Women’s Physique: My Journey from Competitive Boxer to Women’s Physique Competitor

At a Glance: Rebecca Powell

Age: 39 (will be 40 on July 3rd)

Occupation: Branch Manager for Mueller Roofing Distributors, I am 5th generation in our family-owned business.

Family: Curt (husband), sons Christian (age 22 and also a body builder), Tristan (19) and Trenton (19) (twins)

Current Residence: Liberty Township, Ohio

Years training: 3 years

Height: 5' 2"

Weight: 130 (Off-Season), 122 (Contest)

Favorite UMP recipe (off-season treat): Peanut Butter Protein Bites - 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, 1/4 cup honey, 1 scoop chocolate UMP, 3 tbsp ground flaxseed, 3 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips. Mix all ingredients together. Form dough into quarter size bites. Store in the refrigerator.

Favorite BI Supplement: Muscle Mass - This is an excellent BCAA! I used it throughout my prep to aid in muscle preservation and muscle recovery. Taking Muscle Mass during training is the secret to sustaining my intense training schedule.

Supplement Recommendation: Make it simple! Start small... more isn't always better. Follow the BI plan that best aligns with your goals.

Music: Anything from the 80s and 90s to current: Van Halen, White Snake, Prince, Journey, Eminem, Alter Bridge, Metallica and Anthrax

Most Inspiring Book: The Servant by James C. Hunter

Hobbies: Boating with my family, reading, and traveling

Words to live by: "You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win." ~ Zig Ziglar

I have always been an avid fitness enthusiast. I was raised in a very active household and physical activity has always been a part of my life. In the ‘80’s it was aerobics and later, Tae Bo. But, deep down I always wanted to be like one of the “fit” girls on the magazine covers. Although I tried to stay active as I raised a family, I really couldn’t dedicate any significant time to fitness until my sons grew older. In 2012 I began taking cardio boxing classes at a local gym and fell in love with it. After a year of boxing for fun and fitness, I decided to take it to the next level and began training to box competitively. My first tournament was at the 2014 Arnold Classic. I came in second. What an amazing experience! Following that tournament I continued to train and looked forward to my next fight.

 

Then, in the fall of 2014, my oldest son, Christian competed in a bodybuilding competition. It was the Natural Ohio, hosted by Dave Lieberman. My husband and I made the trip to cheer him on. We really enjoyed the show and were proud and thrilled when Christian placed first in several classes. Another highlight of the show was the Women’s Physique competition. I was completely taken aback and in awe of those women. I loved their combination of femininity and muscle without the glitz and glam of those in the Figure or Bikini divisions. Right then and there I knew that I wanted to compete in Women’s Physique. I nudged my husband and said, “I can do that…I know I can do that!”

And so my “physique” journey began. Being an “all in or all out” girl, I knew I needed help if I was going to successfully make the switch from boxer to physique competitor. Training and diet changes would be a necessity. Instead of emphasizing quickness and conditioning alone, I needed to eat and train for muscle growth and development while minimizing bodyfat. Luckily, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some amazing coaches. Coach Rob Quimby, former bodybuilding champion and owner of Fitness Lifestyle Personal Training, along with Coach Tina Triguero, IFBB Pro and owner of Tfit Training, gave me all of the tools that I needed to succeed.

20% Bodyfat to 7.7% Nutrition and Supplement Plan

Starting with a body fat percentage of about 20%, I had my work cut out for me. I began my overall nutrition and training prep about 20 weeks out from my contest. At 12 weeks out, I really tightened things up. Here is the nutrition and supplement program that I used to drop my bodyfat to 7.7% while maintaining all my muscle.
 

Meal 1:  2 eggs + 6 egg whites, 1 cup broccoli, ½ cup oatmeal, ½ grapefruit

Meal 2: Strawberry UMP shake

Meal 3: 6oz chicken, 1 cup asparagus, 4oz sweet potato

Meal 4: Strawberry UMP shake

Meal 5: 6oz tilapia, 1 cup broccoli

I am a busy girl so I like to keep things simple. I do all of my meal planning and prep for the week on Sunday afternoons. It takes about 3 hours but saves me loads of time during the week and it keeps me on track. I cook 10 skinless chicken breasts at a time in the crock pot with salt and pepper, Flavor God seasoning, and 2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes. I bake tilapia with lemon juice and a little pepper. I pre-cut all of my veggies, separate them into servings and I place them all into disposable steamer bags for easy storage and cooking. Meals #2 and #4 are UMP Strawberry shakes. I prepare them the night before by adding 2 scoops to a shaker bottle with about 10oz water. I then put it in the freezer overnight. I take the frozen shake with me to work and by the time I’m ready to drink it, it’s a slushy! I LOVE it.

Supplements

(PRIMARY GOAL: GAIN/MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS WHILE LOSING FAT)

 

During my meal planning sessions, I also prepare my supplements in daily dosages and store them in a pill organizer to expedite things during the week. Beverly products were instrumental to my success. When boxing I had used various supplements, but my contest prep trainer said that Beverly was the best and helped me design a supplement plan to gain lean muscle mass while losing fat. I noticed a huge difference in my ability to gain muscle and lose fat. Here’s the program I used to lose more than 12% of my bodyfat in 20 weeks while securing all of my muscle.


UMP: (Chocolate and Strawberry) Strawberry is my favorite... a treat that tastes like cake batter!

Ultra 40: (3 with each meal)

Mass Aminos: (3 with each meal)...switched to Muscle Mass around 8 weeks out (3 with each meal and 10-15 total taken before, during and after training)

Lean Out: (2 upon rising and 2 with each meal)

7-Keto MuscLean: (3 upon rising and 3 mid-afternoon)

Joint Care: (3 capsules twice daily) I swear by this supplement...I have bad tennis elbow and as long as I keep this on board I am in good shape.

EFA Gold: (3 softgels twice daily)

Glutamine Select (2 scoops while training and 1-2 scoops throughout the day to curb hunger)


Kudos to Beverly and excellent customer service! The online ordering page is fantastic and repeat user friendly. My order is always spot-on and arrives at my doorstep within a day or two at the most!

 

Weight Training

I work a sedentary job from 7:30-4:30 daily, and then go right to the gym where I meet my husband. We train together for 1.5 – 2 hours, six days a week. We work with one of my coaches, Rob Quimby, on two of those days.

Rob and I focused on leaning out my legs while also improving shoulder and chest mass. Although I have a decent amount of muscle in my legs, I tend to carry some excess "baggage" there too. I trained them twice a week in completely different ways to lean them out and expose those detailed lines. My favorite leg exercises are squats alternating with 150# sled pushes. Here are the basic parameters for my training:

• Trained each body part twice weekly

• Focused on weight for reps (12-15 reps per set/4-5 sets each exercise/Increased weight with each set/Enough weight that the final few reps of the final set are very challenging and near failure)

• Use a lot of supersets

Training

THURSDAY: CHEST/BACK - REPEAT TUESDAY WORKOUT, SATURDAY: SHOULDERS/BICEPS/TRICEPS - REPEAT WEDNESDAY WORKOUT

 

MONDAY: LEGS (MY FAVORITE)
Deep heavy Barbell Squats superset with 30-yard 150# Sled Pushes
Leg Extensions and Sissy Squats superset with 20-yard steep Hill Runs
Heavy barbell Walking Lunges superset with 40-yard Sprints
Weighted Jump Squats
TUESDAY: CHEST
Dips superset with Incline Dumbbell Press
Flat Dumbbell Press superset with Chest Flyes
Barbell Bench Press
Incline Barbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Pullovers superset with Push-ups
TUESDAY: BACK
Heavy Deadlifts superset with Seated Cable Rows
Chin-ups superset with One Arm Dumbbell Rows
Wide Grip Pulldowns superset with Bent-over Barbell Rows
Inverted Chin-ups using the TRX suspension trainer
WEDNESDAY: SHOULDERS
Seated Arnold Press superset with Behind the Head Pulldowns
Standing Dumbbell Press superset with Side Lateral Raises
Barbell Press in front of head and behind
Bent Over Rear Delt Raises superset with Barbell Upright Rows
Shrugs superset with Cable Face Pulls
WEDNESDAY: BICEPS / TRICEPS
Close Grip Pullover & Press superset with weighted Bench Dips
Skull Crushers superset with Tricep Pushdowns
Overhead Tricep Extensions using the rope/cable
Barbell Curls superset with Reverse Curls
Standing Dumbbell Curls superset with Hammer Curls
Preacher Curls or Concentration Curls over a bench
FRIDAY: LEGS (HEAVY)
Heavy Squats
Leg Press superset with Leg Curls
Romanian Deadlifts superset with Swing Squat Machine
Donkey Calf Raises superset with weighted Reverse Hyperextensions

Cardio

20-30 minutes of fasted HIIT cardio first thing in the morning on the treadmill, 6-7 days per week- incline jog/sprint.

Evening cardio following weight training: 20-30 minutes on the stationary bike 5-6 evenings per week.

The Results

I competed in my first show in March of 2015, the NPC Natural Ohio. I was thrilled to garner second place in the Women’s Physique Open “A” Class and win the overall in the Master’s Women’s Physique division. Four weeks later, I competed in the NPC Kentucky Derby and placed third in both the Women’s Physique Open Class “A” and Master’s Women’s Physique Class. It was a great start to what I know will be a challenging but rewarding experience in Women’s Physique. A big thank you to my awesome coaches, my amazingly supportive husband and family for helping me battle through this huge accomplishment.

Don’t Call It A Comeback!

It is traditional for winning athletes to retire; step away from the gridiron, court, field or ring; focus on other things. Then, given time, they find their mind questioning things: Do they have what it takes for another win? Are their best years behind them? Most of all, have they accomplished everything that they are capable of in the sport?

 
For natural bodybuilders like Frank LaGarde, the situation can be different. Taking almost a decade away from the posing platform, did not remove him from the gym. Bodybuilding is a sport in which 99% of the athletic performance takes place before the day of competition. LaGarde's nine-year break was not a retirement.

“In addition to getting married and moving, doing too many shows in a three-year period burned me out,” LaGarde says. “I also knew I needed time to put on some muscle since I was squeezing into the middleweight class (at six-feet tall).”

Natural bodybuilding requires time, even for those possessing good genetics. Frank LaGarde definitely has some genetic  advantages, including broad shoulders and a small waist. His V-taper exaggerates itself when he diets for a contest. “It's a gift and a curse. It helps you in bodybuilding but it is hard to buy clothes that fit you.” This is NOT a terrible burden.

Frank began lifting for basic recreational exercise after high school but he got serious in 1999, which led to him competing in 2000. “I went to a contest that one of my wife's college friends competed in and said, 'I can do that'”. Since Frank placed well in his early contests (and went on to win in the most of the ones he entered) he became hooked on competing. Here is a listing of his three hectic early years in the sport:

2004 NPC Natural Ohio
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2004 NPC Upper Ohio Valley
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2004 NABBA Canton Open
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2005 NPC Natural Ohio
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2005 NPC Upper Ohio Valley
(Middleweight: 1st place / Overall Champion)

2005 NABBA Canton Open
(Middleweight: 1st place / Overall Champion)

2005 NPC Mike Francois Classic
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2006 Team Universe (National Contest)
(Middleweight: 5th place)

2006 NPC Motor City Classic
(Middleweight: 1st place)

2006 NPC Ohio State Championships
(Middleweight: 1st place)

 

Prior to taking a break from competition, Frank had difficulty dieting down to the 176-pound limit of his weight class. Few things are as frustrating as whittling away hard-earned muscle mass just to weigh-in for a class victory.

Resurgence

During his nine-year break from competitive bodybuilding, Frank's focus outside of the gym had been on marriage and career. In the gym, he slowly added muscle onto his new light-heavyweight build. He now plans to bring up his calves and traps before looking for the next areas required for ongoing construction.

Frank works from 8:30 until 5:00pm as a Sales Rep for AT&T-Midwest in the Small Business Sales department. His co-workers respect his bodybuilding goals and the job fits in well with his needs.

After work, he returns home, gets something to eat or drinks a shake, and makes it to the gym around 7:15. After work, Frank trains at Pep Wahl's Body Builders Inc in Akron, Ohio. Body Builders Inc is one of the country's best (and most under-rated) gyms. Need to chalk your hands? No worry about having to clean up after yourself. Chalk boxes are positioned throughout the gym. Body Builders' has an uncommon “men only” rule. What might seem like an outdated rule insisted upon by the landlord 35 years ago, does have its benefit for those that train there. Lack of the fairer sex removes the need for gym clothes that match. You don't see men in custom-designed athletic footwear, $60 gym hoodies, or matching lifting belt-and-shoe combos. Heck, even a hairstyle flattened by the pillow is not uncommon here. The vomit buckets get used and hard work is typical, with powerlifters, bodybuilders and non-competition gym meatheads all training hard and driven by their own purpose...whatever it might be.

Frank trains solo and likes to hit each body part twice a week. His training takes between 90 minutes to two hours, so he is home by around 9:00. This gives him just an hour to relax with his wife, Jennifer, before wrapping up his day.

Frank's approach in the gym doesn't change much pre- or post-contest. As the contest approaches, he does go a bit lighter, slightly reduces the rest periods, and does high rep burnout sets (with maybe 15-20 reps). For example, his chest training may involve a heavy pressing movement followed by higher reps pec deck or flyes.

Why does Frank not make big changes to his training as a contest approaches? “I don't let my body composition get out of control.” Like other smart and dedicated lifters, his off-season condition does not become sloppy with some type of “bulking” strategy. “At the recent NPC Natural Northern USA, I came down from around 212-213 and competed around 180.” This contest (promoted by Dave Liberman) is one of the largest regional drug-free contests in the country so Frank's overall wins in both the Open Class and Masters Class show that he properly filled out his now light-heavy frame. This made his return to the stage a success:

2015 NABBA Rubber City Classic
(Light-Heavyweight: 1st place)

2015 NPC Ohio State Championships
(Light-Heavyweight: 1st place)

2015 NPC Ohio State Championships Master's Class
(1st place)

2015 NPC Natural Northern USA
(Overall winner and Light-Heavyweight class 1st place)

2015 NPC Natural Northern USA Master's Class
(Overall winner and Light-Heavyweight class 1st place)

Maximum Potential

So why did Frank LaGarde make the decision to contact Beverly International? “My initial goal was to maximize my potential in order to get the very best results when competing,” Frank says. He started reading the No Nonsense Newsletter around 2000, but didn't try the products until 2003.

