Lee Priest and Twinlab announced the winner of their first Live Like a Pro Challenge during the '04 Arnold Fitness Weekend. Here's what Lee had to say about why Tom Doyle got the nod:
'The contest wasn't about taking a guy pro. We said, 'Show us you have what it takes to live like a pro, and Twinlab will support you with a contract for one year.' We were looking for people who could prove that they had the focus, dedication, commitment, physique and knowledge to be supported and trained by Twinlab and myself.
'Tom Doyle was our pick because, for a guy who's 49 years old, he looks fantastic, and he has the right attitude.'
Doyle's prizes included personal-training sessions with Priest, publicity, a $50,000 check from Twinlab and a year's supply of Twinlab products. Months later, during the Olympia weekend, he picked up another prestigious honor. Twinlab and Flex magazine established a bodybuilding hall of fame, inducting Arnold Schwarzenegger, Larry Scott, Sergio Oliva, Lou Ferrigno, Cory Everson and Lenda Murray. Doyle was the first amateur to be inducted.
Tom is just a cool guy to talk with. I was particularly impressed by his enthusiasm for bodybuilding, his knowledge of supplementation and his Southern charm.
DY: Let's hear your stats.
TD: I'm 49 years young, 5'11' tall, and my weight is 225. In the off-season I'm about 235 pounds. At my last contest I weighed in at 210.
DY: How many years have you been training seriously?
TD: I've been training consistently for 19 years, but seriously, in my opinion, means training for contests, and that's been seven years.
DY: What's your diet strategy'on- and off-season?
TD: I eat clean all the time. When I'm not preparing for a contest, I eat good and I eat a lot. I might cheat a little more'although even on my cheat days I don't totally freak out. I absolutely love oatmeal cookies and carrot cake. Oh, and when I visit my mother during the holidays, I get coconut cake with Philadelphia cream cheese icing. It is unbelievable.
DY: Tell me one of your secrets to success?
TD: On- and off-season I always prepare my meals for the entire week on Sundays. I make enough chicken, turkey or steak for the week. I also have salads or other veggies ready, raw or steamed. And I always try to have a little fruit and some nuts during the day. That's a very easy way for me to eat properly because it's already there. I just heat up and go.
And I gotta have peanut butter and jelly. I buy the jelly with no sugar and have it on stone-ground or multigrain bread or crackers. I must have my carbs! They fuel the heavy workouts and contribute to proper body function, including the brain'and in that department I'll take all the help I can get.
DY: Tell me about something you're really proud of?
TD: I'm very pleased and proud about my achievements in bodybuilding'and also about the encouragement I get from my family and friends. They have been wonderful to me. When I get down, they're there. Most of all I'm proud that I have the wherewithal to know that I'm a blessed man, and I'm so very, very thankful. Not a day goes by that I don't give thanks to God for everything I have. ALL DY: How do you overcome plateaus?
TD: My answer is to keep training: Train harder, and you will, as Jim Morrison sang, 'break on through to the other side.' Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, 'With faith there is no anxiety, no doubt'just absolute confidence.'
DY: What tricks do you use to motivate yourself?
TD: I read a lot about people who have beaten the odds and who never gave up. If you look, you'll find motivation all around you'sometimes in the strangest places. Just last week in a local paper I read the story of a blind man, Jerry Nealey, who participates in triathlons. He said, 'Proving myself seems to be a way of life. But having a disability can be a blessing. We can overcome [the disability], and it will only make us stronger. My blindness is a metaphor for progress.' When I read words like those, I go after life with a vengeance. Make hard times, setbacks and suffering your friends, not your enemies. That takes constant work and practice. It's not easy, but it's essential for reaching and creating the next level of your physique, not to mention life.
DY: What are your goals now?
TD: My next one is to win the heavyweight over-50 class at the Master's Nationals.
DY: Excellent! What mental principles do you use?
TD: I use visualization when I'm training. I visualize the bodypart that I'm working as looking like the end product I'm striving to achieve. Not always bigger, but more pronounced, defined. Also, I sometimes see myself standing onstage as the winner. I can't do that all of the time, but when my mind is clear and stress is not a problem, I can focus on the vision of winning. It's something that takes a lot of practice. It's actually Zen-like, I suppose.
DY: That's some deep sh*t! [Both crack up] Okay, Mr. Zen Man, what's your philosophy of life?
TD: I live by many sayings that mean a lot to me, but the most important is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. One other one I'm fond of is: 'Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.' William Faulkner said that.
DY: More deep sh*t! [More laughter] How many weeks out do you start your contest prep?
