After watching my lifting partner Sean Young, do extremely well in the NPC Mr. Cincinnati and INBF Buckeye classic, I finally made up my mind to compete in my first bodybuilding show. I have been lifting for 10 years seriously and always had the desire to compete, but I never felt conditioned or big enough. This year I decided it was time to put up or shut up. In May of 2009 I signed up for the INBF Cardinal Classic to be held on September 26.
Getting ready for my first show I was extremely nervous and unsure of how I was going to balance a strict competition diet with my Type 1 diabetes. I have always been health conscience and ate healthier than most, but after doing some research and speaking with doctors I knew it was important for me to have the proper diet throughout my training in order to keep my diabetes under control. Knowing I could not do this on my own I contacted Brian Wiefering with WieFit Nutrition for direction with my diet.
My first meeting with Brian was 16 weeks out from my show. Prior to my meeting I thought I was eating pretty clean, but quickly realized my diet needed some work. I was eating very little protein (I’m talking LESS than 100 grams a day) and high carbohydrates. I knew protein was important, that it was the building block of muscle, but I didn’t realize the benefit that added protein would have on my training until I started taking Beverly’s UMP and Muscle Provider. Here’s the diet I started at 16 weeks out.
Fat Loss/Grow Lean Muscle Tissue Diet
Meal 1: 11 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 piece fruit ( apple or arrange)
Meal 2: 2 scoops UMP
Meal 3: Tuna patty: 2 cans tuna, 2 egg whites, 1 whole egg, and 1 cup oats all mixed into patties and fried in 1 tbsp olive oil.
Meal 4: 2 scoops UMP
Meal 5: (Preworkout meal – about 45 minutes before lifting) 2 scoops UMP and 1 apple or orange
Meal 6: 2 scoops Muscle Provider with 1 slice angel food cake (yep, you read that right, but you have to limit it to one slice)
Meal 7: 11 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 cup green veggies
The key factor for me in following the diet was to eat the same foods every day. I never changed or substituted. I never had a cheat meal the entire 16 weeks. This actually made it easier for me. I never had to think about or plan my next meal. I was a robot following the diet to a T. Each morning I packed my shakes and supplements for the day. I didn’t have to pack lunch because I work close to home. Lunch was a no-brainer, everyday I went home at lunchtime and prepared my tuna patty.
Over the years I’ve watched many of my friends compete and do very well; and they all had one thing in common, they all used Beverly International supplements. But, for some reason I never saw the correlation. I used a variety of brands of supplements off and on, but honestly was never happy with any of them.
Brian gave me a supplement regimen and the first thing that jumped out at me was every supplement he recommended was Beverly International. It didn’t take long for me see the difference. The first thing I noticed was the taste. One of the reasons that my protein intake had been so low was that I just had never found a protein shake that tasted good. That definitely changed when Brian introduced me to UMP. It didn’t take long before I observed another big difference – RESULTS! With Brian’s diet and Beverly’s supplements I gained 2 pounds of lean mass and lost 2% bodyfat within the first three weeks while maintaining my energy and making strength gains in the gym.
Ultimate Muscle Protein: 2 scoops for meals 2, 4, and 5
Muscle Provider: 2 scoops post workout
Mass Aminos: 4 with every meal including shakes (28 per day)
Ultra 40: 4 with every meal including shakes (28 per day)
Glutamine Select and Creatine Select: 2 scoops each prior to workout; and 1 scoop each during my workout
Muscle Synergy: 10 tablets one hour prior to workout
I started cardio at 10 weeks out. I did High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 4 days a week for 30 minutes throughout the entire 10 weeks. My favorite cardio workout was a 5-minute warm-up, then alternating work intervals of 30 seconds sprinting with rest intervals of 1 minute jogging. I did this outside whenever I could, rather than on a treadmill. I always looked for routes that included some big hills so I could sprint up them during the 30 second work intervals. About half way through my contest prep I pulled a hamstring and had to change to the elliptical. On the elliptical my work intervals were 30-second sprints at very high intensity, and then on my rest intervals I went backwards for one minute at about 50% intensity. I did my cardio on my workout days only (skipping it on leg days).
With this workout and supplement routine, I was able to keep my training intensity very high all the way up until the contest. As the contest approached I did not have to taper down my weights or sets like many competitors are forced to do. I documented everything - exercises, reps, sets and weights. Here is a sample of my back workout from my journal at two weeks out.
Lat Pulldowns: One warm up set and 4 working sets. Would move up in weight with each set if I was able to complete the target number of reps.
Warm up: 150 x 10 reps
210 x 8 reps
220 x 8 reps
230 x 6 reps
240 x 6 reps
Reverse Grip Pull Downs:
230 x 8 reps
240 x 8 reps
250 x 6 reps
Dumbbell Rows: The dumbbells at our gym do not go higher than 140 lbs. That’s why I was unable to go up in weight each set. I probably couldn’t have been able to move up anyway!!!
140 x 8 reps
140 x 8 reps
140 x 8 reps
Cybex Pulldown Machine: This was kind of a free motion machine that would allow you to squeeze your back at any area you wanted to target.
