I competed in 27 IFBB professional bodybuilding contests spanning the past ten years. Two things tend to war against personal progress in terms of physique improvements – the rigors of contest dieting and age. Perhaps the low-carb “brain fog” lead me to believe I was the exception because I competed in nine contests in 17 months leading up to the Europa Phoenix in October 2014. I also recently turned 40 years old.
As such, I decide a little break was in order. Not a break from training. I rarely miss a workout unless I have a severe fever, but I needed a break from contest dieting. Writing this today, I’m exactly thirty pounds heavier than I was in Phoenix last fall…up to 234 from 204 pounds. I’ve been heavier than this, but anything much over 230 and I get uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy hitting my target heart rate putting on shoes. I plan to cruise along at this body weight until I begin dieting for my next contest later in the year.
When I diet I get asked by those seeking to lose fat – “What’s your diet look like?” Off-season is now upon me and I keep getting the same question – “What’s your diet look like?” This article zeros in on a typical day of eating during my present off-season. Keep in mind that off-season for me isn’t a time to eat unrestrained; but it is a time in which I take a break from meticulously measuring every single gram of protein, carbs and fat I put in my body. I rotate various food sources as I so desire with the primary goal of ensuring adequate protein intake. This is a snapshot of a single day of what I really ate.
4:30 AM – Alarm Goes Off
A day once existed in which the idea of an early morning workout would be met by my strong refusal. Teenage daughters have a way of changing priorities. I learned that if I didn’t want to be an absentee father in the evenings, then AM workouts were a requirement. How does one find the energy to train first thing in the morning? One word – Plazma. Not only was it a game-changer in terms of recovery ability, it provides the fuel I need (quickly) to tackle John Meadows Mountain Dog Training. On this particular day, I trained chest and shoulders; consuming four servings of Plazma pre/intra-workout.
Protein – 60 / Carbohydrate – 152 / Fat – 0
7:00 AM – Breakfast
I’m honestly not super hungry when it comes time for breakfast due to the massive nutrient intake via my pre/intra-workout protocol. However, on this day I consumed my typical off-season and pre-contest breakfast protein choice of organic, pastured whole eggs (4) fried in macadamia nut oil – sea salt and pepper added. I included a cup of oats with a mixture of blue berries, raspberries, liquid stevia and a ½ cup of coconut milk.
Protein – 35 / Carbohydrate – 70 / Fat – 28
9:00 AM – Shake #1
Mag-10 essentially contains the protein (casein hydrolysate) and carbohydrate (branched cyclic dextrin, isomaltulose) as is found in Plazma but in a higher ratio of protein/carbs. It’s what I consider my second line of defense to Plazma in terms of recovery. I used 1.5 servings.
Protein – 30 / Carbohydrate – 16 / Fat – 0
11:00 AM – Lunch #1
Yes, for lack of a better term I eat two “lunches” per day. The first typically contains starchy carbs. In this case I had brown rice from Trader Joe’s frozen food section because it’s quick and easy. I added some broccoli florets and for protein included an organic chuck roast prepared in a slow cooker the night before.
Protein – 65 / Carbohydrates – 50 / Fat – 11
2:00 PM – Lunch #2
My second lunch usually consists of protein, fibrous carbs and fat. I avoid carbs in the afternoon because they make me too sleepy. Today’s included chicken breast, a left-over bratwurst from the night before, oven roasted brussel sprouts and a half an avocado.
Protein – 45 / Carbohydrates – 15 / Fat – 25
4:00 PM – Shake #2
Metabolic Drive not only tastes amazing, but it contains whey isolate and micellar casein. The micellar casein in particular is a slower digesting protein which elevates nitrogen retention for a longer period of time. I tend to use two servings of this later in the day or before going to bed.
Protein – 42 / Carbohydrates – 8 / Fat – 2
I rarely train twice a day, but this particular evening Christina wanted to go to the gym. We had to drop our daughter at an honors choir practice near the gym and had some time to kill. I ended up just drinking a BCAA/EAA mixture during our short training session in which we hit some biceps, triceps, abdominals and calves.
7:00 PM – Final Meal of the Day
Due to the impromptu training session Christina and I went out for sushi afterwards. I love sushi, but obviously don’t eat it every night. Carbs were a little higher than my typical final meal of the day.
Protein – 45 / Carbohydrates – 100 / Fat – 10
My off-season goal consists of muscle growth with minimal fat gain. Calories in the 3,200-3,600 range work well for me. With the assumption of hard training; your daily nutritional intake largely dictates how successful an off-season you experience. This requires some planning and preparation; however I also allow myself a break from being overly analytical regarding the exact quantities of food I’m eating. Find some go-to foods you enjoy and tailor a meal plan around them, remembering that intra-workout nutrition is the most vital aspect.
Yes, that's me from the 2009 Olympia.
