Your Fit Figure: Here’s How to Guide Training Nutrition key to the competitive look


Specific recommendations for the woman who wishes to compete (or just look like she could compete) in a figure or fitness contest. The main source of misinformation stems from the bodybuilder mentality of all or nothing.

We get questions daily at Beverly Nutrition. This article is a complete plan to get the aspiring figure competitor in the best shape of her life. 4 Month Figure Makeover developing a V-shape, recipes and food prep. Shape Your Fit Figure Workout ideal workout to achieve a shapely, fit, lean physique.


In general the primary source of information for the figure girl is the gym guru or a bodybuilder boyfriend. Probably the biggest error we see is that women who are trying to buff their physique are concerned about overtraining. They are under the mistaken impression that since the other “serious” guys in the gym train each body-part just once a week that they should also follow this method for best results. Not true! A woman who is trying to get the lean, muscular look of a fitness/figure competitor should train each muscle group two times per week.

The other major area of training foolishness is proper intensity. Finding the correct training intensity is relatively easy, to start use the heaviest workout poundages that allow you to complete the stated rep range in good form. If you are to do three sets of 10-15 reps, that means use a weight heavy enough that you can do no more than 15 reps on your first set and can do at least ten reps on the third set. Add weight whenever you can do the top number of reps in the range for all sets, in good form. It’s really that simple. You should rest sixty to ninety seconds between sets. Here is an ideal workout to achieve a hard, lean physique.

Fitness Figure competitor sample workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Crunches 3 20-30
Twisting Crunches * *
On Cable Machine 3 20-30
DB Row 3 8-10
Pull-downs 3 10-12
Pullover 3 10-12
DB Shrug 3 10-15
Hyper-extension 3 10-15
Incline DB Curl 3 10-12
Concentration Curl 3 10-12
Calf Raise 4 10-15
Calf Press 4 15-20
Exercise Sets Reps
Crunches 3 20-30
Leg Raises 3 20-30
Twisting Crunches * *
On Cable Machine 3 20-30
Incline DB Press 4 8-10
Flat Flyes 4 10-12
Pec Deck 4 10-12
Shoulder Press 4 8-10
Side Laterals 3 10-12
DB Shoulder Press 3 10-12
Triceps Extension 10-12
Triceps Pushdown 3 10-12
Exercise Sets Reps
Crunches 3 20-30
Leg Raises 3 20-30
Twisting Crunches * *
On Cable Machine 3 20-30
Squat 4 10-15
Leg Press 3 10-15
Leg Extension 4 10-15
Seated Calf Raise 4 10-15
Standing Calf Raise 4 15-20

Cardio relative body-fat composition

The amount of cardio you will do will be determined by your relative body composition.

The closer you are to your ideal condition, the less cardio you’ll need to do. Too much cardio can eat away hard earned lean muscle, prevent catabolism with less cardio more recovery.

Here is a 12-week program for the aspiring figure contest competitor starting in the 16-20% body-fat range. If you are closer to contest condition do less, if you are at a higher body fat percentage starting out follow this program for an additional time period.

Monday-Wednesday-Friday: 30-45 minutes at moderate intensity. Use the cardio equipment of your choice or just go outside and walk for the required time. (Start at thirty minutes and add five every other week until you reach forty-five minutes. Then stay at that level.)

Tuesday: 15-30 minutes high intensity intervals. Start with three minutes at an easy pace. Now you are ready for your first sixty-second work interval. Increase the elevation or resistance setting and go hard for sixty seconds. Ease the tension back for a sixty second “rest interval” then perform another ”hard“ interval. Perform five work intervals the first week followed by a two minute cool down. Each week add another interval until you reach twelve. At that point add five seconds to each work interval and reduce the “rest” interval by five seconds for each of the next four week leading to your contest.

Thursday: 15-20 minutes. On Thursday we are going to measure progress by seeing how many calories we can burn during a session. First, choose a piece of equipment that gives you a “calories expended” readout. The first week go at a slightly higher than comfortable pace for fifteen minutes and record the calories expended. Each week you will try to increase the calories expended while keeping the time constant. When you cannot increase your intensity further go up to sixteen minutes to get the additional caloric expenditure you are after, etc.


Nutrition is the key factor in acquiring the competitive “look”. There are as many theories about dieting as there are training. We at Beverly are in a good position to make recommendations since we work with both bodybuilding and fitness/figure competitors on a daily basis. Almost every one of them wants to lose fat while attaining a nice, pleasing muscular physique. We find that diet high in protein, with some healthy carbohydrates and void of simple sugar works best. Here is the diet we recommend for the typical beginning competitor who wishes to harden up her physique by reducing body-fat and gradually adding lean muscle tissue.

Diet recommend for beginning competitor
Meal #1
1 whole egg + 3 egg whites or 1 scoop Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein or 3 oz. lean beef or chicken breast & ½-cup oatmeal before cooking (Many combine the ingredients above into a pancake recipe.
Meal #2
Protein Drink: 2 Scoops Ultra Size or Ultimate Muscle Protein as a shake or with less water as a pudding. Or whole food option: 5 oz chicken or turkey breast, 5 strawberries or 1 peach
Meal #3
5 oz. chicken (before cooking) or 6.5 oz. can of tuna in water 4 oz. sweet potato or ½ cup cooked brown rice 1-cup vegetables (broccoli, etc.) or salad with 2 tbsp low cal dressing
Meal #4(Post Workout)
2 Scoops Muscle Provider and 14 oz. water
Meal #5
6 oz. lean beef, chicken, turkey, or fish 2 cups green vegetables or salad

To give your diet variety we have included a list of substitutions you can make for the foods above. (See below.) You may substitute foods on your prescribed diet with another food from the same category below. For example, if your diet calls for broccoli, you can substitute with any non-starchy vegetable such as tomato or another from the list below.

Permissible Clean Food List

  • Beef: Beef tenderloin, Filet Mignon, Sirloin, Flank Steak, Round Steak, Top Round, Roast Beef, Ground Round, Ground Sirloin. Ground Beef (93% Fat Free or leaner)
  • Poultry: Chicken breast (no skin) Canned Chicken Breast (Swanson’s), Turkey Breast, Turkey Breast Cutlets, Ground Turkey Breast (95% Fat Free or Leaner), Canned Turkey Breast, Deli Turkey Breast.
  • Fish: Just about all kinds, the best are: Tuna (canned in water or fresh), Cod, Flounder, Halibut, Haddock, Orange Roughy, Salmon (canned in water or fresh, but limit to twice weekly), Red Snapper, Perch, Pollock, Scallops, Shrimp, Whitefish and Swordfish.
Complex Starchy Carbohydrates
Oatmeal, Cream of Rice, Puffed Rice, Rice Cakes, Cooked Rice (brown or white), Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Beans (white, pinto, kidney or black), Lima Beans, Corn, Peas.
Fibrous Vegetables
Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Spinach, Tomato, Water Chestnuts, Zucchini.
Apple, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Nectarine, Peach.

Naturals Can Build Big Muscles – 3 Days on 1 Day Off Workout

Stick to the basics and train Intelligently

Correct training means many different things to many different people, from the late Mike Mentzer’s Heavy-Duty “high intensity” (HIT) programs to Serge Nubret’s 20 sets of 20 reps of bench presses (high volume chest training). But you know there is a BIG difference for those training on steroids and those not using them and far too many writers, coaches and trainers have completely overlooked this obvious fact.

Natural Training The Basics

Your training program should be progressive in one or more of the following areas, but your rate of progress inevitably slows over time, so you must make accommodations for this.

Progression is measured by:

  • Resistance used for your set or sets
  • Number of reps performed with any particular weight
  • The amount of time in which a series of sets are performed

You should try to improve in one of the above areas to stimulate the potential for growth, but even with the proper stimulus, growth will only occur with proper rest and recuperation. Steroids generally make one recover much faster allowing the steroid user to train more frequently.

Dedicated hard correct training with optimum nutrition and supplementation (with an assist from mom’s genetics) determines your rate and how much muscle growth you can achieve. But, there are some indispensable rules.

Use a workout journal to track your progress. Every time you use a heavier weight than before on a set, get more reps with a particular weight, or complete a series of sets in less time, note this in your journal.

Prince Fontenot proves natural guys can build large muscle mass (Non steroid users need to be much more scientific and dogmatic than do steroid users about training, recovery, nutrition, and supplementation especially if you are a Prince). Disciplined hard correct training, optimum nutrition, genetics AND supplementation determines how much muscle growth you realize.

Resistance Reps Time

Use proper form.

Make sure each exercise is working the correct area. If you’re working biceps and your lower back is stiff the next day that’s a sure sign you’re cheating way too much on your curls. Generally, use a full range of motion on every exercise to develop big, full round muscle bellies. So... squat to parallel or below. Don’t round over like you are doing good mornings. Do full-range leg presses, not two-inch lockouts where your knees barely bend. Bent-over rows should be performed with legs bent slightly, your back flat and close to parallel to the floor.

The Routine:
Day 1: Chest / Shoulders and Triceps
Day 2: Legs / Calves and Abdominals
Day 3: Back / Biceps
Day 4: Off

The particular days you train are not important, just make sure you get at least 3 days in throughout the week with a day off and use proper rotation. That means upper body work one day, lower body the next, then upper body and rest! Without steroids, this is the only way you can recover using a three-on-and-one day off format.

In this program we’ll use two of the oldest and most basic progression schemes:

Your Basic Program:

1.  PYRAMID TRAINING: Add weight and lower the reps each set.
Set 1: 12 reps with a very easy warm-up weight.
Set 2: 8-10 reps still pretty easy

Work Sets:

  • Set 3: 8 – 9 reps
  • Set 4: 5 – 6 reps
  • Set 5: 5 – 6 reps
  • Exercises using this Pyramid system are marked by an*

2.  DOUBLE PROGRESSION SYSTEM: Use the same weight for all sets.
Try to gradually increase your repetitions on your 3 work sets. When you get 8 (or the top recommended number) consistently on all work sets, add weight and start over at 6 (or the lower rep range.)
Exercises below, where you should use the Double Progressive System are marked by **

FLEX magazine features IFBB pro bodybuilders. The IFBB does not conduct steroid tests. BodyMuscle proves that natural athletes like Jeff Pruett (who has been tested) can get huge without steroids.


Day #1 (chest, shoulders, triceps)

  1. Bench Presses (pyramid)* 2 warm-up sets and then one set of 8-9 reps, and two sets of 5-6 reps
  2. Incline Dumbbell Presses (double progression)** 3 sets x 6 – 8 reps constant weight. When you get 3 sets of 8 reps, add weight and start back at 6 reps
  3. Seated Dumbbell Presses (double progressive)** 3 sets x 6-8 reps with constant weight
  4. Tricep Pushdowns ** 3 sets x 8-12 reps with constant weight
  5. Dips** Do 2 or 3 sets x maximum reps you can with your bodyweight only. Try to add a rep each workout to one of your sets or get the same total number reps in less time

That ends Day #1. Don’t be in a big rush to use as much weight as possible in each exercise. Try to leave each workout knowing you can improve in at least one exercise the next.

Day #2 – (legs / calves, abdominals)

  1. Squats* – Pyramid 5 sets x 15 / 12 / 8 / 8 / 8 reps
  2. Leg Presses** 3 x 10 – 15 reps (you may want to increase 2 reps per workout here)
  3. Leg Extensions** 3 x 12 – 15 reps
  4. Leg Curls** 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps
  5. Standing Calf Raises** 3 sets x 12 – 16 reps
  6. Strict Crunches**3 x 25 – 50 reps

Day #3 – (back, biceps)

  1. Bent-Over Rows* – Pyramid 5 sets x 15 / 12 / 8 / 8 / 8 reps
  2. Deadlifts – 3 sets 8-10 reps (add weight each set but stay at 8-10 reps per set)
  3. Concentrate on perfect, form and add weight very gradually in 5-lb. increments each week
  4. You also can do a compound deadlift and shrug movement to stress your traps even more
  5. Pulldowns** 3 x 8 – 12 reps.
  6. Barbell Curls**3 x 8-12 reps
  7. Preacher Curls** 2 x 10-12 reps

Basic Muscle Nutrition

Jeff Williamson achieved professional status training at home.

Optimum muscle growth requires proper training and proper nutrition. A basic nutrition program includes three good bodybuilding meals and three super-powerful protein drinks, a high potency vitamin/mineral pack and (as an interesting option, liver tablets).

  1. Breakfast: 3 – 4 eggs (4 whites, one yolk), half cup cottage cheese, a 4-oz beef patty, 1 piece rye toast with peanut butter or occasionally, hot cereal with a banana or other fruit and a Beverly Super-Pak
  2. Lunch: Roast beef (about half pound) and Swiss Cheese sandwich on Rye Bread, two pieces fruit, glass of low fat milk
  3. Dinner: Large meat serving – steak, chicken, etc., baked potato or other starch, green vegetable, salad


You don’t need steroids and drugs to gain muscle! Using this exact routine we guarantee you’ll get great muscle gains!

