Down, But Not Out

Increased vascularity definition

Higher Volume Workouts

The progress I was making by lifting light weights with high reps

By: Brad MacGregor
Magazine 21 #3

29 May 2017

I was always one of the smaller kids growing up. I started lifting at age 13 and my house soon became the gathering point for weight training where my friends and I competed against each other to see who could lift the most. I continued working out all through junior high and high school while participating in football, basketball and baseball. In football, I began to focus on punting and kicking and as a result earned a scholarship at Youngstown State University. While at Youngstown State, I was a part of 3 National Championship teams.

After college, I continued working out, spending up to 2 hours in the gym 4 or 5 days each week. Keeping in shape was important because I was working as a Parole/Probation officer. I didn’t spend that much time worrying about my diet because I thought the workouts were all I needed. Over the years a number of my friends encouraged me to compete, but I knew I had some serious work to do in the areas of nutrition and cardio. Gradually, a healthy eating plan began to evolve. I started by cutting out alcohol, sodium and sugar. That meant no more sports drinks, chips, or ice cream. I started carrying a water bottle with me everywhere I went. I learned how to calculate macronutrients and calorie intake. Once I found the right combination of foods including lean protein at every meal, I noticed my body becoming stronger and more fit. I added cardio to my workouts and little by little, my body began to become more defined.

Brad MacGregor NPC Elite Night contest

After a number of years, I decided it was time to give competition a try and entered the Music City Muscle contest in Nashville, TN. I finished 7th in my first competition, happy to have competed, but I knew I could do better. Now, I really started to zone in on my training, supplements, diet and cardio. My next contest was the Great Lakes Ironman in Michigan. I finished 2nd in the Master’s Division. I’d learned that staying lean year round was a big advantage when it came time for pre-contest dieting. I ate at least 75% clean between shows and kept my bodyfat percentage in single digits. My next competition was in Memphis, TN and I finished 2nd again. I was a little disappointed, but knew where I had to improve and continued to work on my problem areas.

Then, one morning, I woke up with severe pain in my left hip. I had no idea what was wrong and finally went to an orthopedic doctor for a diagnosis. Well, the news wasn’t good; I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis and was in need of a hip replacement. Besides that, I had a slight rotator cuff tear, bone spurs and severe arthritis. I probably don’t have to tell you that this was very disturbing news for someone who is only 43, has been active his entire life, and was making plans for another contest.

Since then I’ve continued to train, but had to make a number of modifications to my workouts. I take daily medication for the arthritis and get cortisone shots periodically. My workouts now contain a lot more volume – more exercises, sets, and reps ’ but lighter weights and shorter rests between exercises. Gone are the days of lifting heavy weights. I have noticed increased vascularity and definition from the higher volume workouts. Many in the gym couldn’t believe the progress I was making by lifting light weights with high reps. Several asked questions regarding my new workouts and when I explained my injuries it turned out that many had some of the same problems and became interested in training with me.

Diet & Supplements

It took me many years to fully understand that diet is the most important component in training to compete. Over the 30 years I’ve been training I have tried all types of diets and supplements, but not until the last few years have I finally got my nutritional program where it needs to be. I started eating more protein (lean meats in particular), vegetables, and the right kind of complex carbs. I got myself on a comprehensive Beverly International supplement plan and I started seeing things in my physique that I didn’t know existed. I strongly believe that proper diet and supplements account for 85% of your success in competition. Getting the correct amount of macronutrients are critical to having the physique you desire. Once you get that down, you will see the weight come off and definition start to appear. I tell my clients if you stay on a proper nutrition plan for 2 weeks you’ll notice positive responses to your body. If you stick with it for 4 weeks, people close to you will begin to take notice. If you stick with it for 8 weeks, the gym crowd and public will notice your hard work. You have to trust the process and give your body enough time to make a positive response to your training and nutrition. If you give it enough time, you will see results.

Here’s a dieting tip. Build your diet around foods you like to eat. Here’s what I’ve found works best for me.

  • Meal 1: I sip on a Chocolate UMP shake mixed with almond milk as I prepare my breakfast. Breakfast is 2 whole eggs, 6 egg whites, 1 cup spinach mixed into an omelet; – cup of ground bison; – cup of plain oatmeal.
  • Meal 2: UMP shake (chocolate is my favorite); 2 tbsp almond butter or protein bar
  • Meal 3: 4 slices Boars Head low sodium turkey breast; 2 cups spinach and 1 cup quinoa made into a salad with light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
  • Meal 4: ½ cup of grass fed ground beef; ½ cup of brown rice, 7 asparagus spears
  • Meal 5: UMP shake with 2 tbsp of almond butter
  • Meal 6: ½ cup ground bison, (filet mignon on Wednesday and Sunday); 7 asparagus spears or 1 cup broccoli
  • Meal 7: UMP shake, 1oz. almonds

Throughout the day, if I need a snack, I always turn to almonds, walnuts or a Quest protein bar. In addition, I make No-Bake Energy Bites for on the go or in between snacks.

