A Pro Card at Age 60

During my wife’s first pregnancy in 1990, I was by her side 24/7 preparing meals and giving her massages to alleviate pain. After she gave birth, she said that it was time that I should do something for myself. I decided to join a gym and started working out. I weighed just 135 lbs. and my goal was to gain weight. Over the next six years, I gained 30 lbs. of good muscle and people at the gym started suggesting that I should compete.

I was extremely shy, but finally took a chance at age 39 and competed in my very first show. I placed first in Men’s Novice Short, Men’s Novice Overall and Masters over 35! Yes, I was hooked. Over the next 12 years, I participated in 10 competitions and always placed in the top five. Then I took a nine-year hiatus.

I continued to work out and eat fairly clean as a lifestyle from 2010 to 2018 and then decided to jump back into competition. My goal was to earn an IFBB pro card in the 60 and over division. I hired a coach, Alex Pomeroy (@alexpomeroyfitness), and joined his team. I began with an off season workout and diet to gain mass. Then it was time to start competition prep. In my first contest of 2019 I placed first in Men’s Open Physique and second in the Masters 40 and older class. Then it was on to the 2019 NPC Universe where I achieved my goal and was awarded my IFBB card by placing 1st in the Men’s Physique Over 60 class!

In Closing

I always pride myself on giving one-hundred percent no matter what my contest results. Always remember to smile and enjoy the journey. I hope this story will be someone’s “fitspiration”.

Diet

Here is a look at how I eat both off season and in season. I eat the same foods, but are much more precise with the portion sizes during contest prep.

**Each morning before meal one I drink 4oz of warm water with1/2 squeezed lemon.

 Meal 1: 12oz egg whites cooked in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 cup spinach, and 45g oats

Meal 2: 6oz fish or chicken, 1/2 cup rice/quinoa (or 3 rice cakes in place of the rice)

Meal 3: 6oz fish, turkey, tuna or chicken, 1 cup brown rice or 6oz red potato or sweet potato, and 1 cup broccoli

Meal 4: 6oz fish, chicken, or turkey, 6oz veggies (broccoli, asparagus, green beans, spinach, kale or lettuce, 1/2 oz raw nuts. Large salads are ok too, but no dressing - just use pepper or Mrs Dash and lemon juice.

Meal 5: 6oz fish, chicken, or ground turkey breast (twice a week lean red meat or salmon), 6oz veggies

Meal 6: 12oz egg whites

Post Workout: 2 scoops UMP Protein and 40g Cream of Rice

Favorite Supplements

Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP) – I mix two scoops UMP into my Cream of Rice (40g) for my post workout meal. I love the taste.

Creatine Select – one scoop before workouts.

Up-Lift – Up-Lift is my pre-workout supplement of choice. It provides me with energy and focus during my workouts.

7-Keto MuscLean – I take 7-Keto MuscLean prior to cardio to keep my metabolism amped up during contest prep.

Lean Out – During competition prep for fat loss, I take 8 capsules spread out through the day.

Fast-Up – Fast-Up really gets me going before fasted cardio and workouts.

Training

I am a strong believer in stretching and warming-up before a workout. I learned the hard way as I have had my share of injuries and setbacks. I like to stretch 5-10 minutes while in the sauna before working out.

I generally do four sets per exercise. For the upper body, I use rep ranges of 8-10 and slightly higher reps for legs, with calves/abs at 15-25 reps per set. I generally do straight sets. When training any body part, I will start with two warmup sets. I usually train six days a week as follows:

 

Day 1: Chest & AbsSets Reps
Incline DB Press48-10
Decline Barbell Press48-10
Flat Bench Press Machine48-10
Low Incline Flyes48-10
Crunch Machine415-25
Roman Chair Leg Lifts415-25
Rope Crunches415-25
Day 2: Quads & CalvesSets Reps
Leg Extension415
Front Squats410-12
Leg Press410-12
Hack Squats410-12
Standing Calf Raises415-25
Seated Calf Raises415-25
Donkey Calf Raises415-25
Day 3: BackSets Reps
Supinated Grip Lat Pulldown48-10
Seated Cable Rows48-10
Wide Grip Machine Row48-10
Barbell Row48-10
Day 4: ShouldersSets Reps
Machine Front Raises48-10
Dumbbell Front Raises48-10
Dumbbell Upright Rows48-10
Machine Shoulder Press48-10
Pec Deck-Rear Shoulders48-10
Dumbbell Shrugs48-10
Day 5: Hamstrings & CalvesSets Reps
Lying Leg Curl48-10
Seated Leg Curl48-10
Lying Single Leg Curl48-10
Stiff Legged Deadlifts412,10,8,8
Day 6: ArmsSets Reps
Preacher Curls48-10
Incline Curls48-10
Rope Pushdowns48-10
Lying Triceps Extensions48-10
Bench Dips48-10