Jeff Williamson achieved professional status training at home. This guy practically lives and breathes on Ultra 40 liver tablets

Total Bikini Competitor’s Program

At a Glance: Jill Taylor

Age: 28

Occupation: Development Associate, United Way of Greater Cincinnati (full-time);Academic Affairs, Communication & Recruitment Coordinator, Ohio State University, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine (part-time)Family: Husband, Chris Sanders Taylor, two cats/ furry children – Ping & Pong

Current Residence: Cincinnati, OH

Height: 5’8"

Contest Weight: 133 (I think this is where I was when I last weighed in?)

How did you decide to compete in Bikini? I was looking for a way to re-motivate myself in my fitness and nutrition, as well as personally a way to push myself beyond my normal routine. I considered training for some sort of competition, but wasn’t sure what. After some searching online, I came across Julie Lohre’s website. Initially I contacted Julie thinking about training for a figure competition; however, after speaking with Julie about my person goals, I learned about the Bikini division, which seemed to be a good balance for me. It was a way to challenge myself as an athlete, as well as push me outside of my comfort zone and allow for expansion and expression of my personality as well.

Favorite Fitness Meal: Lean hamburger with fat free cheese and sweet potato chips sprinkled with cinnamon. I’ve also discovered great low carb/high fiber wraps (Ole/5grams carbs/wrap) that I can enjoy with grilled chicken or lean sirloin with sautéed mushrooms, onions and light Laughing Cow cheese!

Most Inspiring Book: Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert; Most Entertaining Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series!

Hobbies or interests outside of fitness: I love being outdoors, so hiking and visiting parks is an ideal day for me! Being with family and friends, watching movies and laughing!

Words to live by: To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.˜ William Henry Channing

At a Glance: Rachel Fazzalaro

Age: 27

Occupation: Project Manager – Convergys

Family: My sweet husband, two dogs Oliver and Sprocket and a crazy cat Milo Current Residence: Bellevue, KY

Height: 5’4"

Weight: Off Season – 115; Contest – 110 pounds

How did you decide to compete in Bikini?: I started working out just to feel and look better for myself. Once I learned about Bikini I loved the idea of competition and seemed to have a knack for the posing. It became my new motivation in the gym!

What is your favorite part of being a Bikini Competitor? I love walking on stage each time to show the progress I’ve made. Those few minutes in the spot light make all of the early mornings in the gym and meals packed each day worth it! Even bigger than being on stage though, many people in my life have become more interested in their own health and fitness after learning about what I do each day and watching my progress over time. To me the most rewarding part is knowing I’ve inspired someone else to take control of their health just by setting an example.

Favorite Fitness Meal: UMP Banana Split – Toast one piece of Ezekiel bread. Spread 1 tbsp of peanut butter on the Ezekiel bread (I like crunchy). Place banana slices on top of the peanut butter. Top it off with one scoop of vanilla UMP mixed with just enough water to make a pudding consistency! Yummy! I love having this for breakfast!

In your CD player: Louis Prima

Most Inspiring Book: I recently read "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. Very eye opening book about diet and health. Hobby or interests outside of fitness: I enjoy learning about nutrition, growing my own veggies and herbs and tending to my orchids and other plants. I also love cooking with my husband. We always have so much fun creating new recipes. Most of them are good, others – not so much. It is always fun though.

Words to live by: "Well behaved women rarely make history."˜ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


Whether you want to get in shape for summer or for stage, rock hard abs and tight glutes are at the top of every woman’s personal wish list. The National Physique Committee brand new woman's division that is quickly becoming one of the hottest categories on the fitness scene.

The Bikini Division is a fantastic mix of athletics and modeling, hard toned bodies with both a touch of muscle and a large dose of attitude.

Women that excel in Bikini, pay close attention to the details, work hard on both their training and diet and have the stage presence and confidence of an LA movie star.
If you have dreamed of stepping on stage in the past, but lacked the muscularity to be successful in Figure, Bikini could be a great choice. I foresee Bikini becoming more and more popular in the coming years. And why not! We all want to look and feel great in a bathing suit.

Over the last year, I have worked with many women that are either preparing for Bikini shows or want to have that Bikini body look. Rachel Fazzalaro and Jill Taylor are two of those women that have gone from good to amazing, stage ready FitBodies. Both initially came to me with plans to compete in Figure, but after analyzing their physiques and talking at length about their goals, I recommended that the Bikini Division was a better match for them. Both women have incredible potential and have worked very hard to sculpt and tone their bodies. They each have a pleasing amount of muscle, but their overall genetic size and structure is a better match for Bikini. They also have a look that mixes girl next door with fitness model.With Jill and RachelI structured their training, cardio, diet and supplement plans to work for their individual bodies. For Rachel, it was important that she gain muscle to round out her naturally thin physique and give her more curves. In 5 months of training, Rachel has transformed her body dropping her body-fat from 23% to 14% (9 percent drop!), losing 10 pounds of fat while gaining 8 pounds of muscle. On her frame, this has made an incredible difference. Jill began her contest prep in a very good place. She has always trained and ate clean to start so I knew with some fine tuning of her already good habits, she could make the changes that would put her at the top of any Bikini class. In 3 months, Jill dropped from 16% body-fat to 11% (a 5 percent drop!), losing 7 pounds of fat while gaining 4 pounds of muscle.

So what does it take to get a great Bikini body? The answer is a plan that incorporates weight training, plyometrics, body weight exercises, cardio, a great diet and the best supplements. I developed this TOTAL Bikini Competitors Program to take help you achieve your dream Bikini FitBody and help you make the leap to stage.

Here are the rules:

You have to put in the work. Very few women are genetically gifted enough to step on stage without working their tails off in the gym first. Resistance training is the most important activity for reshaping your body. Not only does it tone your body, it plays a very important role in promoting fat loss because of the metabolic properties of muscle tissue.

Some indispensable do’s and don’ts:
1. Keep a workout journal. It can be a spiral notebook or as fancy as you like. Keep track of every training and cardio session, all of your meals and your supplements. Use the star method to track your progress with weights. Every time you use a heavier weight than before on a set, get more reps with a particular weight, or complete a series of sets in less time give yourself a star in your journal. My FitBody Workout Journal is a very detailed logbook that I have put together specifically for competitors.
2. Use proper form. If you have any questions on how this workout should be done, check out our behind the article at 5 pillars to my fitness lifestyle plan
3. Make sure each exercise is working the correct area. Use a full range of motion on each exercise and choose, slow, concentrated reps over fast, half done reps.

Where to begin:

You can’t move forward until you know where you are. I start every competitors program by asking for beginning measurements and photos that show her current conditioning. These do not have to be fancy, but you need to first know your strengths and weaknesses. Take photos in a bathing suit from the front and the back then examine the photos comparing yourself with top Bikini athletes. Do you need to gain muscle? Lose body-fat? Tone your abs, glutes, arms? Are you starting in a good place and just need some polishing or will reaching your goals take more time and effort? Each woman needs a different amount of time to achieve her dream body. This will not happen over night for 95% of us. Be realistic, but also positive. While it may be hard to take photos and to objectively critique your physique, we all start somewhere and knowing where we are starting allows us to celebrate our coming successes.

The Workout:

Your weight training routine is structured as a three-day split routine where you will be training each muscle group once per week. You’ll alternate between a 45 minute weight training routine one day and a 30 minute cardio session the next. You can adjust the days as necessary but you must get in 3 resistance training and at least 3 cardio sessions per week.

Weight training routine
Day 1: Shoulders / Biceps / Triceps
Day 2: Cardio (Treadmill Intervals)
Day 3: Quadriceps / Glutes / Hamstrings / Calves
Day 4: Cardio (Stationary Bike Intervals)
Day 5: Back / Chest / Abdominals
Day 6: Cardio (Stair Climber or Elliptical)

Perform all exercises as a circuit, resting 1-2 mins between each circuit. Keep up a good pace during your workout. Perform a set, stretch the target muscle group, and then go right to your next set: lift – stretch – lift – stretch. This should be a fast pace, high intensity workout that challenges your muscles and your cardio vascular system.

In order to become your best *you*, you’ll have to train beyond your comfort zone. Once you become accustomed to the prescribed exercises, you’ll pick a weight that is heavy enough so that the last few repetitions are very difficult (nearly impossible) to finish. This is how you will get the fullest benefit in both tone and fat loss from your training. With a little experimentation you’ll soon have a good idea of exactly how much weight you need to use for each exercise.

Once you achieve "baseline" weights for your workouts keep progressing in one or more of the following areas each time you workout:

› Amount of resistance or weight used for a particular set.

› Number of reps performed with a particular weight.

› duce the amount of rest time between circuits.

› Train harder go for the burn.

Bikini Athlete Training – Program

Day One: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps

Circuit One:
Do one set of an exercise, stretch, then move immediately to the next exercise. Complete one set of each exercise in the Circuit before resting 1-2 mins and then repeating. Repeat the Circuit 2-3 times before moving to the next Circuit. To ensure proper performance of each exercise be sure to view the workout video on my website, You’ll see Rachel and Jill as they go through this exact workout.

Day One: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps
Exercise (x) Reps/Set
DB Shoulder Press 10 reps
DB Curls standing on BOSU 10 reps
DB Triceps Extension 10 reps
DB Delt Skier Kickbacks 10 reps

Cardio: Minutes (1 min of moderate pace, followed by 3 intervals – 45 seconds hard/high intensity then 15 seconds recovery

Circuit Two:
Exercise (x) Reps/Set
Plate Front Raise 15 reps
One Arm Cable Curl 8 per arm (you can use bands if training at home)
Barbell Curl 10 reps
Triceps Kickback 10 reps
Plate Front Raise 15 reps
Stand Alone Exercise: 3 sets x 10 reps

Cardio: 3 intervals 45 seconds hard/high intensity then 15 seconds recovery

Day Two: 30 Minutes Cardio (Treadmill) + 200 Crunches throughout the day broken down into sets as you would like.

Day Three: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Circuit One:

Same procedure as Day One. Repeat each Circuit 2-3 times
Exercise (x ) Reps/Set
Squats 20 reps
Quick Leg Press 20 reps
DB Lunge 10 reps
Stiff-Legged Dead-lift on BOSU 10 (squeeze glutes hard at top of each rep)

Cardio: 4 minutes of alternating jumping jacks for 30 seconds and push-ups for 30 seconds

Circuit Two:

Day four: 30 minutes Cardio (Stationary Bike) Hill or interval program

Day Five: Back, Chest, Abdominals

Day Four: 30 Minutes cardio (stationary bike) hill or interval program
Exercise (x ) Reps/Set
Push-ups (with feet elevated if possible) 10
Curl Grip Pull-down 10
DB Pullover 12
Up down plan holds 30 seconds

Cardio: 25 Medicine Ball Rebounds, 25 Lateral Skis, 25 Squat Thrusts

Day Five: Back, Chest, Abdominals
Exercise (x ) Reps/Set
Incline Bench Press 10 reps
Bent Row (BB, DB, or Cable) 10 reps
Cable Crossover Pulses 20 reps
Oblique Medicine Ball Crunches 20 reps

Cardio: mins (1 min of moderate pace, followed by 3 intervals – 45 seconds hard/high intensity then 15 seconds recovery)

Day Six: 30 Minutes cardio

(stair master or elliptical) hill or interval program

Day Seven: Rest

Many Bikini athletes take one or more cardio classes during the week in addition to, or in place of their scheduled cardio days.

Bodybuilding Contest Prep week 16 – Contest Countdown Starting at 16 weeks out

Contest Countdown

We’re writing this article to help you prepare for your first or next bodybuilding competition. Since the 1998 Northern Kentucky Championship is a contest designed for first time competitors or those peaking for a later show, let’s make this your first show of the year. If you count backwards from March 21, you’ll find that 16 weeks out is the weekend following Thanksgiving, so let’s start your diet December 1. In this article we are going to provide you with the actual diets that successful competitors followed as they prepared for the Northern Kentucky Championship.

Phase 1: 16 weeks out to 8 weeks out

Diet: Let’s begin by taking a few things for granted. First, you have been training properly and have already started regulating your diet by eliminating junk foods, sugar, bread, high carbohydrate drinks, regular soft drinks and are cutting down on high lactose milk products. Start reading labels and if there is more than 5 grams of sugar per serving drop it from your diet.

With sixteen weeks to go, it’s time to start seriously. The goal is to maintain bodyweight, unless you are way out of shape, but to slowly lose bodyfat while actually adding lean tissue from your training, improved diet and supplements. One of the mistakes we see most often is a competitor makes an instant calorie drop when he starts his diet. This causes the loss of a lot of muscle tissue right at the outset of the diet. Your goal is to add calories and nutrient density through your diet and supplements at the sixteen weeks out point.

