In this article I’ll outline the exact programs that I used to increase my weight from 209 to 230 while actually lowering my bodyfat. The process started in March of 2000 and ended mid August when my precontest diet kicked in – 15 weeks out from the Nationals.
Part One (No Nonsense Magazine Vol. 6, No. 4) covered my program from July of ‘99 – February, 2000. I totally believe that it was the strict eating habits and supplement program that I followed during this first phase that ultimately set me up for the insane amount of quality muscle that I was about to gain. By the end of phase 2 (15 weeks out from the Nationals) I was already as lean as 90% of most competitors are the day of their show! Strict off-season nutrition and the utilization of Beverly International supplements in therapeutic amounts were the real reasons why I was able to gain so much muscle. This is no fairy tale. What follows are the exact diet and supplement plans that allowed me to gain 20 lbs of lean, quality mass in a matter of 5 months!
March arrived. I’d had plenty of rest time. I was lean, hard and literally ready to explode. I was ready to go on an all out bulk assault. I planned on stuffing my face with all kinds of crap and training like a gorilla. That was until I discussed my plan with Roger. He said, "No Way! We’re not going to fall for the same mistakes everyone else makes during a bulking phase. We’re going to do this systematically – it’s the quality of the end result that counts – not the quantity of weight you gain.
My long-term goal became to gain lean muscle – not fat! To accomplish this we first increased calories, then backed the calories down and increased my intake of Mass aminos, Muscle Mass BCAA and L-Glutamine to make up for the decrease in nutrient intake. It’s ok to reduce calories but for quality results it is imperative to always keep nutrient density level high.
We cycled from low, to moderate to high carbs along with the calorie ratios! Often the calories would go down, and carbs actually go up – but at these times we’d lower my fat intake substantially. We were not randomly changing diets but following a comprehensive, step-by-step plan to accomplish a specific goal – to increase my lean muscle mass and stay extremely lean at the same time.
Here’s how it worked. For a couple of weeks my weight would go up and my Body-Fat-Percent (BF%) would go up a small amount. Then, just before the fat would start to pile on, Roger would shock my system and decrease the calories and alter my macronutrient ratios. Immediately I would solidify the gains I had made during the short higher calorie phase. I’d lose a little water and the small amount of fat I had accumulated.
Instead of just trying to gain a ton of weight, I studied the photos from the Ohio and looked realistically at my weak points. I made sure those muscle groups were worked first in the week and I hit them harder than ever before. My goal was to work every nick and cranny of every muscle fiber.
Here is an example of two of the diet cycles I alternated from early March to mid-May:
1 scoop Ultra Size, 4 Frozen Strawberries, 20 oz water
12 Egg Whites
8 oz 96% Lean Beef
½ cup Oatmeal
Supplements: The purpose of this all encompassing supplement program was to hold all the lean mass I had gained during the previous high calorie cycle while losing the excess bodyfat and water. Ultra Pak after training B-150 (at 1st meal or 8 hours after Ultra Pak)
6 Mass and 6 Ultra 40 with every meal
4 GH Factor and ½ teaspoon L-Glutamine on an empty stomach – three times daily: AM, before training, and 30 minutes before bedtime with 3 ZMA
4 Lean Out and 2 Energy Reserve three times daily with Thermogenics (Hydroxycut worked well for me)
6 Joint Care per day Pre Training: 1 Ultra C (to keep down cortisol levels), 1 tbsp L-Glutamine Post Training: 1 Ultra C, 2 Beverly Antioxidants (to combat free radical muscle damage), and another tbsp L-Glutamine
During Training: 30 Muscle Mass BCAA’s (As I’ve said in an earlier newsletter this was the key to maintaining lean mass on a restricted calorie diet.)
At the end of the first 5–week diet cycle I could already tell that whatever show I intended upon doing, I’d be a lot better than I was the last time. But it was time to pick a show – local – state – regional? Which one should I do?
My dream had always been to compete on the same stage with the guys you see in the magazines. As I noted the improvement I had already made, I started thinking that maybe I could do a national show! I had a few e-mail conversations with a top level national competitor and talked to many of the top local competitors but their reactions were all the same: “You’re crazy for wanting to jump right to the Nationals, you have no chance, you’ll get creamed.” I was told to at least do a regional or junior show first.
