The first year of training is usually when the bodybuilder experiences the quickest gains in muscle mass, but this is also the time where the most crucial mistakes are made, some of which could make a bodybuilder's career very short. The most important thing to remember is that you must always STICK TO THE BASICS. A beginning bodybuilder should stick with the basic free-weight exercises and forget about using machines and cables for a while. Such equipment definetly has its uses but only when your musculature becomes more advanced. It is the free-weight execrsises which builds your basic foundation.

We call it training because we're not just building muscle, we're developing the skills involved for getting the most out of the weights. By keeping this in mind, you can also keep your motivation. This is not to say you need an excessive amount of sets. I recommend two different exercises of three to four sets each per body part, but they must be heavy free-weight compound movements. Its hard to beat the bench press for chest, bent rows and pulldowns for back, and squats and hacksquats for legs. Remember. you dont need a large variety of exercises because you are trying to build a foundation. After a foundation is built, you can perfect a muscle group such as"striations in chest and legs" by using cables and specialized machines. Always remember to be patient and to keep up your motivation, set short-term goals for yourself such as putting 25 pounds on your benchpress in 2 months. Keep in mind that beginners need to stick to the basics. Doing the proper exercises at the proper times will ensure you will get the most out of your training. For example, You will gain mass in the chest a lot quicker by using the basic bench press and dumbell press instead of cable crossovers and dumbell pull overs. The latter are used for perfection of the foundation. Consitency and determination, along with proper exercise will help you attain your goals.

Below is a list of the most FAQ's by beginner bodybuilders just click on the question that relates to your concern.

How many times per week should I train each bodypart?
You should try to train each bodypart at least twice per week. Muscle deterioration starts 48 to 72 hours after the muscle is idle. Try not to train each part any less than twice per week. Some people can train a part up to three times per week and do just fine. People are different, and different people respond to different types of routines. Its more of a trial and error, but twice per week is normal for most people.

How many exercises should I do per bodypart?
You should try to do at least 2 different exercises per bodypart. Beginners should stick to only 2 exercises and they should be basic exercises. After a basic foundation is built, then go on to more exercises which will define the bodypart. Remember to stick to the basics as a beginner You are just wasting you time doing cable crossovers when you should be doing the basic benchpress.

How many sets and reps should I do per exercise?
When a person is just starting out, it is wise not to do too many sets per excercise. Young builders tend to overtrain and they have the mentality that the more they train the bigger they will get. This is a fallacy because muscle growth occurs when the muscle is at rest. you need to rest your muscles a lot more than you train them. The amount of reps you do should be in the range of 8 to 10 per set. Try to do at least eight but no more than 10. If you can do more than 10 reps or 10 reps very easily with a particular amount of weight, then the weight is to light and should be increased. If you cant achieve at least 8 reps with a particular amount of weights then the weight is too heavy and should be decreased. You should do 3 or 4 sets per exercise.

How soon after I start should I see gains in muscle size?
This question is probably the most difficult to answer due to the different body types of individuals. People respond differently to weightlifting. Some gain quickly while others take so long to see any results. The time it takes to see muscle gains depends on many factors such as diet, routine,sleep, and supplementation. If any of these are off the path, then your results will be effected. Body type is a factor which cant be altered but can be dealt with. Usually larger body frames tend to grow faster than smaller ones. When I say body frame, I mean bone size and not body height. Smaller frames just may have to work much harder to achieve the same results. "Thats life". Also, if you are a shorter person, muscle gain is usually faster than for a taller person.

Should I do the same routines as the Pros
No, the Pros do the routines they do because they are at an advanced level. You should not try to do the same. Contrary to popular belief, all Pro Bodybuilders are taking some type of Steroid or Growth Hormone, to aid in improving muscle size. Steroids and Growth Hormone both have anti-catabolic properties which limits muscle deterioration during intense workouts and provides for an extremely fast recovery after the workout. Natural bodybuilders cannot subject their bodies to the type of torture that Pros put their bodies through and expect to grow. You will need to give your body plenty of rest after workouts. Most Pros do not have a regular full time job other than bodybuilding. Most are paid to workout and have the time to spend a substantial amount of time in the gym. Most normal people can't do this.

Is it necessary to workout 8 hours per day in order to see results?
No, Like a said above, Pro bodybuilders do this because they get paid to workout, most do not have a regular job. The reason that they can workout for so long is because of the supplements they are using whether it be Steroids or GH, both of which are anti-catabolics. Beginner bodybuilders only need to workout from 1 to 1 1/2 hrs per day max. Anymore than that usually means that the person is overtraining. You should be able to get in a full workout in that amount of time. (of course if you spend a lot of time talking to friends and resting, it could take a lot longer) You should limit your rest to as little time as possible between sets which is usually the time it takes for your partner to complete his or her set. You don't want your muscles to cool down until you're done.

Can I still eat normal foods?
Well this depends on what you call normal. You are not limited to eating just herbs, nuts and wheat, you can and should continue to eat chicken, steak, fish, any types of vegetables and fruit. Just limit the intake. You may want to leave the fast food restaurants alone if you want to build your perfect shrine. Junk food period should be a thing of the past for bodybuilders. Don't get me wrong, you may have these things once in while, actually you should eat them once in a while just to keep you sanity, but do it with self control. The only exception to this is that some bodybuilders who are having trouble putting on weight may want to eat more of these type of things just to add a few extra calories. In this case, I see nothing wrong with as long as your metabolism can handle it. Also try to eat smaller meals more frequently rather than larger ones, this will keep up your metabolism and increase slower ones.

Is it better to have a training partner?
This all depends on your individual needs. It is nice to have a partner to push you to get that extra rep or to convince you that you really need to get out of bed and go to the gym, but there are some partners that are lazy and are reuluctant to try different things. This is the type of partner that you do not want, they will only hinder you efforts. If you can find a partner that will be in it 100%, willing to complete a workout when he's tired, willing to do that extra rep, and willing to try new things, then a partner can make a world of difference. One of the hardest things to do is to find a motivated partner and one that will stick with it.
Do supplements really work?
Some supplements do actually work but most dont. If all the supplements worked as well as the manufactures claimed, everyone would be musclebound. Unfortunatly, companies make millions selling bogus products to unsuspecting buyers. A good rule of thumb is that if a claim of a supplement sounds too good to be true then it is. There are some supplements which are available which aid somewhat in the musclebuilding process but they are far and few. If you do find a supplement which does work for you, cycle it and stick with it.
Should I eat carbohydrates and proteins before or after my workout?
You should do a combination of both. Even though you may eat enough carbs and proteins througout the day, It is still wise to consume an adequate amount of carbs and protein before and after training. If I had to say which is more important I would have to say after because it is very important to replenish what was taken away during training. But if possible try to consume both before and after training to ensure your body has adequate fuel to fuel to burn before you train and is properly restored after you train.
How many grams of carbs should I consume per day?
The amount of carbohydrates needed depends on the individual. For example, I weigh 170lbs. I try to make at least 65% of my food intake complex carbohydrates. This amount varies with each individuals needs and how well your body can handle the amount of carbs ingested. If you overload the carbs there is a chance that they will turn to fat, but this depends on your metabolism. If you are a smaller build person (thin), I would consume a lot of carbs because chances are you're body will not store them as fat. But, If you are a person who has trouble losing weight, I recommend you limit the carbs and use your current excess bodyfat as you primary fuel source.
I've been working out for months, why am I not getting bigger?
The reason for the lack of growth can be many things. The usual reasons are overtraining and workout routine. Most new bodybuilders tend to overwork the muscles in hope to gain faster but end up burning up their own hard earned muscle in the process. If you do not give your muscles ample time to recuperate between intense training, this is the outcome (no growth). Try working a bodypart only twice per week for a while and see it this works. Overtraining is the number one error made by beginners. The other most common reason for no growth is the workout routine itself. You have to ask yourself questions when you're doing each set. Is my form correct, is this weight too light for me, or, is this weight too heavy for me, and lastly, am I doing the proper exercise. If your workout weight is to light, you're not giving your body the stimulation it needs to grow, If its to heavy, you're doing the same but at another level. The proper exercise and form are important because only the basic exercises which are done correctly will promote growth.
Im at a plateau, how do I get past it?
A plateau is a sticking point in training where you either stop growing or are stuck on a particular amount of weight such as the bench press for a lengthy period of time. The best way to get over a plateau in either case it to shock the body. This means changing you're routine totally to something different whether it be all new exercises or the number of reps per exercise. You need to wake up the body from the normal stress that it is use to. It is the difference is you're routine that will do this. For example, if you normally do benchpress and dumbell presses for chest, change up and do enormous sets of benching only and combine with mega-sets of pushups after each set of benchpress. This might sound awkward but it definetly works, try it yourself just once. You're body will respond because it is something that it is not use to.

