Let me start by saying that I never really considered myself to be an athlete. Being a self-proclaimed choir nerd in high school, and never playing sports, I didn’t even know what the inside of gym or weight room looked like; let alone how to build muscle. I was a late bloomer and started lifting weights in college at the age of 20, after my younger brother broke my humerus in half while we were arm wrestling (cue up the scene with Sly Stallone from “Over the Top”). During school, I somehow ventured into a Gold’s Gym in my college town of Duluth, MN, and talked them into giving me a job.
I soon caught the iron bug, and was introduced to Beverly International by a gym member who had me try Muscle Provider. Having never really tasted other protein powders, I assumed that all companies tasted the same. I quickly found out that I was terribly wrong, and became a BI customer for life. In early 200,1 a small group of gym members and employees decided to compete together in our very first competition. At 150lbs, I placed 3rd in an NPC Lightweight Division, 3rd in a Men’s Short Division, and 2nd in a Collegiate Division. I didn’t think that was too bad for a rookie!
In 2002, I graduated college and took my very first sales job. I still continued the workouts on a regular basis, but the horrible diet associated with traveling on the road for days at a time, job transfers to Las Vegas and San Diego, visiting the drive-thru almost daily, and eating late really took a toll on my appearance and self-confidence.
At my heaviest, I weighed in at 205lbs and about 18-20% bodyfat.
In 2011, I decided to start to prep for another contest with the help of a nutritionist, but 7 weeks into the diet my work transferred me yet again back to my home state of Minnesota. In my new sales position, I was responsible for seven states and again living life on the road.
This time I refused to let work or travel be an excuse, and set my sights on two local contests in early 2013. I found another fantastic diet coach, Christine Bongiovanni at OnTrack Training, and set out on a 16-week plan in November 2012 to compete at the NPC Upper Midwest in Fargo, ND, and the NPC Gopher State Classic in Minneapolis, MN, two weeks later.
I knew that in order to achieve this goal I had to live by the mantra: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". Through trial and error, I developed a system for following a pre-contest diet when on the road, and eating all of my meals out of a cooler.
Some of the things I had to figure out were:
Which hotels have cardio equipment, refrigerator, & microwave?
What grocery stores carry fresh cooked chicken breasts, and hard boiled eggs?
Which local gyms are closest to my hotel?
How much are gym day passes?
How many Tupperware containers do I need per trip?
How much protein powder will TSA allow me to bring through security?
The Supplements & The Diet:
Mass Aminos: 3 per meal to retain lean muscle mass while burning fat
Glutamine Select: pre & post workout for recovery
Ultimate Muscle Protein: Post workout and last meal before bed
ZMA 2000: 3 capsules before bed to promote deeper sleep and faster recovery.
I followed a basic carb cycle that consisted of a High, Medium, and Low carb days.
Day 1 (High): 400 grams of Carb; Low Fat
Day 2 (High): Same
Day 3 (Medium): 200 grams of Carb; 30 grams of Fat
Meal 2: 8-oz. chicken breast; 1 cup of green veggies
Meal 3 (pre-workout): 8-oz. chicken breast; 1 cup of green veggies; ½ avocado (15g fat)
Meal 4 (post-workout): 2 scoops of UMP w/ Glutamine Select; 5 brown rice cakes (70g carb)
Meal 5: 8-oz. chicken breast; 1 ½ cups of brown rice (70g carb)
Meal 6: 2 Scoops of UMP
Low Carb Day:
Meal 1: 7 egg whites & 3 whole eggs (15g fat); 1 cup of green veggies
Meal 2: 8-oz. chicken breast; ½ avocado (15g fat)
Meal 3 (pre-workout): 8-oz. chicken breast; ½ avocado (15g fat); 1 cup of green veggies
Meal 4 (post-workout): 2 scoops of UMP w/ Glutamine Select
Meal 5: 8-oz. chicken breast; ½ avocado (15g fat); 1 cup of green veggies
Meal 6: 2 Scoops of UMP
Water: 1.5 – 2 gallons per day
Sunday: 0g of Carbs, 60g Fat, 3 gallons of water
Monday: 0g of Carbs, 60g Fat, 3 gallons of water
Tuesday: 0g of Carbs, 60g Fat, 3 gallons of water
Wednesday: 50 grams of Carbs, 30grams Fat, 3 gallons of water
Thursday: 300g of Carbs, very low Fat, 3 gallons of water
Friday: 500g of Carbs, very low Fat, 1.5 gallons of water
Saturday (day of the show)
5:30am: 3-oz. beef with ½ tsp salt; ½ cup sweet potato
7:30am: ½ cup sweet potato
9:30am: (or 30min before walking on stage for pre-judging): 1 cup sweet potato, 4 tbsp honey, 1 avocado
12:00p.m.: 4-oz. chicken breast; ½ cup sweet potato (Take a nap if possible)
3:30p.m.: 3-oz. Tilapia; ½ cup sweet potato
6:30p.m.: ½ cup sweet potato
8:30p.m.: (or 30min before walking on stage for Finals): 1 cup sweet potato, 4 tbsp honey, 1 avocado
Water: 1 liter by pre-judging; 3-4 liters by the night show.
