Question: I hope you can help me. I’m 42 years old and really want to take one shot at a bodybuilding show. I’m 5′10″ and weigh 185 lbs. I’ve been training most of my life so I have some muscle, but I’ve always thought that at 5"10" I needed to add at least 20 lbs of muscle to compete. And I know I still need to get leaner too. Should I just accept the fact that I just don’t have the muscle to compete? Or, can you help me? The contest I’m looking at is five months away. If you think it’s not a lost cause can you outline a program for me? I know nutrition is 80% of contest prep, but I’m a little afraid to diet too
strictly because I don’t want to lose any more muscle. I’ll do what you say.
What are your suggestions? –Michael
Answer: Michael, I got an idea. How about over the next 4 years, we work on putting on 15lbs of muscle. So, you’ll be 46 and... Nope, still not ready. You want 20 lbs of muscle. Well, maybe we give it 10 years and wait until you’re 52 and see what you look like then? Heck, I’m going on 35, and for me to win the Team Universe; I’m guessing I’d need another 10-15lbs of solid, rock hard muscle. So, maybe I’ll give it 3-4 more years. Aw, but then, guys will be bigger than now, so I might have to wait another 2 years to put on 10 more lbs of muscle to win.
Ok, I’m being a jerk! That’s really not my nature, so it was hard even to type that. But, Michael, trust me, you’re never going to be totally satisfied. If you’re like me and just about every other bodybuilder I know, you’ll always want more muscle. That’s why we work out, right?
But, do NOT miss out on the rewards of building your body. And one of the biggest rewards is stepping on stage and having the time of your life!
I swear, there’s nothing better than looking your best and getting on stage and giving it your all. You are 42 years old. That’s PRIME TIME for muscle maturity. Take advantage of it and let’s do this!
After rereading your question, you do have one valid concern. And that is losing muscle as you diet for a show. The reason I say that point is valid, is because many people do lose lots of lean mass when they diet. There are many reasons for this. They may over diet. Over dieting is when you immediately jump into a low carb, low fat, low calorie diet and try to maintain it for more than just a few weeks. What happens is you’ll end up slowing your metabolism and storing more bodyfat (that’s how your body works, if you feed it too little, it just slows down so that it doesn’t need as much food to maintain your present fat levels). They may do too much cardio which can deplete fast twitch muscle and use lean mass for energy since glycogen levels are near empty as it is (especially for the under eaters/over dieters). And, in my opinion, most importantly is when they try to rely on food alone, or food plus the cheapest brand of supplements they can find to get the premium nutrients they need.
When getting ready for a show you need more, high quality nutrients, not less. And that brings us to their next mistake. I call it the "all supplements are created equal syndrome". That’s when you know you need supplements but you really haven’t thought it through. You can make one of two mistakes here. You can check out the "latest and greatest" supplement that says you’ll get big, pumped, and ripped, heck yeah, just what you need for a show. Or, you might take a little more intelligent approach realizing that supplements are there to fill the gaps in your diet and improve the nutritional density (that means more nutrients with the same or fewer calories) of each meal. You should know that means protein, essential micronutrients, and targeted essential and branch chain amino acids. You come up with a nice program, but then you go out and find the cheapest brand you can find. Remember the reason you are supplementing – during dieting your body depends on quality supplementation for keeping and increasing lean mass while you lose fat. If this is something essential to your competition success, and it is, saving a few bucks by buying low quality supplements is definitely not the way to go.
But Michael, I’ve got good news for you. We can do this and we can actually increase your lean mass if you do just as I say. Every client who follows the program, and doesn’t try and incorporate all kinds of other diets and experiments, ends up losing his body fat and actually increasing his lean mass.
A few things to remember when dieting for a show... NEVER miss a meal. You should feel more guilty about missing a meal than missing a workout. Eat when the clock says it’s time to eat, not when you are hungry. And that’s going to be about every three hours. See, if you start missing meals, or eating other stuff than what is on your diet, then I have nothing to truly gauge the effectiveness of your plan.
And that goes for your supplements, too. Do not miss one recommended serving of Ultra 40. Don’t guess on serving sizes with your UMP (use the scoop). Don’t miss one serving of Glutamine Select plus BCAAs during your workout.