With their warnings still ringing in my ear, I decided to talk it over with my wife Su. She knows me better than anyone and I knew she’d tell me if I was crazy or not. After discussing the pros and cons Su said to give it my best shot and that she was 100% behind me. We both knew I ran the risk of getting blown off the stage, but at the very least I was going to give it my all and do my very best with no excuses.
So the plans were set? Not yet. There were two more people I had to talk to before my plan became official, Sandy and Roger at Beverly International. When I said the NPC Nationals it took them a few moments to pick their mouths off the floor. But soon we were formulating the plan that was going to take me from a state level competitor to competing against the best of the best! You’d think that we’d have to start making all kinds of adjustments, but the great thing was that even though I’d decided to do the Crown Jewel of the NPC, it did not change the plan Roger and I had set up!
I did increase my training to a four on, one off scheme, hitting each bodypart once every 5 days instead of every 7; 20 - 25 sets per workout, with minimum rest (around 90 seconds per set.)
A short 2-week gaining phase was followed by a 3-week cutting phase. During this cutting phase Roger suggested a few new goodies for my supplement bag. I was already incorporating Creatine and glutamine along with all my old favorites, Muscle Mass, Ultra Size, Muscle Provider, 100% Egg, ZMA, Ultra 40, Mass Aminos, and the Ultra Pak. But this time I threw in a couple of things I had never taken before, Lean Out and Energy Reserve with my thermogenics, and GH Factor in the morning, evening and before training. I know this seems like a lot of supplements but I’ll say it again – “in order to maximize nutrient density while following a strict, even slightly calorie restrictive plan, you need to supplement.
My physique changed more in those three weeks than at any other time in my life. I went to Beverly International for a bodyfat assessment at the end of the three weeks and Roger was completely blown away. When I reminded him that I had added GH Factor, Lean Out, Energy Reserve and had upped the amount of Muscle Mass BCAA’s I was taking, he smiled knowingly. It was completely apparent that these supplements were the key to my new all-time best physique. I was hard, dense and complete.
Another diet cycle and my weight went up then back down again and even though at the end of these next 5 weeks there wasn't a net change in weight or percentage, you would have thought I put on 10 lbs of Muscle - the change was that extreme. My physique was getting more complete by the day. The next 5-week plan approached and Roger asked me how much food I was able to ingest and how good my digestion system was. In other words he was saying that for the next 5 weeks it was time to belly up to the table cuz it was time to eat.
The diet was unbelievable. It was very low in fat, but extremely high in carbs and protein. I ate a whole food meal followed immediately by a protein drink 6 times a day. By the end of the 5 weeks I had put on nearly 30 lbs - granted a lot was water and even some gas, as those around me at that time can unfortunately attest. However it allowed me to rev up my metabolism, and fill out much more without putting on a ton of fat. My bodyfat increased by just 1% and was still below 6%!
Here’s my No Holds Barred all out 5 week Mass Attack that took me from 225 to 249:
Supplements: Ultra Pak with meals 1 and 5
8 Mass Aminos, 6 Ultra 40, 3 Beverly Multiple Enzymes with each meal
Ultra C, Antioxidants and ZMA as noted before
50 Mass Aminos during training! (Yes, 1 bottle every ten training sessions – but this would be my last opportunity to add muscle before my precontest diet started – I was determined to make the most of it!)
Meal #1 and Meal #6
8 egg whites, 2 servings cream of rice, grits or oatmeal
1 serving (3 scoops) Mass Maker and 1 scoop Ultra Size
2 teaspoons Flax Oil
(Note: At each meal I consumed both the whole food
portion and the drink portion, not one or the other.)
Meal #2, #3, #4, and #5
5 oz Lean Meat (chicken, turkey or fish)
8 oz baked potato, yam, 1 ½ cups cooked rice or beans
(choose one not all four)
1 serving (3 scoops) Mass Maker and 1 scoop 100% Egg Protein
2 teaspoons Flax Oil
If it was impossible to eat the food portion of any of the meals #2 – #5 I doubled the drink portion.