Should I combine aerobics into my bodybuilding routine?
The answer to this question is yes because you need to be aerobically fit as well BUT, you will need to limit the amount of time you spend doing it because aerobics burns alot of valuable calories that may be needed by the body to build muscle. If you are a thin person trying to put on muscle and has trouble gaining weight, I recommend you spend minimal time doing aerobics because you are working against youre efforts of putting on mass. If youre are a heavier build person and can afford to lose a few calories, then I do recommend you do some type of aerobics because not only are you getting you're cardio-vasucular system in shape but you're are helping yourself to lose the extra fat will let you have the sharper body that you want.

I. Basic Nutrition

Understanding the Fundamentals of Human Nutrition

Before you can understand sports nutrition, you are going to have to understand basic nutrition. I'm always amazed when I talk to people at the gym about nutrition. Most of the them are well educated and have good jobs, but do not know the first thing about nutrition. I ask them how much protein they're getting in their diet, and they don't have a clue. Most of them could care less. That is until I tell them they may be wasting their time and energy by not supplying their body with the vital nutrients to repair muscle tissue during intense training sessions. We'll get into that a little later. First, let's take a look at the fundamentals of human nutrition.

We are all collections of molecules that move. All of these moving parts are arranged in complexity and order; cells, tissues and organs. Your skin for instance, which seems to have covered you without changing from the time you were born, is not the same skin that covered you seven years ago, it is made of entirely new cells. The fat beneath your skin is not the same fat that was there a year ago. Your oldest red blood cell is only 120 days old, and the entire lining of your digestive tract is renewed every three days. Why am I telling you this, and why is it important to you? In order to maintain yourself, you must continually replenish the energy you bum and replace the pieces you lose.

To put together an actual person with nothing more than the purified chemical ingredients, (supposing it could be done) would be very expensive. We contain a gold mine of molecular information in a highly organized form. The protein hemoglobin of the red blood cells for example, costs several dollars a gram, the hormone insulin is close to $50 a gram. If we were to estimate the value of all the chemical constituents of a single human body, it would be somewhere around six million dollars (and that's without Steve Austin's bionics!) That's also before computing the cost of assembly, preservation and maintenance. As amusing as this calculation may be, it illustrates that we are the most information-dense structures on the planet, surpassing passing even the most expensive and elaborate computers. All the pieces you are made of have come from your food, and what you put into your body. You are made of exactly what you eat.



The food that you eat is composed of hundreds of different kinds of materials, but mostly, it is made up of three main nutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are commonly referred to as macronutrients. The science of nutrition is the study of how this takes place - the study of the nutrients in foods and the body's ability to handle those nutrients. You can metabolize a lot of different nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. However, you can only derive energy from these three macronutrients, or energy nutrients as some books refer to them. They are vital to life and without continual replenishment of the energy you expend daily, you would soon die. When oxidized in the body, the energy nutrients break down, and some of their components bind with other compounds and form waste materials. As they are broken down they release energy. Some of this energy is released as heat, some is transferred into other compounds that make up the structures of our body cells and some is used as fuel for our activities.


Calories and Nutrients

This energy that is released by the macronutrients can be measured in calories, which are familiar to everyone as a measure of food energy and of the energy the body spends in large quantities during heavy exercise. Both carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per grams, whereas fat contains 9 calories per gram. Just by looking at these amounts we can see that it takes more than twice the amount of energy to bum a gram of fat, than it does to burn a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are your body's primary fuel source, because it is easier for your body to break down a gram of carbohydrate for energy, than it is to break down a gram of fat. In order for your body to use fat as energy, you either have to be doing something aerobic (like riding a bike) for at least fifteen minutes, or be completely depleted of carbohydrates so your body has no other choice than to use stored body fat for energy. The energy content of a food is determined by how much protein, carbohydrates and fat it contains. If you don't use these nutrients immediately after you eat them, your body will store them in the form of body fat and put them away for use between meals and overnight. A simple rule to understand is that if you consume more than you use, you will gain weight. It doesn't matter if it is in the form of protein, carbohydrates or fat. measure of food energy and of the energy the body spends in large quantities during heavy excercise. Both carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, whereas fat contains 9 calories per gram.



Vitamins are much smaller than macronutrients but their functions are no less important. We cannot derive usable energy from vitamins, instead they serve as helpers, making it possible for the other nutrients to be divested, absorbed and metabolized in the body. There are 13 different vitamins and each one has a special role to play in the body. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are known as fat-soluble vitamins, whereas vitamins B-1,B-2,VVB-6,B-2 and C are known as water-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins for the most part are carried in the bloodstream, excreted in the urine, needed in small doses and are unlikely to be toxic. Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are found in the fat and oily parts of foods. They tend to move into the liver and adipose tissue and remain there, rather than being excreted, like most water-soluble vitamins. Their storage in the body makes it possible to survive long periods of time, without having to supplement them in the diet. Because they are stored in the body, there is a risk of toxicity with fat-soluble vitamins.



Minerals are much smaller than vitamins and occur in much simpler forms. Like vitamins, minerals do not provide energy. There are dozens of minerals found in nature, of them 21 are essential in human nutrition. Some of the ones you are probably most familiar with are sodium (which is salt), potassium (aids in muscular contractions) and calcium (good for bones and teeth). Minerals are just like vitamins, in that they act as helpers in delivering nutrients and aiding in certain functions in the body. They are different however from vitamins due to the fact that they are indestructible. When you prepare your food you need to be con- concerned about over-cooking because it is very easy to destroy vitamins. This is not the case with minerals.



Water is indispensable and abundant in the body. It actually forms the major part of every tissue within the body. Most people often take water for granted because it is everywhere. The amount of water you actually' ally need compared to the other nutrients is enormous, about two to three liters per day. That's 2,000-3,000 grams. Considering bodybuilders need I grain of protein per pound of body weight and the average per- son weighs less than 200 pounds, that's more than 10 times the amount of water needed as compared to protein. That's a pretty amazing figure! You obviously don't have to drink that much water each day, because there is water in the foods we eat. Water is a very important nutrient in that it provides the medium for which most of the body's activities are conducted. It also participates In many of the metabolic reactions that occur in the body and helps transport vital materials to the cells. One function that is of great importance is that water serves as the vehicle in which glycogen is transported into muscle cells. Glycogen is often referred to as muscle fuel, because it powers muscle contractions. A simple calculation for deter- mining your water requirements is to multiply your body weight by .6 and divide it by 12. This will give you the amount of water you need in 8 ounce glasses. Example: If you weigh 200 lbs. Then calculate as follows. 200 (weight) x .6 / 12 = 15 (8 oz.) glasses of water per day.

