A little more than a year ago I was in the audience of the 2008 Northern KY as one of my best friends, Kevin Burger, competed on stage in the best condition of his life.
It had been 7 years since my last bodybuilding show. Since then I’d graduated college, began my career, started a family, and my wife was due any day with our second child. With all that, Kevin’s performance rekindled the bodybuilding fire within me. I was ready to start contest training again.
My best previous placings had been a 3rd in the Juniors class and a 4th in the Novice middleweights. I was pretty sure I’d be bigger this time around. I had lifted hard and consistently over the ensuing years and had continued to use the staples of my Beverly supplement program – Super Pak, Mass Maker, Creatine Select and Glutamine Select regularly. Yes, I’d gained muscle, but conditioning is king and I’d need to be sharper than ever before.
I’d been watching as Kevin made huge strides in the months leading up to his contest. He was a lot bigger yet with a higher degree of conditioning than his past shows. When I asked him what he was doing differently, he told me that Brian Wiefering Wiefit.com was guiding him throughout his precontest prep. I decided to do the same.
I started working with Brian at 16 weeks out. He started with just a few recommendations to my usual nutrition program. Brian said I needed to start taking Ultimate Muscle Protein 3x/day, Muscle Provider following workouts, and take Mass aminos with my meals. I noticed a difference immediately.
I gained two pounds during the first four weeks while my bodyfat dropped nearly 2 %!!
Here’s the nutrition plan I used during those first 4 weeks:
Meal 1: 11 egg whites, 1 cup oats, and ½ piece of fruit Meal 2: 2 scoops UMP cookies and crème flavor mixed in water Meal 3: 8 oz chicken breast, 8 oz. sweet potato, 1 cup green beans Meal 4: 2 scoops UMP chocolate and ¼ up oats eaten 1 ½ hours prior to workout Meal 5: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 6 oz. potato, and ½ banana immediately following workout Meal 6: 11 egg whites, 3 cups salad and 2 tsp olive oil Meal 7: Frozen UMP pudding – 2 scoops chocolate UMP, 2 tbsp ground flax, mixed with water to a pudding consistency, then put in the freezer a few hours before eating
Being prepared is essential to any victory. I cooked all my food on Sunday nights for the week to come. I made sure to keep a jug of Muscle Provider in my car so I could drink it immediately following workouts. The worst thing that can happen during contest prep is to be caught without a meal. Each night I organized my meals for the following day. In the morning I’d eat breakfast, and then pack my next four meals in a cooler to take with me. I also kept a spare jug of UMP in my trunk for emergencies!
CARDIO AND TRAINING
Workout Supplements: 2 scoops Up–Lift and 5 Density prior to my workout
1–2 scoops Up–Lift and 1 scoop Glutamine Select sipped throughout workout 5 Muscularity 10 minutes into workout and 5 more every 15 minutes (up to 25 max during workout) 5 Density at the end of workout
Note: Up–Lift was something like I had never felt before. Most of the other pre–workout nitric oxide drinks caused me to crash and burn, but not Up–Lift.
With this workout supplement routine, I was able to keep my training intensity very high all the way up until the contest. Being a physical therapist and my training partner Nick is also a therapist, we document everything!! Here is a sample leg workout from my lifting journal at 2 weeks out.
Deep barbell lunge + Deep barbell squat superset: Use same weight for lunge and squat without racking the board. Lunge knee to the floor x 8–10 reps each leg, immediately followed by deep squats for 8–10 more reps. Warm up: 135 lbs 205 x 10 reps 215 x 10 reps 225 x 8 reps Leg press: Vary foot position each set 800 lbs x 15 reps 900 lbs x 15 reps 900 lbs x 15 reps 1000 lbs x 15 reps Leg extensions: squeeze quad as if posing between each set 265 x 10 reps 275 x 10 reps 285 x 10 reps Standing hamstring curls: done on leg extension machine 60 x 10 reps 60 x 10 reps 60 x 10 reps Seated abductor/adductor superset: these are often neglected exercises (especially by guys!) but definitely helpful for bringing in your glutes and adductors 220 x 10 reps 220 x 10 reps 220 x 10 reps Leg press calf raises done with varying foot positionsand standing calf raise superset: The standing calf raises were performed with no weight immediately following each set of leg press calf raise. 5 sets 20 reps each.
I did not do any cardio!!
The only thing I did resembling cardio was walk through my neighborhood with my two young girls. And, oh yeah, twice I ran for 45 minutes on the Thursday and Friday one week out from my show, and that’s it. You know how it is; you get close to a show and start thinking, "What else can I do?"
I did take 2 scoops of Up–Lift prior to those runs and surprised myself. I was not in cardio condition, but at one week out from the show, with Up–Lift I was able to run 4.5 miles and burn 573 calories in 45 minutes!
I practiced posing for 30 minutes every day of the week, except leg day! I worked up to holding each mandatory pose for 1 full minute. I guess this kind of took the place of my cardio. As a matter of fact, I sipped on my Glutamine Select to delay my fatigue during posing, just as you might during cardio.
I did do one thing that might be of particular interest to you if you have a narrower frame like me. I researched some of the older bodybuilders who shared my same type of frame, like Frank Zane. I then attempted to emulate the different ways he varied his posing angles to best display his physique. I’d try one variation after the other of each mandatory pose in front of my friends up at Gymbo’s Personal training, letting them critique me to find which variation suited my body type the best.
