"The uncomfortable truth is too many of those who venture to the fields of iron and steel give up, quit, abandon the glorious task too soon to realize the sub-surface bounty of exercise, good eating and training. The qualities they lacked to keep them going were amongst the qualities they were about to discover
"- Dave Draper in Brother Iron, Sister Steel"
What an amazing and eventful journey it has been. I have not only made huge strides physically over the past three years, but mentally as well. I’ve already fulfilled many of my goals as a natural bodybuilder. You can too -- with determination, self-discipline, and the proper commitment to hard work and proper nutrition. Here’s how I did it.
I started in high school training for athletics. Then went to Ohio State, not for football, they don’t have too many 5′6″, 160-pounders there. I did keep training though, but for the first two years my gains weren’t the greatest. As I look back I’m not surprised. My supplements of choice at the time were cheap whey protein powder and beer (No, I didn’t mix them together.)
Bodybuilding competition was the furthest thing from my mind. Then my friend, Sean Young and I attended the Arnold Classic. I fell in love with the sport instantly, but there was no way I thought I could compete. Still it psyched up my training and interest in bodybuilding. Subsequently I attended some local shows and realized, "Hey, maybe I can compete at this level." The next question was where to begin and how?
I was working at a nutrition center in Columbus and began reading everything I could get my hands on. Sean came up from Cincinnati and brought me a stack of No Nonsense Newsletters and that’s where I was introduced to Beverly International. I read about natural athletes, like myself, making solid gains, placing high and often winning contests. "Can this be real or just more hocus pocus advertising?"
For five months I continued to read everything and Beverly was starting to rise to the top of my awareness. Then when a few of my trusted close friends told me Beverly was the real deal I made my decision. I was going to give the Beverly International program a try. My first appointment at Beverly was a humbling experience. I was under the presumption that I was in my best condition since my high school wrestling days... needless to say; my balloon popped when I was measured at 13% bodyfat and 155 pounds. I had a lot of work ahead of me. But I left with a no nonsense nutrition plan, good training advice and a dream.
I started on my new training and diet plan with enthusiasm. I also began using Beverly International supplements for the first time with the staple of Mass Aminos, Ultra 40’s, ZMA, and Ultra Size Chocolate (my favorite!). I could not believe it; within ten days I saw improvements in my physique! I knew then that I had made a wise decision starting with Beverly International.
In the months that followed, I continued to increase in strength and improve my physique. The more progress I saw the easier it became to follow my meal plans. Now I couldn’t wait to do my first show, the 2001 Natural Capital City in Columbus. When the strict contest prep began at eight weeks out, I was already in the best shape of my life. However, I still had a ways to go to be in "contest condition".
Truthfully, those next eight weeks were some of the most difficult in my life. The contest preparation, combined with a demanding job, and a fulltime college course load were tests to my character and self-discipline. Living on a college campus during spring quarter did not make it any easier. The spoils that go along with college life constantly tempted me: beer, pizza, wings, parties, etc. etc. No, I didn’t succumb to the temptations, but to say that I didn’t think about it would be a lie.
It took time to learn that it really takes a change of lifestyle to become a successful bodybuilder. With time and experience, I have learned to focus my attention toward my goals and away from the temporary fixes that would cut these goals short. Once my mindset changed, dealing with contest preparation became much easier.
June came quickly and in front of many of my family and college friends, I competed in my very first bodybuilding contest. With the tutelage of Jeremiah and Team Beverly, I came away with three trophies including 1st place Novice Lightweight. I was ecstatic, but I knew I had a lot of room to improve. My condition was great, but I weighed in at a very light 137.5 (lightest man in the show). That night I set three goals for myself. Over the next fourteen weeks I will: 1) increase my lean mass; 2) achieve even better condition; 3) improve my posing.
For the next six weeks I went on a closely controlled "gaining phase." I began charting my lifts and progression. Charting my progress became an invaluable source to me because it pushed me to get stronger each week. Though I lifted by myself primarily, charting my progress pushed me like a good partner would. Besides training during these six weeks of the summer, I continued to take classes at OSU and work part time. Because it was the summer quarter, the campus was pretty dead, which gave me a lot of free time to burn. To cure some of the boredom, I began creating my own bodybuilding website. I decided to name the site, "Burger’s Bodybuilding World". As a sort of thank you to Roger and Sandy at Beverly International, I decided to dedicate the site to help promote and display other Beverly clients, like myself. It has and always will be just for fun though. Presently, the site features Beverly clients from all across the United States.
I decided I’d shoot for the NPC Battle of Champions, a national qualifier, at the end of March. The show date correlated very well with my schedules for work and the Junior Olympic volleyball team that I coached. I met with Jeremiah at ten weeks out to get my body fat checked, discuss new training strategies, and go over a new contest prep meal plan. My hard work over the preceding year had paid dividends. I was starting my contest prep with six pounds of added lean mass and at a lower bodyfat percentage than in the past. For the first five weeks I continued to alternate lean gain and fat burning meal plans weekly, while adding Lean Out, Energy Reserve, GH Factor, and Muscle Provider to my supplement intake.
My training was designed around a varying 4 on / 1 off training scheme. I focused on never letting my body get used to one technique or rep number. The workout went as follows: (1 Cycle = 4 sequential lifting days + 1 off day).
My body reacted very well to the varying meal plan and training. At five weeks out the only change I made was to combine the two meal plans weekly with four days of fat burning and three days of lean gain. I also added Muscularity to my supplement arsenal. I continued to use this diet plan until ten days out from the show. The high quality supplement program and this meal plan sequence worked great! It got me where I needed to be, without the struggle I was so used to in the past. I practically coasted into the show. To add icing to the bodybuilding cake, at two weeks out, I was already leaner than I had been for my last show!