Lifestyle Prior To Change
Well, when I was very young and before college, I was extremely active in all sorts of sporting events. I competed in track and field as a sprinter and middle distance runner (100m, 200, 300m Hurdles, 400m), making it to the Penn Relays two years in a row. I also played football, wrestled, and played rugby.
I was very active in the outdoors as well, I would regularly go hiking and mountaineering. As an Eagle Scout, it was not uncommon for me to spend anywhere from 2-4 weeks in the wilderness, one time all of those 4 weeks were spent above the tree line in Colorado along the continental divide, where I climbed the 2nd and 3rd tallest peaks within the contiguous U.S.
During college, I took a break from organized sports, and studied, relaxed, partied, and played some recreational sports (like beach volleyball). But I always kept some level of activity going, and as my college career came closer and closer to being over, I spent more and more time in the gym lifting.
What was your turning point?
I didn't really have a "low point" in regards to fitness. I have always maintained a healthy level here. But as I mentioned above, as school came to a close, I found more and more time on my hands, and the gym provided a nice outlet for me. But as far as competing went, it wasn't until after college that I realistically considered this.
Initially I had zero interest in competing, even though it was suggested to me again and again by people in the gym. When a good friend finally decided to compete, I agreed to prep with him. 2 weeks after his show, I went to my first one. I won the novice overall division, and I was hooked! 3 years later I one my WNBF Pro cards at the INBF Natural Mania National Championships.
What Was Your Exercise Plan?
I recognize that in order to achieve the growth that I want I need to employ multiple lifting protocols. To increase my strength I perform heavy core lifts, such as the squat, deadlift, decline dumbbell bench press and so on. I do this with relatively low volume on week one. The following week I will increase the volume and overall pace of the workout to a level that would make most people vomit.
This second style is geared more towards muscle hypertrophy. One week three I return to the heavier work. This allows me to get the best of my training in terms of strength gains, as well as muscle growth, and allows me the much needed rest from a maximal lift from week one to week three. This lifting philosophy was developed independently by my nutritional expert, physical therapist, and WNBF Pro Dr. Joe Klemczewski.
What Was Your Diet Plan?
As I mentioned above, I work with a nutritional expert. Dr. Joe Klemczewski, who has lead the pack in terms of nutritional guidance for the natural physique for over a decade now. During a contest prep, as most of us do, I track EVERYTHING.My protein, carbs, and fats tend to vary throughout, based on where I am in the dieting process, and how my body is responding to them. I can safely envelope my macro numbers during the coarse of a prep with the following:
As the show grows near, and my bodyfat has reached the level I need it to be at, I can start to increase my carbs to recharge my metabolic rate and fill my glycogen stores back up which cases me to look bigger and tighter. This process has brought my carbs back up slowly to the point before a show where I might be eating as much as 600 grams of carbs a day! This also helps greatly with the time after a show. I am not starving myself, and my body is used to plenty of food, so I don't end up bingeing and putting on 20 lbs in a week after the show!
What supplements did you use?
- The Diet Doc Chocolate Protein Blend
- Optimum Nutrition's BCAA Powder
- Optimum Nutrition's Creatine Powder
- MHP's T-Bomb II
What Is Your Life Like Now?
Right now I am in the off-season, and spending most of my focus on putting on some good size. After I won my pro card I competed in the WNBF Mid America Championships where I took 3rd place, and the WNBF International Championships.
I realized that even though I am a pro now, I could stand to take a little time and really try to pack on some good quality mass.
So I am eating plenty of clean food, lifting hard, and helping to give back to this wonderful sport by co-promoting a pro show (www.midamericaproam.com), as well as helping out at fitness camps and seminars.
I have also turned some of my focus to the stage through a camera lens. Providing high quality stage photography for the competitor. You can see some of the shots here (www.element-fit.com), as well as in the upcoming issue of Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Magazine.
Advice For Others
The biggest piece of advice that I can give is to make sure that you live a balanced life. This is a great sport filled with great people, but it is very easy to become so involved with the life of competing that you shut out so much of the rest of the world, and miss out on some of the other great things that life has to offer.
When training, there are two keys: train smart, and train intensely. By smart I mean train safely and do your research, there is so much misinformation out there, that it is easy to find yourself in a situation where you are just spinning your wheels, or worse, putting yourself in a situation to risk injury. And by intensely, I mean...train to failure! You are in the gym for a reason, don't chat it up with your friends, lift hard, train to failure, give your muscles a reason to grow!
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