Ectomorph Battle Strategy

92 pound Ultra Bantamweight

By: Bill Bearley
Magazine 10 #1

I started lifting at the age of 12 with a vinyl weight set filled with cement and a cheap little dinky weight bench. But hey, I was 12 and didn’t know anything else – this stuff was great! Probably like a lot of kids that start lifting, I was the smallest and skinniest kid in the class (possibly in the school) and wanted to become BIG. I don’t know what I weighed then, but I was nothing but skin and bones – and short to boot.

I kept the weights in my second floor bedroom of my folk’s house. So, a number of my buddies and I would spend evenings upstairs listening to KISS albums and lifting those cement weights.

There were quiet a few times when the weights dropped and I thought they were going through to the first floor. This would normally be followed by my Dad yelling up the stairs "Hey!!!" – and that was all he ever said – I don’t know if I could be so calm. I’m still amazed that the plaster stayed on the ceiling of the downstairs living room.

After a couple of years with the vinyl weights (and fortunately no hole through the ceiling) I was beginning to see some little bumps (could this be muscle?) starting to appear. My one buddy’s dad started going to the YMCA to play racquetball and took us along one night to hang out. While scoping the place out, we saw a room filled with air resistance machines (Keiser?). We tried them out and found they worked better than the cement we’d been pushing. So, we started going to the ‘Y’ three or four times a week; every time my buddy’s dad was playing racquetball. Fortunately, he was really into the sport, so we got our ride to the ‘Y’ without problem.

Soon after we found the "real" gym, the one with free weights in the old part of the ‘Y’, but we were too intimidated to even enter after seeing these big tank like guys that filled the room. So, the two of us scrawny little fourteen-year olds, would act like we were just “hanging out and talking, while all along we were watching and gathering as much info as possible from the tanks and longing to become one of them someday.

When I started with Beverly, I was a competitive mountain bike racer and tri-athlete with more than twenty years of lifting experience.

Lessons Learned:
I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past 25 years of lifting. I’ll try to sum up what I feel are most important as follows:
  Garbage in, garbage out. This applies not only to the brain, but also to the body. Good nutrition is just as important as the weight training, if not more so, to achieve results.
  No pain, no gain is a lie. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is good, but to feel physical pain in a joint or muscle while actually working it is a sure sign to stop immediately.
  Begin with the end in mind. Know what you want to achieve during your next workout. Know what you want to achieve from a year’s worth of workouts. Know what you want out of life and how training is going to help you achieve it.
  Life happens, quit whining and deal with it. Your carefully planned workout schedule or diet is going to get knocked off track sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s not the end of the world. Do what you have to do and move on. This is an area that I have the most trouble with since I am real anal about schedules.
  Keep things in perspective. When you feel life has dealt you an unfair blow, possibly an injury that prevents you from training, just remember that there is always someone in worse condition than you. As long as you wake up in the morning, you still have options.
  If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten. You can’t continue to change your physique without consistently changing your routine and quit eating crap. You must change your routine every so often or the body adapts to the given stress and will quit responding. You must also suck up to the fact that you are going to have to quit eating crap to get your physique where you want it.
  We are what we repeatedly do. Consistency makes habits (good or bad). Habits make results (good or bad). Lift consistently, eat clean consistently, habits they become, desired results will follow.

After a few months pushing the air machines around, one of the ‘tanks’ saw us in the air machine room with all these housewife type women (remember I was fourteen then – thirty was ancient) and told us that we should be working out with the men and not the women. He gave us an open invitation to the real gym, the ‘tank’ room as we called it. It didn’t take a second invitation and we nervously followed him up to the tank room. We found that he was a state cop and one heck of a nice guy. He essentially took us under his wing over the next year and showed us how to properly lift. We got our introduction into the ‘tank’ room and the true start of my bodybuilding days began.

A wise man once said everything he knew at the top, he learned at the bottom. Although I’ve learned a lot since those early days, I can say that my bodybuilding basics were established in the tank room. I suddenly had a thirst for all the bodybuilding information I could get my hands on. Muscle & Fitness magazine had just been created (or changed its name from Muscle Builder) and I would read that magazine from cover to cover several times over till the next issue would come out.

There were a number of pro bodybuilders at that time that were short like myself and I would long to become as heavily muscled as them; guys like Franco Columbu, Chris Dickerson, and Tom Platz (what amazing quads!!!). There were also a couple of twin brothers that called themselves The Barbarians that I also marveled at – anyone else remember those guys? But, my favorite bodybuilder then was (and still is) Frank Zane. He was taller than me and he wasn’t nearly as heavily-muscled as the other top guys, but his physique was so sculpted and detailed. He had a physique that I thought I could realistically achieve someday.