240 x 8 reps
260 x 8 reps
280 x 6 reps
Super Set Hyperextensions with Row Machine: Held a plate over my head for the hyperextension and then moved straight to the row machine.
Hyperextension 35 x 8 reps Row machine 180 x 8 reps
45 x 8 reps 180 x 8 reps
45 x 6 reps 180 x 6 reps
Since this was my first competition, posing was not my strongest area. Sean preached, “Practice your posing!” over and over to me. I followed his advice and practiced at least 5 days a week until I could easily hold each pose for 60 seconds. After we finished our workouts I posed at Gymbo’s while my friends critiqued me. I was hesitant to let anyone watch me pose at first, but the more I practiced, the better I felt. Or maybe, I was just “brain dead” from dieting and no longer cared who saw me! Like many first time competitors, my legs were the last to “come in”. I worked really hard on poses that would accentuate my legs. For example, my inner quads were more developed and defined than my outer thighs so I turned my legs out when I posed to give the appearance of better thigh development than I actually had.
At about 4 weeks out I felt like everything was coming together but I still needed a little extra in the training and diet department to really get ripped and to get my legs leaner. I added Up-Lift to my preworkout supplement stack so I could continue to train intensely. We cut the carbs drastically and cleaned up the fats. The diet now consisted of:
Meal 1: 11 egg whites, ½ tablespoon of flaxseed oil
Meal 2: 2 scoops Muscle Provider
Meal 3: Tuna patty: 1 can tuna, 2 egg whites, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 tbsp olive oil (note we cut out the whole egg and ½ cup of oatmeal from the previous meal plan)
Meal 4: 2 scoops Muscle Provider
Meal 5 & 6: pre and post workouts: 2 scoops Muscle Provider pre and 2 scoops post
Meal 7: 11 egg whites, 1 cup green veggies
Brian also added a carb up meal every 4th day.
The carb up meal consisted of 1 cup brown rice, 1 banana, 2 cups green veggies, 1 sweet potato, and 1 tbsp flaxseed oil.
I cut out all carbs Monday through Thursday. On Friday I ate pancakes with syrup and butter for meal 1. Meals 2-6 were 6 oz Tilapia, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 potato. On Saturday, the day of the show, I had pancakes again for meal 1, piling on the syrup and butter. Then, once at the show I simply ate 3-4 rice cakes with 1 tbsp peanut butter every couple of hours. I drank 2 gallons of distilled water each day Monday through Thursday, 1 gallon on Friday up until 6:00 p.m., and then sipped only when needed. I loaded with 3 scoops of Creatine Select per day on Wednesday through Saturday. I salted foods Saturday through Thursday, and then went salt free from Friday on. I also added 100 mg potassium with each meal on Friday and Saturday. My workouts the final week were basically upper body only. It was simply 80% of my usual weights on Monday with 60 seconds rest between sets, 70% on Tuesday with 30 seconds rest between sets, and 60% on Wednesday with no rest between sets.
The night before my show I weighed in at 191. In the INBF heavyweight class is 190 and up. I thought there were be the best competition in the light heavies and that’s where I wanted to be. I weighed in Saturday morning before the show at 187, just where I had hoped. The Cardinal Classic was a pro qualifier and I knew there would be good competition, so I was nervous and wasn’t sure how I would do. I just didn’t want to get up on stage and embarrass myself. To my surprise I finished second in my class, only losing by one point!
This experience was unlike any I have ever had in my life. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I actually enjoyed it (at least more than I thought I would). The long hours in the gym, the brutal cardio and the dieting all paid off. I achieved the best shape of my life. Showtime arrived and I was confident, ready and didn’t think twice about getting up on stage. The sense of accomplishment was indescribable. I told myself that I would never do another one, but the funny thing is I am already planning and can’t wait for my next show!
It seems like it was all over in a glance. I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my friends and family. I have to thank my training partner Sean for pushing me when I didn’t feel like I could go any further, my friends at Gymbo’s for all the support and guidance, Natalie for supporting me through the whole process and Brian Wiefering for getting me on track with Beverly, my diet and helping me fine tune everything for the show.
NICK PAPANIA AT A GLANCE
Occupation: Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer/ Master in Physical Therapy
Current Residence: Westside Cincinnati
Years training (total): 10
Off Season Weight: 212
Contest Weight: 187
Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: tuna patties
Favorite supplements: Ultimate muscle Protein is one of my favorites. Before I decided to compete I very rarely ate protein and never took protein supplements. When I started with UMP I noticed a huge difference. Creatine Select is another staple in my training. I can feel a huge difference in my workouts when I am taking CS. I get a better pump and feel like I can push through and go beyond my last few reps.
What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? Use them!!! Beverly supplements are the cleanest supplements around. They are the only supplements I would ever use to prepare for a show (of to get the best results in building muscle and losing fat).
In your CD player: Anything to get me pumped up. Lincoln Park, Kid Rock, Jay-Z, Korn, Eminem. Black Eyed Peas
Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Traveling, hiking
Words to live by: “Lift Big... Get Big” “Pain is temporary, glory is forever” “Obsession is what lazy people call dedication”