Novice Figure Competitor Starter Program

Getting started toward your first figure competition can be an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming experience. Your goals sound simple – get into the best shape of your life using a figure competition as your objective and to do it in a healthy, natural way that increases your metabolism and makes you both feel and look strong and fit. The process itself is not so simple. There is so much information out there… much of it contradictory and some of it down right wrong or dangerous. The Novice Figure Competitor Starter Program will get you heading in the right direction!

Let’s get started!

Where to Begin?

The first step is to evaluate your current conditioning and determine how much time you will need to get ready for a show. Take a critical look and decide what changes you need to make to achieve that ideal competition body. For figure, you want to have a wider back and shoulders that come down to a narrow waist with lean, but shapely legs creating a strong V taper. You should be lean and have an appreciable amount of muscle but not be ripped to the bone or thickly muscled.

Finding a Contest

The next step is to set a target date and identify a specific time frame by choosing a competition. For first time, novice competitors, I highly recommend starting with a smaller, local show in your area. If you can avoid traveling more than 2 hours for your first show, that is ideal.

Start with a quick web search to identify any shows close to you. There are many organizations to choose from like the NPC, NGA, UFE, INBF, WNBF, NANBF, and Fitness America. I prefer starting with natural, drug tested organizations like NGA or UFE where you will have to undergo a polygraph or urinalysis to confirm that you are a natural athlete before the show. Not only do these shows tend to be smaller, it levels the playing field.

Another great way to find out about local shows is to ask around at your gym. If you know anyone that has competed before locally, find out if they know of a show coming up. Many shows occur each year in the same location and build a local following.

Choosing Your Nutrition

Once you have identified your target show, you will want to get a firm grasp on nutrition. Start by recording your current diet. Take 3-4 days to record specifically what you are eating along with the calories and macronutrient breakdown. A logging app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It! can help. Once you know your current habits, decide if you need to lose bodyfat, if you need more muscle, or if like most women, you need a combination of both losing bodyfat as you gain muscle to really come in at your best.

 

GENERAL NUTRITION GUIDELINES FOR THE NOVICE COMPETITOR:
 

Eating clean, healthy foods will make a huge difference as you work to transform your body. Here are my top nutrition guidelines for novice competitors:

1. Eat more protein. For the woman that wants to gain muscle as she loses bodyfat, including 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight should be your minimum targeted protein intake.

2. Eat as many veggies as possible. Vegetables are so low in calories and high in fiber that adding extra will help you stay full longer and will add vitamins and nutrients that you need.

3. Cut out simple sugars. Sodas, desserts, sweets, candy…anything that has added sugar should be eliminated.

4. Focus on quality with your foods. Avoid processed, boxed foods whenever possible and instead choose lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, complex carbs and healthy fats.

5. Never drop your calories below 1200 per day. This might sound like a quick way to lose bodyfat, but you will inevitably slow your metabolism and could cause long term negative effects for your body.

DANA TAGGART AND JULIE LOHRE


GETTING STARTED WITH SUPPLEMENTS

 

 

Once your nutrition is in a good place, the right supplements will make a huge difference in how quickly you achieve your goals. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all supplements are created equal. There is a vast difference in the quality of Beverly International supplements as compared to what you might find advertised in the pages of the latest fitness magazine. You want to avoid supplements that are the ‘latest hype’ and that have little to no research about their efficacy. The tried and true supplements from Beverly International will help you with that goal of losing bodyfat as you gain muscle.

 

HERE IS WHAT I RECOMMEND FOR NOVICE FIGURE COMPETITORS:
 

• Fit Tabs – 2 tablets in the morning

• Lean Out – 2 capsules with 4-5 meals per day

• 7-Keto MuscLean – 2-3 capsules with breakfast and lunch

• Density – 3 tablets, 3 times per day

• Glutamine Select – 1 scoop with training

• Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP is my absolute favorite protein powder in the world) – 3-4 scoops per day as part of your overall nutrition plan.

 

This stack will optimize fat loss and allow you to add quality muscle throughout your contest prep.

You can download my FITBODY “I Can Eat That!?!” recipe books for FREE at  http://julielohre.com/freebies/ to get lots of delicious recipes using my favorite protein powder – Ultimate Muscle Protein.


TRAINING FOR YOUR COMPETITION

 

 

Training for your competition will be one of the most challenging but rewarding parts of this whole process. Training should be divided into two parts – weight workouts and cardio. Both will be important!

For cardio, start with 3 sessions per week of 30 mins of cardiovascular exercise that really gets your heart pumping. Choose something you enjoy, but where you can burn about 10 calories per minute. If you have more bodyfat to lose, then you may need to increase your cardio.

JULIE LOHRE’S NOVICE FIGURE COMPETITOR WORKOUT PLAN

Work out 4 days per week. Each day, begin with a 5-10 min cardio warmup followed by a series of stretches that focus on the parts of the body you will be working that day.

 

Day One – Full Body/Heavy Weights
 

Complete 4 sets of each of the following exercises work for 8-10 reps per set and resting 1-2 minutes between each exercise.


Barbell Thrusters
Incline Bench Press
Front Squats
Wide Grip Pull-ups (Assisted if needed)
Sumo Deadlift High Pull


End today’s workout with sprint intervals where you run ¼ mile, then walk ¼ mile. Complete a total distance of 3 miles.

 

Day Two – Upper Body & Abs
 

Complete 3 sets of each upper body exercise for 10-12 reps, for abs complete 15 reps per exercise resting 30 seconds between each set.


Upper Body
Medicine Ball Pushups
Lateral Raises
Barbell Bicep Curls
Tricep Kickbacks
Upright Barbell Rows
Lat Pulldowns
Tricep Bench Dips


Abs
Medicine Ball Scissors
Upward Hip Thrusts
Lying Leg Raises

 

Day Three – Lower Body Circuit with Glute Emphasis
 

Complete 20 reps of each exercise as a circuit moving immediately to the next exercise. Once you have completed the full circuit, rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times.


Weighted Walking Lunges (alternating right and left)
Medicine Ball Squats
Kettlebell Swings
Banded Donkey Kickbacks (10 on each leg)
Weighted Calf Raises
Banded X Walks
Glute Pulses with Bands
1 min Plank Hold
Rest 2 minutes then repeat circuit

 

Day Four – Back, Delts & Abs
 

Complete 4 sets of each upper body exercise for 10-12 reps, for abs complete 15 reps per exercise resting 30 seconds between each set.


Back & Delts
Bent Over Barbell Row
DB Front Raises
Seated Cable Row
DB Arnold Press
Straight Arm DB Pullovers
Inverted Pushups


Abs
Medicine Ball Sit Ups
Hand to Elbow Planks
Hanging Leg Lifts


NEED MORE HELP

You can work directly with Julie Lohre to achieve your competition and fitness goals with her Online Training Programs at JulieLohre.com.

 

Driven Part 2 Maximum Progress as an Intermediate Bodybuilder

“Cycle Training? What's That?”, asks three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. “A way to ride bicycles more effectively? Well, not quite. It's just a new method to achieve your bodybuilding goals.”1

Zane was obviously decades ahead of other bodybuilders, discussing periodization when only Fred “Dr. Squat” Hatfield and Soviet/Eastern Bloc strength coaches were even familiar with the concept. It is the advancement of training and nutrition science, combined with hard work and commitment, that has taken local and state level bodybuilders to a level similar to the champions of these earlier decades.

 

If you followed the beginner program covered in Driven (Part 1), that was the introduction to a periodization program with two phases to help you make it to intermediate. Hopefully you feel driven to bump it up to the next level.

According to bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl,2 “An intermediate is a trainee who has been training with a beginner's routine for six months to one year and whose gains have slowed on these routines.” If you followed part one of this series, this Intermediate Program should save you before your gains stall out.
 

SO WHAT CHANGES SHOULD YOU EXPECT WITH THE INTERMEDIATE PROGRAM?

1. Increased training volume
2. A three-way bodypart split
3. Stick to an exercise (but not forever)
4. Training that focuses on both strength and muscle growth
5. A more serious diet

The Beginner Program gave specific exercises, sets and reps. This Intermediate Program provides the basics to diet and training but guides you in learning how to wisely personalize it to your needs.



INCREASED TRAINING VOLUME

 

 

“I have always believed that to develop each bodypart thoroughly the section must receive a complete workout,” says early Mr. America winner Jack Delinger,3 who was ahead of his time. “Obviously, a single exercise cannot accomplish this.”

Bumping your training from the beginner level involves heavier weights and an increase in the number of exercises, sets and reps. I have no doubt your strength has made some impressive gains since you started. I recommend that you keep track of your training in a notebook. Being able to look back at previous months (and eventually years) not only shows which areas have not progressed as much as others, but if you ever question your progress, comparing this week to 3, 6, 12, or 24 months ago will fill you with much deserved pride.

With each advancement with the Driven Program, we will have gradual increases in volume and frequency. By gradual, this means when glancing at the program it may be barely noticeable. The number of sets does not bounce from 19-20 per workout to 45-48. The frequency does not change from three sessions a week to “six days on/ Sundays off.” It includes small, gradual increases

You will notice some variance in the number of sets listed (2-3 sets; 3-4 sets). Since this is included on many of the sets, it provides a significant adjustment range of the number of sets per workout (25-33, 28-34, 23-29).

How should you determine what works best for you? You need to see how your body responds. During the first two times through the three sessions, train with the low range of sets and check out how sore and rundown you feel. I say two times because this program is a major advancement, so it should pound your body pretty good. If you find yourself too tired, sore and unenthusiastic during your third run through the three sessions, then stay at the lowest number in the set range. After six to eight times through, attempt another increase in sets, as you should be ready to advance in volume at this point. If you are not ready, then perhaps your nutrition and rest is not being optimized enough for you to properly recuperate from gym battles.

How should you make a volume increase? Add a set in the first exercise per bodypart. For example, in the lower body session, simply increase the first exercise (leg curl), the third movement (a compound leg exercise), and the seventh (calf exercise). In the upper body — push workout, you would go up one set in the second (chest) exercise, the fourth (delt press) and the seventh (triceps) exercise. For the upper body — pull workout increase a single set for the second (back), fourth (rear delt), fifth (trapezius) and sixth (biceps) exercises.

After going through the sessions three or four more times, consider adding a set to each of the remaining exercises. Go by feel on this. You should have had the basic adaptation to the program at this point and your enthusiasm for progress should be the primary gauge for volume increase.



TRAINING FREQUENCY

 

In the Beginners Program, we had three training sessions a week, followed by four sessions a week.

The four-days-a-week program in the second phase split the body into two groups, with them each being trained twice weekly. This is a quality program but the volume of training is limited when you are training half of your body in the session. This is why we will be splitting the body into three sections for the intermediate program. We will be utilizing the “lower body/push/pull” split in phase 1.

LOWER BODY / PUSH / PULL

1. Lower Body
2. Upper Body — Push (Chest, Front and Side Deltoid, Triceps)
3. Upper Body — Pull (Back, Rear Delt, Biceps)

Your body has been split into three training segments, and you will be training on a two days on/ one-day off routine. This works out like this on a calendar:

Training Segments 
Monday Lower Body
Tuesday Upper Body — Push
Wednesday Off
Thursday Upper Body — Pull
Friday Lower Body
Saturday Off
Sunday Upper Body — Push
Monday Upper Body — Pull
Tuesday Off
Repeat

So you won't be training chest and arms every Monday like all those guys in tank tops fighting over the bench or who gets to do some sloppy form barbell curls in the power rack. With this new schedule, each bodypart is trained seven times in a 31-day period.

You probably notice that with this new bodypart split, we are training each bodypart every 4-5 days. This differs dramatically from some of the pro bodybuilders that divide the body into 5-6 sections and train each segment once a week (chest on Monday, quads on Tuesday, etc...).

A study by respected researcher Brad Schoenfeld compared once to two times a week training frequencies of muscle groups.4 “Frequencies of training twice a week promote superior hypertrophic outcomes to once a week,” says Schoenfeld's study. “It can therefore be inferred that the major muscle groups should be trained at least twice a week to maximize muscle growth.” Also, it is mentioned, “whether training a muscle group three times per week is superior to a twice-per-week protocol remains to be determined.”

Even if we separate body parts distinctly into separate training sessions, they get brought into play as synergistic or support muscles to assist when training other body parts (especially in compound exercises). The biceps tend to assist when doing rows, chins or other back exercises. The triceps help in shoulder and chest pressing movements.


PHASE ONE

 

You'll find that we often do not list specific exercises in the program to follow. This allows you to personalize your program based on what equipment you have available and which movements you prefer. Do not change your choices regularly. Use the same exercise for at least five training sessions before changing it. You need to improve the reps and poundages capable and that will not happen if you continually change exercises. Focus on improvement, not “muscle confusion.”

As you can see with these workouts, we have a basic low-rep strength exercise towards the beginning of the session (some 1-6 rep power sets for legs, chest and back, with 6-10 reps on most other exercises). Increasing your strength in this exercise should be your primary goal for each workout. This is followed by a basic 8-12 rep range driving hypertrophy through either compound or isolation exercises. We also include some fairly high-reps (10-15 or more) for our finishing pump-based movements. Stay with this Phase 1 program for eighteen weeks (about four-and-a-half months).

 

THREE HARDCORE INTENSIFICATION TECHNIQUES

“It takes variation to force your body to keep responding to workouts,” says female bodybuilding legend Bev Francis 5, “and even more importantly, it keeps you fresh and stimulated mentally.” Our variation in the Intermediate Driven Program includes some hardcore training techniques that will be mixed into the program. To kick this off, we will include cheat reps, forced reps, and drop sets.

These are hardcore training programs for an intermediate lifter, even without adding intensification techniques. Only include these in sessions where you feel good, energetic and driven to bump it up a notch. Add these intensification techniques to NO MORE THAN ONE set per workout. We do not add these to our low-rep compound movements. The heavy squats, chest presses and back rows do not require added intensity. Those strength-building movements are incorporating heavy weight and pushed hard in strict form, and that is plenty to drive growth. These will be added more to the final higher-rep (8-12 or 10-15) exercises.

