Competing Again after 12 Years

At a Glance: Vince Shirey

Age: 37

Occupation: Fitness Consultant / Law Enforcement

Family: Lucky number 7 of us!

Years training (total): 30+ (I was literally 5 years old lifting in my dad’s garage gym!)

Height: 5'10"

Weight: Off Season: 185, Contest: 170

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Good old fashioned BEEF!!!

Favorite Supplements: UMP – taste, ease of use and ability to cook with it! Muscle Synergy – strength and stamina. Quadracarn, 7-Keto MuscLean, & Lean Out – fat loss. ZMA 2000 – better rest and recovery!!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? I recommend different things to my clients depending upon their needs and goals. But the staples are UMP, Muscle Provider, Quadracarn, Lean Out, and Muscle Synergy.

Music: Ariana Grande

Most Inspiring Book: The GREATEST success book ever written!! The Bible.

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Weekly dates with the Mrs.! Family time, only hobby you need!

Words to live by: All things work together for your good!

 

When I tell people my goals, I usually get something like this: Wait a second… WHAT!? You haven’t competed since when? How old are you? You have how many kids? You work a fulltime job AND you’re running your own company? WHY AND HOW would you possibly want to step on stage again?

Or, even worse: “There’s no way you could ever accomplish that!”

For some, these questions will validate the questions we ask ourselves - Am I really willing to put in this work? Do I have the time? The energy? The support system? But, for a select few, it adds fuel to the fire! I can assure you, I was asked each of these questions! I asked myself some of them as well. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Vince Shirey and I wrote my first article for Beverly International 12 years ago. My last body building competition was the Mike Francois back in 2008. Fast forward 11 years. I’m 37 years old, have five, count ‘em, FIVE kids! I also work a fulltime job and run a fitness consultation business called, ‘Skinny with Vinny.’

I was done bodybuilding. I was done competing. I stepped off the stage in 2008 feeling I was at the top of my game. I walked away, continued my career in law enforcement, met a beautiful woman and created an incredible family. But something inside of me wouldn’t let go. I knew how to get into shape and I knew there were people in the world that needed to get into shape. I couldn’t sit idly by knowing that
I could help. I had to be an example for other men and women who are ‘past their prime’ or in an unhealthy rut. I had to show them that they too could get into great shape! I wanted to demonstrate that regardless of age, regardless of time, regardless of the number of kids you have, regardless of the number of naysayers you have saying you can’t do it. I WOULD PROVE THEM WRONG. I WOULD PROVE MYSELF WRONG!

So that’s what I did! I stepped onto the stage at the Mike Francois Classic on May 11th, 2019. I entered the master’s physique and the open physique divisions and placed 3rd in both classes! Not too bad for a guy who had been out of the game for more than a decade.

Now, I know this sounds like it was easy breezy for me, but it took a lot of hard work! Thankfully, I have an AMAZING group of people to lean on. First and foremost, I get to read out of the GREATEST SUCCESS BOOK EVER WRITTEN,the BIBLE. This book fills me up daily! 2nd, I’m married to one AMAZING woman!! She was there cheering me on from the front row and supporting me in everything I do! I also had 4 incredible kiddos in the audience cheering me on, along with family and friends.

Hey wait a minute didn’t you say you had five kids? Well, yes I did, but one of them is not incredible… that’s a joke, ACTUALLY, my oldest son Noah competed with me in his very first show at the Francois. He was by far the youngest man to enter the show as he had just turned 18!! I would say he was probably one of the leanest too. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of him.

So prior to this prep, did I try anything that didn’t work? Uhhhh, haven’t we all? Yes, a few months prior to making the decision to
compete again, I had tried intermittent fasting, “counting macros”, and the Keto diet. None of these produced lasting results. I knew I had to return to my old school roots if I was going to be competitive on stage and get into the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE.

In Closing

I’m happy to be back!! It was surreal to compete with my oldest son. If you would have told me 12 years ago I would do that, I’m not sure I would have believed it! This process was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding I’ve ever completed. The fact that a 37 year old, husband and father of five could manage to jump back on stage should be reason enough for you! If you are motivated by a challenge then let’s do this together!! If you are frustrated, hardworking, teachable & ready to take action I would be honored to help you lose weight and become the BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF! Check me out at skinnywithvinny on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. PS. If you mention this article you’ll receive 10% off when you join!

The Diet that Always Works

12 weeks out from the show I began to restrict my overall calories. I was eating carbs at meals 1 and 3 and seeing fair results, but the results weren’t coming fast enough like they did 12 years ago. So, five weeks out from the show, I happily transitioned over to my carb cycling diet and voila, RESULTS- CITY! I had my “carb” meal before bed on Wednesday and Saturday evening and would wake up lighter and leaner. Weird how that works!

 

Meal 1: 5oz turkey breast or chicken, 4 egg whites, 1/2 grapefruit

Meal 2: Protein shake – 2 scoops UMP, 12oz water, 4 strawberries (or 1/4 cup blueberries)

Meal 3: 6oz chicken or turkey breast, 2 cups salad with vinegar and oil dressing

Meal 4: (choose 1) Protein shake – 2 scoops UMP in 12oz water; Or: 1 package tuna, 3 egg whites (I add Miracle Whip and onion to help with the taste)

Meal 5: 6oz lean meat (lean beef, chicken, turkey, or fish), 1 cup vegetables

Carb Meal (Wednesday and Saturday before bed): 1 cup cooked rice (w/butter, salt, and pepper), 6oz sweet potato, and a 4oz banana with 1 tbsp peanut butter

Supplements

My supplement staples were of course UMP!! I love that protein powder!! Being able to cook with it makes all the difference. Next, Muscle Synergy and Glutamine Select. I took one scoop of Muscle Synergy along with Glutamine Select before training and another scoop of each mid-day. As the show neared I took multiple scoops of Glutamine Select throughout the day. My favorite was to nearly freeze it, but not quite. The ice chunks are INCREDIBLE, a treat throughout the day. I also took ZMA 2000 before bed to sleep more soundly, enhance my recovery and keep my testosterone at a good level. Lastly, for fat loss it was 7-Keto MuscLean, Lean Out and Quadracarn.

 

Training and Cardio

My training was consistent but never the same. I tend to get bored pretty easy, so variety in the gym matters. I was also bringing a couple dozen people along with me on the journey. They were completing the same workouts via my private Facebook group “Skinny with Vinny.” An example workout is included in this article.

For cardio, at 12 weeks out I was completing a lot of HIIT on the treadmill. As the show neared I added 20 – 60 minutes on the stair stepper. FYI, Sixty minutes on the stair stepper is NOT for the faint of heart.

Workout & Cardio Plan

Workouts vary – this is one of my favorites. I’ve included weights that I used during this contest prep. Some machines vary so much that no weight is listed for those exercises.

In this workout I super-set each pair of exercises listed below. Example: Bench Press with Weighted Pull ups

 

Schedule - Sunday: Off

Monday: Chest & Back (Heavy)Sets RepsWeight
Bench Press34-6(225, 250, 275lbs)
Weighted Pull Ups34-6(45lb plate)
Incline Press34-6(185, 225, 225)
Close Grip Pull Up34-6(25lb plate)
Pec Deck36-825
1 Arm DB Row34-6(75, 80, 85)
Cardio
(HIIT) Treadmill20 minutes
Tuesday: Legs (Heavy) & AbsSets RepsWeight
Squats (no superset)46(225, 275, 315, 315)
Leg Press38(360, 450, 540)
Leg Extension38(110, 120, 130)
Leg Curl38(85, 90, 95)
Calf Raise31025
Crunches325
Cardio
Arc Trainer30 minutes
Wednesday: Cardio & AbsSets Reps
Crunches SS Leg Raise425
Seated Twist1200
Cardio
Stairmaster60 minutes
Thursday: Arms (Heavy) & AbsSets RepsWeight
EZ Curls36-8(75, 85, 95)
Weighted Dips36-8(45lb plate)
Alternate DB Curl36-8(30, 35, 40)
Rope Pushdown36-8(60, 70, 80)
Hammer Curl36-8(45, 50, 55)
Cable Kickback36-8(75, 80, 85)
Concentration Curl (no SS)36-8(30, 30, 35)
Crunches425
Leg Raise425
Cardio
(HIIT) Treadmill20 minutes
Friday: Shoulders & AbsSets RepsWeight
Military Press (no SS)46-8(95, 135, 145, 155)
(after 4th set – burnout x 20)
(the next 4 exercises are performed as a giant set)
Plate Front Raise36-8(45lb plate)
Bent Laterals36-8(20)
Side Laterals36-8(20)
Upright Row36-8(45, 55, 65)
Crunches425
Leg Raise425
Seated Twist1200
Cardio
Stairmaster60 minutes
Saturday: Cardio & AbsSets RepsWeight
Ab Machine225(110, 120, 130)
Crunches SS Leg Raise425
Seated Twist1200
Cardio
Stairmaster60 minutes

Bikini Pro at Age 50

At a Glance: Kelley Mello

Age: 50

Occupation: Licensed Aesthetician, Licensed Massage Therapist, and business owner for 18 years

Family: Boyfriend - John, stepson - Iric, and my Vizsla - Twix

Current Residence: Dartmouth, MA

Years training (total): 30 years; competing, 7 years

Height: 5'4"

Weight: Off-Season 127, Contest 116

Favorite Meal: Baked salmon, sweet potato, green beans

Favorite Supplements: UMP Chocolate, Lean Out, and Density

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Call Beverly (800-781-3475) and ask their supplement advisors to help you choose the best selections to achieve your goals.

Music: I’m old school. I love the 70’s in general, at the gym Led Zeppelin, 80’s Rock.

Most Inspiring Book: You’ll See it When You Believe It - Dr. Wayne Dyer

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Spending quality time with my family, I also love to travel, support animal shelters and practice guitar.

Words to live by: “Don’t die with your music still in you” - Dr. Wayne Dyer

 

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to stay in motion. I was involved in dance and gymnastics during my childhood. In high school I loved performing in show choir, singing in a small group or performing a duet with a classmate.

I joined my first gym at age 20 where I started lifting weights and was doing aerobics 5 days a week. From then on working out has been part of my life. I learned all that I could about exercise and purchased a lot of home workouts on video and cassette. We’re going back to the 80’s now when Bess Motta and Gilad were popular.

In my mid 20’s I came across a poster for a local fitness show. I remember going to the show by myself and loving every part of it - the music, the routines, the fit physiques, it was thrilling. The show was more of a fitness pageant than a bodybuilding event. It was definitely something I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to begin. Life went on and I never found another local event, so a seed was planted, but never pursued.

Now, fast forward 20 years. I came across an article in a fitness magazine by Tosca Reno. She was in her early fifties and getting ready for a bikini fitness competition. I had to know more! I set out to learn all I could about Tosca and about Bikini competition. In my research I found that one of these contests was being held right in my area. Right there and then I entered my first show. I had no idea about diet or posing, but I learned all that I could from the internet and winged the rest. I was still such a novice at age 44. I placed 6th at the OCB Spirit of America. It was a great learning experience. I entered a couple more OCB events and still no top 5 placing - the bottom line was that I just wasn’t getting lean enough.

Competitors are always talking back stage and that’s when I got introduced to the Beverly International product line by a woman whom I was competing with. At the OCB Cape Cod Natural, I had my hopes on at least placing. But to my surprise I ended up taking 1st place in Master Bikini and 5th place in Novice Bikini and received my Pro Card in Bikini Masters to boot. I’ll never forget the ride home that evening, what a great feeling. Since becoming a Pro, I have taken 4th place in the WNBF Monster Mash in 2016 and 2nd place in 2017 OCB Battle of the Gods.

In Closing

You can’t go into a show thinking that if you have the best body you’re going home with the hardware. That’s only half the battle. Proper posing and presentation is crucial. Practice and then practice some more. When practicing at home video yourself as you perform your routine. (I keep an old suit for posing practice.) There are plenty of videos on YouTube to get started with the basics. Take the time to develop your own style, get yourself noticed and grab the judge’s attention.