Here are some of the actual diets we’ve used with various competitors during Phase One of their diet:

James Johnson, 1997 NPC Jr. National BW Champ followed this meal plan 16 weeks out from his first bodybuilding contest, the 1996 Northern Kentucky Championship where he won the overall title.
Supplements: Super Pack, Mass Amino Tablets: 6 / meal, Ultra 40 Liver 6 / meal, Flaxseed Oil 2 tablespoon / daily

Phase 1 Diet
Meal #1
6 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
2 servings oatmeal / cream of rice / or cream of wheat
1 orange or other fruit
Meal #2
6–8 ounces lean meat ( chicken / turkey / fish, lean ground beef)
1 medium sweet potato, 1 apple
Meal #3
6–8 ounces lean meat
1 cup of rice
1 cup vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
Meal #4
6–8 ounces lean meat
1 six oz. baked potato or yam or ½ cup rice
1 piece fruit
1 cup vegetables
Meal #5
6 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
1 serving oatmeal

*James sometimes substituted a protein drink for any meal where it was difficult to eat a prepared meal:3 scoops Muscle Provider, 1 ounce heavy cream, 1 whole egg, 9 strawberries, 12 ounces water

Bill Hooks has won his class in the Novice division at the Northern Kentucky the past two years. In 1997 he moved up to 2nd in the Open Division as well. Bill, at a starting weight of 210 lb., had to follow a different dietary approach than James since he was attending school and had to rely on Muscle Provider as a portable meal. His diet works well for those who are on the run and have little time to prepare or eat food meals. Jeff Storch, who is featured elsewhere in this issue follows a similar plan.

Bill’s 4000 calorie diet at 16 weeks out is based on these percentages of nutrients – Protein: 54%, Carbohydrates: 20%, Fat: 26%.

Supplements: Super Pak, Flaxseed Oil: 1 tablespoon daily, Mass: 4 per meal, Ultra 40: 4 per meal

Meal #1
2 whole eggs + 6 egg whites
4 oz. lean beef or chicken
1 ounces oatmeal
1 grapefruit
Meal #2
2 scoops Muscle Provider
1 oz. (2 tablespoons) heavy cream (or 1 tablespoon Flax Oil)
1 egg
6 strawberries
12 oz. water
Meal #3
8 – 12 ounces steak
1 serving oatmeal or small sweet potato or ½ cup brown rice
1 cup green beans
Meal #4
2 scoops Muscle Provider
1 oz. (2 tablespoons) heavy cream (or 1 tablespoon Flax Oil)
1 egg
6 strawberries
12 oz. water
Meal #5
8 –12 ounces turkey breast, chicken breast or lean beef
2 cups vegetables or 1 piece fruit
Meal #6
6 egg whites, 2 yolks
omelet vegetables
oz. = ounce(s)

Tracy Beckham at 12 weeks: We decided Tracy needed to improve her muscle density at this point and restructured her diet to include more protein and fat, less crabs, and a high Carb meal every third day.

Tracy 12 week plan
Supplements: Super Pak, Ultra 40 5 / meal, Flaxseed Oil 1 tablespoon daily.
Meal #1
4 egg whites – 1 yolk
3 Oz. chicken, turkey, or tuna
6 strawberries or 1 orange
Meal #2
Protein drink: 2 scoops Muscle Provider
mixed with 1 whole egg, 12 Oz. ice water,
6 frozen strawberries and ½ frozen banana
Meal #3
1 ½ cups salad containing choice of salad
vegetables w/ 2 tablespoons oil +1 tablespoon vinegar,
6 – 8 ounces lean protein (lean beef,
chicken breast or turkey or fish)
Meal #4
4 ounces lean beef or 6 – 8 Oz. chicken breast or turkey or fish
2 egg whites
1 small sweet potato
Meal #5
6 – 8 Oz. chicken, turkey breast, or fish
1 cup vegetables

*Every 3rd day Tracy ate the following meal in addition to her regular meals: 1 cup rice, 1 small sweet potato, 1 small banana, 1 cup vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, butter, or margarine.

Phase One Cardio

We encourage you to keep cardio at a minimum during your early contest preparation period. If you do too much cardio too soon, your body will adapt and you have no where to go but to increase your cardio even more. Soon there’s not enough time or energy in the day to do justice to your training. We do recommend 15 – 20 minutes of high intensity cardio three days per week during this phase. Remember your goal during the first four weeks of dieting is to improve your body composition while maintaining your weight. Research has shown that high intensity cardio has a greater positive effect on body composition than low intensity (less than 75% maximum heart rate) cardio. Each week attempt to burn more calories in the same amount of time. This is an easy gauge to make sure you are improving. The way you do this is walk faster on the treadmill at a higher angle or increase the level on the Lifecycle or stepper. If the cardio equipment you’re using gives you a calorie readout, it’s simple to try to break your record each week.

Phase One Training

At sixteen weeks you should begin to up the intensity of your training and start paying special attention to the quality of your physique. The lateral delts, serratus, hamstring and glutes are areas that can make the difference between a "winning" physique and an also ran.We recommend a four on, one day off split at this point. This will allow you to recuperate from each session. There are many variations but training each bodypart only one day a week precontest may be too little and training on a three day on, one day off seems to cause one to overtrain too early in the precontest phase. As far as bodypart splits we’ve seen and done them all personally and with our clients. We suggest that you choose the split that seems right for you. Just make sure you train your weak parts early in the cycle.

Sets and reps are also a very individual matter, but about 10 really hard work sets per larger bodypart and six sets per smaller part should be about right. Remember you’re adding muscle during this phase so don’t start dropping the weight and trying to do more reps.You should begin to shorten your rest between sets. Start getting focused and do your next set as soon as you have recovered adequately from the previous one.

Phase One Posing

Begin a structured program to practice your poses. Find the best practice lighting, similar to stage lighting. At this time you should practice the facings and mandatories 15 – 20 minutes two or three days per week. Practice holding the poses for 10 seconds each. Remember to start each pose from the feet up – make sure you flex your legs. Contest Countdown Workshop

  • Hit your best poses
  • Resist moving from the best lighting, this may not be at the front of the stage
  • Try to highlight your strong points against your competition’s weakness
  • Catch the judges’ eye with your poise and control

From Complete Beginner to Figure Champion

At a Glance: Shala Singer

Age: 30

Occupation: Personal trainer, co owner of Muscle Head Nutrition

Current Residence: Evansville, IN

Family:  I live with my husband Brandon and my dog Kaylie

Years Training:  1 and ½ years with weights. Trained as a gymnast for 10 years.

Height: 4′ 11″

Contest Weight: 97 lbs

Favorite Fitness Meal: Oatmeal, with vanilla UMP and natural peanut butter

Music: I like a little bit of everything from rap/pop music to Christian and country.

Most Inspiring Book: The Bible

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding:  Makeovers! I love anything to do with fashion and the beauty industry. I used to be a hairstylist and love reading up on all of the new trends and trying them out on my friends. I also like to be outside, and occasionally my husband will talk me into riding on his Harley

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

My diet 16 weeks out from the show

I started training for figure competition when a good friend told me about a local show that was six months away.  I was a complete beginner. I hadn’t really done any weight training to speak of but I did have a foundation from my gymnastics background.

My gym time up to that point had been limited to the various cardio equipment. And, I knew vitually nothing about figure; in fact I had just recently heard that figure competition even existed. However, the thought of competing sounded like fun so I agreed to give it a shot. Upon committing to the contest I started weight training and cleaned up my diet with the help of Eric Schmidt, owner of the gym where I trained. I ended up placing 4th at the show. I realized that to be competitive, I was really going to have to add some muscle. I loved the stage though; I had been bitten by the competition bug for sure.

Immediately after that show I set my sights on the NPC KY Muscle 33 weeks away

Intermediate Training Program

Five day workout including supersets
Monday: Legs
Leg Press 3 sets 10-15 reps
Squats 3 sets 8-12 reps
Hack Squat Machine 3 sets 10-15 reps
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 3 sets 12 reps
Leg Esetstensions 3 sets 12 reps
Abs 8 sets of 25-50 (use any variety of exercises you want)
Tuesday: Back, Delts, Biceps (light day)
One Arm DB Row 3 sets 8-10 reps
Pulldowns 3 sets 8-12 reps
Seated Cable Row 3 sets 8-12 reps (or do any seated machine row)
DB Lateral Raise 3 sets 10 reps each way (bent-over lateral, side lateral, front raise)
Cable Curl 3 sets 8-12 reps
Incline DB Curl 3 sets 8-10 reps
Calf Raises 6-8 sets of 15 reps on any combination of machines
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps
Incline DB Press 4 sets 6-10 reps
Flat Dumbbell Press 4 sets 8-12 reps
Pec Deck 3 sets 8-12 reps
Tricep Pushdowns 4 sets 8-12 reps
Lying Tricep 4 sets 10-12 reps
Abs 6 sets of 15-25 reps
Thursday: Legs (glute emphasis)
Romanian Dead Lift 3 sets 10-15 (superset with next exercise)
Wide Leg Press 3 sets 10-15
Leg Curl 3 x 6-8 (superset with next exercise)
Walking Lunge 3 sets 12-15 steps with each foot
Leg Extension 3 sets 12 (superset with next exercise)
Smith Machine Squat 3 sets 12 non-lock
Calf Raises 6-8 sets of 15 reps on any combination of machines
Friday: Delts, Back, Biceps, Triceps
Shoulder Press 3 x 6-10 (superset with next exercise)
Lat Pulldowns 3 sets 8-12 reps
Upright Row 3 x 8-10 (superset with next exercise)
Straight-Arm Pulldowns 3 sets 10-12 reps
Bent Over Laterals 3 x 10-12 (superset with next exercise)
Seated Cable Row 3 sets 8-12 reps
Barbell or EZ Curl 3 x 6-10 reps (superset with next exercise)
Close Grip Bench Press 3 sets 6-10 reps
Concentration Curl 2 sets 10-12 reps
Dips or Triceps Dips 2 sets 10-15 reps
Abs 8 sets of 25-50 (use any variety of machines or exercises you want)
My favorite exercise is squats.

They help to strengthen both my quads and hamstrings.

I also wore a path in the gym floor doing walking lunges; by far the best glute exercise in my opinion.

Morning cardio

My cardio machine of choice for my morning cardio was the bike. I usually chose the stepmill for evening cardio. I kept it interesting though, by mixing in the elliptical or the treadmill whenever I needed a change.  I did about an hour and 20 minutes a day divided into two sessions.

Dawn Reichley

Supplement Program

I knew that to gain quality muscle, naturally, I needed a good line of supplements.

Our gym carried Beverly
Ultra 4 (multi vitamin/mineral)
2 in am and 2 in pm
Lean Out (fat transporters)
2 with each meal
Density (essential amino acids)
2 with each meal
ZMA (nighttime recovery formula)
2 before bed
Ultimate Muscle Protein
(time released protein formula)
at meal 1 and meal 5
Muscle Provider (fast acting protein) after cardio and before and after workouts
Up-Lift (awesome energy but didn’t keep me up at night)
before workouts
Creatine Select (strength and energy)
after workouts
Glutamine Select sipped throughout the day for extra energy

I later added 3 Quadracarn at meals 1, 3 and 5. I could tell a difference right away in my mood and in the pumps I felt in the gym. Toward the end of my competition prep I also took 2 Energy Reserve prior to my evening cardio, I could really feel the energy boost from it about half way through the session.

I was spending so much time in the gym that I decided to get a job there and start studying for my ACE certification

My husband and I also started an internet supplement company in which Beverly is now one of our top selling supplement lines.

At 16 weeks out from the show I really tightened up my diet.  I began eating 5 small meals a day.
They usually looked like this:
Meal 1: Protein pancakes (1 scoop UMP vanilla; ½ cup oats; 4 egg whites; and cinnamon)
Meal 2: Chicken or fish; sweet potato; and broccoli
Meal 3 (usually pre workout): Protein shake made with Muscle Provider and water
Meal 4: Chicken or fish; big bowl of spinach; and sweet potato
Meal 5: 1 and a half scoops UMP vanilla mixed with water into a pudding consistency.  Sometimes I froze it and ate it like ice cream

I trained with weights four times per week (5 if you count abs and calves).  I am going to give you two versions of my workout program. One for beginners and intermediates, the other for advanced athletes. Choose the one that best suits your situation.

Posing Presentation

I started practicing my posing as soon as I decided I was going to compete at the KY Muscle.  I met with my trainer Kori Propst, WNBF Figure, Fitbody, and Bodybuilding pro, a couple times each month and practiced on my own a 3 to 5 times per week.  As the show got closer I began holding each pose longer and longer – up to a minute for each mandatory pose. One minute doesn’t sound very long but trust me; you will start to shake by the end of it.

Finally it was Friday the 13th, not usually a day people look forward to, but I couldn’t have been happier that it had finally arrived. My husband and I packed up the car and we were on our way to Louisville.  I feel so blessed to have such a supportive husband. He was truly amazing and helped me every step of the way. When I was tired and didn’t want to go to the gym he was right there pushing me to keep going.

When we got to Louisville, my mom, grandma, cousin and even my mother and father in law all met us at the hotel.  I was so excited to have my own little cheering-section.

I woke up early Saturday morning so that I could take my time getting ready.  At 11 am we headed down to the convention center for prejudging. My nerves were going crazy, I had to take a couple of deep breaths and remind myself that the hard work was done.  Now it was time to have fun and show ‘em what I’ve got.

Backstage I met some of the other competitors who were all so nice, I even got to talk with a couple of the IFBB pros who were also competing.  Soon it was time to hit the stage.  I went out and did my quarter turns and presentation poses and had a blast.  There were 24 girls in my class so we were up there for quite a while.

Later that evening it was time for the finals.

Class A went onto the stage and we were all introduced.  The announcer called out the top five competitors, I was the last of the 5 to be called I was so excited to hear my number.