I presently train 7 days a week, so there isn't an adjustment of macros. That said, if I was taking a day off from training I would adjust the macros by the amount of intra-workout nutrition that I would eliminate from the diet on that day.
Hope this helps!
I mix at least 500ml of water with each serving of Plazma. I typically train in the morning and start drinking my first serving as soon as I get out of bed so that I have 1-2 serving in my system by the time I hit the gym.
I presently don't have any DVD's in the works. It seems like there is so much free content online that nobody is really interested in owning DVD's anymore. I worked with my friend who helped film all my DVD's to create a 30-second ad for Biotest which I hope will be online soon. Also, EliteFTS is looking into streaming LEGACY via this site...stay tuned!
I don't know if it's the best, but I like Australia Mac Nut Oil which is packaged in a glass container. I buy it online at Vitacost.
Hope this helps!
Really enjoyed the article. Just out of curiosity, are you a representative/ sponsored athlete for Biotest? Or is your endorsement of their supplements genuinely based on personal preference and belief that they produce the best products on the market?
Full disclosure - yes, I am sponsored by Biotest. However, I used their product for over a year while with Nutrex because it made such a big impact on my training and recovery ability. As much as I love the people at Nutrex having been a part of their team for 8 years, I left for Biotest when the opportunity presented itself. Sponsorship is great, but being able to endorse products that served as a game-changer for me personally...that's priceless.
All the best!
Sorry to hear about your injuries, but glad you're on your way back. Something is certainly wrong, perhaps hormonal, if you are 6'3" 255lbs and cannot eat more than 1,800 calories per day without being stored as fat. At that level of nutrient intake I'm not surprised you are making little progress. Here are some suggestions:
1. Go see HRT specialist and see if your hormones are out of whack and can be corrected nutritionally or otherwise.
2. Calorie's do matter, but if I said eat 2,000 per day and you ate 2,000 calories of Crisco then the 2k number really doesn't matter. I would focus on eating whole foods, eliminating sugar completely from your diet and minimizing polyunsaturated fats in exchange for monounsaturated fats.
3. You could also consider taking a supplement like Indigo-3G by Biotest because somewhere there is a breakdown in how your body partitions nutrients and this supplement can help.
I hope this gives you some ideas.
All the best!
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Will definitely put your ideas into place.. Keep up the inspiring work. Am loving all the workouts you are posting have been putting them to good use.
I am also 6`3" and I weight around 220 lbs at around 18 % body fat. I cut all my sugar intake except from fruits. I work out daily and I have two days for cardio and I usually eat around 2500 -3000 calories every day and it`s usually either some smoothy with avocado, 3 raw eggs, 1 banana , 1 cup milk and 1tbs of raw ginger in the morning for my breakfast and 1-2 tuna fish cans and, 2 tbs greek yogurt and rice or saurkraut in the afternoon and probably something like that in the evening. I am trally trying to get at 8% body fat and I don`t know if i need to increase my cardio or is it my diet but I really wanna get there. Any ideas ?
Not knowing how long you've been on your present diet and if you've made or are making progress leaves me a little in the dark. However, I would say that you're problem in all likelihood resides in your diet vs. amount of cardio. Cardio is largely catabolic depending on the intensity, duration and timing. I would tailor your diet to support frequent, intense workouts. Grow the muscle that burns the calories; even when you're not training.
I personally would cut all dairy from your diet and limit your fruit intake to one per day. If that didn't work then I would exchange all starchy carbs for fibrous carbs and add in something like Biotest Plazma during the pre/intra-workout window to fuel intensity, bolster stamina and jump-start recovery.
I hope this helps.
All the best,
Yes, several years ago while affiliated with Nutrex Research they had Vitargo. At the time they had the sole rights to the product in the US, but now it is widely available. I've yet to find anything that can match Plazma, but if it's working for your and cheaper then that's great news!
I appreciate your support of my articles and am happy they prove useful in your own diet and training!
All the best,
Look up my training blog on this site for workout details. Most recently I've been training 4 days per week as follows:
Sunday - Back and biceps
Monday - Hot Yoga
Tuesday - Chest, shoulders and triceps
Wednesday - Hot Yoga
Thursday - Back and biceps
Friday - OFF
Saturday - Quads and hamstrings
Sunday - repeat, but with chest, shoulders and triceps
Basically, I hit chest, shoulders and triceps OR back and biceps twice in one week; but alternate.
I hope this helps!
Great article btw,
Glad you enjoyed the article. The bottle is sold on this site. Type Nalgene into the search field and it should come up.
All the best,
A diet must align with your calorie expenditure, so the volume and frequency of your training will impact your diet. Given your present body composition you'll likely struggle to make progress in the presence of significant amount of carbs. Therefore, my advice is to eliminate starchy carbs altogether, besides around the training window. Ideally, use something like Plazma while training.
I hope this helps.