I was the guy who always thought he could never have a muscular body. And that’s the way it was, I couldn’t do anything about it. But, about 8 years ago, I was at a time in my life where I decided to make some significant lifestyle changes. One of the changes was to join a gym and start working out. When I first walked into the gym I weighed 135lbs. I was fortunate to be introduced to Beverly International supplements early on. I gained 25lbs during the first two years. I used BI protein regularly and occasionally threw in Creatine Select, Muscle Synergy, Ultra 40 and the others at various times. My weight eventually went up to 170lbs and leveled off in the 165-170 range.
Last year my wife started to really take an interest in fitness, too. I’d been thinking of trying a competition and now the time was right, we’d be able to diet together and help each other stay on track.
My mind was made up. I’m doing the 2010 NPC Northern KY. Once I made the decision to compete I did not cheat on my diet even once. I only missed two workouts. Not because I was too tired or thought I needed an extra day off. I missed to compete in a motorcycle race. I am competing for the 2010 WERA Roadracing Championship and couldn’t afford to miss out on the points.
Don’t get me wrong. There were many days when I was beat. Many days that I was hungry and that maybe a bodybuilding show wasn’t worth it. But, I took it one day at a time and kept going. The result was that I went from 165lbs with 12% body fat at 17 weeks out to 157lbs at 4.8% at Showtime. I got stronger and gained more muscle size that I have ever had before. Here’s how I did it.
Below is the diet that I started at 10 weeks out. Prior to this diet I ate similar foods (chicken, egg whites, UMP, Muscle Provider, grapefruit, salad, green beans, brown rice, etc.) for a total of 2300 calories with a 50%/20%/30% protein/carb/fat ratio from 17 weeks out until 10 weeks out. This carb rotation diet is straight from the BI website.
Meal 1 - 5:30 AM
6 oz chicken breast
2 egg whites, 1 whole egg
Meal 2 9:00 AM (post workout)
1 scoop UMP, 2 scoops Muscle Provider
Meal 3 12:30 PM
8 oz chicken breast
2 cups green beans
Meal 4 3:30 PM
2 scoops UMP
1 tbsp almond butter
Meal 5 7:00 PM
10 oz chicken breast
2 cups green beans
Sunday and Wednesday I added a 6th carb up meal 9:30 PM
1.5 cups oatmeal (with Splenda and cinnamon)
6 oz sweet potato
1 banana with almond butter (about 1 tbsp of almond butter on top of the banana. YUM!)
1 cup green beans
This diet worked really well for me. I dropped about 2% body fat in 4 weeks and still continued to gain a little on my workouts.
- Almond butter was a lifesaver. You do have to be careful that you don’t have more than your diet calls for. My wife and I made our own almond butter. (It’s pretty expensive at the grocery.)
- Chicken. I tried lots of variations to keep from getting bored. My favorite variation was to sprinkle taco seasoning on it before grilling, then dip it in authentic picante Mexican hot sauce before eating.
- Prepare 3 or 4 days’ food at a time. I prepared all my breakfasts and lunches ahead of time. Preparation is the key to staying on track. If you have everything done so that all you have to do is grab your stuff out of the fridge and go or just come home and heat it up real quick, it makes sticking with the plan much easier. There were a lot of times where I was so hungry that it would have been very easy to mess up, but 2 minutes of microwave time with my planned meal was the fastest way to eat.
For my supplement schedule, I tried to balance a budget along with taking the various supplements that I thought would help me get into the best condition for the show. My wife was also training so we have to be careful about what we spend per month on supplements. For this reason, some of the doses might be a little lower than the Beverly recommendations.
On awakening and before bed, 4 GH Factor
With meals 1, 3, and 5
2 EFA Gold
3 Lean Out
3 Density (I could really tell how much harder I looked when I starting taking Density!)
4 Ultra 40
Mass Aminos are often overlooked I think, but they are one of my favorite supplements. There is no doubt in my mind that I was able to keep more muscle and gain strength while dieting hard as a result of Mass Aminos. I've trained with and without them and I think they offer a lot of bang for the buck. At first you don't notice much, but over time when you look at how hard you diet and your training logs, you can easily see the benefit.