These past few years have been a dream come true for me. It’s so much work and dedication but when it’s in your blood you don’t mind the sacrifice. One thing I have learned through this journey of competitive fitness is that the judging at the shows can vary from show to show. You can have no placement in one show, then the next week compete again and place top 3. Always contact the judges after a show for feedback. The most important thing is to do everything (diet, workouts, cardio, presentation) to the best of your ability so that when you’re on stage you’ll know you gave it all you got. Make friends, have a good time and support one another.

You’ll find my pre contest diet plan and one of my favorite workout schedules accompanying this article. Give them a try for at least 6 weeks and see if you don’t achieve your best ever bikini physique.

Pre Contest Diet and Supplement Plan

My diet may change a little as the competition nears but this is a typical day of eating during contest prep. I drink 1 gallon of water with lemon daily.
 

Pre workout: 1 protein waffle with peanut butter

Meal 1: 3 egg whites topped with some hot sauce, a bowl of steel cut oats with cinnamon and blueberries

Meal 2: 1 scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein shake, 1 plain rice cake with avocado

Meal 3: large salad – albacore tuna, 2 hardboiled eggs, 1 cup spinach, bell peppers, cucumber, balsamic vinegar

Meal 4: 4 egg whites and 1 plain rice cake

Meal 5: 3oz chicken seasoned with Mrs. Dash, 1 small sweet potato

Meal 6: 1 scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein shake

Supplements

Lean Out: 2 capsules with meals (1, 3, & 5)

7-Keto MuscLean: 2 capsules with meals (1, 3, & 5)

Quadracarn: 3 tablets before bed

UMP (Chocolate usually): meals (2 & 6)

Workout & Cardio Plan

 

The first 2 sets for each muscle group are warmups. Super set each pair of exercises listed below. Example: Smith Machine Squats superset with Stiff-Leg DB Deadlift, etc.

Monday: LegsSets Reps
Smith Machine Squats510-12
Stiff-Leg DB Deadlift510-12
Romanian Split Squats510-12
Barbell Good Mornings510-12
Hip Thrusts Weighted515-20
Lying Leg Curl510-12
Tuesday: Shoulders & AbsSets Reps
DB Press510-12
Trunk Curl and Crunch520
Lateral DB Raises512-15
Bicycle Crunch520
Front DB Raise512-15
V Ups520
Assisted Pull Ups1Failure
Wednesday: Back & Biceps Sets Reps
Seated Pulley Rows510-15
DB Bicep Curls510-12
Overhead DB Pullover510-12
EZ Bar Wide Grip Curls510-12
Close Grip Pull Downs510-15
Incline DB Curls58-12
Assisted Pull Ups1Failure
Thursday: Chest & TricepsSets Reps
Flat DB Bench Press510-12
Lying EZ bar Extensions510-12
Incline DB Press510-12
Close Grip DB Press510-12
Standing Cable Crossover510-12
Rope Extensions510-12
Friday: LegsSets Reps
Leg Press510-12
Leg Curls510-12
Seated Leg Extensions510-12
DB Stiff Leg Deadlift510-12
Seated Abduction510-12
Cable Kick Backs510-12
Walking DB Lunges320

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Active rest day. I choose between Vinyasa Yoga, corrective stretching, or walking.

Cardio Schedule:

Off Season: I typically do HIIT 3x per week for 20 minutes either on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Contest Prep: I do cardio 5-6 times per week. 3 days HIIT for 20 minutes, and 2-3 days steady state 30 minutes. I like to do my cardio after my weight training.

Striking a Balance

At a Glance: Johnny Dotson

Age: 31

Occupation: Army Social Worker Officer, United States Army

Current Residence: San Antonio, TX

Years training: 3.5 years

Height: 5'5"

Weight: Off Season 167, Contest 152

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Grilled chicken breast, sweet potatoes, raw spinach & avocado

Favorite Beverly supplement: Muscle Synergy. I use Muscle Synergy twice a day during contest prep. The pumps are insane and beyond any other supplement I’ve tried in the past. I look harder and fuller. I appreciate the size of the canister as I’m able to travel with my supplements without taking up too much space in my luggage.

Favorite Music: I create playlists from different genres and artists. Some of my favorites are J. Cole, Young Jeezy, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar and Sia!

Most inspiring Book: Hillbilly Elegy: A memoir of a Family and culture in Crisis.

Hobbies or Interest outside bodybuilding: I enjoy rollercoasters, beach volleyball, jet skis, sight-seeing and buying sneakers to add to my collection.

Words to live by: Dream big, work hard, make it happen!

 

I started competing 3.5 years ago at the urging of a friend. I was no stranger to exercise. My senior year in high school I ran lead off on the South Carolina state champion 4x100 meter relay team. And as a soldier in the Army, I continued to maintain a high level of physical fitness. One day while exercising in the gym, a stranger came up and asked me if I competed. My answer was “no”, in fact I had no idea what he was even talking about. He went on to explain a little bit about it and suggested that I could be great in the Mens Physique division.

After doing some research, I decided to give it a shot. Mens Physique seemed like the way to go. It would be an easier transition into the competition world than trying to be a top bodybuilder right off the bat. My symmetry was decent, but I’d need to focus on building muscle and getting into top condition to be successful. Over the next 3 years I continued to improve as I entered the world of competition. Last year I won a major title! Athletes from the U.S., England, Canada, and the Cayman Islands competed for the Drug Free Athlete’s Coalition World Titles and I won the Professional Mens Athletic division. This division is judged on three elements – muscularity, symmetry, and presentation - kind of a hybrid between the mens physique and classic physique categories.

I’ll get into my preparation for this show in a minute, but first I want to tell you a little about my Army career. I always knew I was going to be a Soldier, even from an early age. It wasn’t a family tradition; no one in my family before me had served. I take the utmost pride in being a Soldier. A little known fact is that less than 1% of the nation’s population serves in the U.S. Army. Every morning I wake up feeling as though I have specific tasks to complete. Some are easy, and some are hard, but I give 100% to each. When my day has concluded, I know that I have done my best for the Army and myself.

In Closing

In addition to being an active duty Soldier, I am a full- time student in the Army-University of Kentucky Master of Social Work Program. I’ve completed my academic requirements for the degree and am now working toward completing the required practicum hours. Nonetheless, I plan to continue competing, striking a balance with my Army career.

My Pre-Contest Diet

It usually takes me 12 weeks to fully prepare for a competition. I have to watch my diet closely and stay disciplined to eat my meals on a regular schedule and make sure not to eat too much or too little. I keep accurate records of my weight and body fat and use the BodPod to make sure I’m losing fat and not muscle. Here’s a sample of my daily pre-contest diet.

 

0600: Fasted Cardio on the Stairmaster for 30 mins, then 1 scoop of Muscle Synergy to ensure I preserve muscle

Meal 1: 5oz grilled chicken, 4oz sweet potatoes, bowl of spinach leaves

Meal 2: Protein Shake

Meal 3: 5oz grilled chicken, 4oz sweet potatoes, bowl of spinach leaves

Meal 4: 5oz grilled chicken, 4oz sweet potatoes, bowl of spinach leaves

Evening Workout:
1 scoop of Muscle Synergy,
1 scoop of Creatine Select

Meal 5: 5oz grilled chicken, 4oz sweet potatoes, bowl of spinach leaves

 

Supplements

I was first introduced to Beverly International products by a mentor and fellow competitor. I didn’t just take his word, I conducted some personal research to find out all I could about the company and products. The more I learned, the more convinced I was that Beverly was a company which was aligned with my personal values and their products would take me to the next level.

The product I like the best is Muscle Synergy powder. I recommend that all natural novice and veteran competitors should invest in Muscle Synergy. It yields phenomenal gains in muscle size and strength. With Muscle Synergy I packed on 5 pounds of lean muscle in 3 months while losing 6% body fat (BodPod measurement). In addition, I have seen amazing improvements in my physique. Moreover, my strength has increased drastically. I am lifting heavier than ever and am more motivated to go to the gym.

My Pre-Contest Training

 

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday: LegsSets Reps
Squat512
Goblet Squat420
Stiff Leg Deadlift415
Hamstring Curls415
Leg Extensions415
Leg Press520
Tuesday: Chest, TricepsSets Reps
Bench Press515
Incline Bench Press410
Machine Pec Deck415
Dumbbell Flyes415
Triceps Pushdown425
Triceps Dips410
Push Ups50 total
Wednesday: BackSets Reps
Deadlifts512-15
Lat Pulldowns412
Close-grip Pulldown412
Barbell Shrugs410
One-arm Cable Row410
One-arm Hammer Row410
Thursday: ShouldersSets Reps
Lateral Raise515
Bent-over Rows412
One-arm Cable Laterals410
Dumbbell Press410
Barbell Shoulder Press410
Friday: Triceps, Biceps, Abs Sets Reps
Triceps Pressdowns420
Triceps Pulldown420
Triceps Dips410
Dumbbell Curl410
Preacher Curl410
Cable Curl410
Hanging Leg Raises210
Crunches225
Saturday: HIITSets Reps
Stairmaster30 min
Jacobs Ladder5 min
Run1 mile

Cardio & Presentation

In addition to my Saturday HIIT workout, I try to get in 4 or 5 mornings of fasted cardio on the StairMaster.

Two nights a week I focus on posing and practicing my routine. I make sure I record myself weekly to assess my progress and see what I need to adjust.

Safe Haven – How Bodybuilding Saved My Life

My bodybuilding journey began late in life. I was 38. Below, my daughter goes into detail about my life’s journey and how the course of events, shortened the competition chapter of my life. When I was no longer able to compete, I enjoyed the bodybuilding world through my “bodybuilding” family. Since 2003, I have helped them prep for shows (posing, tanning, planning for the events, etc.). In 2007 my daughter, Cydney joined our bodybuilding family which added even more joy to my life. Cydney in now Ms Figure Olympia for the past two years. Once I entered the bodybuilding world, I never left- couldn’t leave. I realized this is the world I loved! Cyd takes it from here.

Superficial is a word that comes to the minds of many individuals who hear the word bodybuilding. But, those who do not seriously compete will never know the true impact that bodybuilding can have on one’s life, an impact so strong that lives change.

At the age of 34, my mom, Tangelea found herself extremely unhappy and overweight. She had become sedentary and desk bound by her job as an architect. As she saw the pounds mounting up on her 5 foot 1 inch frame, she knew something had to change, but she did not know where to start. One day she and her husband stumbled across Bill Phillips’ twelve-week, Body For Life program. They both embarked on the program and Tangelea went from a size 16 to a size 8. Her health journey had begun.

In 2001, Tangelea entered her first bodybuilding competition by a fluke. She had no desire to compete but made a deal with one of her husband’s personal training clients – “I’ll get on stage if you do.” Then the client pulled out of the contest, but Tangelea, despite being very scared about going it alone, decided to honor her word and enter the contest. She placed last in that show but her fire was lit. She was determined to be her best and one of the first obstacles she had to overcome was her natural shyness. Standing onstage, in front of strangers, preparing herself to be judged, was a leap for which she would need to be prepared.

Over the next two years Tangelea made steady improvements and began winning almost every show she competed in. Then she had to put what had become her new found joy on hold. At 40 years old, Tangelea was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was preparing for her next bodybuilding competition. Cancer was not going to stop her. She told the doctor to “wait on the surgery because I have a show coming up.” It was unknown if she would be able to ever compete again. She did not want the months dedicated to this one day, stripped from her because of a disease that no one could control. She took fate into her own hands, stepped on stage at the Atlanta SNBF (Supernatural Bodybuilding and Fitness) organization show, and won every category she entered. She earned an 8-foot spear trophy that she used to symbolically fight her condition.

Tangelea feels that “bodybuilding saved her life.” Without being in the physical condition she was in prior to competition, she would have never seen the lump that had formed on the side of her breast. Without bodybuilding, she would still be the meek, young girl who was too shy to eat in public; without bodybuilding, she would not have known how mentally and physically strong she was; without this sport, she would not be the woman she is today. Ten years later, Tangelea stepped back on stage to the tune of “Woman on Fire” by Alicia Keys, and that she was.