“When I first started bodybuilding, I was not using Beverly. But I decided to give Beverly a try. I noticed that the people winning at the shows were being featured in the No Nonsense Newsletters as loyal Beverly supplement users. That was proof enough for me!”

“I've been using BI supplements for so long, I do not have anything to compare it to. I guess that's pretty good.”

“I first met Steven Wade at the Beverly booth at the Arnold Classic, I believe it was 2002. We talked about the different products, mostly the protein powders.” When Frank decided to begin using Beverly he sent an email detailing his goals, and Steven was the Beverly Advisor Team member who replied. The two men crafted a contest diet that he has been using to this day. “Why change, if it's working?”

Frank's use of Beverly supplements is very diverse. His favorite products include Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP), Provosyn, and Quadracarn.

In his off-season, Frank takes one scoop of UMP and one scoop of Provosyn, two to three times daily. He also adds in four Ultra 40 tablets and four Mass Aminos twice daily, first thing in the morning and in the evening post-workout. For overall vitamin/mineral support, he has a Super Pak in the morning. To fuel his training, he has two scoops of Glutamine Select post-workout or three scoops sipped during training. He wraps his intake up with Quadracarn, three tablets, three times a day.

Like many successful bodybuilders, Frank's supplement intake makes minor increases as the competition approaches. This is to protect against muscle loss when calorie intake and metabolism are more strictly controlled. He increases his intake of Ultra 40 and Mass Aminos to four of each with every meal (five times a day). He increases this to a sixth dose of the two products as the diet continues. Beverly’s Creatine Select is added in to keep his muscles full of creatine when glycogen may be a bit low. The contest prep period also includes two Lean Out and four Muscularity with each meal. GH Factor is also included with six capsules in the morning and another six before bed. As a final support, Frank includes three 7-Keto MuscLean capsules in the morning, followed by a second similar dose in the afternoon.

“I didn't want to waste time with a lot of guess work and experimentation. Beverly has definitely helped me with that. They’ve helped me meet my goals...from the very beginning up until current day. Their input has always been on the money. Even after I took nine years from competing, Steven was still there to help me get back into contest shape."

Frank's praise of Beverly International goes beyond his own contest victories and reflects his early views of the newsletter (which has now transformed into the No Nonsense magazine). He likes BI “mainly because they use "real world" people such as myself, not just professional bodybuilders and fitness models, but regular people who have to be at work every day. I think that goes a lot further, when discussing real world results."

In life, real world results are the barometer of success. This involves goals taken beyond wishful dreams to becoming accomplished objectives. Frank LaGarde's impressive extensive list of contest victories demonstrate real world results. And now his profile in a Beverly article may serve to inspire more future champions to accomplish their own real world results!

Meal Plan

Meal 1: 1 whole egg, 6 egg whites, 1 can tuna , 1 scoop Muscle Provider , ½ grapefruit

Meal 2: 1 can tuna mixed with 4 boiled egg whites

Meal 3: 8oz grilled chicken breast, 2 ½ cups green beans

Meal 4: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 1 tomato or ½ grapefruit

Meal 5 (pre-workout): 1 can of tuna or 10 egg whites

Meal 6: 7oz turkey breast or 8oz white fish, 2 cups of steamed vegetables (usually broccoli)

On Mondays and Thursdays, I ate the following in place of my normal 6th meal: 
1 ½ cups of oatmeal (measured before cooking) or 1.5 cups cooked brown rice, 10oz sweet potato, 1 banana, 1 cup vegetables, and 1 tablespoon butter

Training

As mentioned before, Frank's training program doesn't change drastically between his pre-contest and off-season sessions. He attacks most body parts twice a week to encourage optimal growth. His typical workout each week breaks down as the following:

WEDNESDAY: REST, FRIDAY: REST, SUNDAY: REST
 

MONDAY: ABS, HAMSTRINGS, CHEST, BICEPSAmount
Ab Crunches or Declined Sit Ups4x25
Leg Curls5x10
Straight-Leg Deadlifts5x10
Chest Press Machine5x10
Pec Deck Flyes5x10 (sometimes superset with Dips 5 x10)
Standing Bicep Curls5x10
Dumbbell Hammer Curls5x10
TUESDAY:
ABS, BACK, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS

Amount
Weighted or Machine Crunches3x25
Lat Pull Down5x10
Seated Rows(sometimes superset
with Shrugs 5x10)
Machine Shoulder Press5x10
Lateral Raises or Upright Rows5x10
Triceps Pressdowns5x10
Overhead Triceps Rope Extensions5x10
THURSDAY:
ABS, CALVES, HAMSTRINGS, CHEST, BICEPS

Amount
Hanging Ab Crunches4x25
Seated Calf Raises5x10
Leg Press5x10
Standing Ham Curls5x10
Incline Chest Press5x10
Wide Chest Press5x10
Preacher Curls5x10
Rope Curls5x10
SATURDAY:
BACK, QUADS, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS

Amount
Romanian Deadlifts5x10
Front Squats5x10
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns5x10
T-Bar Rows5x10
Machine Shoulder Press5x10
Rear Delt Flyes5x10
Single Arm Triceps Pressdowns5x10
Overhead Triceps Extensions5x10

Bodybuilding as a Lifestyle

At a Glance: Khoshal Azami

Age: 38

Occupation: Owner, Body by Khoshal Personal Training; co-owner Lifestyle Fitness, Wilmette, IL

Family: Sophia, wife. We have a 3.5 year old daughter.

Years training (total): 16 years

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 210 (Off Season); 176 (Contest)

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Protein Pancakes made with sweet potato and two scoops of Muscle Provider.

Favorite Supplements: My favorite supplement is Muscle Provider Vanilla because I love the taste! I incorporated it in my morning pancakes, snacks, and shakes! I love the flexibility it has—I can mix it into anything! I also love Creatine Select. It not only gives me energy but most importantly, makes my pre-workout shakes delicious!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? For somebody who has never used any Beverly supplements, I would definitely recommend Muscle Provider because it can be mixed into anything! It is honestly the best tasting protein that I have ever come across.

In your CD player: Nothing! I love my Sirius XM radio!

Most Inspiring Book: The Kite Runner

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Going to the movies!

Words to live by: “All things are difficult before they are easy. It’s not about falling, it’s about getting back up. Success is not a skill, it is a persistent attitude.” - Marc

I always wanted to look “BIG” and fit. Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s, I was under the impression that lifting was all there was to “getting big”. Then, when I began training for my first competition I quickly learned that there was a lot more to it than just pumping iron. I had no idea that training went hand-in–hand with the right diet, the right supplements, and the right amount of cardio. Looking back, I did everything wrong. I dieted wrong, I trained wrong, I dehydrated trying to get the “dry look”, any mistake you could make, I made it. But, in the long run it was a valuable lesson. You progress in bodybuilding, as in life, by learning from your mistakes. After that first contest I knew I had a lot to learn and I applied myself to learning it. I continued to refine my training and cardio. And I even studied for and passed my personal training certification. Last year I also become a Certified Nutrition consultant.

 

The training aspect came easier for me than the nutritional one. My workouts were spot on but the results just weren’t there. I tried everything from calorie counting to intermittent fasting without any progress or results. The more I studied and the more nutritional techniques I experimented with, the more confused I became. Real results finally came when I started receiving the No Nonsense magazine! There were finally people I could relate to in this mag, not Mr Olympia or Mr Universe, but regular people who had attained the results that I was working so hard to achieve. Reading and analyzing their nutrition and supplement programs showed me how to fix my problem. I needed to speed up my metabolism. The solution was simple - eat small meals, many times throughout the day, and supplement with Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean. I dropped the fat that wouldn’t leave in almost no time at all! I added muscle building shakes, puddings, and brownies infused with delicious Muscle Provider at least twice each day. This made sticking to my muscle building, fat-busting nutrition plan so much easier. It didn’t feel like I was dieting at all! The Muscle Provider protein pudding and brownies killed all my cravings for sweets.

Now that I finally have a handle on all of the aspects of looking big and fit – training, cardio, nutrition, and supplements, I’d like to share it with you. I hope it will help you as earlier No Nonsense magazine articles helped me.

Training

 

MONDAY: CHEST DAYAmount
Barbell Bench Press4x10, 8, 6, 4
Barbell Incline Bench Press4x10, 8, 6, 4
Dumbbell Flyes3x10, 8, 6
Parallel Bar Dips3x15, 10, 8
Pullovers3x15
TUESDAY: BACK DAYAmount
Chin-Ups4x10 minimum
Close-Grip Chins4x10 minimum
T-Bar Rows4x15, 12, 8, 6
Bent-Over Barbell Rows4x8-12
Deadlifts4x20, 15, 10, 6
Lat Pulldown4x25, 20, 15, 10
Dumbbell Pull-Overs4x20, 15, 10, 6
WEDNESDAY: LEG & ABS DAYAmount
Squat1x20 warmup, then 4x10, 8, 6, 4
Front Squats4x10, 8, 8, 6
Hack Squats3x10
Leg Curls4x20, 10, 8, 6
Standing Leg Curls4x10
Straight-Leg Deadlifts3x10
WEDNESDAY: CALVESAmount
Donkey Calf Raises4x10
Standing Calf Raises4x15, 10, 8, 8
WEDNESDAY: ABDOMINALSAmount
Crunches3x25
Bent-Over Twists100 reps each side
Machine Crunches3x25
Crunches50 reps
THURSDAY: SHOULDERSAmount
Behind-Neck Barbell Press1x15 warmup, then 4x10, 8, 8, 6
Lateral Raises4x8
Bent-Over Dumbbell Laterals4x8
Dumbbell Shrugs3x10
Barbell Shrugs4x20
Upright Row4x20
FRIDAY: ARMSAmount
Standing Barbell Curls5x15, 10, 8, 6, 4
Incline Dumbbell Curls4x8
Concentration Curls3x8
One-Arm Triceps Extensions3x10
EZ Bar Curls4x10-20
FRIDAY: FOREARMSAmount
Barbell Wrist Curls4x10
Reverse Wrist Curls3x10

Nutrition

Preparation for a competition takes weeks, months or even years! I have to stay on a strict diet for at least 16 weeks, which used to be difficult because my mom is such an amazing cook. Coming from a large family and such a rich culture, dieting was hard in my household. Being persistent and proactive is what helped me cope and over the past couple years I have implemented my bodybuilding diet into my daily life, making it part of my lifestyle. I taught my family the importance of healthy eating. My mother even started implementing healthy substitutions into her cooking. Eating healthy, in my household, is now a part of our life. One tip I can give you is to always try to eat with someone, because eating in front of the TV or
the computer can lead to mindless over-eating.

Here's My 16-Week Pre-contest Diet Plan

 

Meal 1: 6oz 96% lean beef or 10 egg whites, 1 cup quinoa

Meal 2: 6oz grilled chicken, 8oz sweet potato

Meal 3: 6oz 96% lean beef, 1 cup brown rice, 6 asparagus spears, ½ cup spinach

Meal 4: 6oz white fish, 8oz sweet potato, 6 asparagus spears, 1 cup broccoli

Meal 5: 6oz white fish, 1 cup brown rice, small green salad, 6 asparagus spears

Meal 6: 6 egg whites, 4 asparagus spears (I often make a pudding or brownies with Muscle Provider chocolate and occasionally have a UMP shake in place of meal 6)

Supplement Schedule

 

Lean Out: (6 capsules per day) I consider Lean Out a must-have to keep my bodyfat in check.

7-Keto MuscLean: (3 capsules, twice a day) stimulates my metabolism to burn fat more quickly.

FitTabs: (2 tablets, twice daily) I can feel the difference in my energy and well-being when I take FitTabs.

Glutamine Select: (1-2 scoops before and/or after workouts) for muscle recovery.

Creatine Select: (1 scoop prior to workouts) builds size and strength.

Density: (5 tablets, twice a day) supplies the essential amino acids necessary to build muscle.

Muscle Synergy: (1 scoop in water during my workout) for pumps, strength, and muscle development.

Multiple Enzyme Complex: (1 or more tablets daily as needed) to help in digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Cardio

My favorite type of cardio is the stair master. I usually have to be at work by 5am, so I wake up an hour early to do cardio. It’s such a great feeling and perfect for weight-loss because I do it on an empty stomach. My aim is always 45 minutes but going an extra 15 is never a problem, if I have time.

In Closing

Preparing for a competition is only a hobby but it is the #1 factor in helping me get in shape fast. Knowing a contest is approaching motivates me to become much more disciplined in my training and especially in my nutrition plan. And I love the outcome, especially if it’s a late spring or early summer show – just in time for my summer beach body. Since my first competition in 2009, I have done five more competitions. On November 22nd, 2014 I won the overall at the NPC Natural Muscle Classic in Rockford, IL. So whether you want to look “BIG” and fit like me, or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, I hope that this article inspires you the way past No Nonsense articles have motivated me.

Cydney Gillon – Second Generation Fitness Leader

At a Glance: Cydney Gillon

Age: 23

Occupation: IFBB Pro Figure Competitor, Personal Trainer and Posing Coach

Education: University of Pennsylvania (Bachelor of Arts)

Current Residence: Douglasville, GA

Years Training: 8

Height: 5'3 3/4”

Weight: ~142 pounds in the off-season; contest weight varies

Favorite Fitness Meal: Protein Pancakes!

Favorite Supplements: UMP and Density - I used both primarily while I was in track season to make sure I was able to recover and make sure I did not burn off muscle since my cardio level was so high. Density allowed me to maintain my lean muscle tissue.