All five of us stood there while they called the placings, 5th splace wasn’t me, then I wasn’t called for 4th or third either, wow I had butterflies, then they called 2nd place and it still wasn’t me, Oh my gosh I won!! I was ecstatic! I could hear my "CHEERING SECTION" and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could not be happier with my experience.
Thank you so much to my husband, my family, and my "gym family" at Nitro Fitness for all of your love and support.


Bodybuilding Contest Preparation Contest Countdown.. 8 Weeks Out

We covered the first eight weeks of your contest preparation in the previous issue of the No Nonsense Magazine (FALL, 1997). Now we are ready to start the final eight weeks. By the end of these eight weeks you will be totally prepared for your contest, in top condition and feeling healthy.

Starting at 8 weeks out you should really kick your diet into high gear. Your main goal should now be to lose all subcutaneous bodyfat. Unless you are losing at least one pound bodyweight per week it’s time for another calorie adjustment in the neighborhood of a 200 – 300 reduction. Keep your protein intake high at this point and reduce the amount of fat, which we have kept fairly high to this point, and a small amount of carbohydrate. (One note of caution: if you’ve mistimed your diet totally up to this point and are not already in fairly good condition, jump to the Four Weeks Out recommendations.)

Jeff Storch, 1996 NPC Ohio LH Champion followed this meal plan at 8 weeks. This meal plan would be the next step if you are following Bill Hooks’ diet at twelve weeks from last issue.

Supplements: Super Pack, Mass 6 / meal, Ultra 40 Liver 6 / meal, Energy Reserve 2 tablets – 3 times / daily on an empty stomach along with thermogenics for first three weeks, then two weeks off.
Meal #1

6 egg whites + 5 oz. lean beef
½ grapefruit, ½ cantaloupe, or 8 strawberries (choose one)
Meal #2
10 – 12 ounces lean meat
(chicken / turkey / fish, lean ground beef, at least 91%, or lean steak)
1 – 6 oz. sweet potato
2 cups vegetables
Meal #3
10 – 12 ounces lean meat (chicken, etc.)
2 cup vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
Meal #4
Protein Drink
10 oz. water, 1 egg, 8 strawberries, 3 scoops Muscle Provider
Meal #5
9 ounces lean meat (strip sirloin, lean beef, etc.)
3 – 4 egg whites (optional)
4 cups salad
2 tablespoons Vinegar & Oil
* oz. = ounces

James Johnson, whose diet we featured in the last issue, needed to make weight for the Jr. Nationals so we had to change our strategy somewhat. James followed a lower protein intake than we normally recommend so that he could lose enough weight to compete as a bantamweight. This is James’ exact meal plan eight weeks out from his victory in his first national competition.

Supplements: Super Pak, Lean Out 2 / meal, Muscularity 3 / meal

Ratio of Food Groups: Carbohydrates = 58% Protein = 30% Fat = 8%
Meal # 1

6 egg whites
2 servings of cream of rice
Meal # 2
4 ounces of chicken
1 cup of rice
1 cup vegetables
Meal #3
4 ounces of lean meat
1 six oz. baked potato or yam
1 cup vegetables
Meal # 4
4 ounces of lean meat
1 cup of rice
1 cup of vegetables
Meal # 5
4 ounces of lean meat
1 cup vegetables
1 six oz. baked potato
Meal # 6
6 egg whites

At four weeks we have a special competition diet that works great for almost everyone. The list of successful competitors who have used this plan with slight modifications is nearly endless. Here’s our special competition diet for men at four weeks out:

Supplements: Super Pak, Energy Reserve 9 per day, Mass 4 / meal, Ultra 40 6 / meal, Muscularity 4 / meal

Final Phase meal plan
Meal #1

5 egg whites – 2 yolks
5 oz. chicken, turkey, or tuna
½ grapefruit, ½ cantaloupe, or 8 strawberries
Meal #2
6 oz. chicken, turkey or tuna
1 cup vegetables
Meal #3
2 cups salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ 1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon vinegar
8 ounces tuna or other lean protein
1 carrot
Meal #4
4 oz. lean beef or 6 –8 oz. chicken breast, turkey, or fish
2 egg whites
Meal #5
8 oz. chicken, turkey breast, or fish
1 ½ cup vegetables
1 tablespoon Flax Oil
*Every Monday and Thursday eat the following meal in place of one regular meal: 1 ½ cups rice, 1 large sweet potato, 1 banana, 1 cup vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, butter, or margarine.

Many of our clients substitute up to 3 scoops of our special protein formulation, Muscle Provider, mixed with a whole egg and frozen fruit for meal #2, #4 or both. Muscle Provider is the only powder formulation we have found that can be taken right up to the contest.

Here’s what one of our Beverly users at the National Level, Leo Ingram has to say at three weeks out: “At this time my carbs are between zero to twenty grams max up to one week prior to the show.” The carbs consumed are of the low glycemic type. This is considered carb depletion by most people. This help to get the maximum glycogen compensation into those muscle cells which gives you that dense and full look on the day of the show. My protein is still high and my fats are down to a minimum. My training is still intense combining with cardio exercise to deplete my glycogen stores. Sodium is not really a bad thing at this time unless there isn’t a balance among the other minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc. "

Leo’s supplement program: Supplementation taken at this time include, branch chain amino acids (Muscularity) and free form as well, a high potency mutivitamin/mineral pack, growth hormone releaser, (GH Factor) and a combination fat burner (Lean Out). All of these supplements are purchased through Beverly International Nutrition."

"During these last weeks my cravings increase for sugar and starch. I usually satisfy myself by drinking a couple of glasses of crystal lite or a beverage containing no simple sugars. This helps me get through this diet. The last couple of weeks are usually the hardest for me. I think that this is where the discipline comes in at. Because what you do in these weeks can cause a drastic body change if you are not careful. So resist the temptation and keep focusing on what you are trying to accomplish. After all you didn’t come this far for nothing."

At six to eight weeks out most women go right into the final phase of their pre competition diet Here’s a sample diet that we’ve used with great success at the Beverly Nutrition Center:

Supplements: Super Pak, Lean Out 9 per day, Ultra 40 4 / meal, Muscularity 3 / meal

Phase Two Female diet
Meal #1

4 egg whites – 1 yolk
3 oz. chicken, turkey, or tuna
1/4 grapefruit, 1/4 cantaloupe, or 6 strawberries
Meal #2*
4 oz. chicken, turkey or tuna
1 cup vegetables
Meal #3*
1.5 cups salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ 2 tsp. oil + 1 tablespoon vinegar
5 ounces tuna or other lean protein
1 small carrot
Meal #4
1 egg + 2 egg whites
Meal #5
5 oz. chicken, turkey breast, or fish
1 cup vegetables
1 tablespoon Flax Oil
*Every 3rd day eat the following meal in place of one regular meal: 1 cups rice, 1 small sweet potato, 1 small banana, 1 cup vegetables with 2 tsp. oil, butter, or margarine.

The following meal plan the final three weeks to reduce body-fat on this meal plan. Adjusted calorie intake over a 3 day period as follows.
Supplements (each day): Ultra 4 – 2 in AM and 2 in PM, Muscularity – 9 between meals #1 and #2; and 9 more between meals #4 and #5, 3 L–Tyrosine and 4 Energy Reserve – 30 minutes prior to meals 1, 2, and 4, 3 – Evening Primrose Oil capsules, 3 – Bev C

Day One:
Meal #1

6 egg whites (can use onion, tomato and peppers)
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
Meal #3*
large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and
vinegar for a dressing
3 ounces tuna
Meal #4
6 egg whites (can use onion, tomato and peppers)
Meal #5
6.5 oz tuna
Day Two:
Meal #1

6 egg whites – 1 yolk
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
1 cup vegetables (usually green beans)
Meal #3*
large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and vinegar for a dressing
3 oz tuna
Meal #4
6 egg whites + 1 yolk
Meal #5
6.5 oz. tuna
Day Three:
Meal #1

6 egg whites – 1 yolk
Meal #2*
6.5 oz. tuna
1 cup vegetables (usually green beans)
Meal #3*
large salad containing choice of salad vegetables w/ Flax Oil and vinegar for a dressing
3.25 oz tuna
Meal #4
6 egg whites + 1 yolk
Meal #5
½ cup Cream of Rice (before cooking)
1 sweet potato
1 cup green beans with 1 tsp. butter
This is a very strict diet and you should definitely not use it without professional monitoring but we thought you’d like to see exactly what a professional did to achieve her all time best condition.

At eight weeks we usually step up the cardio to four days per week and thirty minutes per session. Now, instead of continually trying to go hard for your entire session, use the interval training approach at two of your sessions. Here’s how that might work on a Life-cycle: Set program to Manual. L1 – 3 minutes (warm–up), L2 – 1 minute (increasing intensity), back to L1 for one minute (active rest), L3 – 1 minute, L1 – 1 minute, L4 – 1 minute (now it is getting hard), L1 – 1 minute, try L5 for 1 minute (if you can complete the whole minute at 80 rpm’s go to L6 for your next interval),L1 – 1 minute. Continue to increase intensity on alternating sets until you cannot pedal the full minute at 80 rpm’s, your remaining work sets would be at the next lower level. In our example let’s suppose you could not complete your set at L5, the rest of the session would be as follows: L4 – 1 minute, L1 – 1 minute repeat until you complete eight additional sets at L4, then do three additional minutes at L1 to end the session.

The other two cardio days should be similar to your Phase One cardio. Do not increase intensity on these days but increase the time to 30 minutes instead of 15 or 20 as in phase one.

At six weeks out add a third interval training day bringing your total cardio to five days at 30 minutes per day. Try to get to that next level on your interval days. If you could only get to Level 4 on week 7, try to complete your work sets at Level 5 this week.

Four Weeks Out: At four weeks you must decide for yourself whether to increase your cardio again. Usually an increase in cardio at this time will result in a decrease in lean muscle tissue. However, if you are trying to make weight or are still just too smooth, it’s a necessity. Add three more weekly sessions of 30 – 45 minutes each at moderate intensity. The addition of these sessions will necessitate your doing two cardio sessions per day on three days at this point.

Your final cardio sessions should take place at two weeks out. This is your last chance to burn any lingering fat so, if needed, increase your total time expenditure or caloric expenditure by 50%. At the maximum you would be doing three 45 minute high intensity interval sessions, two 45 minute high intensity sessions and three 60 minute moderate intensity sessions during this week. Do no cardio at one week out ... pose, pose, pose instead.

At eight weeks out increase your posing sessions to three days per week. Increase the time you hold each mandatory pose by five seconds per week. Remember to spend most of your time practicing on your front facing pose. This is where the judging starts and first impressions are very important. Remember, start each pose from your feet up to make certain your legs are flexed.

Make a schedule at eight weeks to practice each facing and mandatory pose. Start week eight at 2 sets of each pose for 10 – 15 seconds. For the next four weeks add another set each week and hold each pose for an additional 3 – 5 seconds.

Here’s what Leo Ingram, 2nd place in the heavyweight class at the 1997 NPC USA, has to say: Prior to going to bed I usually set aside some time just for posing. I stand in front of the mirror and hit each pose from all different angles to see which one highlights my body the best. I then use that one as my best pose. I hit all the mandatory poses in this manner and hold each for at least 45 seconds. This helps to build up the endurance to stand on–stage for extended amounts of time while being compared to other competitors. Once I get the feel of the pose I then practice hitting the poses with my eyes closed and then opening them to see where I am. Because on stage you have no mirror.

Six Weeks Out: Start working on your individual posing routine at six weeks out if you haven’t started by this time. Remember, you need two individual posing routines. You’ll do one in the prejudging with no music and a sixty second time limit. Your evening presentation will be accompanied by music with a 90 second time limit. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cram your 90 second evening routine into sixty seconds during the prejudging. Work on a separate routine based solely on your strongest poses. Hold your poses longer during the prejudging so the judges have enough time to assess each pose. Don’t do any poses that do not enhance your physique. Show the judges only what you want them to see.

We are not trying to detract from your evening presentation, but are emphasizing the importance of your prejudging routine as well. We’ve seen too many competitors over the years do a routine during the prejudging that makes no sense whatsoever without the accompanying music. Start working on your evening routine at this time as well. Select your music well in advance and make a professional quality cassette. Record only the 90 seconds or less of music on which you will base your routine. Don’t record the entire song. It’s a good idea to record a posing practice cassette with your 90 second selection recorded over and over with a 30 second delay between cuts. You can practice our routine over and over without rewinding the cassette.

Four Weeks Out: At four weeks out you’ll be doing 6 sets of every facing and mandatory pose holding each for 15 – 30 seconds. Stay at this level for the mandatory poses but continue to increase the time you hold the front facing pose for fifteen seconds per week so that at two weeks out you’ll be holding it for 1 ½ minutes. You will often be asked to hold the front facing pose on stage much longer than the others. You should continue to hold this stance anytime you are on stage throughout the show when you are not being directly judged or as others are “called out”. Never completely relax and always keep your legs tensed.

Your prejudging freestyle routine as well as your evening presentation to music should also be perfected by this time. At four weeks, your posing sessions should include six sets of the facings and comparison poses along with 6 repetitions of your prejudging freestyle presentation and 6 additional repetitions of your evening presentation with music. Pose at least five days per week. Each session will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour. It is not necessary to complete all of your posing “sets” at one session, but be sure to complete all six “sets” of each posing round – facings, mandatories, prejudging individual routine, and evening presentation with music – by the end of each day.

