Q:Brian, I need your help. Here are my details: I’m a 35 year old male who has been training since I was 15. Just like everyone, I go in spurts. I get motivated then something comes up – family, work, you know the drill. Same with my diet – I’ll follow what I think is a good bodybuilding diet for a few weeks, then see something else in a magazine and try that. Before I know it I’m back to my old habits of fast food with the kids and junk between meals instead of my protein shakes. And, finally I am just completely confused about supplements.
I read the ads, get excited, buy the latest thing, and then in a couple of weeks I’m looking for something else. I’ve read your previous columns and deep down I think I know the answer you are going to give me, but will you give me the best, basic program – diet, supplements, and training that I can follow to slowly build muscle and lose fat?
How many days a week should I train? What exercises? What about sets and reps. What can I realistically do with my nutrition taking my job and family into account? Are there any supplements that really work? Thanks, Brian. I know I’m asking a lot but I just want to hear the truth from someone who’s actually done it himself. – Brad
A: Brad, Here’s my first piece of advice. Listen to me and only me. Sounds like a conceited or cocky statement, doesn’t it? Here’s why I tell you that. Nothing is going to work if you keep switching your diet and supplement programs and supplement companies every time you read something different. If you don’t stick with one thing and give it your all, you’ll never see your full potential.
Do you know what my biggest pet peeve is? It’s when I see people start a program with one person (like myself or the Beverly staff), and within weeks, they start listening to advice from someone else. Then, what’s worse, they try to mix the two plans. If you do this you’re definitely setting yourself up for failure. Consistency is key.
I can remember when creatine first came out and was marketed so heavily 15 years ago. Everyone was talking about it. I was not about to purchase it right away because I’ve seen it happen so many times that once the hype is over, the supplement is gone. But, a year went by and still people were swearing by it for strength gains. So, I started taking it and remember doing sets of 8 or even 10 with a weight I could only do for sets of 5 reps weeks earlier. The stuff was amazing. And, that’s why I’m still taking it. But, creatine was one of those very few supplements that come around every 20 or so years. BTW, if you haven’t been using creatine lately because of the confusion with all the supposed delivery systems, or you just think that it’s "old school" and doesn’t work anymore, I urge you to make it one of your basic supplements. STICK WITH WHAT WORKS! And don’t waste your money on companies that spend millions on marketing their latest and greatest new product. You sound like their perfect customer – STOP IT!
So you want a simple program that works... First, you’ve got to remember that everyone is different and you really need to tailor the program to meet your needs and situation. Some of the factors that you need to consider are what foods you can and can’t tolerate (taste), your height, weight, relative degree of leanness, etc. I’d have to know a lot more about you to give you a completely individualized program. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you a two page questionnaire that will help me give you the perfect nutrition and workout plan. However, you need to get started now so let’s look at the following guidelines. And this time don’t just read them; arrange your diet so you are following them.
- Start with 5–6 meals a day.
- Try about 30–40 grams of lean protein each meal (lean meats, fish, UMP or Ultra Size, egg whites, etc.) Each ounce of lean meat is about 7 grams of protein so that should help you decide how much to eat at each meal.
- Include 20 grams of complex, low glycemic carbohydrates with your first four meals (½ cup of oats, ½ cup of brown rice, ½ sweet potato, etc.)
- Have a little healthy fat with every other meal (handful of almonds, 3 EFA Gold, ½ tablespoon of flax oil, etc.)
- Eat one cup of green veggies with at least two meals (broccoli, asparagus, etc.)
- Drink two scoops of UMP or Ultra Size with 16 oz of water 15 minutes after your workout. This could be one of your six meals on your workout days.
- 5 Ultra 40’s and 4 Mass Amino’s with each meal.
- 1 scoop of Creatine Select and 1 scoop of Glutamine Select mixed with water. Now there’s an idea for a product improvement. (Maybe I can get Beverly to combine these two great products into the ultimate pre and post workout supplement.) Take one serving in the morning, take another serving and drink it during your workout. And, sometimes I take a serving of Glutamine Select alone before bed.
- Have a shaker cup at work, in the car, in your gym bag, and at home. Have your UMP or Ultra Size jug at work, in your car, in your gym bag, and one at home. This will be your staple to NEVER missing a meal, especially having a family and all the time commitments that come with that.
