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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And So, It Begins.

Well, away we go. My 12 month journey to compete as a bodybuilder. I will admit, I am nervous. Who wouldn’t be, but … that has never stopped me before. (famous last words, “Mom, watch this!”)

I have been diving head first into research the past couple of months looking at the proper nutritional aspect as a bodybuilder. I have come to one conclusion … it’s not an exact, guaranteed science. It’s a daily regime of trial and error reading and watching my body. Most importantly in this equation is my nutrition. As it’s commonly said, if you’re not eating properly for working out, don’t bother going to the gym. Thus, after much research, I will be eating a lot more carbohydrates than I had expected as compared to a low-carb plan I was on for a few weeks to help shred some unwanted bodyfat (thanks to my friend and nutrional guru Vanessa Sifontes for setting me straight.)

The MOST important understanding to my growth is knowing that REST, Hydration & Nutrition are the key ingredients to my body’s transformation. Keeping those in line, my body will grow after my strenuous training sessions. Besides, a body doesn’t get stronger or bigger IN the gym as most people think. On the contrary. The body does so only while resting, but without the building blocks from food and supplements, the body can build nothing.

The breakdown I am going to follow for the first few weeks to help fuel my body for energy and growth will be a ratio of 2 / 2.5 / .5.

Protein : 2 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass
Carb:    2.5 grams per pound of LBM
Fat: .5 grams per pound of LBM

Now as like anyone in Texas, I love eating at TexMex restaurants and I will dive into a basket of chips, salsa and queso like there is no tomorrow. Within a few minutes I can consume almost 1,500 calories in chips alone BEFORE my meal arrives, which is typically chicken fajitas. So, some habits MUST change, but I will have to change my mindset and accept that carbs are good and highly necessary. Good carbs that is. I will be eating carbohydrates that are low on the Glycemic Index to alleviate a spike in my insulin and keep my blood sugar regulated like sweet potatoes, red potatoes, natural oatmeal and rice.

I will be following a 7 meal per day plan where the first 5 meals I will have all of my carbs while the last two will be protein and veggies. Green leafy stuff to keep everything moving, if you know what I mean. Following a high protein diet, the digestive system will need some help processing all of that and at 38, I will do all I can to continue being a “regular guy”! lol  So I’m adding in natural enzymes plus a lot of natural fiber and vegetables to keep my intestines healthy as I consume the quantity of food AND protein.

You might be asking, “Okay MD, what will your workouts be like?” Well, as my workout partners can attest, they are intense. I scream. Yell. Sweat buckets upon buckets. I push hard every set and rep. That’s the first mindset to have. Push beyond my limits. I know no other way. LoL But sadly, that makes me, THAT guy in the gym. Hahaha Oh well! There could be worse things right? Thankfully, The Asylum Gym in Kingwood, Texas ( provides a hardcore environment to throw some serious iron around and not disturb the Mamby-Pamby on-lookers from their book reading and talking in the gym. haha :)

For my my workouts however, I am designing  a 4 Day On, Two Day Off training schedule as follows for the next 4 weeks.

Day 1: Chest / Biceps / Calves
Day 2: Back / Triceps
Day 3: Shoulders / Traps
Day 4: Legs / Calves

I have been doing a schedule that was every other day. Each body part had 6 days of rest before hitting them again, which is the same with my 4/2 program. I felt mentally strong and looked forward to each training day. But now,  I am going to mix it up a bit. For those that know me, I have been following the H.I.T. training approach for about 12 to16 weeks. Maintaining a high tempo and intensity of only 45 seconds rest between sets, I will be mixing it up with H.I.T. sets, volume and high weight / low rep variations for all muscle groups. Always keeping the muscles in shock so they are forced to adapt and get bigger to handle the load I will be adding.

But … the key to muscle growth is once I am warmed up, every working set will be to ABSOLUTE FAILURE. What is A.F.?? It’s where you cannot do one more clean, CONTROLLED positive rep. This is where I see so many get injured or DO NOT see improvement. They do the same thing over and over, or use momentum to do the rep. Momentum triggers other muscle groups to activate. NOT Ideal! I will be focusing hard on using proper form and peaking out each movement for each muscle. This has worked thus far, now it’s time to change movement variations and rep style.

At 38 years old, and having been an edurance athlete since the age of 11, this will be a new challenge for me. I have been lifting weights regularly for the past 2.5 years, but with no definitive goal. Slowly getting stronger, I focused on more building about 6 months ago. When I got back in the gym I weighed about 202 and an estimated 30% bodyfat. I didn’t really change my diet, just worked out which got me up to 216 pounds by May of this year. During my 14 days in Nigeria on a photojournalism trip, I lost 19 pounds. I then got sick and lost another 10 pounds. Yeah, that’s a loss of 29 pounds in a month, but not recommended. That’s when I got with my dear friend and NPC Figure Competitor, Vanessa Sifontes to create a nutrition plan to help me get back on track. At the start I measured about 21% bodyfat and within about 12 weeks I dropped to 10.65%. I did no cardio. I just followed the H.I.T. training program and her meal plan. AMAZING!

Now, at 191 pounds and 11.17%, my Lean Body Mass weighs 169.67 pounds. I have much work to go. However, what it odd about my body is that I don’t look like a shredded 11% physique compared to other guys. Even as a triathlete when I was down to 5-6%, my 6-pack was barely visible. My legs were vascular like crazy, but still looked soft. So I am curious to see how my body changes after my competition, as I am told by many that post-competition, my body will change how it replenishes fat.

The one thing that is certain is there is no exact formula to how a body will build. There is no perfect workout, diet or supplement regime that is a guarantee. It’s a science of trial and error, listening and watching my body and making adjustments as I go.

All in all, I just hope that my journey to the stage will be informative, entertaining, educational and most of all … motivating. I’m an average guy. The Jo-Shmo gym go’er. But, with a tenacious determination to hit the stage as a bodybuilder in 12 months, I want to inspire other guys out there, no matter their physical condition, that they can get up out of their Lay-Z-Boy and get fit. Maybe not rock a itty bitty Speedo on stage, but … get fit! Haha

Onward and upward I go. This will be fun.

“My glory comes not from what others may say, but by my pursuit each and every day. Because I know that within my own mind … I DECIDE.”

~ MD

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