My Bodybuilding Preparation for the NKY Contest

How a Full-Time College Student Working 40 Hours a Week as a Personal Trainer Can Get Ready for a Bodybuilding Contest

By: Chase Karnes
Magazine 12 #1

Back in December a buddy of mine was talking about doing the 2007 Northern and asked if I had any interest in competing. My response was, Man I would love to but I can’t balance dieting, school, and work at the same time. Well, I went home that day and thought about it. I would love to do another show and the Northern is one of the best. I’d just read Brian Wiefering’s article, "How to Build Your Family While You Build Your Physique" in the NNM, about how he balances family, work and dieting and thought to myself, I can do this.
Chase Karnes ab crunch during posing routine

I cleaned up my diet that day (which is pretty clean in the off season anyway) and began my preparation. During this 16-week contest prep I had to balance being a full time college student, working 30-40 hours a week as a personal trainer, workouts, cooking, cardio, and a social life. On top of all of that I spent a week’s vacation in Florida while staying on my diet, as well as a weekend at a strength clinic in Knoxville. I learned that it can be done with proper preparation.

Here’s what I do. I precook my meals, pre scoop out my powders into baggies, count out my Ultra 40, Mass Aminos, Lean Out, etc. and place them into baggies as well. Sugar free Jell-O along with Cherry Coke Zero were a lifesaver on my diet. I am the type of person who if I have a goal I will make a way to stick to it – no matter how tempting it might be to crumble. You simply gotta get in there and get it done, without complaint and without compromise. Here is a day in the life of me in preparation...

6:30 a.m. – My alarm clock is ringing loud in my ear as I am awakened from my deep sleep dreaming of pizza and sushi. I roll over and smell my automatic coffee maker dripping downstairs; I jump out of bed and start another day in my journey to the 2007 Northern. I walk downstairs and pull out three Tupperware pieces. My eggs and beef are pre cooked from the night before and I have already prepared my grapefruit as well. All of my Ultra 40 liver tabs, Lean Out, Mass Aminos and Super Pak are all pre measured in a zip lock bag and ready to take. I pour a cup of black coffee, sit down and enjoy my first meal of the day.

8:00 a.m. – I’m about halfway into my hour drive to class. As I listen to the radio I start planning out the rest of my day. At a stoplight, I take a look at my schedule to see when I can fit in my workout and cardio. After class I have clients back to back ‘till 8 p.m., so it looks like it’s going to be another late night.

10:20 a.m. – Now my day is off to a pretty good start and I’ve finished my first two classes. I grab my ziplock bag with my liver tabs, Mass aminos, and Lean Out and throw them in my mouth. With a few drinks of water they’re all consumed. I pull my shaker out of my bag and in goes 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein and 1 scoop of Muscle Provider. I fill it up with some water and head to my next dreaded class, Pharmacology. I sit in class sipping on my shake and eating my ounce of almonds wondering what the rest of the day has in store.

12:20 p.m. – Biomechanics is now over, I have had 2 meals, drunk nearly a half gallon of water and have an hour drive back home. I’m craving something sweet so I swing in a gas station to pick up a diet green tea. As I head home I start to think about my workout for the day, it’s leg day. I never perform the same workout twice because I like to keep my body guessing. I start to map out my workout for the day in my head knowing I will start with my favorite today, Heavy Squats.

1:30 p.m. – I arrive home, throw some already cooked chicken and broccoli in the microwave and sit down to enjoy. Now it’s time to check my emails for the day while I eat. I finish up my meal and out the door I go again.

1:45 p.m. – I pull into Argonauts Fitness, the personal training studio where I work, head inside and grab the chart for my first client of the day. Now, for the next five hours straight, I will be training clients, and taking about two minutes to consume an Ultimate Muscle Protein/Muscle Provider mix shake with an ounce of almonds.

6:58 p.m. –I finally get to eat again. I throw my extra lean beef and broccoli into the microwave and heat it up. I literally inhale my meal in three minutes – just in time to start my last client.