- Muscle Synergy. Take 8 on an empty stomach sometime in the morning thirty minutes before or at least one hour after a meal. Then take 8 more 45 minutes prior to a workout.
- Take 2–3 caps of 7–Keto 30 minutes prior to a workout.
I think the supplement program above will work wonders for you. When I get really serious about my fat loss, I add Lean Out to my diet. And in the winter months, when I’m most likely to pick up a cold or flu, I make sure I never forget to take an Ultra 4 vitamin with each meal.
You asked, "Are there supplements that really work?" Brad, yes, Beverly Supplements really work–as long as you stick to them and use them correctly as part of your nutrition plan. And, from your email, I can obviously see that the "latest and greatest" products haven’t worked for you. Yeah, Beverly really works. Stick to a diet and supplement program like the one above for a good ten weeks, then write me an email. In fact, I’ll be real conceited and write it for you.
Q:Dear Brian, I am so glad that I listened to you and didn’t get caught up in switching over to the new product I read about in the muscle mag a few weeks ago. And I’m very happy I didn’t get caught up with the new "miracle diet" that a few guys down at the gym were talking about. I have lost some major body fat and have put on more muscle than I thought I was capable of...
A: Ok, enough of that. But that type of email is what I get when people follow my advice ( I know it sounds conceited, but you’ve got to stick with the plan!), stay consistent with their diet and supplement program, and not get "taken" by the crazy marketing campaigns within this supplement industry.
When it comes to your workouts, I’d again need to know more information about you, such as previous injuries, how much time you can commit to working out, what equipment you have available, etc. to really customize it. (If you want me to design an individualized program for you, it’s on the questionnaire I’ll send). But, I’ll be glad to tell you what works for me.
The first thing I need to tell you is that my workout schedule might seem like "under training" to most people. Well, I’ve got a family, job, other responsibilities besides bodybuilding and that gives me just 60 minutes to spend in the gym, four days a week. However, I continue to make awesome gains on this schedule. Here’s the secret. Pick one body part and absolutely work it to death. You’ve got one hour to hit that body part, and you won’t directly work it for another 8–9 days.
- And believe me, if you do it right, you will need the 8–9 days rest to recover.
- Let me give you last week’s bicep workout as an example. After a warm–up set with just the bar, here is what I did.
- Exercise One: I took a 45lb bar with a 25lb plate on each side and did Barbell Curls as follows – close grip 10 reps, medium grip 10 reps, wide grip 10 reps. Do NOT rest between grip changing. That is one set of 30 reps. I did this for 4 total sets. My biceps were completely spent after this. Talk about a serious burn. My goodness, it was painful (good pain, if you know what I mean).
- Exercise Two: Dumbbell Hammer Curls. Three sets of 30 reps. I pick a weight that I can only get for 15 (in good form) at the most. The next 15, I am swinging, my spotter is helping me throw them up. It absolutely looks crazy to the observer. But, only I know that I won’t be hitting biceps for 8–9 days.
- Exercise Three: Preacher curls on a machine. 3 sets of 10. On my third set, once I finish 10, I do 100 mini squeezes at the top. I swear, I literally gain an inch in my bicep from the pump after doing this.
- Now, let me warn you. When the soreness sets in (usually two days later), it will be pretty severe.
Your arms will be swollen for days. And, if you’re like me, you’ll love it.
- Here’s my current routine:
- Day 1: Chest, Abs
- Day 2: Quads, Calves
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Back, Hamstrings
- Day 5: Triceps, Traps
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: Biceps, Abs
- Day 8: Shoulders, Calves
- Day 9: Rest
The above workout schedule is perfect only if you are seriously intense and go to failure and beyond every workout. That body part should be "useless" by the time you walk out of the gym. It is also perfect for growth, while allowing you to take your family and job into account as you mentioned within your question.
Remember the keys to making this work: Consistency with your diet and supplement program; availability of your foods (UMP’s and shaker cups everywhere!); and lastly, intensity in your workouts with enough rest to recover. Good luck, and feel free to email me with any other questions.
› Roger Riedinger
12-Week Training Cycle for Muscle Size