Cardio

The Stairmaster is my favorite cardio machine. I do 40 minutes of fasted cardio in the morning 6 times a week during contest prep. Additionally, I do 20 minutes of post workout cardio. At both sessions I keep my heart rate between 120 – 130 - just enough to burn calories but not lose muscle.
 

Choosing the Right Program

With Many Young Lifters Confused at all the Training and Nutrition Online, Here is How to Fit in Some Different Strategies!

 

As serious “physical culturists,” we learned a great deal from the muscle mags, courses and books during the classic era of the sixties, the seventies, and even the eighties. We had to patiently study to earn keys to our inner universe, the proper methods of pumping iron...all for the ability to possibly earn a Mr. America or Mr. Local City title back before a pro card really meant anything. We learned how legends like Robbie Robinson, Dave Draper, Rachel McLish, Frank Zane, Bill Pearl, Cory Everson, Mike Mentzer and Arnold put things together.

It is just not the same these days. Lifters get online and watch a half-dozen 280-pound pro bodybuilders mention their training, nutrition and supplement techniques and... when some champions place well in the various classes of the next month's pro show, everyone watches them brag about their techniques. It is quick and fast, but most young lifters tend to try tons of different things and still feel confused. Jeff, one of my intermediate Rusty Gym members, is a great example.

Jeff has been a member of Rusty Gym for two and-a-half years. He joined the gym on the week he graduated from high school. He wanted to head to college looking like some of the musclehead guys he had see online. When I saw that he had brought a few twenties with him, I signed him up for a membership and encouraged him to go after it in an aggressive manner!

The first thing I had to teach him (which 80% of the beginners can't handle) is that it doesn't happen fast. When I was a kid, I hoped to be on the cover of Ironman and Muscle Builder magazines a few months after I started lifting. I still haven't made their covers (which might be why both of those mags were sold) but like a serious lifter, Jeff had stuck with the program... although I could tell recently that he wasn't sure where he is headed.

Jeff has now gained quite a bit of muscle. His frame has filled out nicely, but he feels like he needs more. People now ask him if he is an athlete or competes, so that is a step in the right direction. He doesn't miss a session of his training program and follows the nutrition and Beverly supplement programs I have given him since he started. He is doing well... but I can tell he is undergoing a phase in which he is confused. “So what is bothering you, J-Dawg?”

“How much volume? How many sessions? Which intensification techniques? The right method seems to change every day. I really don't get it!” says Jeff desperately.

I almost begin to talk but the confused lifter continues...

“The guy that just won the California Pro Cup trained an average of thirty sets per body part, and I love the fullness and balance of his physique... but the guy that won his physique class in the Junior Nationals does less than half as many sets, and I think his V-taper and conditioning is impressive. One of them trains four times one week, five times the next week. The other one trains nine times a week with most of those being two-a-days. Also, one of our top Arnold Classic competitors trains two-days-on/ one-day-off during their off-season but with lots of intensification techniques added to each set...”

“Enough info. I get it,” I add. “We saw these differences years ago. Mike Mentzer and Arnold Schwarzenegger were dramatically opposed on their training concepts. Both built amazing physiques, so which one was right? Fortunately, I have figured that out!”

I turn to my left and yell over to one of the few lifters we have that finds the plug and uses the one treadmill we have. “Hey Mark, how much longer do you have on there? I'm going to have you help us with something...”

Now Mark has a strong East Coast accent and a beard so he sounds and looks like he may have been on the Sopranos, but he’s had some schoolin'. He never talks about it, so Mark probably doesn't realize that I even know he has his doctorate in exercise physiology, masters of nutrition science and dietetics, and runs the department at nearby Central University. Mark spots people when asked, but keeps to himself. I like him. Fortunately, he is wrapping up his cardio. Mark wipes his sweaty forehead and politely sits near us. “How can I help?” he asks.

