Now Might be the Time

For Your Next or Even First Bodybuilding Contest

By: Donnie Johnson
Magazine 18 #1

Beverly International changed my life in 2003. It continues to do so to this day. When Sandy asked if I would share my story, I told her it would be my honor. Hopefully, my story inspires you the way the stories in the No Nonsense Magazine inspire me.

Let’s start by going back a few months to Labor Day, 2012. I was grilling with the family. Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Brats. You get the idea. Posing trunks long ago stored away. Traded for a powerlifting singlet. Cookouts are way more fun when you can eat like a powerlifter!

Donnie Johnson

Later that night, I was watching some Casting Crowns music videos on You Tube. One song in particular touched my soul. I wept as I watched.

"Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in, onto the crashing waves. To step out of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is, and He’s holding out His hand.

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed. The waves they keep on telling me time and time again "Boy, you’ll never win. You’ll never win."

Oh what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant, with just a sling and a stone. Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors shaking in their armor, wishing they’d have had the strength to stand. But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me. Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed. The giant keeps on telling time and time again "Boy, you’ll never win. You’ll never win".

But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says "Do not be afraid." And the voice of truth says "This is for my glory". Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth. ~ The Voice of Truth, Casting Crowns

You see, 2012 had been a year of crashing waves and laughing giants. Laughing. Taunting. Belittling. But the line "Boy, you’ll never win" brought back memories of past bodybuilding competitions.

I stepped on stage for the first time in 2003, at age 45. Competing in a bodybuilding show fulfilled a hidden dream that had lain dormant for decades. Yet, here I was nine years older and five competitions later, weeping because of that tormenting laughter. "Boy, you’ll never win."

Swords and trophies hang on my gym wall from my short lived bodybuilding career, but my best was still just a 4th place finish. Sitting there listening, a spark was ignited in my mind. "Donnie, it’s time to compete again. Get out of the boat. Pick up your sling and your stone and let’s get to work." Wow! Where did that come from? I mean, only five months ago I was still in a cast!

That’s right. I detached my right bicep tendon while doing heavy rack dead lifts. A crashing wave. It happened the night before the grand opening of my gym.

Did I mention that I’m also a CPA with a private practice? And that the bicep surgery struck during tax season? Giants laughing. Having my dominant arm in a cast while opening a gym during tax season was definitely a challenge. And now, I was entertaining thoughts of competing. And the contest I had chosen, the NPC Tricky Jackson Classic was in just eight weeks?

Perhaps it sounds crazy, but I knew I could do it. After all, 2 ½ months after my cast came off I competed in a full powerlifting meet. Although I couldn’t bench press or deadlift anywhere near my previous bests (heck, my orthopedic surgeon had me restricted to lifting no more than 10 lbs at the time), but I broke the APA-WPA Masters 50-54 age group world record in the squat. I also far surpassed my MD imposed 10lb limit by benching 135 and deadlifting 275.

I have to give credit for my quick recovery to Beverly supplements. I took 2 Ultra 40 and 2 Mass Amino tablets every waking hour for the first 2 months following surgery. I also took Quadracarn 3 tabs, 4 times per day; Super Pak; Joint Care 3 caps, 4 times per day; EFA Gold and lots of Glutamine Select. Surely if I could compete in powerlifting after being out of a cast for such a short period, I could train for a bodybuilding show.

PR Zone Team

Training

Finding training time was no problem since my two sons, Andrew and Nick, and I opened a training facility in Greenville, KY. We named it The P R Zone – "Where Personal Records are meant to be broken". Instead of changing my training to a "bodybuilder type" program, I simply stuck with what I was already doing – 3 days per week "functional" training focusing on the 3 power lifts. The squat. The bench. The deadlift. The Tricky Jackson wasn’t the only event on my competition schedule. One week after that contest our gym would host the Bluegrass Open Powerlifting Championships and I was going to compete there, too. Crazy, huh?

My weight that Labor Day was 189. Dieting down to 165 was the goal. LOSING STRENGTH WHILE LEANING OUT WAS NOT AN OPTION. Once again Beverly to the rescue! You can see my entire supplement stack listed in the diet section of this article. But, I will say that I did extremely well at the Bluegrass Open meet. It’s amazing what weights can be lifted when stacking Up-Lift, Creatine Select, Glutamine Select, Muscle Synergy and Fast Up! I think Beverly should rename Fast Up to Power Up, because that’s how I feel after taking a few capsules. Powered Up!

I also incorporated the Olympic lifts into my training, including snatches, power cleans, clean and jerk, snatch pulls, clean pulls, high pulls, etc. These exercises are great for adding mass to the upper and middle back.

CARDIO

I gave up typical cardio a few years ago. I teach 11 boot camp sessions per week and that took care of my cardio. The only cardio machine I used was the Concept 2 Rower. I prefer battling ropes; throwing medicine balls, pushing sleds or flipping tires versus countless hours on the treadmill or bike.

DIET

I had my training covered, but, now came the hardest part. Clean eating! Knowing what to eat wasn’t the problem. Finding the time to eat those meals while juggling two full-time careers was a bigger problem.