Cheat Reps. Cheat reps are the most overused movement in the gym. Those that do not value strict form cheat up their weights on most reps and reduce their progress just because they think they might impress other people. The truth is, experienced lifters are not impressed by how much weight you sloppily lift, they are impressed by how much effort you put into strict form to get every fiber in the targeted muscle group to exert a strong contraction.

For cheat reps, there are just a couple of exercises that we will work them in...bicep curls and lateral raises (with dumbbell or cables) are the two that come to mind. This involves a slight
movement in the shoulder during a curl (a 5-10% arch in the spine and lifting of the elbows) to help you finish that rep that was stalling on the way up, but then lower very strictly and slowly, emphasize the negative portion of the curl. Finish the rep that was only making it a third of the way up and then perform a second cheat rep. The trick is cheating as little as possible to finish and feel the lowering.

In the side laterals, there may be a slight squeeze by the trapezius or assist by the front delts. While those are two things you want to eliminate for 98% of your lateral raise reps, when using them to finish the upward rotation, follow with a PERFECT slow lowering of the resistance.

Forced Reps. Forced reps are a superior option to cheat reps, but require a training partner or spotter. A forced rep refers to being able to complete a rep in strict form when your muscles were unable to do so on their own, thanks to a very minor assistance from someone. On an incline barbell press, you may have stalled on the eleventh repetition, but your spotter (who just had a couple of fingers from each hand resting underneath the bar) lifted just 10-15 pounds, reducing the poundage near your weak point (which might be a couple inches when you are just over halfway to lockout). Once again, this is just for the last two reps. We are not going to include these on our heavy low-rep sets, but just our higher rep movements.

Drop Sets. The third intensification technique is drop sets. Imagine you are doing an incline press on a machine for 14 reps with 100 pounds. It is your final set of a high-rep exercise for
pectorals. On this particular machine, you would not currently be able to complete a fifteenth rep with that weight. But what if you started out with 120 pounds on there, and only got ten
reps until failure, immediately dropped the pin in the weight stack to 100 pounds, and got three more reps (with no rest), dropped the pin down to 80 pounds, and got three more...was that a superior manner to hit some added muscle fibers? Hell yes, it is!

Drop sets are a great intensification strategy, but must be used minimally. Doing this on a heavy compound leg exercise (like squats, leg presses, belt squats) is intense, and you may need to take a nap after you get home from the gym because it can take a lot out of you.

Drop sets are very useful (and less crushing of your recuperative system) for dumbbell side laterals. Mr. Olympia Larry Scott would go “down the rack.” For instance, let's say that you find 20-pound dumbbells are your 8-12 rep poundage. We start out with 25-pound dumbbells and do as many perfectly strict reps as possible (maybe just 6-7). Then you immediately switch to the 20-pound weights and get as many reps as possible. Then you step down to the 15-pound dumbbells, and get as many reps as possible. You should have gotten a great pump from this exercise and Larry Scott built amazing cannonball delts on his once narrow shoulder structure. You can also try this drop set technique on dumbbell shrugs, upright rows, calf presses, leg extensions, leg curls, overhead presses, and many other exercises. Keep in mind, just use one of these intensification techniques per workout.

PHASE 1 - SESSION 1

 

LOWER BODY (QUADS, HAMSTRINGS, POSTERIOR CHAIN, CALVES)

1. Isolation Hamstring Exercise 3-4x6-10
2. Compound Leg Exercise 6x6/5/4/6/5/4 (later 5/4/3/5/4/3, 4/3/2/4/3/2, and then 3/2/1/3/2/1)
3. Compound Leg Exercise 3-4x8-12
4. Finishing Leg Exercise 3-4x10-15

5. Posterior Chain Compound Exercise 3-4x8-12
6. Calf Exercise 3-4x8-12
7. Calf Exercise 3-4x10-15

1. After doing your warm up, go into some type of leg curl. You will find a hamstring pump almost gives you a little bounce that adds to your leg strength.

2. The first Compound Leg Exercise is designed to be completely strength-based. This would be some version of the squat (wide power squat, medium-stance power squat, safety bar squat, front squat, box squat). If necessary, you can use the power squat machine, or belt squats, or (only if you have no other choice) the leg press.

PHASE 1 - SESSION 1  
For the first lower body session:6/5/4/6/5/4230x6 / 245x5 / 265x4 / 230x6 / 245x5 / 265x4
Second training session:5/4/3/5/4/3245x5 / 265x4 / 285x3 / 245x5 / 270x4 / 295x3
Third training session:4/3/2/4/3/2275x4 / 295x3 / 315x2 / 275x4 / 295x3 / 315x2
Fourth training session:3/2/1/3/2/1305x3 / 325x2 / 355x1 / 315x3 / 335x2 / 370x1
Fifth training session:6/5/4/6/5/4 (stronger)250x6 / 270x5 / 295x4 / 260x6 / 275x5 / 305x4
continue...

This rep scheme is considered multi-level double wave loading.

3. Following your leg strength exercise, we want to do a second exercise for moderate reps. Good choices are leg presses, belt squats, and machine squats (such as Tru-Squats, or hack squats.) This would be where we might include some forced reps on the final set of the exercises. This would involve having a training partner or spotter help just enough by pushing against the carriage or lifting the plate-loading bar for a Tru-Squat or hack squat machine to keep the weight moving when you take it to failure. They can help you get one or two added reps in that final set. On the leg press, you can press gently against your knees to help yourself do it.

4. Your finishing leg exercise is a higher rep pumping movement, such as leg extensions, or a single leg movement (such as lunges, single-legged leg press, or step-ups).

5. To hit your posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings) use Romanian deadlift, glute-ham raise, reverse hyperextension, stiff-legged deadlift, or good morning. Focus on a strong contraction.

6. Going heavy and for a full range-of-motion, choose 45° Calf Press, Standing Calf, Donkey Calf Raise or any calf machines available. Get a slight pause at both stretch and contraction on all of your sets of both exercises.

7. Seated Calf Raises should be your choice (about half of the time) for the second calf exercise. You can also do any of the available calf exercises for a slightly higher rep range and shorter rest periods. Once again, go for the stretch pause at the bottom and the contraction pause at the top.


According to Australian strength trainer/writer Ian King,6 “Multiple wave sets are intended for the exposure of the first wave to enhance the second wave, and if there's a third wave, the second wave to enhance the third wave.” I find a mental benefit to this second rep-wave and I look forward to each progressive week in the program. Keep in mind that even though you are trying to build strength, not every set is 100% personal record breaking. That fourth session, with single-rep sets should be the most difficult, but possible...otherwise you chose unrealistic poundages. Go through the series (four leg training sessions building to lower reps waves) two or three times before changing exercises. Build serious strength over time. This exercise should be the most serious goal each lower body session.


PHASE 1 - SESSION 2

 

UPPER BODY — PUSH (CHEST, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS)

1. Compound Chest 4x10/8/6/3-4
2. Isolation Chest 3-4x8-12
3. Compound Chest 2-3x10-1

4. Overhead Press 3-4x6-10
5. Lateral Raise 3-4x8-12
6. Finishing Delt Exercise 2-3x10-15

7. Triceps Exercise 3x6-10
8. Triceps Exercise 3x8-12
9. Triceps Exercise 2x10-15

1. After general warm-up and a few warm-up sets, we are choosing a compound pressing movement (incline or flat dumbbell presses, flat or incline bench press or barbell or dumbbell floor press) and gradually increase poundages for the final low-rep set.

2. Since we are going for an isolation movement, dumbbell flyes, pec deck, or cable crossovers are excellent examples to give your triceps a break while working your pecs. Incline, flat or decline flye presses are also great options.

3. Pec Dips (elbows wide, deep stretch at bottom, stopping short of locked elbows at top) are an excellent finishing movement. Various machine presses (Hammer Strength and Nautilus have great options) or push-ups with added weight (chains in an X crossing your shoulders/traps) also are a great choice. Flat, incline or decline dumbbell or barbell presses for higher reps also works well.

For variety, every four to six workouts, do 8x8 for chest, using one simple compound movement, such as flat, incline or decline dumbbell presses, incline barbell presses, Smith machine or Hammer Strength presses. This involves moderately heavy weights, fairly short (90-second) rest periods and maximum chest pumps. This is in place of exercises 1-3.

4. Since the shoulder is a delicate ball-and-socket joint, make sure you are thoroughly warmed up. We are trying to train both the front and side deltoid head in this workout. An overhead press, using either dumbbells, a Smith or other machine is a great exercise. Perfect form is more important than heavy reps. The Arnold (or Scott) Press brings in both side and front deltoids quite a bit.

5. For cannonball delts, we need maximum wide lateral delt growth. Go for perfect form (no trapezius assist), with the arm rotated so that the pinky side of your hand is higher than the thumb. Use dumbbells, cables or machine laterals. If standing, leaning slightly forward at the waist will keep the lateral head working (and not letting the front delt take over).

6. For a finishing deltoid movement, consider upright rows (dumbbells, bar, cables), any kind of overhead press, front raise (single-dumbbell, dumbbells, cable, plate, bar or other machine) movement. Make sure you choose an exercise that give you a good pump with the higher reps.

7. Your triceps should be warmed up fairly well. For a basic heavy exercise, consider close-grip benches, lying triceps extensions, dumbbell rolling extensions or any heavy extensions or tricep dips.

8. For the moderate-rep exercise, there are a variety of possible triceps exercises: pushdowns, machine extensions, dumbbell extensions (seated, decline bench, incline),
close-grip presses, dumbbell French press, kickbacks...

9. For a finisher, any of the listed triceps exercises also works well at higher reps. I also recommend fairly close-grip push-ups with hands on a bar (placed at lowest Smith
machine or power rack setting). If you get really high reps, you can add weight with chains or elevate your feet on a bench.


REFERENCES

1. Zane, Frank. “Maximum Gains from Cycle Training,” Muscle Training Illustrated, November/December 1969
2. Pearl, Bill. “Pearls” column, Ironman, November 1988
3. Delinger, Jack. “A Mr. America Thigh Program,” Muscle Builder/Power, January 1954
4. Schoenfeld, Brad. “Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
5. Francis, Bev. “Total Lower Body Blowout,” Flex, January 1989
6. King, Ian. “The Wave Loading Manifesto,” https://www.t-nation.com/training/wave-loading-manifesto March 7, 2005
7. Bass, Clarence. “My Training Philosophy,” Ironman, November 1981

PHASE 1 - SESSION 3

 

UPPER BODY — PULL (BACK, REAR DELTS, BICEPS)

1. Compound Back Exercise 4x10/8/6/3-4
2. Isolation or Compound Back Exercise 3-4x8-12
3. Compound Back Exercise 2-3x10-15

4. Rear Deltoid Exercise 3-4x8-12
5. Trapezius Exercise 3-4x6-10
6. Biceps Exercise 3x6-10

7. Biceps Exercise 3x8-12
8. Biceps Exercise 2x10-15

1. After a thorough warm-up, you need to choose a basic compound back movement. This could be chin-ups, lat pulldowns, bent-over barbell rows, Hammer Strength rows, or other machine pulldowns or rows. Now the back is a complex muscle group, with chins and pulldowns focusing on lat width while rowing movements focus on mid back and thickness. Every 4-6 weeks switch from width to thickness focus, unless one particular area is a weakness for your body. Even though we are going heavy, keep to strict form and hold each contraction in order to really work the muscles.

2. You may notice that I list “isolation or compound.” If you find that you tend to get a bicep pump and not so much of a feel in your back, go to an isolation movement to give your biceps a break. Good choices include machine pullovers or bent-arm barbell pullovers, straight-arm cable pulldowns, or various machine exercises. Otherwise, choose a different compound movement for a medium rep range (still pausing at the contracted point). Most lifters should do a width lat movement here if they did a rowing exercise for the first movement and vice versa.

3. Finish up with a good compound exercise...seated cable rows, lat pulldowns, chins, one-arm dumbbell rows, chest-supported rows, or any other machine movement you like. Again, hold the contraction for a second and get a hard squeeze.

For variety, every four to six workouts, substitute all three of the above exercises for 8 sets of 8 reps for back, using one simple compound movement, such as bent-over barbell rows, lat pulldowns, seated cable rows, or chest-suspended rows. Just like in the chest version, go for moderately heavy weights and a fairly short (90-seconds) rest period. Squeeze at contraction so that you get a shirt-stretching pump.

4. Why do we train this area when deltoid work is part of another day? Rear delts get more contraction assisting with back training. Keep very good form (and a pause in contraction). Good exercises include bent-over dumbbell (or cable) rows, reverse pec deck or face pulls.

5. To build the trapezius, we can do dumbbell/barbell shrugs, barbell/dumbbell/cable upright rows, or machine shrugs (or done on a standing calf raise, using the shoulder
pads).

6. The back training helped warm up your biceps. You may need a warm-up set though since this is a heavy bicep exercise. This involves a very basic curl (barbell curls, dumbbell curls, incline dumbbell curls) done in strict form for bicep strength.

7. Scott (preacher) curls are a great mass building movement, but do better as a second movement to ensure you are thoroughly warmed up. Other great options are machine curls, cable curls, under-grip chin-ups or barbell drag curls.

8. Any of the exercises listed above are good options, at this slightly higher repetition range. I also recommend that you try to work in Zottman curls, dumbbell hammer or reverse curls fairly often to build your brachialis. On your last set, have your training partner help you complete one or two last reps if you stall on the curl or do a slight hip/lower back drive to cheat up those added two reps (going as minimally out of strict form as necessary).

9. (Optional) If you feel that you need some forearm growth, I recommend that you include 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of wrist curls.


INTERMEDIATE PHASE 1 PROGRAM WRAP-UP

Once you have completed 18 weeks of the Intermediate Phase 1 program it’s time to switch to Phase 2. In Phase 2 we’ll be using a different workout split consisting of legs/chest and back/shoulders and arms. We will discuss that in the next article. You should take pride in the accomplishment and look through your training records (you better have written them all down!) to see exactly how much strength progress you have accomplished.

The key to success is to never compare yourself to champion lifters nor care how other people assess your build. Appreciate not only the goals that you accomplish, but the journey you are traveling. Retired champion and author Clarence Bass says,7 “If I continue to compete against myself, every workout and every year, I'll succeed in my goal. I will be the best bodybuilder I can be.” Focus on your improvement, enjoy the progress, but do not judge yourself against others. If you enjoy the Intermediate stage in this article, then the upcoming Advanced plan of action may also be part of your successful future.