In 2013, I started competing again after taking 10 years off. There had been a revolution in physique competitions, new divisions and a new level of conditioning. As an amateur I was accustomed to winning or placing in the top 3 of every show, winning over women my age and much younger. As a Natural pro, and being 56, I find myself losing more often than winning. Age and being a woman has made it very difficult to truly lean out. I now have to work harder and smarter during every prep, dieting from 5 or more months out. With that being said, I am on a mission in 2019. I plan on bringing my best physique to the stage this year. This new body will be better than my best physique in 2003 where I placed 2nd at the NPC Georgia and won every bodybuilding category at the SNBF show including the overall (my last show). It is a challenge; the journey bitter-sweet; however, I won’t stop until I achieve my personal goals.

Contest Prep

Diet: I have used the “16 week out” up to the “4 weeks out” meal plans and the “final prep week” from Beverly with great success (see training and diet plans on the following 3 pages). A couple of years ago I decided to try counting macros. Loved the flexibility but hated measuring everything I ate. This year I combined the macros and the last four weeks from Beverly’s program. When in prep, I usually prepare all my meals for the day. This decreases my stress. I know I get tired as the day progresses, so there’s one less thing to worry about.

Supplements: I use Density, EFA Gold and Lean Out year round, regardless of whether I am in contest prep mode or not. This year I have added in my old staples, Mass Aminos and Ultra 40. When I started using Beverly products in 2003, Mass and Ultra 40 allowed me to maintain muscle while I got leaner. Prior to that time, when I did not use Mass and Ultra 40, I would get leaner and leaner from my diet, but also smaller and smaller. Other supplements I rely on during contest prep are Muscularity, 7-Keto MuscLean, Quadracarn, UMP (graham cracker, vanilla, chocolate, cookies & crème, and strawberry).

I divide out all my supplements for the day (including protein shakes) into sandwich bags. That way, regardless of what happens during the day, I have what I need. I also carry water and usually an emergency protein bar in case I don’t get a chance to eat a scheduled meal (off season only).

Cardio: I find that morning cardio works best for me. I prefer intervals, normally on an incline (up to level 15 on my treadmill). I also do steady state at a fast pace to help with my glutes. Off season, I try to get in 2-3 times a week for 15 – 20 minutes. (Muscle has memory, cardio does not.) I increase time, days per week, and intensity as a contest approaches.

This year my daughter Cyd, had me implement her cardio regimen. She explained that I had to do different types of cardio, since I have been training for so long, my body had just stopped responding. I did a lot more HIIT than I would do on my own. She also got me away from relying on the treadmill incorporating battle ropes (which I hate), stair master, bike, arc trainer, elliptical and rowing machines.

Training: Pre contest I work my entire body twice a week (over 8 days), 3 days on, rest, 3 days on, rest (see sidebar). Day 1- Chest and Arms, Day 2- Legs (Quads and Calves), Day 3- Back and Shoulders; the routine is the same during the next 3-day cycle except on Day 2 (Legs) I focus on Hams and Glutes, rather than Quads. I don’t use momentum to get the weight up. In fact, I slow my cadence so that that the reps are harder.

This off season, I decided to work 1 body part a day (except arms which are usually biceps and triceps together), working out 1.5 hours on most days and 2 hours on leg days (focusing on my glutes).

Conclusion

Bodybuilding, I embrace the journey. You can never truly “lose” when you prepare for a show and have the right mindset. I always say building the body is art and science in sync; the fountain of youth; the way to staying healthy and fit. It is a lifestyle.

Sample 3 Days On – 1 Day Off Workout Routine

Goal: To improve your muscularity, muscle tone, and separation while developing an athletic looking physique.

Progression: After a warm-up, use the same weight for all sets of an exercise. Start at the low end of the suggested rep range. Gradually increase the repetitions, usually adding one rep each workout until you reach the top number of suggested reps for each set of a particular exercise. Then add weight and start over at the lower end of the rep scheme.

Use as much weight as you can with perfect form for the target amount of reps. If you can do more reps than the target on your last set, add weight. If you can't get at least the lower recommend amount of reps, then lighten the weight slightly. Go pretty quick between sets. You should not rest more than 90 seconds between sets.

 

Day Four and Eight: Rest, Day Nine: Start over at Day 1

Day One: Chest and ArmsSets Reps
Incline DB Press46-10
Flat Dumbbell Press48-12
Pec Deck38-12
Barbell or EZ Curl36-10
Incline DB Curl38-12
Concentration Curl210-12
Close Grip Bench Press36-10
Triceps Pushdown38-12
Lying Triceps Extension38-12
Abs (use any variety of exercises you want)825-50
Day Two: Legs (Quads and Calves)Sets Reps
Leg Press310-15
Squats38-12
Hack Squat Machine*310-15
Stiff-Legged Deadlift310-12
Leg Extensions312-15
Calf Raises615 reps on any
combination of
machines

* do the Hack Squats as One and One Half Reps. This means go all the way down below parallel with your quads, then come half way up, then all the way back down, and then all the way up. This equals 1 repetition.

Day Three: Back and ShouldersSets Reps
One Arm DB Row38-10
Pulldowns38-12
Seated Cable Row38-12
Straight-Arm Pulldowns310-12
Shoulder Press36-10
Upright Row38-10
Lateral Raise310-12
Bent Over Laterals310-12
Abs (do tougher exercises than Day 1)
615-25 reps
Day Five: Chest and Arms
(same as Day 1)
Sets Reps
Incline DB Press46-10
Flat Dumbbell Press48-12
Pec Deck38-12
Barbell or EZ Curl36-10
Incline DB Curl38-12
Concentration Curl210-12
Close Grip Bench Press36-10
Triceps Pushdown38-12
Lying Triceps Extension38-12
Abs (use any variety of exercises you want)825-50
Day Six: Legs
(Hamstring and Glutes emphasis)
Sets Reps
Romanian Dead Lift
(superset with next exercise)
310-15
Wide Leg Press310-15
Leg Curl
(superset with next exercise)
36-8
Walking Lunge312-15 steps with each foot
Leg Extension (superset with next exercise)312-15
Smith Machine Squat310-12 (non-lock)
Calf Raises615 reps on any combination of machines
Day Seven: Back and Shoulders
(same as Day 3)
Sets Reps
One Arm DB Row38-10
Pulldowns38-12
Seated Cable Row38-12
Straight-Arm Pulldowns310-12
Shoulder Press36-10
Upright Row38-10
Lateral Raise310-12
Bent Over Laterals310-12
Abs (do tougher exercises than Day 1)
615-25 reps

Cardio: The best times to do your cardio are in the mornings, after your weight training, or in the evening before bed.

Bonus Exercises: It is very beneficial for the Figure Competitor to perform push-ups and chins as often as possible. It can be as part of your cardio, interspersed throughout the day, or at the end of your workout. To progress - just try to go for a greater cumulative number each week. If you do ten pushups at the end of each of your workouts the first time though, that’s 60 cumulative reps; next week – beat that total. On chins you might start as low as 3 per day. (It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.)

Diets and Supplement Programs at 16 Weeks Out

 
16 Weeks Out Diet:
It’s okay to adjust portions or add or decrease a meal as needed to maintain progress. Do not worry about the particular order of your meals, if you want to eat Meal 1 as your last meal of the day, go ahead, it’s OK. Just make sure that you eat something or have a protein shake about every three hours.

 

Diet Program at 16 Weeks Out

Meal #1: 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites, 3oz very lean meat, 1/2 cup oatmeal - before cooking

Meal #2: (Choose one option)

Option A: Protein Drink with two scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, one tablespoon healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy cream.

Option B: 1 can tuna, one small apple or orange

Meal #3: 5oz lean meat (chicken or other lean protein source), 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or 4oz sweet potato, 1 cup vegetables (broccoli, etc.) or 2 cups green salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Meal #4: Two scoops Muscle Provider in 12-16 oz water

Meal #5: 6oz salmon or very lean meat (chicken breast, fish, turkey breast, lean beef - sirloin, filet, etc), 1 cup low carb vegetables, salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Meal #6: (This is an option if you reduce meal #4 to one scoop protein; you add meal #6 below. Which is better? – Whatever works better for you.)

Option A: Protein Shake or Pudding: 1 Scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein, add enough water to make a shake or pudding the consistency you desire

Option B: 6 egg whites with 1 cup of vegetables

Supplement Program at 16 Weeks Out

Take 2 FitTabs and 3 EFA Gold at meals 1 and 5.

Take 2 Mass Aminos and 2 Ultra 40 with each meal.

Take 2 Density (and/or 2 Muscularity) and 1 Lean Out with each meal listed above. (Lean Out is the most important supplement you can take with this nutritional plan if your primary goal is to lose fat. Lean Out helps your body burn stored fats, not your hard-earned lean muscle.)

 

Optional
Glutamine Select – take 1-2 scoops during training to preserve muscle during precontest dieting.

ZMA 2000 – 2 capsules before bed to aid recovery and sleep.

If you have any questions about Beverly supplements be sure to call them at 1-800-781-3475. The Beverly Team will help you get the best results possible.

Final Four Weeks Out Diet for Maximum Fat Loss

 

Diet Program at 4 Weeks Out

Meal #1: 3oz chicken breast or turkey breast, three egg whites, one-half grapefruit.

Meal #2: (Choose one option)

Option (A): Protein Drink with one scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider, one teaspoon healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter).

Option (B): Three and one-half ounces chicken breast or tuna, three egg whites, one tomato.

Meal #3: 5oz chicken breast, two cups salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, green peppers, etc.) or two cups low carb vegetables, one tablespoon “Newman’s Own” dressing ( or make your own with one tablespoon cider vinegar and one tablespoon olive oil).

Meal #4: Protein Drink with one scoop Ultimate Muscle Protein or Muscle Provider and water. If this is the meal preceding or just after training, Muscle Provider is the optimal protein at this time.

Meal #5: 5oz chicken breast, turkey breast or 96% lean beef, two cups low carb vegetables or salad.

Monday and Thursday:
Substitute the following for your 5th meal at the end of the day:

  • 3/4 cup oatmeal, or 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 5oz sweet potato
  • 4oz banana
  • 1 cup vegetables
  • 1 tbsp butter or almond butter

Supplement Program at 4 Weeks Out

Meal 1: Super Pak

Meal 1 & 5: 3 EFA Gold

Each meal: 2 Density, 2 Muscularity, 2 Lean Out, and 1 Energy Reserve

Training: 2 scoops Glutamine Select plus BCAAs

 

7-Keto MuscLean: 3 capsules upon arising and 3 capsules mid afternoon

(Optional) GH Factor: 6 capsules immediately upon arising and six more before bed (or if you eat right before bed, take six GH Factor thirty minutes prior to your last meal.

GH Factor is ideal if you’ve hit a fat loss plateau. Especially valuable for stubborn thigh and abdominal fat. You’ll take six capsules upon arising and six more before retiring.

Hero or Super-hero?

 

This sport does not care that you have a funeral to attend,” answers Truman Ward to my question asking what it takes to be a champion. “It does not give a d@mn that you have a bad lower back. It doesn't care that you were up until midnight helping your twelve-year old with some really hard math homework. It is not concerned with the fact that you work sixteen hours out in the hot sun and then you still have got to go to the gym and nail out squats. All it cares is that you are prepared to put in no less than 100% in everything you are going to do concerning diet, concerning rest, concerning your workouts, concerning your prep, concerning your food intake and when you eat it. If you decide to give just 90% and you have people on stage to your left or right who gave 100%, then you best believe you will (at best) go home with a fifth or sixth placing. For some people that might be okay, but for a champion, that isn't!”

For Truman, he obviously fits the definition of champion. I spoke to him a few days after he won the Men's Physique class at the NPC Lenda Murray. This was the first in two recent (July 2018) contests. “My goal was to compete in that show and place (or win) so that I could qualify and compete this Friday for my IFBB card,” he says. “I want to be able to earn my IFBB card naturally. Not saying that no one else is...but I for sure will be a natty competitor!”

