Cydney Gillon – Second Generation Fitness Leader

At a Glance: Cydney Gillon

Age: 23

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

Education: University of Pennsylvania (Bachelor of Arts)

Current Residence: Douglasville, GA

Years Training: 8

Height: 5'3 3/4”

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

Favorite Fitness Meal: Protein Pancakes!

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

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

Hobbies: Yoga!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training

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

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

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

 

1: Overhead Squat
3 sets of 5

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

3: Barbell Squats
5 sets of 5

4: Barbell Step Ups
3 sets of 6

 

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

Arms By Gillon

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

 

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

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

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

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

Nutrition

 

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

• She generally likes to eat six meals a day.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Meal 4: UMP protein pudding or shake

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

Meal 6: 4 oz. lean protein or UMP shake


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

Supplements

 

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

Here are some of her favorite products:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

At a Glance: Savina Nikolova

Age: 21

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

Family: Mother, Father, and one older sister.

Current Residence: Lexington, KY

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

Height: 5’2”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meal Prep Tips

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

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

Supplement Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cardio Schedule

HIIT TRAINING BEFORE WEIGHT TRAINING

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

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

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

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

 
ADDITIONAL CARDIO AFTER WEIGHT TRAINING

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

Weight Training Schedule

SATURDAY: REST

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

Presentation Tips

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

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

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

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

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

Training

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

Monday – Chest

Tuesday – Legs

Thursday – Back

Friday –Arms

Sunday – Shoulders

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

 

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

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

 

Cardio and Running Program

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

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

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

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

Nutrition

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

 

My average meal plan at this point looked like this:
 

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

Meal 2: Chicken and sweet potatoes or red potatoes

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

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

Meal 5: Egg whites, grits or cream of wheat

Meal 6: 93% lean ground turkey and vegetables

Meal 7: UMP and peanut butter

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

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

Supplements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Final Preparations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday: Long run

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

 

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

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

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

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

My 9 Year Journey to an IFBB FIGURE PRO CARD

At a Glance: Karina Rhode, IFBB Professional

Age: 46

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

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

Current Residence: Noblesville, IN

Years training (total): 9

Height: 5’5”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Gardening and cooking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chocolate Muscle Provider Sweet Potato Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Diet

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

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

 

Nutrition
 

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

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

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

Meal 4: 150g chicken breast

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

Meal 6: UMP shake or UMP soft serve ice cream

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

 

Supplements Schedule
 

Morning Cardio: 6 GH Factor + 3 Lean Out

Meal 1: Super Pak + 3 Joint Care

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

Meal 2: Muscle Provider as a shake or cake

Meal 4: 2 Lean Out

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

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

Bedtime: 6 GH Factor


UMP Soft Serve Ice Cream

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Cardio

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

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

Training

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

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

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

ABDOMINAL VACUUM

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

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

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

SEATED TWIST

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

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

Presentation

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

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

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

In Closing

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

 

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

One Saturday Morning

No School Like the Old School

I’ve always liked the saying, “There’s no school like the old school”. It’s long been the foundation of my training philosophy and mindset. As I was preparing to write this article, I was reflecting on my training leading up to the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia. My goal was to put those thoughts onto paper, but it wasn’t going to be an easy task given the amount of time that had passed, 25 years to be exact.

Then, one Saturday morning, something unexpected happened. I was going through some old storage crates with my wife, and to my surprise I ran across my old training records that had been tucked away for decades! I had everything written down - what I trained that day, every ounce of food I ate, doctor’s appointments, travel schedules, guest posings, photo shoots, phone calls to return… everything. I then came across photos from my beginning days in local competitions all the way through to the Arnold and Olympia stage. Wow, you talk about memories flooding back, not to mention the reminder of what it took to go from a local show to the pinnacle of the sport.

I kept digging and digging and eventually came across a very special folder that was simply labeled “Arnold”. Inside was my detailed records leading up to the 1995 Arnold Classic, the year I won. I started analyzing everything and realized I had recorded all the workouts I used from the offseason all the way through the show. I particularly was intrigued by the back training and the plan I had implemented to improve this bodypart leading into that year’s Arnold Classic. I remember knowing I needed to make drastic gains in order to compete against the likes of Flex Wheeler, Andreas Munzer, Lee Labrada and many others. I had to be honest with myself and address my weaknesses and so I did just that.

It isn’t pleasant for anyone to admit their weaknesses, but that is exactly what you must do if you truly want to improve your physique. This applies to all competitors at every level of bodybuilding. Whether you are competing at the pro level, beginner level or somewhere in between, turning your weaknesses into strengths is the key to achieving success. If you keep putting all your efforts into your 21-inch arms, what good will that do you if your quads are that same 21 inches! We’ve all seen “that guy” in the gym - phenomenal arms, but no legs. But what body part is he training every day, you got it… ARMS!

Like “that guy”, I too had to analyze my physique. I quickly realized that my back wasn’t where it needed to be, and I had to bring it up if I ever wanted to reach my goals. My dream wasn’t to just get better, I wanted to be the best I could be on stage. In order to do this, I had to devise a plan of attack that would allow me the best opportunity to achieve the aggressive goals I had set for myself. I was never the type who would say much about what my aspirations were. Instead, I would just do the homework needed and keep pushing and quietly do whatever it took to improve. I knew what needed to be done and the only thing left to do was work!

Back training is hard! Let’s face it, training your back can be painful…single-arm 200-lb dumbbell rows, 400-lb reverse grip rows, 800-lb rack pulls, etc. I personally loved it and training my back was probably my favorite, however that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. The brutal training is what led to results, which in turn created the motivation to push harder and get even better.
  

