First off, before getting into anything, I would like to thanks all the readers' of Bodybuilding.com for your great e-mails and questions! Many of those questions and e-mails want to know what I do, what I eat, how I train to get where I am today. So I thought it would be a great idea to give you readers it all! Right down to the very last detail on exactly how I train, eat, do cardio, supplementation, and final polishing tactics to get ready for a photo shoot or even bodybuilding competition.
I will not hold anything back. I will tell you the exact brands and techniques that got me to where I am right now. What you will see below is basically how I eat and try to eat all the time. I will take about 14-16 weeks to really tighten the reigns when I have a photo shoot or contest to get ready for. When I do not have a goal or date to be ready for, I eat the same, but I may splurge a bit more and be just a tad looser on the diet, but not much.
You may notice that what I do is different than what I may recommend to a client or even in an e-mail. This is because over the years I learned what worked best for ME, and what I am willing to sacrifice and endure. This is not and may not be for everyone, but it is the honest truth of how I live my lifestyle to meet the standards I set for myself. SO with that said, let's get started in PART 1.
I train 6 days per week. Monday through Saturday. Each day I blast one body part as hard as I can for about 45 minutes. Very intense, in and out! The following is my current training split:
Saturday: Hamstrings/Low back
Sunday: Off weights, cardio and abs
I perform 6-9 sets for larger body parts like quads, hams, back, shoulders, and chest. All the other body parts get 4 main working sets. Of course the above sets do not include warming up. Each set, no matter what the body part is done in the 5-7 rep range. I stick to only main compound movements. I really never waste any time on "isolation" movements, unless using them for warming up. If I do go higher in reps, it will usually be on squats and other leg exercises.
I constantly try to increase the poundage, reps or both from the previous week. Progressive overload has worked well for me. While dieting down I think this style of training is good in retaining the muscle you have built before the diet. Constantly striving to lift more in good form and keeping the poundage high and reps low with force your body to hold onto the muscle that you have already put there. While dieting, your body will use fat, carbs and protein for a source of fuel when you are calorie deficient. Through resistance training it will force your body to have to spare muscle, and use more of its' energy sources from fat and carbohydrates. I will change my exercises every 3-4 weeks, to keep things fresh.
Training partners are very helpful. They keep up the pace, monitor your form, and give you the mental security when doing a set. My fiancÃ©e, Whitney, is my training partner. She in fact is the best training partner I ever have had. She may only weigh 113 pounds, but she does the same routine, same style of training I do.
I say this for any women out there who think that they are going to get huge if they spend some hard time on the weights. Here is a perfect example of two people doing the exact same routines, reps, and nutrition, (in different amounts of course), but are yielding 2 different looks. She looks wonderful, very toned, very strong, and very feminine.
That raps up the training part. Very simple, nothing too fancy. The key is effort and consistency! Now onto the cardiovascular exercise.
Each component I am going to go over in this article plays a vital role in achieving the goals I want to achieve. Cardio is one of those areas that I feel has to really be held up and done on a regular basis to get that certain look everyone wants. When people usually ask me what I do for my abs, I point over to a treadmill and tell them to get on and start attacking the fat that covers that muscle.
I know there is a huge controversy on cardio right now. HIT cardio, low intensity cardio, interval, no cardio, empty stomach, after training, before bed, when not to, etc. Honestly, it can drive many people crazy. SO I am just going to tell you what I do, some people may disagree, some may agree. Again, just telling you what works for me. I have tried HIT/MAX-OT cardio, and I tried the longer duration more moderate intensity cardio. For how I eat and train, I choose to go with the longer duration and moderate intensity.
I perform cardio 7 days per week. I am in chiropractic college, so all my classes begin at 7am. So I wake up at 4:30am, take my Thermogenics, and go to the gym. I will do 45 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical machine. I keep my heart rate around 150-160 bpm for the duration of each cardio session.
I prefer to do mine on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. For me it is a great way to start off my day. I get in my prayers and early morning reflection of the day to come. As I get close to a deadline, photo shoot, or contest, I will add 20-25 minutes of cardio either after training or at night, a few days per week. If I feel I am on schedule or ahead, I will not add this extra cardio. Some times to change it up, usually on Sat mornings, I will go to a high school track and run sprints for 30-40 minutes with my fiancÃ©e.
I stress that you experiment to find which style of cardiovascular exercise works best for you. The outlined above is what has done the trick most efficiently for me, despite what theories are out there. Find which one works best for you. I always advise some type of cardiovascular training. It keeps the most important muscle we have conditioned, the heart. It serves to boost metabolism, and allows one to take in more food to help recover and keep you calories a bit higher than without doing cardio.
Click here for PART 2 of "How I Get Ready For A Photo Shoot"! I will discuss the other crucial factors such as my diet plan, supplement schedule, and final preparation methods such as cutting water for the final look.
NOTE: This is part one, click here for part two!