For someone who has never used Beverly before: I would say prepare to have your physique change; the better your supplementation, the better your physique. I always recommend starting with the Ultimate Muscle Protein (chocolate) because it is my favorite protein.

Hobbies: Yoga!

Words to live by: "If you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe... then, and only then, will you be successful."

Cydney Gillon's life changed when she was six years old. Not by a choice of her own, but by one both of her parents made. Her parents (Skip and Tangelea) went beyond the decision to change their lives to be healthier. Both of them transformed themselves and stepped on the bodybuilding stage. Eating healthy became the way of living in her house. But this wasn't a choice that six year old Cydney agreed with.

 

“I started planning to get my junk food elsewhere, at school or at friend's houses,” says Cydney. “I had little restraint on what I would eat. So much so, I developed high cholesterol by the age of twelve. My cholesterol was so high that I would get sodium migraines and my doctor suggested I started taking medication.” Cydney's mother, who was already established as a daily user of Beverly products, decided against that. Besides her high cholesterol, Cydney consumed so much sugar that she developed very bad cavities. She knew it was time to change her lifestyle.

Cydney's childhood involved visits to the gym, an appreciation for discipline and hard effort, access to Beverly International products, and now an understanding that what you eat brings about ramifications. Much like her parents, her change was not a gradual one. She wanted to compete!

Cydney wanted to do fitness but did not have the gymnastic-based tumbling skills so decided to do figure. “The sparkle and the heels are what drew me to figure,” says Cydney. She wanted to compete at 13, but was discouraged by promoters. Since they had no teen classes she was directed towards novice, but insisted on the open class. One of the promoters told Cydney that she could do a show when she was 14, making sure she had some time to reconsider. Unlike most children, she had her mind set.

“When I was fourteen, I did my first show,” says Cydney.” “And that was all she wrote from there!” Eight years later, Cydney has competed in more than a dozen shows and earned her IFBB pro card. In addition to the support of her parents, she also inherited great genetics, including a narrow hip structure and broad shoulders. “Just add muscle to it and it gives me a V-taper.”

Through her scholastic career, Cydney also excelled at sports, particularly track. Her powerful legs made her a natural sprinter, which led to her becoming a varsity track athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in psychology.

Shortly after turning twenty, Cydney won the 2012 NPC Nationals. She has also placed in the top ten of all eight pro shows that she has competed in. This includes the Figure Olympia, where she placed ninth and eighth (2014 and 2015) and a ninth-place finish at the Arnold Classic-Figure International. Most impressively, she is the two-time Chicago Pro IFBB Wings of Strength Pro Figure champion.

She earns her living as a personal trainer, posing coach, and choreographer. Although young, her accomplishments allow her to motivate clients and pass on the knowledge for them to succeed.

Training

Training is one of Cydney’s favorite ways to spend her time. She enjoys the struggle for improvement and overcoming the challenge of the weights. Pushing herself is what relaxes her. “The main thing I have learned in my years of training,” says Cydney, “is to pay attention to your body and know what works for you.”

Cydney lifts at least three times a week. She splits her body into three parts: 1) chest and back, 2) shoulders, and 3) hamstrings and quadriceps. She does not train her arms at all.

In the off-season, she spends about two hours in the gym in a typical session. As a contest approaches, she speeds things up and tries to finish within an hour. Her training varies, but here is one of her favorite intense workouts as follows:

 

1: Overhead Squat
3 sets of 5

2: Power Cleans (weight varies depending on your max)
2 sets of 5
3 sets of 3

3: Barbell Squats
5 sets of 5

4: Barbell Step Ups
3 sets of 6

 

For cardio, Cydney likes to add sprinting to her routine. When she does this, she incorporates the workouts that coaches gave her in college. As an elite track athlete, she is able to recruit serious power when she runs. This type of explosive sprinting is difficult (but burns fat quickly). This forces her to cut her workout that day in half, to avoid overtraining.

Arms By Gillon

Although Cydney’s arms are developed to the point where she no longer needs to do specific arm training, she recommends this workout for anyone who is starting to train for Figure or who needs to tone and/or tighten her arms.

 

BICEPSAmount
E-Z bar Bicep Curls3x15 (Rest 1 min)
Hammer Curls3x15 (Rest 1 min)
Concentration Curls3x15 (Rest 2 min)
TRICEPSAmount
Tricep Pushdowns3x15 (Rest 1 min)
Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks3x15 (Rest 1 min)
Reverse Tricep Cable Extensions3x15 (Rest 2 min)
Standard push-ups2x10
Diamond Push-ups2x10 (All final sets 30 seconds rest)
Cool down and static stretch

If you are not able to do body weight pushups, push yourself to not drop to your knees. You want to give each rep a try, so do one and if you do not complete the rep, reset mentally and try again until you get to 10.

If you have absolutely no upper body strength in the beginning, complete a straight arm plank, with legs slightly separated. Hold your abs tightly, and relax into the plank with no arch in your back, for a count of 20 slow counts.

Eventually you can work your way up to a full push-up.

Nutrition

 

Cydney changes her diet depending on her condition and goals. Some of the basic principles of her current eating protocol include:

• She generally likes to eat six meals a day.

• To keep her metabolism up, she eats every two-and-a-half to three hours a day.

• Hydration is important. She drinks at least a gallon of water a day.

• Her diet is super high protein, moderate carbs, low fat, with lots of veggies for roughage.


For Cydney, a typical day's eating would be like the following:

Meal 1: ½ cup oatmeal, 6 egg whites, ½ grapefruit

Meal 2: Protein Pudding! (Ultimate Muscle Protein), 1 tbsp almond butter

Meal 3: 5 oz. lean protein , 2 cups veggies, 3 oz. sweet potato

Meal 4: UMP protein pudding or shake

Meal 5: 4-5 oz. lean protein , 2 cups veggies

Meal 6: 4 oz. lean protein or UMP shake


“This year I worked on keeping more of a balance,” says Cydney. Even after a contest diet, her childhood junk food binges cannot be a part of a pro figure competitor's life. This is not acceptable if she wants to advance in the rankings. “I put together a plan in advance on what I was going to eat after the show, so I wasn't going to go crazy. I also chose a date in which I was going to get back on a stricter plan so that things didn't get out of control.” That is a realistic and wise strategy.

Supplements

 

Due to her parents' influence, Cydney grew up with Beverly products. “Beverly is the only supplement line I have taken since day one. It has been a staple for my entire career. I will never go without it the rest of my life. It is going to be here to stay.”

Here are some of her favorite products:

Ultimate Muscle Protein: Cydney regularly consumes Beverly protein. “I used to be a protein shake lover, but I read in one of the Beverly magazines people talking about the pudding. So I had to try it out in pudding form, and I haven't had a shake since. I'm addicted to them! You have got to try mixing a scoop of chocolate with a scoop of strawberry!”

Density: Cydney uses Density three times a day to keep her body charged with high quality amino acids. “I take Density to make sure I maintain my muscle during hard workouts.”

Super Pak: She covers all her bases with a quality multi-vitamin and mineral combo. “After breakfast, Super Pak keeps my immune system on track. Without it, I don't feel as energized.”

Fast-Up: Cydney takes this to sharpen her focus, boost her energy and get the most from her training (without jitters). She recommends, “Take it pre-workout if you need a little more energy.”

Conclusion

As Cydney approaches a new competition season, her goal is to compete at the Arnold Classic and qualify again for the Olympia. Her long-term goal is to win both contests (and not just once).

"Having made it to the Arnold and the Olympia were big stepping stones for me," says Cydney. "The best of the best are there. It is an honor to be among them."

She has a unique situation as a top pro competitor. Although she is always the youngest in the show, she often has more experience than most in the lineup. Her future is bright as Cydney’s body continues to mature and she gets more experience in IFBB competition.

Success requires more than just training, nutrition, and supplements. A proper mental state is also important. To succeed, Cydney feels that you need to be secure in yourself and remain steadfast. “You can't let anyone's opinion let you falter from your goals. You need to press on. Life doesn't stop for your shows so you need to be resilient and bounce back from whatever is going on.” Success requires both strength and passion. Cydney Gillon has shown that she has both in quantity!

Becoming the Best Version of Me… is more Important than any Contest Placing

At a Glance: Savina Nikolova

Age: 21

Occupation: Student, University of Kentucky Graduate School (Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a Focus on Exercise Physiology and Human Nutrition), future Physician’s Assistant.

Family: Mother, Father, and one older sister.

Current Residence: Lexington, KY

Years training (total): 4 years total. October 2014 started training for my first competition with my coaches, Gene and Tina Goode.

Height: 5’2”

Weight: 125 lbs (off-season), 118 lbs (competition)

Favorite Fitness Meal: 4 pan-cooked egg whites mixed with 1/3 cup oats (I use Simple Truth instant Oatmeal) and 2 packets of Truvia, 1/2 grapefruit, and one large cup of Stash Moroccan Mint green tea sweetened with Truvia.

Favorite supplements: My favorite supplements are Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean. I started taking both supplements 10-12 weeks out from a competition to help me burn fat more efficiently. My all-time favorite supplement is Fit Tabs. I take them year-round for immune system support and they work better than any over-the-counter vitamin I have tried!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Before you even consider taking a supplement, determine what your goal is and do your research to familiarize yourself with the supplements... Are you overweight? Underweight? Based on where you are and your goal(s), decide which supplements will get you from where you are to where we want to be. I did this with the help of my coaches, but if you don't have a coach or someone to help you select the right supplement(s), Beverly International has an expert team standing by the phones to help walk you through your selection process. I started with UMP. Later, they added Lean out, then 7-Keto MuscLean, and so on. Slowly, but surely, we developed a supplement regimen that was just right for my body and my goals.

Music: My music selection goes from one extreme to another. One minute I’m blaring rap and the next I am screaming my lungs out to some old school Shania Twain.

Most Inspiring Book: A Penny’s Worth of Character by Jesse Stuart, because you’re never too old to learn the value honesty from children’s literature.

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: I have a passion for motorcycles. I started riding dirt bikes when I was twelve and I bought my first street bike, a Yamaha YZF-R6, a few years ago. I also really enjoy traveling. I hope to see as much of the world as I possibly can in my lifetime.

Words to live by: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.”

A year ago, I would have laughed at the thought of joining the bodybuilding world and getting on stage, especially as a bikini competitor. Before I met my coaches, I struggled a lot on my diet and exercise regimen. I hated my body and my eating habits reflected this. I went through periods from eating poorly, to not eating at all, to binge eating. I stressed all the time about food. I was doing multiple workouts a day and ridiculous amounts of cardio just trying to burn as many calories as I possibly could. I wasn’t making any progress and my health had begun to suffer, not to mention my mental outlook. That is when a friend recommended I get a coach and things began to turn around for me.

 

After training with my coaches, Gene and Tina Goode, for a few months they encouraged me to compete. I decided to go for it, but I continued to struggle mentally. I’d look at other women and I wished I looked like them. No matter how many exhausting workouts I put myself through, or how much I dieted, I still didn’t look like the women I idolized. It wasn’t until a few weeks out from my first show that I realized the woman I wanted to look like was myself, at my best, and I am a work in progress. I am my own motivation and my only competition.

My first show was the Kentucky Derby Festival, in which I placed 6th in Bikini Open B, 9th in Bikini Novice B, and 3rd in Bikini Collegiate B. My second show was the KY Open State Championship, where I placed 3rd in Bikini Open B, 3rd in Bikini Novice B, and was Collegiate Bikini Overall Champion.

Sure, everyone on stage wants to win, but what I’ve learned is that beating my previous best self is more gratifying than any placing. Don’t get me wrong, bringing home hardware is awesome, but looking back and noticing all the progress you’ve made is what keeps me going. That brings me to my first piece of advice – take lots of photos throughout your journey to track your progress.

My second piece of advice is to make sure you understand that preparing for a competition and dedicating yourself to a fitness lifestyle are very different. Competing requires a whole other level of dedication and mental toughness.

Twelve months ago, the women who once I idolized to become, now is the woman I look at in the mirror. Through sacrifice, self-discipline and dedication, I now have two shows under my belt and my third competition prep is in full swing. My goal is to compete at Nationals and my dream is to one day be an IFBB Pro Bikini Competitor.

The following diet and exercise tips are how I approached my first two competition preps and how I’ve started on my third. My diet changes the closer I get to the day of the competition. The way my diet changes depends on my physique and how close I am to being stage-ready.

Diet

Meal 1 (8:00 AM): 4 egg whites; 1/3 c plain instant oatmeal, 1/2 grapefruit

Meal 2 (11:00 AM): 1 large UMP Rocky Road protein pancake; 1 tsp plain almond butter

In a bowl, mix 1 scoop of UMP Rocky Road, 3oz water, and 2 tbsp liquid egg whites. Spray a small pan with non-stick spray and pour protein batter in pan. The batter should be thick, but still able to spread across a small pan with the help of a spatula. Cook on one side until the top starts to bubble, then, flip. Cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, lightly pressing the top with a flat spatula. Check to make sure both sides are cooked as desired and serve. Goes great with a large cup of black coffee sweetened with Truvia!

Meal 3 (2:00 PM): 5oz chicken breast, turkey breast, tilapia, or tuna; 2 c spinach or salad of choice; 2 tbsp Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Dressing

Meal 4 (5:00 PM): 1 scoop UMP Cookies & Crème protein pudding

In a small bowl, add 1 scoop of UMP Cookies & Crème and a little water. Mix. Add a little more water and mix again. Do this until the pudding is the desired consistency.

Meal 5 (8:00 PM): 5oz chicken breast, turkey breast, tilapia, or tuna; 2 c low-carb vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, or green peppers)

Meal 6 (11:00 PM): 4 egg whites with 1 c omelet vegetables, such as red pepper, mushrooms, or spinach (my three personal favorites)

Carb Loading (Monday & Thursday): This meal should be consumed within the hour right before bedtime. On Monday and Thursday evenings, carb loading replaces meal 6. If you start to feel extremely full during this meal do not force yourself to finish it all at once. Never make yourself sick trying to finish any of your meals in one sitting.