  
 

Now it’s time to get to it! Below I have outlined my 9-week mass-building back training that helped me win the 1995 Arnold Classic:

9 Week Back Program

A FEW THINGS TO NOTE:

  1. I trained my back (and all bodyparts) one time per week.
  2. Any weights listed are for demonstration purposes only, and you will need to adjust accordingly.
  3. Rest approximately 2 minutes between rack pulls and deadlifts for weeks 1-6.
  4. Rest approximately 1 minute between deficit deadlifts for weeks 7-9.
  5. Rest approximately 45-90 seconds between auxiliary exercises.
  6. Warm up properly before beginning.

WEEKS 1-3

MAIN EXERCISE

Rack Pulls (mid shin level)

Instructions: Perform 2 sets of 10 reps followed by 2 sets of 5 reps. You will then keep adding weight and performing a single rep until you fail (or barely get the rep). I want you to feel you are going as heavy as you can that day.

135 lb x 10 reps
225 lb x 10 reps
315 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
495 lb x 1 rep
585 lb x 1 rep
675 lb x 1 rep

AUXILIARY EXERCISES

Shrugs
4 sets x 10 reps

Pull downs
4 sets x 10 reps

Dumbbell rows
4 sets x 10 reps

Reverse grip barbell rows
4 sets x 10 reps

Reverse hypers
4 sets x 15 reps

  
WEEKS 4-6  
  

MAIN EXERCISE

Deadlifts (off the floor)

Instructions: Same rep pattern as rack pulls

135 lb x 10 reps
225 lb x 10 reps
315 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
495 lb x 1 rep
585 lb x 1 rep

AUXILIARY EXERCISES

(Same as weeks 1-3)

  
WEEKS 7-9  
  

MAIN EXERCISE

Deficit deadlifts:

Instructions: Either lift off a sturdy 5-6” box or lift off floor using 25-lb plates instead of 45-lb plates. Notice the changed rep scheme for these 3 weeks. Reminder: Rest only 1 minute between these deadlifts, not 2 minutes as in prior weeks.

135 lb x 10 reps
225 lb x 10 reps
315 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps
405 lb x 5 reps

AUXILIARY EXERCISES

(Same as prior weeks)

AUXILIARY EXERCISES

Deficit deadlifts:

(Same as prior weeks

Supplements

Must haves:

In order to train this intensely and still recover in time to hit your other bodyparts with the same ferocity, these supplements are a must:

  1. Glutamine Select: This product contains the BCAAs and Glutamine at the levels necessary to aid in muscle recovery.
  2. UMP: A great way to get in the extra protein and calories you need when training intensely. Mix it with fruit and ice and blend into a high protein smoothie! But, honestly this high quality protein powder tastes phenomenal right out of the jug!
  3. FitTabs: FitTabs are vitally important to make sure all your bases are covered nutrient wise.

Other supplements to consider

If you are on a calorie restricted diet, here are a few additional supplements that will aid in your recovery, metabolism and fat burning. These scientifically designed and researched supplements are specifically manufactured for those in contest prep and/or are on calorie restricted nutrition plans.

  • 7-Keto MuscLean
  • Muscularity
  • Quadracarn
  • Lean Out

In Closing

There is nothing glamorous about this back-training workout. Given our high-tech environment, I realize everyone has access to a plethora of training information on the internet (some good, some not so good). However, in the end, it still comes down to ‘old school’ basics.

I can’t guarantee I will be around in another 25 years to open that storage container back up, but I can confidently say that this back workout will stand the test of time. I challenge you to give it a try.

Contact Info: mikefrancois.com

Instagram: michaelfrancois33

My Introduction to the Bodybuilding Stage At Age 56!

Photo by BodyGraphics Photography

At a Glance: Brigitte Corneille

Age: 56

Education: BA in Romance Languages with International Business

Current Residence: Johns Creek, GA

Years training (total): Less than a year

Height: 5’7”

Weight: Off Season: 112 lbs., Contest: 150 lbs.

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal or Fitness Meal: Seared black peppered tuna with spinach salad

Favorite Supplements: Lean Out, Multiple Enzyme Complex and Energy Reserve are my favorites. Why? They’re perfect for me at my age to combat fat and stomach bloating. I don’t know what I would do without them.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? There is no going wrong with the Super Pak. It is formulated for athletes, packed with vitamin C and B complex provides hours of energy, supports a healthy immune system, and let’s not forget the chelated minerals, digestive enzyme and antioxidants.

Music: All kinds really. Yes, opera, country, rock, techno, house, etc. It depends on my mood and what I’m doing.

Most Inspiring Book: I must mention two books I read in high school that have impacted my life: Albert Camus, La Chute (The Fall) and Andre Gide, L’Immoraliste (The Immoralist). I also must recommend Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, and to every woman, The Spiritual Rules of Engagement by Yehuda Berg.

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Love to read and as a Sagittarius, traveling. I love people and culture.

Words to live by: “Live and let live” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and a very meaningful quote to me by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility”

Contact:  Instagram: @Brigittecphysique

Coming from France, I grew up eating fresh, wholesome homemade cooking. No need to worry about shelf life and preservatives were rarely, if ever, used. I didn’t even know what cereal was. The French even made their mayonnaise (although now, things are changing). Water (and yes, wine) was what we drank, and soda was a treat on special occasions. So living a balanced and healthy lifestyle was always a part of me.

 
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been active. Besides running around like all kids do, I played soccer, practiced judo, and throughout the years when I came to America, took up running, which became addictive. I started having problems with my back and knees, so I turned to cycling. I’ve also trained in barre, yoga, and then a friend invited me to a kickboxing class. It was there where I first learned about bodybuilding. When I was shown photos of the bikini competitors, I thought “Oh yes, I want to look like that.” I was then introduced to a coach who taught me not only how to properly lift weights, which I knew nothing about, but also helped me with my nutrition and introduced me to Beverly International.

Being a natural ectomorph (tall, lean, long limbs with a facility to burn body fat and a hard time to put on muscle mass), I always thought I was too skinny. I tried to put on weight, but when I did gain, it went to all the wrong places and I ended up truly “skinny fat” (see my before photo). So, when bodybuilding came into my life, I jumped at the chance to get into shape and set a goal of stepping foot on stage in a bikini. (A challenging thought, but one that would ensure I must stay the course.) The first challenge was to ‘deconstruct’ my body by removing all the fat.