At this point I was 22 weeks out from the Nationals. I had spent the past 15 weeks putting my body through a tremendous amount of stress. Since I’d kept my bodyfat low and conditioning high, I was able to back off a little and let my body recuperate 100% before starting my precontest diet. The next 7 weeks would be spent consolidating my gains and revving up for the intense precontest dieting and training to follow.
I lowered my carbs, decreased the intensity of my training (still doing 4 on 1 off however) doing just 20 sets per workout, and decreased my intake of supplements slightly. Oh, one thing I may have forgotten – as low as I maintained my bodyfat during the entire off-season I was yet to do even one second of cardio.
Here’s my 7-week Preseason Diet
8 oz. 92% lean beef
4 egg whites, 2 Whole Eggs
Protein Drink: 3 scoops Ultra Size,
2 tbsp Whipping Cream, 18 oz Water
12 ounces chicken (weighed prior to cooking)
4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber,
green peppers, etc.) with 2 tbsp Newman’s Own
Oil & Vinegar Dressing
Protein Drink: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 1 scoop 100% Egg,
1 scoop Ultra Size, 2 tbsp Whipping Cream,
4 Frozen Strawberries, 20 oz water
2 Cans Tuna
2 cups Vegetables
Protein Drink: 3 scoops Muscle Provider
2 tbsp Whipping Cream, 4 Frozen Strawberries,
20 oz water
Every 3rd day as a 7th meal: 2 cups oatmeal
(precooked) or cooked rice, 12 oz. sweet potato,
1 banana, 1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter
Ultra Pak after training
B-150 (at 1st meal or 8 hours after Ultra Pak)
6 Mass and 6 Ultra 40 with every meal
1 Ultra C before training and 2 Antioxidants after training
3 ZMA before bed
6 Joint Care per day
June 12 – July 2: I cycled in 4 GH Factor and ½ teaspoon L Glutamine on an empty stomach – three times daily: AM, PM and before training; Creatine Monohydrate and Muscle Mass BCAA’s during training. From July 3 – August 2: I dropped the GH Factor, etc. and substituted Mass Aminos for Muscle Mass during training.
So I ended this phase weighing 222 at 4.4% bodyfat. Once again I was allowing my body to recuperate 100% after the previous gaining phases, yet at the same time I had reduced my bodyfat percentage still further. I was now ready to enter the 15-week precontest phase bigger and in better condition than I had ever been in my entire life!
Still, many things about the upcoming contest were uncertain. We had no idea how I would do at the Nationals until I stepped on stage.
Originally I had planned to compete as a light-heavy. Now, after the successful diet and supplement phases listed above, there was no way I was going to make the under 198 lb group. It looked like I was going to have to compete against the really big guys! I was more than a little worried - I knew I had the complete support from my wife and the best supplement company in the industry, but I had no idea of the unbelievable things that were going to happen over the course of the next 15 weeks.
My part time work at the Beverly International office kept me focused on the clients with whom I was working, not myself. The more I helped our clients, the more I understood how the Beverly International supplements work, why they are so superior over other products, and how and when to best incorporate them into my own diets. As I saw what worked for a particular client I’d also incorporate the same supplement into my own program. (That’s part of the reason there are so many supplements in my diet.)
During this phase I became very close to the Beverly team. In this business you will come across a lot of fake people, but Roger, Sandy and everyone at Beverly are as genuine as they come. They taught me their philosophy, Our goal here is to help every bodybuilder who seeks our help to achieve their dream regardless of their level of competition. I learned that the more help I gave to others the more I would learn and the better I became.
In the next issue I will go over the final 15 weeks and what I did to shock nearly everyone, including myself, by placing 6th at the Nationals in my very first try. I was able to go through my precontest preparation in cruise control, patiently counting down the days while most guys were out there practically killing themselves to get ready on time.
My condition at the Nationals was a direct result of the previous year’s strict dieting and extremely hard work illustrated in Part One and Part Two of this series. The final 15 weeks out turned out to be the easy part. Instead of looking at the last 15 weeks as crunch time, I was on autopilot. Until next issue remember these words – “use the off-season for what it should be, improvement time, not doughnut time!