Workout Supplement Drinks:
I fixed a drink of 1 scoop Creatine Select and 1 scoop Up-Lift in a glass of water right before breakfast and used this to take my pills. I always go to the gym straight after breakfast. I take another scoop of Up-Lift mixed with 2 scoops of Glutamine Select to sip on during my workout. A couple of times I ran out of Up-Lift and I missed it tremendously. I've used Up-Lift before when not dieting for a contest, but when I am low on energy and dieting hard Up-Lift really provides the extra energy and stamina I need to make it through my morning workouts. Stacked with Glutamine Select it is a great workout drink for me. I'm able to push hard and stay at 100% through my entire routine without any muscle fatigue or significant loss of energy.
At 6 weeks out from contest I made the following changes to my diet, I dropped out the Muscle Provider and went with 4 scoops per day of UMP, trimmed out a couple ounces of chicken, switched 2 cups of green beans at lunch with salad and 2 tbsp of oil and vinegar dressing, and added 1 tbsp of almond butter with my morning protein shake. The net effect was dropping the calories by about 100 down to 1800 per day (2450 on carb up days). At 4 weeks out I dropped a couple more ounces chicken and lowered oatmeal on carb up days to 1 cup, for a total of approximately 1700 calories per day (2200 on carb up days).
During the last 4 weeks I added 12 Muscle Synergy per day (8 in the morning before training, 4 at night before bed).
Over the years I have tried a lot of different routines and learned a good deal about how my body responds to different things. My basic "off season" routine is a 4 day split of chest/triceps, back/biceps, legs, and shoulders.
Phase 1 (16 weeks to 8 weeks out)
For the contest I changed my routine to one straight out of the Beverly Pre-Contest Guide. It is now posted on the BI FAQ at www.bevnut.com/faq, scroll to the Precontest Training Program.
4 day split. 4 days on, 1 day off.
For progressive sets, each workout I try to add weight, add reps, or decrease rest time.
For cardio, I just did 2 or 3 days a week of 20 minutes HIIT on the treadmill. I would walk at 4mph for 60 seconds, and then run at 8mph for 60 seconds.
Phase 2 (8 weeks out to show time)
At 8 weeks out I started using a lot more supersets to add a fat burning element to my workouts. I still continued to make small gains on some exercises with this routine, but most importantly I did not lose any strength, even in the last weeks of my training. I believe that my diet and supplement regimen was directly related to preserving my strength. I also took periodic measurements of my biceps and waist so that I could keep an eye on my muscle size and keep my mind from playing tricks on me. If you lose an inch from your waist and 1/16 inch from your biceps your burning a lot more fat and the reduction in bicep size in more than likely just water and not muscle tissue.
3 day split. 3 days on, 1 day off.
On exercises with multiple sets mentioned, e.g. 4 or 5 sets, I’d do the lower set total one day on the first exercise listed, and the higher set total on the next exercise. The next workout I would swap.
Whenever I got to the max of the rep range, I added weight or decreased rest time.
For cardio I stepped it up and started doing 20 minutes HIIT on the treadmill every day.
Day 1 Chest/Back/Abs
A. Bench Press 4 or 5 sets (5-10 reps) superset with:
Chin Ups max reps
B. Incline DB Press 3 or 4 sets (8-10 reps) superset with:
Barbell Rows (6-10 reps)
C. Dumbbell Flyes 3 or 4 sets (10-12 reps) superset with:
Cable Rows (8-10 reps)
D. Pec Deck 2 or 3 sets (10-15 reps) superset with:
Close Grip Lat Pulldown (7-10 reps)
E. Dumbbell Pullovers 3 or 4 sets (10-15 reps) superset with:
Hyperextensions (20 reps)