Phase two supplementation is primarily concerned with (1) utilizing stored body-fat to meet energy needs, (2) preserving lean muscle mass and (3) recovery.

(1) For maximizing the utilization of stored body-fat at the eight week point we add Beverly International’s Lean Out –12 capsules daily divided into equal doses fifteen minutes prior to each meal for four weeks. A more aggressive program is to use a combination of Energy Reserve for three weeks. Use 3 Energy Reserve tablets prior to cardio, 2 Energy Reserve and and 3 Energy Reserve prior to training. Take two weeks off the Energy Reserve. During the two weeks off we recommend using GH Factor – 6 capsules on arising and 6 capsules on retiring to burn fat through a different dietary mechanism. Then at three weeks out use the Energy Reserve. L–Tyrosine per dose for the final three weeks.

(2) To preserve lean muscle mass we continue using the Mass and Ultra 40 combination described in the previous issue. We increase the dosage to 6 of each per meal for weeks 8 – 5. However, at four weeks we often cut the Mass out and substitute Muscularity (BCAA’s). Muscularity is taken with meals in place of the Mass at a dosage of three per meal.

With two or sometimes three weeks to go, we pull out all the stops. We’ve found an even more effective way to preserve muscle and lose fat is to take Muscle Mass (BCAA’s, not the same as Mass, a broad spectrum amino) or Muscularity in rather large doses between meals. Using this method causes rapid increases of BCAA plasma concentrations in your blood which your body interprets as the breakdown of lean muscle tissue. In order to keep you from breaking down even more muscle tissue, your body stimulates the release of stored fat in order to spare nitrogen (from your muscle tissue). Therefore you’re not only sparing muscle tissue but accessing stored body-fat at the same time! Take 10 Muscle Mass twice daily between meals #1 and 2, and between meals #4 and 5 during the final two weeks.

(3) As the demands of your pre-contest diet, high intensity cardio and posing practice wreak havoc on your recovery system, the need for a high intake of anti stress vitamins and minerals, as well as anti oxidants becomes evident. For the final eight weeks use at least one Super Pak daily and 1 Beverly International Ultra-C or Anti Oxidant tablet with at least three of your meals.

There are a number of theories as to what you should do the final week before your competition. There is only one fail safe formula: If you keep looking better day by day as the contest gets nearer, do exactly the same things that you have been doing. Don’t carb up just stay on your diet. This is the best advice we can give you, and the advice that most of our champions follow. It’s tough not to try to do something different at the end, but unless you are not improving on a daily basis, don’t make radical changes. Our diets illustrated for the final four weeks have a built in carb up component that happens on Thursday before your contest.

This allows correction on Friday for any mistakes.
Here are ten things that you can do the final week:

Drink plenty of water throughout your contest preparation, at least one to three gallons daily, the more the better.
Cut out all leg training and cardio for the last week.
Load Creatine Monohydrate (use Beverly, make sure there are no fillers or binders) one tablespoon prior to every meal starting Tuesday continuing up to prejudging unless you must make weight
Use salt at every meal up until the Wednesday evening the week of your show.
Cut your sodium intake by 50% on Thursday and Friday
Cut out all fibrous vegetables Thursday and Friday
Cut back water intake by 25% on Thursday (2 gallons to 1.5 gallons)
Cut water an additional 25% on Friday (half of what you normally drink)
Use Potassium 2 – 99 mg tablets per hour on Thursday and Friday (Females use 1 – 99 mg per hour)
Eat one additional meal high in carbs, sugar, and fat 3 hours prior
to taking the stage on Saturday
It really is this simple. If you visit the Beverly International Nutrition Center for your contest preparation, we will be able fine tune all the necessary diet and cardio phases for you so there’s no guesswork. Good luck in your competition. Please write us or call and tell us your success with our contest countdown plan. We’d love to feature you in the next No Nonsense Magazine.

Over 50 Training – Another Perspective

In this article I would like to share some personal thoughts on the best system of training for the mature bodybuilder. By bodybuilder, I mean anyone who is trying to develop muscle and strength, not just those training to enter a contest. This article is targeted at the over 50 male who has had some previous experience with weight training, but he may have experienced a long lay–off or he just wants to try something different from what he’s been doing for years.

To start, let’s agree that the over 50 bodybuilder’s basic concerns are very much the same as bodybuilders of any age – to develop an above average degree of fitness, muscle, and strength. For the over 50, let’s add – to look and act younger than his age.

Here is an outline of notes I’ve taken regarding myself specifically, and the aging bodybuilder in general. I started training pretty regularly in 1963, so these comments are based on 50 years of training experience.

Males typically lose ½ pound of muscle per year once they hit their late 30’s or early 40’s.
Fast-twitch muscles decline and testosterone production is reduced as the years go by.
An extended "lay–off" or "years–off", results in excess fat. In addition our metabolisms slow down as we age.

Note: We can counter the above negative effects with targeted supplementation. Muscle Synergy (i), Quadracarn (ii), and 7–Keto Musclean (iii) will help you overcome these factors of aging. For more information, see Supplements at the end of this article.

Training time is often limited because of work and family obligations. However, this may be a good thing. You are less likely to over train by training too often or with too many sets and reps.
Injuries – anyone who has been training for most of their life has accumulated various injuries that interfere with their workout. My personal list includes lower back and elbow injuries for years, which are now pretty much ok. Current issues include arthritic knees, shoulders (including a complete shoulder replacement of my left shoulder) and wrist (which currently is my most limiting), along with varying degrees of tendinitis. But, injuries, like limited time to train can actually be a blessing. You may have to cut way back on the poundages that you use in certain exercises. The reason this is good is that you can really concentrate on developing perfect form and slowly progress for a very long period of time before you hit a plateau.

Self-Discipline – often improves with age. We’ve had to use it throughout our lives – not only in our workouts, but, perhaps in college, the military, building our own business – in fact; any goal we’ve achieved has had self–discipline as a vital component.

Patience – the older bodybuilder is no longer looking for a quick fix. He knows that anything worth achieving takes time and effort.

Knowledge of how his body works and feels – which exercises he can do and which he must make adjustments to, or avoid.

Realistic expectations – he realizes his strengths, but also his limitations. Goals are essential for the over 50 bodybuilder, but unlike many younger bodybuilders he knows that he is not going to be the next Arnold.

1. Should I train like I used to, or be content with a milder version? Be cautious, but don’t let caution keep you from progressing – for any strength or muscle building routine to be effective it must include some overloading in the form of progression.

2. Can I still do certain exercises? It is more important than ever to focus on the best exercises. These are core exercises for the shoulder girdle, back, and legs. Try the harder exercises: squats, dead lifts, and military presses. Even if you quit doing them years ago, give them another chance. Often, you just need to reduce the weight on the bar and improve your flexibility to start doing these exercises safely and productively. If an exercise is beneficial to a younger athlete, it can be useful to an older one. Don’t build limitation into your routine simply because of your age.

3. Can I really expect any gains at my age? Absolutely, the older body responds to strength training exactly as a younger one, but at a slower pace (this could be good for it helps you avoid injury and overwork). – You must adhere to principles of strength development.

1. Forget the old numbers. Don’t become fixated on how strong you used to be. You’ll lose focus on what you are currently trying to accomplish, and become discouraged. One of the keys to the routines that follow is small, steady strength increases over the long haul. It is important that you set realistic goals based on your current condition. What you used to do is ancient history. It’s how you look and feel today that really matters. Don’t set goals based on your previous best lifts (for some of you that would take you back to your 20’s and 30’s), but do set goals for your current age. For example, at age 55, perform 6 perfect reps in the bench press with 185 lbs. Set new personal records, but base them on where you are now in life.

2. You can set personal age related records every year. There is a formula used in weightlifting called the Malone–Meltzer age coefficients which adjusts for age. At age 55 your coefficient is 1.35. That means that if your goals were 300 (bench press) – 400 (squat) – 500 (deadlift), you would basically be achieving these goals with lifts of 225, 300, and 370. This puts everything into perspective with definitive goals within your reach. (You can Google Malone– Meltzer to find what the coefficient is for your age.)

Here are a couple of sample workout schedules. Program #1 is for the over 50 male who is just starting training or starting back training after a prolonged lay off. Program 2 is for anyone who is looking for an alternative workout that will save time yet build strength and muscle.

Program #1
1. Objectives
a. Acquaint or reacquaint yourself to the basics – perfect your form on the best exercises.
b. Slowly build or rebuild your strength on the basic exercises.
c. Halt and reverse age related muscle loss.
d. Improve body composition – more muscle, less fat.

2. Scheduling. 2 or 3 weight training sessions per week. Alternate workouts A and B with at least one day and preferably two days between each workout – do not overtrain.

3. Warming up and stretching
a. Five to ten minutes of a general body warm–up is very important. You can use an air–dyne or elliptical exerciser to warm–up everything at once. Or just go through the various movements you’ll be using in your workout with little or no weight.
b. Next, stretch between sets and exercises. Flexibility is an A number 1 priority for the older bodybuilder. Your workout should be: Lift, stretch, lift, stretch then leave.

4. Progression. You will want to lift as much as you can right away. Everyone does. But, you have to look at the long term. Start with a weight 70% or less than what you are currently capable of using. Concentrate on training consistency and proper form. We want to progress very slowly over a prolonged period of time. If you add 5 lbs to an exercise every other week for 3 months, you’ll have added more than 30 pounds to each exercise.
a. On the exercises which have a 10–12 rep range, add weight the following workout for exercises where you got 12 good reps on at least two of the sets.
b. For those with a 6–8 rep goal, add weight when you can perform 8 reps in perfect form on one or more of the sets.

5. Keys. Consistency, correct technique and slow, sustained poundage progression. Your weight increases should be as small as possible. If you have micro plates (1.25 lbs or less, by all means use them).

Squat: 3 sets x 10–12 reps
Bench Press: 3x6–8
Barbell Row: 3 x 6–8
DB Shoulder Press: 3 x 10–12
DB Curl: 3 x 10–12
Abs / Calves: One exercise for each, 3 x 15 or 2 x 20 per exercise

Deadlift: 3 x 6–8
Incline DB Press: 3 x 10–12
Pulldown (using chin grip with palms facing you):
3 x 10–12
Barbell Press: 3 x 6–8
Barbell Curl: 3 x 6–8
Abs / Calves: One exercise for each, 3 x 15 or 2 x 20 per exercise

Program #2
1. Objectives. This workout is for anyone who needs a change from his current program. It is terrific for the 50+ male who has been training regularly, but is at a standstill as far as strength.

2. Objections
a. Many of you will think this program is not enough, but that may be just the reason your progress has stalled – you’ve been doing too much.
b. Most assume higher reps are best for the 50 and older bodybuilding, but this is not necessarily the case. Your goal is to regain or continue to gain as much strength as you can. This means 4–6 sets of 4–6 reps on core exercises.

3. Advantages. You’ll start building (or at the least, regaining) strength and since the workouts are shorter, you’ll have more time for recuperation (and a real life).

4. Time Tested. This routine is based on time tested strength building basics. Give it at least a good three months. Personally, I’ve been using variations of this program for two years and am still making gains (at 65 years of age).
a. Progression: Program #2 embraces a variation on the 5 sets of 5 reps theme similar to what I’ve been following for the past 15 months. Reg Park, one of the strongest and best developed bodybuilders of the pre–steroid era often trained with this method. He recommended that your first set (after a thorough warm–up) be with 60% of your 5–rep max, set #2 with 80% of your 5–rep max, and set 3, 4, and 5 with your 5–rep max. For illustrative purposes let’s say that at age 55 you are capable of 5 reps with 200lbs. Your first set (after warm–ups) would be with 120, set #2 with 160, and sets 3, 4, and 5 with 200. When you can reach 5 reps on each of these final 3 sets you would increase the load by 5lbs on all sets. (Note: you never want to increase the poundage on an exercise by more than 2–3%.)

5. Warming up... and stretching should be the same as Program #1.

Squat: General warm–up, then as many warm–up sets of 5, 3, or
1 as necessary to get to your first set, then 5 x 5
Curl: 5 sets x 5 reps
Close Grip Bench Press (hands just a little closer than shoulder
width apart): 5 x 5
Weighted sit–up or crunch: 2 x 8–12
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves: I personally include
neck work (as I am trying to avoid "old man’s neck") and forearm
gripping exercises.