“We are having a discussion about fundamental aspects of training,” I include. “Jeff is confused by all the concepts he sees online through InstaSpace, FaceTube, YouBook and those other social media sites. I figured you and I can help him understand the truth based on both science and experience!” Just to impress them with my modernization, I hold up my two communication devices. “We all need to advance. While I still have a pager to get messages, I now also have a flip cellular phone. Now I never take either of these out on the gym floor, but I want you to see I understand your tech-driven concerns!”

“Is it safe to say that serious lifters are far ahead of the scientists, but our research is limited by the fact that it is just on one subject... ourselves?” I say.

“Definitely, Rusty! To be honest, I look at the concepts that serious bodybuilders, powerlifters and gym meatheads follow and the ones that intrigue me the most are the areas I recommend for studies. Serious lifters are ahead of scientists but we solidify the training ideas for diverse lifters at various experience levels, ages and different goals.”

 

Volume and Frequency

 

“You mentioned being confused about the training programs that different champs use,” I say to kick things off. “That famous example I mentioned previously would be Mike Mentzer's low-volume, four-times-a- week program with heavy weights, forced reps and negatives versus Schwarzenegger's twice-a-day, twenty sets per bodypart training style. You know my program isn't like either of these. What does research say about volume and frequency, Mark?”

“Your program hits it, to be honest,” Mark wisely replies.

“Now in your case, my case, and most of the serious lifters,” I say, “our volume per body parts varies over the year. Chest, for instance... you may just hit your pecs with six to eight sets a week part of the year and it builds up to 13-15 sets. We have done this through each of the last couple years. You probably do not realize it, but I look over your program regularly. Even though I have you increase the number of sets over the year, then take a week off, and return back to a low-volume, three-sessions-a-week version, your poundages on all of the big, compound movements have gone up from what you did a year previous. This keeps you mentally driven and your progress moving forward. We also increase the max volume just a little bit each year.”

“Keep in mind that sometimes high-intensity, low-volume, 30-minute workouts may also be recommended by personal trainers that can earn more income by training twice as many customers each hour,” says Mark. A large grin appears on my face as I consider the concept at Rusty Gym, but I stop myself since true hardcore training and integrity remain my policy.

“I have had a very unique theory about these volume differences,” I say. “There are a few champions...Dorian Yates being the most common example...that have done well with low-volume. He had the biggest, grainy physique we had ever seen up to that point. He also lifted big weights. Someone that is struggling to get 8-12 reps with one third the poundage Dorian used regularly is JUST NOT going to cause significant hypertrophy compared to his hardcore heavy contractions. Do you agree, Mark?”

“That definitely makes sense and I think I just got an idea for a future study I would love to launch!” says Mark.

I add, “Pro and national champion bodybuilders are very rare genetic freaks, maybe just 1-3% of the best muscle-building hypertrophic beasts. It doesn't mean you can't build an amazing physique... you've made a great deal of improvement... but none of the members of this gym is likely to ever look as good as myself or a pro! That is why much of the video knowledge you see online is just not made for the average lifter. These top pro freaks not only have freakishly high genetic levels, but also use growth hormones and anabolics at scary levels. As lifters who choose to be drug-free and have much lower, normal genetics, our nutrition and recovery needs must be right on track!”

“Well, can you just give me an example of what the average, motivated weight trainer should do for maximum results over, say, a 6-9 month period?” asks Jeff.

Periodization

“Periodization simply means planning your training over time,” says Mark. “NFL, NBA, and Olympic-level coaches do that...and so does Rusty with his clients.”

“Look at how you have trained on my program,” I say. “We already mentioned how your volume changes over the year. Your year would technically be called a mesocycle which begins at the beginning of September. We start our new mesocycle training three times a week, almost all of the sets being with heavy compound exercises, for just a max of an hour in the gym. After the holidays, the workout increases to an extra session each week, hitting each body part twice a week with each workout lasting a little more than an hour. Then we go to our 2-on, 1-off Back to Basics Training with more sets per body parts and bring in one of my inventions, “feeder” workouts to bring up a lagging body part. Even with warm-up times, we still keep things under 75-minutes.”

“In summer, we head towards the top of your volume, with a 3-on, 1-off training schedule. Each workout takes about the same length of time, but more sets are done with shorter rest periods and some supersets, with the last couple of sets to failure. Frank Zane did a cycle like this, peaking for the Olympia in the fall, and continues even after retirement. I have often assumed he copied that idea since he heard it is what I do. It is also something every serious Rusty Gym member does.”