F. Abdominals 250-300 reps (I picked 3 exercises and superset all three with very little rest).
Day 2 Legs/Calves
A. Leg Extensions 3 sets (8-10 reps) superset with:
Leg Press (8-12 reps)
B. Squat 4 sets (6-12 reps) superset with:
Straight Leg Deadlifts (10 reps)
C. Barbell Lunge 3 sets (10-15 reps) superset with:
Leg Curl (6-10 reps)
D. Standing Calf Raises 4 sets (15-20 reps)
E. Seated Calf Raises 3 sets (10-15 reps)
F. Donkey Calf Raises 3 sets (20-25 reps)
Day 3 Shoulders/Arms/Abs
A. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 sets (6-10 reps)
B. Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 sets (8-12 reps)
C. Dumbbell Bentover Lateral Raises 3 sets (8-12 reps)
D. Cable Lateral Raises 3 sets (8-12 reps)
E. Concentration Curl 3 sets (6-10 reps) superset with:
Tricep Pushdowns (10-12 reps)
F. Dumbbell Curls 3 sets (6-10 reps) superset with:
Skull Crushers (8-10 reps)
G. Preacher Curls 3 sets (6-10 reps) superset with:
Close Grip Bench Press (8-12 reps)
H. Reverse Curls 3 sets (8-12 reps) tri-set with:
Wrist Curl (12-20 reps)
Overhead Tricep Extensions (8-15 reps)
I. Abdominals 250-300 reps (I picked 3 exercises and superset all three with very little rest).
From 10 weeks out I practiced posing almost every night before I went to bed for about 20-30 minutes. I started with a posing DVD to learn the poses, then after a while I just went through all the relaxed and mandatory poses on my own. About 3 weeks out from the contest I took a posing clinic with a well known local trainer, Glenn Ubelhor. Glenn was very helpful and guided me with some adjustments to my poses. I met with him a couple more times and continued practicing every day. At 3 weeks out, Glenn suggested I was now stage ready and advised me to drop my cardio and maybe have a few more carbs for a few days. I did just that and was happy to hear I was done with the treadmill! He said I looked great and that really gave me a confidence boost that helped me get through the mental struggle of the last couple of weeks.
2010 NPC NORTHERN KY
I took off the day before the show and just did some things around the house that I enjoyed and needed doing. I took my time packing for the show and all in all just made sure I had a stress free day. At the weigh-in I stepped on the scale at 157. I was at the low end of the Novice Middleweight class (154-176). My weight was not my concern, it was my conditioning and overall appearance that counted.
Saturday morning arrived and we left the hotel for the show. I was very excited to have finally arrived at the end of my 17 week journey. While we were waiting back stage, lined up before prejudging, I told some of my fellow competitors that for me the real victory was just making it to that day, which regardless of how we were judged all of us had already all won. How true this is! So much work, dedication, preparation and discipline had led up to this moment. It was a journey and a challenge against my self. I had been competing for 17 weeks against myself.
The day went by quickly and I felt great all day through prejudging and into the evening show. All of my preparation and discipline paid off! My wife and son were able to see me accept 1st place in the Novice Middleweight and then win the Overall Novice trophy!
I was very surprised on how well I did being 39 years old in my first ever event. I was overwhelmed with joy and the support of my family. I owe my success to a very good plan that Beverly provided along with great supplements, quality protein and a lot of determination. My future plans are to work hard through the summer and continue my training through the motorcycle racing season, and begin preparation over the winter for the Men's Open class at next year’s Northern KY.
Eric Murray At A Glance Age: 39 Occupation: Network Engineer Family: Wife Amy and two sons Austin (14) and Carter (6) Current Residence: La Grange, KY Years training (total): 8 Height: 5′8″ Weight: Off Season – 165-170; Contest 157 Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: Star Wars Pancakes (egg whites, oatmeal, blueberries, and Splenda) Favorite Supplements: Up-Lift stacked with Glutamine Select. Makes a great workout drink that gives me the energy I need to lift hard when dieting. What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? UMP Chocolate. UMP tastes great and provides an easy way to increase the number of meals each day to keep your metabolism building muscle and burning fat. Plus it's the highest quality protein out there! In your CD player: Metallica, Mastodon, and Slayer Hobby or interests outside bodybuilding: Motorcycle Road racing, my websites are www.superbikestore.net and www.roadracing.me Words to live by: Live in the present.