After at least 1 day’s rest, go to workout B.
Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
Bent row: 5 x 5
Plank: 2 x 30–60 seconds
(Optional) Alternate chins (palms facing you) and Dips (or pushups):
2–3 sets of max reps
Now, take 2 days off and go to Workout C.
Workout C
Deadlift: 5 x 5
Shoulder Press: 5 x 5
Front Pulldown: 5 x 5
Hanging Leg Raise or any ab exercise you like: 2 x 8–15
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves

Adjustments I’ve made to continue making progress.
Regardless of how slowly you progress, eventually you’ll find it nearly impossible to continuing getting 5 sets of 5 on each exercise as described above. Here are some modifications I have made that have kept me progressing.
a. I’ve used a 5–4–3–2–1 rep scheme adding 10lbs per set from my 5–rep max.
b. I’ve alternated weeks of 5 sets of 2 with about 10% above my 5–rep max. Example: If I was capable of 200 x 5 for 3 sets, instead of going to 205 the next week, I’d do 5 sets of 2 with 220, and then go to 205 the following week.
c. I’ve also had to modify exercises (due to that darned wrist). I use heavy 1–arm DB incline presses for the bench press, thumbs up curl (with a log bar or dumbells), 1–arm db press for shoulder press (which I love), and for the close grip bench, I’ve been using a set of cable strands for tricep press-outs.

I recommend higher protein and moderate to low carbs for the over 50 bodybuilder who is trying to build muscle and strength while losing some fat. Always include at least 1 UMP protein shake. I mix 1 scoop of UMP vanilla with 1 scoop of Provosyn and drink it at least once per day and often twice.

30 grams of protein per meal is the minimum you should shoot for and 4–6 meals per day. Some current research shows that the older bodybuilder may need more protein than the younger one, so don’t be afraid to go up to 50 grams of protein in a meal.

Unfortunately, as we grow older our metabolism does slow down a little. Therefore we have to watch our caloric intake. I’d estimate 12–13 calories per pound of bodyweight is about right if your goal is to add muscle and strength while tightening up. Keep carbs under 150 grams per day on most days.

Many of BI’s best clients are in the 40–50–and 60 age brackets. I think one of the reasons for this is these guys have been around, tried it all, and settled on what works.

Here is my A list of supplements for the over 50: UMP, Quadracarn, Muscle Synergy or Creatine Select.

Next in importance would be Density or Mass Aminos, Lean Out, and 7–Keto to keep your metabolism cooking.

I hope that this article has given you some new thoughts regarding strength training and muscle building for the over 50 bodybuilder. Please let me know if you have any questions related to the article. I wouldn’t mind including a "mature muscle" question and answer column in each issue if enough of you older readers are interested. Further topics we might pursue are intensity cycling, athletic type movements, bodypart specialization, exercise modification, and more in depth supplement stacks for specific goals.

4-Day per week workout Complete in 60 minute session

Here is a sample program you can try where you’ll work each body part twice per week, but you’ll keep your total number of workouts to just 4 per week. Each workout should take 60 minutes or less (including warm-ups). Start relatively light and add weight each week. Pay close attention to “How to Progress” below.

Day 1: Legs, AbsSets Reps
Squat (warm up, then …)35
Squat (down set)110
Leg Curl215
Leg Extension215
Sit Ups or Crunches315-25
Calf Raises312-15
Day 2: Chest, Arms, CalvesSets Reps
Bench Press (2 warm up sets x5, then …)35
Incline DB Press36-8
Standing Alternate Curls36-8
Triceps Pushdowns38-12
Seated Calf Raises (or 1 Legged Calf Raise)310-12
Day 3: Back, Shoulders, AbsSets Reps
Deadlift (warm up, then …)25
Front Pulldowns38-12
Bent Row36-8
Military Press36-8
Leg Raise315-25
Day 4: Whole BodySets Reps
Bench Press (warm up, then…)33
Bench Press (down set)115
Squat (warm up, then …)215
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns (or chins)26-8
DB Shoulder Press26-8
BB Curl26-8
Lying Triceps Extension28-12

Proper progression is essential to the success of any workout plan. Here are some guidelines to make sure you get the best possible results from this 4-day per week workout.

1. Exercises calling for 5 reps or 3 reps – add weight the next time whenever you can get your target number of reps on all sets. Example: Day 1 Squat calls for warm–ups and then 3 sets of 5 reps; if you use 275lbs and achieve 5 reps on each set, then use 280lbs the following week.

2. Exercises calling for 6-8 reps per set – if you get at least 8 reps on your first set and 6 or more on your last set, add weight the next time.

3. Exercises calling for 8-12 reps – when you can get 12 reps on the first set, increase poundage slightly the next time you do that exercise. (Same for exercises calling for 12-15 reps.)

4. Exercises calling for 15 reps – try to get 15 reps on each set. You might have to lower the weight slightly for the 2nd set. Use the 1st set as your gauge, if you get 15 reps then add weight the next time you to that rep scheme.

5. On abs, just work up until you can do 3 sets of 25 reps of each exercise.
Almost everyone tries to increase poundage too fast, or by too large an increment. Use 5 pounds increases for the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. For the other exercises, use the smallest increase possible. It would pay off in the long run to purchase some 1.25 pound plates or PlateMates and take them to the gym in your bag.



In the accompanying article you’ll see that » Brian’s nutrition plan centers on protein. He has 6-7 meals daily. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner usually contain 40-60 grams of protein along with 25-50 grams of complex carbs. He has a mid-morning and mid-afternoon UMP shake, and before bed either a 12 egg white omelet, or his Wiefit Protein Pudding recipe (at, select recipes at top). He takes 4-6 each of Mass aminos and Ultra 40 liver with each meal (and shake). If you want to gain muscle and strength, yet lose fat at the same time, you should do the same. Brian weighs over 210lbs; and averages 1.25-1.5 grams of protein, and .5-1.0 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Adjust your protein and carb intake accordingly if your weight varies much from Brian’s. If your primary goal is to lose fat, adjust your carb intake to the lower end of the given range; to gain adjust carbs intake closer to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

This is an effective program for anyone desiring to build strength and muscle. It also fits nicely into the guidelines that were presented for the Over 50’s in the last issue of No Nonsense (18 #3). Next issue, we will once again dedicate a complete column to the Over 50’s.

Classic Physique Nutrition Plan – Competing in Men’s Physique

Have you been itching to compete but don’t feel you are quite big enough for Bodybuilding and also aren’t crazy about competing in Men’s Physique? A new division called “Classic Physique” could be just the thing for you. It’s planted firmly between the extremes of the massive, ripped muscle prioritized in Bodybuilding and the smaller, cover model look of Physique divisions. Many of you will naturally fall into this category based on your structure and genetics. Plus, if you’re goal is to look more like Frank Zane, or even closer to Arnold, than Kai Greene, you now have a competitive outlet.

Asregular readers of No Nonsense already know, BI users and followers of our diet methods have been achieving this type of look for years. A physique where shape, symmetry and a pleasing athletic, muscular look is rewarded. It’s the type of overall physique that the majority of men will see and say, “That’s what I would like to look like”. And most women will prefer looking at!

Best of all it’s a look that’s realistically achievable for most aspiring natural competitors with hard work, dieting and proper supplementation. Going to “extremes” is not necessary and it can be balanced with your real life that includes jobs and families.

Thisis a brand new division and we’re going to get you way ahead of the curve by presenting a complete program to achieve the “Classic Physique”. Whether your goal is to compete, or to just do it for yourself, in the remainder of this article we’ll provide a 3-Phase Nutrition Program, a specialized 2-Phase Workout including “Feeder Workouts” to help you develop your “Classic Physique”, and if you wish to compete, we’ll also include a Presentation Section to help you better show off your “Classic Physique”. In closing we’ll include a Table of Classic Physique measurements to give you specific body part goals to shoot for.

Classic Physique Nutrition

Your Classic Physique nutrition plan is designed help you gain and retain muscle while you lean out. You should start your diet for the contest as early as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute. The earlier you start, the more time you will be able to spend in Phase 1 (the Muscle-building phase). There are 3 diet phases in all. Each one emphasizes excellent food choices which will allow you to keep gaining muscle where you need it while you whittle away fat from your waist and other problem areas.

Phase 1 Classic Physique Nutrition Plan

Start the Phase 1 nutrition plan at least 16-20 weeks out from your contest date. The first phase is designed to help you gain as much muscle as you can while increasing your muscularity. But even this early in your preparation, you should still focus on achieving that classic small waist, so losing fat is also a priority. Train as heavy and hard as possible, but use textbook form and concentrate mentally and physically on improving any weak points in your physique. (See Phase 1 Training) The recommended high protein foods and quality supplements will allow you to continue to make improvements to your physique so make every training session count.

Note: In the meal plan below if you weigh less than 165 pounds reduce meat and carb portions listed by 2 ounces.
(All meats are weighed prior to cooking.)
Meal #1
2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites; 6 oz. lean meat; ½ cup oatmeal –
(measured before mixing with water and cooking)
Meal #2
(Choose one option)
Option A: Protein Drink with two scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 1-2 tablespoons healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy whipping cream.
Option B: 8 oz. lean beef or chicken or 10-12 oz. tuna, one small apple or orange
Meal #3
8 oz. lean meat (chicken or other lean protein source);
6 oz. sweet potato or two-thirds cup cooked brown rice; 2 cups vegetables (broccoli, etc.)
or green salad with 4 tablespoons vinegar and oil dressing
Meal #4
(same options as meal #2)
Meal #5
10 oz. very lean meat (chicken breast, fish, turkey breast, lean beef – sirloin, filet, etc.);
2 cups vegetables;
salad with 2 tablespoons vinegar and oil dressing
Meal #6
Option A: Protein Shake or Pudding: 2 Scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, add enough water to make a shake or pudding the consistency you desire
Option B:
8 egg whites + 2 whole eggs or 6 oz. beef;
1-2 cup vegetables

Essential Supplement Program:

1 Super Pak with meal #1

4 Ultra 40 tablets and 4 Mass Aminos with each meal listed above

The Best Optional Supplements for Phase 1 (in priority order)

Glutamine Select – take 2-4 scoops during training to preserve muscle during precontest dieting.

Muscle Synergy – if you want to continue to add muscle, get a great pump every workout, and can afford it – then Muscle Synergy is for you. You have to take enough though, eight tablets or 1 scoop twice a day if you weigh less than 185; if you’re a light heavy or heavyweight you’ll benefit most from 24 tablets or 3 scoops per day. Muscle Synergy holds lean muscle tissue while dieting better than anything. We just don’t always recommend it to everyone because of the expense.

Creatine Select will help you keep your strength up and train harder while dieting so that’s another product you should consider. Take 5 scoops per day with meals for the first 5 days, then 2 scoops daily on training days, and 1 scoop on non-training days.

An economical way to use Muscle Synergy and Creatine Select during phase 1:

Weeks 1 & 2: Use Creatine Select as directed above.

Weeks 3&4: Take Muscle Synergy and Creatine Select together for the next two weeks.

Weeks 5 & 6: Creatine Select, no Muscle Synergy.

Weeks 7 & 8: Creatine Select and Muscle Synergy.

Phase 2 Classic Physique Nutrition Plan

This is the first “precontest diet” that you’ll follow. In general you will switch from Phase 1 to Phase 2 at 8-10 weeks out. If you think that you are not leaning out fast enough go to Phase 2 at 10 weeks out; if you’re on track wait until the 8-week mark.

Note: As before, if you weigh 165 or less, reduce the meat portions by 1 or 2 ounces in each of the listed meals.
(All meats are weighed prior to cooking.)
Meal #1
8 oz. lean beef or turkey
3 egg whites, 1 yolk
1 grapefruit
Meal #2
Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, 1 tbsp healthy fat (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter, etc.) or 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Meal #3
8 oz. chicken or turkey breast (weighed prior to cooking)
2 cups vegetables
Meal #4
Option A: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, 1 tbsp healthy fat (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Option B: 6 oz. can tuna or 5 oz. chicken, 3 egg whites,
1 whole egg; 1 tomato
Meal #5
10 oz. lean meat (chicken, turkey, fish, 93% or leaner beef, etc.)
4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.)
2 tbsp cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil for a dressing
Meal #6
5 oz. chicken or turkey breast; 6 egg whites;
1 cup omelet vegetables
Monday and Thursday:
In place of meal 6 (or as an added 7th meal if you weigh over 185 and your condition warrants it):
1.5 cups oatmeal (precooked) or cooked rice,
10 oz. sweet potato, 1 medium banana,
1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter, almond butter or oil
The Best Supplements for Phase 2
Meal 1:

1 Super Pak, 3 EFA Gold
Each meal:
4 Ultra 40; 3 Density (and/or Mass Aminos); 3 Muscularity; and 2 Lean Out.
2-4 scoops Glutamine Select plus BCAAs and 10-20 Muscle Mass (5 Muscle Mass per scoop of Glutamine Select).
Take 3 Quadracarn 3 times daily: 1st thing in the morning, before training, and before bed.
Up-Lift – 2 scoops before training; Creatine Select w/ beta alanine – 2 scoops daily
or Muscle Synergy – 2-3 scoops (or 16-24 tablets) daily
Phase 3 “Classic Physique” Contest Peaking Nutrition Plan
Phase 3 is a no-frills, no nonsense, basic precontest diet program that works for nearly everyone. However, you should stay with your Phase 2 Plan as long as you are getting results in terms of improved conditioning. Don’t change just for the sake of change.