Nutrition Confusion

 

“You said earlier how important it is for my nutrition to be on track… especially because I’ve chosen to be drug free. Sure, I’ve made great progress on the nutrition program you have given me, but I'm confused by how diverse the YouTube diets I have seen seem to be,” says Jeff. “How can they be so different? Should I stay lean or bulk up? Ketogenic diet? Paleo? IIFYM?”

“Before we had much solid muscle-building nutrition research, we had physical culture gurus like Vince Gironda, Rheo H. Blair, and Jim Heflin who were decades ahead of their time,” I say. “Jim Heflin, the founder of Beverly International, put together diet programs for thousands of bodybuilders, including many of the top champs of the 70s and 80s. He was all about just helping people... not marketing himself. Sandy and Roger Riedinger, who have been running Beverly for two decades, continue this in their magazine, No Nonsense, to help competitive bodybuilders or people with fitness goals. I still agree with each of these experts, so obviously they are all very smart!”

“Does research coordinate the supplement info we see online?” Jeff asks.

“Not everything...” Mark admits. “Most supplement companies make big claims. Some may have one research study that makes their new product look great... until you read the study and see how it was not correctly quoted. Beverly sticks to the basics, selling proteins, aminos and other products that have had numerous studies with solid research over time showing their effectiveness.”

“And they are the only company I trust to have the actual ingredients on the labels...” I add. “Dr. Mark, go over the ones we may need at higher quantity as serious lifters. I'd do it, but I need to hit the bathroom.”

 

As I return, I see that Mark has discussed the Super Pak (multivitamin/mineral) and EFA Gold (healthy fatty acids). Mark has a Muscle Provider on one knee and an UMP on the other, resting his forearms as his hands continue to move. “Eggs, beef, chicken, fish, turkey and other whole foods should provide much of your protein needs, but adding a couple of these quick, easy and delicious shakes each day will definitely maximize your natural growth potential. UMP has an 80:20 ratio of casein to whey, so it is mostly sustained-released casein, with some fast-acting whey...perfect throughout the day and before bed.”

“Research and delicious flavoring are much better than the options out there when I was your age,” I add. “As we all do, I have him use Muscle Provider for a post-contest shake for recovery.”

“Great strategy!” agrees Mark.

“I also recommended Quadracarn in his intake,” I say (as Jeff nods in agreement). “And he has had great results from it.”

“Even more research-shown benefits to older men,” says Mark, “...but studies have shown benefits of the four different forms of carnitine to improve fat loss, recovery, stamina, cognitive abilities, positive mood, testosterone, vascularity and more. That is why this product has been popular for women and men, young, old and middle- aged. As you know I also buy it frequently.”

“He also has me use Glutamine Select,” says Jeff. “Does the research support that?”

Mark doesn't need to look at the bottle to see what goes in Glutamine Select since he always has a water bottle with the purplish- white powder that he shakes up each workout. “Heavy training has been shown to deplete our glutamine levels. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, so it’s NOT something you want to diminish. Hardcore training has been shown to decrease your level of glutamine, so I would never miss this, particularly for a large body part, heavy session. GS also has branched-chain aminos and a mild black cherry flavor (or the new wild berry version)... perfect as your during-workout beverage.”

“I noticed that my muscle soreness seemed higher when I ran out of drinking this, so I never miss it now.” says Jeff. “Rusty also has me take Density or Muscularity at various times, what does the science world show us on these?”

I juggle two bottles of aminos in the background as Dr. Mark sings their praise... “Density has essential amino acids, which help drive anabolic efficiency. I like three doses of five tablets a day between meals to maximize hypertrophy. The anabolic response to training involves the amino acid l-leucine, which acts as a trigger for activating the mTOR pathway vital for muscle growth and recovery. This is why Rusty advocates taking the BCAA-rich Muscularity aminos before and after training, along with your Muscle Synergy which contains HMB, an active metabolite of leucine that reduces muscle protein breakdown.”

“Serious intake of whole foods, protein shakes and amino acids help you look bigger and better!” I say, while impressing both of them with a Sergio Oliva-like victory pose.

“Now what about goals?” Jeff asks, “It seems like champs rave about their hardcore lifestyles and how they lift and eat perfectly so that they never have to deal with a second-place shamefulness...” (my pose obviously drove him to think of the posing dias and demi-godishness).

The Real Decision

A smile crosses my face when I think of my introduction. “I got into training to win the heart of Barbara, a beautiful homecoming queen I went to school with as a teen. You may not believe it now, but I was fairly scrawny as a sixteen-year-old. No, I didn’t win her heart …but afterwards I realized that I loved training, just for training.”

