Here’s How I Won Nine Bodybuilding First Places

By: Frank LaGarde
Magazine 11 #3

I started lifting for basketball back in high school. I was supposed to be lifting for strength and conditioning, but the more I worked out the more I became interested in its affects on my physique. I could see changes and I liked what I saw. Soon I was addicted to lifting – it didn’t matter if I was lifting specifically for sports improvement or as happened more and more for physique improvement. I liked setting lifting goals and then achieving them. And with every goal achieved I was motivated that much more.

I attended my first bodybuilding competition in 1998. A friend of my fiancé was competing and I went along to give my support and get a first hand look at what this sport was about. I loved it! I said to myself, “I can do this!” It took another year of training before I had the confidence to step onstage myself. I entered my first competition in 2000, won my class in the novice and finished fourth in the open. I thought it was a pretty good start and the judges gave me some positive feedback and encouraged me to stay with it.

I continued to compete in 2001, but placed 2nd in all three contests that I entered. I was close, but no cigar. I just needed to figure out what it took to go to the next level in my physique development. This brings me to Beverly International.

I first learned about Beverly at a time that I was taking a hiatus from competition. My job had become very demanding and I did not have the time to properly prepare for a contest. Luckily, during this period, I attended a contest where I picked up my first "No Nonsense Newsletter". Here’s what really caught my attention – the guy that won the overall at the contest was also featured in the No Nonsense Newsletter I’d picked up.

Frank LaGarde side chest poase
I became more and more interested in Beverly International. The “NNN’s” documented the success of many bodybuilders that were “just like me”. The articles featured normal people with normal lives who go to work each day at a real job and treat their bodybuilding as a serious hobby. One thing these athletes had in common was that they all used Beverly International supplements and when they get on stage they set the standard for quality. Just what I needed.

Near the end of 2003 my job situation settled down a little and I decided to “get back into the game” the following spring. This time I did something different. I sent an email to Steven at Beverly International. I gave my proposed competition date, my current weight and an assessment of my condition as well as the contest diet I had previously followed. Steven sent me back a baseline diet to follow with instructions to check back in thirty days to see if any adjustments were needed. From the initial plan we made minimal adjustments and came up with a final plan where my fat loss was consistent yet I still was able to retain as much lean mass as possible. Throughout the next three years I was able to use this diet over and over again with the same success. I’ve included it for you to give it a try for yourself. I’ve also included an off-season plan that helped me gain muscle each year and come into each show just as ripped but slightly heavier.

Here are my placings after starting with Beverly International in the winter of 2003:

  • 2004 - NPC Natural Ohio 1st place Middleweight; NPC Upper Ohio Valley Bodybuilding Championships 1st place Middleweight; NABBA Canton Open 1st place Middleweight.
  • 2005 - NPC Natural Ohio 1st place Middleweight; NPC Upper Ohio Valley Bodybuilding Championships 1st place Middleweight-Overall Champion; NABBA Canton Open 1st place Middleweight-Overall Champion; NPC Mike Francois Classic 1st place Middleweight.
  • 2006 - NPC Motor City Classic 1st place Middleweight; NPC Ohio State Bodybuilding Championships 1st place Middleweight.

Going into each season, my mindset is that of winning. I don’t compete just to see how I would do, or just to say I’ve competed. This is a competition, so I want to win. Why do all that hard work and make many sacrifices and not look to come out on top? So at the very beginning of each season, before I even start a diet, I always do a self-evaluation to make sure that this what I want to do. If I don’t feel that I can do my absolute best, I won’t do it. This frame of mind, I think, has allowed me to maintain a level of success. Along with that, my last year’s accomplishments are next year’s starting point. Meaning, in the beginning placing 2nd one year meant 1st place the next year. If winning the weight class happened last year, overall is the expectation next time around. This keeps me focused and on track for consistent success.

The best advice I can give you if you’re thinking about competing is, “Be consistent”. Develop a schedule for training, diet, supplements, and cardio, then stick to it as close as possible. When I’m getting ready for a contest, my daily schedule is almost robotic. “Wake up, cardio, clean up, breakfast, work, eat, workout, dinner, sleep-then do it again the next day.” Being consistent is the best way to get results.

Special Thanks:
Anyone who has competed knows that it is very hard to do without support. Yes, you stand on stage by yourself, but to be successful you need support. My fiancée Jennifer has been very supportive, and always encouraging. Whether it’s helping with contest prep, or telling me, “You can’t eat that”, she has my best interest at heart and I appreciate that.

Sharing my story training and diet with you has been a great experience for me. No one has ever asked me to tell my story like this, thank you Steven Wade and Beverly for the opportunity to do so. I thank God for his many blessings. Thank you to my fiancée Jennifer, my friends and family for their support. Thanks to my “brothers in steal” at The Bodybuilders Gym in Akron, Ohio for the encouragement. And a big thanks to Pep and Angela Wahl at Bodybuilders Gym for not kicking me out of the gym at closing time.