Cardio: No cardio until 3 weeks out, then 20 minutes post-workout, 3 times/week at 140-150BPM.
Posing: Practice mandatory poses for 30minutes/day, holding each pose for 20-30seconds.
12 Weeks Out Training: 4 on/1 off Split
Day7: REPEAT, starting with Legs
All workouts are 55-65minutes, except legs.
Day 1: Chest
DB Flat Bench Press: 4 x 12-10-8-6
Incline Barbell: 4 x 12-10-8-6
Decline Barbell: 4 x 12-10-8-6
Super-Set: Pec Deck & Push-ups-4 sets to failure but shooting for 10-12 reps
Day 2: Back
Bodyweight Pull-ups: 50 reps – Whether it takes me 3 sets or 8 sets, I don’t stop until I get to 50.
Barbell Row: 4 x 12-10-8-8
Single-arm Close Grip Pulldowns: 4 working sets 12-14 reps
Super-Set: Kneeling Cable Pull-downs & Lat Pulldown 4 sets to failure but shooting for 10-12 reps
Day 3: Shoulders Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 x 12-10-10-8
Barbell Upright Rows: 4 x 12-10-10-8
Dumbbell Front Raises: 4 x 12-10-10-8
Reverse Pec Deck: 4 working sets 12 reps to failure
Day 4: Legs (90min workout)
Squats: 5 x 12-12-8-6-6
Leg Press: 5 x 12-12-10-10-8
Lunges: 4 sets of walking lunges x 12 reps
Super Set: 4 sets of Leg Extensions & Hamstring Curls x 12 reps to failure
Calves: 4 x 20 Seated Calf Raises w/ varying foot position. Toes pointed out, straight, in.
Day 5: REST
Day 6: Arms
DB Bicep Curls: 4 x 12-12-10-10
Skull Crushers: 4 x 12-10-10-8
Standing Barbell Curls: 4 working sets to failure x 10-12 Reps
Rope Cable Pushdowns: 4 working sets to failure x 10-12 Reps
Cable Hammer Curls: 4 working sets to failure x 10-12 Reps
Single-arm Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 4 working sets to failure x 10-12 Reps
Peak Week Workout:
Saturday: Last Leg workout, 60min. Cut the weight by 50%
Sunday: Circuit Training/ entire body/ 3 sets per body part (60min)
Monday: Circuit Training/entire body /3 sets per body part (45min)
Tuesday: Circuit Training/ entire body/ 3 sets per body part; decrease weight by 50% (30min)
Wednesday: Circuit Training/entire body/ 3sets per body part (30min)
Thursday: 20min light cardio. 120-130BPM
Almost exactly 12 years to the day after my first competition, I stepped on stage for the NPC Upper Midwest as a 171lb middleweight with five other awesome athletes. After our first set of quarter turns, I was called to the middle of the group.
I knew this was going to be a tight class because everyone looked so great, but I relied on my posing practice and hit each pose without shaking. That night I was awarded 1st Place in the Men’s Middleweight class, and took 2nd in the Men’s Overall. Two weeks later I took 3rd Place in the Men’s Middleweight class at the Gopher State Classic amongst some of the toughest competition I’ve ever seen.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
1.) Make a Plan – Plan the entire day! What time will you wake up? What time is each meal? What time is your workout and cardio? When do you take your BI supplements? What time do you go to bed? With a solid plan, nothing can pull you off track.
2.) Ask for Help – hire a nutritionist, work with a coach, ask people who have traveled that same road for advice. Surrounding yourself with positive people will motivate you more to achieve your goals.
3.) Visualize Success – imagine yourself posing in front of the judges, hoisting that trophy above your head, or doing your posing routine in front of a full house. Visualizing yourself winning makes you even more hungry for the real thing.
4.) Quality Supplements – You spend so much time and energy in the kitchen to fuel your body with the best food. Why not do the same thing with your supplement regime? I have been using Beverly International for 13 years because quality is of the utmost importance to me. I take the best to be the best.
5.) Dream BIG! – You will never know your true limits until you go for them. I enjoy bodybuilding because of the extremes, and seeing what your body can truly do. And if you fail, do it again, and again, and again until you succeed