Driven Part 1 Become a Successful Beginning Bodybuilder!

What drives you? What makes you walk into a gym? Even more importantly, what makes you want to get so serious about exercise and nutrition that you transform your body?

With most of us, we have seen someone in amazing shape, either heroes in action movies, models for clothing, or athletes on the playing field. We not only are impressed by their appearance, conditioning and strength, but we want to transform ourselves into something similar.

For some of us, we may have noticed some bad flaws or changes in our physique...skinny arms, a thicker waistline, chubby cheeks, scrawny legs, or a fat rear end...and just decided that WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT BE OUR STANDARD! Making the serious choice to enter the bodybuilding lifestyle, whether it involves competing on stage or just taking control over how your body looks, shows our commitment.

 

While the decision to go for a fitness lifestyle is important, maintaining your commitment for the rest of your life is crucial. It can't just be a phase you are in. In order to seriously upgrade your life, it needs to become a central part of your character and existence. The fact that you chose to read this publication, shows that you plan to make this part of your life!
 

BENEFITS 

So what benefits can be expected with this now a part of your life? Obviously, your are going to improve your body composition. This means you will increase muscle size and shape. This is a gradual increase with some men adding just a few pounds of muscle each year (and usually less for women), but if you visualize a few pounds of meat from the butcher shop, and some of that added to your shoulders, a few ounces on each calf, a bit on each arm, etc... that really makes an impressive change to the sculpting of your body. I mentioned shape earlier. Adding muscle and burning fat is what creates a shapely body. Body fat sags due to gravity but muscle defies gravity. While proper training and nutrition is based on research science, the benefits will look like steadily evolving works of art.

As you challenge your body by doing more reps with gradually increasing poundages, you build strength, increase muscle size, decrease body fat, and speed up your metabolism. These changes will improve your general health and possibly even increase your lifespan.

Your work in the gym and the changes brought on obviously improve your appearance. You may not realize this yourself since the changes are so gradual that you may not even notice them. Sometimes lifters go through periods in which they question if their work in the gym is paying off. If you can look back over months (and eventually years) of recordkeeping, that should keep you motivated.

Three-time Olympia winner Frank Zane suggests that we all keep a training journal. “Make use of every possible indicator of progress because this is one of the best ways to keep interested in training.” 1

That is why keeping track of your weight, training poundages, measurements, and (if possible) body composition is important. I recommend that you take your weight once a week (first
thing in the morning each Monday), and (if possible) have your body composition taken once every 2-4 weeks.

While you may not notice your level of physical progress, family and friends that you do not see every week might bring a smile to your face by comments: “Wow! How much muscle have you put on?” or “Your waist looks so much smaller. Did you have to switch to a different pants size?”

So we mention the athletic improvements, the health benefits, and how it boosts your appearance. All of those are great, but perhaps the greatest benefit to your lifestyle is how your mental state has improved. You may find that you possess greater self-confidence, feel capable of handling any challenges, and (most importantly) happier! The bodybuilding lifestyle
could very well be the best decision you have ever made in your personal growth!


THE TRAINING PROGRAM

 

 

Champion bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I personally like the pain from training because it indicates I've worked hard enough for things to grow.” 2 As a beginner, muscle soreness will definitely hit you, but you will adapt. In fact, the progress that beginning lifters experience is the highest, and this soreness may just be an indication of the impressive
amount of muscle growth.

This beginner training program has two phases! Phase One lasts for eight weeks (but only if you have completed all of the two dozen sessions). This program is three days a week and each workout should last 40-60 minutes. For example only, we list Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as your three training days each week. If Tuesday, Thursday and one of the weekend days fits your schedule better, then make use of that. What is most important is that you train three times a week with a rest and recuperation day between each of the strength training sessions.

Once you have completed Phase One (24 workouts in an eight week period), we advance to the next phase. Phase Two lasts for four months (but only if you have trained consistently). If an emergency comes up and you miss a day, jump right back into things, even if a day behind schedule. Just get right back on track. In the workout we list each exercise, followed by a numerical listing of the “set and rep” scheme. Here is an example: Squat 3 x 8-12

This means that after warming up, you choose a weight in which you can do eight to twelve repetitions of the squat. That group of repetitions (reps) are considered a “set.” Once you are able to do a dozen strict reps in all three sets, increase the weight in your next workout. Here is an example:

Squat
Monday, March 13: 115x12, 115x11, 115x9
Monday, March 20: 115x12, 115x11, 115x10
Monday, March 27: 115x12, 115x12, 115x11
Monday, April 3: 115x12, 115x12, 115x12
Monday, April 10: 125x11, 125x9, 125x8

As you can see, the lifter in this example increased the number of reps (even if just by a single rep) each workout. This is key to your progress (and why you should record your training efforts). Once the lifter achieved a dozen reps in all three sets (the top number in the 8-12 rep range), they increase the training poundage for their next workout.

When you are not having a good day (even if not feeling your best), you will be amazed that you might have the best workout ever. I have had days in which I was mildly sick or barely slept because of work deadlines, and went into the gym and shocked myself by unleashing unexpected strength and performance that made me walk out of the gym smiling like an idiot!

One of the earlier mass monsters of bodybuilding, Tim Belknap said, “In the simplest terms, to build big muscles, you have to train with very heavy weights in strict form on basic exercises.” 3 These are great guidelines for your program.

PHASE ONE
3 DAYS A WEEK

MondayAmount
Squat 3x8-12
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x8-12
Side Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Close-grip Barbell Curl 2x8-12
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension2x8-12
45° Calf Press 2x10-15
WednesdayAmount
Romanian (or Straight-Leg) Deadlift 3x8-12
45° Leg Press3x8-12
Bench Press 3x8-12
Lat Pulldown 3x8-12
Seated Dumbbell Press 2x8-12
Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Seated Dumbbell French Press 3x8-12
Seated Calf Raise 2x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x10-15
FridayAmount
Hex-Bar (or Machine) Squat 3x6-10
Bent over Barbell Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Front and Side Dumbbell Lateral Raise 2x8-12
Incline Dumbbell Curl 2x8-12
Close-grip Bench Press 2x8-12
Hyperextensions (Back Raise) 2x8-12
One-Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 2x10-15
Twisting Cable Crunch 2x8-12 (each side)

NOTES:

• If you are not familiar with the exercises, you can find out about them online or through a qualified strength training coach.
• The three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) are just examples. Any three will work as long as you have one day off after each training session.
• Train hard. Focus on controlling the exercise more than how much weight you lift. Focus on the muscle fibers contracting. And enjoy yourself!

PHASE TWO
4 DAYS A WEEK

Congratulations on making it through the first phase of the beginner training program. That intro program involved you training your entire body three days a week (with a day off for recuperation between each session). Looking back, this is the ideal phase since every bodypart being hit three times weekly provides lots of forward progress.

What changes is that there are two forms of recuperation: the recuperation of each bodypart and the ability for your central nervous system to recover. Your body has improved to the point that we need to increase the volume directed on each bodypart but, since the length of the workout is limited, we split the session into two parts (lower body and waistline in the first session and upper body in the second one).

“Success depends on your recuperating powers, and as a beginner, rest is even more important,” says Mr. Universe winner and bodybuilding legend Chuck Sipes. 4 “As you progress and your body becomes adapted to hard training, you will be able to add additional sets and greater poundages.”

So what is your schedule like? We list the training as Monday and Tuesday training sessions, Wednesday off, Thursday and Friday training, with the weekend off. Again, This is just for example, and you can arrange the calendar as needed, as long as you get two training days in a row, with the following day off for recovery. The second phase of your Beginner Training Program lasts for four months.

Workout 1: (Monday)Amount
Squat 4x6-10
Dumbbell Lunge 3x8-12 (ea. leg)
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Hyperextension (Back Raise) 3x8-12
45° Calf Press 3x10-15
Ab Crunch 2x15-20
Workout 2: (Tuesday)Amount
Incline Bench 4x6-10
Flat Dumbbell Press 3x8-12
Parallel-grip Lat Pulldown 3x6-10
Under-grip Bodyweight Row 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Overhead Press 3x8-12
Alternate Dumbbell Curl 3x8-12
Triceps Pushdown 3x8-12
Workout 3: (Thursday)Amount
Romanian Deadlift 4x6-10
Leg Press 3x8-12
Leg Extension 3x8-12
Leg Curl 3x8-12
Standing Calf Raise 3x10-15
Leg Raise 3x10
Workout 4: (Friday)Amount
Front Chin-up 4xAMRAP
Seated Cable Row 3x8-12
Low-Incline Dumbbell Press 3x6-10
RackBar Push-up 1xAMRAP
Dumbbell Side Laterals 3x8-12
EZ-bar Curl (medium-width grip) 3x8-12
Close-grip Bench 3x8-12

With each of these training sessions, think of the first exercise as your top goal. You want to get at least one additional rep for each exercise, but that first exercise...that first one...is the exercise you work the hardest. Warm up, then hit it hard!

As you can see, three of the exercises have “AMRAP” as their rep range. This stands for “as many reps as possible.” The first one is the “Under-grip Bodyweight Row.” The exercise involves you using a bar (either the one in the Smith machine or one placed in a power rack). Have it set at waist height. Lay under the bar, face up, gripping the bar with a hands-up (thumbs pointing out), shoulder-width grip. Keep your arms and legs locked in a straight line throughout the set. Pull yourself up so that the bar touches near your sternum and hold the squeeze for three seconds. When you can get more than fifteen reps, raise your feet up on a bench to make your body about parallel to the ground at the top.

On the Friday workout, you have “Front Chin-ups” and “RackBar Push-up” as your as many reps as possible (AMRAP) options. Front Chin-ups simply involve you using a shoulder-width grip and pulling up until your collarbone is about 4-6 inches from the bar. If you can't get four reps on your own, get the assist from a resistance training band attached to one of your feet until you get a dozen reps, then either go with a thinner band, or go without one.

The RackBar Push-up uses either the bar in the Smith machine (at lowest setting) or a bar in the power rack (8-10 inches from the ground). Go with a shoulder-width grip (thumbs both pointing inward), lightly touch the sternum to the bar and press up 80% of the way (no locking out your arms at the top). When you can do more than fifteen reps in a set, start going to failure, then lift the bar up 4-6 inches higher, and go to failure a second time each set. These are three great upper body building exercises.

WHAT ABOUT CARDIO EXERCISE?

You may be wondering if cardio work fits into your program. That depends on three different factors:

1. What is your body type?
2. What are your goals?
3. What are your thoughts on cardio work?

Are you overweight, with a high level of body fat? Do you have the goals to be leaner or have better cardiovascular endurance? Do you enjoy getting on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, stepper or do you hate all four of those darn machines?

If you need to burn some body fat or feel that you need to increase your aerobic conditioning, then I recommend you do some cardio work three to four times a week for 10-15 minutes in the first phase, and a maximum of 20 minutes during the second phase. If possible, do it on your nonstrength training days. I recommend that (if you have the options) you rotate through different modalities (treadmill, elliptical, stepper, bike, or outdoor jogging). For one reason, repeated stress might beat up your soft tissues (such as bad ankles, aching knee, hips pain, shin splints...) but varied choices make that less likely. For a second reason, you may find the variety more mentally interesting.

Another use of the cardio equipment is a warm-up prior to your strength training. This should take just 5-8 minutes (at a very fast walk if it is a treadmill) and the goal is to increase your internal core temperature (starting to break a sweat), followed by some light sets of the core exercises to loosen you up further. For instance, your can do 15-20 bodyweight squats and then a light set of squats before beginning your work sets of squats. As you get more advanced, the warm-ups become more extensive since your weights will have increased.


NUTRITION ADJUSTMENTS FOR BEGINNERS

 

You may think, “Let's do a subtle change to convert my body so that I look less like that guy who starred in the Soprano's and more like that guy who starred as Thor in the Avenger's movies.” Unfortunately, subtle changes to your lifestyle will not convert your body. If you are in really bad shape, this may have been from months or years of being lazy, enjoying the comforts of a relaxed sedentary life, and treating yourself to some serious junk food.

Dr. Fred Hatfield says, “Periods of high-stress training require supernormal intake of many nutrients without a commensurate increase in caloric needs.” 5 This means that you need to improve the quality of your nutrition, so every food choice and the inclusion of targeted supplements become more important as you advance.

The things you do, and foods you eat, need to change. As a beginner, the diet will not be incredibly strict, but we will be bumping it up as you advance. We want to bring about “homeostatic disruption,” making the body change in order to handle the new life you are living. Forcing your body to lifting gradually heavier weights will kick this off. To get the most from the training, we need to provide proper nutrition to help you recuperate and build stronger (and larger) muscles and to burn off unneeded and unattractive body fat.

Improving your body requires two different adjustments: 1) provide different stress to your muscles and metabolism, causing your body to adapt, and 2) provide different food and nutrient intake to assist with muscle growth and promote fat loss. We covered the first aspect with your strength training workouts. Now it is time to strategize a proper nutrition plan.

EIGHT NUTRITION BASICS

1. Eat at least five meals a day

2. Eat protein at each meal

3. Limit your starchy carb intake

4. Try to nearly eliminate simple carbs

5. Choose the correct fats

6. Increase veggies

7. Drink plenty of water

8. Enjoy it. Eat healthy, but enjoy treating yourself to delicious healthy foods

PROTEIN

Weight training causes hypertrophy, an adaptation in which your muscle fibers rebuild... stronger, larger, possibly in larger quantity, and ready to better handle what you do in the gym.
Famous Soviet strength coach Vladimir Zatsiorsky said,“Activate the breakdown of protein in the chosen muscle groups during training workouts and protein super-compensation during rest periods.” 6 This reminds us that the most important requirement for that improved muscular structure is protein, providing the necessary amino acids to rebuild bigger, better muscle. A good general rule for protein would be to consume 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight in order to promote muscle growth.

