Complete Contest Preparation

Here’s How I Did It

By: Dave Meyer
2002 NPC Drug Free Monster Mash Overall Champion
Magazine 8 #4

I wasted a lot of time trying one thing after another, always looking for the quick fix, the wonder supplement, or a crash diet.

This year I relied on the tried and true methods of Beverly International.

My first experience with competitive bodybuilding came after high school when I enlisted in the US Navy. I started training at the base gym and actually entered a physique contest. I can't show you my pictures from those days because I am thoroughly embarrassed. I posed in my underwear in place of posing trunks. I was fat and came in last place. This experience did teach me a great lesson. I’ll never do a show unless I am prepared in every way. That includes diet, training, tanning, posing... and posing trunks. That said, I’ll take you along as I tell you how I prepared for my heavyweight class and overall wins at the NPC Drug-Free Monster Mash. I hope that there’s something here that will help you prepare for your next show, or even your first show.

Let me tell you first off, that no matter where you train, you will hear or read so many varying opinions regarding training, diet, supplements, and whatever else, including drugs, that you’ll be dazed and confused. At least I was. I finally realized that the more theories and methods I tried the farther behind (and fatter) I got. I decided to go one hundred per cent with Beverly’s system this year and it worked to perfection. Lesson Number One – rely on an intelligent systemized plan for your contest preparation.

Dave July 1 weighing 220 plus

In the before photo at the taken July 1 2002, I weighed in the 220’s. Can you imagine what I looked like when I started my diet weighing 265?

Dave’s lean abs

In the off–season, I had been known to weigh as much as 270 pounds. This was way too much fat; especially since my competition weight is in the 200 – 205–pound range. I actually would lose more than twenty–five per cent of my bodyweight to get ready for a contest. Not only did I have to sacrifice lean muscle to lose all the fat, but the accumulation of extra fat thickened my waist and was detrimental to my symmetry. As I write this it is three months after the Monster Mash and my bodyfat is still in the seven’s. I’ve learned my lesson. Lesson Number Two – don’t gain extra fat, keep your bodyfat percentage at ten or below so you can focus on growing lean muscle year–round.

Another mistake I’d made in the past was eating fewer calories during the week so that I could overindulge on the weekends. This strategy might have worked if I had eaten more clean food during the week and less junk on the weekends. I made the problem worse by eating far too few calories during the week (approximately 2400 calories) and then I would totally over indulge in cookies, donuts, and what ever else I wanted on the weekends. The result was I lowered my metabolic set point during the week then overloaded it with a fat storage dump on the weekends. Now I am eating 3400 to 3600 calories daily with more quality protein and a bit less sugar on the weekends. Lesson Number Three – Practice self–discipline. Eat the correct amount of protein and calories that you need each day to build muscle and don’t go overboard on the weekends.

In the past I just bought a bunch of different proteins for my protein shakes. I had the attitude that the cheap stuff was better for me than a Big Mac. Well yeah … for the average Joe. But I wanted to grow the maximum amount of lean muscle tissue possible. I learned that if I want quality muscle I better pay attention to quality proteins. (Muscle is protein, you know.) This year I used Muscle Provider and Ultra Size in place of the cheaper stuff. This new approach may have cost me a bit more money on the initial purchase, but I did not get a blood sugar rush sixty minutes after I had the shake. I can now go a little longer until my next meal without going into starvation mode. Lesson Four – Put only the highest quality protein sources in your mouth.

Dave Meryer: The Lessons He’s Learned In Contest Preparation

My Diet and Supplement Strategy

Meal #1and #6:
Eight egg whites, 6 oz. chicken breast, and one–half cup oatmeal

Meals #2 and #4 were shakes: Two scoops Mass Maker plus two scoops Muscle Provider

Meal #3:
10 oz. tuna, 4 oz. sweet potato, and one cup of green vegetables

Meal #5:
10 oz. chicken or lean beef, 4 oz. potato, and large salad

Super Pak with Meal #1
Mass Aminos and Ultra 40 with every meal
8 Muscle Synergy twice daily

I ate double the amount of calories this time around and cardio was not even an issue, If you want quality muscle, you better pay attention to quality proteins.

100 pound dumbbell press

A week before the show I was still able to handle 100–pound dumbbells in my training. Muscle Synergy helped me get stronger even as my diet became more strict.
All exercises 3–4 sets 8–12 reps

Cardio used to be a dreadful task. I did hours upon hours of cardio in the past. I would be so tired and exhausted that I could barely train. Now I use cardio as just one tool in my contest preparation. I found that if I keep my bodyfat in check by improving my nutrition I do not need to do endless hours of cardio to get ready for a contest. I ate double the amount of calories this time around and cardio was not even an issue. Lesson Five – With the correct diet and supplements you can limit precontest cardio to just twenty minutes per day.

Dave's bodyfat at 6.5 percent

I definitely did not look lean at the start of my contest diet even though my bodyfat was below ten percent bodyfat.

Now that you see the philosophy I used this year, I want to share my actual progress, nutrition and supplement programs, and training. I started my formal precontest preparation at 9.18 percent bodyfat. My bodyweight was in the low 220’s at ten weeks out from my primary contest. Sandy suggested a diet somewhat higher in calories than I had ever followed precontest.

My supplements at this time were Super Pak with my first meal. I took four Mass Aminos and four Ultra 40s with each meal; and eight Muscle Synergy tablets twice daily, first thing in the morning and thirty minutes before training. The Muscle Synergy turned out to be fantastic. I stayed as strong through my precontest training as I had ever been. It was amazing. Four weeks later my bodyfat dropped to 6.5 percent at a weight of 216 pounds.

   A diet change was in order. I cut the complex carbs out, added Muscle Mass BCAAs during my training, upped the Muscle Synergy to twenty–four daily, and had a carb meal twice weekly. My bodyfat dropped into the four percent range over the next four weeks and unlike previous contest prep diets; I was still able to maintain my strength and a lot of muscle.


I train on a two–week alternating schedule that coincides with my work schedule. I do up to fifteen total sets for large bodyparts and ten to twelve sets for smaller bodyparts. I generally do three or four sets on each exercise, adding weight each set, as I am able. I always start my back training with pull–ups. The lower my bodyweight goes the higher the reps! If I tried to do them when I weighed 250 pounds, I might get six or seven reps. At 205 pounds I do three sets of fifteen to eighteen reps. This exercise seemed to have helped my width when I was younger, so I continue to do them now. At one time I did all my training for width, then I switched and concentrated on thickness by doing everything close grip style. Now I do a mixture. (See the chart on the bottom of the page for my complete precontest training program.)

My goal is to continually improve my physique. My back and legs are strong points for me now. As stated earlier I developed my back through early concentration on pull–ups. My legs were fairly decent to start, but I almost lost one a few years ago. At work I operate a concrete saw. I was on the job cutting one of those concrete walls that run along side an interstate highway when the 54–inch concrete saw blade (it weighed so much that it took two guys to place it on the machine) cut into my front thigh just above my patella. The cut was 4″ inches deep into my quadriceps. I thought I was finished as a bodybuilder. The doctor said if I had not had the dense amount of muscle tissue I had built through bodybuilding, the saw would have cut my femur in half. It took sixty–five stitches to put me back together. (If you look closely you can see the scar in the accompanying photos on my left quad.)

I hope this article has been helpful to you. In the past I wasted a lot of time trying one thing after another, always looking for the quick fix, the wonder supplement, or a crash diet. In closing, I’d like to thank my wife, Amy, my training partner Tammy, and Sandy at Beverly for all their support.