“I've gotten up on stage a handful of times,” I continue. “Perhaps my physique was ahead of its time or those judges needed glasses, but I didn't win every contest. But, now that I am helping others, I see that how you place doesn't really matter. If you improved, you have won. Not many think this way and maybe I'm just realizing it now.”

Mark nods and leaves this one for my experience. “The lifters you see online may declare that everything they capture on contest day is important, but it is not! That should only be a part of their life. Look at Mark. He trains, but he put education and now research before it. I run the gym and help others also get in shape. Life, happiness and spiritual growth are most important. Getting in shape for a contest can help drive people to make great progress. Just make it a part of things, not everything!”

“Whenever you feel doubt...,” says Mark. “... look at the last two years of training, the strength increases, lean weight gained... impressive progress is there.”

For a second, I consider hitting another pose to inspire this young man, but realize my physique only matters to me. Helping other people reach their goals (the purpose of this magazine) means far more to me, as it should for any trainer. And teaching this information to Jeff made me realize what really matters in my goals!

Three Day Split – 1st 3 Months

 

Monday: Legs, Chest, AbsSetsReps
Squat warm up, then work up to...)35
Squat110
Leg Curl210
Bench Press55
Calf Raise312
Abs (your choice)320-30
Wednesday: Back, Shoulders, Arms, CalvesSetsReps
Deadlift warm up, then work up to 225
Chin Ups3max
Bent Row36-8
Shoulder Press36-8
DB Pullover212
DB Curl36-8
Triceps Pushdown38-12
Seated Calf Raise310-12
Abs310-12
Friday: Whole BodySetsReps
Bench Press33
Bench Press115
Chin Ups3max
DB Press36-8
DB Pullover312
Barbell Curl36-8
Triceps Extension38-12
Squat215
Leg Curl215
Calf Raise312-15
Abs320-30

 

 
On the major exercises (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift), warm up with a light weight and add weight each set until you reach your working weight. Add weight whenever you successfully get all listed sets for the indicated rep range. On the major exercises start your off season cycle with a weight which is about 85% of your repetition max for each exercise. That way you can add weight each week throughout the cycle. On the other exercises go to failure on the last two sets (except abs). If you get one more rep than the listed rep range on the last set of an exercise, add weight your next workout.

Four Day Split – Months 4-6

 

Monday: Chest, Back, Shoulders, AbsSetsReps
Bench Press33
Bench Press110
DB Flye28-12
Chin Ups3max
Bent Rows310-12
Shoulder Press36-8
Bent Laterals215
Abs3-425-30
Tuesday: Legs, Arms SetsReps
Squats33
Hack Squat26-8
Leg Curl210-15
DB Curl3-56-8
Triceps Pushdown3-510-12
Calf Raise3-66-20
Thursday: Back, Chest, Shoulders, AbsSetsReps
Deadlift13
Lat Pulldown310-12
Bent Row36-8
Bench Press35
Incline Flye210-15
DB Press310-12
Bent Lateral215
Abs3-525-30
Friday: Arms, LegsSetsReps
Seated DB Curl56-8
Triceps Pushdown510-12
Squat215
Hack Squat36-8
Leg Curl215
Seated Calf Raise3-66-20

Two On / One Off Back to Basics Training - Months 7-9

After completing the Intermediate Three Day Split and Four Day Split programs we go to a 2 on – 1 off program where you workout two days in a row and then take a day off. We still concentrate on the major exercises and include the advanced concept of “Feeder Workouts” to bring up any weak areas.

A “feeder workout” is performed to bring up a lagging body part or promote growth. As an example, we add a feeder workout for legs on Day #4 consisting of 2 supersets of 10-15 reps on Leg Extension and Leg Curl with a usable weight. Then 3 sets of 10 Squat or Leg Press with about 85% of your 10RM. This will get blood flowing to the area, facilitating recovery and growth.