The (Superhero) Lifestyle

Part of his thinking may have come from his childhood. While visiting the grocery store with his mother, Truman's eyes were drawn to Amazing Spider-Man issue #21, in which a humble, yet heroic, young-in-his-twenties hero named Peter Parker takes the step forward to marry his girlfriend Mary Jane. Truman became hooked on comic books from that point on, driven by his two favorites, Spider-Man and Wolverine before the guys on the muscle-mag covers joined his reading list. Wisely, his reading list still includes comic books, even after adding bodybuilding, nutrition and engineering studies to his page-stack.

His comic book fandom revealed itself as I interviewed him. His driven athletic mindset is similar to the replies that Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine or Superman would share in their text-bubbles, placing strong integrity in the difficult situations and challenges we all have in life.

Truman serves the U.S. Army as a warrant officer and specializes in welding and machining and maintenance. Starting out as a private in 1993, with welding being a major part of his tasks, he wanted to elevate his role, so finished his degree in order to create a long-term career for our government.

“My first duty as an officer was to work in Anchorage, Alaska, which didn't excite me,” says Truman. “It was cold and I didn't want it. The Army didn't care what I wanted, it was based on what it needed and it sent me to Alaska.” While he had been serious about strength training before moving there, he joined a local gym that had a very serious group of prominent lifters including national-level and some IFBB and Natural pro bodybuilders...men and women. This drove him to take things to a higher, more serious level.

“One of my buddies dragged me out to this nightclub, called Chilkoot Charlie's, something of a famous historical icon in Anchorage. While there, I saw the most beautiful female I have ever seen in my life, standing across the room...but she had a crowd of dudes around her, and I had too much self-respect to go over and say anything to her. Eventually, she tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was following her. We got married just a few months after!”

LaRita was obviously the Mary Jane to his Peter Parker or the Lois Lane to his Clark Kent. Her athletic background was as a basketball player and coach. She had well-developed muscular legs, but not a female fitness/gym background at that time.

“I got into my first NPC show (the Crystal Cup) and she helped me backstage,” Truman says. “She was looking at a lot of the female competitors and making comments that she felt confident that she already could have beaten some of them. It kind of offended me because some of those female competitors were my buddies and she didn't realize that. So I said, 'How about you get into a competition if it's that easy?' The next month she did, and won first place overall!”

For Truman and LaRita, bodybuilding has become a central aspect of their family lifestyle, including their twelve-year old daughter, Ravenna. “My daughter will be in the audience. Once we get off stage from pre-judging, we come back, and ask her what she thinks. She knows about first-callouts, about being moved out to the left or right or being moved to center stage. She understands the criteria for every category there is, whether it is men's bodybuilding, men's physique, sports model, women's figure, women's physique. She has even helped coach some of the females that my wife is coaching for their competition. She knows posing, how to walk, the diet. She understands peak week.” The three of them are starting to make me think of a gym/comic book version of the Fantastic Four (but we might need to add a robot that can spot on incline press and squats to match the same number).

“I love (and always will love) working out, and sculpting my physique the way I want it to look,” says Truman. “It is lucky that the way I want it to look is currently the same thing that the judges are looking for. Everything I was doing in the gym is validated when I am handed the first-place trophy or pro card by seven judges who all apparently think in the same terms that I thought. Now if they didn't think that that was how my physique was supposed to be and I placed lower, I wouldn't so much care, because there is no trophy on the planet that compares to how I think first. The trophy is just a bonus.”

Super (-Villan Fighting) Nutrition

During the off-season, because of his super-hero-like metabolism, Truman has to consume around 5,500 calories daily, packing in a great deal of food (mostly clean). This allows him to compete looking hard, big and dry. Every two days, he will have a cheat meal. “This may consist of a four-patty burger with fries or a fully-loaded burrito with a little bit of cheese and sour cream...” says Truman. “Just something to spike the glycogen and keep being able to build muscle.”

“The reason a number of lifters are not successful on stage is because of one of two reasons,” says Truman, “They are in such a deficit the whole year-round that they cannot actually build any real muscle. I think that women sometimes fall into this category. And then when they prep, they lose much of the muscle that they already had.”

“Then,” Truman says, “you have the opposite, a group that feels that they need to bulk-up during the off-season. For example, imagine a bodybuilder at 5'10 that weighed 265. He believes he had to just drop down to 240 to be shredded. He diets to 240 and there’s still not even one ab muscle. Then he drops to 220, but still doesn't have any abs, so he has to drop to 210. He finally realizes that he built a lot more fat than muscle. The faster you are dropping fat, the faster you are dropping muscle, so it is best to keep weight gains moderate in the offseason.”

Truman's pre-contest period starts at roughly three-months out. He doesn't lower calories for any longer than that since he does not want to risk losing muscle. While he may be as high as 240 in his off-season, he needs to be around 205 (207 tops) on stage. “If I were to drop from 240 to 220-pounds but I still have three or four months left...I would be the guy getting last call-outs, at 180 pounds. But at 210, I'd be the guy getting my hand raised for first-place.”

His post-contest re-feed is a slow-paced, moderate strategy. “I don't have a psychological fixation that I need to have cheeseburgers and pizza. When I am done with a show, I will go and have one nice cheat meal, maybe loaded nachos. If I don't have another contest planned for a number of months, I will still go back to prepping seven meals a day, eating healthy. But I may add some cheese to things or some wheat- honey bread and have a few tablespoons of ice cream a few times a week. I may have some pizza every once in a blue moon. But mostly it is fairly strict regardless of having chosen a contest yet.”

As you can see on Truman's Typical Pre Contest Meal Plan accompanying this article, supplements are a regular part of his nutrition intake. His wife LaRita discovered Beverly International online. “We were researching different creatine and protein powders and came across Beverly International. We tried them and they have been getting us first places on-stage ever since.” Some of his favorite supplements include Mass Amino Acids, Joint Care, Glutamine Select and Muscle Synergy. “Synergy helps muscle recovery, fullness, hydration of the muscle, and the healing process, because you are not actually growing muscle in the gym, but breaking them down. Amino acids help you restore all the muscle you have broken down in the gym,” says Truman. His Marvel Comics upbringing again reveals itself as he mentions that Beverly International nutrient intake will help provide “that cartoonish physique you want...thick pecs, boulder shoulders, that lean tone look. For natural bodybuilding, they are easily the top company for supplements and nutrition.”

[LEGAL MESSAGE: Beverly International products do not contain even low-levels of gamma radiation that helped build Bruce Banner's Hulk- like physique or the experimental serum that was tested upon Steve “Captain America” Reeves to boost his athletic abilities, as those have not been passed by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, neither of those components is accepted in natural bodybuilding contests.]

 

(Avenger) Training

Truman's training philosophy is very similar to the Bruce Wayne method to maximal physical condition. A great example is that in each year, he takes a single week off (such as Christmas week or when doing some travel for work). His main focus is on large body parts, such as his back and legs. Chest (a naturally strong part for Tru) and shoulders are hit once a week. With arms, he may go two months without directly training them due to their genetic growth. “I just have to walk past weights and my arms get huge,” says Truman, revealing yet another super-power.

“I generally do 4-6 sets per exercise with at least one drop set or a burnout set to failure. Some will argue that this can cause adrenal fatigue or is taxing on the nervous system, but my body is used to the intensity, I love it. My goal for every workout: to have an “out of body experience” pain level.”

“I don’t do cardio till the month before a show, usually 45 minutes steady state x 4 sessions a week (bike or incline walk).”

A gym role-model for Truman is Mike “The Titan” O'Hearn, American Gladiators TV celebrity, super-hero-like actor and natural bodybuilding and powerlifting champion. The two have met on three different occasions. “Not only do I try to emulate his theories regarding training, but also his mindset,” says Truman. “He has the thickest, aesthetic, symmetrically-pleasing physique. When I talk about super-heroes, that dude somehow seems to have gotten ahold of the secret soldier serum (from Captain America's origin) and he actually gets better with age. I certainly attempt to follow in his footsteps.”

In his future, forty-four year old champion Truman Ward plans to continue as a competitor, eventually entering masters-level contests. “At some point, I am going to be 50, and at some point I'm going to be 55.” He will be training as long as he physically can, but at a certain point it is going to be more important for him to focus just on his health. “My physique will always be important to me, but will it be good for a judge?”

Don't worry, Truman. Superman and Batman have been around for eighty years and Spider- man has been around for fifty years, and they still look like they are in their twenties or thirties...it is all about letting your super-heroic abilities continue!

Training  Schedule

 

Saturday: Off

Monday: Back/Calves

Calves: 150-200 reps total (in sets of 25, usually standing)
Lat Pulldowns: 5x15
Single-arm Rows: 4x12
Close-grip Cable Row: 4x12
Wide Single-grip Pulldowns: on separate cables 3x8
DB Pullovers: 3x12

Tuesday: Chest/Calves

Calves: 150-200 reps (Sets of 25, usually standing)
Hammer Strength Incline Press: 5x10
Incline Smith Machine Press: 5x12
Single-arm DB Press: 4x8
Cable Flyes: 4x12-15

Wednesday: Legs

Leg Extension: 4x30
Leg Press: 8x10, 1x25
Squats: 5x10-12
Leg Curl: 4x10
Adductor Machine: 4x25

Thursday: Shoulders/Traps

Shrugs: 100 reps total
Smith Shoulder Press: 5x10-12 Single-arm Shoulder Press: 3x8 Superset:
DB Lateral Raises: 4x15
Front Raises: 4x15
Bent-over Lateral Raises: 6x12

Friday: Back/Calves

Calves: 150-200 reps (Sets of 25, usually standing)
Pullups: 5x10
Reverse-grip Row: 4x12-15
Machine Row: 4x15
Hammer Strength Row: alternating singles 4x30

Sunday: Arms

Standing Cable Curls: 6x10
Single-arm Machine Curls: 5x12
DB Hammer Curl: alternating 4x20
Tricep Dips: 4x15
Single Cable Pushdowns: 4x12
Rope Extension: 4x15

Tru Ward’s Typical Pre-Contest Meal Plan

 

Meal 1: 3 whole eggs, one cup of egg whites, 1 cup oats

Meal 2 (usually preworkout): 8oz chicken, 10oz sweet potatoes

Meal 3: 8oz chicken breast, 10oz rice, greens

Meal 4: 8oz tilapia, 10oz rice, veggies, 24 almonds

Meal 5: 8oz tilapia, 10oz sweet potatoes, spinach

Meal 6: 2 scoops UMP, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, one cup oats (post workout)

Meal 7: 8oz ground turkey patty, Ezekiel toast, and Dijon

I generally like eating 30 minutes before my workout and again 10 to 15 minutes after I work out. With my metabolism, I lose weight extremely fast so it’s essential I get in calories right after I train to keep from going into a catabolic state.

Supplements

FitTabs 4 tablets in the morning

EFA Gold 3 gel caps each morning

Joint Care 4 capsules each morning (I think this has really helped on heavy squat days)

Mass Amino Acids 4 tablets before and 4 after each workout

Creatine Select 1 scoop before training

Muscle Synergy 8 tablets in the morning and 8 before training

A Life Changing Accident Blessing!

At a Glance: Jennifer Cook

Age: 42

Occupation: Sr Account Sales Manager at Wise Snacks

Family: Married almost 2 years and 2 children

Current Residence: Massapequa Park, NY

Training (total): Joined my first Gold’s Gym at 20 years old, first Women’s body building show in 2001 at 24 years old as a middle weight

Height: 5'4"

Weight: Off-Season 145-165lb, Contest 137lb

Favorite Bodybuilding or Fitness Meal: Steamed chicken and white rice

Favorite Supplements: UMP Angel Food Cake is my absolute favorite. UMP is so versatile and has so many flavor options. When I am not in prep, one of my favorites is rainbow sprinkles in my angel food cake shake.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? UMP for sure!!!

Music: 90’s rap

Most Inspiring Book: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Doing anything with my family. We love to travel when we can. We love Lake George, NY- we were married there in 2017.

Words to live by: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.”

I never would have thought that being hit by a car at 20 years old would be a blessing in my life. It was a sunny January afternoon in 1997 when I was crossing the street from my office to the post office as I did most days, but this day was different. A car ran a stop sign and hit me head on in the crosswalk. The car stayed at the scene thankfully and called 911. At the hospital, I found out that I would need reconstructive surgery for my knee. I had to go into physical therapy for almost 4 months to build enough muscle to even have the surgery. The doctors told me after the surgery I would have tremendous atrophy in my leg and needed to build  it up as much as possible before the surgery. They were right. I looked like a peg-legged pirate after surgery with one leg down to the bone and the other with normal muscle tone.