Good popular sources for protein include eggs, beef, lamb, bison/buffalo, chicken, turkey, fish, and quality protein powders. While you may have favorites, quality and variety are important. We want to provide the body with vital amino acids so each meal should be at least one-third protein. A Beverly International protein shake provides two basic benefits: 1) they contain high-quality, easily-absorbed proteins, 2) they are quick, easy, delicious...and fit well into a hectic schedule with multiple protein-based meals. Adding a couple of protein shakes in addition to your whole food meals makes it much easier to create a quality daily intake.
 

CARBOHYDRATES

Your carbohydrates (carbs) provide energy (replenishing your glucose and glycogen stores) as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. While carbs are not crucial to survival, they are necessary for recovery from hardcore training. For your diet, we will think of carbs in three categories:

1. Starchy carbs — Such as sweet potatoes/yams, rice, potatoes, oats, quinoa, grains, pasta and breads (limited).
2. Fibrous veggies — Broccoli,  cauliflower, lettuce, onions, green beans, carrots, peppers, asparagus, squash, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, etc.
3. Fruit — Berries, apples, oranges, grapefruit, cranberries.

The amount and how often you add carbs to your meals depends on your bodycomp/goals (how badly do you need to burn fat) and how well your body handles carbs. Many people find they do well by limiting their carb intake. The average person does well with starchy carbs making up a decent percentage in just three of their daily meals. If you are trying to burn fat, reduce the amounts and cut starchy carbs down to just two of those meals.

The fibrous (also called cruciferous) veggies provide a lot of important nutrients, are low in calories, and very filling. You should have at least two to three servings every day.

Fruit also gives you some great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy cofactors. Look at their carb levels and eliminate those that have too much fructose (natural fruit sugar). Limit fruit juices, since many of these tend to be very high calorie (with added sweeteners often snuck in). Apples and oranges make simple snacks for work or on-the-road. Berries are delicious, low-calorie, and great flavor additions to shakes, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt.

We also want to use starchy carbs to replenish our energy near the end of the training session, so it makes sense to place those meals near your training session and having noncarb meals (protein and healthy fats) placed in other times. So, if you train in the morning, your last meals of the day can be carb-free. If you train in the evenings, the first half of your day can be low in carbs.

While we mentioned that there are three categories we placed the carbs into (starchy carbs, fibrous veggies, and fruit) there is a fourth category, which we want to limit. This is simple carbs (such as sugars, syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup). These should not be a part of your daily intake and, when consumed, do so in small amounts.

 
FATS

One of the biggest mistakes uneducated eaters make is the belief that eating fat is what makes you fat. What makes people fat is too high of a calorie intake and not enough exercise or activity. Choosing the right fats and keeping their intake fairly balanced, improves your health. Low fat intake also is known to cause a dramatic drop in your natural testosterone production.

Healthy fats include fish oils, nuts and seeds, grass-fed butters, and avocados. Some of your daily fat intake will be a part of the healthy proteins, such as the fat included in your eggs and your meat and dairy sources. When preparing food, there are great benefits to using the healthier sources, such as macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, olive oil or red palm oil. Also, to balance your fat intake, one or two daily servings of EFA Gold will provide you with essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), which most diets are badly deficient.

The truly bad fats are margarine, canola oil, saturated fat (in excessive amounts), and trans fats. Trans fats are lipids that have been chemically changed to enhance the shelf-life longevity of those crackers, doughnuts and cookies, which is great for the manufacturer (but terrible for your health and longevity). These are found in many processed foods. Cautiously look for them on product labels. This is another example for the excessive processing of foods being bad for our health.

“I prefer to eat frequent small meals even when dieting,” says retired champion bodybuilder Tom Touchstone, “...because this keeps my blood sugar and blood protein levels fairly constant.” 7 Here is an example of a diet of that nature, to help you create one that fits your needs and schedule:

 

SAMPLE DIET
 

Meal 1: Egg omelet (mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, shredded cheese); whole-grain toast (add peanut butter if you need to gain weight)


Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple or berries


Meal 2: Chicken breast; rice; steamed vegetables


Training
Post Workout Shake: Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein shake


Meal 3: Steak; sweet potato; broccoli


Before Bed Snack: Ultimate Muscle Protein pudding (put 2 scoops of your favorite UMP flavor in a bowl, then slowly add water while stirring until it reaches a pudding consistency – for weight gain, add peanut butter or heavy cream to the mix)



NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS

 

 

Quality food choices are the base of an effective bodybuilding diet. Nutrition supplements can only work when added to quality food intake. Supplements will bolster this by adding compounds not found in large quantities in typical foods and making it quick and easy to add protein (at a very high-quality level) to your diet.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, increasing the amount and quality of your protein is the major diet change necessary to enter a bodybuilding lifestyle. Your best choice is Beverly
International's Ultimate Muscle Protein as the first supplement. It is derived from slow-release micellar casein (80%) and (20%) whey protein. This provides a sustained-release supply of amino acids to encourage muscle growth.

For those with an exceptionally-high metabolism (skinny guys that cannot pack on muscle), you will need Mass Maker Ultra. This is a higher-calorie protein and carbohydrate powder that will help you see some bigger numbers on the scale. This group (called ectomorphs) will often experience impressive muscle gains once they add a higher daily total of nutrient-rich calories.

After choosing which protein fi ts, the second supplement I would recommend to a beginner would be FitTabs. This is a high-quality daily serving of micronutrients, including vitamins,
minerals, bio-flavanoids, antioxidants, lipotropics and digestive enzymes. Since you are placing more physical stress on your body, a pair of FitTabs with breakfast and dinner will help
with your recovery while protecting you from nutritional deficiencies.

The third product I would recommend (even to someone that does not work out) is EFA Gold. This is a source of essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, borage seed oil, fish oil and vitamin E.

Properly balancing your fat intake is difficult with just proper food choices. Taking three EFA Gold softgels once or twice daily will have a positive influence on your health and conditioning.

Now for the super-driven athletes, the optional products I recommend to take it to a higher-level would be doses of Ultra 40 and Mass Amino Acids taken throughout the day. Ultra 40 is a desiccated liver product (500 large tablets per bottle) in which the heme iron basis works as a blood builder, rich in protein, B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D and a variety of minerals. Mass Amino Acids also comes in a big 500-count bottle of tablets. These are easily absorbed peptide-bond aminos that support hypertrophy. This two product stack involves three to five of each of these tablets, four to six times a day. As you can imagine, this ensures that you have a constant flow of muscle-building nutrients in your bloodstream at all times.

 
THE NEXT PHASE

In the next issue, look for “Driven — Part 2: Maximum Progress as an Intermediate Bodybuilder!” The progress you achieve if you strictly follow this program will provide you with a direct and efficient way to reach your goals. Some of the changes added in Part 2 includes: more frequent training, an increase in training volume, some higher level training techniques, exercises you probably have never done, a variety of rep ranges, and a stricter nutrition program (based on body types). This program is a challenge, but you will love it!

You need to devote yourself to getting through the Beginner Program in order to succeed and move closer to your goals. Stick to the program. Keep track of your results...and every training session will be like a step forward towards achieving everything in which your body is capable.


REFERENCES

  1. Zane, Frank. “Equation for Victory,” Muscle & Fitness, July 1983
  2. Schwarzenegger, Arnold. “Arnold on the Squat,” Muscle Builder/Power, July 1976
  3. Belknap, Tim. “Gain Ultimate Mass & Power” from Muscle & Fitness, December, 1983
  4. Sipes, Chuck. “How to Plan Your Bodybuilding Training” (training course) no date listed
  5. Hatfi eld, Dr. Fred. “Hardcore Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach,” Contemporary Books, 1991
  6. Zatsiorsky, Vladimir. “Science and Practice of Strength Training,” Human Kinetics, 1995
  7. Reynolds, Bill. “Tom Touchstone: Mr. California” from Muscle & Fitness, November 1985

Judy Weichman: Negative Conditions Handled By Positive Attitude

At a Glance: Judy Weichman

Age: 47

Occupation: IFBB Figure Pro Competitor, Ace Certified Personal Trainer, Figure and Bikini Coach

Family: 3 boys (Austin 18, Kolton 16, Brandon 14)

Residence: Bloomington, IL

Height: 5’7”

Off-Season Weight: 150-155

Competition Weight: 133

Favorite Fitness Meal: Turkey muffins, white rice and Brussels sprouts

Favorite supplements: UMP (chocolate), Muscle Provider (vanilla), Lean Out, Muscularity, GH Factor, EFA Gold

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: UMP or Muscle Provider and Lean Out

Music: Christian Music

Most Inspiring Book: The Bible

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Cooking, going to my boys' games or activities, and bicycling

Words to live by: Follow your dreams and your heart.

Presentation Tips: In preparation for a contest, I suggest starting sixteen weeks out and coming down slowly. Also, a proper tan is crucially important at a contest. I see so many competitors work so hard then they get tanned right before the show and their color either is too light, too dark or just occasionally perfect. You want to have a great tan for stage. Not only do you need a great physique and a great posing routine but your hair/ makeup/tan/suit all needs to flow together nicely.

A great example of someone living as a champion is recent figure pro, Judy Weichman. Raised in Pontiac, Illinois, she was naturally competitive, competing in track, softball, and volleyball. She did particularly well in track, competing as a sprinter, high jumper, long jumper and earned a scholarship with Illinois State University for high jumping.

The summer before college, Judy was rear-ended in a car accident, which caused a spinal injury. This left her with five years of physical therapy, making her unable to use her track scholarship. She went to a junior college but lost her ability to quench her competitive nature.

Life gives us many challenges to face. Judy's oldest son, Austin, had bacterial meningitis as a baby, which led to seizures. This included a 15-minute seizure in which he was announced as being brain dead. Austin fell into a medically induced coma but woke up a few days later asking for his mother. The doctors were amazed at this miracle.

Judy's second son Kolton was born healthy, but her third son (Brandon) was born seven weeks early and had suffered from a stroke prior to her giving birth. This was discovered when he was a year old since he was not using the right side of his body.

Nine years ago, Judy started to notice some weird symptoms like numb arms and feet and lightheadedness. She saw four different neurologists with differing opinions. It seems like she was in the early stage of multiple sclerosis. They found a lesion on her brain and on her spine and suspected that the stress of overall family health problems may have added to a genetic tendency to MS.

The head neurologist from the Mayo Clinic recommended she start weight training, cardio work and following their clean eating recommendations, rather than relying on pills. “Judy, eat clean and work out,” he said. “That is the best chance you are going to have for it not to get worse.”

Judy's doctor appointment was on a Friday, she joined Gold's Gym the next Monday, and bought a book describing the clean diet recommendations. “I ended up discovering that I loved to lift weights, as I had never lifted weights before.”

The book recommended foods to avoid body inflammation. Prior to the diagnosis, Judy was naturally skinny and ate sweets and anything she wanted. She had the nickname “Junkfood Judy.” Her doctor told her that nutrition had a serious effect on most diseases, particularly diabetes, heart issues and MS.

“I literally did a one-eighty,” Judy says. “I went from junk food to preparing all my meals right out of the suggestions of that book. This included clean healthy food, nothing packaged, just home cooked healthy meals.”

Her diet was based on the clean diet requirements to reduce inflammation in order to control her MS symptoms.

For this, she avoids wheat products and simple sugars, and eats in a gluten-free  manner. Her carbs are geared more towards sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa. Her protein sources are chicken, fish, and Beverly protein shakes. Her fats include natural almond and peanut butters, avocados, and she cooks with coconut oil.

“If you are a competitor or just someone wanting to be as healthy as possible, the key is clean eating,” Judy says. “I can’t stress that enough. Whether you have a specific disease or not, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to eat lean clean foods and supplement your body with Beverly International supplements. You can also make so many great recipes with their protein powders.”

A guy at her gym told Judy that she had a great figure and should compete. “I was so shy I couldn't imagine getting up on stage,” she says. “And then I realized that I didn't have to talk, and I'm a competitive person, so I decided to give it a try.”

Figure Pro, Chaundra Tangi moved to Bloomington from Colorado at this time. Chaundra had lost focus on competing, but was inspired by Judy. They both worked together and Chaundra helped her particularly with her posing and stage presence.

“My goal was to get up on stage and not fall down in the heels I was not used to wearing, but I ended up winning my first show in Rockford, Illinois. I did another show two months later in Chicago and also won. Since then, I have been doing two to three shows a year.”

This includes competing at the national level, in which she won the figure overall at both the 2014 NPC Continental USA Championships and the 2016 NPC Masters Nationals (and her pro card).

Her diet was so on track that at a recent show she was able to eat the same food plan she was on for twelve-weeks up to the show, no adjustments were necessary. She didn't need to do anything to fill out or adjust her hydration. “As we women get older,” Judy says, “our hormones and metabolism sometimes get off track. I have been lucky so far not to have that as a concern.”

Every year, Judy has an MRI in which they look to see if her lesions have changed. Fortunately, hers have not gotten worse. “What has changed, and what shocked my physician, is that he saw the changes to my body a year after my first show.” Her doctor was shocked by the changes to her physique and encouraged her to continue in that direction.

What makes Judy special? It’s not just winning a pro card as Judy did, but it was how she handled the challenges of real life. It wasn’t using her burdens to accept less from the world, it was how she put forth the effort to make her life as good as possible. Judy Weichman is a great example of what it means to be a true champion!

