My Unique Training and 3-Phase Nutrition Plans
No Nonsense Magazine Volume 24, #3
By: Keanu Soto
At a Glance: Keanu Soto
Occupation or Education: Personal Development / Strength and Conditioning Coach
Residence: McKinney, TX
Years training: 11 years
Height: 5'11" (but who's counting right?)
Weight: 205-210 all seasons
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Steak and eggs
Favorite Supplements: I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Beverly’s UMP (Ultimate Muscle Protein). First and foremost, the taste is impeccable. Second, I call it my pocketknife protein because it can be utilized in many situations. The 80:20 blend of casein to whey makes it perfect for staving off hunger. I like to use the strawberry flavor for breakfast with my oats. It’s also great before bed.
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before: I’m telling you, you will not find a better tasting protein. That for me alone is a deal breaker, but then you throw in the fact that it mixes well and is easily digested. Game changer.
Music: You can catch me vibing to a little country during my dynamic warmups, a little hip hop as the workout starts to ramp up. Then during the big boy lifts, I like to get my heavy metal on!
Most Inspiring Book: Hands down Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book has changed the way I live my life.
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Outside of the gym you can catch me reading some sort of personal development book, watching something nerdy like Star Wars, or having game night with my friends. I’m ULTRA competitive.
Words to live by: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
My name is Keanu, and I'm absolutely obsessed with all aspects of personal development. I've always been intrigued with what makes a high performer a "high performer" (CEOs, billionaires, bodybuilders), so I've made it my life's work to study, emulate, and execute on my findings. I think a huge reason for this is my love for what's called The Hero's Journey. The Hero's Journey is essentially the story of a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and then returns home transformed. Examples of this include Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter in their respective movies.
But WE are the hero in OUR story, all capable of accomplishing great things. Still, those things can only come to fruition through discipline, consistency, grit, mental fortitude, and most importantly, accountability. Even the greatest of heroes' fiction or non-fiction didn't get to those great heights on their own.
How did you get started lifting?
I started lifting because of high school sports, and once I saw the results, I couldn't stop.
Did you have any problems starting out that other readers might relate to?
My greatest struggle when I was starting out was hip mobility and muscle imbalances.
Did you try anything that didn't work?
I was just powering through my workouts without any thought to what might be causing my problems. Mostly because I was 15 and had never given flexibility any attention unless I was in P.E. class, and I had never heard of muscle imbalance.
Tell what you did to solve the problem.
When I became 18, I had acquired my first training mentor (shout out Eain Brooks, love you brother); unbeknownst to him, I would hang on to every word he said.
I would stand within hearing range of him training clients, specifically this one client named Tina who had proprioceptive issues. He spoke one day about fixing imbalances and how addressing those issues would help her move her body in synergy. I started prioritizing stretching in my daily life and incorporating some of the stability work I saw Eain do with Tina in my workouts. Before I knew it, my strength and power shot up exponentially. My back squat shot up from 315x10 to 365x10, and my vertical jump went from 32" to 36" all in a 4–6-month period.
My approach to nutrition is similar to my approach to training. I get the best results with periodization.
Phase 1: I start with what I like to call Metabolic Priming, getting my body back to homeostasis. During this phase, my goal is to get my body back into balance while working on different breathing techniques and meditations to reduce stress.
I start by calculating my basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the calories your body burns by simply being alive using this formula.
For men: BMR = 10W + 6.25H - 5A + 5
For women: BMR 10W + 6.25H - 5A –161
W is body weight in kg, H is body height in cm, A is age in years.
I then take this BMR result and multiply it depending on my activity level:
Sedentary = 1.2
Moderately active = 1.550
Extra active = 1.9
Lightly active = 1.375
Very active = 1.725
For example, my BMR is, (955) + (1,135) – (145) + 5 = 1,940. I then multiply it by 1.725 because I would consider myself “very active” at the moment. I get a total of 3,347 calories per day. My goal now becomes to eat 3,347 calories of quality foods (regardless of macros) each day.
Phase 2: Depending on my goal, I call it either the Performance or Aesthetic phase. This phase has three subcategories, Performance, Muscle Building, or Fat Loss.
If my goal is to Perform at a particular event, let’s say a CrossFit competition, I would add 250 - 500 calories steadily, eventually reaching a total of 3,847. I then divide those calories into 50% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, 25% fats.
If my goal is to build muscle, I would slowly add 100 – 350 calories for a total of 3,697. I would then divide those calories into 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, 30% fats.
If my goal is to lose fat, I would slowly begin taking away 100 – 500 calories over time, until I hit my 2847 calorie mark. My macro breakdown for fat loss would be 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins, 20% fats.
Phase 3: Once the event is over in the case of performance or my metabolism has finally hit its peak for fat loss or needs a temporary break from the number of calories required to build muscle, I will then move into what's called the Lifestyle Phase.
Essentially the Lifestyle Phase is keeping the results I have acquired from the previous phase while slowly either reducing or increasing calories back to what would now be considered my new "maintenance." I allow myself to "live a little during this third phase." I will have a drink here and there with my friends or indulge in an extra cheat day if I feel like it. When I'm close to maintenance again, I then start over with priming my metabolism for Phase 1.
For easy tracking of food and macros I recommend the “MyFitnessPal” app.
Lower Body Day
Lower Body Barbell Complex (Each exercise is performed back-to-back, try not to rest until completed) 3 rounds of 10 reps each, 2-minute rest between rounds. Choose a weight you can comfortably use to complete ten reps of Good Mornings. This weight will be used for each exercise.
Lower Body Super Set 4 sets of 15, 12, 8, 5 reps, go heavy on the sets of 8 and 5 reps
Single-Leg Leg Press 15, 12, 8, 5 for each leg
Split Squat 15, 12, 8, 5 each leg
Dumbbell Walking Lunge 20, 15, 10, 5 each leg
Squat Jump 100 Reps, and you're done.
Upper Body Day
Alternate Pullup and Push-up
Pullup 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Push-up 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
Upper Body Super Set 4 sets each
Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press 12, 10, 8, 6
Single Arm Dumbbell Bent Over Row 12, 10, 8, 6
Upper Body Super Set 4 sets each
Barbell or E.Z. Bar 21's 21 Total Reps, 7 are from the bottom to halfway up, 7 are from the top of the curl position to halfway down, and the last 7 are full curls
(that's one set!)
Triceps Press Down As many reps as possible.
(Choose a weight you think you can get at least 15 - 20 reps with, and don't adjust unless it's to go up in weight.)
I imagine for most readers, these rep ranges and volume are out of line with what you would typically do, and that is EXACTLY why I encourage you to try it. Enjoy your pump.