Bodybuilding is the challenge

To be your best and still work on not sacrificing good family relations.

By Steve Slater
Winter 1997

Wow! What a contest season. Lots of early mornings training, lots of lugging around coolers full of food, supplements and water bottles and lots of running my blender until it about catches fire. I have to also mention making time to pose, fix food, manage a gym , help manage our Hardware store and be a family.

One of the hardest things about bodybuilding is the challenge of tying all of what the sport requires for you to do to be your best and still work on not sacrificing good family relations. Lets face it bodybuilding can be a 25 hour a day job 8 days a week even if you didn’t have a family. That’s why I have to realize that I’m the one that decided to do this not my family and I’m going to try my hardest to make this an enjoyable process for them. There is no sense in making them suffer when they shouldn’t have to. Other than not being able to eat all the goodies my son wants me to its a pretty enjoyable process.

When I decided to get in the Natural Ohio I was mostly concerned about my son Landon I wanted to make my contest prep enjoyable for him. The tension of contest prep can be intense in the house and its just not fair for kids to have to go through that. So I asked myself how I can make this enjoyable for my son and family. Well if you have children then you’ve watched Barney and he always tells you to use your imagination so that’s exactly what I did.

Bodybuilder Steve Slater

My contest preparation normally includes

Here are some tips that might help you sail a little smoother during prep if you have children:

  1. Road trips to Roger and Sandy’s - always a hit! My family is always up for a road trip. It’s nice getting away from home every couple of weeks and my son, Landon, loves Jaye, Roger and Sandy’s daughter.
  2. Cooking lots of food - normally this isn’t a problem Landon loves to pretend we are having a cooking show in front of an audience like on TV. Although I’m always careful to keep HOT pans away.
  3. Practice Posing - This was kind of tough at first. Landon did not like it when I practiced my posing. So what we did was turned the music up and danced silly for a song then I’d pose to my contest music. So I would pose, dance, pose and dance. The kids `really got a kick out of this.
  4. Pushups – This time out Roger wanted me to develop more muscularity in my chest and triceps so he had me do 150–200 push ups daily. Every chance the kids got they rode on my back which I especially liked. It’s nice when you can make your children laugh and have fun while at the same time you can increase your intensity.
  5. Training – I always tried to train while everyone was still sleeping. Problem solved!!
  6. Aerobics – I really did not have to do a lot of aerobics but if I did it would not be that much of a problem. Landon loves to run with me and play chase for long periods at a time. Roger did suggest that I run sprints towards the end of my prep, so a few times I picked up Landon and held him while running fast but being careful not to bounce him. Talk about fun he couldn’t stop laughing and I couldn’t stop gasping. Another intensity booster
  7. Tanning – simple I just gave Landon a foam Pro Tan brush and told him to go to town! Leaving out the Pro Tan of course.
  8. Roses – I can’t forget about my wife because if it wasn’t for her support and help I couldn’t begin to compete. She always gets a surprise dozen roses sometime before the show, one rose for every week of diet, although she deserves much more.

Well, if the above doesn’t pertain to you and you just want to know how I got in the best shape of my life Here’s the program 12 weeks out:


Mondays and Thursdays: Chest, Legs & Triceps
Bench Press
Incline Press
Leg Press
Close Grip Bench
Tricep Pushdowns
Standing Calf Raise
Legendary Ab Workout Level A or 1
Deadlifts ( Yes both days!)
Seated Rows
Front Overhead Barbell Press
Upright Rows
Barbell Curls
Seated Dumbbell Curls
Standing Calf Raise. I tried to do these on Mon, Wed & Fri. Legendary Abs Level A or 1

From 12 weeks out until 6 weeks out I did straight sets. I followed Roger’s Mass and Power Training System which varied all reps and poundages depending on the particular week of the 6 week training cycle. The reps never went above 10 and during my heaviest weeks they pyramided down to 2 on the heaviest set. Sets varied from 3 to 6 per exercise. Mondays and Tuesdays were my heavy days and Thursdays and Fridays were lighter by about 5-10%.

Six weeks out

At 6 weeks out I used the same exercises and training cycle as the first 6 weeks but now I added posing before training. I only have an hour to train leaving me no choice but to increase my intensity by doing Roger’s Mass and Power Training System workout with trisets and super sets.