I’m an early riser who wakes up at 3:30 a.m. every morning to meditate and pray. At 5 a.m., I’m at the gym for fasted cardio. I go home, eat and go back to the gym for my weightlifting workout. I love it! No need to push me or remind me. Although at the beginning, I was weak in doing lunges (weak is an understatement as I couldn’t even do one) nor do a bodyweight squat properly, I enjoy pushing myself to be the best I can be. But hard work pays off and in 15 weeks, my body changed. It was far from what it ought or could be, but I didn’t hesitate to step on stage as it was my goal and I would gain experience. I was not scared like many predicted and didn’t get a rush either as I was told. I did what I focused on and came out a winner for reaching my goal. The icing on the cake was my placings of 3rd and 4th at my first SNBF show and three weeks later, I placed 5th in another. I am in love with the sport and am in it to stay.

I am still very new to this sport and know it will take time to get the body I need to step on to an NPC stage, but that is my future goal. I am now preparing for another SNBF show later in the year. I am not stepping on stage to take home a prize, although that would be nice, but to show my body improvements.

I am truly blessed, and at the age of 56, I want to show the world, which is so used to instant gratification, that all is attainable with discipline, perseverance and the right attitude. No, you do not need steroids to build muscle after a certain age. I am proof. So, what are you waiting for? Join me and take that leap of faith.

Nutrition

I keep my nutrition simple by using just one or two kinds of carbs, protein and fats. I’ve learned what types of food that my body responds positively to, and stick with them. For example, I’ve always loved sweet potatoes and respond well to them. Brown rice works okay during the off season, but when it comes close to competition, I remove it because it causes bloating. My proteins of choice are fish and protein shakes. During this off-season, I’m adding Mass Maker Ultra and UMP to gain quality muscle (especially important for an ectomorph like me). But when it comes close to competition, I keep things simple by limiting my protein to fish only. Yes, it means I have fish for breakfast, but it’s only temporary, right? For fat, I eat avocado and use olive oil. Water is also crucial. I am now able to drink one gallon, but the ideal would be more: a work in progress.

Growing up with a mom that wanted me to help her in the kitchen, I learned to use spices, which helps the taste buds especially when you eat fish five times a day.
I prepare each meal differently.

To give you an idea, here are the 5 pre-contest meals I currently eat:

Meal 1: 4oz Tilapia baked in the oven using Mrs. Dash with baked sweet potato.

Meal 2: 4oz baked cod in lemon, ginger and basil with baked sweet potato.

Meal 3: 4oz fresh seared tuna. I combine in a bowl, salt, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper then sprinkle the mixture on the tuna that I subsequently press all sides on a plate of black pepper. I eat it with a spinach salad made with tomatoes, red onions and black pepper dressed with ¹⁄₂ tbsp olive oil and rice vinegar.

Meal 4: Corvina (4oz) is a great fish for ceviche. I marinate the raw fish for a whole day or two (the longer you marinate the fish, the firmer the meat) in fresh pressed lime juice, with red onions that I salt and then wash to remove the bitterness, jalapeno peppers and black pepper. When ready to serve, I top it with tomatoes, cucumber and cilantro with spinach salad (see meal 3) on the side.

Meal 5: Salmon baked with garlic and herbes de Provence spice.

Supplements

 

I take 2 Lean Out, 2 Multiple Enzyme Complex and 1 Energy Reserve with all five meals. At meal 1, I also take Super Pak, a daily multivitamin pack for athletes to help with performance, energy and immune system support and EFA Gold for my daily intake of healthy fats.
I cannot say enough about stacking Beverly International products like Lean Out, Multiple Enzyme Complex and Energy Reserve as the hardest part for me to lose was/is around my stomach. Lean Out helps convert carbs and fat into energy instead of storing them as fat. Multiple Enzyme Complex takes care of your bloating by helping with digestion, and Energy Reserve is your fat burning power as it contains L-Carnitine. I had just 15 weeks to complete my transformation and couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Training

My coach is great at changing my workouts every week to hit different angles because “angles are everything” (his words), for variation so that my muscles are constantly challenged. My exercises consist of variations of Push, Pull, Leg training splits using different intensity techniques. I typically do 3 or 4 sets of 10, 12 or 15 reps or until failure.


Monday:
Legs

Tuesday: Off (no weighs or cardio)

Wednesday: Abs/ Back/ Rear Delts

Thursday: Chest/ Delts/ Triceps

Friday: Legs

Saturday: Abs/ Back/ Biceps

Sunday: Chest/ Delts/ Triceps

 

Here are a couple of examples of my current workouts:

My usual Ab workout is 3 tri sets of Crunches (15 reps), Reverse Crunches (15 reps), and Planks (1 min).

An illustrative Back workout might be 3 sets of 1-Arm Rows (12 reps) supersetted with Cable Straight Arm Pulldowns (15 reps); and 3-4 tri sets of Single Arm Kettlebell Pullovers (12 reps), Reverse Cable Flyes (20 reps), and Band Pull Apart (20 reps).

 

Cardio

 

 

During the off season I do 20 minutes of cardio six days a week using the stair climber, elliptical, treadmill and bicycle. At the beginning of contest prep I increase cardio to 30 minutes for the first 4 weeks, and increase it again to one hour the next 4 weeks. Then as my conditioning gets better and better, I reverse the process, going back to 30 minutes and then 20 minutes the last weeks before the contest. This is to prevent me from becoming too skinny and drawn.

 
Although we’re experiencing the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, I am blessed to have a gym that I can work out in. As of now, my competition has not been canceled, but only time will tell. Canceled or not, I will stay the course and continue to train and eat right. So, until next time, y’all stay safe and healthy.

From Start to Finish: Conquering the Course and the Stage

I have always exercised in one form or another.