Water Intake: 1 gallon of water throughout the day. Water intake is important to stay hydrated and, as crazy as it sounds, avoids bloating. Competitors, I advise you to drink more than a gallon the closer you get to peak-week and throughout the final week itself. It will help you water deplete the day of the show.

 

Meal Prep Tips

As far as seasoning goes, I use Mrs. Dash seasonings on my meats and vegetables because they have no sodium. For my salads, I sometimes just use plain vinegar rather than dressing (I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds!). I cook all of my meats in a pan on medium to high heat and I steam all of my vegetables, except for the asparagus, which I generally bake for 15 minutes at about 350 degrees F. I suggest keeping a few cans of canned chicken and/or tuna as a back-up plan for days where you are short on time or just don’t feel like cooking. It will keep you from skipping a meal or eating something you normally wouldn’t on those hectic days.

I believe in flexible dieting, which is why the majority of the meals provide options. The times listed are based on a typical school/work day for me. Do I eat at exactly those times every single day? No. I do, however, always eat breakfast 30 minutes within waking, eat about every 3 hours, and eat my last meal as close to bedtime as possible. The point of a meal plan is to provide your body with essential nutrients throughout course of the day.

Supplement Schedule

Ultimate Muscle Protein: Meal replacement for meals 2 and 4. (See diet for details.)

FitTabs: 2 tablets with meals 1 and 5. (Daily total: 4 tablets for immune system support. Serves as a multivitamin and iron supplement.)

7-Keto MuscLean: 3 capsules with meals 1 and 3. (Daily total: 6 capsules to reduce body fat and optimize lean muscle mass.)

Lean Out: 2 capsules with meals 1, 3, and 5. (Daily total: 6 capsules to reduce body fat.)

Muscularity: 2 capsules with meals 1, 3, and 5. (Daily total: 6 capsules BCAAs to assist in building lean muscle mass with co-factors for diet support.)

Fast-Up: 3 capsules prior to exercise. (Only as needed on those long exhausting days when I just do not feel like working out. I take on my way to the gym to boost my mood, energy and my focus.)

 

Cardio Schedule

HIIT TRAINING BEFORE WEIGHT TRAINING

Each weight training session begins with HIIT training. HIIT is not my favorite cardio type of cardio, but it definitely yields the best results. I think it is the most effective way to burn fat and preserve muscle. I stick to three forms of HIIT.

Treadmill: Warm-up by walking at a 2-3% incline for 2-5 minutes. Then, step to the sides and set the speed at a sprint. For me, that is about 8.4 mph. Hold onto the side panels and place yourself on the belt. Sprint for 20 seconds and then, holding onto the side panels, step to the sides. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat. Do this for 10 minutes making your warm-up and sprint total 12-15 minutes.

Bike or Elliptical: Warm up by pedaling slowly for 2 minutes, gradually increasing the resistance to a relatively difficult setting. On a scale of 1-10, for me, that is about a 7. Once warmed up, sprint for 20 seconds and rest (pedal slowly) for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 10 minutes. Again, your warm-up and sprint total should be 12-15 minutes.

Stair Stepper: Warm up for about 2 minutes. I use the interval program and set it on intervals of 20 seconds at a high-speed climb and 20 seconds at a low-speed climb. Again, do 10 minutes of intervals, total of a 12 minute cardio session.

 
ADDITIONAL CARDIO AFTER WEIGHT TRAINING

Each weight training session is followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio Monday – Friday. No cardio is performed on Saturday or Sunday. My favorite machines for this additional cardio workout are the stair stepper or the elliptical. On the stair stepper I set it on intervals of 20 seconds highspeed climb and 20 second low-speed climb. This is the same as my stair stepper HIIT workout, but the duration of the exercise is longer. On the elliptical I also do intervals. The intervals are 4 minutes at low to moderate resistance and 4 minutes at high resistance. I generally split each resistance interval and pedal forward for the first two minutes and backward for the last two minutes. Sometimes, when I am in a time crunch, I will perform my cardio at another time of the day rather than after my weight session. On those days I generally perform cardio at my apartment, where I will jump rope, go for a jog, or do another round of HIIT on the treadmill.

Weight Training Schedule

SATURDAY: REST

MONDAY: ARMSAmount
Superset: Close-Grip Press & Barbell Curls(3x12 each)
Superset: Tricep Pushdown & Lying Cable Curls (3x12 each)
Superset: Skull Crushers & Preacher Curls (3x12 each)
TUESDAY: BACKAmount
Chin-Ups 3x12
Dead Lift3x12
Superset: One Arm Dumbbell Row &
Cable Row
(3x12 each)
Tri-set: Close-grip Pulldown, Machine
Row & Straight Arm Pulldown
(3x12 each)
WEDNESDAY: LEGSAmount
Squats 4x12-15
Leg Press2x50
Superset: Leg Extension & Leg Curl (3x12 each)
Superset: Stiff Leg Dead Lift (3x12)
Superset: Calf Raise(3x20)
THURSDAY: SHOULDERS & TRAPSAmount
Shoulder Press3x12
Tri-Set: Side Raises, Front Raises &
Bent-Over Raises
(3x12 each)
Super Set: High-Pulls & Reverse Pec Deck(3x12 each)
FRIDAY: CHESTAmount
Superset: Bench Press & Dumbbell Flyes (3x12 each)
Superset: Incline Press & Decline Press(3x12 each)
Superset: Raised Feet Push-ups & Pec Deck (3x12 each)
SUNDAY: ABS
60 second Plank
50 Crunches
50 Reverse Crunches
60 second Plank
50 Mountain Climbers
25 Hanging Leg-raises
60 second Plank

Presentation Tips

Presentation will either make or break you on stage. Unfortunately, the judges don’t see how hard we work or how much time we dedicate to diet and exercise. What they see is just the few minutes you are on stage. Posing is everything. Your poses and your routine should complement your physique. No two competitors have the same presentation because no two competitors have the same physique. My coaches and I worked on my routine one day each week. If you are a bikini or figure competitor I suggest buying your competition shoes early and practicing in them. Practice your routine as if you are on stage every single time - from your smile to the way you flip your hair. It’s all about feeling comfortable and natural. The way you practice is the way you will execute your routine come competition day.

As far as beauty tips go, mine are quite simple – go with what you know. Your spray tan will cover the majority of your flaws. I get my face sprayed each time and I never wash it. You should wash your face if you plan to use an all-over face make-up. I leave the spray on to develop overnight and I use that as my all-over face color. I highlight my cheekbones with some bronzer and glam up my eyes with some eye shadow and liner. Then, layer on the mascara for dramatic effect. Lastly, I use a lip rosy lip color to add a little sass and make my teeth look a little brighter. I keep my jewelry flashy, yet subtle, and I do my own my hair in some simple style I am comfortable with. Basically, overall, I just stick to what I know and am used to.

My final piece of advice is that which I consider most important – stay true to yourself. You should pursue your fitness journey for no one other than yourself. Committing to competing is tough, but it is also inspiring. Some people will appreciate your hard work and dedication and others will not. Not everyone will understand what you do or why you do it and I’ve learned to be okay with that. What matters most is that you make yourself proud. Overall, just be honest, stay humble, and never settle.

Here’s How I Trained for 2 Half-Marathons and a Professional Bodybuilding Show …at the Same Time!

I am always up for a challenge. My wife runs marathons and I’m a natural pro bodybuilder. That made it hard for us to train together in the past. But, now that our daughters are no longer babies, I decided to train alongside her for a couple of half marathons, and then immediately transition into contest prep for a bodybuilding show. Now I know this goes against "traditional" bodybuilding wisdom. You’re supposed to add size during the off-season, not train for half-marathons. It was definitely going to be a challenge. My goals were to have a respectable time in the half marathons, yet come in full and conditioned a few weeks later for a professional bodybuilding contest. All four aspects of my traditional training would need an overhaul.

Training

The first step was to develop the perfect workout strategy to maintain muscle while gaining endurance. For my bodybuilding workout, I followed a normal 5-day split.

Monday – Chest

Tuesday – Legs

Thursday – Back

Friday –Arms

Sunday – Shoulders

Since I wanted to make sure to stay injury-free, I concentrated on using perfect form and slightly higher reps than normal. Still, I trained as heavy as possible within these parameters.

 

High Rep/Endurance Volume Workout  (4 sets each exercise unless otherwise noted)
• Week 1: 15-18 Reps
• Week 2: 12-15 Reps
• Week 3: 10-12 Reps
• Week 4: repeat week 1, etc.
 

CHESTAmount
Pushups(2 sets wide, 2 sets shoulder width)
Smith Machine Bench Press (on floor)
Flat Dumbbell Flyes
Pec Dips (elbows out, leaning toward
the floor)
Cybex Incline Press
Incline Dumbbell Press (palms facing in)3 sets
BACK
2-Arm Bent-over Dumbbell Rows (lower DB all way to ground)
Smith Machine Deadlifts
Standing 2 Handle Rows in Cable Crossover (cable at chest height)
D-Handle Pulldowns
Reverse Grip Pulldowns
1-Arm, 1-Handle Pulldowns (sit sideways on pulldown machine)
Seated Cable Rows (reverse grip)
ARMS - TricepsAmount
Overhead Rope Tricep Extension
Dumbbell Kickbacks
Dips (Elbows tucked, keep upright positioning)
Superset: 1-Arm Dumbbell Extension and 1-Arm Concentration Curl 3 sets
LEGS
Barbell Squats (wide stance)
Seated Machine Leg Press (narrow stance)
Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlift
Smith Machine Front Squat (narrow stance)
Bench Step-Ups
1 Mile on Elliptical at highest resistance and highest incline (forward motion only)
ARMS - BicepsAmount
Barbell Curls (2 sets regular grip, 2 sets wide)
EZ-Bar Cable Curls
Standing Dumbbell Curls (for the first half of each set, curl
inward and touch dumbbells together; for the second half,
keep elbows tucked and DBs out wide)
SHOULDERS
Dumbbell Lateral Raises (arms straight, bring weight directly off the side of the hips)
Front Raises on High Incline Bench
Dumbbell Upright Row
Seated Short Range Shoulder Press (keep elbows bent throughout movement, touch DBs just above your head)
Bent-over Lateral Raise

 

Cardio and Running Program

The next step was to incorporate fat burning/muscle sparing cardio along with endurance training. I believe cross training is the key to being injury free and protecting the joints. Even though running 13.1 miles in a decent time was the end goal, I felt that I needed to incorporate different angles, inclines and types of cardio to keep the muscles fresh and avoid repetitive joint injuries. Let me show you how I did it:

Phase One: 4 days/week of HIIT on the elliptical or treadmill for 15 minutes. On the treadmill, I alternated one minute of fast jogging at various inclines, with one minute of walking. I varied the resistance on the elliptical while going fast in the forward motion for a minute and then slow in the reverse direction for a minute.

Phase Two: 3 days/week of HIIT on the elliptical or treadmill for 20 minutes. And 1 day/week a distance run on Saturday in place of one of the HIIT sessions. I started with a 3-mile run on Saturday and gradually increased the distance.

Phase Three: 2 days/week of HIIT on the elliptical for 20-30 minutes. And 2 days/ week of running. In the weeks leading up to the race, I substituted a 2nd day of running for one of the HIIT sessions. On Wednesdays, I would run 3 miles for time, trying to decrease my time a little each week. On Saturdays, I continued my longer run, successively adding mileage as the weeks grew closer to the race. I did two days of HIIT intervals on the elliptical, 1 minute fast in the forward rotation and 1 minute slow in the reverse rotation for 20-30 minutes.

Nutrition

The next piece of the puzzle was diet. I knew I was going to need more carbohydrates than usual to fuel my long runs, but would need to manipulate some variables for continued fat loss. I began with my usual diet of 250g of protein, 400g of carbs and 50g of fat. When I started the long runs on Saturdays, I bumped my carbs to 475g two days prior and 450 the day before the run for added glycogen. This was important since I was still working out hard in the gym. At 11 weeks out from the bodybuilding contest I ran my first half marathon. My average macro count at that point was 260g of protein, 370g carbs and around 35g fat.

 

My average meal plan at this point looked like this:
 

Meal 1: Egg whites, honey, and steel cut oats, grits or cream of wheat

Meal 2: Chicken and sweet potatoes or red potatoes

Meal 3: (Pre-workout): Muscle Provider and an apple or orange

Meal 4: (Post-workout): Muscle Provider and rice cakes

Meal 5: Egg whites, grits or cream of wheat

Meal 6: 93% lean ground turkey and vegetables

Meal 7: UMP and peanut butter

To get my numbers to where they needed to be, I varied the portion sizes and added or subtracted grams of fats, carbs and proteins. To bump my carbs before the races I added in Ezekiel bread or muffins.

Two days before the race I bumped my carbs up to 500g and the day before I consumed 450g. Given that my upcoming bodybuilding competition was the end goal, I paid close attention to how my body looked after these carb up meals during my morning posing practice sessions. I noticed that I looked best two days after the carb up meal. This helped me develop my final peak week as the contest approached.

Supplements

The final piece of the puzzle was my supplement program. In addition to the Beverly proteins, which are always a part of my diet, I relied on three “specialty” supplements.

1. Muscle Synergy was “number 1” on my list to maintain muscle mass. I took 8 tablets upon arising, 8 prior to workouts, and 8 more tablets after workouts. I also took a scoop of Muscle Synergy powder at night. I would heat it up in a coffee mug and sip it like tea. This was especially helpful as a nice nighttime treat. As the show approached I would also heat it up and sip on it during posing practice.

2. The next supplement I added was Joint Care to help me remain injury and pain free while pounding my legs in the gym and on the pavement. I took three capsules upon arising and then again 3 capsules before bed.

3. Quadracarn was my third key supplement. I rely heavily on Quadracarn year round for improved pumps, vascularity, fat loss, definition, and recovery. I took 3 tablets, 3 times per day.

