I ‘discovered’ BI in 2006 and two things immediately appealed to me. First was the support they offered to their customers, not only with their products but with training and nutrition questions as well. These folks have been around 40+ years and they know bodybuilding! Furthermore, they have a simple, straightforward approach that I liked. They didn't advocate crazy or complicated routines or diets, just basic, solid information that was tried and true. Secondly, BI had a system to their contest preparation. They utilize a contest preparation workshop template that takes you step by step through the process, with quantitative goals and measurements. Again, straightforward and effective. This sort of organization proved to be instrumental in my own success this season.
Which BI supplements did I use? The easy answer is ALL OF THEM! I know that sounds a bit outrageous to many folks but its true. I can easily explain why I chose to use so many supplements: THEY WORK. I added products one at a time, and with each one, I saw progress. The results were always as claimed on the label. And let me tell you, if I didn't see the results, I would not have kept it up. I could be described as more than a bit of a tightwad so for me to expend what I did on BI supplements is absolute proof of their effectiveness. I wouldn't spend a dime if I had any doubts.
Let me go down the list of what I used and how it affected my preparation this year:
Beverly Multiple Enzymes – this may sound odd but this was definitely the most important supplement to me (and the cheapest!). When I added this, I grew, period. I never miss taking 2 with each meal. What a great product; essential year round.
Up-Lift – close second, especially as the diet progressed. This stuff is incredible for workout energy and drive. An absolute life saver the last few months.
UMP – best protein powder in the world, I am convinced. The taste kept my sanity when I was hungry enough to gnaw my own arm off!
Ultra 40 and Mass aminos – another year round staple. Lots of pills but totally worth it, especially while dieting. I would sometimes down a double serving (8 liver and 8 Mass) to stave off hunger.
Muscle Synergy – okay, this stuff is just guilty pleasure! Let’s see – huge pumps, increased strength and endurance and oh yeah, flat out growth! Essential? Maybe not but very hard to say ‘no’ to Synergy.
Creatine Select– this is the only creatine product that I have used that actually works. It must be the phosphates or beta alanine. I would cycle off every other month then resume.
Glutamine Select – ranks up there with your weight belt on the list of workout ‘must–haves’. Stabilized and maintained my blood sugar, increased endurance and reduced soreness. Go without for a week and it will become clear!
Lean Out/7–Keto combo – best fat burner EVER. Never missed a dose.
Energy Reserve, GH Factor and Muscularity – used these the last 8 weeks with very good results. The Muscularity in particular gave great vascularity.
Quadracarn – started this late but was definitely a good move. Going to try it this off season for a true trial. The rest on this list I have used since Day 1 with BI: EFA Gold — you think my hair is bad now, you should have seen before EFA Gold! Joint Support — you take this and your joints hurt less. Better than NSAIDs! Super Pak — easiest way to cover all the bases. ZMA — Improves sleep. Sleep better, grow faster. Sign me up! Ultra C — can’t train if you are sick! Valuable addition to the arsenal. Antioxidant — I take this after each workout. Definitely reduced soreness. Last but not least, DENSITY! I love this stuff. Density builds muscle, ’nuff said.
As for my diet preparation this year, I followed the BI workshop manual to a ‘T’. The only deviation was in length. As the season progressed, I qualified for more contests, so the diet continued. I extended Phase 3 simply because that was where I was at the time and it was still working. Same for the training: I was in Phase 2 so I stayed there. Why change if it was still good?
I progressed from meal plan 1 A all the way through 3B for the final few weeks. Most of the time I used meal plan 3A. It was simple and effective. I really liked the entire approach. I took measurements every few weeks, body weight every few days and most importantly, checked poses and took quick photos to insure progress was being made.
PHASE 3 CONTEST PEAKING NUTRITION PLAN (3–A)
Plan 3–A is a no–frills; no nonsense basic precontest diet program that works for nearly everyone. However, you should stay with your Phase 2 Plan as long as you are getting results in terms of improved conditioning. Don't change for the sake of change.
We have used Plan 3–A as far out as 8 weeks or for just the final 4 weeks depending on condition and weight.
Note: In the meal plans below all meats are weighed prior to cooking.)
Supplements: Breakfast: 1 – Super Pak. Breakfast and dinner – 3 EFA Gold Each meal: 4–6 Ultra 40; 3 Density; 3 Muscularity; 2 Lean Out, and 1 Energy Reserve
Training: 2–4 scoops Glutamine Select plus BCAAs and 10–20 Muscle Mass (5 Muscle Mass per scoop of Glutamine Select). Optional take 5 Density just before training.
Meal #1 5 oz. lean beef or turkey 6 egg whites, 1 whole egg ½ grapefruit
Meal #2 Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 1 tablespoon healthy fat or heavy cream,
4 strawberries (optional), 16 oz. water or 6 oz. can tuna or 5 oz. chicken
3 egg whites, 1 whole egg 1 tomato
Meal #3 8 ounces chicken (weighed prior to cooking) 4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.) 2 TBL Cider Vinegar and 1 tbsp Olive Oil (or other vegetable oil) for a dressing
Meal #4 6 oz. can tuna or 5 oz. chicken
3 egg whites, 1 whole egg 1 tomato or Protein Drink: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 12 oz. water (if post training);
or 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein
Meal #5 8 ounces lean meat (chicken, turkey, fish or 93% lean beef, etc.) 2 cups vegetables
Monday and Thursday: Add a 6th meal: 1.5 cups oatmeal (precooked) or cooked rice, 10 oz. sweet potato, 4 oz. banana, 1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter, almond butter or oil at the end of the day.