II. Sports Nutrition

Now that you have an understanding of basic human nutrition, we can take a look at sports nutrition more specifically. There are so many cutting edge products coming out on the market today, it is unbelievable. I think I am a little more educated than the average consumer as well as privy to more information, and even I have a hard time keeping up with all the new products. First, there was powdered creatine, which we all know works very well. Then we heard liquid creatine was better, then we heard it wasn't. Then came the testsoteorne boosters. First it was DHEA, then androstenedione. Now there is androstenediol, 4-AD, 5-AD, 19-nor and the list goes on. Lately, there has even been a push with a new sublingual homeopathic growth hormone. How are you, the consumer supposed to make sense of all this, and determine which products work and which ones don't? Unless you want to try every single product on the market and spend a lot of money doing it, you probably will never know for sure. You can read the latest literature and scientific university studies done on these products, but I think they only tell half the story. Over the years we at Max Muscle have seen literally hundreds of products introduced with hyped up claims backed up by university studies. Most of these products fall by the wayside. If the product really works the customer will buy more. No matter how much marketing and hype it's only as good as the customer says it is. We like to refer to this as the acid test. Creatine monohydrate is a great example of a product that lived up to it's expectations. Customers love creatine, because it really can dramatically increase muscle size and endurance. HMB is an example of a product that never quite passed the "Acid Test" The marketing and hype was there, but the product never lived up to the expectations the marketing created. We are now reviewing a new study that combines HMB with several other ingredients and looks awesome on paper. Our next step will be to give it try and let you know if it really works. The point here is that there is a place for supplementation in your program, but you have to be smart about it. I have talked to many people that spend their last dime on supplements. We're talking $700-$800 a month. I guess that's ok if you can afford it, but half these guys can't even pay their rent! What you have to determine when implementing your program is what you actually need, and what you can do without. It all boils down to the fact that people are searching for that one magical supplement. Sure there have been major advancements in the past five years in sports nutrition supplements, but the bottom line is if you want results, you must incorporate proper training and recuperation with a sound nutritional program.



We know that a gram of protein yields 4 calories of energy, but why is it so important in regards to build- building muscle. Amino acids are known as the building blocks of life. Each protein molecule may contain any of the 22 different amino acids, but in order for it to be a complete protein, it must contain the essential I amino acids. There are nine amino acids that are considered essential because our bodies cannot produce them, they have to be derived from dietary sources. When we consume a complete protein, it is broken down into amino acids. These amino acids have a variety of functions, one of the primary roles being that of repairing muscle-tissue. It is important to consume enough protein in our diets, especially if we our engaging in resistance training. Resistance exercise increases protein synthesis (the body's ability to break down protein to usable amino acids) and can cause negative nitrogen balance, which suggests a need for increased protein in the diet. Whenever you are In negative nitrogen balance, your body is in a catabolic state. That means it is breaking down your own muscle tissue to get the amino acids it needs for other functions. You remember that at the beginning of this guide I told you about people in the gym wasting their time if they weren't getting enough protein? Well this is why, and it's worth repeating. If you are not getting enough protein from your diet, your body will literally rob your own muscles of amino acids. This results in negative nitrogen balance and loss of lean muscle tissue. For anyone trying to put on muscle , this turns out to be a big problem! You're defeating the whole purpose of working out, because your body doesn't have the tools to repair the muscle tissue you must spent an hour in the gym breaking down. This will rapidly lead to being in an over-trained state, and some people wonder why they never make any gains in the gym. The studies that Chesley ET. Al., 1992 conducted, reported that a protein intake of about 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight was required to maintain positive nitrogen balance in strength- training athletes. That's almost I gram of protein per pound of body weight, which far exceeds the recommended daily allowance.


Protein Testing

We know from this study and many others, as well as practical application by millions of strength-training athletes, that we need to consume extra protein in our diets. But of all the protein powders on the market, and the different types of actual protein we can get from food, how do we know which is best? For starters, there are different ways to measure the quality of a protein. The simplest way to evaluate the protein quality of a food source is by Chemical Scoring. This is where the amino acid composition of the protein itself is rated, by comparing it to a reference protein. It is possible to determine the amino acid composition of any protein inexpensively, but unfortunately, chemical scoring does not always reflect accurately the way the body will use a protein.

The Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) is the best-known procedure for evaluating protein quality and is used in the U.S. as the basis for regulations regarding food labeling. The PER has become outdated, primarily due to the fact that the ratio is based on the grams of weight gained by rats divided by the grams of protein they were fed. The biggest problem with the PER studies is that the need for amino acids in rats is not the same as that for human beings. Knowing that a protein has a high PER is still a good indicator that it is a high quality protein. Net Protein Utilization is a little more complex testing procedure, but has the same basic problem as PER, in that it uses animals as the test subjects. The only way to determine the actual value of a protein as it is used by the human body, is to measure not only urinary, but also fecal losses of nitrogen when the protein is actually fed to human beings under test conditions. This determines the Biological Value of the protein. The primary reason this method is so important in determining the bioavailability of protein is because it is done on actual humans. This gives us a more accurate protein value, while determining exactly what the nitrogen retention is. This is very important because it lets us know how much of the protein we can assimilate (actually use) after we consume it.



The primary role of carbohydrates or sugars is to provide the body with energy. Their second role is to spare protein from being used as energy, so that it will always be available to build and repair muscle. This is why many times you will hear carbohydrates being referred to as protein sparing. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. A simple carbohydrate is made up of only one sugar. When you eat a simple sugar your body uses it for energy immediately. This results in a quick rise in blood sugar levels, prompting the hormone insulin to be released. Insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the body and serves as a regulator. Its purpose is to level off blood sugar levels by sending the sugars where they need to go. If your body doesn't use all of the simple sugar you have just eaten, it will store the excess in fat cells. This is different from complex carbohydrates, which are composed of more than one sugar. When you eat complex carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose and insulin is again secreted to regu- late where the sugar goes. However this time, if your body does not use all of the complex carbohydrates, the excess will be stored as glycogen in either the muscle cell or liver cell for later use. When you eat com- plex carbohydrates you can maintain even amounts of energy levels over a longer period of time. When most people think of complex carbohydrates they think of pasta, rice, or potatoes. These are the complex carbohydrates that have a caloric value. However, fibrous carbohydrates like vegetables are also consid- ered complex carbohydrates, yet they do not have the same caloric value. When we get into setting up your diets, starchy carbohydrates are what you are going to want to eat earlier in the day, while fibrous carbo- hydrates will be what you want to eat later in the day.



Fats are the ideal fuel for long-term energy. This is the reason you need to incorporate some sort of aerobic exercise into your program. If you don't, you, you can never effectively utilize fat stores. Fat is classified into three different groups, and the one we really need to be concerned about is simple fats, also known as triglycerides. This is the only group of fats we can derive energy from. There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats, and when we talk about fats in our diet, we want them to come from unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats come from plants and vegetables, whereas saturated fats come from animals.

III. Diet

We now know what nutrients we want to incorporate into our diet, but what are the best foods to get them from, and how much of them do we need? First, remember that it doesn't matter if everything we are eating is perfect, if too much of it is consumed, we will get fat. And if our goal is to get lean, that isn't what we are going to want to do. Again, if our goal is to build muscle, we better make sure we are eating enough protein. So how do we go about putting together our game plan. There are a million different diets, just as there are a million different training routines. You've got everything from the high protein diet to the high fat diet and to this day experts in our field still argue as to which diet is the best. It's funny that these supposed Diet-gurus sit around and argue their theories, meanwhile it looks like the only diets they incorporate into their lifestyle are ones consisting of donuts and pizza.

Human nutrition may be a science, but by no means is it an exact science. What I mean by that, is every single person's metabolism is different. Each one of us was born with our own unique DNA that determines our genetic makeup. We all have different physical characteristics and process nutrients based on the blueprint that was given to us at birth. So don't think the diet your personal trainer wrote for you is going to work for you or anyone else for that matter, based on some magical formula he or she came up with. There are formulas out there to determine your basal metabolic rate, and from there you can deter- mine how many calories you may need. But more specifically, out of those calories how many should come from protein, how many from carbohydrates, and how many from fat? What I'm getting at, is that you need to establish what works best for your body based on trial and error. Don't get me wrong, it's good to have a starting point, which I'm going to show you in a minute. It also helps you to understand which nutrients do what (which is why I spent time going over them). But more importantly, we just have to start somewhere, get going, and then make adjustments. If you try to make it to exact, or spend too much time analyzing your diet, you're going to end up looking like those diet-gurus.