When I was younger, raising kids, and building a practice, I was limited to quick trips to the gym or a workout in the basement. Once my children were grown and my practice was more established, I had more time to devote to my fitness and became really involved in endurance sports. My first 5K led to a half marathon, which led to a full marathon and before I knew it, I had completed over 60 full marathons, including one in every state. I finished a hundred mile run from Key Largo to Key West.

I became interested in triathlons and worked my way up to a full Ironman. Training at that point consisted of 100-mile bike rides in the morning, 2-mile swims in the Detroit River in the evening, and running as often as I could. I snuck in some cross-training with weights a couple times a week, but for the most part my exercise was aerobic in nature.

That all changed when my wife, Sandy, convinced me to attend a bodybuilding show with her. She had undergone a recent transformation, losing over 40 lbs with weight training and macro-focused dieting. Her gym was sponsoring the show and I reluctantly agreed to go. I was inspired by the dedication and commitment of the athletes that competed. I told my wife “next spring we are going to be on that stage”.


As a runner, my philosophy regarding nutrition was that I could eat and drink whatever I wanted, and I would just run it off. My weight was good, but I didn’t always look or feel the greatest, and as I got older my blood work was not so great. My cholesterol was climbing, and my blood sugar was bouncing around. I knew some disciplined eating would be good for me. I hired a coach, who gave me some starting macros. Because I was still running and cycling while I was training for my first show, my macros were pretty generous. I ran four marathons while I was training for my first show, so I was really putting my coach to the test. But with a solid nutrition plan and supplementation with Beverly products I was able to drop from 162 lbs to 147 lbs and still maintain lean muscle mass. The 2019 ANBF 3D Fit show went well for me. At the age of 55, I took first in four of the six divisions I competed in, and earned a pro card from the ANBF in Classic Physique and in Master’s Physique.

I had been using UMP for years and recommending it to my patients and training clients. However, when I started competitive bodybuilding, I researched the rest of the Beverly products line by reading prior issues of “No Nonsense” and I even made a few phone calls to the Beverly Advisor Team with questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for advice, they are very helpful and knowledgeable with sports nutrition.

Supplements

When training for a contest I use an array of Beverly Supplements.

Strength and Growth Factors

I take Mass Aminos, Ultra 40, and Quadracarn
pre and post workout, as well as with each meal.

Pre-workout and Recovery

Up-Lift, Glutamine Select, and Muscle Provider

Fat Loss

Lean Out, 7-Keto MuscLean, and Energy Reserve

General health and Vitality

Multiple Enzyme Complex, EFA Gold, FitTabs
or Super Pak, and ZMA 2000

I take Multiple Enzyme Complex with every meal because it helps make nutrients more bio-available and helps minimize digestive disturbances associated with a high-protein diet. I also try to consume 1-2 gallons of water per day.

Favorite Recipe

Chocolate Mousse with Berries

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
¹⁄₂ cup low fat cottage cheese
¹⁄₂ scoop chocolate UMP
¹⁄₂ cup strawberries
¹⁄₄ cup raspberries

Combine yogurt and cottage cheese and mix UMP in slowly to prevent clumping. Top with berries.

Macros: Protein 46.9, Carbs 25.5, Fat 3.2

Training Schedule

I lift at home in the mornings 6 days a week with a three-day split:

Chest/Triceps
Back/Biceps
Shoulders

I sneak to the gym at lunch a couple days a week to do legs and abs. Being a runner, I have skinny legs, so I’m trying to spend some extra time working lower body.

I do 15-20 total sets for large bodyparts and about 12 sets for biceps and triceps.

Favorite exercises include DB Bench Presses (incline, flat, and decline), Pushups, Pullups, Shoulder Presses
(DBs, Arnold Presses), and Kettlebell Presses.

For legs I pre exhaust with Leg Extensions, then do Squats, Deadlifts, Leg Presses, and Leg Curls.

I run 3-5 miles a couple of days per week after weight training and do a long run or a race on Sunday.

Recovery Advice

Training 6-7 days a week at any age requires focused recovery:

Chiropractic care: Get regular adjustments, it’s huge!

Supplementation: Give your body what it needs to rebuild- adequate protein with UMP or Muscle Provider. Amino acids from Mass Aminos and Glutamine Select. Nighttime recovery with ZMA 2000.

Sleep: Your body needs adequate rest to grow.

Soft tissue techniques like massage therapy, Graston technique, and even Epsom Salt baths. If pro athletes are using this stuff, you probably should too!

Biggest Challenges

I love weight training and natural bodybuilding, but I’m not ready to give up endurance sports. When my calories start dropping during show prep, it can be difficult to have enough carbohydrates to fuel a long run. Timing is critical, so I try to consume most of my carbs pre- and immediately post workout so that they are a source of fuel and glycogen replenishment. If you are going to consume any high-glycemic carbs it is important to do it during this window. At any other time try to consume low glycemic carbs so your insulin is not spiking later in the day. I also try to take most of my supplements around this window. I feel like my body is like a sponge during and after exercise and much more likely to absorb macro and micronutrients.

Timing of workouts can also be a challenge. I need to put enough training days between a hard leg day in the gym and my long runs or speed days. Heavy leg days need to be avoided for about 5 days before a race.

Future Goals

Now that I completed my 50-states goal, I am going to try to run a full marathon on every continent, so races in South America, Africa and Antarctica are on the horizon. In between I want to focus on adding some muscle to my legs and shoulders (not an easy task for a runner in his fifties!) so I can better compete in the classic physique bodybuilding category as a pro.