My meal and supplement plan at 4 weeks out looked like this:

Upon awakening: (8 Muscle Synergy tablets, 30 minutes prior to meal 1)

Meal 1: 8 egg whites, 3oz cooked grits, 3 Quadracarn

Meal 2: 6oz chicken breast, 12oz sweet potato, 5oz baby carrots

Meal 3: 1 scoop Muscle Provider, 1 small apple (8 tablets Muscle Synergy and 3 tablets Quadracarn prior to workout)

Meal 4: 1 scoop Muscle Provider, 5 rice cakes (8 tablets Muscle Synergy between meals 4 and 5)

Meal 5: 7 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 7oz sweet potato, 3 Quadracarn

Meal 6: 5 egg whites, 7oz onion, (1 scoop Muscle Synergy Powder sipped as tea between meals 6 and 7)

Meal 7: 1.5 scoops UMP, 24grams natural peanut butter

 

Final Preparations

The first race went very well and I established a personal best for the half marathon. My next race, the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon, would be just 4 weeks out from the bodybuilding show. I would have to start tightening things up even as I was preparing for another half marathon. My training and nutrition schedules now looked like this:

Monday: 30 minutes of posing and stretching in the morning; Chest and 25 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical in the evening

Tuesday: Legs – no cardio or running on leg day!

Wednesday: 30 minutes of posing and stretching in the morning; 3 mile timed run in the afternoon

Thursday: 20 minutes posing in the morning; Back and abs in the evening

Friday: 20 minutes of posing in the morning; Arms and 30 minutes of HIIT on the elliptical in the evening

Saturday: Long run

Sunday: Shoulders, 20 minutes of posing, and 20 minutes of HIIT all in the morning

 

At this point my carbs were down to about 300g/day. For the race, I bumped them to 400g two days before and 350g the day before. Although being somewhat depleted, my time was even better than it had been in my first race 7 weeks prior and I set a new PR!

Now it was time to switch to straight bodybuilding mode for the final four weeks. I didn’t want to change a lot. I continued to run, but cut the distance for my long run on Saturday to 5 miles at maximum. I no longer added extra carbs before the run and basically just kept things steady.

I used this basic format all the way to the show, with some minor adjustments in my ratios depending on my look. I always am instinctive with my diets, so I would tweak things as necessary depending on how I was looking. Given that I had been observing from this whole time how my body responded to the carb up meals for the runs, I knew how much to bump my carbs to peak for the show.

Since bodybuilding is normally a 24/7 sport, it was definitely a mental and physical challenge this year to train for a race while preparing for a professional bodybuilding show at the same time. I have to admit though, it was fun! I came into the show at my heaviest weight to date and placed second in the IFPA Pro Galaxy Elite amongst very tough competition.

My 9 Year Journey to an IFBB FIGURE PRO CARD

At a Glance: Karina Rhode, IFBB Professional

Age: 46

Occupation or Education: Owner/Operator of BodyWorx by Karina - massage/bodywork therapist

Family: Husband-Tony, Fur baby (sheltie)-Zephyr

Current Residence: Noblesville, IN

Years training (total): 9

Height: 5’5”

Weight: 130 (Off Season), 125 (Contest)

Favorite Fitness Meal: If I’m in a savory mood, beef cubes with roasted asparagus & roasted onions. If I’m in a mood for something sweet, Chocolate Muscle Provider Sweet Potato Cake (see Sweet Potato Cake recipe below)

Favorite supplements: By far my favorite supplements are the Muscle Provider & UMP protein powders. They not only satisfy my need for sweets but they incorporate into numerous recipes so you don’t feel like you’re missing out! The added bonus is you’re supporting your gains and recovery while you’re treating yourself to something delicious!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Start with the protein powders. They’re the best tasting protein you’ll ever encounter and you’ll see the results you want for your investment in the product. The proof is in the pudding (or cake, or ice cream, or pancakes, or whatever you want to make with them)!

Music: I listen to classical and new age music all day so when I hit the gym or I’m in my car, it’s heavy metal for this girl!

Most Inspiring Book: “The Power of Right Believing” and “Unmerited Favor” both by Joseph Prince

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Gardening and cooking

Words to live by: “Life is the proper binge.” ~ Julia Child

“You’ve just won a trip to the most amazing place you ever wanted to go! Oh, and your plane leaves….NOW!”

Cue me with “deer in the headlights” expression as my brain tries to process, “Wait! I have nothing packed and none of my laundry is done!”

That’s how it felt winning my IFBB Pro Card at this season’s Masters Nationals and then launching right into prepping for my first show as a Pro at the Pittsburgh Pro Masters. Well let’s just say that if I have nothing else packed, the first thing on my list is going to be my Beverly International supplements! I started this journey back in 2007 and many things have changed over the years. The one that hasn’t changed is that Beverly International has been with me ever since I began and I’m not going anywhere without them!

I’ve always been very active and never had any real weight issues until I got married. The reality of getting a desk job coupled with matching eating habits with a husband who is blessed with a lightning fast metabolism scored me a weight gain I’d never experienced before. It happened slowly and I didn’t really notice it since I gained it symmetrically pretty much everywhere. So as a result, I didn’t think much about it until one day I nearly fell on one of my clients while doing a Thai massage. I was horrified. It was at that moment I realized how weak my core had become and how unaccustomed my body was to all the additional weight. My peripheral awareness for balance with these two factors in play had become seriously compromised! The next day I hired a trainer and haven’t looked back.

I had no intentions to become a bodybuilder. When I started, I simply wanted to get back to a weight where I was comfortable in my body again. Along with the weight gain, I was also noticing premenopausal type symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. I was only in my early to mid 30’s so I knew this was wrong. My first trainer worked with me on balance and beginning strength maneuvers and prescribed cardio. I started tracking calories and serving sizes and getting a better handle on what to eat for myself rather than blindly matching portion sizes with my husband.

It didn’t take long to master the basics and soon I was on to trainer #2 who coached me in developing strength through heavier lifting and kettlebell training. I was fascinated by the connection between muscle function, development, and metabolic activity. I got hooked on Oxygen magazine and admired the physiques of the gals on the pages. They looked strong and healthy. When I realized that these ladies were Figure competitors, I had to know for myself how it felt to train like that. Enter trainer #3, an old school classic women’s bodybuilder. I told her I just wanted the experience of training “LIKE” a bodybuilder but had no interest in competing. Well that was enough to open the door for her. Before long, she was hounding me to compete. She said I had the symmetry and the drive and encouraged me to consider it.

I still remember the phone call I made to her one day while standing at the gas station filling up the car. “Are you just blowing sunshine up my skirt about me being right for competition or are you really serious?” After she stopped laughing over the choice of words I had just used, she swore she meant every word so I gave in and we picked my first show.

I quickly realized I was going to need help. Preparing for a contest wasn’t your everyday style of eating and training. I was going to need help in metabolism and recovery (especially at 37 years old). I had a good trainer but I needed a nutrition plan. Suddenly I was facing uncharted territory: an ocean filled with protein powders, BCAA’S, pre-workouts, and fat burners. I knew enough about the human body to know that most of this at the local sport supplement store was pretty much flotsam and jetsam. I needed a company that actually cared about the people who used their product. Enter Beverly International.

I had been introduced to UMP by trainer #1. To this day, it’s still one of my favorites! Between the taste and the fact I actually could see changes as a direct result of having it as part of my diet, I contacted Beverly International directly. I was able to speak to a real human being who actually sounded passionate about the product from more than a commission standpoint. We spoke at length about what my goals were and by the time I was done, I had my first stack of supplements geared towards my specific training program!

Two years after this conversation, I won my IFPA card. If I wasn’t hooked before, I certainly was now! I did one show as an IFPA Pro and pretty much got my booty handed to me. Up until now, I’d been writing my own diets and had gone as far as I knew how to go. It was time to get serious and hire a diet coach. In addition, since I’d scaled the mountain of that particular competing club, I figured, while I was at it and changing stuff up, I might as well go for what I considered to be Mount Everest (a.k.a. NPC/IFBB). Now I was on to trainer (& diet coach) #4. I was a little concerned when I first hired him because I had a comfort zone with Beverly International. I knew it worked for me and I was a little apprehensive the diet would come back with a bunch of supplement garbage on it. To my surprise and relief, when I opened my diet document, there were a host of Beverly International supplements (including my beloved UMP)! Well, that made me feel really good about hiring my coach! Obviously this man knew quality when he saw it!

Four years after signing on with him (also my last and still my present coach), I finally claimed my IFBB Pro Card! Like I said, a lot of things changed over the years but one thing has stayed the same. Four coaches and two pro cards later, the core of my supplement program has always been Beverly International. Consistent and faithful. And we’re just getting started!


Chocolate Muscle Provider Sweet Potato Cake

130g raw sweet potatoes
35g Beverly International Chocolate Muscle Provider
½ tsp baking powder
2 pkts Stevia in the Raw
5g Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2c brewed coffee

Spray foil with cooking spray. Seal sweet potatoes & one ice cube in foil packet & bake at 400 degrees for 55 minutes (yes, they'll burn a little but that's ok - you want them to caramelize). Leave sweet potatoes sealed in foil pack until they cool (keeping the moisture in the packet will help release the caramelized potatoes from the foil).

Mix together baked sweet potatoes, Muscle Provider, baking powder, stevia, cocoa powder, & vanilla until blended well & no chunks of sweet potato remain. Add in enough coffee to make a pourable batter. Pour mixture into a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil. Put dish in a cold oven & set temperature for 375. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Eat the whole thing! It's one serving for your meal! If you want to share or save some for later, just split the macros below. You  can make this with as little as 125g of sweet potatoes or as much as 175g. More or less than that and it tastes a little starchy or the consistency is a little lacking.

OFF-SEASON YOU CAN ADD A LITTLE MORE FUN (see photo above): 

Add 15g Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter before baking and top with fat free whipped cream

I’ve made 4 batches at the same time when traveling and just cooked them all in a 9x16 pan. Then did my best to cut them into 4 EQUAL serving days (refrigerate unused portions). You’ll be testing your willpower with this approach, however, trying not to mooch some from the next day because they’re that good!!!


Diet

I stick to the basic meats and starches. For variety, I swap out my veggies. I use onions, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and celery all for good crunch and satisfaction. Another trick for changing up my menu is the vast variety of spice mixes I have on hand. Broccoli, rice, and chicken can go Mexican, Cajun, or Asian quickly with just the shake of a spice! I also love quantity, which is why I limit carbs during the day so that I can have popcorn at night. I love eating it one piece at a time and I split a bowl of it almost every night with my husband. It gives us both the feeling of something normal when we can share a treat in my contest prep! And as for sweets, thanks to Beverly International’s protein powders, I’m never at a deficit!

All values are pre-cooked with the exception of the rice.

 

Nutrition
 

Meal 1: 70g Steel cut oats with a mini pack of Sunmaid raisins, stevia, cinnamon, & pinch of Penzeys Spices sweet ginger bits, 150g raw egg whites & 18g raw egg yolk scrambled (1 whole egg + 4 whites)

Meal 2: Muscle Provider shake or Chocolate Muscle Provider Sweet Potato Cake

Meal 3: 150g chicken breast and 50g brown rice over cabbage salad (served warm with salsa and Cajun spices)

Meal 4: 150g chicken breast

Meal 5: 130g beef cubes with oven roasted onions and asparagus, 2.5 ounces air-popped popcorn sprayed with olive oil

Meal 6: UMP shake or UMP soft serve ice cream

Fortunately for me, I like to arrive early for a lot of things including Peak Week. As a result, I don’t do a traditional Peak Week because I’m already stage ready. I  just stick to my weekly prep.

 

Supplements Schedule
 

Morning Cardio: 6 GH Factor + 3 Lean Out

Meal 1: Super Pak + 3 Joint Care

Morning Lifting Session: 2 scoops Muscle Synergy Powder + 1 scoop Creatine Select

Meal 2: Muscle Provider as a shake or cake

Meal 4: 2 Lean Out

Evening pick me up drink: 1 scoop Glutamine Select + 1 scoop Muscle Synergy made into a slushy (Hey! You can never have too much recovery support!)

Meal 6: UMP shake or UMP ice cream + 2 Lean Out

Bedtime: 6 GH Factor


UMP Soft Serve Ice Cream

35g vanilla UMP
9g sugar free Jell-O instant pudding
powder (butterscotch is my favorite)
2 pkts Stevia in the Raw
½ c crushed ice
½ -1 c water
½ c frozen cauliflower

You’ll need a beast of a blender to pull this off. I have a VitaMix so if you haven’t invested in one yet, you might want to consider it.

Put all ingredients in the blender. Start blending speed on medium-high and use plunger to keep pushing ingredients towards the blades. Use more water if you need but this mix should be VERY thick and will take a little time to work into the blades. Keep mixing until smooth and a steady vortex forms. You will also notice the mix doubles in size (let’s hear it for increased volume – HOORAY!).

Using spatula, scoop out ice cream. Eat right away or freeze for up to 2 hours for a firmer set.

No blender? Skip the ice and cauliflower and add just enough water to get the mix to a pudding-like consistency. Blend all ingredients using a whisk and freeze for 2 hours.

 


 

Cardio

During off-season, I try to build and spare muscle as much as possible so my cardio is relatively short consisting of four 20-minute sessions per week. 2 HIIT & 2 LISS.

In prep, I’ll do as many as 6 sessions per week alternating HIIT & LISS. 3 HIIT sessions at 15 minutes (including 5 minutes each warm up and cool down for a grand total of 25 minutes) and 3 LISS sessions for 40 minutes (where I’ll feed my spiritual, self inspirational literature while reading on my recumbent bike!)

Training

As a Figure competitor with short collarbones, my biggest challenge has been to create a great v-taper. Doing my best to widen my chest, back, and shoulders while tightening and narrowing my midsection has been a quest akin to hunting for the Holy Grail!