I prepared quick and easy meals and ate them over and over. And over again.

Meal Plan

Supplements upon awakening: 6 GH Factor, 2 Lean Out, 3 7 Keto, 3 Joint Care, 2 Energy Reserve, 3 Density

Supplements prior to early morning circuit training or rowing: 1 scoop Muscle Synergy, 2 scoops Glutamine Select

Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit, tuna, tomatoes, Super Pak plus supplements*

Lunch: 5oz grilled chicken or fish, salad, 2 servings green beans, pickled tomatoes, tea plus supplements*

Midafternoon: 2 scoops Provosyn or UMP, 8-10 almonds, same supplements as lunch except no Quadracarn

Pre workout supplements: 1 scoop Creatine Select, 2 scoops Glutamine Select, 1 scoop Up-Lift, 1 scoop Muscle Synergy, 3 Quadracarn, 2 Lean Out, 1-2 Energy Reserve, 3-5 Muscle Mass

During the workout: I sip Glutamine Select and take 9 to 12 Muscle Mass BCAA tablets

Dinner: spinach salad with tomato, oil and vinegar dressing, with grilled fish or chicken, ground turkey or tuna, plus supplements

Before bed: 3 ZMA 2000, 6 GH Factor

*In addition to what is listed above, I took 5 Ultra 40, 3 Density, 2 Lean Out, 3 Muscularity, 3 EFA, 1-2 Energy Reserve, and 3 Quadracarn with each meal.

On Monday and Thursday I had my carb-up bread pudding before bed. What a life saver! I stir together an already baked sweet potato, banana, oatmeal, walnuts, raisins, vanilla extract, Nutella, cottage cheese, baking powder, 1 whole egg and either Provosyn or UMP to the consistency of cake batter. I bake it in a greased baking dish (usually greased with 1/2 tbsp of butter) until it’s a bread pudding texture (usually about 20 minutes). Let it cool and serve it with fat free Cool Whip. It’s delicious! The closer it gets to a contest, the fewer ingredients I add until I’m back to the original carb up meal of a mixture of a sweet potato, banana, oatmeal and UMP for the last couple of weeks.

SUPPLEMENTS

I’m an avid user of Beverly Products and have been for almost 10 years. They are my "go to" company. My entire household takes Beverly supplements year round. My wife uses UMP, Joint Care, Quadracarn and EFA Gold. My sons use UMP, Mass Maker and Glutamine Select. I budget for these supplements because of the high value I place on health and the results I’ve experienced from using these products. Remember, I’m an accountant and there is actually a trade off financially. Using UMP as meal replacement is much better for you and less expensive than purchasing a bad meal from a fast food chain. Besides, how much is your health worth?

Note in particular my pre workout supplementation of either 2 Fast Up or 3 7 Keto, 3 Quadracarn, 2 Lean Out, 2 scoops Glutamine Select, 1 scoop Creatine Select and 1 scoop Muscle Synergy are hard to beat! The energy boost is amazing. Mental clarity. Improved performance and recovery. Need I say more?

Posing

Training, supplements and nutrition covered. What’s left? Oh yeah. Posing! Posing takes time. Lots of time. Make practicing the mandatory poses mandatory. Cuts. Striations. Lowered body fat and better definition. All benefits of posing. Posing practice is like completing another workout. I had minimal time to practice posing, so I posed in unorthodox ways and in unorthodox places. I posed while driving (or at least held certain pose positions). I posed while standing in grocery lines, restaurant lines, and anywhere else I could. I kept my muscles tight and flexed as often as possible. But what about practicing my posing routine? Interesting question.

Remember when I said earlier that my posing trunks had long ago been put away? Well, coming up with music and a routine for this show caused some stress and turmoil. "Why reinvent the wheel. Why not resurrect something I’ve done in the past?" But that just didn’t feel right. Then inspiration hit... one week out from the contest! I had to move fast. The next morning I would be leaving for a 5 day tax convention in Atlanta.

I quickly made a few phone calls. I recorded via my I-Phone a friend dancing to 90 seconds of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I asked another friend to burn the same 90 seconds onto a CD for me. Early the next morning I was off to Atlanta with video and CD in hand. I spent a few minutes each day between seminar sessions studying the video. Late at night I put poses and some dance moves to the music. Talk about being out of my comfort zone! I am no dancer, and I’m definitely no Michael Jackson. But it felt right inside.

Donnie Selected as Best Poster

The end result

I placed 2nd in the Masters over 50. My best placing ever! But that’s not all. The absolute best thing that happened is when my number was called and I was selected as the contest’s Best Poser! What an honor! What a thrill! So unexpected. Did they really call my number? Now I know why I felt so destined to be at this contest. "Do not be afraid. This (was) for My glory".

So what’s holding you back? Is it your age? Too old? Too young? Lack of time? Lack of direction? Lack of support? Physical limitations? There is nothing that cannot be overcome. Perhaps it’s time to get out of that boat. Perhaps it’s time for you to face those giants.

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