On May 27, 1998 I drove down to the local post office and dropped my Hercules International bodybuilding contest application in the mailbox. The reason I mention this is because like every other year in the past 6 years I have also mailed away applications and never actually competed. The reason for was that my lack of knowledge in reference to nutrition and dieting kept me from ever attaining even passable contest condition.
The HERCULES INTERNATIONAL was to be held on September 12,1998 at the Murray Bergtraum High School in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. This would give me four full months of dieting to get myself in shape. My diet at this time was as follows:
Meal #1 Protein Drink, 4 Rice Cakes, 1 Grapefruit
Meal #2 1/2 cup of Oatmeal 5 Egg Whites, 1 Apple
Meal #3 7 Ounces of Chicken, 1 cup of Broccoli, 6 oz Potato
Meal #4 Same as meal #2
Meal #5 Same as meal #3
Meal #6 Same as meal #1
My plan was to remain on this diet until I was about 3 weeks out. At that point I would cut back oil some of the carbohydrates. I was convinced that as long as the fat was eliminated from your diet, anyone would be able to get in contest condition.
"BOY" was I in for a surprise. One day while at work a co-worker (who is also very much involved with bodybuilding) found Beverly International on the Internet. He printed out some information that included diets of people who competed in recent competitions. After comparing these diets to my program I realized I was doing something wrong. The diets that were listed on the Internet were high in protein and fat with a much lower carbohydrate intake.
The real "shocker" was that all the diets included red meat. Red meat was the first thing that I eliminated when I began to diet. After reading about these diets that included red meat I was determined more than ever to really do it right this time.
After about a two-week period I made the call to Beverly International. I reached Sandy Riedinger who actually has changed my entire life. She advised me to fax her all my information, which included my current diet. The first thing that Sandy told me was that I was consuming too many carbohydrates. She gave me a diet that was broken down into two phases:
Phase 1 (7/16/98 to 8/8/98)
Meal #1 2 Whole Eggs + 4 Egg Whites
4 oz. Lean Beef
3/4 Cup Oatmeal (before cooking)
1 TBS Flax Oil
Meal #2 8 oz. Lean Turkey, Tuna or Chicken
Meal #3 10 oz. Chicken (before cooking)
6 oz. Sweet Potato
1.5 Cup Vegetables
Meal #4 Protein Drink
2 Scoops Muscle Provider
4 TBS Whipping Cream
1 Whole Egg
6 Frozen Strawberries or 6 Frozen Peach Slices
Meal #5 10 oz. Sirloin Steak (Lean)
2 Cups Vegetables
1 TBS Flax Oil
Meal #1 2 Whole Eggs + 6 Egg Whites
5 oz. Lean Beef
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 Large Strawberries
Meal #2 Protein Drink
2 Scoops Muscle Provider
1 TBS Flax Oil
12 oz. Water
Meal #3 8 oz. Chicken (before cooking)
4 Cups Salad (Lettuce, Tomato, Carrot, Cucumber, etc.)
2 TBS Cider Vinegar and 1 TBS Sunflower Oil for dressing
Meal #4 6.5 oz. Tuna or 6 oz. Chicken
3 Egg Whites, 1 Whole Egg
Meal #5 7oz Lean Meat (Strip Sirloin, Lean Beef, etc.)
2 cups Vegetables
I immediately began to implement this program and in literally days began to see a difference. It was absolutely amazing I was able to eat "STEAK" and was losing more fat than ever before!
I had my bodyfat tested before I started Sandy's program and I was about 10% bodyfat at a bodyweight of 193 lbs. On September 12,1998 at the Hercules International competition I came in at 5% bodyfat and I weighed 178lbs "ripped". I was totally ready for this competition but I only placed 4th. The head judge at the show said I needed to work a little more on my posing routine.
Considering it was my first show I was not surprised by his comments. However, I asked myself "Now who can I get to help me pose"? I thought about discussing it with Sandy but being that I am in New Jersey and Beverly International is in Kentucky I did not think it was wise. However, when I told Sandy what the judges said about my posing she told me to do all the mandatory poses and take pictures. I mailed Sandy the pictures that week and within 4 days received them back with a bunch of comments and notes written on them.
It was amazing, Sandy taught me how to pose through the pictures I had mailed. This was incredible because the people I work out with never caught the little mistakes I was making and Sandy did.
Anyway, as you might have guessed my confidence was now getting better as the days went on. I psyched myself up for the NGA Eastern Regional Classic and the NGA American Natural Championships (The largest NGA Show of the Year).
The Eastern Regional was on September 19,1998 one week after the Hercules International. I placed second in this competition and felt my posing was much better. However, when I got the pictures back I saw things that I hadn't done that Sandy told me to do (like keep smiling and keep) my chin up).
At this point I called Sandy and told her there was another competition on October 17,1998. This would mean 4 more weeks of dieting and I was so lean at this point I thought I might lose muscle size with another 4 weeks. Sandy told me to do the show and remain on the Supplements (Ultra 40, Lean Out, Mass Aminos and Muscularity). She told me not to worry because the Muscularity (BCAA's) is designed to help prevent muscle loss while contest dieting.
Throughout this whole process the most incredible thing happened on September 22, 1998. Sandy called me at home to tell me to go back to the Phase I diet for the final 4 weeks. She said it was very important to go back to Phase I because I was already in contest condition and the Phase 2 diet just might cause me to lose some muscle. What amazed me is that Beverly International is a free service and the people there treat you better than services that I paid a lot of money for. I was very impressed that she took the time out of her day to call me and discuss my diet.
If you ever plan on competing I recommend contacting Beverly International because they'll not only teach you how to diet for your competition but for life. Sandy thank you so much for everything you taught me about dieting and competing. I could have never have done it without you.