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Bodybuilding in Prison

I am 30 years old and was incarcerated at Terminal Island Federal Prison in Southern California from 2006 until November 2010. During my time there I began training with weights five days per week. Each session lasted about an hour, and I was using basic compound movements—that is, deadlifts, presses, rows, curls, squats.

I began at 180 unfit pounds and had an ending off-season sloppy weight of 250 pounds. My diet was less than clean. After a four-month keto-style diet, however, I was 195 pounds and quite lean. That was October ’08.

Over the next two years I continued to advance my training, eventually increasing my intensity to the point of using one all-out set per exercise, à la Dorian Yates.

I always trained heavy on the following schedule:


Monday: Off

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Quads

Thursday: Chest, calves

Friday: Back

Saturday: Delts, triceps

Sunday: Biceps, hamstrings, traps


I know that’s an odd split, but it was effective at the time.

My cardio was 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training on the StairMaster machine—60/60 intervals—four days per week, one session per day.

I also formulated a very effective diet of 350 grams of protein, 200 grams of carb and 100 grams of fat. The second month I reduced carbs and fat: 350 grams of protein, 100 grams of carb, 80 grams of fat. The third month I reduced fat but not carbs: 350 grams of protein, 100 grams of carb, 20 to 40 grams of fat.

Needless to say, dieting in prison is no fun—and I had no supplements whatsoever.

I hope that by seeing my results with only proper diet, training and rest—no anabolics or supplements—people will be inspired.

—Daniel Beery



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