I didn’t know much about nutrition then, but I knew the guys in the tank room were taking protein supplements (and maybe steroids, of which I knew little about). So, of course, I had to get myself some protein. I remember talking my parents into taking me down to the local health food store (no GNC in those days) so I could buy protein. Protein in those days was a lot different than today. I remember buying cans of these horse pills (four times bigger than Ultra 40 or Mass Aminos) by Joe Weider and choking down twenty or thirty of those bad boys at different times during the day. There was no plan on when to take or how much to take. I would just take as I felt like it. And did they ever taste bad if you accidentally chewed on one!!! Taking the Beverly supplements is like dessert compared to those days. And I occasionally would get the powder which must have been just the pills mashed up, for it rarely dissolved in anything and the taste almost made it impossible to get down. Oh how times have changed.

Buying the protein sort of made my parents a little worried. They must have been thinking this stuff to be the equivalent of doing steroids, because they suddenly started telling me stories of some guy that was so big from lifting that he couldn’t comb his hair. We had a recent laugh about that one evening while reminiscing over the past. It’s funny how parents try to protect you from things they don’t know or understand much about. However, they never really discouraged me from lifting.

I soon entered high school at the ultra-bantam weight of 92 pounds for the opening of my freshman year. Instead of taking books home, I would spend three hours every night at the ‘Y’ in the tank room with Sunday off. I was far from becoming a tank, but I was slowly filling out my puny frame and wasn’t becoming discouraged. I’d found something that I truly enjoyed doing and couldn’t get enough of it. Of course three hours a day was major overtraining, but I didn’t care. I was young, dumb, invincible, and addicted to the weights.

I had made a little more progress that year and by the opening of my Sophomore year I was weighing in around 110 pounds; a lean 110, I might add. Again, my life centered around the gym (three hours every night with Sunday off) and by the opening of my Junior year I was weighing in at a somewhat muscled 132 pounds at about 5’6”. I was finally done growing up and I was finally starting to fill out. I was far from becoming a tank, but I was determined to achieve that Frank Zane perfectly balanced and sculpted physique. I still knew little about nutrition, ate whatever I felt like whenever I felt like it (sometimes a half-gallon of milk and a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting) and was still over training with my three hours every night and Sunday off workout schedule. But, my metabolism was in overdrive, and I was slowly making gains. By the start of my senior year I was up to a lean 156 pounds — far from tankdom but closer to Zanedom.

Suddenly my life had to take a turn from my normal gym routine. I had to get a job to help pay for my forthcoming college bills. So, I started working fast food on nights and weekends. My three-hour workouts were cut down to about one hour, three days a week. I was learning that life has priorities, and sometimes they are not as you would like them to be — all a part of growing up. I was able to do enough to maintain what I had gained but that was about it. Thus, I grew my bank account my senior year instead of my physique.

Then off to college I went where I regularly trained two to five times per week depending upon my class load. Over my five years of college, my weight held steady but I lost lean muscle and replaced it with fat; my beer, pizza, and macaroni & cheese diet wouldn’t have had anything to do with it, would it? I hate to think of what might have happened had I not been lifting regularly and blessed with a fast metabolism (the word rotund comes to mind).

After finally entering into the job market, I started doing cardio on the side to lean out which eventually led to competitive cardio pursuits over a period of the next thirteen years. I was racing mountain bikes every weekend, then later I started racing road bikes, and then running in marathons, which eventually led to duathalons and triathlon. Oh how I leaned out! However, I lost a considerable amount of muscle mass in the process. But, during this time period, weight training still made up part of my basic training and I would lift twice a week during race season (April thru October) and then five times per week during the fall and winter months. So, I still had some good muscle compared to the majority of those who I competed against who relied only on cardio for their training.

It was during these endurance racing years that I became very self educated in nutrition. I had to in order to race twice a weekend every weekend and be able to refuel and recover enough between races. So, I slowly went from eating crap to eating clean just about every day of the year.

In the summer of 2002, I was getting burned out from all the hours of cardio training and started thinking about going back to bodybuilding again and possibly even competing. Furthermore, my Achilles tendon was acting up and hampering my running and biking pursuits. It’s interesting how doors open at just the right times, and it was at this time that I picked up a Steel Jungle newspaper at the gym and saw a Beverly advertisement to call for a No Nonsense Magazine. I had probably seen this ad a dozen times before but it hadn’t caught my attention until the timing was right and I was looking. I called and it wasn’t long till I had my copy in hand.