Something changed forever in my life during the 6 months I spent in post- surgery physical therapy. You see as a child I was tormented for my weight all through school, especially in junior high. I didn’t know how to eat healthy or exercise so I just stopped eating. I was so embarrassed and ashamed of the way I looked.

When I started to lift weights for physical therapy, I started to see my body change. I felt healthier and stronger. After being someone who battled weight gain my whole life while using unsafe methods to lose weight including anorexia and bulimia, I finally saw things differently. I decided to join a gym after I completed my therapy. I started to read Muscle & Fitness and Oxygen to learn new exercises and nutritional plans. I was teaching myself how to be healthy.

Four years later I was on stage at the 2001 NPC NY Metropolitans in NYC as a middle weight bodybuilder. I went from a girl who was ashamed to wear a dress to a woman who was proud of her physique and not ashamed to be in front of a theater full of people. That was it. I was hooked on the lifestyle. I continued to train but did not compete again for many years. I took time away from the gym and had 2 beautiful kids Justin (2007) and Madison (2009).

In 2013, I was finally able to join a gym again. Two years later an amazing thing  happened as I was prepping for my first NPC Figure show. A few weeks into my prep I met a guy on the bicep curl machine and we started chatting about competing and training. About 4 months later I was onstage at the NPC Metropolitans and that guy who I was chatting with became my fiancé. He proposed to me the night before the show. The next day I placed top 5. It was truly an amazing 24 hours.

In closing, I look forward to many more years of training and living a healthy lifestyle, and hopefully one day maybe getting to share the stage with not only my husband, but also with my kids.

Pre-Contest Meal Plan

Meal 1: UMP protein shake made with 8oz no sugar added almond milk and ice; 1 cup black coffee

Meal 2: 4oz chicken breast*, 1/2 cup white rice

Meal 3: 4oz chicken breast

Meal 4: 4oz grilled chicken, 1 cup greens of my choice, healthy fats dressing

Meal 5: UMP protein shake made with water and 1 tbsp peanut butter or 1/4 cup cashews

*I mix up my proteins - chicken, eggs, and lean beef twice a week

Supplement Schedule

7-Keto MuscLean upon arising and at noon (really helps me get going)

Super Pak with meal 1 (When I started using the Super Pak, I stopped getting sick. This is especially important when your immune system is stressed during contest prep. Winters in NY are tough and the gyms are filled with germs. Super Pak gives me all the immune defense I need.

Advanced Antioxidant with meal 3

EFA Gold with meals 3 and 4

Glutamine Select during and after my workout

My 5-Day Workout Plan

Day 1: LegsSets Reps
Squat415
Leg Press415
Leg Curl415
Lunge415-20
Leg Extension415-20
Seated Calf Raise320
Standing Calf Raise320
Day 2: Chest & AbsSets Reps
Bench Press415
Incline DB Press415
Pec Dec Flyes415
Lying Leg Raise325
Cable Crunch320
Incline Sit-ups 320
Day 3: Back & AbsSets Reps
Assisted Pull-up4Failure
1-Arm Row415
Reverse Grip PD415
Hyperextension415-20
AbsSame as Day 2Same as Day 2
Day 4: Shoulders & AbsSets Reps
DB Press 415
Lateral Raise415
Upright Row415
Bent Laterals412
AbsSame as Day 2Same as Day 2
Day 5: ArmsSets Reps
1-Arm Extension415
BB Curl415
Assisted Dips415
Incline DB Curl415
Triceps Pressdown415
Machine Curl415

Competing Again at Age 50

At a Glance: Laurie Foote

Age: 50

Occupation: Salesperson & Co-Owner at Equal Exchange- a fair trade, organic food organization; Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor

Current Residence: Doylestown, PA

Family: husband, Jeff Celia (he’s also an amazing stage manager, keeping me organized and sane on show days!)

Years training (total): 30

Height: 5'3"

Weight: Off-Season: 130, Contest: 114

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Organic grass fed beef & asparagus

Favorite Supplements: UMP is a staple; I rotate between flavors for variety, but Rocky Road is my favorite. Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean are essential precontest!

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Lean Out and 7-Keto MuscLean really helped me to jump start my fat loss; if you plan on competing, get both of them, now!

Music: 80s rock and singer-songwriter classics

Most Inspiring Book: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Gardening, going to farmer’s markets, vintage dress shopping, making cheese, mission work with my church, knitting

Words to live by: Gratitude is the cause of happiness

Contact: Email: lauriefootefitness@gmail.com, Instagram: @lauriefootefitness

 

At almost 50 years old, it wasn’t the first time I stepped onstage in a Figure competition, but it was certainly the first time I stepped onstage with a clear sense of who I really was. I last competed in my early 40s, and did pretty well, including winning Ms Natural Illinois Figure. At the time, I was a successful Real Estate Broker in Chicago, living on Michigan Avenue and enjoying philanthropic and social events in the city.

But a lot has changed over the past ten years. Depression, chronic headaches, a thyroid condition, and a failed marriage led to some serious soul searching.

So I sold my condo, gave up my business and moved to a farm in Pennsylvania where I milked goats, made cheese and yogurt, and sold my products at a local farmers’ market! At first, I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt right to be working with animals and the land. Through my contacts at the market, I eventually wound up working at an organization that partners directly with farmers to grow and market fair trade, organic products. The pieces fell into place.

My husband (who I also met at the farmers market!) and I have similar values. In addition to my work with food, I am also a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. Finally, I feel like I am working for the health of the individual (myself and those I teach and train), the community (here in my town at the YMCA, at my church, the farmers and communities my company partners with), and the earth (by growing my own food, eating organic and local when possible, and bringing fair trade, organic food to consumers).

Last Christmas, my sister Jenny, who is a triathlete, asked me if I would ever compete again. I laughed and said no; it was fun, but it was really hard! But the more I thought about it, the more fun I remember having, and the more I realized that “because it’s hard” is a really dumb reason not to do something! So, I made up my mind to compete once again. In January of 2019, I started as a “normal”, if fit, 130lb 49-year-old. I knew the hard work and dedication it takes to compete, and as a Certified Personal Trainer, I followed my own training and nutrition strategy to prepare for competition.

I have always been a natural athlete, and competed in drug-tested shows, so I knew I needed high quality, clean supplements to support my diet and training. Beverly International was the first - and only - supplement company I turned to. Beverly products are clean and natural, and their company values match mine. Unlike some supplements I had tried in the past, Beverly products made my body feel strong and healthy in a natural way. I felt good mentally and physically about what I was putting into my body, just like the foods that were now part of my everyday diet. Beverly products have become an integral and natural fit into my diet, training, and lifestyle.

By mid-May, I was ready. I competed back-to-back in 2 OCB shows, came in 1st in the Masters Figure category, won my pro card, and came in 2nd in the Open Figure A Class - in both shows! Many people have been asking me how I did it. In this article you will find example plans that I followed leading up to my competitions.

Presentation Tips

If it’s your first contest, go to as many shows as you can beforehand, and study what works and what doesn’t! YouTube is also a great resource; you can find videos of competitions at your level, and really study the posing. Then, practice, practice, practice! Take videos of yourself practicing, and watch them. Find a posing workshop (in person is best, but online can work, too), and use the leader’s guidance & expertise to improve. Then, practice some more!

When you do compete, get all the information you can from the judges. At some shows, you will get copies of the actual score sheets, or have a mix-and-mingle with the judges afterward. Sometimes the truth is tough to hear - but the feedback they give you can be invaluable to your future success! Also, scrutinize photos and videos from your shows. Your strengths and weaknesses will be clear, and you will gain insight into what the judges are looking for.

Besides exercise, nutrition, and supplementation, there are several things that I believe have been crucial to my competition success. One is sleep. It’s my other secret weapon! It is like a drug for making changes in your body. Sufficient sleep is essential for fat burning, cellular repair, and muscle growth. The mental and emotional benefits of sleep are key for competition prep, too. I like to be in bed before 9pm every night, so I can get at least 8 hours of quality sleep.

The other necessary component of competition prep is your mindset. You have to make up your mind that this is something you are going to do - and that’s it. You can do it; you will do it!

Diet

We eat pretty clean at our house; my husband even more so than I - he preps and packs his food every week, just like a bodybuilding competitor! I’m lucky that I have the flexibility to work from home, so I can keep my kitchen stocked with good, clean food and the Beverly supplements I need to make my nutrition plan a no-brainer. Every Saturday we go to the farmer’s market in our town, and stock up on fresh, local vegetables, and there is a local heritage livestock farm where we get all of our meat. As a rule, I don’t eat sugar, even in the off season, and I get most of my carbs from vegetables – but I eat LOTS of vegetables! I also drink 1.5 gallons of water a day.

 

Here is a sample contest prep meal plan, which I follow anywhere from 8-16 weeks prior to competition:

Meal 1: Breakfast “Smash-UMP”
1 scoop Vanilla UMP and 1 scoop Glutamine Select mixed into 5oz nonfat Greek yogurt - then I add a variety of 2 or 3 of the following ingredients: 1tbsp almond flour, 2 tbsp hemp protein, 2tsp coconut flour, 2 tsp organic cocoa, dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp of peanut butter or almond butter, 10-12 frozen blueberries… and lately, believe it or not, grated cauliflower for bulk and texture without lots of calories! I mix it all up like a batter, and it’s a real treat.

Meal 2: 3-4 cups raw veggie mix*

Meal 3: 3 free range eggs scrambled with spinach, peppers, mushrooms, and hummus OR a big salad with greens, veggies and herbs from our garden, 5oz tuna or salmon, 1tbsp olive oil and 3tbsp balsamic vinegar

Meal 4: UMP Rocky Road shake, blended with cold brew coffee, lots of ice, and 1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract. Frosty mocha deliciousness!

Meal 5: 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 3-4 cups raw veggie mix*

Meal 6: 4-6oz grass fed lean beef (London Broil and liver are my favorites, but I know liver isn’t for everyone!), and 3 cups fresh asparagus or green beans OR stir-fry of scallions, eggplant, zucchini and 4-6oz chicken or pork loin

*My raw veggie mix is my secret weapon! This is the one thing I ALWAYS have prepped in my kitchen. My current mix is 2 bunches celery, 2 fennel bulbs, 2 large cucumbers, 3 bunches broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, and 8 bell peppers (different colors). Cut everything up into bite-sized pieces and mix together, then divide into Tupperware containers. It usually makes 10-14 good-sized portions. I typically eat 2 portions per day. Also, if I am really craving something I know I shouldn’t have, I will tell myself that I can have it AFTER I eat a container of veggie mix. Then, 9 times out of 10, once I eat the veggie mix, I’m full and don’t have the craving anymore!

When I’m not competing, my diet is similar to the above, with the addition of cheese and nuts, and more volume - I can eat a LOT of steak! And once in a while, I do allow myself an order of onion rings or a glass of wine, but not too often.

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

1 or 2 high carb days per week, to see how my body responds. Also, I will rearrange my schedule to eat before I work out. I know it will benefit me to fuel up prior to lifting, but this is tough, since I have a thyroid condition and have to take medication 1/2 hour before I eat, so I will need to get up REALLY early to eat before that 6am gym time!

Supplements

UMP: In my Breakfast Smash and in a shake for my afternoon Favorite flavors are Vanilla and Rocky Road. I love coming up with different shake combinations, like a scoop of vanilla with 1tsp orange extract blended with lots of ice for a creamsicle. The extracts add flavor, and help to emulsify the shake so it’s really smooth and creamy.

Lean Out: 1 capsule

7-Keto MuscLean: (2 capsules) and Energy Reserve (1 tablet) – before meals 1, 3, and 5.