How I Won the Tampa Pro & A Ms Olympia Invite

Photo by BodyGraphics Photography

At a Glance: LaDawn McDay

Age: 46

Occupation: 23 years as an educator (currently HS special education), Manager of 1 Fit Joker Tanning

Family: “Mama Ruby”, Jay Pratt, Lexi (dog), Tyke (cat)

Current Residence: Detroit, MI

Years training (total): 20 years, Competing (16 years)

Height: 5’4”

Weight: 165 (off-season), 150 (contest)

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: A special meal consists of grilled salmon with Brussel sprouts, walnuts and grilled apples over quinoa, or Beverly International UMP Chocolate Pancakes (see sidebar for recipe

Favorite Supplements:
Super Pak:
Provides all the macronutrients/vitamins I need
UMP:
My favorite meal replacement
ZMA 2000:
Helps improve my rest and sleep
Glutamine Select:
This is great for my recovery
Muscularity:
When dieting, it’s the best BCAA formula for preserving muscle

What would you recommend to someone getting started on Beverly supplements? I would recommend starting with a good source of protein such as Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, I would also include Super Pak or FitTabs as a great vitamin/mineral source, Glutamine Select to relieve muscle soreness and speed recovery time and Lean Out as a fat burner.

Music: I have been listening to Ozzy Osbourne, 90’s Classic Rock and the Blues

Most Inspiring Book: Left to Tell by Immaculee llibagiza and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Spending time with my wife and puppies

Words to live by: “If you really want to do something you’ll find a way, if you don’t you’ll find an excuse”- Jim Rohn

The Road to the Olympia Qualification

In the competitive world of bodybuilding, 2020 began like the 15 previous years of my contest prep history. My vision and goals were discussed. A plan was executed
to showcase my growth and improvement from the previous season. With a contest prep diet in hand, Beverly supplement list, cardio and training schedule too, I was well on my way to producing my best package ever. Oh the excitement I felt while selecting the perfect show, making travel arrangements and focusing on my competition goals.

 

I was about 6 weeks out from my first competition of 2020 and for the first time in years, I felt that I was ready to display my best look on stage. Like everyone, I was in total disbelief when the news spread about a virus with the name Covid-19. This virus made an impact on our lives in a matter of days as I watched the life that I was so comfortable with stop abruptly. The fear, doubt and disbelief that plagued most of us during the quarantine was almost too much to bear. All aspects of life including age, occupation, race, religion, gender and your community felt the effects of this pandemic. My community was hit hard by Covid-19 with friends, family and students fighting the virus head on. The governor immediately passed executive orders to shut down all businesses including the gym and all K-12 school buildings. So began the quarantine life.

What am I going to do now?

Here I am prepping for a show and my livelihood has now been taken away and for how long? The two most important places that are an integral part of me and define who I am have been taken away. How can I prep for a show if I can’t train? What am I going to do if I can’t interact with my students and families who depend on me for guidance and support? What will happen to my students? What about my mother who is in and out of the hospital and considered high risk? My mind became consumed with negative thoughts. I became complacent and made excuses as to why attempting to compete during the pandemic was a waste of time. I mean who could possibly think about a diet at a time like this?

I Have to Make a Decision!

After several weeks of being in quarantine things began to shift in a more positive direction. I began to teach remotely while reconnecting with students, staff and family. I was feeling like I could fight through this. My coach, Jay Pratt, made it clear that we had work to do. I had competitive goals that still needed to be met. My goal was still the same, bring the best version of me. He pointed out that I should take advantage of the time in quarantine and make the best of it. He gave me the tools and support that I needed to persevere. He created a quarantine plan that incorporated a more rigid schedule for prepping and eating meals as well as a cardio and training schedule that could be implemented around my remote teaching. This gave me purpose and order among all of the chaos. From there I had to check in 2-3 times
a week with pictures and a log to ensure that I was utilizing all of the tools he gave me. This also allowed him to make any adjustments to meals or cardio sessions. As the show date approached, I was feeling great and back on track. We added grueling posing sessions after each workout to improve my conditioning.

The Tampa Pro

The IFBB Tampa Pro is one of the most competitive shows outside of the Arnold Classic and the Olympia. I have competed in this show five times with placings as high as third and as low as 16th but this time would be different. I really wanted it and I was done making excuses. The Tampa Pro was also an Olympia qualifier this year. This would be the first time in six years that the Olympia would again host a Women’s Bodybuilding division. Most would think that my past placings would discourage me from trying a 6th time to be in the winner’s circle. I don’t give up so easily. Going to the Olympia would be a dream come true. I was determined and focused plus I had something to prove to myself. If I can train, stay healthy in a community that was hit hard by Covid, I can accomplish anything.

Competition Day

This was it, the moment that I had been waiting for. I was ready to take the stage. When I removed my mask and entered the stage, I was confident, poised and knew without a shadow of a doubt that the judges would be seeing a new and improved version of me. Later on that evening, I received the best news of my competitive history, and for the first time since turning pro, I finished in first place with a Ms. Olympia qualification in hand. This was the best feeling in the world.

Presentation Tips

If I could offer any advice when it comes to presentation is to begin posing at least 8 weeks before any competition. You may even want to hire a posing coach in your area. Stage presence is extremely important and you want to make sure that you are confident on stage and showcase poses that compliment your physique.

What I have learned during this journey is quite simple. “If you really want to do something you will find a way”. Patience, perseverance, dedication and a good support system helped me win the Tampa Pro amidst a pandemic. The work doesn’t stop now. I will take the tools that I used during this pandemic and apply it to my journey of the Ms. Olympia.

 

Diet Plan
Pre-Contest (Starting 12-14 weeks out)

Meal plan remains the same give or take a few ounces of protein here or there.

Meal #1: 1 cup of egg whites, 1 whole egg, green veggies (spinach), ¹⁄₂ cup oatmeal

Meal #2: Muscle Provider 2 scoops with water

Meal #3: 4-5oz chicken breast, salmon or white fish, 1 cup green veggies, ¹⁄₄ cup rice

Meal #4: Same as meal 2

Meal #5: Same as meal 1 without the oatmeal

Meal #6: 3oz NY strip and 6-7 asparagus spears

 

Supplement Plan

(I use all the supplements listed leading up to show date)

Super Pak: each morning with Meal 1 after training

Lean Out: (2-3 capsules twice a day) each morning before fasted cardio and again in the afternoon with my 2nd session of cardio

Glutamine Select: (1 scoop, 1-2 times a day) each morning during my lifting session and again in the afternoon with my 2nd cardio session (as I am getting closer to my contest date)

Muscularity: (2-3 with every other meal) with Meals 1, 3 and 5

Advanced Antioxidant: (1-2 tablets) with Meal 1 or 2

Muscle Provider: (2 scoops in water twice a day) as a Meal replacement.