Talk about intense! And it worked!! Here it is:
Mondays and Thursdays: Chest ,Legs & Triceps
Super Set / Bench Press & Squat
Super Set / Incline Press & Leg Press
Super Set Or Straight Sets /Close Grip Bench And Tricep Pushdowns
Standing Calf Raise
Legendary Ab Workout Level 1 or A
Sometimes I would do a giant set with all these for 3–5 sets again
cycling the reps from 10 the first week to 2 reps on the last set of my heaviest week.
TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS Back, Shoulders & Biceps
Tri Set /Deadlifts, Seated Rows & Pulldowns
Super Set / Front Overhead Barbell Press & Upright Rows
Super Set or Straight Sets / Barbell Curls & Seated Dumbbell Curls
Standing Calf Raise. I would try to do these on Mon, Wed & Fri.
Legendary Abs Level A or 1
Wednesdays and weekends were for harder ab workouts and some more posing.

My goal with this workout was to maintain strength so I would keep my muscle density and size while at the same time decrease fat stores. I absolutely HATE the word maintain but in this case, being drug free, if you do maintain your lean muscle mass and lose fat at the same time you’re on track.

At 2 weeks out Roger instructed me to start 15 minutes worth of alternating sprinting and jogging three times per week for cardio. This really worked well for my quads and hamstring cuts and lines. My legs were better than ever!

This is about it for training. But I will tell you I thank God for my training partner Dan Crawford. He knows how to train intense and how to crack the whip when needed!

Diet 12 weeks out
6:00 upon rising
6 Mass aminos
6:45AM Train
8:00 am Ultra Whey – 2 scoops
8:30 am
6 egg whites 2 yolks
8 ounces lean ground sirloin
1 oz. oatmeal w/ equal
1 apple or grapefruit
1 tablespoon Salt
11:00 am and 3:30 pm
Muscle Provider 2.5 scoops
100% Egg instant 1 scoop 1 ounce heavy whipping cre am
½ banana cut
8 oz frozen strawberries ½ bag
12 ounces water and 1 tray of ice cubes 1 tsp Salt
1:00 pm
12 ounces chicken breast or sirloin steak 8 oz.
12 ounces baked potato or yam 8-ounce
1 apple
1 teaspoon salt
3:30 Protein shake (optional which one)
6:30 pm
12 ounces lean Sirloin
2 cups green beans
1 cup apple sauce or 1 apple
1 tsp. salt


  • Mass 4 per meal
  • Ultra 40 6 per meal
  • Super Pak w/ breakfast
  • Creatine Monohydrate 5-10 g w/each shake
  • Muscle Provider post workoutAt 2 weeks out: 4 lean out 45 minutes before workout, meal 2 and 4.
The Final Week starting Sunday-Tuesday
Super Pak, Ultra 40 and all protein foods stayed the same
I cut out the oats and cut all other carbs in half
Cut out Ultra Whey
Sodium stayed the same
Water, as always, 2 gallons per day tap water. I don’t change water. Distilled water makes me flat.
Wednesday: last day of workouts and sprints
Did a light full body workout
Same amount of carbs as before depletion (Sunday – Tuesday),
except I added 1 cup (2 ounces) oats instead of ½ cup (1 ounce)
Protein still the same
Started to load creatine 1 tsp. before each meal up till pre–judging Sodium still the same
Added 1 potassium per hour – 99 mg.
Cut out EPH stack
Same water
Thursday: Same meals as Wednesday
Cut sodium in half
2 potassium per hour
1 B6 per meal Same water
Friday: looking better than ever
Every 2 hours I ate 4-ounce chicken or sirloin and 6-ounce potato
No vegetables
Cut sodium in half again
3 potassium per hour
2 B6 per meal
Same water
Saturday: foods the same as Friday.

I cut out sodium and cut back on water and should not have. I cramped in my quads which made it tough to get through prejudging and it dropped me down to the lightheavys with Todd and Dick who Roger and Sandy also helped.

I weighed in at 197 at under 5 perecent in my best condition yet.

This brought me home a third place trophy (behind Todd Buchanan and Dick Zahneis). (Sixteen guys in my class and I have to get in the same class with two others that Roger and Sandy work with.)

My goal was to get in my best condition ever which I feel I did achieve. My dream was to win the Natural Ohio which remains to be achieved. You can bet every gasp of air taken in the gym this year will be taken with that dream in mind. I want to give thanks to Roger , Sandy, my family and to God for giving me the drive and health to continue with my Quest!

Winter 1997