Glutamine Select : 1 scoop after workouts and in my Breakfast Smash with UMP

FitTabs: 2 tablets in the morning and 2 with my evening meal

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Quadracarn: Starting with 2 tablets at breakfast and 2 tablets before bed

Cardio Schedule

I teach Group Exercise at the local YMCA, so I either teach or take some type of Group Exercise Class for 60 minutes, 5 or 6 times per week, year round. For me, first thing in the morning is the best time for cardio; it helps me get my day off to a good start. A typical week of cardio training will look like this:

 

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: Indoor Cycling

Tuesday & Thursday: Kettlebell, TRX or Interval Training Class

Sunday: Off (from cardio)

Once or twice a week, if the weather is nice, I will walk during lunch with a friend. I also love yoga, and sometimes take a yoga class instead of cardio, especially if I need the stretching and recovery; it’s a great counterbalance to intense cardio and lifting.

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Sprints! I strained a hamstring several months ago, so I’ve had to work around that, but it’s finally healed.

Training Schedule

Here is a typical workout plan that I follow in order to add or maintain muscle mass as I go into contest prep mode. I do some form of abdominal or core work every day:

 

Sunday: Shoulders & TricepsAmount 
Handstand Pushups against a wall50 total (as many sets as necessary; usually 4-6)
Superset
Dumbbell Press4x10
Bent-over DB Rear Delt Raises4x10
Kettlebell Upright Rows 4x10
Triceps Pushups4x10
Triset
180 degree Lateral Raises (lift arms laterally all the way overhead) 4x10
Triceps Dips4x12
Front Raise with Plate4x10
Cable Lateral Raise3x10
Cable Lateral Raise 3x10
Hanging Toes-to-Bar Leg Raise 3x6-10

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Legs (heavy, lower reps)Amount
Barbell Squats4x8-10
Superset
Kettlebell Swings4x10
Kettlebell Sumo Squats 4x8-10
High Box Step-Ups4x10
Banded Side Steps4x10
Sissy Squats 4x10
Glute/Ham Raise4x8-10
1-Leg Calf Raises4x10 each leg
Decline Crunches3x15
Wednesday: BackAmount
Pullups 50 total, as many sets as it takes! *
Superset
Reverse Rows hanging under a fixed bar4x10
Reverse-Grip Pulldowns4x10
Bent-Over Kettlebell Rows 4x10
Swiss Ball Hyperextensions 3x15
Swiss Ball Reverse Hyperextensions3x15
Kettlebell Windmills3x10 each side

* Start with assisted pullups, and gradually lower the assistance weight until you can do them It might take time - but that’s OK! It took me about 8 months of training until I could do all 50 unassisted - and now I’m doing weighted pullups! I love watching the jaws drop when I do those.

Thursday: Legs (light, higher reps)Amount
This workout will be similar to my Tuesday or Saturday leg workout;
with lighter weights and 100 reps total per exercise.
Superset
Kettlebell Swings4x25
Kettlebell Sumo Squats, going parallel or below4x25
Romanian Deadlifts 4x25
Walking Lunges4x25 each side
Cable Rear Leg Raises4x25 each side
Swiss Ball Glute Bridges4x25
Swiss Ball Pull-Ins4x25
Single Leg Standing Calf Raises 4x25 each leg
Ab Superset
Swiss Ball Pikes3x15
Swiss Ball Stir-the-Pot3x15 each way
Friday: Chest & BicepsAmount
Superset
Incline Barbell Bench Press 4x10
Incline Dumbbell Bicep Curls4x10
Decline Barbell Bench Press4x10
Cable Flyes4x10
Cable Bicep Curls4x10
TRX Triset
TRX Chest Press4x10
TRX Chest Flyes4x10
TRX Bicep Curls4x10
Swiss Ball Crunch Combo
Crunches throwing & catching medicine ball50
Quick Pulse Crunches 50
Crunches, Pause Halfway50
Saturday: Legs (heavy, lower reps)Amount
Sled Leg Press 4x8-10
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts 4x8-10 each side
Walking Lunges 4x8-10
Smith Machine Glute Bridges4x8-10
Single Leg Swiss Ball Pull-Ins4x8-10
Leg Extension 4x10
Seated Calf Raise4x10

What I will implement for my next contest prep:

Planned recovery time. When training at a high intensity, it’s important not to overtrain, so I want to be more conscious of that. Symptoms of overtraining include trouble sleeping (and I LOVE to sleep!), headache, exhaustion, joint & muscle aches.

Over 50 Training – Another Perspective

 

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

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

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

 

Challenges for the over 50 bodybuilder

Negative factors of aging

  • Males typically lose 1/2 pound of muscle per year once they hit their late 30’s or early 40’s.
  • Fast-twitch muscles decline and testosterone production is reduced as the years go by.
  • An extended “lay-off” or “years-off”, results in excess fat. In addition our metabolisms slow down as we age.
  • Training time is often limited because of work and family obligations. However, this may be a good thing. You are less likely to over train by training too often or with too many sets and reps.
  • Injuries – anyone who has been training for most of their life has accumulated various injuries that interfere with their workout. My personal list includes lower back and elbow injuries for years, which are now pretty much ok. Current issues include arthritic knees, shoulders (including a complete shoulder replacement of my left shoulder) and wrist (which currently is my most limiting), along with varying degrees of tendinitis. But injuries, like limited time to train, can actually be a blessing. You may have to cut way back on the poundages that you use in certain exercises. The reason this is good is that you can really concentrate on developing perfect form and slowly progress for a very long period of time before you hit a plateau.

Positives for the over 50 bodybuilder

  • Self-Discipline - often improves with age. We’ve had to use it throughout our lives – not only in our workouts, but, perhaps in college, the military, building our own business – in fact; any goal we’ve achieved has had self-discipline as a vital component.
  • Patience – the older bodybuilder is no longer looking for a quick fix. He knows that anything worth achieving takes time and effort.
  • Knowledge of how his body works and feels – which exercises he can do and which he must make adjustments to, or avoid.
  • Realistic expectations – he realizes his strengths, but also his limitations. Goals are essential for the over 50 bodybuilder, but unlike many younger bodybuilders he knows that he is not going to be the next Arnold.
Note:We can counter the negative effects with targeted supplementation. Muscle Synergy, Quadracarn, and 7-Keto MuscLean will help you overcome these factors of aging. For more information, see Supplements at the end of this article.

Q & A

1. Should I train like I used to, or be content with a milder version?

Be cautious, but don’t let caution keep you from progressing – for any strength or muscle building routine to be effective it must include some overloading in the form of progression.

2. Can I still do certain exercises?

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

3. Can I really expect any gains at my age?

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

Realistic Goals

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

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

 

Sample Schedules

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

 

Program #1

Objectives

  • Acquaint or reacquaint yourself to the basics – perfect your form on the best exercises.
  • Slowly build or rebuild your strength on the basic exercises.
  • Halt and reverse age related muscle loss.
  • Improve body composition – more muscle, less fat.

Scheduling

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

Warming up and stretching

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

Progression

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

Keys

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

Amount
Squat 3x10-12
Bench Press 3x6-8
Barbell Row 3x6-8
DB Shoulder Press 3x10-12
DB Curl 3x10-12
Abs / Calves
One exercise for each 3x15 or 2x20 per exercise
Workout B
Exercise

Amount
Deadlift 3x6-8
Incline DB Press 3x10-12
Pulldown
(using chin grip with palms facing you)

3x10-12
Barbell Press 3x6-8
Barbell Curl 3x6-8
Abs / Calves
One exercise for each 3x15 or 2x20 per exercise

Program #2

Objectives

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

Objections

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

Advantages

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

Time Tested

This routine is based on time tested strength building basics. Give it at least a good three months. Personally, I’ve been using variations of this program for more than five years and am still making gains (at 71 years of age.)
  • Progression: Program #2 embraces a variation on the 5 sets of 5 reps theme similar to what I’ve been following for the past 15 months. Reg Park, one of the strongest and best developed bodybuilders of the pre-steroid era often trained with this method. He recommended that your first set (after a thorough warm-up) be with 60% of your 5-rep max, set #2 with 80% of your 5-rep max, and set 3, 4, and 5 with your 5-rep max. For illustrative purposes let’s say that at age 55 you are capable of 5 reps with 200lbs. Your first set (after warm-ups) would be with 120, set #2 with 160, and sets 3, 4, and 5 with 200. When you can reach 5 reps on each of these final 3 sets you would increase the load by 5lbs on all sets. (Note: you never want to increase the poundage on an exercise by more than 2-3%.)

Warming up and stretching

Should be the same as Program #1.
Workout A
Exercise
Amount
Squat5x5
General warm-up, then as many warm-up sets of 5, 3, or 1 as necessary to get to
your first set, then 5x5
Curl5x5
Close Grip Bench Press (hands just a little closer than shoulder width apart) 5x5
Weighted sit-up or crunch 2x8-12
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves:
I personally include neck work (as I am trying to avoid “old man’s neck”) and
forearm gripping exercises.
After at least 1 day’s rest, go to workout B
Workout B
Exercise

Amount
Bench Press 5x5
Bent row 5x5
Plank 2x30-60 seconds
(Optional) Alternate chins (palms facing you) and Dips
(or push-ups) 2-3 sets of max reps
Now, take 2 days off and go to Workout C
Workout C
Exercise

Amount
Deadlift 5x5
Shoulder Press 5x5
Front Pulldown 5x5
Hanging Leg Raise or any ab exercise you like 2x8-15
Auxiliary work for forearms, neck, calves

Adjustments I’ve made to continue making progress

Regardless of how slowly you progress, eventually you’ll get find it nearly impossible to continuing getting 5 sets of 5 on each exercise as described above. Here are some modifications I have made that have kept me progressing.
  •  I’ve used a 5-4-3-2-1 rep scheme adding 10lbs per set from my 5-rep max.
  •  I’ve alternated weeks of 5 sets of 2 with about 10% above my 5-rep max. Example: If I was capable of 200x5 for 3 sets, instead of going to 205 the next week, I’d do 5 sets of 2 with 220, and then go to 205 the following week.
  • I’ve also had to modify exercises (due to that darned wrist). I use heavy 1-arm DB incline presses for the bench press, thumbs up curl (with a log bar or dumbells), 1-arm db press for shoulder press (which I love), and for the close grip bench, I’ve been using a set of cable strands for tricep pressouts.

 

Nutrition

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

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

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

Supplements

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

How I Prepared for My First IFBB Pro Contest

At a Glance: Scott Foster

Age: 40

Occupation/Education: 5th and 6th grade Math and Language Arts Teacher

Current Residence: Russell, PA

Family: My beautiful wife Julia, daughter Brynn (7), sons Camden (4) Cullen (2)

Height: 5'2"

Weight: 170 (off-season), 140 (contest) My goal is to be on stage at 160.

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: My twice weekly carb up meal - 1.5 cup oatmeal, 10oz sweet potato, 6oz banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 cup broccoli.

Favorite Gain phase Bodybuilding Meal: 5 whole eggs, 2 oz cheese, 2 tbs almond butter, 2 whole wheat pieces of bread, 1 apple.

Favorite Supplements: Mass Maker Ultra, UMP Chocolate, Ultra 40, Mass Amino, Quadracarn, Creatine Select, Muscle Synergy.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? UMP is by far the best protein on the market. It tastes amazing. It can be used in so many different ways. I've made no bake brownies with it by stirring it into a pudding and letting it set over night, pudding, ice cream (freezing the pudding).

Music: Hard rock and metal.

Most Inspiring Book: The Bible, The Little Engine that Could.

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Playing with my kids (my favorite), training (I don't take much time off), working on cars.

Words to live by: What is impossible for man is possible for God. Never give up. Push through the hard things, they will make you stronger.

 

It had been eleven years since I won my pro card at the 2008 NPC National Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. Big changes, good changes in life happened. I took time off to start a family. My wife Julia and I were married in September of 2009. Then in 2012 our first child, Brynn was born. Our two sons Camden and Cullen followed in 2015 and 2017. My family and I moved from my home state of Indiana to my wife’s home state of Pennsylvania. Other things in life were more important, but I kept training and future competition remained in my mind.

At first, I saw the 212 class as a possible option. Being a person of short stature (I’m 5’2”) and weighing what I did (I won my pro card at 137) and never higher than the 170s, I knew I would be out of my league in open IFBB contests, even competing in the 212 class would be difficult. But I did not let that deter me. I kept training, trying to gain enough size to possibly compete in the IFBB one day.

