Advice to the Bodybuilder

By Shane Smith, 2002 NPC Mid Illinois and Caveman Classic Light Heavyweight Champion
Magazine 9 #1

I love bodybuilding. There’s no doubt about it. Although many others see it as a never-ending exercise in hard work and discipline, for me it’s the total opposite. I look forward to each training day as a time to forget the stress of the outside world and do something strictly for myself.

But there is an irony in all of this. My passion for bodybuilding was the result of a serious misfortune. I fractured a vertebra during a basketball game. After months of therapy and rehabilitation the doctors recommended that I start a weight program to increase bone density and rebuild my strength. That was six years ago and I’ve been training ever since.

Shane Smith front double bicep
Success in bodybuilding is just like anything else.
"What you put into it is what you will get out of it."

"In this article I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about bodybuilding and how I’ve applied it to make incredible progress.

Your training, nutrition, and supplement programs don’t have to be fancy to be effective."

I’ve been working with Team Beverly for two years now. In this article I’ll tell you what I’ve learned during this time and how I’ve applied it to make unbelievable progress. One of the most important lessons I discovered is that your training, nutrition, and supplement programs don’t have to be fancy to be effective. If you’re like me and want to see just how far you can go in bodybuilding, then nutrition should be the foundation of your program. The results you get from your training program will only be as good as your nutrition. If you have an average nutrition program, you’ll get average results. But, what I’ve found is that when I pay meticulous attention to my nutrition program, I get excellent results.

As you read on, I’ll tell you more about my individualized nutrition program as well as the training and supplement programs I used to achieve my all time best condition. But first let me give you an overview of my preparation period. I started with a realistic goal of the condition I believed I could attain. I worded with Jeremiah at Beverly to formulate a plan of attack to achieve my goals for the year.

I started my first diet regimen January 1, ready to put together my best showing ever at the NPC Caveman Classic in May. Slight adjustments were made to my calorie intake and supplement program at three-week intervals as my body fat levels decreased. With each diet change my conditioning improved. My motivation was through the roof going into the NPC Mid Illinois, three weeks before the Caveman Classic. I achieved my be condition to date and won the light heavies. However, I knew that I could still be sharper and I really didn’t have any time to slack off. I had a guest-posing event the next weekend, and then two more weeks until the Caveman Classic. The year before I had finished second in both the Novice and Open. This year I wanted to win the show and that’s all I concentrated on. We had adjusted my protein to carb ration a small amount after the Mid Illinois and at the Caveman my conditioning was right on. This time I won my class in both the novice and open while barely losing in the overall by a tie break.

It was hard to explain how it feels to achieve a long sought goal, but it sure made all the weeks of dieting and hard work worthwhile.

Training

Now let’s take a look at the individual components of my contest preparation starting with training. When it comes to training it seems everyone goes about it a bit differently. But there are really just a few essential basics that you must take into account when formulating an effective training program: muscle fiber recruitment, muscle fiber overload, and muscle recovery. My personal training program is designed around two universal principles - muscle prioritizatioin and progressive overload.


     Shane’s Training Split
Day One: Chest/Biceps/Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 5-10
Incline DB Press 4 5-10
Weighted Dips 4 8-12
Cable Curl 3 8-12
EZ Bar Curl 4 8-12
DB Curl 3 8-12
Crunches/V-Ups 3 failure
Day Two: Lower Body
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 5 5-12
Leg Press 4 8-12
Leg Extension 3 8-12
Leg Curl 3 8-12
Hamstring Machine 3 8-12
Standing Calf Raise 4 10-12
Donkey Calf Raise 3 10-20
Day Three: Off
Day Four: Shoulders/Triceps/Abs
Exercise Sets Reps
Lateral Raise 4 8-12
DB Press 4 8-12
* Superset the next two:
Exercise Sets Reps
* Cable Laterals 3 8-12
* Rear Delt Flye 3 8-12
Close Grip Bench 4 8-12
Triceps Pushdown 4 8-12
Leg Raises/Crunches 3 failure
Day Five: Back/Traps
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift 5 5-12
Pull-ups 4 failure
DB Row 3 6-10
Curl Grip Pulldown 3 8-12
DB or Machine Shrug 38-12

Prioritization is important for anyone who is not blessed with perfect proportions and the capability for each muscle to grow at the desired rate. (That should just about include everyone.) The principle of progressive overload is even more important. This is not just my opinion, but also one shared by sport scientists. As you have probably noticed, once you achieve a stat of "respectable" muscular development, it becomes progressively harder to add more muscle tissue. This is because muscles adapt very readily to any new stimuli. In order to continue to progress you must continue to increase in one of the three loading parameters: increased weight for the same rep range, increased repetitions with the same weight, or decreased rest time between sets. Then, just to confuse the issue, adequate recovery from rest and improved nutrition is a must.

On the previous page I gave you my exact training routine, now let me make just a few more comments I believe in "controlled heavy training". I center my workouts on the big, multi-joint lifts that recruit the most muscle fibers. I train with the heaviest weight that I can control throughout the full range of motion. This type of training exhausts all of the muscle fibers in the targeted muscle.

