Old School Goes Back To School

By: Gary Benkendorf

No Nonsense Newsletter Volume 14 # issue 3

Gary Most Muscular Pose It was some time back in the early 90’s; I was climbing the corporate ladder, head down, working hard like most Americans trying to get ahead.  Years on the road, hotels and airplane trips contributed to my weight ballooning into the unhealthy sphere. I began a simple running and cycling exercise program that I did during my lunch hour or after work. My weight began to drop. I added some weight training in my garage with equipment I had collected over the years and fell in love with the effect of getting back in shape. I eventually joined a gym. But, it was still years later that I decided I wanted to do something competitive.

That idea came to light a couple of years ago when my friend Tony, a more experienced bodybuilder at the gym, took me aside and said I should do a bodybuilding competition. I didn’t think much of the idea. The fact was I didn’t think I had the muscle needed to succeed. But I trained hard for another year. I’d been collecting issues of the No Nonsense Magazine and now they really came in handy. Within these pages were the keys to my small series of success, training tips, supplementation and diet plans. I read it all, cover to cover.

The 2008 Texas Shredder Classic in Austin, TX was my first show. I placed 2nd in the Masters Division (50-59). I was very pleased, but now I was hooked. If you’ve done a show, you’ll know what I mean. Two weeks later I won the overall at the NGA Southern States Pro/Am Classic and earned my Pro Card in the Open and Masters Division. The following year at the 2009 Texas Shredder Classic, I placed 1st in the Masters Division (50-59).

Contest Prep Meal Plan:

Beverly International Supplements:

Super Pak – 1 pak with mid day meal

Glutamine Select – 1 scoop with water before cardio; 1 scoop with water after training

Mass Aminos – 4 with meals (off-season)

Density – 3 with meals (pre-contest)

Muscle Provider Chocolate – 1 scoop in morning oatmeal. 2 scoops with water after training


Good nutritional choices are important year round. I maintain 5 small sensible meals during off season. I start preparing for a contest 10 weeks out with the following meal plan:


Meal 1

6 egg whites and 1 whole egg

½ cup oatmeal with 1 scoop of Beverly Muscle Provider

½ cup berries (strawberries/blueberries)


Meal 2

1 medium yam

6 oz chicken breast (roasted/grilled)


Meal 3

3 cups salad

6 oz chicken breast

½ bag steamed vegetables (12 oz frozen)

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar


Post Training

2 scoops Chocolate Muscle Provider with water


Meal 4

3 cups salad

2 cans of tuna or salmon (lowest sodium available)

½ bag steamed vegetables (use up ½ remaining bag)

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar


Meal 5

6 egg whites and 1 whole egg

½ cup oatmeal

½ cup berries


Training Schedule:

My weight training schedule consists of split days; 2 on, *1 off with 30 minutes of low intensity cardio, 3 days a week. Abs and calves are worked every other day. I change my routine approximately every 6 weeks, but keep the body parts on the same days noted herein. Off days consist of cardio/abs/calves.


Monday – chest/bi’s/ abs/calves/cardio

Tuesday – legs/cardio

*Wednesday – abs/calves/cardio

Thursday – shoulders/traps/triceps/cardio

Friday – back/rear delts/abs/calves/cardio

*Saturday – abs/calves/cardio (light leg workout/traps)

Sunday – off


Workouts: On just about every exercise I start light and add weight each set.



Chest (recovery 60-120 seconds)

Flat Bench -- superset -- Pushups (*w/u = warm up)

2 warm-up sets of 12, then 3 sets 10-8-6 each


Hammer Incline --  superset -- Pec Dec

5 sets of 12 each

Biceps (recovery 60-90 seconds)

Standing (Cambered) Curl Bar

4 sets of 15


Dumbbell Concentration Curl (single arm) inside thigh

3 sets of 10


Cable Preacher Curl w/Cambered Curl Bar

3 sets of 10-12



Legs (recovery 90-120 seconds)

Leg Extensions -- superset -- Leg Press

4 sets of 12 reps each


Hack Squat -- Straight Leg Deadlift -- Lying Leg Curl

4 sets of 12 reps each


Squat -- superset -- Hyperextension

5 sets of 12 reps each


Shoulders/Traps/Triceps (recovery 60-90 seconds)

Smith Shoulder Press -- superset -- Front Raise

One warm-up, then 3 sets 12 reps each


Dumbbell Laterals -- superset -- Upright Row

3 sets of 12 reps each


Shrugs -- superset -- Seated Dumbbell Shrug

3 sets of 15 reps each



Back/Rear Delts (recovery 90-120 seconds)

Pull Ups -- superset -- T-bar Row --or-- Dead Lifts (every other week)

3 sets of 10-12 reps each exercise


Dumbbell Pullover -- superset -- One Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 10-12 reps each exercise


Seated Rear Laterals -- superset -- Incline (face down) Raise

2 sets of 10-15 reps each


Pec Dec Standing Facing Reverse (chest against back pad)

3 sets of 12 reps



Calves/Abs/Cardio (recovery 60-90 seconds)


Calves – Giant Sets

Leg Press -- Standing Calf Raise -- Seated Calf Raise -- Standing Body Weight

3 x 30              3 x15                           3x10-12                       3x50



3 exercises -- 4 x 20-30 reps each



*Off Season 20 minutes easy

*Pre-contest 30 minutes higher intensity (stair master/treadmill walks)

*Posing 4 weeks pre-contest; daily 10-15 minutes mandatory poses and 60 second routine. Always think about posing from the feet up.


Final Tips

Ø      Drinking water is noted in a journal next to my filtered water dispenser on my kitchen counter. I try to maintain a daily regimen of 10-12, 8 oz glasses every day, contest or no contest.


Ø      Contest cheat food if absolutely needed – 4 oz sugar free jell-o cup(s), assorted flavors.


Ø      Competition presentation tanning – I prefer air brush tanning in “competition” shade. I get this done 2 days before the show and it cures to a dark deep shade that is very durable.


For me age is no longer a factor – it all comes down to discipline, training, and nutrition practiced on a consistent basis.

Gary Supplement arsenal

Gary Benkendorf at a Glance

Age: 54

Occupation: Certified Personal Trainer

Current Residence: N Richland Hills, TX

Height: 5’11”

Off-Season Weight: 205 pounds

Competition Weight: 190

Gym: Womack’s, The Body Firm

Favorite Contest Cheat Foods: Sugar-free Jello - 4 oz cups

Favorite Meal: Chinese Food, Tex Mex, Blueberry Pancakes

Favorite iPod Bands: Saliva, Velvet Revolver, Tool, Disturbed, Creed, Linkin Park and many more

Favorite Quote: “Believe it, achieve it. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

Contest Accomplishments:

2009 NPC Texas Shredder Classic, Austin, TX – 1st Place - Masters 50-59

2008 NPC Texas Shredder Classic, Austin, TX – 2nd Place – Masters 50-59

Ø      2008 NGA Southern States Pro/Am Classic – Overall Champion 1st Place Masters Division 50-59 – Won Pro Card Open and Overall Masters

Ø       1st Place Novice Heavy Weight Division and Novice Overall

Ø       1st Place Open Division – All Divisions and Weight Classes

2008 NGA Pro Show, Houston, TX – 6th Place (1st Pro Show)

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