TRAINING

I follow nearly the same type of workout whether it’s off season or pre contest. After all, the training goal is always to build muscle and show progress. It just makes sense to continue doing what already has worked to build my physique throughout pre-contest. I train the same number of days per week, close to the same volume and use most of the same exercises. The main difference is that I use a core rep scheme of 8-10 reps per exercise in the offseason and as the contest approaches I increase my reps a little. On occasion, I'll mix in a different exercise for a particular muscle group, but I pretty much stick to what’s on the workout you see.

I'll continue on my off season workout up to eight weeks out. Then I increase my rep range from 8-10 up to 15-20 on isolation exercises. Plus I might switch one of the compound exercises to an isolation movement. For example I might replace Decline Bench Press with Pec Deck and switch Deadlifts to Straight Leg Deadlifts. At three weeks out I increase my reps to 4 sets of 20 on every exercise, and continue with that scheme all the way to the contest.

Frank double bicep back pose
 Base Workout
Monday 
Decline Sit Up4x 25
Lying Ham Curl1x15; 2-3x8-10
Dead Lift1x15; 4x10
Flat Bench Press1x15; 4x8-10
Decline Bench Press4x8-10
Barbell Curl4x8-10
Rope Cable Curl4x8-10
Tuesday 
Nautilus Ab-Machine4x25
Up-Right Row1x15; 4x8-10
Military Press1x15; 3x8-10
Lat Pulldown1x15; 3x8-10
Seated Rows4x8-10
Hack Squat1x15; 4x8-10
Leg Extension4x8-10
Triceps Pushdown4x8-10
Rev. Grip Pushdown4x8-10
Wednesday—Rest 
  
Thursday 
Decline Sit Up4x25
Calf Raise1x20; 3x10-12
Squats1x15; 3x8-10
Standing Ham Curl4x10
Incline Bench Press1x15; 3x8-10
Hammer Chest Press5x10
Preacher Curls4x10
Alt DB Curls4x10
Friday—Rest 
  
Saturday 
Hanging Leg Raises4x25
DB Military Press1x15; 3x8-10
Machine Lateral4x10
Shrugs5x10-12
T-Bar Rows1x15; 3x8-10
Rev Grip Pulldown1x15; 3x 8-10
Front Squats1x15; 3x8-10
Leg Extension4x10
V Grip Pushdown4x8-10
Triceps Extension4x8-10
Sunday—Rest 

NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTS

Here are the diets that I followed for pre contest and off season. The only time I deviate is if I have time or convenience concerns. Remember, stay consistent. If so, it was temporary as a matter of time or convenience. And it’s worth stating again, that I’ve used the same basic diet every off-season and for every contest. The first meal plan I got from Beverly a few years ago worked so well that it just makes sense to keep using what I know works.

PRE CONTEST

  • Meal 1: 1 large egg, 6 egg whites; 1 can of tuna; 1 scoop Muscle Provider; ½ grapefruit
  • Meal 2: 1 can tuna mixed with 4 boiled egg whites
  • Meal 3: 8 oz grilled chicken breast; 2 ½ cups green beans
  • Meal 4: 2 scoops Muscle Provider
  • Meal 5 (pre-workout): 10 egg whites; ½ grapefruit
  • Meal 6: 7 oz. turkey breast or 8 oz catfish filet or grilled chicken breast; 2 cups of steamed vegetables, mainly broccoli
  • Monday and Thursday special Carb Up meal: 1 ½ cup oatmeal (measured before cooking), 1 scoop Muscle Provider mixed in (this tastes better than any kind of sweetener I could add); 10 oz sweet potato; 1 banana; 1 cup vegetables; 1 heaping teaspoon of peanut butter. I eat all of this at one meal in place of meal 6.

OFF-SEASON

  • Basic Off-season Supplement Program: Super Pak with meal #1; 4 Ultra 40 and 4 Mass Aminos with each meal.
  • I cycle the following two supplements at various times during the off-season for additional strength and muscle size gains:
  • Muscle Synergy - 8 tablets three times daily on an empty stomach (first thing in AM, 30 minutes prior to workout, and post workout).
  • Creatine Select - 1 scoop with each meal for 5 days, then 1 scoop twice daily.
  • Meal 1: 4 whole eggs, 2 egg whites; 1 can of tuna; ¾ cup oatmeal before cooking
  • Meal 2: Protein Drink: 3 scoops Ultra Size, 4 tbsp whipping cream (2 oz), 4 strawberries or 1 banana and 18 oz water Or: 8 oz sliced turkey breast sandwich on whole wheat bread with a slice of cheese
  • Meal 3: 8 oz chicken (before cooking); 6 oz. sweet potato or ¾ cup cooked rice; 1.5 cup vegetables (broccoli, etc.)
  • Meal 4: Protein Drink: 3 Scoops Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein 18 oz of water
  • Meal 5: Protein Drink: 3 Scoops Ultra Size, 4 TBS whipping cream (2 oz.), 4 strawberries or 1 banana and 18-oz water
  • Meal 6: 8-10 oz. 93% lean beef, chicken, turkey, fish and once or twice weekly sirloin steak; 2 cups vegetables