Then in 2015, The NPC and IFBB introduced the Men’s Classic Physique division. I honestly didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. I had other things on my plate as mentioned above. But last December I saw an announcement that the IFBB Pittsburgh Masters Pro would have a Classic Physique division. When I researched how this division was set up, by height vs weight, I could not have been more excited. I had an avenue to compete again. I’d waited eleven years and finally, I had my chance. I knew with my stature and structure I would never be close to 212. With Classic Physique, I could compete in the 5’4” height, 170-pound class. It was exactly what I needed.

Once I decided to do it something inside me clicked. It was like a switch flipping on inside me and there was no turning back. It had been eleven years since I had stepped on stage last, but once you get the rush of it all, you can’t let go. I love the competition.

I immediately started cleaning up my diet and began a diet plan to gain good muscle weight (see Sidebar – Maximum Muscle and Lean Weight Gain Diet) and started a training regime geared toward developing a more “classic” physique (see Sidebar – My Classic Physique Training Plan). I started solid dieting 20 weeks out from the show and stayed on the same meal plan for a majority of the prep.

Most days I trained before work. In the summer I would get up at 3:30 or 4:00 am and be at the gym by 4:30 to train my hardest. I had to be at work at the local lumber yard by 6:30 and worked until 5:00 pm. By training early in the morning, I had the rest of the evening to spend with my family. When school started (I teach 5th and 6th grade math and language arts), I was able to switch my training time to an hour or two after school. I enjoy the training because for many of us the gym is our “fortress of solitude.” We walk in, forget about our troubles for an hour or two and get our workout in. Dieting gets monotonous but the food is fuel. It is part of the process. It will get me where I need to be.

Preparing for the IFBB Pittsburgh Masters Pro show, my pro debut was tough. Not only for me, but also my family. We all sacrificed a lot. When you show prep, or compete in anything, you never do it alone. I was blessed to have my family alongside me. As the weeks went by, I had to become totally focused - to embrace the challenge and ask myself how bad I wanted it. When I compete I go for the win, plain and simple. If I get beat by someone who is better than me, I’m fine with that. If I lose because I didn't do all I could, that is something totally different. Obstacles are only obstacles if we let them be. We, if we choose to, can work around anything. You might have to give up a little sleep or favorite food, possibly a favorite past time. To surpass an obstacle, and not let it be in your way, there is always a sacrifice.

The closer the show became, the more excited I became. I was excited and nervous at the same time. Once I stepped backstage, I was in the zone and ready to go. It was game-on. Everything was in focus. All my sacrifices got me where I wanted to be, a winner in the IFBB. I competed in three classes, Open Men’s Bodybuilding where I took 6th place, Men’s Classic Physique 35 and over where I took 2nd, and Men’s Classic Physique 40 and over which I won.

In closing, we have to remember our goals. Make small, short- term goals, then larger, long-term goals. Smaller goals always lead to bigger goals. All the great bodybuilders and others in different avenues of life say the same thing. Greatness takes time, effort and sacrifice. I’m not where I want to be but I’m working on it.

When I earned my IFBB pro card back in 2008 I told myself right away how amazing a gift it was and how it was then, and is now my obligation to help others. I see my pro status as an obligation to help everyone I can. If anyone has a question, or if I see someone struggle with something, I offer advice. I try to make myself available for anyone who has a question, needs a spot, or wants to train. I do not know everything, I’m still learning myself, but I’ll help anyone who wants it. That's the fun part of bodybuilding. We are all at different levels of our training. We all have different goals, some are bodybuilders, some are powerlifters, and some train for athletic improvement or overall wellness. In the end, it’s the simple fact that we are training.

I can’t thank all who helped me enough. My family, my wife Julia, my children Brynn, Camden, and Cullen, my parents and my wife’s parents. I also want to thank my friends, including Roger and Sandy along with everyone at Beverly International.

 

Maximum Muscle and Lean Weight Gain Diet

Phase 1:
Advanced Gaining Phase Program
You can find this plan in Section 7, Weight Gaining Nutritional Programs of Beverly's Blueprints for Success. Go to beverlyinternational.com, click on “Bev Solutions” at the left and then “Nutrition Solutions”. You’ll find the entire Blueprint there.

Strategy: This is a 12-week program that alternates gaining and hardening phases in a specific pattern. The “Gain” cycle includes six meals PLUS a pre and post workout Mass Maker Ultra recovery drink. The “Hardening” cycle consists of five or six meals daily and is designed to solidify the gains I made during the “Gain” cycle.

Schedule:
Weeks 1-4: 4-Week Gaining Phase
Week 5: 1-Week Hardening Phase
Weeks 6-8: 3-Week Gaining Phase
Week 9: 1-Week Hardening Phase
Weeks 10-11: 2-Week Gaining Phase
Week 12: 1-Week Hardening Phase

 

Gain Cycle (Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11)

Meal #1: 3 egg omelet with 2 ounces cheese, 2 slices whole-grain toast with almond butter, 1 apple.

Meal #2: Protein Drink: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 2 tbsp healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy cream.

Optional: 1 serving low carb fruit.

Meal #3: 8oz lean beef or chicken breast (or other lean protein source), 3/4 cup cooked brown rice (or other complex carbohydrate source).

Optional: 1 or 2 servings of low carb fruit or vegetables.

Meal #4: 6-8oz turkey breast, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup pineapple (unsweetened) or 1/2 cantaloupe

Option B: Protein Drink with two scoops Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein, one tablespoon healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy cream.

Meal #5: 8oz steak, lean beef, pork loin, chicken, turkey or fish, 6oz baked potato or sweet potato, 1-2 cups low carb vegetables or salad.

Meal #6: Protein pudding – mix two scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein in a bowl with just enough water to make a pudding texture. Add one tablespoon of almond butter, walnuts, or heavy cream.

Option B: 8oz lean beef, one serving low carbohydrate vegetable or fruit.

Pre and Post Workout Drink - Training Days Only:

30 Minutes before training: 2 scoops Mass Maker Ultra mixed in 10oz water

Immediately after training: 2 scoops Mass Maker Ultra mixed in 10oz water (Eat your next meal about 60 minutes after your Mass Maker Ultra shake.

Supplements I took during the Gaining Phase:

1 Super Pak

3 Mass Aminos with meals 1-6

3 Ultra 40 with with meals 1-6

Muscle Synergy - 8 tablets before training and 8 tablets in the evening

Creatine Select - 2 servings daily (pre and post training) on training days, and 1 serving daily on non-training days

Hardening Phase Nutritional Program (Weeks 5, 9, and 12)

Meal #1: 1 whole egg, 5 additional egg whites, 5oz chicken breast or turkey breast, 1/2 cup oatmeal

Meal #2: Protein Drink - 2 two scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, one tablespoon healthy fat source (olive oil, flax oil, almond butter) or heavy cream.

Meal #3: 6oz chicken breast (or other lean protein source), 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (or other complex carbohydrate source).

Optional: Add one or two servings of low carb vegetables.

Meal #4: 1 can tuna (water packed) or 6oz turkey breast, 1 or 2 servings of low carb vegetables or 1/2 cantaloupe

Option B: Protein Drink with 2 scoops Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein mixed in 16 ounces water.

Meal #5: 8oz chicken breast, turkey or fish, 1-2 cups low carb vegetables or salad

Meal #6: Protein pudding – mix 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein or Ultra Size in a bowl with just enough water to make a pudding texture.

Option B: Six egg whites, three ounces chicken breast, one serving low carbohydrate vegetable.

Essential Supplements during the Hardening Phase:

Super Pak with meal 1

3 Ultra 40 with each meal

Density - 3 first thing in the morning, 5 after training and 2 before bed

Muscle Synergy – 1 scoop before training and 1 scoop in the evening

Creatine Select - 2 servings daily (pre and post training) on training days, and 1 serving daily on non-training days.

I did not take the Mass Maker pre and post workout shakes during the Hardening Phase. Instead I took 2 scoops Glutamine Select mixed in my water bottle during workouts. Another good plan is to add five Muscle Mass tablets at the start of your workout, five at about the half- way point, and five more at the end of your workout.

March 13-April 15:

I continued the same plan, but changed the schedule to Weeks 1&2 Gaining Phase, Week 3 Hardening, Week 4 Gaining, and Week 5 Hardening.

Maximum Muscle and Lean Weight Gain Diet

Phase 2:
Nutrition Plan to Gain Muscle while Continuing to Lose Fat (April 16 – July 30)

 

My Supplements

Super Pak with meal 1

4 Mass Aminos and 4 Ultra 40 with each meal and shake listed below

Quadracarn – 3 tablets three times daily (morning, pre workout, and evening)

Muscle Synergy – 1 scoop before training and 1 scoop in the evening

Creatine Select – 1 scoop daily before training and 1 scoop either in am or pm

Meals

Meal #1: 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites, 5oz lean meat, 1/2 cup oatmeal

Meal #2: Protein Drink - 2 Scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein,

2 tbsp healthy fat (almond butter, flax oil, olive oil) or 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, add enough water to make a shake or pudding the consistency you desire.

Whole food option: Add one or two servings of low carb vegetables.

Meal #3: 8oz lean meat, 6oz sweet potato or 2/3 cup cooked brown rice, 2 cups vegetables (broccoli, etc.) and/or salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Meal #4: (same as meal #2)

Meal #5: 10oz lean meat, 2 cups vegetables and salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

At first, I ate only the first 5 meals, near the end of June I added a 6th meal of 6 egg whites before bed.

Meal #6 (optional): Protein Shake or Pudding: 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, add enough water to make shake or pudding the consistency you desire.

Or Repeat Meal #1, but skip the oatmeal.

Pre-Contest Tweaks

July 31 – August 12
I continued the Phase 2 diet but added the famous “Beverly Carb Meal” at 5 weeks out. On Tuesday and Friday night I ate the following as my last meal of the day. It was a blessing and something to look forward to.

  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal (measure before cooking)
  • 10oz sweet potato
  • 6oz banana
  • 1 cup vegetables
  • 1 tbsp butter or almond butter

August 13 – August 30
Here are a couple of tweaks we made to the diet for the final 2 1/2 weeks.

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: Meal 1, add 3 oz meat (8oz total), substitute 1/2 grapefruit for the oatmeal (no oatmeal on Monday or Thursday)
  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: Meal 3, add 2 oz meat (10oz total) – cut out the sweet potato and rice – added more veggies
  • Wednesday and Saturday: Follow current diet and keep the added meat at Meals 1 & 3.
  • I continued the carb meal on Tuesday and Friday

This is the diet I followed then going in to the show:

Meal #1: 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites, 8oz lean meat*, 1/2 grapefruit, Wednesday and Saturday I also had 1/2 cup oatmeal.

Meal #2: Protein Drink: 2 Scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein,
2 tbsp healthy fat (almond butter, flax oil, olive oil) or 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, add enough water to make a shake or pudding the consistency you desire.

Meal #3: 10oz lean meat, 2 cups vegetables (broccoli, etc.) and/ or salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing, Wednesday and Saturday I had a 6oz sweet potato.

Meal #4: (same as meal #2)

Meal #5: 10oz lean meat, 2 cups vegetables and salad with 2 tbsp vinegar and oil dressing

Meal #6: 6 egg whites, or on Tuesday and Friday the Beverly Carb Up meal.

*Lean meat was almost always lean ground beef.

My Classic Physique Training Plan

My training plan was formulated to not only build muscle, but also to create an optical illusion so that I appeared larger than I actually am. I was very likely the smallest guy (at 5’2” and 140 lbs) in each of the pro divisions in which I competed. By putting extra emphasis on my weak points and those most important for classic physique I was able create the illusion of a much larger physique. For example, I placed great emphasis on increasing my lat width and also on the lateral (side) head of my delts so that I’d appear wider with a pronounced "V" shape.

I used the pyramid system on most of my exercises. Here’s a quick explanation:

First set – Use a medium weight for the indicated reps primarily as a warm-up.
Second set – Do ten strict reps with a slightly heavier weight.
Third set – Use a poundage that allows eight reps in good form.
Fourth set – Add more weight, you can use a slightly looser style on this set.
Fifth set (where indicated) – Use the heaviest weight you can handle for five good reps.