TD: When I first began competing, I started 19 weeks out, but now I find it is easier to watch my weight and not gain more than 20 to 25 pounds. That allows me to start my contest preparation about 12 weeks out. It just seems to be easier on my body. I try to gain around five pounds of lean mass per year and concentrate more on refining the muscle, creating more separation and striations. After I cut out the junk for a few weeks, I set up my first eating phase like this:
1 scoop Twinlab AM Protein Fuel in shake
10 egg whites
with 2 whole eggs
1 bowl oatmeal
1 tablet Twinlab Andro Nitrate3
Twinlab Tribulus Fuel Extreme
1 packet Twinlab MRP Nitrate3 Fuel mixed in cold water with ice
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
Twinlab Glutamine Fuel
2 chicken breasts
sauteed in 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic
1 cup brown rice
Soy sauce (light)
2 capsules Twinlab Ripped Fuel
Twinlab Tribulus Fuel Extreme Meal 5
Grilled turkey breast
on a bed of leafy greens with balsamic vinegar
1 packet Twinlab MRP Nitrate3 Fuel
1 scoop Twinlab PM Protein Fuel in shake
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
Vitamins E and C
1 scoop Twinlab PM Protein Fuel in shake
I might follow that up to the last four to six weeks before a contest. Then in the final precontest phase I step it up a bit.
DY: Do you use supersets, forced reps or other intensity techniques?
TD: I train to failure for the most part. Because I train by myself a lot of the time, I don't use forced reps, but I do incorporate supersets for my major bodyparts.
DY: How many days a week do you train?
TD: I always train five days per week in the off-season.
DY: What about cardio?
TD: In the off-season I do cardio at least twice a week. When I'm preparing for a contest, it's usually 30 minutes every morning. I don't do as much cardio as most guys because I lose size in my legs.
DY: Which exercises do you use, and as you're over 40, which exercises do you avoid due to joint pain?
TD: Here's a general guide:
Quads: I do leg extensions and close-stance squats or close-stance leg presses. I don't use the hack-squat machine. It's rough on my knees. As for the close stance, it's really helped my quad development.
Hams: I do leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts. I don't use the standing leg curl. I just don't feel it.
Calves: Seated calf raises and standing calf raises make up my routine. I use heavy weight for both. I think if you're doing light weights and high reps for calf size, you're wasting your time. Abs: I like crunches, rope crunches and hanging leg raises. My advice is to stay away from boot-camp situps. They're bad for your back, neck and buttissimo.
Back: Here it's chins, bent-over barbell rows, pulldowns to the front, seated cable rows and deadlifts. I don't do behind-the-neck pulldowns. It's an unnatural movement and sets the stage for neck injuries.
Chest: I like cable crossovers, incline dumbbell presses, flat-bench flyes, dumbbell bench presses and dips. I don't do decline presses. I feel that my lower pecs get enough work from flat-bench work.
Delts: I do rear-delt flyes, dumbbell presses, dumbbell laterals, military presses and shrugs. I stay away from behind-the-neck presses. Once again, the movement feels unnatural.
Biceps: I use barbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, preacher curls and cable curls, but I stay away from heavy swinging barbell curls. Strength and size come from being able to handle the weight with control. Swinging is a good way to get injured.
Triceps: For this muscle group it's pushdowns, weighted dips, close-grip bench presses and overhead dumbbell extensions. I'm a firm believer in full range of motion. Lying triceps extensions don't give you a full range of motion. Overhead extensions do.
Forearms: I use standing wrist curls for both the front and rear parts of the forearms. I don't like hanging my hands off of the end of a bench. That can damage the wrist. I hold a bar behind my back while standing and do wrist curls. DY: How many sets do you do per bodypart?
TD: Here's a rundown:
Chest: 20 to 25 once a week
Back: 20 to 25 once a week
Deltoids: 12 to 15 once a week
Traps: 5 to 7 once a week
Calves: 5 to 7 four to five times a week
Biceps: 12 to 15 once a week
Triceps: 12 to 15 once a week
Legs: 20 to 25 twice a week
Abs: 5 to 7 every other day
DY: What's your overall bodybuilding philosophy?
TD: Before my bodybuilding adventure began, I never really gave thought to having a structured life. It was get up, work, then whatever. Not anymore, I'm overjoyed to say. Bodybuilding has provided me with self-worth, self-confidence and self-discipline. Countless times I'm asked to have lunch or go out after work with the guys. I politely decline, stating that I bring all of my food and that after work you can find me in the gym. They may not admit it, but I know they respect me.
I recommend weight training for everyone. It helps create a structured life. You don't have to participate in bodybuilding competitions. When you train hard, you deal with adversity much more easily and life seems fruitful.
Editor's note: You can find out more about the Twinlab Live Like a Pro With Lee Priest Challenge II at www.twinlab.com or www.livelikeapro.com. IM