For me, every upper body workout begins with 30 wide grip 1-1/2 pull-ups. Begin with hands set wide and overhand grip on the bar. Start in full extension and pull up above the bar. Lower your body so your head is just below the bar and then pull back up. This is one rep. Return to full extension and repeat the sequence as many times as you can (no kipping!). Rest when you need to but get in 30 total.

As for the waist, I’ve stopped using weighted abdominal exercises. Instead, I’ve implemented two kinds of abdominal work that have made big changes for me in less than 10 weeks!

ABDOMINAL VACUUM

“Shhhh… she’s had a hard workout. She’s probably sleeping.” Ha! Nope. I am doing my abdominal exercises! The beginning of this prep season I found an article about how the old school bodybuilders such as Frank Zane and Arnold Schwarzenegger trained to get tiny waists. The technique is referred to as “vacuum training” and may be done lying down, standing up, sitting, or even on all fours. The muscle trained here is the transverse abdominus. It’s the body’s deepest of the abdominal muscles and its function is to hold in and support the abdominal contents. By pulling the belly button in towards the spine as hard as you can and holding it there for a duration of time, you’re training the transverse abdominus to become tighter and better conditioned. The result is a smaller waistline and it’s easier to hold your tummy in while you’re on stage.

Sequence:
• 25 basic crunches concentrating on keeping belly button pulled in tight towards the spine
• 1-minute vacuum hold
• Repeat sequence 3x’s without rest

Great thing about vacuum training is you can do it anytime and anywhere without folks knowing you’re doing it! I like to do it in the car on my drive home from work. I try to hold the vacuum for as long as I can or between certain major intersections just to make the drive home more entertaining.

SEATED TWIST

Another exercise I’ve found beneficial is the seated twist. This helps on two fronts: 1) it tightens the oblique muscles, and 2) it helps you get a better range of motion when you twist in your posing on stage which, in turn, contributes to the illusion of a smaller waist.

Sit on an exercise ball that allows your knees and hips to be at 90-degree angles. You may do this with a broomstick or dowel rod across your shoulders or just holding your arms out. Keeping both feet on the floor and hips level, twist using only the oblique muscles. Twist as far as you can and look behind you. Your body will follow your eyes so the further you attempt to look behind you as you twist, the more range you will gradually achieve. Hold and squeeze at maximum range and then rotate to the opposite side and repeat. I do 100 of these (50 per side). I also employ vacuum holding while I do so for the added benefit!

Presentation

SMOKE AND MIRRORS:
How you pose and your suit can make or break you in a second! Here are two of my secrets:

1. Stand up straight and hold your chest high. Imagine that there’s a string attached to your sternum pulling your chest up. This results in stretching out (and up) the abdominal area, which in turn lends to the illusion of a narrower waist.

2. Make sure that your suit bottom is pulled up high on the sides. Many competitors allow the sides of their suit bottoms to be below their belly button. This makes the legs look short and the waist look thicker. Wearing them parallel in line with the belly button adds to the illusion of an accentuated v-taper, longer legs, and smaller waist! And be sure to glue those suckers so they stay where you put them!

In Closing

I got into competing to see what my body could do and man, have I learned a lot! After every contest, I love going over the elements of the journey. I learn something new about myself every time and I’ve grown not just as a competitor but also as a person. Win, place, or show, I encourage you to enjoy the ride. Take the time to look at where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished regardless if you have hardware in your hands for the effort. My ultimate goal every time has been to learn something about myself that helped me to grow stronger in life. If you can do that, you’ve won!

 

“Beverly International has been with me from the beginning and I’m not going anywhere without them.”

Leader of One, Leader of Many

EDITOR NOTE: This story is different from any athlete profile we have ever printed. The beginning is not unlike that of many people in our society...young men without direction, opportunity or hope, surviving through drug sales and coping through drug use. Physique competitor and trainer, Tiko Blaine's story differs because training in the gym not only provided him with a different direction, but offered goals that lead him to serve as an example to others about what can be accomplished through a healthy lifestyle and persistent discipline.

My Story

As far back as I can remember, I knew I would do something physical with my body for a living. As a child, my favorite class was gym and I broke every record in the pull-up, sit-up, and push-up competitions. My fourth-grade gym teacher, Mr. Johann, told me he had never seen a kid as strong as me, and with those words, my love of fitness began.

My childhood dream was to become a running back in the NFL. My older brother, Karly, was a high school star and I wanted to emulate everything he did, but better. I even made a promise to my mother that I would buy her a home when I made it to the pros. That promise is still a goal of mine.

During my seventh-grade football season, I started walking to the local high school to weight train. In the weight room, I found something else that seemed was a natural fit for me. My goal was to lift as much as the bigger, older guys so that’s who I worked out with. During my junior year of high school, before the first game of the season, I broke my wrist when one of my best friends fell on me during a tackle. Not only did that break my wrist, it broke my spirit. I never played football again.

When I was cleared to train again, I immediately began going to the gym. My goal then was to be in our 1,000-pound club. That was the group of people whose combined powerlifting total (1-rep max in bench press, deadlift and squat) was 1,000 pounds or more. Also, sometime during my junior and senior year of high school, I started smoking marijuana on a regular basis. We would skip school, go smoke weed, then come back to school after class to workout with the football players in the weight room.

This was fine until the head coach’s assistant, Coach Olsen, noticed that I smelled like weed and he banned us from the weight room. That was a huge disappointment for me because Coach Olsen was partly responsible for a lot of my muscle and strength gains. I wanted to work out so badly that I would sneak back in the weight room when the football team would go outside. The last time we tried, Coach Olsen chased us out of the weight room and banned us for life. After that, we had to make use of hand-me-down weights with the busted-up concrete plastic coated plates and work out in the front yards or basements of any friend’s house that had them.

After graduating, I started joining gyms. I kept the same strategy; find the biggest, strongest guys and workout with them. In 1998, I ended up at a local gym called The Pit Barbell Club. Ironically, I’d be in there high out of my mind, working out with many police officers, sheriffs, powerlifters and a few bodybuilders. I got very serious with my training, even planned to compete in a powerlifting meet. That came crashing down in October of 1999 when my brother, Karly, died of a drug overdose.

That day I realized that if I continued down the weed smoking and dealing path I was on, that I could end up in prison like many of my relatives or dead like my brother.

Although I never competed in the powerlifting competition, I continued to work out. I realized that I needed to channel my emotions into something positive, and for me that was the weight room and coaching my brother’s son at little league football. The weight room was my therapy. With 24-hour key access to The Pit, I began working out by myself at various hours of the night. The weight room was the only place that I could let out my frustration, cry, scream or display whatever emotion I chose to without being judged by anybody.

On top of that, the post-workout high, felt better than any blunt I ever smoked. While coaching football for many years, and lifting weights primarily by myself, I found a new passion for being a coach and mentor. Many of the kids I coached looked up to me, and often times people in the weight room would ask me advice on how to do certain exercises. Although I loved to help people, it hadn’t yet occurred to me that I could earn an income by doing so.

By that time, I was working to provide for my soon-to-be daughter. This was 2003, and although I was working, I hadn’t yet left the street life completely alone. I was still selling weed. I ballooned up to 180 pounds. It may not seem like a lot, but I graduated high school weighing less than 120 pounds.

Family and Health Issues

On December 30, 2003 my daughter Jalia was born healthy and vibrant. I had purchased a brand new home, a brand new truck, and life was good. Two months later, Jalia had emergency
heart surgery at Riley's Hospital to repair her aorta. In 2007 while working for CSX, at a company health screening the nurse pulled me to the side and told me to go see a doctor immediately. My blood pressure was in the 150/100 range. I followed her advice, walked in the doctor’s office a couple of days later and told him... “I’m not taking medication for the rest of my life, what do I need to do?” He told me that stress, genetics, weight, diet and exercise are major factors in controlling high blood pressure. I knew I could control all but one, the genetics.

At that point, Jalia’s mother and I separated and I made up my mind to change my lifestyle for the better. I left that doctor’s appointment filled with all kind of emotions... primarily guilt and shame. I felt guilty because I knew that high blood pressure ran in my family. I felt that I was the cause of Jalia having heart troubles. I felt guilty because I was still selling weed. “What if I die like my brother?” “What if I go to prison?” “What will happen to Jalia?” “If I would have known how to take care of myself better could her surgery had been prevented?”

I felt ashamed because the doctor gave me medication to take, and being the person who looked fit, and was known to always workout, taking a medication was something that embarrassed me. From that point on, I made a decision to do everything in my power to ALWAYS be here for my daughter. To always be free. To stop hustling. To do everything in my power to be the best man, father and role model that I could be.

As fate would have it, around that same time in my life, a lot of the people I was dealing with were being sent to federal prison. I’ll never forget going to federal court for the trial of one of my cousins and during the break the prosecutor comes over to me and one of my other cousins, calls us both by name and tells us we are next. I was scared straight; by my doctors and by the prosecutors. From that point on, I’ve focused on a positive life.

During my next doctor's appointment, he advised me against powerlifting because of the added weight to my small frame, to stop taking pre-workout stimulant supplements, and to increase my cardio. I HATED cardio. I never did it. In 2008, my younger brother Larry was overweight and was told by his doctor to lose body fat. I took him to the gym with me a few times, and he never came back. Not long after that, he tells me he is doing P90X and he lost 30 pounds. I thought, “Big deal! You finally got off the couch, of course you’re going to lose some weight.”

P90X, Insanity and MY First Contest

Meanwhile, I was running, swimming, and lifting lighter weights for higher reps. Now my goals were different. I thought, “If I have to lose a few pounds and eat cleaner for my health and to get off medication, I might as well get ripped.” Larry stayed committed to P90X, and lost 70 pounds. When he sent me his before-and-after pics, and he had a hint of abs, I got jealous, thinking, “I can’t let little bro outdo me.” I went over to his house to see what this was all about. I followed the Insanity program, got down to 163 pounds and even earned a spot on one of their promotional infomercials. This led me to develop a following as a trainer.

I eventually chose to personally train just a few handpicked clients who wanted to work hard. I realized that I enjoyed teaching, speaking and working with crowds of people over training people in a one-on-one setting. One of my fellow instructors, Marlon, competed in his first men's physique competition. I was only aware of the bodybuilding aspects of competitions and I knew I didn’t want to do that. When he explained to me how men's physique works, with the limited posing and board shorts, I knew I could compete.

One of my goals is to be a fitness model, and I know that doing men's physique can be a great opportunity to get my name and face out there. Also, it would be one of those things that I would kick myself later for if I didn’t try. No more “what ifs?” for me!

I competed in my first Open Men’s Physique contest this spring and was thrilled to place 4th in both the novice and open divisions. In the remainder of this article I’d like to share with you the training and nutrition schedules that got me into my best shape ever and a few “contest” tips for any of you who might be thinking about competing.

My Training

I work a full-time job with a rotating schedule and I’m a group exercise instructor. I am aware that I can overtrain, so my workouts are short, hard and they vary weekly. I usually train two body parts per day while focusing on short rest periods between sets (less than one minute). Here is my current workout:

 

Training Schedule

THURSDAY: ABS - About the same as Tuesday
 

MONDAY: TRICEPSAmount
Overhead Triceps Dumbbell Press                                                                                                                                                   4x12,10,8,6
Triceps Extensions 4x12,10,8,6
Weighted Bench Dips                                             3 strip sets to failure. Start with 90 pounds placed on lap until failure, strip off 45, go until failure, strip off the final 45, and continue until failure.
MONDAY: CHESTAmount
Flat Bench 5x10,8,6,4,2 (adding weight to each set)
Incline Bench
4x8,6,4,4
Incline Dumbbell Press 4x8,6,4,4 superset last 3 sets with...
Cable Flye Burnouts(done until failure)
TUESDAY: LEGSAmount
(For time management, I do my calf exercises in between quad,
glute or hamstring work sets)
Squats 4x10,8,6,4
Seated Calf Raises Slow1x12
Leg Press 4x8 (same weight on all 4 sets)
Seated Calf Raises1x12
Leg Extensions4x12,10,8,8 superset the last 3 sets with...
Walking Dumbbell Lunges
Seated Calf Raises Slow1x12
TUESDAY: HAMSTRINGSAmount
Stiff-legged Deadlifts4x12 (same weight all 4 sets)
Standing Calf Raises on Hack Machine1 set to failure
Hamstring Curls 3 sets to failure
Standing Calf Raises on Hack Machine1 set to failure
TUESDAY: ABSAmount
(I believe in doing ab exercise with weights and I primarily focus on lower abs.
Perform three sets of each exercise for 25 reps or until failure, whichever
comes first.)
Weighted Sit Ups on a Decline Bench

Hanging Leg Raises with 10lb dumbbell between feet
Decline Bench Russian Dumbbell Twist
Wood Chop 25 reps each side supersetted with...
Weighted Low Planks (45-pound plate on upper back)
WEDNESDAY: BACKAmount
Weighted Negative Pull-ups4x5
Lat Pulldown

4x10,8,6,4
Seated Rows 4x10,8,6,6
Dumbbell Pullovers4x10,8,6,6 superset last 3 sets with...
Single-Arm Lawn Mower Pullsto failure
WEDNESDAY: BICEPSAmount
Standing Straight Bar Curls 4x10,8,6,6
Standing Preacher Curls
4x10,8,6,6
Single Arm Bicep Curls until failure supersetted with...
Seated Preacher Curls or Cable Curlsuntil failure
THURSDAY: SHOULDERSAmount
Overhead Barbell Press4x12,10,8,6
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4x10,10,8,6
Rear Delt Flyes 3x10
Front & Lateral Dumbbell Raises (light weight) 3x10
FRIDAY: LEGSAmount
(Include standing and seated calf raises between exercises, same as Tuesday)
Squats4x10,8,6,4
Hack Squats 4x10,8,6,6
Leg Extensions 4x10
Leg Curls 4x10
FRIDAY: CHESTAmount
Flat Bench Press 4x10,8,6,4
Flat Dumbbell Press 4x10,8,6,4
Cable Flyes4x10-12

 

Cardio

I teach 8-10 group fitness classes for my off-season cardio, but 4 weeks out from a contest I add 30 minutes fasted HIIT training (in the form of Insanity Max :30). In the last 5 years or so, I’ve also added another twist to my routine, and that’s Hot Yoga. I believe hot yoga will be a benefit to many bodybuilders.