When I first read the newsletter, I was skeptical thinking, "yeah, yeah, just another supplement company selling a lot of hype; I had tried plenty of hyped-up supplements over the years that did nothing more than give me bloat and gas. However, I found some good reviews of Beverly products on-line and also read some good info in Planet Muscle. In addition, the stories in the newsletter sort of captured me because they sounded real and from the heart. So, in October 2002 I reluctantly ordered the Ultra 40, Mass, and Ultimate Muscle Protein to ‘try’. This has turned out to be a very good decision and I’ve been using Beverly ever since. The products and advice is the best out there – no ifs, ands, or buts.

Since then, I’ve recently competed in two competitions and placed second in Men’s Novice for my first competition. Then two weeks later, I took first place in the Men’s Novice in my second competition along with tying for the overall (and then lost it by one point after the judges threw out the low and high scores and added up the scores again). I couldn’t have done it without the Beverly products and the nutrition and diet advice from Beverly’s Mark Ritter.

Nutrition & Supplements

Good nutrition is just as important as your workout if not more so, especially as you get older and your metabolism slows down.

I typically eat three to four whole food meals per day with two to three supplement meals per day in between the whole food meals. Of course the supplements must be quality or you waste your money and there is nothing better than Beverly.

Bill side chest pose
It’s taken a lifetime of lifting but I’ve come a long
way from my days as a 92-pound ultra-bantamweight.

My pre-contest supplement strategy

Changes according to how many weeks out from the contest I am. Changes include Muscle Provider in place of Ultimate Muscle Protein, Muscle Mass replaces Mass during workout, Lean Out, Energy Reserve, and GH Factor is added, and the post workout shake is skipped.

This sounds like a lot of supplements, and it is. Do I feel they help – yes. However, if something were to happen employment wise and I had to cut my supplement budget and choose what to stick with, I would have to say that the Ultra 40 and Mass are the foundation of my bodybuilding nutrition.

I’m a choc-aholic and I love ice cream. The Beverly supplements help tremendously in suppressing cravings. Mixing the Bev Ultra Size chocolate with heavy cream or flax oil into an extra thick pudding and then putting in the freezer for a while makes a great chocolate ice cream replacement. There’s all kinds of healthy goodies you can make out of Ultimate Muscle Protein if you want to be creative. There’re pages dedicated to Ultimate Muscle Protein and other supplement recipes on the Beverly discussion board web site. Supplementing with US makes it easy not to want those cheat meals.


I’m an advocate of consistently changing something in the training program to keep shocking the muscles, to allow muscles to occasionally get some active rest, and to prevent mental boredom of same routine. I constantly change my routine in terms of reps, sets, and exercises. I do very little barbell exercises for chest or shoulders because it bothers my left shoulder. So, I use the dumbbells for these exercises almost exclusively.

I do a split routine which I switch up about every four months. Sometimes I do a 2-on and 2-off. Other times a 3-on 1-off, 2-on 1-off. Also a 4-on and 1-off. And a 6-on and 1-off. I also switch around body parts that get trained together when switching routines.

Within a given routine, I constantly change the exercises so that no two workouts in a row are the same for a given body part. Also, I typically vary my reps on a weekly basis; maybe 12-15 one week, 10 -12 another week, and so forth. I very seldom go less than four reps or over twenty reps except for abs, calves, and forearms where I might go as high as fifty reps.

Contest Prep

I’d been taking Beverly supplements for a year before making the decision to wean off the biking and running competitions and give bodybuilding competition a shot. Mark Ritter worked with my diet starting in October 2003 to get me into contest condition for my May 2004 contests.

I could not have prepared and succeeded as I had in these contests without the advice of Mark Ritter, other Beverly staff, the Bev supplements, local friends and bodybuilders Donny Robinson and Michelle Manello, and of course God’s blessings. I can’t say enough about Beverly and I am as committed to them as they are to me and my goals.

I’m currently working with Mark to prepare for two more competitions in Fall 2004 and I’ve made some good gains in size while keeping my body fat in check. I’m on track to coming into these contests bigger and better conditioned thanks to Beverly.

Bill Bearley Ab Crunch

Bill Bearley at a Glance
Occupation: Maintenance Engineer at an electric utility power plant (PPL Montour LLC)
Education: BS Electrical Engineering from Penn State University; graduated May 1990
Age: 37
Marital Status: Single
Current Residence: Danville, PA
Gym: Riverfront Fitness
Height: 5′6″
Weight (off-season): 152 pounds at
11% bodyfat; (contest): 131 pounds at 2.7% bodyfat
Favorite Cheat Foods:
#1 – Pancakes
#2 – Moose Tracks Ice Cream (about twice per year)
Favorite Meal: Filet Mignon & Broccoli
Most Inspiring Lifter: Frank Zane

NNM 10 #4


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