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Teen Bodybuilder of the Week: Dustin Merritt

Teen Bodybuilder of the Week: Dustin Merritt! - Pics and info and more!

  • Name: Dustin Merritt
  • E-mail:
  • Age: 18
  • Where: Racine, Wisconsin
  • Height: 5' 7"
  • Weight: 165 Lbs., Contest: 152 Lbs.
  • Years Bodybuilding :1
  • Favorite Bodypart: Entire Body
  • Favorite Exercise: Anything Heavy
  • Favorite Supplements: ON 100% Whey, ON Pro Complex, ON Serious Mass, Detour Bars, BCAAs, CGT-10, Opti-Mens Multi, Fish Oil, & Quest Nutrition Joint Supplement.

How Did You Get Started?

I was about 16 and a half when I was first involved in weight training, I was ending my sophomore year in high school. My dad's history was an amateur bodybuilder back in his 20's and from pictures I saw, I wanted to surpass his physique. I began training in my basement much like most people and was sticking to bodybuilder type movements. I developed my own personal split routine after learning quickly of overtraining. I was addicted; I made the rookie mistakes but learned quick. Junior year I joined our high school powerlifting team and was completely addicted and determined.

I trained at 142 lbs and won several regional meets but did not place at state. I then trained all summer following the Westside Barbell method with Maximum efforts and Dynamic effort 4 week cycle splits, modified Westside. I competed as a 153 lb powerlifter my senior year in school and won every regional meet I competed in. I took first place in our high school state tournament and 3rd place as a very light 165 lber (158.1) at the USAPL Teen/Junior Nationals. After this time I took a 3 week break to let aches and pains settle down and began training for my first bodybuilding competition. I would be competing in the INBF Midwest Open Championships in the Teenage and Men's Lightweight category.

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I trained with a 4 day split sticking to compound as well as isolation movements, and always the basics. Powerlifting gave me the best work ethic you could get and I constantly went for high intensity and volume. I followed a very similar approach as Dorian Yates followed with a few warm-ups, then sets to fail, always working angles for each muscle group trained that particular day. I placed 1st in the teenage division and 3rd in the men's lightweight division.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I feel - of the numerous training cycles I have worked through - Modified Westside Barbell method and Russian training has worked the most for sheer dense muscle, power, and size. In the bodybuilding aspect of things I feel a 4 day split following Dorian Yates' approach to quick warm-ups and high intensity training worked the most. Training on instinct is a huge method I follow also, always keeping intensity as high as possible. Training was as followed:

Arrow Sample Training Week:

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What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I kept it simple; I didn't play with carb loading or severe water depleting, my logic was if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I started my diet 12 weeks out and did 6 meals a day every 2-3 hours. A protein source per meal, all foods are plain, very similar approach to Mark Dugdale. I did a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio a day and a maximum of 2 hours a day. Cardio involved moderate intensity, sessions never over 1 hour, and included biking, ellipticals, incline treadmill walking, and rope skips. I try to stay lean in the off-season, usually lingering around 8-9% body fat. This however is a changing process and I have yet to 100% lock my off season diet in place.

Arrow Sample Meal Plan:

    Meal 1 - 1 cup oatmeal (dry measurement) 8 egg whites
    Meal 2 - 2 scoop protein shake
    Meal 3 - 4oz chicken, 3/4 cup brown rice, 3/4 cup of broccoli
    Meal 4 - (post workout) 1 scoop protein shake
    Meal 5 - 4oz chicken, 3/4 cup brown rice, 3/4 cup of broccoli
    Meal 6 - 5oz eye round steak 1 cup broccoli

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I'm not a believer in supplement hype. I keep it simple with protein powders, branch chain amino acids pre and post workout, a creatine formula combined with glutamine and taurine pre workout, a multi sports vitamin, fish oil tablets, and a joint support powder or capsule high with MSM and Glucosamine.

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

The sheer satisfaction of growing, gaining strength, the personal image of myself. The view everyone gives me when they notice change. The positive reinforcement as well as the negative reinforcement from competition struggles. The overall number one reason however is will power. I love to be so young, so able to put my mind towards anything I choose to do.

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What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I am going to still focus on my USAPL powerlifting career as well as cross train and compete in shows. I have my entire years lineup planned out and will be competing in January in the USAPL Wisconsin Men's State, followed then by dieting for 12-16 weeks for the NPC Naturals Classic Teenage & Men's category in April, followed by competing in the INBF Natural Wisconsin at the end of April.

I will then gain a quick amount of weight and compete in the USAPL Teen/Junior Nationals tournament in June, followed by an extended training cycle and then compete in the INBF Midwest Open Championships in mid October to defend my teenage title. I will then take a deserved break from competitions and prepare myself to appear in more shows and powerlifting competitions down the road.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Read and self educate yourself, train hard and keep everything simple, and don't over think certain aspects. Don't forget about your old school power movements for that dense muscle, and train smart and effective.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Johnnie Jackson, Dorian Yates, Lee Labrada, Mark Dugdale, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez, Jay Cutler, Dennis Wolf, Lee Priest, Layne Norton, Ronnie Coleman, Justin Harris.