The most valuable part of having a system is FOLLOWING IT. There are many times during such a grueling process that you have doubts and begin to question things. This is where many folks screw up. Having a system like the one available through BI eliminates these potential errors. Whenever I would consider changing something, just for the sake of change or after getting impatient, I would remind myself to follow the plan. Stick with it. My mantra became, 'When in doubt, follow the plan'. The plan is like a map; when you get tired and irritable it is tempting to try your own route and ignore the map. This is where mistakes set in. Follow the plan – it was developed by compiling the results of many, many others like yourself and it works!
Cardio Cardio is not my favorite topic or endeavor but here again, the plan outlined by BI was invaluable. I started early (week 1) and added a few minutes weekly, then another session, then another, until I was up to about 45 minutes daily. I kept it simple and just hit the pavement. On the days I felt good I would jog but often it was just a fast walk before breakfast. I may have never enjoyed it but I did find the time useful to collect my thoughts and prepare for the day.
I may not care for cardio but I do love to train! My methods may be a bit different than most as I am also a competitive power lifter and I train at home. I like to lift heavy and often. Not sure how you would categorize me so let me be the first to use the term ‘powerbuilder’. How does this fit in with contest training? Pretty easily, I found out. I really liked the workouts provided by BI in the workshop manual and did little to modify them. I tend to drop the reps a bit and I use only barbells (never got around to buying dumbbells yet) but I figure this is an advantage over commercial gyms.
Most guys get away from the basics that really build muscle. If you have a huge selection of shiny machines available, it is a lot easier to find reasons why you shouldn't squat! There have been plenty of very big bodies built with very Spartan set ups so there really is no excuse. In fact, I would take my home gym over any other gym any day – I can create my own atmosphere, train when I want and never have to wait for someone to finish curling in the rack!
A further word on my home gym: I spent quite a bit of time putting together the most heavy duty set up possible in a tight space. I will be happy to share the plans with anyone would like to email me. In essence I used Ironmind equipment for its versatility, durability and track record. They are very expensive but you only have to buy it once; quality products priced accordingly, like BI! I built my platform and tweaked the lay out for greatest efficiency. It is a life time investment that pays for itself.
As for the routines I used, I think it is most important to look back at the off season. That is where you build the muscle, after all. During most of the contest prep you are lucky to maintain your mass so the off season is crucial. I found a routine in the NNN Vol 12, issue 3 (you can also find it in BI's Nutrition, Training, and Supplement Solutions, www.bevnut.com/faqclick on Training, then on Periodization) that I really like. It appeals to the power lifter in me. I have now used this for 12 full cycles and continuously gain from it. This is the routine I use to prepare for power meets as well. I put together a nice spread sheet program that calculates your entire routine for the 12 weeks – email me for a copy email@example.com.
Basically I train hard and heavy with big barbell moves throughout the year. Very few frills! There were days during the diet that I didn't feel like going as heavy but when I did feel good, I pushed it. Two weeks out from my final show I did a triple with double bodyweight on the bench and nearly quadruple on the deadlift! Most guys don't go with reps that low that close to a show but I figure moving that kind of weight built the muscle, so it should conserve it as well. Plus I just like training heavy!
I put two mirrors up in my gym to allow myself to see all angles. I also bought a timer so that I knew how long I held each pose. As for the music routine, I made a great decision and hired Russ Testo (www.russtesto.com) to choreograph my routine. Russ is simply the best at what he does and he didn't let me down. He put together a much better routine than I ever could. Talk about worth every penny – he sent me a DVD detailing every pose and transition that was worth its weight in gold. Russ is a class act and I highly recommend his services.
Related to presentation, I learned it is crucial to have assistance during travel intensive competition. While you are depleted and tired, it is just too stressful to handle everything on your own. Having someone there to manage the details is invaluable. I did 3 shows out of state alone before I figured this out. My girlfriend accompanied me for the final show and what a difference! THANK YOU JULIE!!
In closing, I feel the most important thing for a successful contest preparation experience is to have support. Support comes in two flavors: knowledge and emotional. BI provides the knowledge, which is essential to success. If you follow their plan you can succeed. The emotional support can come from anyone and requires no knowledge of what you are going through. This type of support is just as valuable as the knowledge component, maybe more so. I was really blessed to be surrounded by wonderful co workers and friends who were not only understanding but helpful during times of need. Surround yourself with positive people like this and the entire process becomes much easier.
Aaron Whitten At A Glance Age: 36 Occupation: Athletic Trainer Family: Very supportive girl friend, Julie Current Residence: Chandler, AZ Years Training: 25 Height: 5′9″
Weight: Off Season – 200 pounds; Contest – 164 pounds
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: I dreamed about the carb up meals! Who knew oatmeal could be so exciting. Favorite Supplements: Multiple Enzyme and Up-Lift
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? I have all my clients use UMP and Ultra 4. I offer to buy it from them if they're unhappy – has never happened!
In your CD player: Johnny Cash Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Politics and religion. Good thing I have muscle or I would get into a lot of fights! Words to live by: Git ’er done!