 

Beverly International

UMP Chocolate Pancakes

Ingredients: 2 Scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein chocolate, 3 egg whites, ¹⁄₄ cup oatmeal, add enough water to make a batter consistency.

Directions: Mix ingredients. Cook in a pan at low heat until little bubbles appear and pancakes start to brown. Flip and wait a minute or so, and bam! Perfect pancakes!

 

Training Schedule

As I am writing this, gyms in my state are still closed. During quarantine I had access to some equipment and was able to train my upper body without having to make any adjustments. But I did have to make adjustments on leg days so I’m sharing both my pre-Covid leg training as well as that which I followed during quarantine. I typically train 2 body parts per day hitting each twice per week. The second go around may be higher repetitions and less weight than the first session. I also use resistance bands as much as possible, high repetitions with medium weight.
 


DAY 1: LEG TRAINING (Prior to Gym closing)

DB Walking Lunges 4x20

BB Squats 5-6x20

Leg Press Machine 4-5x30

Leg Extensions 4-5x30

Lying Leg Curl Machine 4-5x20

Standing Leg Curl 3x20

Glute Bridge with Plate 4-5x15

Hyperextensions or DB Deadlifts 3x1

 


DAY 2: SHOULDERS

Shoulder Press 4x20

Lateral Raise 5x20

Front Raise 5x20

Rear Raise 5x20

Upright Rows 4x20


DAY 3: BACK

Lat Pulldown (wide grip) 5x20

or

Pull Ups 5 sets to failure

Lat Pulldown (close grip) 5x20

Dumbbell Rows or T Bar Row 4x25

Dumbbell Pullovers 5x20

Deadlift or Hyperextensions 4x15

 

 

 
DAY 1: LEG TRAINING (During Quarantine)

Alternating Lunges 5x20-25

Jump Squats 5x25

Dumbbell Squats 5x25

Step Ups (with DB) 5x20

Glute Bridge (with DB) 5x25

DB Donkey Kick 5x15 on each side

Mountain Climbers 5x30

Burpees 5x20

Jumping Jacks 5x25

 

 

DAY 2: Bicep/ Tricep

BB Curls 5x15

DB Curls 5x20

Hammer Curls 4x20

21 Curls 5 sets

Triceps Kickbacks 5x20

Triceps Pushdowns 5x20

Bench Triceps Dips 5 sets to failure

 

DAY 3: Chest

Push-ups 4x20

Dumbbell Flye 5x20

Dumbbell Bench Press 5x20

Incline Dumbbell Press 5x15

Incline Dumbbell Flye 5x15

 

 

I usually spread my cardio sessions throughout the day. 2-3, 30-minute sessions, 5-6 days per week focusing on intensity.

My first session of cardio is always fasted.

Session 1: (5-6 days per week)

Walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute for 30 minutes


Session 2:
(4 days per week, skip on leg day)

Stairs/Bleachers, run up, walk down (30 mins)

 

Session 3: (5-6 days per week)

Cycle Bike, vary resistance for 30-45 minutes

 


Abdominal Exercises – 5-6 days

Leg Raises 3-4 sets of 30

Crunches 3-4 sets of 5

Scissors 3-4 sets of 30

Twists 3-4 sets of 30

Dedication, Discipline, Work Ethic…

Photo by Jason Ellis

At a Glance: Ryan Stanton

Age: 45

Occupation: Personal Trainer

Family: Wife, Tiffany, and dogs, Vegas and Elvis

Current Residence: Bloomington, IN

Years training (total): 38

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 205 (off-season), 190 (contest)

Favorite Bodybuilding or Fitness Meal: 96% lean beef, jasmine rice, and veggies

Favorite Supplements: My favorite supplements are the Graham Cracker and Angel Food Cake flavors of Beverly’s UMP protein powder, Up-Lift, Super Pak, 7-Keto MuscLean, and Glutamine Select.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? For someone that is just starting to take supplements I recommend Beverly’s UMP protein powder, Up-Lift pre-workout and Super Pak (multivitamin). For someone looking to lose fat I recommend adding 7-Keto MuscLean.

Music: Rap and Hip Hop

Most Inspiring Book: "A Season on the Brink” by John Feinstein

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Spending time with my wife and puppies

Words to live by: “Live life with a purpose.”

I graduated college with a criminal justice degree and took a position at a prison for two years, where I was the Riot Team Fitness Instructor. After two years at the prison, I decided to pursue a career in personal training and started a personal training business out of the Iron Pit Gym in Bloomington, IN. My personal training business is now in its twentieth year. I give the work ethic that I learned from my parents credit as the most important reason my business has been successful for this long. I train a wide variety of clients, from people who just want to live a healthier life to elite bodybuilders and athletes. My favorite part about personal training is, I get to help people change their lives.

 

I was first introduced to Beverly International products from a member at the Iron Pit Gym back in 2007. The first supplements I used were UMP, Lean Out, and 7-Keto MuscLean. In 2011, I heard about a new division that was about to be introduced into bodybuilding called men’s physique. I did some research and found out that it was a division for people who want to focus on an athletic look, and in 2012 I competed in my first men’s physique competition. From there I was hooked. For the next two years I competed and won a number of contests culminating in earning my IFBB Pro Card in 2013.