Diet

When it comes to “diet,” (I use that word loosely because I refer to my food intake as a nutritional plan) mine is really simple. I don’t count calories. I do, however, aim for at least 20-25 grams of protein with every meal to preserve and build muscle. I follow a handful of guidelines to keep me lean all year around and use sensible portion sizes. When it’s time for a photo shoot or contest, I dial it in more for about four to six weeks and carb cycle for two to three weeks. I believe by following this simple eating plan, it affords me the luxury of shortening my pre-contest prep. A sample off-season or lifestyle plan is as follows:

Off-Season

Meal #1: 1 scoop Cookies & Crème UMP mixed into ½ cup oatmeal with a handful of blueberries & strawberries. I call it ProOatmeal.

Meal #2: 4 egg whites plus 1 whole egg omelet with jalapeno & banana peppers, 1 cup of kale & spinach mix, diced tomatoes, ½ grapefruit

Meal #3: Grilled chicken breast, ½ cup of brown rice, 1 cup spring mix salad, handful of almonds, ½ grapefruit

Meal #4: (pre-workout shake) 1 scoop of UMP Cookies & Crème mixed with 4oz unsweetened almond milk, 4oz water & ½ banana.

Meal #5: (pre-workout shake) 2 scoops of UMP Cookies & Crème mixed with 4oz almond unsweetened almond milk, 4oz orange juice, ½ banana, handful of strawberries.

Meal #6: 6oz baked salmon, ½ large baked sweet potato, ½ cup brown rice, steamed asparagus

My go-to, get-lean-while-building-muscle supplements are UMP (I like Cookies & Crème – it’s a perfect blend of fast and slow-release proteins, blends and cooks well, and tastes great), 7-Keto MuscLean, Lean Out, Quadracarn, and Glutamine Select. Since I'm concerned about heart health, I find that 7-Keto and Lean Out help get you shredded without the jitters. Glutamine Select helps me to recover so that I can continue to train hard and Quadracarn, gives you a great pump, makes me feel great, and improves my overall physical appearance. I can definitely see and feel a difference when I stop taking it.

Pre-Contest

As a contest approaches, my nutrition does not change dramatically. Six to eight weeks out, I add my supplement stack of 7-Keto, Lean Out, Quadracarn and Glutamine Select. I also add a 30-minute fasted cardio HIIT session into my training about four weeks out from the contest while sipping on Glutamine Select to preserve muscle. I also carb cycle for two to three weeks. My pre-contest prep involves two days of low carbs and one day of moderately higher carbs. Here is my low-carb example:

Wake (5:00AM) 7-Keto upon arising and sip Glutamine Select during my 30 minute HIIT cardio

Meal 1 (6:00AM) 1 scoop of UMP Cookies & Crème blended with water, ice & 1tsp coconut oil, 1 serving of Lean Out, 1 serving of Quadracarn

Meal #2 (9:00AM) 5 egg white omelet with jalapeno & banana peppers, sautéed kale & spinach mix, diced tomatoes, 1 tsp of coconut oil.

Meal #3 (noon) 2 servings of baked cod, 1 cup spring salad mix, handful of almonds, 1 serving of Lean Out

Meal 4 (3:00PM) (pre-workout shake) 1 scoop of UMP Cookies & Creme with water, 1 serving of 7-Keto, 1 serving of Quadracarn

Meal #5 (5:00PM) (post-workout shake) 2 scoops of UMP Cookies & Crème blended with water, ice and 1 tsp of coconut oil.

Meal #6: (7:00PM) Grilled chicken stuffed with baby spinach, large spring mix salad, 1 serving of Lean Out, 1 serving of Quadracarn

On my HIGH CARB DAYS I simply add a serving of slow carbs at meal 2 or meal 3, (usually oatmeal) and an extra serving of fruit.

 

In Closing

For almost two years now, I have been a coal handler at our power plant. The job is dirty, dusty and dangerous with many hazards. Our primary job is to ensure coal flows into the power plant in order to produce electricity. I primarily operate a D9 bulldozer pushing coal into the coal feeders or using the dozer to stockpile coal for later use. The best part about this job is that we have a great supervisor and a full kitchen. My supervisor allows me to prepare meals on my breaks. Some of my healthy eating habits have rubbed off on most of our department. We work a swing shift so it can be a challenge to stay on a consistent workout plan.

That’s pretty much my life story. I believe that all my past experiences led me up to this moment. I’m excited about the future. I believe as long as I continue to put 100% into what I do, the man upstairs will bring people and circumstances into my life and those things will lead to greater opportunities.

Ms. Natural KY Bikini Shares Her Lifestyle Challenges, Training and Diet

At a Glance: Julie Parent

Age: 24

Occupation: Full-Time Admin for University of Cincinnati’s Central Clinic, Trauma Treatment Facility. Part-Time student at Northern KY University in Masters of Health Informatics, and Part-Time student at Strayer University in Masters of Health Service Administration

Family: I have one older sister, Josiane (28) and I recently became an aunt and godmother to my nephew, Rowen Patrick.

Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Current Residence: Newport, KY

Years training (total): 10 years total, 1 year for bikini

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 145 (off-season), 138 (contest)

Favorite Fitness Meal: Protein Pancakes! I’m a sucker for breakfast foods, so this is definitely what I look forward to when I wake up every day! Favorite Supplements: Muscle Synergy is my favorite supplement. I take one scoop before training and it increases my pump and vascularity so much... It’s awesome!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? UMP is the best protein, hands down. I have recommended it to so many people for numerous reasons. Not only does it taste amazing, but it is so versatile in how you can prepare it. You can drink it straight, make protein pudding, ice cream, bake with it, etc. I’ve never made anything with UMP that didn’t turn out delicious.

In your CD player: Krewella or Dance Cardio Pandora Radio stations are always playing when I’m training and/or doing cardio.

Most Inspiring Book: “Heaven Is For Real” by Todd Burpo

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Anything outdoors owns me. I love to go on a nice run or walk through town, and spend most of my weekends in the summer on Lake Cumberland with some of my closest friends.

Words to live by: "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure." ~ By Paulo Coelho

I have always had a passion for athletics - from little league soccer, basketball, track and field, to cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics. In high school, I narrowed my competitive focus to the dance team, but, I still signed up for every Physical Education class that Corbin High School offered. One of my classes was weightlifting with the football team. I loved it! Even though I thought it was far-fetched at the time, that’s when I first entertained the thought of someday entering a physique contest. Upon graduating, I attended the University of Kentucky where working out took a back seat to my course load. Although I managed to get in the gym when I could and played intramural sports in my sorority, I would have to wait until after graduation to take things to the next level and pursue my goal to compete.

 

Even after I earned my undergrad degree there was still one obstacle I had to overcome before I could step on stage – my fear of the unknown. I knew the only way to overcome my anxiety was to take action, and there was no time like the present. I started researching competition prep coaches in the Northern Kentucky area (where I moved following graduation). After a lot of research and several personal recommendations, I joined Julie Lohre’s FitBody Competition Team. With her guidance and knowledge, and the encouragement of the team, I not only stepped on stage, but took home several awards in the Bikini division. In my second show, ever, I won 1st place NANBF Ms. Natural Kentucky Bikini.

 

Lifestyle Challenges

Before getting into my actual diet and workout schedules there are a couple of lifestyle challenges I faced that I’d like to share with you.

My job is not the typical 9-5, which makes staying on top of my nutrition, supplement, and exercise schedule a task in itself. I work for Central Clinic, an extension to University of Cincinnati's psych department. The division I work in is focused on trauma treatment therapy for children, visitation for foster kids with their biological parents, and alcohol and drug dependency group therapy. I work 10 hour days, with a 45 minute commute each way. I wake up around 5:30am to knock out some cardio before starting my work day. After work I drive
directly to the gym for weight training and any remaining cardio. By the time that I get home in the evening, it's around 9:30pm. That’s when I prepare my food for the next day and complete any homework I need to do for either of my school programs. I carry my Isolator Fitness cooler everywhere I go, which is how I'm able to stay on track throughout the day. Being gone so long, I eat all of my meals while I'm at work, so preparation in advance is the only option for me. I fix and weigh out all of my food the night before, that way in the morning I can just throw everything in my cooler and go. It's always comical the looks I get from my coworkers and sometimes clients when I drop everything I'm doing to take my supplements or run and get my Tupperware every 2-3 hours.

Another area I've had a hard time adjusting to throughout prep is the fear of "missing out" on social events with my friends and family. My goals and fitness ambitions are different than a lot of other 24 year olds, so making plans becomes a little more complicated for me. I love to travel, so I was weary of how that would work with my prep. If I go out of town, I have to be sure that I plan everything out, which is sometimes kind of stressful. But it's doable. I spent 10 days at the beach with my family in the middle of my prep, and it actually was easier than I thought it would be. My suitcase contents were 50% clothes and toiletries, and 50% UMP tubs, food scale, and my other Beverly supplements. My carry-on was my Isolator Fitness bag (which is TSA approved, ice packs and all), filled with everything I needed in order to stick to my plans during a full day of airports and flights. Again, it's all a matter planning.

My Contest Prep Plans

Contest prep definitely took some getting used to; however, I’m thankful that my coach, Julie Lohre, made it as straight forward as possible. My plans were altered based on check-in’s and body comps throughout my prep, so as I was changing, so were my plans. But, here are the basic diet, supplement, and workout schedules that I used for my contest prep.

 

Diet
 

Meal #1: Protein Pancakes (1 scoop UMP, ½ cup of oats, and 3 egg whites)

Meal #2: PB& J (2 pieces of low cal/high fiber bread,1tbsp peanut butter, 1tbsp sugarfree jelly),1 apple

Meal #3: Taco Salad (4oz Ground turkey, ½ cup of black beans, ¼ cup of avocado)

Meal #4: 2 scoops UMP, 1 banana

Meal #5: 4oz grilled chicken, ½ cup zucchini, baked sweet potato fries

The number one tip I have is to make everything in bulk and prepare it for a few days in advance that way everything is already ready. It eliminates guess work on what to fix if in a time crunch, and ensures you stay on track.

 

Supplements Schedule
 

Lean Out: 1 with 5 meals per day (Fat loss)

7-Keto: 3 in AM, and 3 in afternoon (Thermogenic/Appetite suppressant)

Density: 3 with 3 meals per day (Muscle gain with fat loss)

Fit Tabs: 2 in AM, and 2 in afternoon (Multivitamin)

Glutamine Select: 1 scoop before training (Reduce muscle soreness, enhance recovery)

Muscle Synergy: 1 scoop before training (Strength & muscle gains)

UMP: 3 scoops per day (see meal plan above)

 

Training Schedule

I work out with weights five days a week taking Sundays and Wednesdays off. My favorite muscle group is a toss-up between legs and shoulders. I think that it is very important to push myself every week to go up in weights and increase strength, even if it’s just 2.5lbs. Here’s my workout.

 

Training

SUNDAY: OFF, WEDNESDAY: OFF
 

MONDAY: BACK, HAMSTRINGS, GLUTESAmount
Lat Pulldown4 x 10-12
Bent-over BB Row 4 x 10-12
Straight-arm Pulldowns 4 x 10-12
Wide Stance Squats 4 x 15-18
DB Deadlift 4 x 15-18
Low Cable Kickback4 x 15-18
Hamstring Ball Curl-ins 4 x 15-18
TUESDAY: CHEST, BICEPS, ABSAmount
Flat Bench Press 4 x 10-124 x 10-12
DB Fly 4 x 10-12
Pushups with feet elevated 4 x 10-12
Standing BB Curl4 x 10-12
Hammer Curl4 x 10-12
Ball Crunch 4 x 15
Hanging Leg Raises 4 x 10
Obliques 4 x 10 (each side)
THURSDAY: DELTS, TRICEPS, ABSAmount
DB Lateral Raises4 x 15-18
Bent-over DB Raises 4 x 15-18
Sumo Deadlift High Pull4 x 15-18
Press Downs 4 x 15-18
Bench Dips 4 x 15-18
Reverse Decline Crunch 4 x 15-18
Floor Crunch with weight 4 x 15-18
FRIDAY: QUADS, GLUTES, CALVES, PLYOMETRICSAmount
Leg Press 4 x 15-18
Walking Lunges with weight 4 x 15-18
Leg Extension with pause 4 x 15-18
Standing Calf Raise 4 x 15-18
Pushups 4 x 15 super setted with…
Switch Lunges4 x 15
Crunches 4 x 25 super setted with…
Squat Jumps with Medicine Ball4 x 15
Lying Leg Raise4 x 15 super setted with…
Bench Rebounds4 x 15
SATURDAY: DELTS, BACKAmount
Seated Overhead Press 4 x 10-12
Front Raises 4 x 10-12
Inverted Pushups 4 x 10-12
Plank Position DB Row 4 x 10-12
Assisted Pullups 4 x 10-12

Cardio

I do high intensity cardio on the StairMaster for 45 minutes, 4 times per week. I split it up in 2 sessions, if my schedule allows. I tend to lose some steam after about 25-30 minutes, so in order to make sure that I am giving it 100% the entire time, splitting the 45 minutes into 2 sessions works best for me.