Diet

My nutrition plan consists of high protein, moderate carbs, and healthy fats. I drink at least one gallon of water each day. Here’s a sample of my pre-contest meal plan:
 

Meal 1: 5 egg whites, 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1/3 cup blueberries

Meal 2 (pre-workout): 4oz salmon or lean red meat, 2oz white potato, 3/4 cup green beans or Brussels sprouts

Meal 3 (post-workout): 1 scoop Muscle Provider, 4 strawberries

Meal 4: 5oz chicken, 2oz white potato, 2 cups spinach salad, 1oz nuts

Meal 5: 5oz chicken, 3/4 cup cabbage

Meal 6: 4oz chicken or white fish, 3/4 cup of green beans, spinach or Brussels sprouts

Meal 7: 5 egg whites, 1/2 cup spinach

Favorite Snacks

UMP Protein Cookies (see recipe, pg 23) and Homemade No-Bake Protein Bars (recipe below):
• 8 scoops Chocolate Muscle Provider or Vanilla Muscle Provider (add cinnamon)
• 4 cups quick oats
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

Mix together and put in a 9x13 pan sprayed with Pam. Refrigerate and cut into bars 🙂

Supplements

7-Keto MuscLean – 3 capsules with meals 1 and 4
Lean Out – 2 capsules with meals 2, 4, and 6

Muscularity – 3 capsules with meals 2, 4, and 6
EFA Gold – 2 capsules with meals 2 and 4

Training

 

Monday: LegsAmount
Leg Extensions 4x8-10
Squats 4x10-12
Single Leg Press 4x8-10
Leg Press 3x6-8
Hip Thrust 4x10-12
Plie Dumbbell Squats 5x10-12
Side Lunges 3x10-12
Side Cable Kick Outs 4x10-12
Walking Lunges Stepping Out To Side4x10-12
Leg Curls 5x6-8
Barbell Deadlifts 3x8-10
Hip Adductor Machine 5x10-12
Overhead Squat 3x10-12
Tuesday: Back & BicepsAmount
Lat Pulldowns 3x10-12
Barbell Rows 4x10-12
T-Bar Rows 3x10-12
Cable Rows Or Db Rows 3x10-12
Close Grip Rows 3x10-12
Wide Rows 3x10-12
Dumbbell Hammer Curls 4x10-12
Cable Curls 4x10-12
Close-grip Barbell Curls 4x10-12

Wednesday:
No Weights — Plyo Workout

Amount
Single-Leg Glute Bridge                                   (this series is 5 Sets with 45 seconds rest in between)
Hyperextensions
Leg Lifts
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts (this series is 5 Sets with 1 min. rest in between)
Flutter Kicks
Wall Sits with Ball
Side Leg Raise
Leg Crossovers (this series is 5 Sets with 1 minute rest in between)
Step Ups with High Knee
Glute Kickbacks
Thursday:
Shoulders & Triceps

Amount
Barbell Shoulder Press 3x10-12
Machine Lateral Raise 3x10-12
Cable Lateral Raise (Front) 3x10-12
Cable Lateral Raise (Rear) 3x10-12
Upright Row 3x10-12
EZ Curl Bar Front Raise 3x10-12
Rear Delt Rope Pulls 6x10-12
Rear Pec Deck 6x10-12
Straight Bar Pressdown 4x10-12
Skull Crushers 4x10-12
One-Arm Cable Pressdown 4x10-12
Friday: LegsAmount
Leg Extensions 4x10-12
Front Squats 3x10-12
Walking Lunges2x25 Steps
Hack Squats 4x6-8
Single Leg Press 3x10-12
Lying Leg Curl 5x10-12
Cable Pull Through 4x10-12
Cable Kickbacks 4x10-12
Bulgarian Split Squats 5x6-8
Goblet Squat 4x10-12
Straight-Leg Deadlifts 5x10-12
Side Band Walking 15ft each way
Leg Curls Half Reps 5x6-8
Hip Abductor Machine 5x6-8
Saturday: Back & ChestAmount
Pullovers 4x10-12
Lat Pulldowns 4x10-12
Pull-ups 4x8-12
Dumbbell Rows 3x10-12
Cable Rows 4x10-12
Flat Bench 3x6-8
Incline Bench3x8-10
Dumbbell Flye 3x10-12
Sunday: Shoulders & TricepsAmount
Dumbbell Shoulder Press3x6-8
Behind-the-Neck Barbell Press 3x6-8
One-Arm Lateral Raise 3x6
Front Plate Raise 3x6-8
Dumbbell Front Raise 3x10-12
Straight Bar Pressdown 4x10-12
Skull Crushers 4x10-12
One-Arm Cable Pressdown 4x10-12

Cardio Schedule

Off-Season: 3-4 times a week, 20-30 minutes. I like to change things up with Stairmaster, stepper, bike, elliptical, and treadmill.

Contest Prep: (Cardio time depends on how many weeks I am out from a show) For example: 45 minutes fasted cardio first thing in the morning, 6 days a week and 20 minutes HIIT cardio after weight training. I usually do Stairmaster and stepper.

Joe Corbett: Mature Muscle Personified

At a Glance: Joe Corbett

Age: 54

Occupation: Registered Investment Advisor

Family: Married to Stacey for 28 years, Daughters Kasey 28 and son in law Blake 28, Cecelia 26, Sons Joseph 22, Luke 21, Frankie 17

Residence: Venice, FL

Height: 5'9”

Off-Season Weight: 200

Competition Weight: 190

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Salmon with my secret herb/spice blend cooked on the green egg, sweet potato, freshly sliced cucumbers with Walden Farms calorie free balsamic dressing.

Favorite supplements:

Off season- UMP, either Cookies & Crème with half cup egg whites, a cup and a half of almond milk and ice in the bullet, or I will mix 1 scoop of vanilla UMP and 1 scoop of chocolate UMP in the same shaker.

Competition prep- Energy Reserve and Quadracarn. I think this really made a difference in terms of fat loss.

Music: I like the heavy stuff- Tool, Flaw, Static X, Korn, Disturbed, Volbeat…. But on my training playlist I also have praise and worship which really motivates me especially during cardio.

Inspiring Book: The Bible

Hobbies: Spending time with Stacey and the kids. They are all at the age that it’s so fun to be around them, and I feel I don’t get enough time with them. I don’t really care what we do as long as we’re together.

Words to live by: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

Fitness has always been one of the most important things in my life along with my family and my faith. I first competed more than thirty years ago while in my early twenties. I did a few shows but soon was married and starting a family. Over the ensuing 10 years, we had 5 children. Although I tried to stay in shape by lifting and doing cardio a few times a week, competition had taken a back seat to family. I still ate clean though, not only for myself, but to set a good example for my children and get them off to a healthy start in life. None of us suffered though; my wife is Italian and makes the most nutritious foods taste great.

Fifteen years after our first child was born I decided to try another competition. One show led to another. My children were growing and I was able to become more and more focused on my training and nutrition. Soon I was competing in a couple of local shows each year and doing well in nearly every one.

 

In 2010, I met Travis Wallis. My goal in working with Travis was to advance from the local stages to larger regional contests. One of the first things he did was introduce me to Beverly International supplements. He explained that we work extremely hard in the gym and watch everything we eat, but when it comes to supplements, most bodybuilders just fall into the trap of taking the “supplement of the month” or whatever has the most advertising behind it. They have no idea what they are paying for, and in many cases, more is spent on the marketing of the supplement than on its ingredients.

Since 2010 I have competed in no less than 3 shows each year and the most was 5 in one year. That was a little much, but boy did I have fun. I was now having good success in many of the larger regional shows. One of my competitive highlights was winning the Masters class at the 2013 Europa in Dallas. During this period I traveled to almost every area of the country to compete and since I was doing well at this level, I decided to try the national stage. Whew, the national shows are huge! There might be over 1,000 competitors in the show, and guess what? EVERYONE is in shape. I finished 7th at last year’s North America, but the truth is, although my conditioning was great, I just wasn’t quite big enough for bodybuilding on the national level. But, I wasn’t through.

Late last year, Travis took a new job and was unable to work with me for 2016, but I found Mitch Staats to take his place. I had met Mitch when he won his IFBB pro card at the North America and what really sealed the deal was that he was totally a family guy like me. During the off season, I kept my calories high, but my diet was absolutely clean. I started my competition diet for the Team Universe in mid-February, 20 weeks out from the show. It was a long prep, but it allowed me to eat more and I was rarely hungry. I trained harder than ever. A new wrinkle that Mitch added was to eat carbs only around training. As you’ll see in my Supplement Schedule, I took nearly 50 Mass Amino Acids and Ultra 40 liver tabs each day. It made a visible difference, I could see my body becoming bigger and fuller while my conditioning improved.

At the Team Universe I competed in both Bodybuilding and the new Classic Physique division. I felt good about entering the “Classic” division because the emphasis was not so much on size, but on aesthetics and conditioning. I have had a dream of being an IFBB pro ever since reading Muscle & Fitness as a kid. Frank Zane was my all-time favorite and I think he still best represents the ultimate “classic physique.” Well that dream never went away, it was always in my heart but I never shared it because I felt it was so out of reach. At Team Universe on July 2nd of this year, I placed 3rd in the light heavyweight bodybuilding class. I was really happy with this result. It was my highest placing yet in a national level contest. But, then I changed out of my posing suit in to the spandex shorts required for Classic Physique. I took the stage and won my class! I had achieved my dream - I also earned IFBB pro status at 54 years old.

Meal Plan

My diet was modified slightly each week in terms of macro quantities based on how my coach thought I looked, but the basic foods didn’t change. By the way, I had no cheat meals or refeeds or whatever you want to call them. Here is a sample of what my daily meals consist of.
 

Meal 1: 1 cup of Muscle Egg egg whites

Meal 2: Chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice

Meal 3: Ground turkey, 1 sweet potato

Meal 4: Grass fed beef or bison, 1 cup brown rice

Meal 5: Chicken breast, 2 cups green veggies

Meal 6: 1 cup Muscle Egg egg whites or Protein Pudding (see recipe below)

Protein Pudding Recipe

Mix 1 scoop of chocolate UMP with just enough water to make the consistency of pudding.

Put it in the freezer. After it is in the freezer for about 10 minutes, put a tablespoon of peanut butter on top and put it back in the freezer for a few more minutes. This was often my last meal before bed, and it really hit the spot. So delicious.

"Over the years I’ve have gotten to know Roger and Sandy and the Advisor Team at Beverly International who are so helpful and service oriented. There are many supplement company options to choose from, but for me it’s a TRUST thing. I trust the products I use, and no amount of money can buy that trust."

Nutrition & Supplements

I dramatically improved my size and fullness this year. I am convinced that this improvement was the result of the changes I made in my diet and supplementation. I held more muscle, looked fuller, and even grew throughout my contest prep while still achieving a high level of conditioning. My diet and supplement schedule are below.
 

My Supplement Schedule

Fasted Cardio: 3 Beverly 7-Keto MuscLean and 4 Beverly Energy Reserve upon awakening before cardio.

Meal 1: 1 Super Pak, 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex

Meal 2: 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex, 3 Quadracarn

Meal 3: 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex

Preworkout stack: 3 Fast Up, 2 scoops Up-Lift, 2 scoops Muscle Synergy, 5 Density, 4 Energy Reserve (Try this stack just once and you’ll be hooked!)

Intra Workout: 2 Scoops Glutamine Select

Post Training: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 5 Density

Meal 4: 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex, 3 Quadracarn

Meal 5: 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex

Meal 6: 8 Mass Aminos, 8 Ultra 40, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex

Training

I have been training for the better part of 40 years and absolutely love training. My training partners are my son, Joseph, and my daughter, Kasey. I train 1 body part each day and perform a lot of sets each workout. My training is heavy most of the time. Rep range is usually 6-8, but I might slightly increase the reps for movements later in the workout. I utilize many training principles including strip sets, reverse pyramids, rest pause, EMOM (every minute on the minute), forced reps, TUT (time under tension), negatives etc. My current favorite is Mechanical Pause sets – this is where I might not reduce the weight to extend a set past failure, but change my stance or hand placement to keep going – using the bench press as an example, you’d go from a narrow grip, to a wide grip, to your strongest grip.
 

Here is a typical training session for my favorite body part, legs. Unless noted, I usually do 4-6 sets per exercise.

Leg Extension 
1 set of 100 reps. Use a weight that you can do for 40-50 reps without a pause; take a 10-15 second break, then do as many as you can again, another 10-15 second break and so on until 100 reps are completed. I have so much blood in my quads it’s hard to walk to the next piece of equipment.

Hack Squats
6-8 reps. I go heavy on these and emphasize the eccentric movement.

Hammer V Squat Machine
6-8 reps. This is an older piece of equipment, but you can substitute free squats or another type of squat machine, again, go heavy on these.

Leg Press
8-10 reps. Use time under tension (TUT) or mechanical rest/pause.
 

Walking Lunges
8-12 reps per leg. I do these S-L-O-W emphasizing the eccentric portion dramatically while leaning forward slightly. Your glutes and upper hams will be screaming.

Calf Extensions on Leg press
1 set of 100 reps. Pause for 15 seconds as needed until you complete 100 reps. Use a full range of motion on every rep, all the way up and all the way down, no bouncing. Do these diligently and your calves will respond.

Donkey Calf Raise
6 sets of 20 reps. Again, squeeze each rep and utilize a full range of motion. It’s important for you to feel your calf contract as you come out of that fully stretched position.

Presentation

For many years I felt very uncomfortable on stage, but lately I have learned to love it. I still don’t consider myself a good poser, but I’m getting better. I watch old videos of Bob Paris and Charles Clairmonte and marvel at how fluid their posing is. Practice is vital. There are times during prejudging when you might have to hit each mandatory on stage without a break for 5 minutes or more while judges are comparing you with the other competitors. I have been on stage with guys who were big and peeled but during comparisons they just quit, bending over with hands on knees breathing like they just ran a marathon. If you need help with your posing seek out a professional who understands stage presentation and can effectively communicate the process to you. This year I worked with posing coach, IFBB Pro Angela Coleman, and it made a huge difference for the Team Universe.

On A Personal Note

We now live in Venice, Florida most of the year, but also spend time in our hometown of St. Louis, as well as travel all over the country for work. As I travel, I have been in a lot of gyms. I like those that are privately owned more than the big chains. Regardless of where I am training there are always people who are trying to improve themselves. Almost everyone is helping and encouraging one other. However, you’ll also find a few know-it-alls, and there always seems to be as many gurus and coaches as there are competitors. There are also blogs, videos, and social media with (mis)information in our face constantly. Let’s face it. None of this stuff is proprietary. We should share what we know, and if we can help just one person get over a sticking point or stay with it when they feel like quitting, it is worth it.

Here’s one bit of advice that I know is true. Don’t over complicate things or make them harder than they are. If you eat clean year round, train consistently using basic movements with barbells/dumbbells, and focus on high quality supplements that actually have science behind them like Beverly’s products, you will improve no matter what your age. I’m 54 and I believe I am my best ever, and more importantly I am still improving.