No-Bake Energy Bites

  • cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • cup ground golden flaxseed meal
  • 6 tbsp chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli mini chips semi sweet)
  • 1-2 scoops UMP Chocolate

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stir together, then shape into 1 inch balls and place in refrigerator.


First thing each morning, I take my Beverly “Fat Attack Stack”: 6 GH Factor, 3 7-Keto MuscLean, and 2 Lean Out. This stack gets my metabolism running on high and the fat burning process going.

I use the following supplements throughout the day:

Lean Out has been very beneficial in keeping me lean year round. It aids in keeping my metabolism running and is important for the all-day fat burning process.

7-Keto MuscLean helps stimulate my metabolism and break down those hard-tolose fat deposits in the lower stomach.

Quadracarn has helped optimize my natural testosterone production improving my mood, sleep, muscle hardness, vascularity, and overall wellness.

Multiple Enzyme Complex aids in digestion and the breakdown of food. I take one or more tablets with every food meal.

Joint Care supplies my overused joints with nutrients conducive to joint health. (I wish I had used Joint Care earlier in my life.)

Fast-Up gives me extra energy for early morning workouts or anytime I need a lift during the day.

Mass Aminos and Ultra 40 are instrumental to pure muscle gain.


My training now is generally 1 day weights, next day cardio and abs. It’s a split routine that gives my muscles time to rest and recover. I find that using this high volume routine with lighter weights and short rest periods is very helpful due to the amount of arthritis I have in my shoulder and hip.

Day 1: Chest and Triceps

  • Incline DB Bench Press 3x15
  • Machine Incline Press 5x15
  • Hammer Strength Incline Press 4x15
  • Eagle Incline Press 3x15
  • Machine Flyes 3x15 DB Flat Press 5x12
  • Decline Press 3x15
  • Cable Crossovers 6x15
  • Dips 3 sets to failure
  • Seated Machine Dips 3x15
  • Pushdowns 3x15

Day 2: Cardio and Abs

  • Stair Climber 20 minutes (starting at level 7 and moving up 1 level every 5 minutes) Treadmill 20 minutes (alternate 20 second sprints with 1-minute walks)
  • Rope Crunches 3x15
  • Leg Raises 3x15
  • Machine Crunches 3x15
  • Machine Kneeling Oblique Twists 3x15
  • Weighted Side Bends 3x15

Day 3: Legs

  • Leg Extensions 6x12-15
  • Leg Curl 5x12-15
  • Leg Press 4x10
  • Squat 4x10
  • Lunges 3x12-15
  • Seated Calves 6x12-15
  • Standing Calves 8x12-15

Day 4: Back and Biceps

  • Assisted Pullup Machine 3x15
  • Reverse Grip Bent-over Row 3x15
  • Wide-grip Pulldowns 3x15
  • T-Bar Rows 3x15
  • Machine Rows 3x15
  • Close Grip Pulldowns 3x15
  • Seated Close Grip Rows 3x15
  • 1 Arm Dumbbell Rows 3x15
  • Back Hyperextension 3x15-15
  • Barbell Curl 3x10
  • Alternating DB Curl 3x10
  • Rope Hammer Curl 3x10

Day 5: Cardio and Abs

Day 6: Shoulders

  • Hammer Strength Shoulder Press 6x10-12
  • Machine Shoulder Press with Neutral Grip 4x10-12
  • Single-Arm Landmine Press 3x15
  • Machine Rear Flyes 3x15
  • Bent-over Flyes 3x15
  • Machine Seated Lateral Raise 3x15
  • Dumbbell Standing Lateral Raise 3x15
  • Front Raise with Plate 3x15
  • Front Raise with DB 3x15
  • Standing DB Shrug 4x10
  • Seated DB Shrug 4x10

Day 7: Cardio and Abs

Day 8: Arms (superset each pair of exercises below)

  • Standing EZ Bar Curl 3x15
  • Skull Crushers 3x15
  • Cable Barbell Curl 3x15
  • Reverse Pushdown 3x15
  • DB Alternating Curl 3x15
  • Lying DB Extensions 3x15
  • Preacher Curl 3x15
  • Seated Machine Dips 3x15
  • Single-Arm DB Preacher Curl 3x15
  • DB Kickbacks 3x15
  • Rope Hammer Curl 3x15
  • Rope Push Downs 3x15
  • Day 9: Rest, then begin again with Day 1

NNM 21 #3
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