Getting Started

There is a few basic rules that everyone should follow when setting up their own diet plan:

1st: Remember to eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day. This will help speed up you body' metabolism and help keep you from storing fat. It will also help you stay controllably hungry, which will make it easier not to binge or cheat.

2nd: Keep your protein high. This goes for you ladies as well. Remember, if you are incorporating a strength, training routine into your program, you need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Even if you decide not to use weights, keep in mind that dietary protein taken every 3-4 hours will prevent you from loosing lean muscle tissue, even while doing aerobic training. The last thing you want to have happen , is your body to rob the amino acids from your own muscles!

3rd: Keep dietary fats to a minimum. While fat is important in our diet, it makes it very hard to get lean with too much dieatary fat being taken in.

4th: Watch your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates are considered protein sparing, but too much of them in our diet will prevent us from losing unwanted body fat. If you are burning the carbohydrates from your diet all day long, it will be virtually impossible for your body to burn stored body fat for energy.

5th: Make sure to eat protein right after your train. This is your "window-of-opportunity" when your muscles need that protein to help repair them after they have just been broken down in the gym.

6th: Plan your meals with carbohydrates and fat, earlier in the day, After 5pm, you don't want any more calories to come from starchy carbohydrates.

7th: Be sure to drink a lot of water. Protein has a dehydrating effect on the body and water will help moderate that as well as help transport the nutrients.

8th: Watch your sodium levels. Too much sodium will cause you to retain sub cutaneous water, which will blur muscle definition.


Determining Your Calorie Intake

The first thing I would do when I was getting ready for a bodybuilding contest, and what you are going to do for the MaxFormation Championship, would be to access my current diet. By that I mean I would write down exactly what I had been eating for the last week and then calculate out the totals and take an average. Now I could see how much protein, carbohydrates, fat and total calories I had been eating each day. This was my starting point. If I determined that I had been eating 5000 calories per day, and I may have also noted that I was carrying way too much body fat, then I would reduce my calories about 20% to start with. To figure this out I would calculate the calories I was presently consuming (5000) times (.2 or 20%) = 1000. Then subtract 1000 from 5000 to have a starting point of 4000 calories. If you feel you are eating too few calories you may need to increase your calories in order to gain weight. The first couple of weeks will determine whether your calculations were done correctly. More than likely you will need to make corrections since metabolic rates vary in all of us depending on age, activity level, and of course our unique genetic blueprint. Now, I had to decide what it was I wanted to accomplish. Obviously, since I was getting ready for a bodybuilding show, I wanted to keep as much muscle as possible, while getting as shredded (very lean) as possible. In order for me to do that, I would have to keep my protein as high as possible , while limiting my carbohydrates and dietary fat. For you, it might be to bulk up or tone down. The important thing is to figure it out before you get started. You have to have a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish before you expend any energy toward your goal.


Body Fat Percentage

Next, you will want to measure your body fat, to give yourself an idea of where you are at presently. This will give you a percentage of body fat that will help you determine how much fat you need to lose. Remember as you build lean muscle, this will help you to burn body fat more quickly and efficiently. There are many different methods, probably the easiest and most convenient, is the skin fold test. It uses an instrument called a caliper and measures your body fat by taking skin folds at various sites around your body. The test is painless and can be done pretty quickly. A lot of gyms and health centers offer free body fat testing. To give you an example of how to incorporate your body fat result into your program lets take a look at what I did. I started with a body weight of 265 pounds at about 12% body fat. This meant I had about 32 pounds of fat on me. You can figure this out by multiplying 265lbs x. 12=31.8lbs of fat. I wanted to get down to about 4% body fat, which meant I had to lose about 21 pounds of fat. To arrive at this number, figure that 265 x 4% body fat is 10.6 pounds, subtract that from the 31.8 pounds of fat I was at currently, and I would have to lose 21.2 pounds of fat. Now remember this isn't exact. No testing procedure, not even hydrostatic weighing is completely accurate. So leave some room either way for error. You also have to remember that bone and water will also affect the end results. I ended up coming into my last show at 238 pounds and under 4% body fat, which meant I was pretty close to my target weight. Based on the calculations, I would have been around 243 pounds. The other 5 pounds was probably water that I eliminated during the last few days preceding the contest. This is to bring all of your muscle definition out for the day of the show, which I will explain how to do for your after pictures. This is part of the process towards the end called peaking.


A Formula for Lowering Body Fat Levels

You know where you are at presently, and where you want to be at the end of your program, so what next? We have to figure out what to eat to get us to achieve our end result. In my case, I had 14 weeks to diet and had to lose 21 pounds. That meant I needed to lose approximately 1.5 pounds of body fat per week to attain my target weight, which is right about at the limit of how much weight you want to lose each week. For the most part we are all going to have to lose some fat, unless you are a genetically gifted wonder. If you lose anymore than 2 pounds of body weight in a week, you are most likely sacrificing lean muscle with fat. And believe me you don't want to sacrifice any muscle! So lets use Mike as our example. He is 200 pounds at IO% body fat, and he wants to get down to 5 % body fat, how long does he need. First, remember we multiply 200 x .10 = 20 pounds of body fat. That's where he is at currently. Mike wants to get to 5% body fat, which would be 10 pounds of fat. Now subtract that from the 20 pounds of fat he is holding and that leaves him with 10 pounds of fat to lose to be at 5% body fat. That gives Mike a good ten weeks, which would allow him to lose I pound per week and still enable him to reach his target weight. See how easy that is. I simplified it for practical purposes, but just follow the formula, and you shouldn't have any problems. We know Mike needs to lose a pound a week for the next ten weeks. Mike is planning to do a 16 or maybe even 20 week MaxFormation -- this will give him plenty of time to make any adjustments so he will look awesome for his after photos.


Protein Requirements

We have our starting point of how many calories Mike has been eating to get to where he is presently. So the first thing we need to do is make some adjustments. Let's start with protein. We know that Mike will be incorporating a strength-training routine into his program, so he should be eating at the very least I gram of protein per pound of body weight. If he has only been eating 180 grams of protein, then we are going to have to do some rearranging. Since protein and carbohydrates are both 4 calories per gram, I would simply ply subtract the same number of carbohydrates from his diet, that I am adding with protein to keep the calorlc value the same. So what we just did, was add 2O grams of protein to his diet, and subtract 2O grams of carbohydrates. The caloric value remains the same because we just switched the protein and carbohydrates .


Lowering Dietary Fat

Next, I would take a look at his dietary fat and cut it by about 5%. So, if Mike's total calories were 2000 and 20% of his diet was from fat, than we know that he is eating about 45 grams of fat per day in his diet. To figure this out, we just multiple 2000 calories by .20 and get 400 calories. Now remember that 400 value is in calories, so we have to divide it by 9 (because there is 9 calories in one gram of fat), and that leaves us with approximately 45 grams of dietary fat. Since we are going to start by cutting his fat by 5%, we need to figure out 15% of his diet from fat which would be 300 calories or 33 grams (2000 x .15 = 300 divided by 9 calories = 33.3 grams of fat.) That leaves us with a difference of 12 grams of fat (by sub- subtracting 45 grams of fat - 33 grams of fat). Now all we have to do is look at Mike's diet and decide where we are going to cut the 12 grains of fat. The best place to cut the fat is in the meals that he is eating later in the day, since we don't want to store that fat overnight. We want to use it up during the day, so it would be best to eat the 33 crams of fat during the first half of the day, before Mike works out. This first week, Mike should lose some fat, based on the fact that his diet has been pretty consistent for the last few weeks and his body weight hasn't changed. Keep in mind that we will be adding aerobic training to Mike's program. We only reduced his caloric intake by 108 calories, which came from the 12 grams of fat we cut out.