I continued competing over the next few years – but without Beverly International supplements. You see, on winning my pro card I was offered a sponsorship by a different nutrition company and as part of the deal I couldn’t use Beverly. However, I decided that it was more important to use and recommend the best products on the market, even if I did have to pay for them. I’m happy to say that I am now a Beverly International distributor and able to recommend them to all my family, friends, clients, and followers. Now, with Beverly again in my supplement stash, I’m back on track to train and successfully compete again in 2020.

One more thing I’m kind of proud of – my photo is on the cover of a recent novel, Reign by Elizabeth Knox, and will be on the cover of at least seven more novels that will be published soon.

In the rest of this article I’ll detail my current diet, supplement, and workout plans.

I follow a pretty strict diet year-round so that I'm always just a fewweeks away from top condition for a contest or photo shoot.

 

Year-Round Daily Meal Plan

Meal #1: 6 egg whites and 1 whole egg, 1 cup jasmine rice, half an avocado

Meal #2: 2 scoops of UMP protein mixed with ¹⁄₂ cup oatmeal

Meal #3: 8oz lean meat, 1 cup of jasmine rice, 1 cup veggies

Meal #4: 2 scoops of UMP protein

Meal #5: 8oz chicken breast, 1 cup jasmine rice, 1 cup veggies

Meal #6: 8oz tilapia, 1 cup veggies

 

Year-Round Supplement Schedule

Super Pak: 1 pak with Meal 1

Muscle Synergy: 2 full scoops before workout

Up-Lift: 1 full scoop before workout

Muscle Mass: 5 tablets with pre-workout and post-workout meals
(10 tablets total)

UMP: 2 scoops twice a day

 

Pre-Contest Adjustments

My pre-contest diet adjustments are minimal. I drop the whole egg from meal 1 and drop the rice at meal 5. I also substitute tilapia for chicken at meal 5.

Supplement-wise, I add Glutamine Select and 7-Keto MuscLean to my year-round supplement program. Battling low energy during contest prep is one of the hardest parts of competing, so I use Beverly’s Up-Lift to give me the boost of energy I need to have a good workout. Glutamine Select helps my body recover so I can continue to work out hard even when my body is running on low energy. 7-Keto MuscLean makes losing those last couple pounds of bodyfat (at my age, 45) possible.

 

Training

4 on/ 1 off

DAY 1: BACK

Pull Ups 4x12
Dumbbell Rows 4x10
T-Barbell Row 4x10
Lat Pulldowns 8x10
Cable Rows 6x12
Rack Pulls 4x10
Dumbbell Shrugs 4x10

 

DAY 2: CHEST / SHOULDERS

Flat DB Bench Press 4x10

Incline DB Press 5x10

Decline DB Press 4x10

Incline Flyes 4x12

Cable Flyes 8x12

DAY 3: ARMS

Triceps Extensions 8x12

Skull Crushers 4x10

Kickbacks 4x12

Straight Bar Curls 4x10

Hammer Curls 4x10

Machine Curls 8x12

 

 

DAY 4: LEGS

Squats 4x10

Leg Press 4x10

Walking Lunges 4x20

Leg Extension 8x12

Leg Curl 4x12

Calf Raises 4x20

 

DAY 5: DAY OFF

ABS

2-3 times a week doing 4 sets of one or two exercises. As I’m getting closer to a competition or photoshoot, I add more sets and/or exercises.

CARDIO

I always try to get in 30 minutes of slow and steady cardio 4-5 times a week. If a contest is approaching, I’ll increase the number of days depending on how my body is responding.

How to Stay Fit After 40

Fit women over 40… are they really just genetic anomalies who miraculously keep their six pack abs well into their 40’s and 50’s?

Do they spend hours upon hours in the gym sculpting the perfect butt and snacking on celery…. Well, if you have ever wondered how to stay fit after 40, I have some really good news for you. It is absolutely possible. In fact, I am proof. Just before I turned 46 this year, I took part in the fitness photo shoot that ended up on the cover of the newest FITBODY Magazine.

As an online fitness coach and entrepreneur running the full FITBODY brand, I work every day with women. Your time is tight. Most women do not have the luxury of spending hours upon hours a day working out. Food-wise, we want to enjoy our food and to be able to EAT! Personally, I happen to like celery, but l am also partial to the occasional burger and wine.

So how do you do it? How do you stay fit when you are heading into menopause with hormones shifting, skin sagging and energy waining? Whether you are noticing that it is easier to gain weight now or that the same old tricks that helped you drop that last 10 pounds before just don’t work, let me share with you some of my best fitness secrets…

Start the Morning the Right Way

Breaking that fast first thing in the morning might not be in vogue with the latest intermittent fasting gurus, but what I can tell you is that including a healthy breakfast packed with protein has been the recommendation of health experts and doctors for ages. And for good reasons. A healthy morning meal can curb early afternoon hunger helping you avoid that snack attack mid-day.

 

There is also something deeply profound about starting your morning in a positive direction. When you eat a healthy breakfast you set the rest of your day on track to keep making healthy choices. Additionally, high protein breakfast foods are recommended for women as they enter menopause because of their high protein and iron content. Over the last month, I have started each day with 2 scoops of Beverly International’s PBP (Plant-Based-Protein) with 12 ounces of almond milk and a few ice cubes. Literally the best plant-based protein I have ever tried. I crave it every morning!

Fill Up on Fruits & Veggies

Fit women know that vegetables and fruits are nutritional gems with tons of nutrients and super low calories. And talk about fiber. Veggies in particular are super filling and help stave off hunger allowing you to eat less total calories in your quest to stay fit over 40. I suggest filling your plate half full of veggies for lunch and dinner meals and then including fruits as a snack 2-4 times a day. Fruits, like grapefruit and berries along with leafy green vegetables tend to be excellent choices.

Load Calories Earlier in the Day

While the quality of your food is most important, there are benefits to eating the majority of your calories and carbs early in the day if you want to stay fit over 40. Ideally try to get in about 70% of your daily calories before 4 pm.