I performed the schedule below just as listed for the first three months. Then, for variety, I performed the program as follows:

1st 5-Day cycle I performed the reps as listed below.
2nd 5-Day cycle I doubled the reps on each set.
3rd 5-Day cycle I performed the reps listed, but supersetted the exercises. For example, Bench Press & Incline DB Press, etc. I repeated the above schedule up until the show.

I added extra chin ups on my off days.

 

Schedule - Day Three: Rest, Day Five: Rest, Day Six: Start the training cycle over with Day One

Day One:
Chest/Back/Abs

Amount
Bench Press 5x12,10,8,6,5
Incline DB Press 4x12,10,8,6
Decline (or Flat DB Flyes)4x12,10,8,6
DB Pullover (Chest / Back transition exercise)4x10–15 (constant weight)
Lat Pulldowns to front5 x12,10,8,6,5
Cable Rowing4 x12,10,8,6
1 Arm DB Row4 x12,10,8,6
Hanging Knee Up4 x maximum reps
Crunches 4 x maximum reps
Day Two:
Lower Back/Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves

Amount
Squat (Olympic style)5x20,15,12,10,8
Hack Squat 4x12 (constant weight)
Leg Extension4x15
Hyperextension 4x10
Leg Curl 4x15 reps
Straight Leg Dead Lift4x12 (constant weight)
Seated Calf Raise 5x15–20
Donkey Raise or Standing Calf Raise5x15–20
Day Four:
Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps

Amount
DB Press5x 12,10,8,6,5
DB Lateral Raise4x12,10,8,6
Incline Rear Lateral Raise 4x12,10,8,6
DB Shrug 4x12,10,8,6
Lying Triceps Extension 5x12,10,8,6,5
Triceps Pressdown4x12,10,8,6
1 Arm DB Extension4x12,10,8,6
Barbell Curl4x12,10,8,6
Incline DB Curl 4x12,10,8,6
Preacher Curl 3x10,8,6

“Hitting The Wall”… Naturally

At a Glance: Tim Walton

Age: 56

Occupation: Military & Government Contractor veteran, Family Business- Danlee Medical

Current Residence: Chittenango, NY

Years Training: 40+

Height: 5'8"

Weight: Off-Season: 182, Contest: 168

Favorite Fitness Meal: Medium rare flank steak with raw peppers.

Favorite Supplements: You can't build a house without a solid foundation. Ultra 40, Mass Aminos, Quadracarn, and Super Pak are my “must-haves” and provide a solid foundation year round.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Determine your goals, look through their information and guides, and make a phone call if you need further assistance. Beverly has to be the most helpful supplement company with their avenues of information. You can't go wrong!

Music: I like a variety but for working out, it's Manowar.

Most Inspiring Book: I read a lot, but never felt compelled to write a letter to an author until I read Robert Kennedy's, Bull'$ Eye.

Hobby or Interests outside bodybuilding: Reading, trying to learn to be a boater (we moved on a lake), traveling/doing things with my wife, dog-sitting my son's stocky bulldog, Boris.

Words to live by: "You're right again dear!" (Haven't been married for 35+ years without that, haha!) But inspirational words, easy: "Press On!" by Colonel Chuck Yeager. No matter what got in this guy's path, he just kept going. Simple, to the point, no excuses.

 

"Hitting The Wall"... Naturally

Growing up working on farms and involved in school sports were a good base for me physically. There wasn't much in the area of equipment, nutrition advice, or information back then. I welded a bench out of plumbing pipes in shop class with a bare plank for the flat part, "borrowed" some sand-filled weights from my older brother, winged it on nutrition, and worked out on total instinct using trial and error.

In the military, I ended up on a small restricted base in Turkey that had a large closet they called a weight room. We improvised alot while reading the latest Muscle Mags trying to emulate what the Pros were doing. We didn’t realize that most of it was fabricated and wasn’t what they were actually doing or using. I made some decent gains nonetheless.

In civilian life, I got married, moved to a new city, and we struggled mightily for a long time as jobs were scarce and the pay was sparse. Living on Ramen Noodles 3 times a day for a year and a half isn't conducive to gains, believe me. Eventually we solidified ourselves financially and started our own business. (Hello working 12-16 hours a day including weekends!) At the time we focused more on our son Dan's athletic ventures rather than our own although I did try to set a good example by regularly getting my workouts in. I continued to follow the bodybuilding scene, but never seriously considered competing. I didn’t know of any natural contests and there was no way I was going to do any drugs. Time was always a constraint also.

Then, about a year and a half ago, a friend of mine took me out to the Body Alive Gym in Utica, NY for a free Saturday workout.
I loved the Old School atmosphere and vibe of the people working out there. But what caught my attention was "The Wall". There were large posters of members on the wall who were obviously accomplished. I asked the owner, Bob Donnelly, "How do you get up on that wall?" He replied, "Win." I had competed, and been successful, in quite a few different areas of athletics over the years, but felt a need to compete in something again as it had been a long time since putting myself on the back burner for life's other endeavors. When I found out the people on "The Wall" were natural competitors, I now had a goal in the back of my head

This past summer, Bob asked when I was going to try a show. As it happened, I was actually starting to step away from our business at that point, so time was no longer a factor. I said I was in. He pointed to a contest 7 weeks away and said he could get me ready. Seven weeks isn't a lot of time, but he had been out in Venice, CA during the "Golden Era" and had worked out with the legends. I drove 80 miles 6 days a week to train and we kicked it Old School style so intense that cardio wasn't needed. The only "Cardio" I did was to walk with my wife, Joni in the park each day. Unfortunately, that bit me in the butt, literally, a couple weeks out from the contest. We had just started our walk when we sprinted over to pull an attacking Rottweiler off of an elderly lady who was cradling her small dog. I didn't realize it till after the adrenaline wore off that I pulled/strained something in my glute when I sprinted over. I was very limited on legs, but we worked around it and I placed a very close 2nd in the Open in my first contest. The 2nd contest was the following weekend where I once again placed 2nd. A couple months later, I decided to try a 3rd contest. About 4 weeks out, my oral surgeon pulled a back molar as the roots were cracked to the jawbone. He said I couldn't workout for a week. Two days after getting the green light, I learned a new term, “slipped rib”. Three weeks to go! Once again, we worked around it and got a decent package ready. In a very competitive Open Class, I got edged out again, but nabbed 2nd place. I won the Masters Class and finally got my Natural Pro Card. I made "The Wall"!

Final Words

A lot of credit goes to my wife of over 35 years, Joni, for doing the preps with me and being supportive during the whole process. Obviously Coach Donnelly and the Body Alive Crew who made me feel like I was in a Rocky movie during my workouts with all of their input and encouragement. Joe Dardano, original owner of my hometown Hercules Gym, clued me in on Beverly Products quite a while ago and they've been a staple of my foundation ever since.

I’m very excited to do a few shows next year now that my "Rookie" season at age 56 is over. Looking forward to see how much better I can be having months, not weeks, to prepare and while injury and impediment free.

Diet & Supplements

Since we only had weeks, not months, to dial in, I went very basic with my diet. A typical day would be:

Breakfast: 3 soft boiled eggs, half a protein bagel with almond butter

Mid-morning: Protein shake with 1 scoop Provosyn and 1 scoop UMP

Lunch: 10oz broiled cod, 1 cup raw peppers (orange, red, yellow) sprinkled lightly with apple cider vinegar

Mid-day: Provosyn and UMP shake (1 scoop each)

Dinner: Same as lunch

Early evening: Half bagel with almond butter

The first couple weeks I had chicken breasts in place of cod at lunch and dinner. Apple Cider vinegar and safflower oil were sprinkled lightly on the peppers.

I’ll admit I'm not much of a cook outside of following what's in a cookbook, but one thing I like doing is taking a cup of cottage cheese, add a scoop of UMP Graham Cracker, stir, chill for about 20 minutes, then toss in some walnuts, and there's dessert!

Daily Supplement Schedule

Breakfast: Super Pak, 4 Ultra 40, 4 Mass Aminos, 3 Quadracarn

Lunch: 4 Ultra 40, 4 Mass Aminos

Dinner: 4 Ultra 40, 4 Mass Aminos

Early evening: 4 Quadracarn

I sip on Glutamine Select throughout the day as I feel it helps me recover quicker and it satisfies my sweet tooth and curbs hunger.

During my workouts I make a drink up with 20 oz of water, 3/4 scoops of both Creatine Select and Up-Lift, and a full scoop of Muscle Synergy. This combo sustains my energy levels during and after.

I usually don't need much to rev up for a workout, but I utilize Fast-Up when I do. I especially like it because it doesn't give you the shakes, crash and tingles like other pre-workouts. You can regulate the potency by how many capsules you take, and you can carry them in your pocket. (By the way, the tingles from others is often an overload of niacin, the shakes from WAY too much caffeine, yohimbe, or 1,3 Dimeth, which is on the WADA banned list.)

I don't count calories as each day is a different expenditure of energy depending on what I'm involved in.I usually carry a small bag of almonds in my pocket as well as some Muscularity and Density. That way, if I'm ever stuck or delayed from consuming my meals, I've got them with me to keep things going on the "Muscletram".

Now two things I did that were different, yet effective as the contest approached:

1. Right before bed I would take 2-3 Lean Out. I figured that it helps convert fat to energy, so why not let it work all night long as I'm lying there? Then, first thing in the morning, I'd take more with my morning I really feel like that accelerated the fat loss in the short amount of time we had.

2. I read a study that carnitine would help draw nutrients and water into muscle tissue during a carb reload before a contest. So, the last 3 days before my contest, I would take 3 Quadracarn 3 times a day with carbs. In mid-morning and mid-evening, I would take 1 Energy Reserve. I'm sure this had a lot to do with my muscles not being flat appearing after dieting down so quickly on a strict contest diet.

Workouts

Workouts vary from full body ones to split routines. My favorite is a 3 days on, one day off schedule. Every workout starts with a warm-up for that body part, usually a couple lighter sets of each exercise.

 

Day One: Chest & BackSets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press46-12
Flat Dumbbell Press38-12
Pec Deck412-15
Cybex Machine Row56-12
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown68-12
Farmer's Walk480 yards each

Notes: I NEVER do decline presses. As we age, stuff starts to drop. If your upper chest drops a little, it’s no problem. If your lower chest is over developed, you'll probably end up with droopy pecs.

I actually bought a Cybex Machine Row for my home gym, that’s how much I like it. On Pulldowns I use a TK Star True Wing Lat Bar and highly recommend it.

Day Two: Legs & DeltsSets Reps
Safety Bar Squats88
Lateral Machine510-15
Front Cable Raise312-15
Rear Cable Raise312-15

Notes: On safety squats I put the bar WAY down on my back and thrust up with my hips first. Sounds weird, but there is very little strain on my back and it hits the legs better (for me) than "regular" squats.I may do 10 sets of 10 reps on a good day.

I usually use a Strive or Nautilus side lateral machine, but may substitute “running the rack” (a favorite of the 1st Mr Olympia, Larry Scott) starting with 40-lb dumbbells for as many reps as possible and going down the rack dropping the weight 5 lbs each set and doing as many reps as I can, all the way down to the 5-lb dumbbells.

Day Three: Arms, Calves, AbsSets Reps
Machine Curls312
Preacher Curls410
Incline Hammer Curls310
Seated Triceps Extension410
Skull Crushers310
Tricep Pushdowns410-15
Standing Calf Raise425
Donkey Calf Raise415
Rope Crunches250
Ab Coaster625

Notes: On the Ab Coaster I do 150 continuous reps switching the hip angle every 25 reps.

Day Four: OFF (Add in an extra day off for 2 in a row if you're really hammering yourself hard.)

Cardio note: My weight workouts are pretty fast paced so my heart rate is elevated pretty good throughout. Some exercises can be supersetted so that the workouts are brief, but intense. If I feel the need for extra cardio, I'll do 10-12 minutes on the Jacob's Ladder followed by 20 minutes on an Airdyne.