Don't Be Afraid to Make Changes

The first time you change your diet, a lot of different things are bound to happen, because of the initial shock to the system. If you lose more than a couple pounds, it's ok, your body is just acclimating itself to the changes. But after the second week if you are still losing more than a couple pounds, then we would want to add back some calories. Chances are though, if you just make a subtle change like we did with Mike, you will probably only lose a pound or two. So lets assume everything is going great, you are lossing I pound a week and then after 5 weeks, all of a sudden you stop losing weight. It is time to go in and make another adjustment. This time, we may want to subtract another 5% from fat calories, or if we feel our dietary fat is getting too low, subtract some calories from carbohydrates. The only thing that should stay pretty constant throughout the whole diet is your protein value, however even this may need to be adjusted higher. There is a definite correlation to getting lean while eating a high protein diet. If you feel your not getting as ripped as you would like to, then try upping your protein level. Be prepared to lose a little energy, while a high protein diet is awesome for getting ripped it is not the best diet for enhancing energy levels. Don't be afraid to go in and change things around. No one, including yourself (unless you've done this before), is going to know exactly how your body is going to respond. Have fun with it and experiment Nothing is going to be exact so don't freak yourself out just be prepared to make a few adjustments as you move toward your ultimate goal, and believe me the MaxFormation will take place!


Best Foods

There are many different foods that are good for you. What we have to determine is what will be the best foods for us to incorporate into our diet plan to help us attain the best results and achieve our goal. Below is a list of foods that you can choose from when structuring your diet:


Ostrich fillet or ground patty
Lean turkey breast (unproscesed)
Lean ground beef or flank steak
Chicken breast
Egg whites

Carbohydrates (starchy)

Cream of Rice
Whole wheat bread

Carbohydrates (fibrous)

Green beans


Flaxseed oil
Safflower oil
Primrose oil


One of the more common questions I get is "isn't there some protein in the carbohydrates sources and fat in the protein sources, etc.Ó? The answer is yes. You will always have a combination of the macronutrients in all foods, however most foods derive the majority of their calories from one macronutrient and that is why they are classified as such. The protein sources above are very good sources for you to get your protein, because they all have very little carbohydrates and fat. When choosing your protein sources at the grocery store, make sure to pick the leanest cuts of meat. Remember that there will be saturated fat in our protein sources, so we want to minimize that amount as much as possible. It is better to get our fat from the essential fatty acids in unsaturated fat. When we get into supplements, you will see how easy it is to incorporate them into your diet.


Why Do I Need Supplements

After seeing all the great foods there are to obtain nutrients from, you may be wondering why you need to take any type of supplement. The truth is, you really don't. Everything you need to build muscle and lose fat is right there in the perfect diet. The problem most people incounter is that they don't eat the perfect diet. They have the "NO" syndrome -- No Time, No Knowledge, No Money. Most of us don't have the time to prepare the meals needed to make up the prefect diet and on the rare occasion that we do, many of us fall short on knowledge or money. Enter supplements...

They are economical as well as convenient, and best of all they take the guesswork out of determining the nutrients within each serving. When you concider a piece of steak at the grocery store will cost you upwards of $3.00, you can get the same amount of protein in a scoop of MaxPro for around 60 cents. Not to mention that is going to take you a lot longer to prepare that piece of steak than it is to drink MaxPro, it really becomes a no-brainer. Because of the recent advances made in the manufacturing and extraction process of protein powders, many of the higher quality products like MaxPro, are actually more bioavailable and easier for your body to digest and assimilate than dietary protein.

I couldn't possibly list all the exercises you could do here, as there are surely several hundred, probably even thousands of different exercises. The exercises listed here will give a good selection to chooses from in planning your routine. I'll also list some sample routines you might want to try out, but first, some words of advice.
  • Vary your workouts, don't do the same routine or exercise for a muscle for more than 6 weeks, otherwise your progress will slow, and possibly even halt. Your body adapts to the motion, and no longer needs to build new muscle to do that motion. my workouts usually differ every week, though I don't know if this is the most beneficial!
  • Use proper form. Don't worry about lifting more weight all the time, you're in the gym build muscle, not (try to) show off, I hope. Don't sacrifice good form in favor of lifting more weight. Poor form makes you vulnerable to injury, takes stress off the muscle you are working, and makes you look like an idiot. When doing curls, your elbow should not move at all. If it does, some muscle other than your biceps is lifting the weight. Cheating may be all right (if you don't have a spotter), on occasion, and only for the last rep or two, but keep in mind that cheating is probably the most likely time to injure yourself.
  • Perform each repetition slow and deliberately. If you want your muscle to grow, you have to put it under a lot of stress. By just using momentum to lift a weight, and letting the weight drop down, you are just wasting your time. Sure, you might be able to do more reps or more weight, but you won't grow, and you risk injury.
  • On all exercises, don't let your joints 'lock out'. In the squat, go all the way up, but stop just before you lock your knees. For shoulder/bench press don't lock out your elbows. By not locking out you keep the muscle under constant strain, lessen the chance risk of injury, and your muscle's will grow more.
  • The bigger the exercise ( the more muscle you activate ) the longer the rest. For example, you might rest 5 minutes between heavy sets of squats, and less than 2 minutes between sets of curls.
  • The more intensity, the longer the rest. i.e. less than 8 reps requires a few minutes rest, whereas volume usually requires less rest i.e. ~60 seconds.
  • Bigger muscles take longer to recuperate. Quads and hams may need 5 or more days rest to recover, whereas arms may only need 2 or 3.
  • Stretch a bit after warming up. Stretch a little between sets. Stretch a lot after working a muscle. It prevents soreness ( a bit ) and allows for greater growth. I like to finish of a muscle with a few set s of an exercise that allows me to fully stretch the muscle, like fly's. See my stretching page for more info.
  • Wait at as long as it takes for your muscles to fully recover before working that muscle again. Muscle damage is cumulative, and training too soon will cause more damage than can be repaired, and you open yourself up to overtraining.
  • Use a full range of motion to maintain flexibility, to stretch the muscle during the exercise, and just because. Partial reps may be OK ( though I don't see much material on these ), as they let you handle more weight in the concentric part of the motion. But accompany them with sets of full reps to prevent muscle imbalances.
  • Don't cheat the weight up to force out another rep. Use a spotter, or find an an exercise that lets you spot yourself ( like concentration curls ). Forced reps or eccentric failure shouldn't be practiced to often anyhow, as this puts some serious strain on your nervous system, and can quickly lead to burnout.
  • When working several muscles, try to work muscles in the same area, since the blood is already there. Don't work legs, and then go do shoulders. Legs should obviously have a day devoted to them alone. Supersets are good for those pressed for time, as blood is in general area, and set for one muscle is a stretch/warm-up for the other.
  • Don't get carried away and to 20 sets for a muscle. What I like to do is warm up for about 3-4 sets (low reps to prevent lactic acid buildup) followed by two or three heavy sets on some free weight exercise. Then I'll do one or two heavy sets of another exercise or two. Usually I don't do more than 6 heavy sets per muscle group. Perhaps you've heard of one-set workouts, and they do have some followers, but studies have shown that multiple set cause a greater release of testosterone.


Well, if you can see my picture, this is what you can achieve without drugs, vast amounts of supplements and laborious hours in the gym. But you must have discipline, motivation and a real desire to improve your physique. If you have, then read on because this is how I changed my body and became a "bodybuilder"- use what you can from how I achieved my physique change and go for it yourself!



Why Bother?

Well, there is no easy way to go to get your physique looking great, but what is the point! I assume that if you weren’t interested in changing your physique you wouldn’t have read this far anyway- so the first impetus to getting it on is already there. If you have never been in shape, believe me you have to try it to find out how rewarding it really is, and that is very hard to describe. You know when you are in shape that you have a physique that is outstanding, and other people notice it- in itself an almost arrogant thing to say, but if you worked damn hard to get it you deserve to be. Also the methods that you must use to improve your physique are universal and can be applied to other aspects of your life- it is amazing how much you can do when you have the belief in yourself that you can do it. Basically, it feels great to be in shape- don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!


How to Begin!

