Long Term Consistency Trumps Short Term Intensity
No Nonsense Magazine Vol 24, #4
By: Sean Young
At a Glance: Sean Young
Occupation or Education: Physical Therapist; owner of The Impakt Lab
Current Residence: Cincinnati, OH
Years training: 23 years
Weight: 205-210 (Offseason), 185-190 (Contest)
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Steak, eggs, and sweet potatoes
Favorite Supplements: Muscle Synergy and the Super Pak
What Supplements would you recommend: Super Pak for everyone; Muscle Synergy for year-round muscle gain, and Up-Lift for a great stimulant-free pre-workout and pump
Music: Anything with a good beat
Favorite Book: Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins
Hobbies and interests: Camping and hiking with my wife and daughters all over the USA; coaching my daughters' lacrosse, soccer and basketball teams
Words to work out by: The pain of being legendary is less than the pain of being ordinary. If you don't have enough discipline to beat the alarm clock, how are you going to beat everything else in life?
In the dresser in my room, I have a plaque that highlights the importance of perseverance. It is a word that is one of the fundamental principles in which I live my life. I have had this plaque since high school, over 20+ years ago. That's when I also decided to begin my career in bodybuilding and was introduced to Beverly International by my first prep coach Jeremiah Forster. Fast forward 20+ years later, countless amateur bodybuilding competitions, achievement of natural professional status, and now 10 professional bodybuilding shows won; Beverly has been with me all the way!
In 2018 after competing and running marathons simultaneously, I found out I had a severely torn cartilage leaking fluid, a stress fracture in my tibia, and a torn meniscus in my left knee. Surgery was strongly recommended, however being the stubborn physical therapist I am, I decided to do my own rehab and see how far I could get. Although the cartilage and meniscus will not heal, I rehabbed my knee to full strength and ROM and resumed bodybuilding training. In 2020 when the gyms shut down, I got back into running. Although my true passion is bodybuilding, running was another outlet to challenge myself physically and mentally. When you can make yourself do daily tasks that are uncomfortable and difficult, you will be more equipped to handle more difficult tasks when they arise. 2020 was a great example of this. I was not about to let it get the best of me. I joined a couple of virtual marathons and ran four consecutive half marathons in 4 weeks leading up to my 40th birthday. Given the aforementioned knee injury and my home base Gymbo's Personal Training and Fitness Center opening back up in the summer, it was time to get back to my true passion of bodybuilding!
The old saying goes, "If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got." I have been bodybuilding and competing for 20 years! This year I decided to try out a new bodybuilding split and venture outside my comfort zone. I have always been intrigued by the push/pull/legs split but wanted to make my own version. What I developed was an 8- day split. It would eventually shape out like this:
- Legs: Quad focused
- Pull: Upper back and bicep isolation
- Push: Upper chest anterior and delt pressing movements with heavy triceps movements
- Back: Primarily posterior chain movements and rowing
- Chest and shoulders: Isolation chest movements using multiple angles and a lateral delt head focus
Example of my typical Chest and Shoulders - Day
- Machine Flyes: 4x10
- Flat Bench Press: 15,12,10,8
- Incline Bench Flyes: 4x10
- Hammer Strength Chest Press: 4x10
- DB Laterals: 4x12
- Standing Heavy Single Arm Laterals: 4x10
- Alternating DB Front Raise: 4x10
- Rotator Cuff External Rotation: 4x20
This layout allows for recovery between body parts and minimizes the overlap of muscle groups. Once I established the main framework, I then had to figure out a total volume for the end of the 8-day cycle by trial and error. If you are going to try this, I would suggest tracking your total reps and sets to find your maximum recoverable volume for the 8-day cycle.
The next step was a good supplement regimen to aid recovery while building muscle. I primarily worked out in the morning. Depending on the day, I would start with coffee and Muscle Synergy to get a good pump in the morning. I typically drink 2 scoops of Muscle Synergy 3x/day. If working out later in the morning, I would drink two scoops of Up-Lift before my workouts. I began taking 2 Ultra 40's 3x/day with meals. I also take a Super Pak and 3 ZMA 200 before bed.
My first show of the year was the PNBA Phillip Ricardo Legends Classic in Virginia. I used the same split that I laid out above but decided to try a different approach to cardio. To get ready for competition in the past, I would train, do "traditional" cardio, and not much else in terms of physical activity the rest of the day! In prep, as our calories decrease, so does our natural activity. Our bodies are smart and always find a way to auto-regulate to conserve energy when they are in a deficit. First, I looked back on data from my Apple Watch to see what my average step count was for the previous two months at maintenance calories. Once I began prep, I decided to add 2000 steps to my current average step count. This would combat the natural decreased activity levels to ensure that I continued my current activity and added additional activity. I decided to use this approach instead of "traditional" cardio to the first show and see what would happen!
I eat clean year-round and never get too far out of shape. When I prep for a show, I may change the ratio of macronutrients but never exclude a specific macronutrient!
2 scoops Muscle Synergy 3x/day
2 scoops Up-Lift pre-workout
1 Super Pak; 3 ZMA 2000 before bed
Here is an example of my meal plan at 6 weeks out:
1 scoop UMP, 80 grams steel cut oats
6oz chicken, 6 ounces broccoli, 6 ounces carrots
1 scoop UMP, 7 rice cakes
6oz chicken, 8 oz potato, 1 serving fruit
10 egg whites, 2 whole eggs,
7 rice cakes
6oz 93% lean beef, large salad,
2 cups mixed vegetables
Well as it turned out, my new approach was a success. I placed first in the Pro Classic Physique division, achieving my 9th professional win! The next show was promoted by Josh Miller, the NGA Bluegrass Championships. This show was 8 weeks later, so it would give me some time to experiment with new ideas again. I always tell my prep clients that I practice new ideas on myself first, so it's on me and not them if I mess up!
Since my conditioning was where I wanted it to be, I maintained my step count for the prep duration. No additional cardio was necessary! I was really enjoying the new workout split, so no changes were needed in this area either. I made sure to continue training as heavy as possible and maintain my workout volume. I am a strong proponent of going as heavy as possible with good form leading up to a show to best maintain your hard-earned muscle.
The next step in the process was to experiment with weekly refeeds. This was an excellent opportunity not only to replenish glycogen but a chance to see how my body would respond and look with additional carbohydrates. My refeeds were in the form of a carbohydrate bump only, with a slight decrease in protein and fats to keep the calories under control. I would refeed with an addition of a 50-75% increase in carbs from the usual daily average. I practiced single-day refeeds and two-day refeeds as I became closer to the show date to see how I would respond. I found that I looked the best on the 4th day after a 2-day refeed! So day 1 and 2 refeed, day 3 baseline macros, and I would look my best day 4. I used this approach to compete in the NGA Bluegrass Classic, placing first in the Pro Classic Physique division - my tenth Professional career win! Being that it was close to home, my wife, daughters, parents, training partners, and gym family were all there in attendance to cheer me on and make it a wonderful and memorable experience.
Over the past 20+ years, I have been blessed with a great support system at home from my wife, children, and family. I also had great training partners, friends, and a great gym to train and work. Along with the support of family and friends, Beverly has been the backbone of my training program throughout my entire career in natural bodybuilding! Long-term consistency of good family, friends, support, and Beverly International supplementation trumps short-term intensity every day or the week!