TIME TO GET RIPPED!
I am beginning Week 4 of my scheduled 18 week diet to get ripped! After spending all of 2013 in the “off season” in an attempt to get bigger and add size, I am now dieting with the goal of being ripped by the beginning of August. As a Natural Bodybuilder, I am dieting slow in order to lose the bodyfat but still retain the muscle mass and strength.
The last time I was lean and ripped was in the fall of 2012. I dieted down to an extremely lean 180 pounds (weight taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach) to win the Masters Pro division of the Natural Mr. Universe on September 1st of 2012. When I stepped onstage, I was a very ripped and lean 185. However, it was a physique that could have been much better. In my eyes, I thought I should have been much fuller and bigger. Realizing that it is the most ripped competitor who wins in today’s bodybuilding contests, I sacrificed size for condition. The strategy worked as I won the contest.
After seeing the pictures from the 2012 Natural Mr. Universe, I resolved to make some improvements to my physique. I decided not to compete in 2013 and just take some time off to build some more muscle mass. As a natural bodybuilder gets older, we are faced with two choices. The first is to maintain a lean and ripped physique but sacrifice size. The second is to eat a little more and stay bulky but sacrifice condition. The reason for this conundrum is changing hormone levels in the body.
As the testosterone and growth hormone levels in the body drop as we get older, it is hard to eat more calories to build muscle mass without adding unwanted bodyfat. However, if we eat less in order to maintain a lean physique, it becomes difficult to build more muscle mass. What is an aging natural bodybuilder to do?
I have been maintaining a very lean physique for the last two years. Beginning on January 1st of 2011, I began a diet in order to get ripped with the goal of making the cover of Ironman Magazine motivating me. By May of that year, I was more ripped than I had been in the last 15 years and I successfully achieved my objective and was featured on the September, 2011 cover of Ironman Magazine.
Staying lean all year long, I made the decision to compete again after a seven year retirement. I decided to enter the 2011 Natural Mr. Olympia in the Masters Pro division. Unfortunately, the extended diet (I had was now dieting for over 10 months straight) did not help my physique and I ended up flat and very unimpressive onstage in November of that year.
Being very disappointed in my return to the stage, I went back to the gym full of motivation and fire, determined to get back onstage and be victorious. When I found out that the Natural Mr. Universe contest was going to be held in Chicago, my old hometown, I decided to dedicate myself to that competition.
I bulked up to a relatively lean 215 pounds by March of 2012 and started dieting for the Natural Mr. Universe a full 24 weeks before the contest. This was a little too long, however, and by the time the contest finally arrived, I was ripped but a little too stringy and thin.
In 2013, my body needed a break from the intense training and diet program followed for the majority of the year. I was having some problems with my lower back and I was not able to resume heavy training until April of that year. Maintaining a typical 215 pound off season weight, I was having difficulty increasing my muscle mass while still attempting to stay somewhat lean.
In July of that year, I decided to loosen up the reins on my diet and allow myself to eat some more calories. While still eating healthy, I increased my caloric intake by taking in more carbs and fats. By that fall, I had gained some weight but my workouts were markedly improved.
I was using a new training system that I called the MP6 Training Program. This training involved cycles of 6 weeks long, alternating power and mass cycles. The Power Cycles allowed me to increase my strength and power. After 6 weeks following the Power Cycle, I switched over to the Mass Cycle and was able to use more resistance for the growth producing repetition range of 6-10 reps.
By the end of the year, I had managed to increase my weight to 230 pounds. Although I had inevitably gained some bodyfat, I was extremely happy with the increases in my strength and muscle mass. I was able to handle some substantial poundages and was now stronger and bigger than I had been in many years.
I had planned on beginning my diet at the beginning of 2014 but there were several delays in really getting started. Finally, on April 7th, 2014, I started my diet in earnest. Because of the late start, I will not reach my peak condition until August.
In this blog, I will detail my training and diet programs that I am following to reach my new ripped physique. My overall goal is to achieve the same shredded condition that I achieved in 2011 and 2012 but with the addition of 7 pounds of lean muscle mass. If I can wake up ripped and weigh 187 pounds, I should be in the mid 190’s for my photo shoot weight. At the age of 52 years old, putting on 7 pounds of lean muscle mass naturally is a hell of an accomplishment. I’m ready for the process to begin!!