The first and most important step you have to make is to start! This may sound stupid, but it is amazing how many otherwise unthought of distractions cause you to delay starting a diet and fitness program. I just began- and although my diet wasn’t particularly good for the first week, it improved dramatically by the second, and then I started to get into a routine by the third week. The first few weeks are quite tricky adjusting to, but are such a necessary step in learning how to fit your diet around the rest of your life. Also, if you haven’t got time- make time! This is the single biggest excuse for not keeping to a disciplined diet and training system. At the time that I did the program I am to describe I was in full time study for a degree, working two jobs to support myself and rehearsing in the evenings for a play- I had to get organised to fit my diet and training around this. You will always be busy but you have to plan as best you can to get round this (and as you will see things didn’t always go smoothly! And I wasn’t always disciplined- all part of the learning process).


Get Planning

To get my routine on the go I made separate plans for my weekly schedule, daily diet and training sessions. This made life a hell of a lot easier- but you have to get into a routine of updating the schedules or matters will overtake you and you will get frustrated and undisciplined. My daily schedule was divided into hours and I planned to the closest hour the following days events. The diet schedule was again daily but divided into the six meals that I ate.

Then I planned my diet. I worked out the calories I was going to start on by multiplying my weight in pounds by twelve. Then I divided this total by six to get an idea of how many calories I would need per meal.

Each meal consisted of a ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 40% protein and 20% percent fat. The amount of calories for each nutrient was then worked out according to the ratio (no.of calories per meal * 40/40/20% respectively). Then I needed to work out how many grams of nutrients this was equivalent to. For proteins and carbohydrates there are 4 calories per gram, and for fat there is 9 calories per gram. So, for instance, if each meal were 400 calories, it would consist of 160 calories of carbohydrates (40%), 160 calories of protein (40%) and 80 calories of fat (20%). This would then work out in grams as 160/4=40 grams of carbohydrates, 160/4=40 grams of protein and 80/9= 9 grams of fat.

Then I worked out how much in real food this worked out as. I listed the main foods that I was going to eat, and worked out how many grams of food was suitable for a portion. Once the initial planning for the diet had been done, it was pretty simple.


Get Cooking

You need to prepare your food beforehand and in bulk- this is a pain but an absolute must. Prepare ahead by 2-3 days and have your meals pre-packed to take away. Supplement your meals with protein powders and meal replacement powders (although I recommend only substituting one or two meals with these formulas). Other supplements I used were Creatine Monohydrate, Cod liver oil, multivitamins, olive oil and good old water- lots of it! What made life easier for me was buying the ready-made salads and frozen rice. This cut down cooking time considerably. I also brought myself a cool bag to carry my meals in.


As the weeks go by…

It took eleven weeks to get my physique from the before picture to the after picture. So how hard was it? There are always ups and downs- that’s life, but hopefully this article gives you a bit of insight as to how things went during the "diet" months.


Well as you can see from my picture above, this is what you can achieve without drugs, vast amounts of supplements and laborious hours in the gym.  However, what you must have is discipline, motivation, and real desire to improve your physique.   if you have then read on, because this is how I changed my body and became a "Bodybuilder" (use what you can from how I achieved my physique transformation, and got for it yourself!)


Weeks 1-3

These were possibly the hardest weeks as they called for the most adjustment. The beginning of the first week was not very good, but I tried to eat pretty healthily. I was not sticking to eating at the right times and was not preparing properly. It wasn’t until the second week that I started cooking and packing my meals properly. Nevertheless the diet had begun and I was on my way. I kept my shopping to twice a week ands cooking also to twice a week, but I found that the weekends usually were the trouble spots because these were when I was busiest working and not at home much. I had to prepare extra for these times.

By the third week I had something of a routine and was eating well, and feeling extremely good for it. My workouts were going very well, and I was doing cardio three times a week. I was fairly flexible with my foods as well, making sure I ate a good variety of food sources. I wasn’t calorie counting too closely and was eating red meat for one of my meals a day. I also added salad dressings to my salads (low fat ones) and 10% fat mayo to my tuna. I added peanut butter to my protein shakes as well. I was also eating dairy products and fruit with my first meal (skimmed milk and bananas mainly) and used low fat cottage cheese as one of my protein sources for a meal (this was convenient and easy to prepare/transport). The diet was not so strict as to cause any cravings so I did not have any designated "cheat meals", although I did cheat still occasionally.

Weeks 4-6 

These were possibly my worst weeks for sticking to my diet. I had still been socialising quite a lot, and drinking came into the foreground. I slipped up a couple of times and got drunk- this just sent my diet and training spiralling downwards. Drinking made me really crave fatty and sweet foods so my diet went out the door, and training on a hangover was as good as useless or non-existent. I even tried kidding myself that if I just had a few drinks I could work them off the next day, but the bottom line was that there was no way I could get away with drinking and sticking to my schedule as well. Sorry folks, but that’s the way it goes. I had to face the fact that I would not be able to drink and although this was a difficult adjustment it was very necessary!! This did curb my social life somewhat (evenings pubbing and clubbing without drinking can be undeniably dull!) but it did get easier- you even fill your time with more entertaining and rewarding pursuits (primarily because you had to!). 

Once I had made the conscious decision to properly pursue my diet and training, this was where the results really started showing. By week five I had sorted my diet out properly and was seeing the results that I wanted. My bodyfat was now around 9% (from an original 14%) and my weight had stayed at about 12st 9lbs. This meant that I had actually packed on a fair bit of lean muscle. 

By week six I was starting to get some cravings so I planned a "cheat meal". This meant that once a week I would eat anything I wanted for a meal and treat myself- kind of a planned binge. This helped me stick to my diet as it was seen as a reward- had I strayed off my diet I would have forfeited this "reward". 

Weeks 7-10

Although these were probably the most productive weeks, they were also probably the easiest. I was happily in a routine and it was easy. It was at this stage that I did make some changes to my diet and take it a step further. I decreased the calories to 10 times my bodyweight, which at this point was around 180 lbs. To do this I looked at my fat and carbohydrate levels and kept my protein intake the same. This involved me knocking out carbohydrates for the last two meals and keeping my fat carefully monitored (although it was still very important to keep a decent amount of fat in my diet). I reduced my carbohydrates by 10-20 grams per meal also. All dairy products were removed from my diet as well, and just water was mixed with my protein and meal replacement shakes, and porridge I mixed with water, raisins and protein powder for my breakfast (remember to add the protein after the porridge has been cooked).

My eat-up meals were extremely important. I found that by the end of the week my energy was decreasing and I was looking flat. An eat up meal restored my energy levels and filled me out- There was no holding back on these meals - still anything I wanted! The added bonus of these meals was that they also gave my system a shock, fooling the body into thinking that I was eating more fat and carbs than was necessary. This helped keep my metabolism high and added to the fat burning process.

At this stage you must be careful. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates you will find yourself going into a catabolic state. This happens very quickly if your body resorts to it and you will not have the energy to train let alone function. I was careful with the carbohydrates I was eating and made sure that if I was feeling really bad that I upped the intake. You will however lose some strength and size- this is inevitable and yes, it does get tough to workout etc. At this level you have to go a step further to force the body to "cut up", and unfortunately this is reasonably uncomfortable- but by no means unbearable!!! Keep your protein high to counteract this. I also started using HMB for the last few weeks, which I believed, helped. It is supposed to slow down the catabolism of protein and hence help reserve muscle protein. Do not however make the mistake of trying to get too "cut" and cut out foods in a desperate attempt to make it into condition before the show. You really want to be in contest shape a couple of weeks out the show and hold the condition. Many people blow it on the last week due to making desperate changes to their diet. Do not do this!

By the way, I experimented with Glycerol loading. This is supposed to bring out the vascularity. I drank 50ml of glycerol with 12 oz of water and 4 oz of red wine the night before, then took half of the same mixture before I trained the next day, and sipped on the rest thereon (you will find the advice on this in Bill Phillips’ Muscle Media). Although this may have worked for many, it didn’t for me- it just made me fill sick! But had I not at least tried I would not have known, and there are friends of mine for whom this has worked exceptionally well. So all I can say is try it yourself and see if it works.