Kick in the Phase 3 plan at 4 to 6 weeks out and only if your progress has stalled.
Meal #1

5 oz. lean beef or turkey
6 egg whites + 1 whole egg
½ grapefruit
Meal #2
Option A: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, 1 tablespoon healthy fat or heavy whipping cream (optional), 4 strawberries (optional), 16 oz. water
Option B: 6 oz. tuna or chicken, 3 egg whites + 1 whole egg, 1 tomato
Meal #3
8 oz. chicken (weighed prior to cooking)
4 cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.)
2 tbsp cider Vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil for a dressing
Meal #4
Option A: 6 oz. tuna or chicken, 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, and 1 tomato or a cup of vegetables
Option B: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Muscle Provider, 12 oz. water (if post training); or 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein
Meal #5
8 oz. lean meat (chicken, turkey, fish or 93% lean beef, etc.)
2 cups vegetables
Monday and Thursday
– Add a 6th meal at the end of the day: 1.5 cups oatmeal (precooked)
or cooked rice, 10 oz. sweet potato, 4 oz. banana, 1 cup vegetables, 1 tbsp butter, almond butter or oil


Meal #1: 1 Super Pak and 3 EFA Gold

Each meal: 4 Ultra 40; 3 Density; 3 Muscularity; 2 Lean Out.

Training: 2-4 scoops Glutamine Select plus BCAAs and 10-20 Muscle Mass (5 Muscle Mass per scoop of Glutamine Select). Optional take 5 Density just before training.

Take 3 Quadracarn 3 times daily: 1st thing in the morning, before training, and before bed.

Take 3 7-Keto MuscLean capsules twice daily, in the morning and afternoon.

Classic Physique Training

Your training programs should be designed to develop proportion and symmetry, as well as muscularity. You should not be looking to simply add as much size as possible or to overdevelop any particular bodypart. Overall proportion and aesthetic muscularity is the goal. We’ve developed the following training programs with those parameters in mind. They are based on decades of training experience to give you the ultimate solution to a well-balanced “Classic Physique”.

There are three parameters of progress that you should be concerned with during both Phase 1 and Phase 2 training:

Increase reps with same weight
Increase weight for the same rep range

Decrease rest intervals between sets – if your strength seems to have plateaued as you get closer to your contest, performing the same number of sets in less time becomes a very valuable form of progress.

It is very important to work each muscle through its fullest range of motion using complete extension and contraction on each exercise.

Use a workout journal to keep your progress on track. It can be a spiral notebook or as fancy as you like. Keep track of every training session. Use the “star method” to track your progress. Every time you use a heavier weight than before on a set, get more reps with a particular weight, or complete a series of sets in less time give yourself a star in your journal. A 10 Star workout means you did an extra rep or used more weight on at least ten sets during your workout. Finish a bodypart in record time and you get another star.

Phase 1 Classic Physique Training Program

Train 2 days on, 1 day off until 12 weeks out.

Day 1: Legs
Day 2: Chest / Triceps
Day 3: off
Day 4: Shoulders / Biceps / Legs (feeder workout)
Day 5: Back
Day 6: off
From 12 weeks out until 8 weeks out, train 4 days consecutively, then take the 5th day off.

You’ll be using two progression schemes and an advanced technique that we call “Feeder Workouts”.

1. Pyramid Training: Add weight lower the reps each set.
Set 1: 12 reps with a very easy warm-up weight – not all you can do for 12 reps
Set 2: 10 reps still pretty easy
Set 3: 8 reps – use a weight you could get for 9 – 12 here but stop at 8
Set 4: 6 reps – use a weight you could get 6 – 8 reps with but stop at 6
Set 5: 4 – 6 reps – a max set. Here’s where you can earn stars in your training journal. Once you reach 6 reps add weight to the final 3 sets (which will earn a star on each of these sets next time) and start back at 4 reps on set #5. Exercises using the Pyramid system are marked with *.

2. Double Progressive System: Use the same weight for all sets. Start at the low end of the suggested rep range. Gradually increase the repetitions, usually adding one rep each week until you reach the top number of suggested reps for each set of a particular exercise. Then add weight and start over at the lower end of the rep scheme. Exercises below where you should use the Double Progressive System are marked**.

3. Feeder Workouts: A feeder workout is performed two days after your primary workout for a specific bodypart. We have included feeder workouts for the shoulders, lats, and calves – full development of these bodyparts are essential in developing a classic physique. The feeder workout is a single all out rest-pause set where you complete a set of 6-10 reps taken to failure, followed by a short break (just long enough for you to take three to four slow, deep breaths), and immediately continue on to failure a second time (you should get somewhere between three and six additional reps, depending on the level of muscular endurance and the muscle fiber composition of the particular bodypart). At this point, take another short pause before going for one to four more (as many as you can get) reps. This will not only provide a nutrient-rich flush of fresh blood but will provide maximal muscle cell activation in minimum time.

Day #1 – Legs / Calves
Squat* – Pyramid 5 sets x 12/10/8/6/4-6 reps
Leg Press** or Hack Squat** 4x10–16 reps (the Hack Squat is preferred if you have the equipment available)
Leg Extension** 3x12–15 reps

Super Set
Leg Curls** 3x10–12 reps and Lunge
or Straight Leg Dead Lift** 3x10–12

Seated Calf Raise** 5x10–12 and Free
Standing (no weight) Calf Raises** 5x25–50 (OUCH!)
Note: The original standard for a classic physique was that your calves and arms should measure the same. If any single muscle rates as the least developed of all muscles among bodybuilders – it’s the calf. They are stubborn and difficult to develop and require special attention. So don’t neglect your calf work.

Shoulder Feeder Workout:
Machine, cable, or dumbbell side laterals: One Extended Work set – 6-10 reps (close to maximum), rest for 3-6 deep breaths then 3-6 more reps, 3-4 more breaths then 3-4 reps to failure. Shoulder width is key to developing a classic physique, that’s why it is our first “feeder” workout.

That ends Day #1.
There are lots of opportunities to ear “stars” in your training journal. Don’t be in a big rush to use as much weight as possible in each exercise. Try to leave each workout knowing you can improve in at least one exercise the next.

Day #2 Chest, Triceps, Calves
1. DB or BB Bench Press (pyramid)* 5x12/10/8/6/4-6 – Dumbbells are preferred if you can give up the barbell bench press in developing squared off “gladiator pecs” preferred in the classic physique
2. Incline DB Press (double progressive) ** 3x6–8 reps constant weight. First session do 6 – 6 – 6 and gradually add reps and earn stars until you get to 8 – 8 – 8 then add weight and start back at 6. If you get bored adding reps, reduce rest time between sets to earn additional “stars.”
3. DB Flyes** 3x8–12;
4. DB Pullovers** 3x8–12 (These work the serratus muscles. “The serratus magnus muscles are the ‘jewel-like” muscles of your chest … they add width to the chest, shape, muscular definition – as well as classic beauty.” ˜ Vince Gironda)
5. Close Grip Bench Press* (pyramid) 4 x 12/10/8/5 – 7
6.& 7. Super Set – Triceps Pushdown** and Dips** 3x6–12 reps each – constant weight no rest between exercises, rest only after both exercises have been performed.
8. Heavy Calf Raises** 4x8–12
9. Light Calf Raises** or Donkeys** 4x15–20

Back Feeder Workout:
Shoulder-width Parallel-grip Pulldown (for width) or Under-grip Cable Seated Rows (for back density): One Extended Work set – same procedure as above: 6-10 reps (close to maximum), rest for 3-6 deep breaths then 3-6 more reps, 3-4 more breaths then 3-4 reps to failure.
Don’t forget to record your workout and any stars that you earned in your journal.

Day #3 Off

Day #4 – Shoulders / Biceps
1. DB Press* – Pyramid 4x12/10/8/6–8
2. DB or Machine Laterals** 3x8–12
3. DB or Cable Bent Laterals** 3x8–12 reps
4. Barbell Curl* – Pyramid 4x12/10/8/6–8
5. Incline DB Curl** 3x8–10
6. Machine Curl or Preacher Curl** 2x8–12

Calves Feeder Workout:
Standing Calf Raise: warm-up x 10-15 reps, 4x25, 1x100 (no weight on the 100-rep set unless you can get the full 100 reps without resting.) Remember what we said earlier about calves. You must bomb them into growth.

Day #5 – Back
1. Wide grip Chins** 4 sets of as many reps as possible per set or Wide Pulldowns* 5x12/10/8/6/4-5
2. Dead Lifts – 3 sets 10 reps (add weight each set but stay at ten reps per set) Concentrate on perfect form and add weight very gradually in 5-lb. increments each week.
3. Bent Rows* or T-Bar Row* – 4 sets pyramid 12/10/8/6-8
4. Reverse Grip Front Pulldowns** or 1 Arm DB Row** 3x8–12
5. Straight Arm Pullovers** 3x10–12 (lie on a bench length wise – keep arms straight)
6. 10 minutes of abs

Choose one Feeder Workout, not both:
same procedure as back and shoulder feeder workouts.
a. Chest:
Incline Flyes
b. Quads: Smith Machine Squats

Phase 2 Classic Physique Training Program

Start your Phase 2 training program eight weeks out from your contest. During Phase 2 training you’ll be doing a lot of supersets. Supersets allow you to get more work done in less time. Remember, less rest between sets is one of the parameters of progress. Your Phase 2 training will be more focused on improving your proportions and increasing your chest to waist ratio. Note: Steve Reeves, one of the all-time best examples of the “classic physique”, is reported to have attained a 23 inch differential between his chest and waist measurement. A good goal for you is 15 inches or more. If your expanded chest measures 45 inches, your waist would measure 30 inches or less. As your diet becomes stricter during phase 2, it will become harder and harder to increase reps or poundage, so reducing the time between sets becomes more and more important. You’ll be supersetting antagonistic muscle groups to improve balance and proportion as well as to add a fat burning aspect to your training.

It’s not necessary to “run” from one exercise to the next when supersetting. After you complete a superset rest 60-90 seconds and then start your next set. Since you will be working each bodypart twice every eight days, we will no longer be performing feeder workouts.

Train three days on – one day off:
Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Shoulders and Arms
Day 4: Off; Repeat

Day #1 – Chest, Back, Abs

Superset #1:
A. DB Bench Press 4-5 sets of 7-10 reps
B. Chin-Ups 4-5 sets max reps per set or Lat Pulldowns 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset # 2:
A. Incline DB Press 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
B. 1-Arm DB Rows 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Superset #3:
A. DB Flyes 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
B. Cable Rows 3-4 sets of 8-12 repsFinishing Exercise: DB Pullovers 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Lower Back: Hyperextensions 3 sets of 15- 20 reps.

Three or four exercises, 3-4 sets each for 15-25 reps per exercise.
You should count total reps for abs per workout with a goal of 250-350 reps total.
Day #2 – Legs, Calves

Superset #1:
A. Leg Extensions 3 sets of 8-10 reps
B. Smith Machine Squat or Leg Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Superset #2:
A. Hack Squat 4 sets of 6-12 reps
B. Straight Leg Deadlift 4 sets of 10 reps

Superset #3:
A. Lunge 3 sets of 10-15 reps
B. Leg Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Standing Calf Raise 4 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Calf Raise 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Donkey Calf or Calf Press 3 sets of 20-25 reps

Day #3 – Shoulders, Arms, Abs
Straight sets for shoulders:
1. Shoulder Press (machine, dumbbell, military – your choice) 4 sets of 6-10 reps
2. Side Lateral Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps
3. Rear Laterals (DB, Cable, or Machine) 3 sets of 10-12 reps
4. Side Cable Raise 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Superset #1
A. Concentration Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps (squeeze)
B. Triceps Pushdown 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Superset #2
A. DB Curl 3 sets of 6-10 reps
B. Lying Tricep Extension 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset #3
A. Barbell or Preacher Curl 3 sets of 6-8 reps
B. Close Grip Bench Press and Dips 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Triset #1
A. Reverse Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps
B. Wrist Curl 3 sets of 12-20 reps
C. Overhead Pulley Tricep Extension (or Triceps Machine) 3 sets of 8-15 reps

Same as Day 1 (250-350 total reps)

The Classic Physique Compulsory Poses

Front Double Biceps
Side Chest
Back Double Biceps
Abdominal and Thigh pose
Favorite Classic pose (most muscular is not permitted)

In the finals you’ll perform your posing routine (up to a maximum of 60 seconds) and if you win your class you’ll compete in a posedown for the overall title.

Here are some tips to get started on a structured posing practice regimen:


Remember! “Classic Physique” competition is posing! No one will ask what you can bench press or squat
How you present yourself and look on stage is all that counts
Start posing practice two days per week at 12 weeks out
Start with 2 sets of each pose (quarter turns and mandatories) for 10 – 15 seconds. For the next four weeks hold each pose for an additional 5 seconds each week
Spend most of your time practicing on your front facing pose and finding which variations of your compulsory poses best highlight your physique
Start each pose from your feet up to make certain your legs are flexed
Work your way around in a circle hitting every pose
After completing all of the quarter turns and compulsory poses, that’s one set. Do 2 total sets


Eight weeks posing practice schedule: Start at 2 sets of each pose for 20-30 seconds. For the next four weeks hold each pose for an additional 5 seconds each week.

Remember to start each pose from the feet up – make sure to keep your legs flexed, suck in your gut, lift your chest, and relax your facial muscles.

Front stance
Quarter turn to the right
Quarter turn to the rear
Quarter turn to the front
Front Double Biceps
Side Chest
Back Double Biceps
Abdominal and Thigh pose
Favorite Classic pose – this should be your best pose. Experiment until you find the exact variation of a pose that best highlights your symmetry, proportion, and muscularity. Then practice it to perfection.