When the carbs and calories began to drop, Brian added Density to the supplement mix at each meal. I immediately began to see a new level of hardness begin to take place during my nightly posing sessions. I believe Density also helped me retain muscle mass as my bodyfat continued to drop.
At 4 weeks out I was very lean, but beginning to become fatigued during my workouts, but I still needed to lose that last layer of stubborn fat. Let me remind you that in addition to my contest training and posing, I also work a full time job, have a 3 year old girl, a 1 year old girl, and my wife was pregnant again. Still, it was time to step it up a notch.
If you look at my basic 4 week out diet below you’ll notice that the complex carbs are about half of where they were at the beginning of the diet, while protein remained constant.
Meal 1: 11 egg whites, 1 whole egg, ½ cup oats, 1 tbsp olive oil Meal 2: 2 scoops UMP Meal 3: 8-10 oz chicken, 4 oz sweet potato Meal 4: 2 scoops UMP Meal 5: 2 scoops MP and 5 oz white potato immediately following workout Meal 6: 11 egg whites, 1 cup veggies, ½ tbsp olive oil Meal 7: 2 scoops UMP
*Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I cut out all complex carbs and substituted 1 cup of vegetables for each carb that I cut.
** Wednesday and Saturdays I added a carb up meal.
The carb meal consisted of a 10 oz sweet potato, ¾ cup oats, 2 cups chopped mushrooms, 1 banana and 1 tbsp of olive oil. I used my old carb meal bread recipe for the carb meal every time and it tasted just as good as I remembered!!
My Legendary Carb Meal Bread Recipe:
Bake a 10 oz sweet potato until soft.
Blend cooked sweet potato, oatmeal, banana, and water into a thick paste.
Add two teaspoons baking powder and place in a bread pan.
Preheat the oven to 375° and bake for 35 minutes to an hour (cooking time will vary depending on amount of water added).
Once done baking you may place it in the refrigerator and eat cold or eat warm. You can melt the butter on top and cover with ground cinnamon and a sweetener such as Splenda. You can eat the vegetables on the side or blend in with the carb meal (mushrooms taste best blended in!).
With the addition of 7 Keto and Lean Out my bodyfat continued to drop and I began to see striations in my quads and even my glutes!! I found a whole new level of energy to help me blast through my workouts. It was like I wasn't on a diet at all. My workout partner definitely noticed a difference, especially during leg day, when my weight started to go up in the last 4 weeks, instead of down!! I also began to attain a level of vascularity that lasted all day long.
FINAL WEEK PREPARATIONS
I cut out all complex carbs Monday through Thursday. For one day only, Wednesday, I even cut out all the veggies as well.
On Friday and Saturday for meal #1 I ate pancakes with syrup and butter. Meals 2-6 on Friday were 6 oz Tilapia, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 potato. The day of the show meals 2-6 were simply 3-4 rice cakes and 1 tbsp all natural peanut butter (that way I didn’t have to keep worrying about eating a full meal and how it would effect stage timing etc. I drank 2-3 gallons of distilled water each day Monday through Thursday, 1 gallon on Friday up until 5:00 p.m., then sipped only when needed until after the show.
I loaded with 3 scoops of Creatine Select + Phosphates per day on Wednesday through Saturday. I salted foods Sunday through Thursday, and then went salt free from Friday on. I also added 100 mg potassium with each meal on Friday and Saturday.
Final week workouts were a circuit for upper body only. It was simply 80% of my usual weights on Monday with 60 seconds rest between sets, 70% on Tuesday with 30 seconds rest between sets, and 60% on Wednesday with no rest between sets.
Directly following each lifting session, I posed for 30 minutes. On Thursday I didn’t lift but still did my 30 minutes of posing. We have 12 light bulbs in our bathroom and I had unscrewed all but one overhead to mimic the stage for my nightly posing sessions about 2 months prior. So, on Friday I screwed all the bulbs back in and rested, which made my wife very happy!
I came into the Mr. Cincinnati in the low 180’s (at the lower end of the light heavies). I felt threatened by the bigger guys and unsure how I would do. To my surprise I came in first in the light heavyweight class and second overall, losing to fellow Beverly competitor, Joe Daniels. Since I was a lifetime natural competitor, I next set my sights on the INBF Natural Buckeye Classic in Columbus two weeks later. I came into this show at my best condition ever, and won both the light heavyweight class and the overall.
It was a long journey. Nine years of consistent hard work, but it was all worth it. I owe a lot of my success to remaining lean year round, supplementing with Beverly products for continued gains year round, and to Brian Wiefering for showing me the way to dial it in and present all of my hard work in the best condition possible.
I also would like to thank my training partner Nick, who would kick my butt when I was feeling too drained to lift; Kevin and my friends at Paramount Fitness and Gymbo’s for the precontest support; and my wonderful wife who supported me throughout the entire contest, taking care of our 2 girls when I was too tired to even play duck, duck, goose! I couldn’t have done it without you!
NNM 14 #3
Amy Bowen 40 Years Old, 2 Children, and Winning My First Two Figure Shows