Week 11

By this stage I am in the condition I want to compete at (remember that there is no such thing as perfection). If you are not ready by now, there is nothing in the last week that is going to make any dramatic improvement.

This week I did slightly alter my diet. I want to come in "peaking " on the day, so for this competition I experimented with carb- loading. This just involved dropping the amount of carbs I was consuming to half the amount for three days, and then doubling my normal amount for the next three days. The day of the show I intend to have an "eat up" meal about an hour before I go on as this seems to make me extra vascular and will give me the energy I need. 

Drinking for the last week involved drinking as much water as possible and letting the body flush it out. Then at 6 p.m. I will stop drinking and let the body carry on flushing out the water. This will hopefully minimise any water retention I may have for the show on Sunday. Also on the night before the show I intend to have a few glasses of wine- this will chill me out a bit and also act as a diuretic. There are natural diuretics you can get, but these should not really be necessary. 

The Show… and after thoughts!

I came second….out of two! Pah! Well, there weren’t many competitors at all in my class. Originally there was five, but two moved to a lighter weight class and one didn’t turn up. So that left me and one other guy- and he beat me. On the face of it this looks fairly unimpressive, but had there been more competitors I believe I still would have done very well. I did actually think that I would be first, but the other guy had a great physique and just pipped me to the post. I even had a few people in the audience come up to me and say that I should have won- pity they weren’t judging! Boy, it must have been close- this was actually good because I wouldn’t have learnt a thing if it had been a breeze and it made for a fun posedown. So congratulations to Mish (?) for winning- he was fortunately a real nice guy and I look forward to competing against him again some day. 

Just a note to be made- my carb loading in week eleven made me come in a little "flat" (my muscles didn’t look as big as they should). I don’t think I did it properly- so I will have to look into that a bit more. It did teach me the lesson of not messing with your diet before the show. Just make sure you are in shape a week out and keep your diet the same. This is what I will do for my next contest. 

So instead of being disappointed, I am actually far from it. I spoke to one of the judges afterwards and he told me where I missed out and gave me some advice on how to improve my physique (this judge had only one point between us on the scores!). The judges did think that my physique worthy of an invite to the British Championships, however, which was at their discretion because I didn’t win. That was in fact my goal so I am very happy that I have achieved that- it will be an awesome experience to compete in the British. I will be up against the very best which will be a great honour- so I can only get better! The competition gave me some invaluable experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it (and thoroughly enjoyed indulging myself after the show!!!) and hey, I’ve got me a little trophy to fill up my mantelpiece. And do you know what the best thing is…this is just the beginning. I feel stronger, more powerful, fitter, more confident, happier and more fulfilled than I ever have and this is just an awesome feeling. The last eleven weeks have made me powerful and in control in every way that my life has really improved and I have done the hardest bit. It only gets better…

Was it Worth It!

I write this before I have competed. I can quite happily and confidently walk on the stage because I know I am the best I can be. I do not know if I will win, or even place, as this is not under my control. There may be a lot of very good physiques that are just plain better than me, or maybe the judges are after a different look to mine, or maybe I am the best on the stage and blow everyone away (Mmmm…) but it does not matter. Yes, I would love to win and pick up a first place trophy but already I know that I have won! The challenge was with myself and the competition was the focus- and I rose to that challenge. What I have learnt over the last few months and what I have achieved far outweighs any trophy. This is why when I step on stage I am already a winner, and if there are physiques better than me, so be it! The desire to win is by no means lost, but it is really with yourself that you are competing.

So What now!

It is the end of my diet phase. I have competed, I am in great shape, where do I go from here? Well, the hardest part is over!!! I now have a great physique that I can improve on. I know I can’t keep my contest condition- I wouldn’t want to because it is not too comfortable being so strict on yourself for too long. But I can now relax and enjoy my food, treats, drinking, socialising etc. In fact, you can appreciate it even more. But I do not intend to get out of shape, so the habits I picked up from twelve weeks dieting will still be employed. There is an important point to be made. Although I dedicated a lot of time and attention to my competition, I also had a lot of other stuff going on in my life. Now, my competition is over, I do not need to be so strict. I still remain dedicated to my training- but it is not now my priority. But I will focus on another area in my life for a while and will use similar techniques to improve that. Only when I decide to compete or get in top shape again will I need to re-focus on my training to such an extent. The point is that you need a balance- you can’t be in competition mode all the time- that is definitely not fun! Don’t get me wrong- the challenge is exhilarating and rewarding, but there are so many other things in life that are as well. Don’t make your training the be all and end all, but use it as a base to achieve in other areas of your life. 

Day one is Thighs and Hamstrings



Sets Reps
Squats 6 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Front Squats 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
Leg Press 5 20, 15, 12, 10, 8



Sets Reps
Lying Leg Curl 6 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 15
Stiff Leg Deadlift 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6
Standing Leg Curl 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6

Legs to me is the best workout and I enjoy it the most, I keep the intesity close to a 1000%, yet that is a thousand %.  Squat in a non-stop style - by not stopping in between reps and just pump them out one after the other, bang, bang, bang. Fuck it is the best feeling in the world.

Day two is Chest



Sets Reps
Bench Press 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Incline Bench press 4 10, 8, 6, 4
Flat Fly 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Dips 4 15, 12, 10, 8
Close grip masjiene press (inner chest) 4 15, 12, 10, 8

My main aim is just to kill the chest so that it needs a good 5 days rest, so dont hold back, just kill it.

Day three is Back and shoulders



Sets Reps
Deadlifts 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Chins 6 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 15
Barbell rows 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 10
Close Grip Chins 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Base pully rows 4 15, 12, 10, 8



Sets Reps
Shoulder Press 5 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4
Upright Rows 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 10
Lateral Raise 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 10
Bent over Raise 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 10
Heave Barbell Shrugs 5 12, 10, 8, 6, 10


Day four I train Arms



Sets Reps
Heavy Barbell Rows 4 12, 10, 8, 6
EZ Curl 4 12, 10, 8, 12
Standing Dumbell Curl 4 12, 12, 12, 12
Preacher Curl 4 12, 12, 12, 12



Sets Reps
Lying tricep Extensions 4 12, 10, 8, 6
Tricep Pushdown 4 12, 10, 8, 12
One Arm Dumbell french press 4 12, 12, 12, 12
Dips 4 12, 12, 12, 12


Day Five is a rest day.  

Enjoy the day, go to the movies or go eat out or something.  Take you mind off of Bodybuilding a bit, remember you have a life hey, enjoy it a bit.


Day Six you start again on day one's workout.

Ok All the contest are over and I felt that after all these contest I need to give each body part more rest in between workouts.  So I am changing from six day's on one day off and training each body part twice a week to training four day's on and one day off.  I saw when I went to the IFBB Worlds Champs that I need to put on much more size so now I will concentrate on adding a shit load of size in the next year, by killing each bodypart on every workout and giving them a full five days good rest.

So as I said I train four day's on and one day off then start with day one again. Calves and Abs I train every second day.


Read this story about a bodybuilding career.


This will be a quick reference of as many tips as I can muster for our two favorite topics: Mass Gain and Fat Loss. Print them out and hang 'em on your fridge, car, locker, wherever!!