8:00 p.m. – I just finished with my last client for the day and now put 1 scoop Creatine Select and 1 scoop of Glutamine Select in a liter bottle of water to sip during my workout. I toss back 12 Muscle Synergy (my new favorite supplement) and follow up with my CreatineSelect/Glutamine Select cocktail.

Workout and exercises

I begin my workout with one of my favorite exercises, heavy squats. After a few warm up sets, it’s 225 for 12 reps, 275 for 10 reps, 315 for 8 reps, 365 for 6 reps, then my final all out heavy set of 405 for 2 reps. It’s time like these I realize why I do this. As I listen to Alice in Chains unplugged blasting from the speakers a small smile comes to my face. It took me back to my younger days in the squat rack as a freshman in high school. I’ve made huge changes in my past eight years of weight training. After a moment of reminiscing its time to head over and perform some glute–ham raises (3 x 10) superset with leg curls (3 x 15). Following those I perform 3 sets of 10–15 leg presses supersetted with 3 sets 12–18 leg extensions. I throw in a few calf supersets then its time for cardio.


Now, by this time it is 8:50 and I have put in a pretty long day, so trust me, cardio is the last thing I want to be doing. I take about a 10 minute break after lifting to regroup and mix up another scoop of Glutamine Select. I turn on some Rage Against the Machine and hop onto the elliptical. Ten minutes into the cardio, and I am just ready to go home! But, I push myself and go 20 more minutes. After I complete my half–hour cardio session, I’m the only one left here at the gym so I head to the back (where the lighting is best) and pose for ten minutes before going home.

9:45 p.m. – I arrive home; throw six egg whites, some onions, mushrooms and green peppers into one skillet and four ounces ground turkey into another. I mix together and enjoy a great tasting turkey omelet. I take my Bev ZMA, Ultra 40 liver tabs, Mass aminos and Lean Out. While I am cooking my omelet I also prepare my first five meals for the next day. I cook my chicken, beef, broccoli, and scoop out my needed amounts of protein powder into zip lock baggies. I finish up and now its time to study a little bit. I pull out today’s notes from all my classes and look through and read over bits and pieces. I’m drained and really don’t have any focus to study, but manage to anyway.

11:00 p.m. – My day is finally done and now it’s time for bed. I scoop out one more scoop of Glutamine Select and drink it down right before I lay down. It has been a long day but a good one. The contest is coming near and that’s all I need to keep me motivated and on track.

March 25, 2007: – I weighed in Friday night at the early weigh in at 176.2 lbs, the exact cutoff for the middleweight class. If that wasn’t cutting it close then I don’t know what is. That’s a full 20 lbs heavier than my last show two years ago. That goes to show where Beverly’s great quality supplements make the difference in the off season. After I got the weigh–in out of the way it was time to relax in my hotel and mentally prepare for the next day. Showtime! I showed up at the athletes’ meeting a little early and it started perfectly on time, just like clockwork. The show ran great and the day went really well. I was impressed that everything went just as we were told it would. Saturday night I was called out 2nd place in the Men’s Middleweight Open Class – Wow! The Northern is a national qualifier and the top two qualify. I was very happy with my placing and now plan on improving my conditioning for my next show.

Diet and Supplements at 6 weeks out:

Meal #1
8 oz extra lean beef with ½ cup mushrooms
1 whole egg, 3 egg whites ½ medium grapefruit
Meal #2
Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 1 scoop Muscle Provider, 16 oz water
1 oz almonds or 1 tbsp almond butter
Meal #3
6–8 ounces chicken breast
1–2 cups broccoli
Meal #4
Protein Drink: 1 scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein, 2 scoops Muscle Provider, water
1 oz almonds or 1 tbsp almond butter
Meal #5
8 oz extra lean beef
½ cup mushrooms
1–2 cups broccoli
Meal #6:
4 oz ground turkey; 6 egg whites;
1/3 cup green peppers, 1/3 cup onion, 1/3 cup mushrooms

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