I always start with a five or ten minute warmup on the recumbent bike and finish with a twenty to thirty minute cardio session. My goal is a 400k/cal expenditure per session. I vary the activity so that I don’t get bored. I may jog, walk on an incline, use the elliptical trainer, etc. I try to maintain my heart rate at 75-80% of my predicted maximum heart rate.

Shane chooses to work in the higher intensity level of the training range, 76-85% in order to increase caloric expenditure over a given period of time.

Shane chooses to train in the 75 to 85 % range Don’t make bodybuilding too complicated.

Nutrition
   Your training is important, but when it comes to making progress, nutrition is really where it’s at. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, "How many hours a day do you workout?" When I reply, "about an hour," they can’t believe it. The key element nearly everyone misses is "your progress is determined by what you do when you’re not at the gym." And nutrition is the critical factor. My personal nutrition program is designed around my body type. I seem to accumulate bodyfat very easily so I maintain a strict diet and supplement schedule year round whether it’s contest training or off season.

Supplements
  For a serious bodybuilder proper diet accounts for a large part of your daily nutrition, but here’s the next step. Supplements. Believe me it is very difficult to find good dietary supplements with all the knock-offs, and bogus ads but a good, sound supplement program will make a huge difference in your results. With Beverly supplements.

  1. I find that I don’t lose strength when I’m dieting. In fact, I get stronger.
  2. When I restrict calories I don’t feel weak, I have more energy
  3. When I’m on low carbs I don’t look stringy, I look full and ripped.

Truthfully, it is simply impossible for me to get the nutrient density I need from food meals and protein shakes alone. To add muscle while keeping my fat in check and getting shredded for competition I rely on the following supplements:

First and foremost is Muscle Synergy. Described in one word "awesome". I gained more than five pounds of lean muscle in six weeks on Muscle Synergy... while on my strictest contest diet!

Words of Advice

I’d like to conclude my story with a few words of advice. For the beginner, learn as much as you can about what you are doing, not just exercise but nutrition, supplements, rest... everything. For you who have been in the sport for a while, lead by example. You have a lot of people looking up to you at the gym. Be a positive role model. In bodybuilding you have many decisions to make that can affect you both mentally as well as physically. Don’t be fooled into thinking that there is a quick, easy road to get to where you want to be. There isn’t. Bodybuilding isn’t complicated. You get out of it exactly what you put into it. Be smart in your decisions and keep a positive attitude. Keep setting realistic goals for yourself and there is no doubt that you will accomplish what you’ve set out to do.

If you are already a competitor remember, "Your contest preparation never stops." Your off season is actually when you start getting ready for you next contest. This is a great time to add quality muscle, so pay close attention to your nutrition and supplement program. When it comes down to it, success in bodybuilding is just like anything else. "What you put into it is what you will get out of it."

Shane after weeks of dieting
Achieving a long-sought goal makes all the weeks of dieting and hard work worthwhile.
My Exact Nutrition Strategy
Off Season Diet
One thing I highly recommend is that you stay relatively lean year round.
I’ve tried it both ways and have made better progress when
I’m not carrying around extra fat.
Meal One:
2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites
8 oz. lean beef or
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
½ cup oatmeal or cream of wheat
Meal Two:
3 scoops Ultra Size
3 tbsp heavy cream, 18 oz water
(I sometimes add strawberries or bananas for variety.)
Meal Three:
10 oz. chicken oz.
6 oz. potato (usually sweet potato)
4 cups salad with 3 tbsp Low fat dressing
Meal Four:
Same Ultra size mix as meal two
Meal Five:
10-12 oz. sirloin steak or other meat
2 cups vegetables
or large garden salad
Meal Six:
Ultra size crepe with strawberries
Initial Pre-Contest diet
You’ll see that my pre-contest is a mirror of the off-season plan above with the exception of a few less calories to enhance fat burning.
Meal One:
1 whole egg
5 egg whites
5 oz. chicken breast
½ cup oatmeal
Meal Two:
2 scoops Ultra size
1 scoop 100% Egg Protein
2 tbsp heavy cream 18 oz. water (I would freeze this mix the night before. Then I’d let it thaw slightly and eat it with a spoon. For an even creamier mix place it back in the blender with a little more ice.)
Meal Three:
8 oz. chicken
6 oz. sweet potato
2 cups salad with 2 tbsp Low fat dressing
Meal Four:
Same Ultra size mix as meal two
Meal five:
8 oz. lean beef, chicken or turkey
2 cups vegetables
1 Tb sp. flax oil
Meal Six:
Ultra Size crepe with cinnamon:
2 scoops Ultra Size
1 whole egg, 3 egg white Add cinnamon, mix and cook like a pancake.
As the contest approaches we make periodic adjustments to the protein/carbohydrate ratio. At its tightest my diet consists of chicken, fish egg whites, spinach, grapefruit and Beverly Muscle Provider. At this point I also include the twice-weekly Beverly carb up meal.