Shrugs: 2 sets of 8-15 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 2 sets of 20-30 reps
- Seated Dumbell Lateral Raises: 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Lat Pulldowns Triset (I use several different handles for this to hit specific areas):
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Legs
- Barbell Back Squats (ATG): 1 warm up set of 20 reps, 4-5 sets of 6-15 reps
- Barbell Front Squats (ATG): 4-5 sets of 6-15 reps
- Rack Pull Deadlifts (set about 6in off the ground): 4-5 sets of 8-20 reps
- Leg Press (wide stance deep movements until the sled hits the safety catch): 4 sets of 8-15 reps
- Calf Raises in the Smith Machine: (toes on plates): 4 sets of 30-40 reps
- Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 8-15 reps
- Standing Leg Curls: 4 sets of 8-15 reps, each leg
- Back Extensions: 4 sets of 30 reps (weight held above my head)
Cardio is optional on leg day depending on whether I can handle it. Sometimes I lift in the morning then go back for cardio when I have recharged, regardless this is definitely a LISS day.
Day 6: Chest/Upper Back
On chest days aside from alternating rep range and weight I alternate dumbbell and barbell presses every few weeks.
- Incline Bench Press: 1 warm up set of 20 reps, 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- High Rows: 1 warm up set of 20 reps, 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- Flat Bench Press: 4 sets of 5-15 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets of 8-15 reps each side
- Reverse Grip Barbell Bench Press (wide grip): 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Seated Cable Rows Triset (multiple handles used):
- Underhand grip: 2 sets of 8-15 reps
- Wide Grip: 2 sets of 8-15 reps
- Close Grip: 2 sets of 8-15 reps
Dumbbell Flyes Triset:
Day 7: HIIT/Abs
- Hanging Leg Raise: 5 sets of 15-20 reps
- Kneeling Cable Crunches: 5 sets of 30-40 reps
- Hanging Windshield Wipers: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Cardio is high pace in 1-5 min intervals - hill sprints, elliptical, arc trainer, or row machine for around 30 mins, and then I usually finish up with some kickboxing for 20 mins.
Suggestions For Others
If there is one thing I've learned in training is never give up on your goals and be patient. The person who reaches the light at the end of the tunnel is the one that still pushes forward when things look bleak.
Determination is the most important word in the vocabulary of someone fighting to make a change, stay hungry and stop at nothing to reach your goals.