10-minute pre-judging drill:

Make a 10-minute recording where you call out quarter turns and poses just like the head judge at prejudging. This drill is tremendous for practicing quarter turns. No rest between poses; stay tight the entire drill.

For variation get a video of an actual prejudging off of You Tube and go through it just like you’re on stage.

The Individual Routine:

Six weeks out (or sooner) start working on your individual routine. Your posing routine should complement your strong points (e.g. symmetry, shape, conditioning, etc.) while at the same time expressing personality.

You can develop your routine by starting with the mandatory poses, then add a few flattering optional poses. You’ll be able to find many classic physique photos on the web. Mimic each pose you see and determine which ones feel comfortable and flatter your strong points.
Your routine should be based solely on your strongest poses. This is your opportunity to show the judges only what you want them to see.
Select your music well in advance and make a professional quality CD. Often it is nearly impossible to create a posing routine based on your favorite song. It is usually better to choose your music to fit your routine, not vice versa. Record only the 60 seconds of music on which you will base your routine. Don't record the entire song. Make a “posing practice CD” with your 60-second selection recorded over and over with a 30 second delay between cuts. You can practice your routine over and over without restarting the CD.

Points to remember

You will often be asked to hold the front facing pose on stage much longer than the others. You should continue to hold this stance anytime you are on stage throughout the show when you are not being directly judged or as others are "called out". Never completely relax and always keep your legs tensed.
Practice hitting the poses with your eyes closed and then opening them to see if you are hitting each pose correctly. Remember, on stage you have no mirror.
It is not necessary to complete all of your posing "sets" at one session, but be sure to complete all scheduled "sets" of each posing round – facings, mandatories, and individual routine with music – by the end of each day.
Posing sessions are one of the key factors in developing hardness and muscle separation – you can overdo training or cardio but you can’t pose too much!

Closing Thoughts

In closing, we’d like to give you some guidelines as listed in Building the Classic Physique The Natural Way by Steve Reeves with John Little and Bob Wolff.

These are the maximum symmetrical proportions for each individual male based on height and bone size:

Classic Physique Proportions

Arm Size = 252% of wrist size

Calf Size = 192% of ankle size

Neck Size = 79% of head size

Chest Size = 148% of pelvis size

Waist Size = 86% of pelvis size

Thigh Size = 175% of knee size

Remember, these are maximum symmetrical measurements, and it is your proportions that count. In other words they are the maximum measurements for a body part without getting out of proportion. A good goal is to aspire to reach 90% of the maximum. For example, if your wrist measures 7″, the maximum symmetrical arm measurement would be 18”. 90% of 18″ is 16.2″ which would be very commendable.

If you’d like a website to do the math for you go to:

Steve Reeves also devised a chart that determines the maximum ideal weight for a person’s height en route to building a classic physique. A 6″ male’s ideal weight is 200 lbs. At 5′11″ it goes to 190 lbs and at 6′1″ to 210 lbs. After that every inch below 5′11″ results in a reduction 5 pounds per inch. Every inch above 6″ results in an addition of 10 lbs. At 5′8″ the ideal weight is 175 lbs and at 6′3″, it is 230 pounds. Again, the 90% of maximum criteria is a worthy goal for classic physique competition.

The NPC has developed their own chart of acceptable heights and weights (which you can find on their website at

They are a little more lenient and go above Reeves’ maximum weights. For example, a competitor 5’11”– 6’ may weigh up to 207 lbs. One who is 5′7 up to 5″ may weigh 177 lbs. In classic physique there is no advantage to weighing in at the top of your class, symmetry and proportion are what counts, not size.

In this article we have laid out a comprehensive program to help you achieve a “Classic Physique”. If you are training for a specific contest we’ve given you a step-by-step guide to follow. If you follow it to the letter – nutrition, supplements, training, and posing practice – whether you compete or not, you’ll be in the best shape of your life.

Increase Your Bench Press

Section One: An Overview

This report contains details on a specific method of training that is drastically different from many of the current trends. This routine does NOT involve working each body-part one day per week.

If you are not already making the kind of strength and size gains you want, reading this special report will be of enormous benefit to you, as this routine is among the very best for increasing your bench press and packing on overall muscular size.

The routine was formulated for me by the late Anthony Ditillo back in 1971. Anthony is known for being one of the best writers in the field of strength and developing muscular bulk. With it, I increased my bench press from 295 to 335 over the six-week period.

Section Two: What’s a realistic goal for your bench?

You’ll hear all kinds of stuff about how much you should be able to bench. The table below is excerpted from

The standards presented in the linked tables below represent a 1RM performance (in pounds) that can be reasonably expected of an adult athlete at various levels of training advancement using standard full range-of-motion barbell exercises with no supportive wraps or suits.

The most important thing is not the ultimate number, but that you are making progress.

Untrained – Expected level of strength in a healthy individual who has not trained on the exercise before but can perform it correctly. This represents the minimum level of strength required to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a sedentary individual.

Novice – A person training regularly for a period of 3-9 months. This strength level supports the demands of vigorous recreational activities.

Intermediate – A person who has engaged in regular training for up to two years. The intermediate level indicates some degree of specialization in the exercises and a high level of performance at the recreational level.

Advanced –An individual with multi-year training experience with definite goals in the higher levels of competitive athletics.

Elite – Refers specifically to athletes competing in strength sports. Less than 1% of the weight training population will attain this level.

Body WeightUn-trainedNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite
Body WeightUn-trainedNoviceIntermediateAdvancedElite

Ed. Note: If you are 50 years of age or older you could deduct 10% from the standard, and at age 60 another 10%.

Section Three: Instruction

During this six-week program you’re going to bench three days a week. Yes, you read that right... three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the full six weeks. After all, the best bench pressers (and the most muscular guys) in the days before super bench shirts and super steroid doses usually trained on the bench press three days per week.

That’s a total of eighteen workouts. You should see an increase in your bench press max of very close to thirty pounds or better. Still think three bench workouts per week is too much? The first man to bench press 700 pounds, Jim Williams trained his bench six days a week!*


Monday is the heavy day. Warm-up by slowly increasing the weight of the bar; then use 90% of your one rep max for five singles. (We’ll base things on a one-rep max of 250 lbs. An example would be as follows: 250lbs x 90% = 225 lbs.)
Do five singles with 225 on the bar. Rest exactly three minutes between these singles.
Then drop 10% or thirty pounds whichever is less and do three sets of doubles or triples.
Drop another 10% or thirty pounds and do three sets of five to seven repetitions.
Then choose one assistance movement for each of the other upper body parts, for example: Shoulder Press, Bent-Over Row, Lying Triceps Press, and Barbell Curl. Do 3-5 sets of 5-7 reps for each.
→ Here is a list of the best assistance exercises:

Shoulders: Military Press, Press Behind Neck and Partial Presses within the power rack are the best; Standing Side Laterals and Forward Laterals have also been used by some with great success.

Triceps: Standing Triceps Extensions, Lying Triceps Extensions, Parallel Bar Dips and Pushdowns

Back(which is really the launching pad for the bench press): Barbell Rows, Dumbbell Rows, Seated Cable Rows, Chins, Pulldowns, and Shoulder Shrugs.

Biceps: heavy Barbell and Dumbbell Curls.

DAY TWO: Wednesday is a light day. You’ll use just 60%-65% of your your maximum for 4 sets of 5-7 reps. On your assistance movements pick a different exercise for each body-part and perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. That’s all don’t do more.

DAY THREE: Friday is your medium day. Work up to around 80% of your one rep max for 5-7 sets of 3-5 repetitions. After the benches perform 4 sets of 5-7 reps on one assistance exercise for each body-part.

Here you have a basic, proven routine for increasing bench-pressing strength and development. You can take Tuesday or Saturday to train your legs so that they don’t lag behind.

It is important that you determine your one rep max before starting the program. You can do this by slowly working up to your best one rep lift in perfect form. (Be sure the spotter does not touch the bar at all or it does not count. He’s there to save you not feed your ego.) Another method is to use a calculated one-rep max. Here you work up to your best set of 5 reps, again with perfect form and no spotter touches. Take this five-rep maximum and with a calculator divide by .875.

Example: you can get a maximum of five reps with 220; divide 225 by .875 on a calculator and you’ll get a result of 251. Round to 250 for your max. The workout below is based on a maximum one-rep bench press of 250 pounds. So you’d add about five pounds to each weight in the example below.
Now let’s go through the workout step by step. Remember the illustration below is based on a one-rep maximum of 250 pounds, if your max is less or greater just adjust the weight accordingly.

Monday (Heavy) Bench Press: Warm-up: 135 x 5, 185 x 3, 205 x 1

Five sets of one rep: 225 (90% of 250) Lift explosively! Three minutes rest per set. If successful increase by 10 pounds the next week you’ll use 235 pounds for five sets of one rep and so on each week. After week three increase just five pounds per week. (Note: I know you can do more than 225 pounds the first week. That’s not the idea! The idea is to follow the program, then max out after six weeks. You’ll be amazed to see that you are now in the 275-280 range.)

Three sets of two to three reps. Now drop the bar 10% to 200 pounds and do three sets of three reps.

Three sets of five to seven reps. Now drop the bar 10% more to 180 pounds and do three more sets of five to seven reps.

Assistance Exercises:
Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Bent Row – 4sets of 5-7 reps
Lying Triceps Extension – 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Barbell Curl – 4sets of 5-7 reps
Tuesday (or Saturday) Legs

Wednesday (Light)

Bench Press Warm-up, then 4 sets of 5-7 reps with just 65% of your one rep maximum or 165 (65% of 250). Yes, it’s light. It’s supposed to be. Take two minutes rest per set and really focus on form and explosiveness.

Assistance Exercises:
Incline DB Press (Optional) 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Front Dumbbell or Plate Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Row 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps Pushdown 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Preacher Bench Curls or Curl Machine 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Don’t be tempted to add more sets or exercises to this workout. It is light and relatively easy on purpose.
Thursday Off

Friday (Medium)

Bench Press Warm-up, then do 5-7 sets of 3-5 reps with 80% of your one rep max. (For our purposes 80% of 250 or 200 pounds.)
Assistance Exercises:
Dumbbell Press or Press Behind Neck 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Lat Pulldowns 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Parallel Bar Dips 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Alternate DB Curls 4 sets of 5-7 reps
Here is a chart showing how you should progress on each bench press day:

Monday5 x 1225235245250255260
3 x 3200210220225230235
3 x 5-7180185190195200205
Wednesday4 x 5-7165170175180185190
Friday5-7 x 3-5200205210215220225

Important Note: When ever you are able to perform the heavy day workout successfully it is then time to increase the entire weight progression scheme by five or ten pounds on the heavy day (Monday) and five pounds on the light (Wednesday) and medium (Friday) days.

You will discover that at first it is almost impossible to fully recuperate from workout to workout and the used muscles and joints will be constantly inflamed and sore. But if you will persevere past this initial period of physical discomfort you will reach a point where you will most assuredly recuperate from this daily grueling work, and it is at this point that you will really begin to gain! The secret to this type of training is adaptation. What you are really doing is getting your body used to a certain amount of work, performed daily and after a certain length of time, we begin to adapt to this amount of stress and our body begins to respond to this constant stimulation. The reason why we can expect to get stronger when using this grueling type of training is because at no time do we use a weight we cannot handle correctly and confidently.

*Jim Williams trained his bench press five, and often six days per week on the following program: 315 x 8, 405 x 5, 475 x 3, 605 x 1, 675 x 1, 600 x 2. That’s it. No assistance exercises.

Section Four: Nutrition (Recommended Diet Program)

Your goal is to increase your bench press by 30 pounds during the next six weeks.

In order to assure progress here’s a sample nutritional plan to add muscle and strength:

Meal #1:
4 egg omelet with 2 oz. cheese,
½ grapefruit or ½ cantaloupe, 1 cup oatmeal

Drink Option: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 2 scoops cottage cheese
2 scoops oatmeal (use the Ultimate Muscle Protein scoop) mixed with 2 tablespoon heavy cream and 12 oz. water

Meal #2:
2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 3 scoops Mass Maker (mix in 16 oz. water or milk)

Meal #3:
8-12 oz. roast beef,
chicken or tuna made into 2 sandwiches with 4 slices whole grain or rye bread, 1 piece fruit

Meal #4:
2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 3 scoops Mass Maker

Meal #5:
10-12 oz. sirloin steak (lean) or other meat
8 oz. sweet potato or baked potato
2 cups vegetables / salad / or fruit

Meal #6:
2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 4 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
OR: 9 oz. sirloin strip steak (lean) or 10 oz. chicken + 2 cups vegetables – no potatoes or other starchy vegetables.

Master Supplement Program for Maximum Strength and Size

Essential: Ultimate Muscle Protein, Mass Maker, Creatine Select – load Creatine Select by taking 1 scoop 5 times daily for five days; after that take 2 scoops daily before training

Next Steps: Quadracarn 3 tablets upon arising, before training, and before bed

Stack: Mass Aminos and Ultra 40 (3 with each meal or shake above)

Additives: Muscle Synergy (powder), Up-Lift