Editor’s Note: Joe is starting an educational entity called “Mature Muscle” that will provide good, accurate, and useful information to anyone who works out – from the beginner who wants to improve his/her fitness level to the seasoned competitor. By the time you read this you should be able to find it on the web at www.MatureMuscleCollective.com, on Facebook at Mature Muscle Collective, and Instagram at Mature_Muscle_; besides some great information, you’ll also find Beverly supplements and fitness apparel on the site.

 

My Weight Loss Journey: From 180 to Wow!

At a Glance: Stacey Beers

Age: 40

Occupation: Mortgage Loan Officer for a bank

Family: Married to a wonderful husband with two amazing daughters

Current Residence: Rockford, MI

Years Training: I have always worked out since high school but it wasn’t until February of 2015 that I started to get my diet under control and began weight training.

Height: 5'8”

Starting Weight: 185, Dress Size: 12-14

Current Weight: 143, Dress Size: 2-4

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: UMP Pancakes- 3 egg whites, 1 egg, 1 scoop UMP

Favorite supplements: UMP (every flavor), Muscle Synergy and Lean Out. The UMP helps to keep me full and allows me to know that I am giving my body the protein it needs. It also aids my muscles in growth and it just tastes great! The Muscle Synergy helps my muscles grow during my workout and perform at their best. Lean Out keeps my metabolism going and fat burning during the day.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? UMP!!! I swear by this stuff. Being a vegetarian for many years and not getting enough protein, I have found that supplementing with UMP has been the best thing for me to build muscle and gain energy. I use it as a shake, warm drink, pudding and a ton of baking. I rarely ever use flour or sugar in anything. Where there is a will, there is a way to use UMP in my life!

Music: I love listening to Fifth Harmony radio, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and a little Tone Loc

Most Inspiring Book: Tosca Reno’s The Eat Clean Diet Book

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: I love to sing at church and I love to share my weight loss story with others.

Words to live by: “It is the food that we eat which is responsible for sharing the vast array of body types. Yes the food.” I love this because for 39 years I worked out but never got my diet in line. And where did the working out get me? Still over weight! Once you get your food in line, boy oh boy, will the weight come off and the body shaping comes to life!

I have always struggled with my weight. Even as far back as the first grade I remember my pants fitting too tight and feeling that I was different than the rest of the kids. I was an active kid, but throughout my school years I remained overweight.

I became a vegetarian at age 14 because I thought it would help make me skinny. Most people think that a vegetarian eats only healthy things. Not me. I used my vegetarianism as an excuse to load up on carbs and junk food while eating a few healthy foods here and there. Some of my favorite foods were chips and salsa, crackers, cookies, brownies, pizza, pasta. I was always hungry.

 

As an adult I remained active. You’d think that after training for and running two trail marathons that I’d be skinny. No! I proved that you can be very active but still remain overweight. At my heaviest I weighed 200lbs. Even at my most active, I still weighed 180lbs. Was there something wrong with me?

I knew I needed to make a change for my family and myself. I was tired of the headaches, stress and just being generally unhappy. My clothes were always tight and I felt unattractive. I was tired of trying on 6 different outfits every morning and then squeezing in to a size 10 when I should have worn a 14. I began to notice that I was taking out my frustration and insecurities on my family and co-workers.

I went to the doctor’s office the first week of February 2015 and weighed in at over 180lbs. I fell not just in the overweight category, but in the obese category! This was not how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I was 39 years old, my kids were growing up, and I was a mess.

The very next day I signed up for MVP Gym’s 12-week Body Transformation Challenge. Immediately I began logging my food into My Fitness Pal. I cleaned out my cupboard and refrigerator leaving only healthy food choices. I told my family that from this day on we were going to start eating healthy as a family. Soon, instead of feeling deprived, I actually was eating more. I ate three meals along with two or three snacks daily. My food plan was really pretty simple. I had a carb and protein at every meal and changed my snacks from brownies to oatmeal protein balls or chips and salsa to fajita veggies and salsa.

I worked out with a trainer 3 times each week. Working with a trainer added variety to my workouts and really helped me stay accountable. See Sample 3-Day per Week Introductory
Workout sidebar for an example of a week’s worth of workouts at this stage of my transformation.

In 12 weeks I lost 37 lbs, over 11 percent body fat and more than 45 inches. I won the “Challenge” which was nice, but the best part was I WON my life back. It took me 39 years to realize that I could not just work off the processed food that I was eating through exercise. I couldn’t just eat corn chips and brownies and run a marathon to be skinny. In the rest of this article I’m going to give you my specific diet, supplement and training plans, along with tips that I’ve found helpful along the way. I hope that they do as much for you as they have for me and my life!

Nutrition

It took me many, many years to figure out that proper nutrition is far more important than exercise in the fat loss equation. During the last year and a half I realized we should not LIVE TO EAT but instead EAT TO LIVE. And I am here to tell you that once you figure that out, your life may change drastically. Don’t get me wrong—I still get excited about eating. But now my idea of excitement is a plate full of vibrant colors, for example, red cabbage, broccoli, spinach, egg whites and topped off with salsa. I love to go to the grocery store and fill my cart with an array of colors of fruit and veggies.
 

I now follow Julie Lohre’s eating program which is right in line with Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean” philosophy. I eat every 2-3 hours and a typical day looks like this:

Meal 1: (Pre early morning workout) ½ scoop UMP mixed with ½ cup Greek yogurt

Meal 2: UMP Pancakes- 1 scoop UMP, 1 egg and 3 whites mixed as a pancake batter with sugar free syrup and ½ banana

Meal 3: 2 rice cakes, 2 tsp natural peanut butter

Meal 4: Quinoa and veggie stir fry, ½ cup low fat cottage cheese, salad with vinegar and oil dressing

Meal 5: 2 scoops UMP mixed with 2 tbsp PB2, add water and make a thick pudding, ½ apple

Meal 6: 6oz salmon, 6oz sweet potato roasted in coconut oil, salad greens with salsa

Meal 7: 1 scoop UMP blended in ½ cup almond milk with ice

Supplements

 

Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP): First thing in the morning before my workout and at night before going to bed. Let me just tell you this, I have never in my life told so many people about one product. When I tell my weight loss journey story- UMP comes into the conversation every time. I LOVE the stuff. It has improved my energy, it’s helped me build muscle, and it tastes great!

Muscle Synergy Powder: 1 scoop pre-workout to help with pump, focus and strength.

Lean Out: 2 capsules with meals 1, 3, and 6 to keep my metabolism moving and body burning fat.

Density: 3 tablets upon arising, 3 before and 3 after training for muscle development and to help with energy. Density is a must for vegetarians as it helps complete the amino acid profile of incomplete vegetarian protein sources.

Training

Sample 3-Day per Week Introductory Workout
 

Complete one set of 12 reps for each of the exercises listed below on a particular day. Then go through the list 2 more times until you have completed 3 full circuits in each workout.

Day 1 - Chest, Arms and Abs Circuit
Incline Bench Press
Incline DB Chest Flye
Push- Ups off Ball (feet on the ball and hands on the floor)
Tricep Dips off Bench
DB Bicep Curls arms all the way down to the side and back
Plank Knee to Elbow (up to 20 reps each)
Day 2 - Legs and Abs Circuit
Glute Bridge Raise
Walking Lunges
Reverse Lunge with DB
V-ups (for abs)
Step-ups (alternate legs each rep – do 12 with each leg)
Jump Squats (work up to 15 reps with a weighted ball)
Day 3 - Shoulders, Back and Abs Circuit
Front Raises with Plate
Tricep Extension with Plate
Pull-ups (assisted or unassisted pull ups)
Bentover Row with Plate
DB Press
Superman Holds (for abs)
After all 3 circuits are completed; end with 20 minutes of high intensity cardio.

My Current Workout To Build Muscle While Staying Lean

 

Wednesday: Cardio (20 minutes), Saturday: Off, Sunday: Yoga

Monday: Back and LegsAmount
Bentover Row 3x12
Wide grip Pull-ups 3 sets (as many as I can)
1-Arm Row 3x8-12
Kettlebell Swings 3x10
Sumo Squats with heavy DB3x8-12
BB Squats3x8
Walking Lunges 3x12
60 yard loaded sled push
Tuesday: Chest and ShouldersAmount
Bench Press
3x8
DB Flyes 3x12
Incline Bench Press 3x10
Incline DB Flyes 3x12
DB Front Raises*
DB Laterals*
Front Raise 3x12
* Extended sets: I start with 15lb dumbbells, then down to 12’s, and finally 8’s all to failure with no rest
Thursday: Legs and ShouldersAmount
Glute Bridge Raises
(to warm up hips)
3x15
Deadlifts 3x8-12
Step-ups with heavy DBs                                                                                                                                 3x15
DB Side Squats 3x15
DB Press 3x15
DB Press Pulses 3x15 (hands to the front and elbows together perform short, fast pressing movements)
Standing Glute Kickback (tuck a DB behind one knee and squeeze to keep it in place, then kick your bent leg back and up to really get those glutes to fire. Do 3x12 for each side.
Friday: Back, Arms and ShouldersAmount
Lat Pulldown 3x12
DB Row 3x12
Chin-ups (3 sets as many as I can)
Plank Knee to Elbow (3x12)
Bicep Curl 3x12
Tricep Dip 3x12
Front Raises with Plate 3x12
DB Front Raises*
DB Laterals*
* same extended sets as Tuesday (15lbs down to 8lbs)

Note: My favorite body parts to train are legs and glutes. Probably because during my overweight years I was so pear shaped. My bottom half was always so large. It is fun for me to do kettlebell swings, hip thrusts, side lunges, and back squats. I know these exercises helped me transform my body from pear shaped and hippy to the body it has become today. I also like to end my leg workouts with a couple of sprints pushing a weighted sled.

Cardio

During my weight loss challenge I did a lot of cardio including running and boot camp type classes. This usually averaged out to 30-60 minutes of cardio, 6 days a week. But after my initial weight loss, I realized I needed to build muscle and cardio became less important. At present I participate in a one-hour Warrior’s Training class at my gym on Tuesday and Friday mornings. It includes a lot of sprinting for speed training and also helps develop strength, endurance and flexibility. I may do cardio one other day (usually Wednesday) where I use the stair climber for 15-20 minutes.

Helpful Tips To Get Started On Your Own Personal Weight Loss Challenge

You cannot out train a bad diet! Diet is over 80% of the equation for fat loss while exercise is 20% or less. Diet comes first and then the rest just falls into place. You have to get your eating under control to get the results you desire. If you want abs, crunches will not cut it alone. Eat right first and the abs will follow.

1. First thing every morning—drink 2 huge cups of water. This gets things moving and starts your day out right. I personally swear by this regimen.

2. Log your food. This helps hold you accountable from day one. Once you see the number of calories in a favorite food, you might think twice before eating it. For example, instead of the calories in a cookie, you can eat an entire plate of veggies dipped in salsa along with ½ cup of cottage cheese, or you could have an apple with 2 rice cakes and peanut butter

3. You should not LIVE TO EAT but instead EAT to LIVE.

4. Find a trainer to help keep you accountable. I found Julie Lohre online.

5. Get a Fitbit to keep your body moving. Don’t let your day be done until you have reached at least 10,000 (10k) steps. Park furthest out in the parking lot, walk the long way around the grocery store, take a walk during your lunch break. Do whatever you can to get those 10k steps in each day.

 
 

Final Thoughts

It’s now been 18 months since I started my body transformation journey. Since then I have been able to keep off the weight while building much more muscle. I could not have done it without my family and my gym, MVP in Rockford, Michigan. Julie Lohre has been a huge help during the building muscle / competition prep portion of my journey. She has shown me that building muscle and maintaining weight is NOT about NOT eating. It is about eating the correct proportions of protein, carbohydrates, and fat throughout the day.

What I love most about my transformation is SHARING my story. I believe God helped me on my journey so that I might inspire others to improve their lives. It took me 39 years for clean eating and working out to come together for me. If I can do it, I know you can too! So many people want to lose weight and get fit and healthy, but they don’t know how to start. You just need to wake up one day and make the decision to change your life. Once you do, you will find that you’ll NEVER want to turn back.

Never Put a Limit on Yourself

At a Glance: Melanie Egner

Age: 43 years young

Occupation: I have been a hair stylist for 22 years. I also have multiple fitness certifications and opened a fitness studio 3 years ago, EXL7 Fitness & Bootcamp.

Current Residence: I’m a Kentucky girl through and through

Years training: 10+ seriously

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 140 (Contest), 152-155 (Off-Season)

Favorite Fitness Meal: Grilled salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli; to curb my sweet tooth, I love my UMP pancakes with Walden Farms syrup!!!

Favorite Supplements: I love Beverly International supplements. UMP is amazing and I use it every day. If I had to choose, I’d say Glutamine Select is my next favorite.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before?: I would recommend UMP to anyone who is working out and lifting weights. I know that's where I started.

Music: Hip Hop and Pop, anything with a driving beat.

Words to live by: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

After living an active lifestyle in my teens, I became a cardio queen in my 20’s. You know the type; I was the one who went from one cardio class to another, always trying to be the best in the class. I wasn’t oversized, I looked fine in my clothes, but despite all the cardio I did, my body fat was high and I had little muscle. In other words, I was “skinny fat!”

In my mid 30’s I started lifting weights seriously. Finally, I began to see the results I had always wanted. My shoulders began to fill out, my glutes became more rounded, and yes, I could see my abs! The next step was competition. I stepped on stage for the first time in 2009 and have been competing ever since. My best placing was at the 2014 Flex Lewis Classic where I placed 1st in the Open tall class and was the overall Masters champion.

I'm so honored to be in the No Nonsense magazine, I always look forward to receiving it in the mail. I read it cover to cover absorbing all I can from each issue! I love Beverly International products! UMP is awesome for muscle recovery and I love the taste! I also take Mass Aminos, Glutamine Select, Ultra 40, Creatine Select, and Quadracarn day in and day out to help me to continue to build lean muscle. When a show is approaching I add Lean Out and Density to increase fat loss and muscle density.

Diet

Here are examples of my Off-Season and Precontest diet plans:
 

Off-Season

Meal 1: UMP pancakes with Walden Farms syrup

Meal 2: tuna mixed with Wholly Guacamole on 2 rice cakes

Meal 3: 4oz chicken, sweet potato, green veggies

Meal 4: UMP shake and berries

Meal 5: grilled salmon, grilled asparagus, and a large salad

Meal 6: UMP made into pudding with a tbsp peanut butter

As you can see my diet is fairly clean in the off season, but I do enjoy a cheat meal 1x a week.