 

Day #3: Off, Day #6: Off (then start over at Day #1)

Day #1: Legs, CalvesSetsReps
Squat (pyramid)512-4
Leg Press410-16
Leg Extension312-15
Leg Curls310-12
Straight Dead Lift310-12
Seated Calf Raise510-12
Calf Raise (bodyweight)525-50
Day #2: Chest, Triceps, CalvesSetsReps
Bench Press512-4
Incline DB Press36-8
DB Flyes38-12
DB Pullovers38-12
Close Bench Press412-6
Triceps Pushdown36-12
Dips36-12
Heavy Calf Raises48-12
Donkey Calf Raise415-20
Day #4: Shoulders / Biceps (Legs – Feeder Workout)SetsReps
Military Press (pyramid)412-6
DB or Machine Laterals38-12
DB or Cable Bent Laterals38-12
Barbell Curl (pyramid)412-6
Incline DB Curl38-10
Machine or Preacher Curl28-12
(Feeder Workout)215
Leg Extension (superset)210-15
Leg Curl210-15
Squat or Leg Press310
Day #5: BackSetsReps
Chin Ups or Pullups46-12
Deadlift & Shrug310
Bent Row or T-Bar Row412-6
Reverse Grip Pulldown38-12
Straight Arm Pullover310-12

Being the Best Version of Yourself

At a Glance: Brittney Palomino

Age: 38

Occupation or Education: McNeese State University graduate, Bachelors of Science; currently a sales representative for fuel and oil distributor

Family: Married with 2 children, both girls.

Current Residence: Lake Charles, Louisiana

Years training (total): 2010 is when it got “serious” for me. It wasn’t until 2010 that I worked with a trainer and decided to compete for the first time at a fitness show.

Height: 5’ 9”

Weight: Off Season-140, Contest-130

Favorite Fitness Meal: 1/2 cup oatmeal with a scoop of UMP! It is my favorite! It tastes like a treat to me and it nourishes my body.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? If you contact their customer service, they will respond! They are so helpful and want you to reach your goals. Everyone has different goals they want to achieve. The Beverly Staff will offer supplement advice to help you… Starting with the UMP protein powder is a great start- the flavors are all great! That is what I did. I fell in love with the taste, how it settled on my stomach, and wanted to start taking other Beverly supplements as well.

Music: Christian music and motivational speakers

Most Inspiring Book: I read Daily Devotionals - I have “Jesus Calling” that I read over breakfast every morning. It sets the tone for my day and gets my mind and heart in the right place.

Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: I have a passion for helping others. I am an excellent motivational speaker; enjoy public speaking events, and encouraging others. I have learned a lot myself over the years- from competing, strict dieting, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, being pregnant twice, and working a full time job. I manage my time well and am able to still eat healthy and have goals to accomplish. I am relatable and happy to help others achieve their personal goals in life. Whether it be fitness and health OR just being happy in their workplace, and happy in their personal life.

Words to live by: Take each day one day at a time. Yes, have a plan and visualize your future. BUT take every day one step at a time.

 

I am a wife, a mother of 2 children, and work full time. I live in Lake Charles, Louisiana; enjoy getting my hands dirty, being outdoors, doing yard work, and helping my husband with his crawfish farm. I have a very busy life, and have to manage my time well, but still am able to get a gym workout in 5 days a week, eat healthy and compete on stage.

I grew up seeing my parents take care of themselves. My father played just about every sport there was – football, basketball, soccer, golf- you name it- my dad played it. When I was growing up I watched him run in many local races. My mother went to the gym regularly and took my brother and me with her. Being healthy, active, and the best version of you- is how I was raised.

When I started working out, I knew my way around the gym from going with my mom as a kid, but didn’t really know exactly what to do. I wanted to build muscle in some areas and reduce fat in others. I also didn’t know much about clean eating. I just ate everything no or low fat. I started watching others and asking what muscle groups a particular exercise was targeting. I started writing up my own workout plans to follow, focusing on certain muscle groups. I subscribed to Fitness magazines and would read them cover to cover. I’d get ideas for what to do in the gym and also write down healthy recipes and meal plan ideas. I began reading up on nutrition, what foods do for your body, researching what other females with close to my body type were eating to look and feel the way they did.

Here’s what didn’t work:

Restriction. I would cut way back on calories- whether it be no carb, no sugar, no fat, etc. That never worked for me. It might work for a few weeks, I would drop weight, but it all piles back on, because this type of diet is not sustainable. You need to find a “diet” that works for you, and that you can follow for the long run. That is when the results will come and stay.

Here’s what worked:

A balanced meal plan. I tracked macros for at least 2 years. I had targets for my total calories, proteins, fats, and carbs set and I would eat to hit those targets. 80% of my foods were “clean” and 20% whatever I wanted as long as I hit my macro targets. Eventually it got to where I didn’t have to track macros. I just knew what foods to eat more of or less of.

