Would you like to gain 11 pounds in your competition weight in less than a year? I did! And I m going to tell you how I did it. But first, I’d like to give you a little background about myself. I’m writing this on my birthday, April 11, exactly one week after I attained my all-time best condition at the 1998 NPC Jr. USA. I’m 26 today. Although I’m still young, I feel like I’ve been involved with bodybuilding for most of my life.
Training go heavy
My training has not changed a great deal over the years. I developed my core philosophies while attending a Tom Platz seminar in the late 80’s. I was still in high school, but it’s still crystal clear to me. I had always thought of training in two ways – go heavy for low reps, or lighter for high reps. Tom said his style was heavy for HIGH reps. In other words INTENSITY! This creates a thick, dense muscle, and also creates more striations for me! My legs are my best body part but I rarely do any leg extensions... or leg extinctions... as I call them. Cable and machine work is also rare for me. Just give me the basics, from several different angles. I have squatted 700 for 10, and done incline barbell presses with 320 for 15 reps. I love to train hard and heavy!
My most improved body part over the last year has definitely been my back. Here is what a typical back workout consists of. I start with a few light sets of 15 on low pulley rows. Once there is some blood in my lats, I crank out 3-4 very strict sets of 8-15 reps, adding 10 pounds a set. I squeeze very hard in the contracted position, and arch my chest as much as possible. This has contributed greatly in adding striations to my lower lats. Next I move on to narrow grip lat pulldowns. My partner pushes down on the weight at the stretched part of the movement, creating an awesome pull and lat stretch. Then after the set, I use John Parrillo’s fascial stretching techniques to break up the fascial tissue and create more room for growth. The stretching is usually more painful than the set, as I hold each stretch for a slow 30 count. At this point my lats are screaming so I move on to Deadlifts. I do 3-4 warm ups with 100 – 400 pounds. These warm-ups are for sets of 5 reps each. Then I add enough weight, so that I can barely do 5 reps, usually to around 550. I do this weight for three gut busting sets. I then add 50 more pounds, and do two more sets of 3. Lastly I add 50 more pounds, and do two more sets of 2. After this I am completely exhausted, and go home.
Diet and Supplements
My diet and supplementation program HAS changed greatly over the years. I have worked with a gentleman by the name of Mike Matson for several years, whom I met at the Parrillo performance center in Cincinnati. I got my start at John’s center, and made incredible progress while there. By the way, John’s training philosophies are also philosophies of very high intensity. He and Mike both helped me make a tremendous amount of progress while I was there. Mike’s diets were always tough, consisting of extremely low carbs, and fat and very high levels of protein. I always got in good shape though ... when I did not cheat. Mike’s diets were perfect for me then, because I tended to get really FAT in the off-season. I needed the low calories, and also a great deal of cardio to get in shape. 1997 would be the last year for this however. I’d started a new career in the computer consulting field in 1996, and began 60 hour work weeks. Since I didn’t understand how to balance this kind of work schedule with training, I began to get fatter and fatter. I trained less and consumed more junk food at night.
A chubby 215 with three months to go
I found myself at a chubby 215 three months out from the 1997 Mr. Ohio. I knew I needed to change my habits, and I did have a deep desire to compete again. I gave Roger and Sandy at Beverly International a call, and informed them of my plans. When I went to visit them, they somehow held in their laugh, kept a straight face and discussed my plans. I began a very intense diet and cardio program immediately, much like Mike’s previous pre-contest plan, (See box at left), but with one major difference... from 9-11 each morning, I constantly sipped Beverly Muscle Providerusually a scoop every half hour. This gave me a constant supply of whey protein and branched-chain aminos. Then each afternoon from 1-4 PM I sipped Muscle Provider again. I plowed through the stuff, usually drinking a can a week, minimum.
The changes happened fast. I ended up by winning my class at the 1997 Ohio, and losing the overall to my training partner by a measly one point. Not bad considering what I looked like 3 months prior. I weighed in at 185, and re-named myself Scrawny Johnny. I knew I needed to add some more muscle to my upper body.
John’s Diet Supplement Program
7 AM meal: 10 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal with Beverly’s Density amino acid formula
9 – 11 AM: continually sipping Muscle Provider
Noon: 1 pound chicken and some broccoli
1 – 4 PM: continually sipping Muscle Provider
Pre-workout meal: ½ cup of rice with a little ground turkey
Post-workout meal: same as pre workout.
After my workout I took a whopping 15-20 gram dose of Beverly International’s Creatine Monohydrate. I have found that taking 15+ grams after a workout works best for me. A loading phase and/or pre-workout creatine do not seem to benefit me whatsoever.
On to Jr. USA
With a renewed commitment, I set my sights on the 1998 Jr. USA. I continued to train like a psycho with my partners, Derek Lampert, who is an awesome bodybuilder in his own right, and Darryl Mayo, a very strong powerlifter, who pushes me to the brink. I ate much cleaner food this time, saving the donuts and ice cream for the weekend. I also kept a gallon of skim milk beside my bed every night, and every time I woke up, I would drink a couple of glasses. I also switched the Muscle Provider to Beverly’s Ultra Whey during my size gaining phase, and sipped it all day at work. I eventually got up to 244, and was in decent shape. This time around when my serious dieting started, I didn’t do any cardio. I kept waiting to do it, but I kept getting leaner and leaner without it. I also added Flax oil in the mornings, and evening primrose oil to my diet. Occasionally I had scrambled eggs, instead of just egg whites. Roger also had me replace my turkey with lean steak a couple of times a week. The extra muscle and calories kept my metabolism cranking and I got into my best shape ever, competing a full 11 pounds heavier at 196. Anytime my metabolism started to slow down, I had a few Parrillo bars, and it began cranking again. I jumped into The Battle of Champions 3 weeks out from the Jr. USA, and won the overall at 197. I then tightened up considerably for the Jr’s and placed 6th.
Bits of advice
Some other bits of advice I would offer:
Use fascial stretching every workout! It makes a world of difference in your muscle separation.
Don’t ever let an expediter cake your body with oil. It covers up your hard earned definition, and cost me a least 3 places at the Jr’s. Practice before hand for the perfect look. I personally use Dream Tan and find it hard to beat.
Parrillo bars are an excellent food to carb up on.
And lastly, just give Roger and Sandy a chance to work with you! You will be flat out amazed at how much they can help you! Besides that, they are just genuine people who actually care about the athletes they work with. That is a PROMISE!
I also want to thank long-time friend Mike Matson, who I continue to work with, John Parrillo for providing us athletes with a tremendous training and dietary program, and my girlfriend Mary for all the support she provides me with!
From 9-11 each morning, and 1 – 4 each afternoon, I constantly sipped Beverly International’s Muscle Provider, usually a scoop every half hour.