Pre-Contest Low carb days

Meal 1: 5 egg white & spinach omelet

Meal 2: 4oz cod, 1 c green veggies

Meal 3: 4oz chicken on a large salad

Meal 4: 4oz chicken, 1 c green veggies

Meal 5: UMP shake and a green apple

Meal 6: 4oz tilapia, 1/2 c green veggies 1/4 avocado

After 3 or 4 consecutive low carb days, I have one, higher carb day.

Higher carb day

Meal 1: 5 egg whites, 1/2 c oatmeal

Meal 2: 4oz chicken, 1/2 c rice, 1/2 c green veggies

Meal 3: 4oz cod, 1 c rice

Meal 4: 4oz chicken, 1/2 c rice, 1/2 c green veggies

Meal 5: UMP shake and 2 rice cakes

Meal 6: 4oz tilapia, 1 c green veggies, 1/4 avocado

If I’m still hungry, I snack on more egg whites in the evening.

Supplements

 

Year Round Supplements

Pre-contest Supplements

UMP, Mass Amino Acids, Ultra 40, Quadracarn, Glutamine Select, Creatine Select

I add Lean Out and Density

Weight Training

My favorite body part to train is shoulders! Love those big caps!
 

Here’s a typical workout:

Lateral Raises: 4x15

Inverted Lateral Raises: 4x10

Shoulder Press: 4x8

Rear Delt Cable Flye: 4x15

¼ Laterals: 4x20

<Superset>

Dumbbell Shrugs: 4x15

Arnold Press: 3 sets to failure with a light weight (feel the burn)

Cardio

In the off season I weight train 5 days a week and participate in 2 cardio classes during the week. Before a contest I still weight train 5 days a week, but increase my cardio by running the local football stadium steps or engaging in HIIT sessions on the Step Mill.

My cardio classes are high intensity with lots of core work; we are all a sweaty mess when the 50 minutes is over. I have a love/ hate relationship with the Step Mill; I love what it does for my booty, but hate every minute I spend on it. Here’s a typical Step Mill workout:

1. 1st 60 seconds at a decent speed taking one step at a time

2. Next 60 seconds slow the speed down and take two steps at a time

3. Turn to the side and side step for one minute

4. Repeat side steps on the other side

Start again at (1.) and repeat for 30 minutes.

Tell Yourself You Can... And You Can

I meet women all the time who think that working out is not for them because they are 40 plus. I say NEVER put a limit on yourself! We are all capable of great things if we put our minds to
it! Your weight does not define you, your age does not define you, your economic status does not define you! We make what we want out of our lives and God has a plan for each of us. But, we must engage to our full potential. Tell yourself you CAN... and you CAN! Never speak negatively about yourself, positive words and thoughts only! It certainly can be a challenge as we age, our metabolism slows, while our work and family stresses seem to increase. Sure, there are road blocks, but that doesn't mean it's impossible! If this 43 year old Kentucky girl can do it, you can too! Just get up, get your mind right, set out a plan of action and then get to it! You will never be sorry for trying to improve your life, body and fitness level!

Skinny Fat to Sculpted Physique

At a Glance: Crystal Buchanan

Age: 38

Occupation: Fitness/Supplement Advisor and Sales Stylist

Family: Husband-Todd, 3 beautiful children of my own and 2 amazing stepsons.

Current Residence: Gahanna, OH

Years training: 7 years

Height: 5'4½”

Weight: 135 (Off-Season), 120 (Contest)

Favorite fitness meal: I LOVE TACOS -- Baby romaine lettuce (shell) and ground turkey with jalapeno, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime and hot sauce. 🙂

Favorite Supplements:
1. UMP Cookies & Crème. It’s like a dessert. Todd and I do not go a day without our UMP pudding fix! My entire Family is hooked.
2. Quadracarn. This is my new favorite. I feel stronger, more energized and more vascular.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used BI supplements before?
Start with the fundamentals:
UMP: This will become a staple because of taste, quality, and all the amazing recipes you can use/create with this amazing protein.
Fit Tabs
Glutamine Select
EFA Gold

Music: I'm a sucker for old school R&B and when I train I listen to Fit Radio. There are motivating genres on there that my husband got me hooked on.

Most Inspiring book: The Purpose  Driven Life by Rick Warren

Interest outside of bodybuilding: I love music, writing songs and singing. Music has been a huge part of my life. Another love of mine is watching old movies.

Words to live by: "If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal" -Unknown

 

Growing up in small town West Virginia, fitness was not an important facet of my life. Although I enjoyed track and volleyball, church and school took precedent.

This changed when the youngest of my three children was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and mild autism.

To help combat the stress of my life’s constant uncertainty and changes... I joined a small gym.

The combination of weights and cardio gave me the stress relief I was looking for, and as an added benefit my body was beginning its transformation from “skinny fat” to “fit”. In 2008 I hired my first trainer, Joe Newland, at the local Rec Center. My progress accelerated under his expert guidance. Joe introduced me to my first Beverly International supplements. Adding Lean Out, Density, Glutamine Select and UMP to my nutrition program took my training and development to the next level.

Over the next few years I worked full time as a retail store manager and struggled through a painful divorce while raising my three children. The gym became a stress-free sanctuary for me. A couple of competitors there encouraged me to give competition a try. I competed in my first show in 2010. My first win as a Fit Body competitor was in 2012, and I eventually earned my INBF/WNBF pro card in the Fit Body division. My life was falling back into place. I met and married Todd, who is a main part of my support system. I am now focused and my next goal was to compete in the NPC Women’s Physique division. Although I had achieved a “lean” physique, I now had to add more lean mass. Todd and I devised a two-year plan to add needed size.
 

The challenge I faced was that it had become harder and harder to build muscle in the off season, and then holding on to it when dieting down for a show. Luckily, a simple recommendation from the Beverly Advisor Team solved my problem. I added Mass Aminos, Ultra 40, and Quadracarn, not only during the building phase, but also while cutting. Within two weeks I felt and saw a difference. My energy levels improved. I recovered from my workouts much quicker. And I attained a level of muscle fullness and hardness that I had never had before.

I felt confident as I stepped on stage for my first NPC Women’s Physique contest. I placed 2nd and was very happy with the progress I had made. My next competition was in the fall of 2015. I took 1st place in Class B in the Women’s Physique Open division at the West Virginia State/Mid Atlantic Grand Prix and 1st in the masters division.

Now, I’d like to share my nutrition, supplement, and training programs with you. Whether you wish to compete, or just add some lean, shapely muscle to your physique, I’m sure you’ll get great results like I did.

Women's Physique Nutrition Plans

 

Off-Season

Meal 1: 1 whole egg, 1 c egg whites, 3/4 c steel cut oats cooked with 1/2 c berries

Meal 2: 5oz salmon, 1/2 c brown rice, 1/4 avocado

Meal 3: 5oz lean ground turkey or chicken breast, 5oz sweet potato, 1 c green beans

Meal 4: 2 scoop UMP shake, 1oz almonds or cashews

Meal 5: 5oz ground bison or flank steak, 1 c cooked spinach, 1/2 c peppers and onions cooked

Meal 6: 2 whole eggs, 1 c egg whites, 1 c veggies

Post workout: 1 scoop of whey (Muscle Provider)

Contest Prep

I drink a minimum of 1.5 gallons of water daily. Upon awakening I have a cup of green tea and go right into a 20-minute cardio session.

Meal 1: 1 c egg whites, 1 c spinach, 1/2 grapefruit

Meal 2: 1-1/2 scoop UMP shake, 1oz almonds

Meal 3: 5oz chicken breast, 2 c salad mix, 1 tbsp oil/vinegar dressing with one packet of stevia

Meal 4: 5oz 99% lean turkey, 1 c green veggies, 1/2 c peppers and onion

Meal 5: 1-1/2 scoops of UMP made into a pudding with 1tbsp Just Great Stuff chocolate powdered peanut butter!!! YUM!

Meal 6: 5oz fish, 1 c spinach or asparagus

Wednesdays and Saturdays: I eat the following for meal 6. I call it my fitness "Happy Meal :)" 6oz flank steak or bison, 8oz sweet potato, 8 large asparagus spears, 1 tbsp coconut oil

Supplement Schedule

 

UMP: 1-2 times daily, my favorites are Cookies & Crème and Strawberry

Ultra 40: 2 tablets with each meal, total of 12 per day

Lean Out: 2 capsules with each meal, total of 12 per day

Quadracarn: 3 tablets with Meal #1 and #4. This is my new favorite supplement! Why wasn’t I taking this all along?

EFA Gold & Joint Care: 3 capsules each with Meal #1 and #5

Mass Aminos: 5 tablets pre and post training

Women's Physique Training Plan

 

Monday: Chest/TricepsAmount
Incline DB Press5x20/15/15/12/10 add weight each set
Cable Crossover5x15-20
Hammer Chest Press5x10-15, superset with next exercise
Pushupsto failure
Pec Dec5x20/15/15/12/10
Cable Extensions with rope5x20, superset with next exercise
Reverse Pushdowns5x20
Tuesday: Back/BicepsAmount
Wide Grip Pulldowns4x15
Reverse Close-grip Pulldowns4x15
Rack Deadlifts4x15/10/10/8
One Arm DB Rows5x10
Hyperextensions4x15, superset with next exercise
Cable Rows4x15
Barbell Curls4x20
DB Curls4x15
Reverse-grip Cable Curls3x15
Wednesday: LegsAmount
Seated Leg Curls4x20/15/12/10
Lying Leg Curls4x20/20/15/15
Glute Kickbacks4x15, superset with next exercise
Calf Raise4x40/30/25/20
Leg Extension3x30
Hack Squats3x20 non lock keeping tension on quads
Leg Press                                                                                                                                 (Ascending sets - the opposite of descending sets, instead of decreasing the weight within a set, I add weight after each 15 reps)
Set (1) 15x 3 plates/4 plates/5 plates
Set (2) 15x 4 plates/5 plates/6 plates
Set (3) 15x 5 plates/6 plates/7 plates
Walk20 minutes post workout at 3.0 mph
Thursday: ShouldersAmount
Hammer Shoulder Press3x20/15/12
Rear Delt Machine4x15, superset with next exercise
Plate Raises4x15
DB Shoulder Press4x15/12/10/8
Side Lateral Raise4x20
Friday: BackAmount
Wide-grip Pullups4x10
Single-arm Low Cable Rows4x10
Smith Machine Bent-over Rows4x15
Seated Close-grip Cable Rows4x15
DB Stiff-leg Deadlifts4x10
Saturday: LegsAmount
Leg Curls4x15
Leg Extensions3x30/20/15/30 – drop the weight every 10 reps on the final
Leg Press4x40/30/20/15
Wide Stance DB Squats4x20 add weight each set / focus on each rep/target that bootay!
Walking Lunges3x15, superset with next exercise
Step-Ups3x15

Cardio Schedule

Offseason cardio is 3-4 days a week for 20-45 minutes.12 weeks out from a competition cardio is bumped up to 6 days a week with a 20-minute morning session and 30-45 minutes in the early evening. Cardio sessions include Stairmaster, high incline on treadmill, HIIT and LISS training. My goal is to shed fat and hold on to as much muscle as possible. Truth is I love lifting, but cardio is a necessary evil to present a complete package on stage.

 

Presentation

Offseason I hit key poses between sets when my muscles are full. Closer to the show I have a designated session just for posing! This helps me feel confident and look polished on stage. Always smile and have fun! Remember how hard you worked for that moment on stage and take that time to shine!!

In Closing

I started my fitness journey as a "skinny fat" mother of three with zero weight training experience. When I walked into the gym for the first time in 2008; I was intimidated by the machines and wouldn't even go near the free weights. Some of you reading this may be in the exact situation I was in - nervous, scared, and clueless. If you are uncertain where to begin, do what I did - reach out for help and ask for guidance. Soon you’ll be as confident in the gym as anyone. If you are more advanced and perhaps considering a competition, there are no better competition plans than those you’ll find in Beverly’s No Nonsense magazine. Page through some back issues or visit the “Articles” section at Beverly International.com. Find someone who is similar to you and your goals and simply follow her plan. Or, I’d be honored if you follow the plans that I have laid out in this article. They’ve worked for me and very likely will work for you too.

After a Lifetime of Lifting – My First Year of Competition

At a Glance: Eric Senter

Age: 39

Education: BA, Eastern Michigan University; MA, Marygrove College; Post Grad, Loyola Marymount University

Occupation: Teacher/Personal Trainer

Family: Married to Katie Senter

Current Residence: Linden, Michigan

Years Training: 23

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 195-200 (Off Season); 178-182 (Contest)

Favorite Bodybuilding or Fitness Meal: Eggs with beef sirloin and oatmeal with chocolate Beverly UMP (tastes like chocolate no-bake cookies).

Favorite Supplement: Muscle Provider vanilla. I look forward to taking a full scoop after my workouts. I take it dry with a little water and chew it up. People think I’m crazy but the Beverly protein tastes really good, it’s like a treat.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: Speaking from experience, I can tell you Beverly supplements are effective if used the right way in correlation with a quality diet. I think Beverly has found a way to enhance competitors’ physiques and it shows when they step on stage. Even if you don’t compete, Beverly products improve your quality of life.

Music: At heart, I’m a country guy; however, I enjoy listening to all types of music as long as I can understand the words.

Most Inspiring Book: Coach Wooden One-On-One. I love this book because I coached varsity basketball and baseball for a number of years. John Wooden talks about doing things with purpose and passion. I’ve done my best to apply these principles to my training and lifestyle. Every time I step into the gym, I remind myself to train with a purpose and to be excited about being there.

Hobby or interest outside of bodybuilding: Fantasy Football (it’s addicting).

Words to live by: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

 

I grew up playing sports as a kid (football, basketball, and baseball). The desire to become bigger, faster, and stronger fueled me to be the best I could be in any athletic competition and led me to start weight training. I began to train consistently when I was a sophomore in high school and have stuck with it ever since. I have been training at the same gym, Fenton Powerhouse, for the past 17 years.

