"There will be days when you don’t know if you can complete the journey, but there will be a lifetime of knowing you have."
I am your "Average Joe." I AM YOU, except I am 60 years old. Like you, I go to the gym to reduce body fat; to gain lean muscle mass; to relieve stress; to maintain heart health, etc.
I definitely did not consider myself a "bodybuilder" in the sense of the newsstand muscle mag huge lats and quads behemoths. However, I am a goal oriented person and my competing in the 2010 Kentucky Muscle Extravaganza was just that a one-time goal on my so-called "Bucket List." NEVER had I contemplated competing until I set a goal I hoped to achieve by my 60th birthday, and that was to challenge myself to reduce my body fat to 10%.
Nutrition is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE to the puzzle that enabled me to reach my goal. I emailed Jason my weight daily and met with him every two weeks. He took my skin fold measurements and tweaked the nutrition plan and cardio schedule based on my progress.
Below is one example of the many variations to my nutrition plan. This was my plan at 8 weeks out from the contest:
Meal 1: Egg whites (340 grams); egg yolk (20 grams); medium sized grapefruit and blueberries (20 grams) | Meal 2: (Pre-workout): Ultimate Muscle Protein (56 g); sweet potato (110 g); and almonds (10 g) Meal 3: (Post-workout): Muscle provider (56 g); 1 whole can of green beans; MacNut (macadamia nut) oil (1 tsp) Meal 4: Turkey breast 99% lean (160 g pre-cooked); almonds (10 g) Meal 5: Ground beef 96% lean (195 g pre-cooked); extra virgin olive oil (1 tsp)
Meal 6: Ultimate Muscle Protein (61 g); peanut butter (10 g) Twice per week I would eat a "refeed" meal in place of Meal 6 consisting of: oatmeal (35 g pre-cooked); sweet potato (90 g); banana (45 g); 1 cup broccoli; and 1 tbsp almonds.
As Jason monitored my progress, my caloric intake and varieties of food on the plan changed regularly, and significant changes occurred as the competition neared. I was finally seeing that "6" pack I had always dreamed of having. Jason made me realize that a specific body fat percentage was not the goalit was "how you looked". One person may look better at 8% than another might look at 6%. Nonetheless, one week prior to the show, my body fat was down to 5.5%.
My cardio regimen varied as Jason monitored my weight loss and lean muscle mass gain. The sessions were 30-60 minutes in duration and varied between light intensity during which I would maintain my heart rate at 110 bpm to moderate intensity at the rate of 130 bpm. I did cardio at least 4 days and closer to the contest, up to 7 days per week. I also performed high intensity interval training on various days for 30 minutes with a 5 minute warm-up followed by 20 minutes of high intensity intervals, ending with a 5 minute cool-down. Dragging myself out of bed every morning, especially for the 1 hour sessions was difficult, but a great start to the day... once I was finished of course! I use the treadmill, ski trainer, stationary bike, elliptical, treadmill, or sometimes go the local junior high track.
Mike Ferguson at PowerStation Gym monitored my workouts. I trained each body part 1x per week to allow maximum recovery. In the 9 months that Mike designed my workouts, I dont think I ever did the same workout twice. He is a firm believer in training each body part from many different angles. He also varies the reps and weights. We did "moderate" sets, "heavy" sets, and "repetition" sets. When the competition was approximately 3-4 weeks out, Mike had me concentrate solely on high repetitions for every exercise which aided the fat burning process and helped me lean out. Below is just one example of a weeks schedule. The specific exercises, number of sets and number of repetitions varied every workout. The leg session below is an example of a "high" repetition day.
I was a novice to the entire "posing" experience. Jason helped me with posing at 10 weeks out from the show and I practiced at home almost daily. Amy Sibcy, a competitive bodybuilder herself, gave me pointers at PowerStation in Mikes posing room (all mirrors). I could not have fathomed how hard it is to flex every muscle in your body for an extended period of time until I started posing. Learn to breathe properly. I thought I was going to pass out after doing the front ab and quad pose 3 separate times during one stage appearance! Believe me.. if you have never done it... its not as easy as it looks. Practice, practice, practice.
NPC 2010 KY MUSCLE The NPC KY Muscle show was the culmination of a 14 month effort. What a phenomenal weekend! I had 25 family members and friends who drove to Louisville to support me. Although "winning" wasn't something that had entered my mind, I finished first in the Masters 60+ and fifth in the Lightweight Open Division. When I thanked all of my supporters the morning after the competition, it was impossible to hold back the tears thinking back on the sacrifices I had made over the last 14 months.
Now that my journey is complete, I realize that personal goals can be achieved with the proper mindset, dedication, and focus, regardless of age. Set a reasonable goal be it to lose a little weight or walk or run a 5k race, or enter a bodybuilding competition and go for it. When your journey is complete, you will have your lifetime of knowing that you did it!
And by the way, the dictionary definition of "bodybuilder" is the practice of developing the muscles of the body through weightlifting and diet. This made me realize that its not the size of your lats or your quads that matters. Its about your dedication to developing your overall musculature through weightlifting and diet. For those reasons, I guess I am a "bodybuilder" after all.