Let me tell you how important supplements are for me. When I go off of my supplements for one month, but eat and train the same, I’m talking about 10-12 lbs less of lean muscle. Do you know how different I look at 205 shredded compared to 194 shredded at over 6’? For me, it’s the difference of people one month (direct quotes) saying “hey, you’re looking really skinny. Are you taking time off and giving your body a break”? AHHHH! Talk about putting that baggy sweatshirt back on and hiding yourself like a juicehead who just came off a cycle… Or, when I’m 205 and shredded, people saying (direct quote again) “Man, you look great. What show are you doing”? Words of advice: If you are going to spend all that time training, eating, dieting, posing (which we’ll get to), preparing food, etc., make sure you are using Beverly’s supplements and do not skimp. Just think of it as part of your grocery bill. This is not optional. It will be your staple in keeping and putting on your lean mass.
15 week Diet
Lose Fat Grow Muscle Diet
UMP:• Use as specified in diet below
Creatine Select and Glutamine Select:
• Mix one scoop of each together with 16 oz of water and drink 1 hour before workout. • Mix one scoop of each together with 16 oz of water and drink during entire workout. • On non-workout days, drink one scoop of Creatine Select in the morning and one scoop of Glutamine Select before bed.
Muscle Synergy: • Take 8 on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
• Take 8 more 45 minutes before workout. • On non-workout days, take 8 on an empty stomach whenever during the day.
Ultra 40 and Mass: • Take 4 of each with each meal
Rotate 1 week "lean" phase to 2 day “growth” phase
1 Week (lean phase/low carb)
8 oz lean beef 5 egg whites
½ (one half) grapefruit
Meal #2 2 scoops Ultra Size or UMP
Meal #3 2 cans tuna
½ (one half) cup oats
1 tbsp flax oil
Meal #4 2 scoops Ultra Size or UMP ½ (one half) cup oats
Meal #5 2 scoops Ultra Size or UMP (post workout) 1 large banana
Meal #610 egg whites + 1 yolk 1 tbsp flax oil
Now, that we have a plan for getting your body in the best shape possible for show time, we need to make sure you know how to show it off on stage. Make a bicep right now. Look in the mirror. While flexing your bicep, turn your wrist towards the mirror? Bicep looks long and flat, right? Now, turn that wrist in tight towards your shoulder. See that peak. Now is looks round and full. Now, while flexing the bicep, raise your elbow just an inch or two. See that peak getting bigger and feel your bicep getting tighter? Man, something so simple, but on stage that simple movement is the difference of having a nice round peaked bicep, or a flat one. I see too many people who work their butt off for years, do 15+ weeks of strict dieting, and can’t show off what they have if their life depended on it.
Posing is important. It’s very important. Ok, it’s not going to be the difference between 6th and 1st. But, it can very well be the difference between 4th and 2nd. I’ve seen it many times. So, the first step is to learn how to pose. There are good videos for this (Google “Perfect Posing”), or I can help you. Now, once you know how to pose, you need to practice it. Not only do you practice it so you look good on stage, but you HAVE to condition your muscles so you can hold those poses on stage. I can remember the 2005 Northern Kentucky show. I believe there were 41 people in my class (light heavy). And, I was called out over, and over, and over, and over again. It was harder than any double session basketball practice I’d ever been through. The next day my entire body was more sore than from any one of the crazy workouts that I do. But I can tell you. If I hadn’t practiced holding each of the mandatory poses for 3 sets of 45 seconds every night, I would have cramped up, deflated, and never have been able to continue to improve the longer I was out there. I can remember guys saying that they seriously couldn’t flex by midway through the callouts. Their muscles just weren’t conditioned for it. They lost total muscle control. I can remember in one Musclemania show that I didn’t give my 100%, the same thing happened to me. It was terrible. I got to the point that when I flexed my biceps, quads, and lats, I couldn’t feel them. I had no muscle control. Don’t make that mistake.
I’m not going to lie to you Michael. Preparing for a show is a big commitment. Eating right, preparing meals, practicing posing, being consistent and training hard at the gym, getting the right color for stage... But, I don’t know how else to tell you. There is NOTHING like being on stage, flexing to your favorite music, knowing you’ve done everything to look your best, hearing the crowd, and taking home the trophy!