Mass Gain Diet & Training Tips

Have distinct goals- both short term (2-4 weeks) and long term (3 months-year). This helps keep your training and diet focused, and something to aim for.
Write up a plan- writing a detailed plan of what you need to do to achieve your goals helps you identify precisely what you need to do, sacrifices you'll have to make, etc. Failing to plan is like planning to fail.
Keep motivated- keep inspirational pictures in places you see them regularly for motivation, dream of your ideal physique, take pictures so you can see improvements.
Get lots of rest- sleep is when you grow the most, get plenty to allow complete recuperation.
Don't train sore muscles- Never train a muscle that isn't fully recovered, could take anywhere from 2-10 days. The longer you wait, the stronger you'll be, and the less likely you'll overtrain.
Keep workouts short- This prevents testosterone levels from dropping, keeps you from getting bored, running out of energy, and risk of overtraining.
Avoid lockout- on pretty much all exercises, don't let your joints 'lock out'. This keeps the muscle under constant tension and lessens the risk of injury.
Don't forget to stretch- stretch a bit after warming up, stretch a little between sets, stretch a lot after working a muscle. It improves blood flow for quicker removal of lactic acid, and encourages growth. See my stretching page for more info.
Use a full range of motion- partial reps may be OK ( though I don't see much material on these ), but accompany them with sets of full reps to prevent muscle imbalances.
Forced reps and eccentric failure- shouldn't be practiced to often, as this puts some serious strain on your muscular and nervous systems, and can quickly lead to burnout. They are a great way to activate more muscle fiber, but allow more time between workouts for full recovery.
Keep the 'pump' localized- when working several muscles, try to work muscles in the same area, since the blood is already there.
Don't neglect basic exercises- these compound exercises: squat, deadlift, bench press, chin-ups, etc. are great for building mass and power, and help keep workouts short.
Use strict form- poor form can lead to injuries which can set your training back weeks or even months. Use a weight that lets you use good form. Perform each repetition slow and deliberately. Momentum may help you lift more weight, but it won't help you build more muscle.
Use free weights- free weights are better at preventing muscle imbalances, especially when stabilizer muscles are concerned. You can use machines too, just not exclusively.
Do cardio sparingly- if mass gain is your true goal, then limit the amount of cardio. Also be weary of doing more than 30 minutes, because the body begins to break down muscle protein for energy.
Adjust diet for growth- This means more protein (1g/lb), more often, and plenty of calories to give you energy from your workouts, and nutrients needed for muscle repair.
Take foundation supplements- these are supplements necessary for survival, and when you train with weights, you tend to need more than if not. They include vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (flax oil).
Consume carbs+protein after workouts- Consuming a shake or sport drink after your workout replenishes muscle glycogen, and releases insulin which halts catabolic processes.
Don't eat less than 1hr before workouts- eating too close to a workout will direct blood to the gut for digestion, and cause insulin release, both impeding performance.
Consistency- commit yourself, do it regularly, have patience, and success will surely be yours, if not, evaluate your program, try and figure out what's missing, and maybe send me an email!
Periodization- if you keep doing the exact same program, your body will adapt, and stop growing. Every 2-8 weeks, change your program considerably, i.e. switch from 6-8 reps to 10-15, 5 sets to 2 sets, slow reps to fast reps, 4 workouts/week to 2 workouts/week. Don't be afraid to take a full week off for full recovery every 2 months.
Be courteous- you have something in common with everyone in the gym, so be kind, let people work in with you, put your weights away, etc. It makes the whole thing I nicer experience.

Fat Loss Diet & Training Tips

Have distinct goals- both short term (2-4 weeks) and long term (3 months-year). This helps keep your training and diet focused, and gives you something to aim for.
Write up a plan- writing a detailed plan of what you need to do to achieve your goals helps you identify precisely what you need to do, sacrifices you'll have to make, etc. Failing to plan is like planning to fail!
Keep motivated- keep inspirational pictures in places you see them regularly for motivation, dream of your ideal physique, take pictures so you can see improvements.
Measure progress regularly- if one or two weeks go by without any progress, something has to change. Try cutting back on carbohydrates and calories or increasing cardio.
Do 20-40 minutes cardio 3-4 days a week- preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.
Vary your cardio intensity(interval training)- Low intensity (25%) burns more % fat calories, but medium intensity (65%) burns more net fat calories, along with more glycogen, and muscle protein. Vary intensity to stave off boredom, shock your body, and develop more slow twitch, fat oxidizing muscle fibers.
Train with higher reps (or higher intensity cardio)- again, this stimulates Type 1, slow twitch muscle fiber which develop more mitochondria which in turn can oxidize (burn) more fat.
Use caffeine + ephedrine + aspirin stack- if your going to use any fat burning supplements, this combination has been shown to be very effective. Synephrine may be a new, emerging supplement that replaces ephedrine with less jitters. Buy separately or look for supplement that combines them.
Eat plenty of protein- this prevents muscle wasting which ultimately lowers your metabolism and ability to burn fat, and they are more difficult calories to assimilate.
Eat 6 meals a day- this prevents major insulin/blood sugar fluctuations, helps control hunger, increases metabolism, and prevents storage of excess calories as fat(because there is no excess).
If you can't count calories, at least count portions- a portion of meat might be a chicken breast, and a portion of carbs might be a cup of pasta. Always include a portion of protein.
Eliminate juice/pop calories- Substitute pop and juice with water or diet drinks with virtually no calories, milk is fine, but not between meals.
Prepare meals beforehand- so you always have healthy foods available. Spend a Sunday afternoon preparing chicken breasts and pasta, and chopping vegetables so you can have good food readily available all week long.
Understand the Glycemic Index(GI)- it is a measure of how much blood sugar is elevated in response to eating food. White bread & glucose have value of 100, and the lower the better. High blood sugar leads to high insulin levels which leads to fat storage (of excess calories) and less satiety (hunger pangs come again sooner).
Eat lots of fruit and veggies- fruit may contain fructose, but though it is simple in structure, it has the least effect on blood sugar out of all foods! Veggies are high in fiber which also lowers GI. Some exceptions: bananas, carrots, and most dried fruit.
Stick with whole grain foods- when selecting bread, make sure white flower is not the first ingredient! Eat oatmeal instead of flaky cereals, and get protein fortified or whole wheat pasta.
Don't boil your veggies- fiber lowers GI, but there are soluble fibers that are lost when boiled in water (and poured off), so steam your veggies, or eat them raw.
Start meals with salads/fruit/veggies- eating low GI/high fiber foods before a meal lowers overall GI, so eat your salad first, or start your meal with an apple.
If eating high GI foods, limit calories and fat- it's OK to have some cheat foods with high GI from time to time, but increased insulin surge will more readily store any excess fat or carbs as bodyfat.
Don't eliminate fat from diet- make sure to get enough fats, preferably from oils (olive, flax seed, hemp oil) on salads and/or meats, and avoid carbohydrates with this meal. Fat is released into blood for up to 5 hours, so your next meal should also be very low GI. Perhaps adding some oil to the last, low carb meal of the day would be the way to go.
Don't cook healthy oils- good fats are 'damaged' with heat, so consume oils on salads, or add to food after cooking (flax oil is highest in linoleic/linolenic acids, essential fatty acids).
Avoid junk food- I shouldn't have to even say this, but I will anyhow! Avoid chips, fries, chocolate bars, and doughnuts at all costs! (high GI from white flour/potatoes/sugar with lots of fat). If you absolutely must, have it as a meal by itself and hope the calories are low enough to avoid being stored as bodyfat.
Drink lots (~10 cups/day) of water- especially first thing in the morning. Good hydration is essential for optimal functioning of all biological processes, including fat oxidization and waste removal.
Avoid processed foods- processing removes most vitamins and fiber(raising GI), and tends to destroy essential fatty acids (hint: stay away from anything in a box unless it's whole grain).
Don't have late meals- try not to eat anything less than 2 hours before bed, if you do, something light, low fat, high protein, low, low carb.
Taper your meals through the day- make your biggest meals in the morning, and taper them off as the day goes on. Though by biggest meal, I don't mean huge, all meals should be roughly 300-600 calories, depending on your requirements.
Eat about 14-16 x lean bodyweight (in pounds) calories per day- this is a rough measure, adjust according to energy levels, activity levels, and progress.
Allow yourself one cheat day a week- if pursuing a strict diet, have one cheat day a week so it's easier to stick with your diet. It's also best to have any 'cheat' meals after working out when you can store most of the carbs as glycogen, not fat.
Try cycling caloric intake- staying on a calorie restricted diet for too long can make your body adjust by dropping metabolism. Having a day of no calorie deficit or surplus may hold off unfavorable metabolic changes. Anabolic Burst Cycling requires 2 weeks high/2 weeks low caloric intake.



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derniere mise a jour : dimanche janvier 26, 2003 21:38:01 +0100