Be Your Own Chef

Whether you realize it or not, restaurants load seemingly healthy options with extra oil, sugar and butter that can add up calories quickly. They also have ridiculously large portion sizes that can derail your best efforts to stay fit and healthy. While you don’t want to avoid eating out altogether, be sure that most of your meals are cooked at home in your own kitchen. When you are in control of your food preparation, you make better choices.

Watch Your Calorie Intake

We all know that eating too many calories causes weight gain but did you know that too little calories can be just as damaging to your metabolism. Finding that happy medium where you are taking in enough to fuel your workouts and day, but not so much that you add fat, takes some balance. I recommend women that want to lose body fat start with their resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at rest) and adding 200-300 to account for daily activity. Be sure you are also exercising at least 30 mins every day. If you are trying to stay fit and more so want to maintain, take your resting metabolic rate and add 500-700 calories. Tracking your calories with an app like My Fitness Pal helps you pay attention to your food and make better choices for the long haul.

Avoid Sugar, Except in Moderation

Sugar is enemy number one for fit women over 40. Sugary coffee drinks, sodas, juices, desserts, energy drinks… no matter where it comes from added sugar spikes your insulin and causes serious cravings. Cut back on sugar to avoid adding bodyfat. Making the jump to water or zero-cal drinks can also lower your risk for disease like diabetes.

Wine Once a Week

While there is some research that moderate alcohol intake can be beneficial for certain groups, the bottom line is that most alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories that lower your inhibitions and make you more susceptible to snacking. Have you ever noticed that your will power to avoid those fancy cheese and crackers seems nonexistent after a few drinks? Women should keep alcohol consumption limited. I recommend having 1-3 drinks once a week if you really want to stay on track.

Fire Up Your Metabolism

Pound for pound, muscle burns more than double the amount of calories fat does while your body is at rest. While you may think of cardio as fat burning, putting on more muscle will actually help you burn more fat while you sleep or sit on the couch. This is key for a speedy metabolism because even the most active woman likely spends more time sitting and sleeping than moving.

Build Muscle

Over 40, there’s a pretty simple rule when it comes to your muscles: you have to use them or you’ll lose them. While nutrition is a very important part of the picture, in order to maintain, let alone build muscle mass, you need to be lifting weights. Your muscles are constantly going through a state of being broken down and rebuilt. That’s part of life. Your muscles grow when the amount of protein synthesized within them eclipses the amount that is broken down.

People naturally lose muscle after 40, especially women after menopause. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, this can slow down your metabolism and make it harder to shake those stubborn pounds. Strength-training exercises like lifting weights can help you keep those muscles. I recommend that you train with weights at least three days per week, and preferably five.

Have Your Thyroid Checked

If you’re eating healthy and exercise regularly and are still finding you can’t lose weight, your thyroid may not be working as it should. This happens in a small percentage of people, and it’s most common over 40. In addition to weight gain, it can also cause fatigue, joint or muscle pain, and depression. There are medications that can help, so check with your doctor if you think that might be an issue.

Include the RIGHT Supplements

For the last 20 years I have diligently included Beverly International supplements in my own overall health plan and recommended them to thousands of women for two reasons. One, because Beverly literally has the highest quality supplements on earth and two, because they simply work. I have seen consistent, solid results from their time tested, no nonsense formulas. There is a reason that Beverly has been around so long when many supplement companies have come and gone over the last few decades.

You can count on Beverly to deliver for you again and again. Truly, finding Beverly changed my life all those years ago and I count on them to support me and my clients for the next 20 years as well!

LEAN OUT

A must-have for women and offers a unique formula that works in two ways to create a metabolic environment optimal for getting lean. First, it helps your body transport fat released from adipose tissue to other tissues like your liver and muscles where it can be burned as fuel. Second, it helps your metabolism handle carbohydrates more effciently. Personally I find I have significantly less cravings for sweets when I take Lean Out regularly.

GH FACTOR

GH Factor supports healthy growth hormone (GH) secretion, naturally, with a clinically based blend of arginine and lysine. This combination of amino acids has been shown to raise GH levels by up to 8-fold. Your body secretes GH in pulses throughout the day, with the biggest pulse typically occurring in the early stages of nighttime sleep. With increasing age, the secretion of GH tends to decline. I like to keep a bottle in my bathroom so I can take it first thing in the morning and again right before bed as it works best on an empty stomach.

QUADRACARN

I HIGHLY recommend women over 40 incorporate Quadracarn, especially if they are experiencing some of the very common issues women have like decreased libido, decreased energy and mood. Most women notice improvements in energy, mood, cognitive performance, sexual health, testosterone (yes, we actually need that too), vascularity, pumps, muscle hardness, stamina, and recovery.

GLUTAMINE SELECT

Glutamine Select supports the fastest possible improvements in the appearance and performance of your physique by tackling a little known but pervasive condition known as "anabolic fatigue". Use before, during, and/or after training. You can also take Glutamine Select between meals to sustain blood sugar levels while dieting. I notice a huge difference in post workout soreness and how quickly I recover when I include Glutamine Select.

ULTIMATE MUSCLE PROTEIN

This delicious 5-star protein powder will simplify your diet while helping you build and preserve lean, strong muscle as you loose fat, which is critical for women heading toward menopause. Lean, sexy muscle is key to boosting your metabolism and that is where UMP really shines. Did I mention how amazing it tastes? Seriously the best tasting protein powder I have ever tried. AND you can cook with it! Check out some of my favorite recipes (julielohre.com/best-protein-powder-recipes)

Get Support & Accountability

Having a trusted coach who cares about you and your goals can impact your ability to stay on track. With my online training program, I work exclusively with women world- wide that want to look and feel their very best. Many of the women that I work with are busy and in need of a straight forward plan to help them focus specifically on their goals. I take the guess work out of both training and nutrition while providing structure, guidance, and accountability. If you need an online fitness coach to not just line out your nutrition and workout plans but also to be there throughout the whole process, I would love to see if we might be a match. Check out JulieLohre.com for more details.