Last year, I competed for the first time at the NPC Great Lakes Ironman in the Men’s Physique division. I placed 1st Overall True Novice, 1st Overall Novice, 2nd in the Masters, and 3rd in the Open. Just recently I stepped on stage for only the 2nd time at the NPC Michigan State Championships and won the Masters while placing 2nd in the Open division.

I don’t take my initial success lightly. I continue to challenge myself with each workout because I’ve learned that my real competition is against myself. The only thing I can control is how hard I’m willing to work every time I step into the gym. I try to live by the principles of dedication, pride, commitment, and excellence each and every day. In the remainder of this article I am going to present my workout, my precontest nutrition plan, and the supplement program that helped me gain 10 pounds of muscle.

Training Schedule

I normally train each bodypart one time per week using 4-5 exercises per muscle group. I do each exercise 4-6 sets doing up to 20-25 reps on some and 8-10 reps on others. I’ll usually incorporate the time under tension (TUT) principle on one exercise per bodypart, and often superset two of the exercises. I try not to pick the same exercises two weeks in a row (ex: if I barbell bench press this week, I will use dumbbells the following week), and I never use the same order (ex: if I bench press first this week, I will do it last next week).
 

Of course my schedule can vary at any time, but for the most part this is what a typical week looks like:

Monday:
Back

Amount
Pull-ups5x10
Reverse Lat Pulldowns5x25
Bentover Barbell RowsTUT* 5x12
T-Bar Row6x8
Lat Pulldown5x10, superset with next exercise
Close Grip Chin Assisted Pull-ups5x10

*TUT: 2 seconds up, hold at top for 1 second, 4-5 seconds down

Tuesday:
Biceps/Triceps/Abs
Amount
Static Curls 5x10 (10 on each alternating holding opposite in a halfway curl position)
EZ Bar4x21's
Straight Barbell Curls:6x8 TUT
Spider Curls4x15
EZ Bar Overhead Extensions5x10
EZ Bar Skull Crushers4x21's
Single Cable KickbacksTUT 6x8
V-Bar Pushdowns 4x15
Ball Cruncheswith 10lb plate behind head 3x20
Oblique Cable Twists3x20
Hanging Leg Raises3x20
Lying Bicycle Crunches3x20
Wednesday:
Shoulders/Traps

Amount
Front Dumbbell Statics 5x10 (hold one dumbbell out while raising the other)
Lateral Raises4x20
Military PressTUT 6x8
Machine Rear Delt7x10 (30 second rest between sets)
Upright Row4x12
Barbell ShrugTUT 6x10
Smith Machine Reverse Barbell Shrug6x12
Thursday:
Lower Back/Calves/Abs

Amount
Deadlift6x8
Hyperextension5x20
Standing Calf Raise(2 toes forward, 2 toes out, 2 toes in) 6x20
Seated Calf Raise6x8
Decline Sit-upsTUT 3x20
Stick Twists3x100
Machine Crunches3x20
Dumbbell Oblique Raises3x20 each side
Friday:
Legs

Amount
Hack Squat5x20 (10 wide/10 close stance)
Leg CurlTUT 5x6 (1/3, 1/2, Full)=18 reps
Squat5x8, superset with next exercise
Lunges5x10 on each leg
Leg Press7x10 (30 sec rest between sets)
Saturday:
Chest/Abs

Amount
**Superset each chest exercise with pushups
Incline Barbell PressTUT 4x12 / 25 Push-ups
Barbell Bench Press8x8 / 20 push-ups
Wide Chest Machine Flye4x15 / 15 push-ups
Low Cross Cable Raise4x10 / push-ups to failure
Ab Roller3x25
Alternate Heel Touches3x20
Planks3x25
Hanging Oblique Rockers3x40
Sunday:
Calves

Amount
Seated Calf Extension6x20 (vary foot placement)
Standing Machine Calf RaisesTUT 6x8

Cardio Schedule

One of the reasons that I stay near contest weight year round is that I really don’t like cardio. When a contest is approaching I do include 20 minutes, 2 or 3 days a week on the Stair Stepper or walking at a high incline on the Treadmill.

My Diet Plan

I run a high/low diet (when I run high fats I go low carbs and vice versa). There is really not that big of a difference between my offseason and precontest diets. I prefer to stay fairly lean year round and rarely go more than 15 pounds above my contest weight. In the off season, I include more fats (especially peanut butter) and carb up more frequently (once every 3 days). I also have a cheat meal once a week when I’m not prepping for a show. I start my show diet 8 weeks out from the contest.
 

Low Carb Days (Days 1-4)

Meal 1: (6:00am) 4oz beef sirloin (93%), 1 whole egg, 6 egg whites

Meal 2: (9:00am) 8oz chicken breast, 12 almonds, 3 c baby spinach, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Meal 3: (12:00pm) 8oz chicken breast, 12 almonds, 3 c baby spinach, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Meal 4: (3:00pm) 8oz chicken breast, 12 almonds, 3 c baby spinach, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Meal 5: (6:00pm) 8oz salmon, 1 c asparagus

Meal 6: (9:00pm) 1 whole egg, 6 egg whites

High Carb Day (Day 5)

Meal 1: (6:00am) 5oz extra lean turkey (99%), 6 egg whites, 1 c oatmeal

Meal 2: (9:00am) 6oz chicken breast, 1/3 c brown rice, 1 c broccoli

Meal 3: (12:00pm) 6oz chicken breast, 1/3 c brown rice, 1 c broccoli

Meal 4: (3:00pm) 6oz chicken breast, 1/3 c brown rice, 1 c broccoli

Meal 5: (6:00pm) 8oz cod, 1 c broccoli, 8oz sweet potato

Meal 6: (9:00pm) 5oz extra lean turkey (99%), 6 egg whites, 1 c oatmeal

Supplements

I firmly believe that Beverly International products have helped with my success. I have always had a really fast metabolism and a hard time adding muscular size. My friend, Steve Robinson, an all-natural bodybuilder who has been competing for a long time, suggested I try adding Beverly International supplements into my nutrition program. He uses them himself and suggested a specific protocol to add muscle. I went “all in” taking Mass Aminos, Ultra 40, Creatine Select, Muscle Mass, Muscle Provider and UMP. The results were spectacular, in a year’s time I’ve added ten pounds of muscle to my competition weight. At 8 weeks out I add Density, Muscularity, Glutamine Select, Quadracarn, Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean in order to hold all of this hard earned muscle while I diet down for competition.
 

Off Season (Gaining) Supplement Protocol

Precontest Supplement Protocol (8 weeks out from a contest)

Mass Amino Acids and Ultra 40 with every meal

Muscle Mass with meal 1 and meal 4

Muscle Provider anytime that I don’t have a meal scheduled within 20-30 minutes following my workout

UMP sometimes between meals, in addition to a meal, or as a meal replacement

I continue with my “gaining” supplement protocol but also add the following:

Density throughout the day, 3 tablets halfway between each meal

Lean Out with every meal

Muscularity with every meal

Quadracarn with every meal

7-Keto MuscLean 30 minutes prior to meals 1 and 4

Glutamine Select with meal 1 and immediately after my workout

Creatine Select with meal 4 and immediately after my workout

It’s All About the Battle

At a Glance: Hondre McNeil

Age: 35

Occupation: HRIS Coordinator at Fairfield Medical Center, Gym Founder and Owner of SWET Fitness LLC

Education: Wofford College, Spartanburg SC (BA in Computer Science and Mathematics), ACE-CPT Personal Training Certification, TRX Level 1, CrossFit Level 1

Current Residence: Lancaster, OH

Height: 6'1"

Weight: 212lb (Off-Season), 197-202lb (Contest)

Favorite Fitness Meal: 1½ cup oatmeal mixed with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 whole banana.

Favorite supplements: I could say all the Beverly products I use, but I guess I have to choose. Here are my top four favorites.

UMP Protein. It tastes great and it’s quality protein!

Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. Bulk Season! This combination put 10 pounds of lean muscle on me. I use it in the off-season to take my muscle size to the next level.

For someone who has never used Beverly before: My one word to describe Beverly is “quality”. They mean what they say and say what they mean in this company. All the products I’ve used have done just what it says they will do on the label. With other supplement companies, you may not be positive that you’re getting what it says on the label. With Beverly, there is never that fear.

Music: In the gym, I need some “crunkness”. I usually go with Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, or MGK!

Most Inspiring Book: This is easy, The Bible.

Hobbies: Reading fitness magazines of course!

Words to live by: Success is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!

Fitness has always been a major part of my life. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve liked the way working out makes me feel. When I played Pop Warner Football I would wake up early every morning before school so I could do push-ups and sit-ups to get “strong and tough”.

My mom and dad also helped me make exercise a lifelong habit. Growing up in Lake View SC, there wasn’t a fitness center nearby, so my mom worked out at home. I would copy her as she did her routines. Every Sunday my dad and I would play a couple of hours of basketball at our local park.

In high school, I was a running back for the state champion, Lake View Wild Gators, and won all-state honors. After graduation, I accepted a 4 year football scholarship to Wofford College. At Wofford, I became interested in learning more about athletic conditioning and training. After college, I pursued a career as a fitness trainer and have been helping people reach their fitness goals ever since.

My personal workout focus had never been about developing my physique. It’s always been about improving my physical performance and putting my all into every workout. At my gym you’ll frequently hear one of us hollering, "Bout That Battle!” In other words, it’s all about the battle within yourself to keep pushing through a workout, pushing your limits when you want to quit.

My Introduction to Men's Physique

My journey of competing in Men’s Physique is different than most. It started when one of the trainers at my gym said he thought I would be a perfect fit for it. At first, I laughed it off. I told him I wasn't really interested in getting on stage. He explained the rules to me and said that basically it was just about being in tip-top shape. That caught my interest, but I still wasn't ready to say yes. It wasn’t until about a year later that I finally followed up with him.

At my gym we focus on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), core training, and strength work. The only mirror you'll find is in the bathroom. However, to compete in Men’s Physique, I needed to round off some of my rough edges and learn how to pose. So, I contacted Matt Packer from Healthier U, another gym here in town. I had just 4 weeks to get ready for my first show, the Natural Ohio Bodybuilding Association contest in Newark OH. Matt put me on a strict diet, and worked with me on posing. I continued to do my workouts at SWET during the week and met with Matt on Saturdays to get the poses down. With his guidance, I took first place in my class and second overall! I loved the adrenaline rush when those stage lights hit me! I had definitely caught the contest bug!

Next, I added some sculpting days at Healthier U to my normal workouts at SWET. At SWET, I kept working on strength, Olympic lifts, core work, and pushing myself to my anaerobic limit in our HIIT sessions. At Healthier U, I did more traditional bodybuilding exercises and focused on muscle development. This proved to be a perfect combination for me. I was able to feed my competitive energy and football background as well as catch a great pump all during a week’s workouts.

3 Beverly Supplements and a 10-lb Gain

I was introduced to Beverly International products at this time. The first products I purchased were Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. Wow! I'd been weighing around 195lbs for 10 years, ever since college. I could never break 200lbs. By taking Beverly supplements the right way, I gained over 10lbs of muscle at 34 years of age and found myself weighing 212lbs! Beverly definitely had my attention from that day forward!

My next competition was the NPC Natural Cincinnati presented by Rick Ruether and his team. I weighed in 6lbs heavier and leaner than at my NOBA competition. I took first place in my class and first overall! Then I went to Chicago for the NPC Jr. Nationals. Now here was a different breed! I recall telling my wife, "We're not in Kansas anymore." The results from this competition didn’t end close to where I’d hoped. I was in the 3rd call out! Even though I was in a huge class with extreme competition, I was not happy with myself about this finish. I’d have to go back to the drawing board before my next national contest.

For the IFBB North America, in Pittsburgh, I kept my off-season process of using Ultra 40, Mass Amino Acids, and Multiple Enzyme Complex. I also added Beverly UMP Protein. I have never had a better tasting protein in all my years of training. Another change I made for this show was to further tighten my diet. For the Pittsburgh show, I weighed 202lbs! This was still a lot more weight than my first ever physique show. Now 202lbs is my “light weight”! I have to thank Sandy and the Beverly team for that! Also, I went back to my normal split of Olympic lifting, HIIT, and body building being evenly dispersed through the week. For the Chicago show I had thrown off this balance. I did a little too much bodybuilding and not enough  conditioning. My results were better in Pittsburgh! I finished 6th in my class, just 4 slots away from getting an IFBB pro card!

A Lesson Learned

I learned a ton from this experience. The main thing was to just be myself. For Chicago, I had gotten too uptight. I broke my own rules and starting paying attention to other Physique guys on the web. That's not me. My motivation is internalized. When I stopped caring about what others were doing, my results were significantly better! I was much more relaxed and conditioned, and this reflected on stage at the North America. Let that be a lesson to you. Make a goal and go for it! However, whatever you do, don't worry about what others are doing or thinking. Everyone has their own opinions. You can't worry about that though. Take strategic steps to achieve your goals and never lose focus. Keep those around you that help motivate you and don’t pay attention to those who might discourage you.

Now, I'm beginning another year of competition. I'm 35 years old and feeling better than ever! I call this my sophomore year since it is only my 2nd year in the game. Whatever the results, I plan on being myself and having fun throughout. I am also making sure not to neglect my loved ones, my beautiful wife Jennifer, my son Gabe, and my daughter Grace. If my ambitions ever get in the way of my quality time with them, it's time to hang it up. It's up to me to be proactive and keep this balance. Also, I have to keep my eyes on the Man upstairs. God is the reason I'm here. With Him on my side, nothing or no one can be against me.

“Operation Shred” Meal Plan

 

This is my meal plan 4 weeks out from a show. I call it “Operation Shred”.

Meal 1: Protein Shake - 2 scoops UMP mixed with almond milk, 1 tbsp of flaxseeds

Meal 2: 8oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, or fish), 6 egg whites, ½ grapefruit

Meal 3: 8oz grilled chicken and a large salad

Meal 4: 1 can tuna, 2 egg whites, 1 tomato

Meal 5: 8oz lean meat (chicken, turkey, or fish), 2 cups steamed vegetables

Mondays and Thursdays: I add 1 and ½ cups of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of butter, and a banana to meal 5 with the lean meat and vegetables.