Meal Plan

This is the basic meal plan I follow- of course it all changes when I am getting close to a competition. I feel this is a sustainable plan for most people.

 

Meal 1: 1/2 cup oatmeal with 3/4 cup liquid egg whites

Meal 2: 4oz chicken, 4oz sweet potatoes (pre workout meal) (I get my workouts in during my lunch breaks)

Meal 3: Muscle Provider protein shake with 2 rice cakes

Meal 4: 5oz tilapia, 1/2 cup rice, 3/4 cup broccoli

Meal 5: 4oz salmon, 1/2 cup brown rice, 8 asparagus spears

Meal 6: UMP with 1/2 cup oatmeal (mix UMP in after cooking oatmeal)

Meal Prepping does not have to be time consuming or hard. Here are some tips:

  • I prep most of my food in bulk and store in the fridge for the work week. Every morning before work I will weigh out my meals, put them in a cooler, and take them with me.
  • Have healthy foods cooked and ready to go in your fridge. When you get hungry, you should be able to grab something quick.
  • For chicken - yes a grill is nice or the oven, but now I like to just throw the chicken in a crockpot with a cup of water and let it cook. It’s simple. Use a crockpot liner for quick clean up.
  • For carbs - cook a big pot of rice and keep in fridge. Buy sweet potatoes in a steamer bag, throw them in the microwave and they are done! Let cool, peel, and put in Tupperware in the fridge.
  • For veggies - steamer bags are your friends! Asparagus, broccoli, and green beans. Cook and store in Tupperware in your fridge.

Supplement Schedule

Lean Out:
3 caps with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (meals 1, 3, & 5)

7-Keto MuscLean:
3 caps with breakfast and lunch (meals 1 & 3)

Energy Reserve:
1 tablet with each meal + 2 tabs before training

Muscularity:
3 caps with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (meals 1, 3, & 5)

Fast-Up:
2 caps mid-day when I need boost of energy

Muscle Provider:
Meal 3 (post workout)

UMP:
Meal 6 (usually mixed with oatmeal)

Training Schedule

 

Monday and Thursday: Orange Theory 1-hour class.

Tuesday: Glutes & HamstringsSets Reps
Leg Curls512-20
Squats512-20
Leg Press512-20
Stiff-leg Deadlift512-20
Weighted Pelvic Thrust512-20
Wednesday: Back & BicepsSets Reps
Wide Grip Pullups510-15
Wide Grip Pulldowns510-15
T-Bar Row510-15
DB Jerks510-15
Wide Bar Cable Row510-15
Alternate DB Curls58-12
Straight Bar Curls58-12
DB Hammer Curls 58-12
Friday: Chest & TricepsSets Reps
Flat Bench DB Press510-15
Cable Flyes510-12
Pushups510-12
Cable Rope Pressdowns58-12
Skull Crushers58-12
Weighted Bench Dips58-12
Saturday: ShouldersSets Reps
DB 3/4 Shoulder Press510-15
BB Military Press510-15
DB Lateral Raise510-15
BB Upright Rows510-15
Incline DB Front Raise510

Cardio

 

I currently attend Orange Theory Fitness twice a week. I have seen a big difference in my physique since implementing that into my workouts. I enjoy HIIT style for cardio. Increase that incline on the treadmill to target your glutes more.

 

Presentation tips

Practice posing, wear your competition heels around the house. Get comfortable in them! Practice in front of a mirror, but also not. You won’t be looking back at you on the stage, you need to visualize people, the judges looking back at you. Smile the whole time, even when you are waiting to go on stage, you are being judged before you step on that X on the stage.

Closing Thoughts

If you compete, have a plan of action for after the show. Yes, enjoy a meal that evening and the next day. But get back on your plan Monday. Don’t drastically cut cardio or change up your meal plan. If you are not going to compete for a while, you should still slowly transfer to your off season meal plan.

The Monday after a show, I jump back on a meal plan that is very close to my precontest diet. If you were doing 1 hour of cardio a day, you don’t want to up your calories a ton and stop cardio, you will gain bad weight quick.

Remember if you chose to compete or not- it’s always “you” vs “you”. If you just want to lose weight, this is YOUR journey. Do not compare yourself to anyone. When it is time to compete, step on that stage, if you gave it your all, and did YOUR best, then you won. Just compete against yourself, always striving to be the best version of yourself.

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.