Presentation Tips

Practice makes perfect!! I can’t stress that enough. Your posing routine is what ties in all the hard work and preparation you have done leading up to the show. Looking comfortable and graceful in 5in heels is not as easy as it looks. Also, trial runs on your hair and makeup BEFORE the show are super important. That way you already know what works and what doesn’t so that you don’t have to stress out on show day. There is so much happening on the day of your competition, usually starting at 8am, so there is very little room for trial and error

Some Final Advice

It's okay to say no. It took me a while to understand that when I changed my priorities, I would have to say no to some things I’d normally do if I were not prepping for a contest - usually food related. Sometimes the people around you, no matter how supportive, won't understand your journey unless they are going through it themselves. And that's okay. It also doesn't mean you have to be antisocial. The best thing you can do if you are struggling with this, like me, is to surround yourself with supportive and understanding people. Joining the FitBody Team was the best thing I could have done. You will undoubtedly find yourself messaging your team members and coach about the most off the wall things. I constantly reflect on some of my conversations with one of my teammates, who has become like a second sister to me, and laugh because who else would understand how to measure the perfect tablespoon of peanut butter??? Looking at the big picture and setting/tackling personal goals is what helps me every day. When I step on stage, I take great pride in knowing that I didn't cut any corners and deserve to be standing next to some amazing athletes.

Sixty May be the New 40!

At a Glance: John Lankford

Age: 64

Occupation: Owner Nautilus Fitness Center, Spartanburg, SC (established 1977)

Family: Marilyn (wife), Laura, 37 (daughter), John, 44 and Andrew, 31 (sons)

Years of Training: 50

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 172 (off-season), 162 (contest)

Favorite Supplements: UMP Strawberry (It tastes great). Quadracarn has made all the difference in my training and physique; at 64 I really feel 40!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? If you want to be the best, you need to use the best. Beverly supplements are second to none, and that’s no nonsense!

Favorite Music: Contemporary Christian

Most Inspiring Book: Holy Bible

Hobbies Outside of Bodybuilding: Playing the guitar, golf, being with family

Words to live by: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliott

“For a man to enjoy his work and accept his lot in life is indeed a gift from God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). This verse from the Holy Bible could sum up my whole bodybuilding career. When I was a kid I was very skinny and it seemed as though nothing I did helped me gain weight. I would see the Charles Atlas ads in the back of magazines and think “Wow! If only I could do that.” My mom thought buying a set of weights for me would be a waste of money. She thought I wouldn’t keep it up, so I made my own. I used an iron pipe with bricks attached to the end and used duct tape wrapped around a rock as my collars to keep the weights from falling off. To increase the weight I added more bricks. So at the age of 13 my bodybuilding journey began.

When I was 16, we learned I had a spinal condition, not from lifting weights, but it was genetic in nature. I had to stop lifting and didn’t lift again until I was in the Air Force some 3 years later. I entered basic training at 5’9” and 135 lbs. Later, while stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Maine, I met Tom Kerrigan who became my training partner for the next 4 years. It was here that I was first introduced to Beverly International. I began taking Beverly Vitamin Packs and eating anything that didn’t move. I gained 30 lbs in 6 months and my bench press went from 175 lbs to 275 lbs. I began competing in powerlifting meets and later bodybuilding competitions as well.

In September 1977, I opened Nautilus Fitness Center in Spartanburg, SC. I was 26 years old and I quickly learned that just  because you own a gym doesn’t mean you will be able train and compete any time you want. I had a family and the most important thing was providing financially for them. Even though I continued to train, I gave up competing for many years.

In the late 90’s I decided to give competitive bodybuilding one more try. The big difference was that in 1987 I had gone to a Billy Graham Crusade in Columbia, South Carolina and had given my life and my business to the Lord. When I began to compete again I only wanted to give glory to Him. I was doing very well placing 1st or 2nd in every show. In 2005 after competing and winning my division in the Carolina Supernatural in Asheville, NC I decided that this one would be my last competition. Later that evening after the competition was over, the show promoter asked me if I would consider taking over the Carolina Supernatural as promoter. After my longtime friend, Art Littlejohn offered to help; we decided it would be a great venture. We moved the show to Spartanburg, SC and June 13, 2015 will be its 20th anniversary.

When I turned 60, I got the itch to compete again. I really wanted to know if I still had it. I knew that I would have to be more focused than ever. I couldn’t miss even one day of training and my meals had to be perfect.

I have been taking and selling Beverly International supplements in my health club for years, so I knew they would be a major factor if I was going to be my best. I wasn’t leaving anything to chance as I set my goal on the 2011 Master’s Universe. One month out from the show I was amazed that I looked better at 60 than I had at 50. Everyone wanted to know what I was doing. I was more than happy to tell them what Beverly supplements I was taking and how that it had paid off as I won the Master’s Universe. I thought, what a way to end a career.

However, in 2014 I was at it again, preparing for the SNBF Grand Finale in Georgia. This one posed a unique challenge as we had already committed to going on a “Journeys of Paul” cruise of the Mediterranean only weeks before the competition. I had to eat clean, as well as get my workouts in, while on the cruise. I had just 2 weeks until the competition once I returned from the cruise. Once again, I was blessed to win the Masters 60 and over division. The only problem was, I met 2 promoters from Franklin, NC that night who were promoting a show they were having in March 2015. Yes, you guessed it. I was on my way to training for still another show. This time my wife just gave me a blank stare when I told her once again that this would definitely be my last competition. When I walked off the stage in Franklin, NC in March it was different. I realized God had blessed me once again with a win. Psalm 18:35 says, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.” God gave me a peace in my heart that night. This was indeed the last time.

The 10 years of training and competing has been a great experience and I have been blessed not to have any major injuries. I believe it’s not how hard you train but how smart you train. As you age your body is more prone to injury and recovery takes longer. That is why it is so important to eat clean and take the right supplements. My training is always very intense but I never try to train like I did 30 years ago. Bodybuilding is all about shaping your body as a sculptor would shape a very expensive piece of marble. One mistake can be very detrimental. If you want to be able to train in your 60’s, 70’s and beyond, you must be smart and listen to your body.

Nutrition and Supplements

In my bodybuilding career I have always tried to have a perfect balance of 3 major factors: nutrition, training and rest. Nutrition is first because without the right fuel for the body it would be like having a fast car but using a low grade fuel. You could never win a race. In this area I believe you need to find out what works and stick with it. Too many people change their meal plan before they even give it time to work. The following pre-contest meal plan is one that has worked or me for many years.

 

Nutrition
 

Meal #1: 12 egg whites, ½ cup oatmeal, 1/3 cup blueberries

Meal #2: 2 scoops UMP, 15 raw almonds

Meal #3: 10oz grilled chicken, ¾ baked sweet potato, 4 cups salad, 4 TBSP oil and vinegar dressing

Meal #4: 2 scoops UMP, 15 raw almonds

Meal #5: 10oz tuna (water packed) or 99% lean ground turkey, 3 cups raw or steamed cabbage

Meal #6: 16oz wild caught cod, 3 cups steamed broccoli or asparagus

Meal #7: Carb Load Meal (Sunday and Wednesday only)

1 cup oatmeal and 1 cup baked sweet potato.

The seventh meal is only added to my program when my body fat is 7% or lower. I consume 1 ½ to 2 gallons of water daily.

 

Supplements Schedule
 

1 Super Pak with meal 1

5 Density with meals 1, 3, and 6

3 Quadracarn with meals 1, 3, and 6

3 EFA Gold with meal 1

3 Joint Care with meals 1 & 3

5 GH Factor 15 minutes before meal 1

2 Scoops of Muscle Synergy 15 minutes before training

1 Scoop of Glutamine Select before and during workout

 

Training

The second major factor is muscle stimulation or training. Notice I didn’t say annihilation but stimulation. Remember at 60 and over you must train smart if you want to be injury free. I train 5 days a week using a lot of supersets. My training usually lasts about one hour and 30-45 minutes. Like my meal plan, I rarely change my training. As I have gotten older, I do use more machines than earlier in my career, because there is less chance of injury.

 

Training Schedule
 

DAY ONE: CHESTAmount
Nautilus Decline or Decline Dumbbell Presses2x12 warm up, 3x12 (increasing weight each set)
Incline Smith Machine Press3x10 (increasing weight each set)
Nautilus Decline Machine & Pec Dec (superset)3x10 (same weight)
Cable Crossover3x12
DAY ONE: ARMS
3 Giant Sets (do all six exercises with no rest between, then rest 45 seconds, and repeat for 3 rounds of 10 reps)
E-Z Bar Curls
Triceps Press Down
Seated DB Alternate Curls
DB Kick-Backs
Dumbbell Concentration Curls
Nautilus Nitro Triceps Machine
DAY ONE: SHOULDERSAmount
Nautilus (or dumbbell) Lateral Raises3x12
Nautilus (or dumbbell) Military Press 3x12
Bent Over Cable Lateral 3x12
Nautilus Rear Delt Machine3x12
DAY TWO: LEGSAmount
Leg Extension 2x12 warmup, 4x12 (increasing weight each set)
Leg Press4x12 (increasing weight each set)
Dumbbell Walking Lunge5x24
Seated Leg Curl
4x12
One Leg Isolation Leg Extension3x12 (hold at the top)
Calf Raises10x20
DAY THREE: BACKAmount
Nautilus Pullover Machine 2x12 light warm-up
Wide Grip Cable Pulldowns 3x12
Cable Row 3x12
DB Row3x12 each arm
Nautilus Pullover 3x12 (work sets)
Hyperextensions3x15-20
DAYS FOUR AND FIVE: REPEAT DAYS 1 & 2Amount
Weighted Abdominal exercises are performed
every other day:
Nautilus Ab Machine 3x15
Cable Crunch 3x15
Knee-Ins (with ankle weights) 3x15

 

I do no structured cardio training such as bike, treadmill, etc. My fast training pace utilizing super sets, tri sets, and giant sets takes care of the cardio aspect for me.

Rest / Conclusion

The third major factor in bodybuilding success is to make sure you get plenty of rest. A lack of sleep and rest can cause many problems. This is especially true as we get older. It becomes very important to let your body recuperate and rejuvenate so you will be 100% for your next training session.

In closing, remember, it’s all about attitude. If you think you are old, then you probably are. Personally, I believe 60 is the new 40!

Over 45 Starter and Intermediate Workouts

If someone over 45 wants to get into serious shape after having not been in the gym in a long time or never having worked out at all, certain steps must be taken.

1. Face the fact that you are not 25 any longer. I am not saying you can’t make some great gains, but you need to train smart.

2. If it has been years since you last worked out, then of course it would be wise to get a physical just to be on the safe side.

3. Let a good certified trainer or coach help you get started. If you can’t afford a trainer the following routine would be a good starting place.

I prefer machines over weights for someone just starting out. Machines are a controlled movement and there is less chance of injury.

If you are a member of a gym with machines the following routine would be for you. Your training would be a full body workout, every other day, 3 days per week.

BEGINNER FULL BODY PROGRAM: 3 DAYS PER WEEKAmount
Warm-up 5 minutes on a cardio machine, bike, treadmill, etc...
Low back machine 1 x 12
Leg Extension (for quads)1 x 12
Leg Curl (for hamstrings) 1 x 12
Row Machine (for back) 1 x 12
Pec Deck (for chest) 1 x 12
Lateral Raise (for shoulders) 1 x 12
Bicep Curl Machine (for biceps) 1 x 12
Triceps Machine (for triceps) 1 x 12
Abdominal Machine (for abs) 1 x 12
Complete your workout with 15 to 20 minutes of cardio. This entire workout should take 45 min-1 hour.

Intermediate Program

After a few weeks you should be ready to begin a more aggressive program, but keep in mind we are still laying the foundation. You will still be working out 3 days per week, but now on a split routine. Take 1 or 2 days rest after each workout. Begin each session with 5 minutes of cardio for a warm-up. At the end of each session, or on off days, perform 20-30 minutes of cardio.

 

DAY ONE: CHESTAmount
Flat Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
Pec Deck or Dumbbell Flyes 3 x 10
DAY ONE: BACKAmount
Pulldowns Wide Grip 3 x 10
Pulldowns Close Grip 3 x 10
Bentover Rows with Dumbbells 3 x 10
DAY ONE: ABDOMINALSAmount
Crunches 3 sets x 20
Abdominal Machine 3 sets x 20
Knee Ins 3 sets x 20
DAY TWO: LEGSAmount
Leg Extension 3 x 10
Lunges (stationary) 3 x 10
Leg Curl 3 x 10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 10
Calf Raise 5 x 20
DAY TWO: ABDOMINALS - SAME AS DAY 1Amount
Crunches 3 sets x 20
Abdominal Machine 3 sets x 20
Knee Ins 3 sets x 20
DAY THREE: ARMS - BICEPSAmount
E-Z Bar Curl3 x 10
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls3 x 10
Concentration Curls3 x 10
DAY THREE: ARMS - TRICEPSAmount
Triceps Pressdown3 x 10
Lying Nose Breakers3 x 10
Dumbbell Kick Backs3 x 10
DAY THREE: SHOULDERSAmount
Seated Dumbbell Press3 x 10
Seated Lateral Raises3 x 10
Standing Front Alternate Raises3 x 10

Supplement Recommendations for Beginners and Intermediates 45 and older.
 
To get the best gains possible, the right supplements are a must. They also must be high quality supplements.

Number 1 for me is protein. It is very hard to get enough through food sources. This is a must for building lean muscle. I always recommend UMP or Muscle Provider. Quite simply, it is the best on the market!

My number 2 recommendation is Mass Aminos. If you are training hard and eating clean, then you want to keep that hard earned muscle. Without mass aminos you may very well lose muscle.

Number 3 is Quadracarn. I believe this is probably the best product on the market for a person who wants to feel and look younger, healthier, and more vibrant.

Number 4 is the Beverly Super Pak. It is hard to get everything you need in a one-a-day vitamin like many people take. With the Super Pak you get what you need daily in the way of vitamins and minerals without having to think about it. It is also easy to take the packet with you when you travel.


Depending on the individual need, I would suggest taking Lean Out or 7-Keto for someone trying to lose weight. Both of these products are great aids for that in addition to eating clean.

As we age it is important to remember that your body will treat you only as good as you treat it. The worst thing you can do for your body is nothing. A great motivation is to set attainable, short-term goals and stay focused until you have reached your goal. Then you can set your next goal. Your reward will be a healthier, happier you!