T Nation

Builder's About/Q&A Thread


#1

As a follow up to a brief contest prep thread I am looking to share my experiences and cover some of my personal nutrition and training info. Feel free to ask/share away. We are all in this together, the pursuit of reaching our goals whatever they may be.

Let’s do this!

-Builder


#2

off season diet please?


#3

A simple question: how long have you been ahem building for?


#4

Training routine and building philosophy please?


#5

What does your typical chest / shoulders day look like?
Do you vary the reps at all for different exercises such as low reps for bench etc… or do you keep them at the higher end?
How often do you hit failure?

Thanks Builder and congratulations on your win.


#6

[quote]Yogi wrote:
off season diet please?[/quote]

This passed year I did my best to stay lean since I wasn’t decided on competition but wanted to be ready to ease into it if needed.

I invest a bit in carb cycling which allows me to go a bit higher on 3 of my bigger training days (chest/delts,legs,back). Since these days are also grouped together it gives me one moderate day, followed by a high day, followed by another moderate day and then back to whatever my “baseline” would be the other 2. I personally find this to be a good balance for me and seems to keep my metabolism where it needs to be to maintain a leaner Physique.

I try to up fats in the evening to slow everything down a bit when my carb intake is lower. I tend to keep my fat intake higher or lower based on my carb days.

Protein usually stays the same at about 1.5g/lb. I have found that going higher doesn’t seem to make much of a difference and for me isn’t worth the extra cost. My sources of protein vary and when upping fats I try to go with something like salmon or ground beef and otherwise stick with chicken. Eggs are versatile and you can keep or take away yolks depending on how much fat you are looking for. Off season for me usually means not tracking foods to the point of tracking macros but rather staying within certain parameters. I easily get OCD with tracking so even during prep this show I only started writing things down the last 3 weeks or so. I use rough guidelines and portions and base most of my diet on how I am looking even over what the scale is telling me. There are just so many processes taking place in the body constantly so waking up looking particularly lean one day doesn’t mean it’s a free pass to the buffet. On the flip side to that I believe in being able to enjoy a good meal or treats in moderation is important. I will try to time these kinds of meals into my day where they fit best like after training but that doesn’t always pan out. You still need to be able to enjoy life.

In summary I portion out my base of food for the day, which is usually chicken and broccoli and then add based on what day it is, some extra sweet potato here a scoop of rice there, oatmeal PWO etc.


#7

[quote]Fyzjin2 wrote:
A simple question: how long have you been ahem building for?[/quote]

Though some element of training has always seemed to be part of my life my focus has changed over the years shifting from performance to aesthetics and a combination of the two. I would consider myself to have started being competitive with a strict focus on bodybuilding over the passed 2-3 years where I finally pulled the trigger to compete.


#8

We both have Wayne Forrest stage shots :wink:

Have you considered pursuing a natural pro card ? I believe someone with your physique could definitely get on more social media and have success doing online training as a side gig .


#9

Your shoulders and arms are impressive. Have you always had bigger shoulders, or did you have to bring them up with training? If you had to train them up, what kind of programs worked best for you?


#10

[quote]Beyond Beyond wrote:
Training routine and building philosophy please?[/quote]

Current split:

Chest/Delts
Legs
Back
Bi/Tri
Calves/abs/hams, focus on stretching and mobility.

If I need a rest day I’ll just fit it in where needed and may bounce over a day if things aren’t where I need them to be and hit it later.

I always lean towards higher volume training and a lot of that stems from the set up I have here at home for training. I still train full time in my basement and may venture out of the shadows now and again to hit a local gym. I feel like its good to mix it up now and again and if I feel like I need to go a bit heavier on legs or something it works out well.

As mentioned above my training has not always been strictly geared towards Physique, of course we all want to look awesome but sometimes the necessity for performance takes the lead. Always training a specific way takes a bit of fun out of it and the pursuit of fitting into that cookie cutter becomes overwhelming. I believe that unique traits of a Physique is a way to define yourself as an individual in the sport.


#11

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
What does your typical chest / shoulders day look like?
Do you vary the reps at all for different exercises such as low reps for bench etc… or do you keep them at the higher end?
How often do you hit failure?

Thanks Builder and congratulations on your win.[/quote]

Thanks Angus, Most of my training takes on a 1 for 1 format meaning I’ll hit a shoulder exercise followed by chest and go back and forth until I hit the end where I will do a giant burnout combining the two to finish things off.

A typical session for me would usually start with a good shoulder warm up alternating sets of 10-15 reps with 2.5-5lbs in each hand hitting all the heads and warming up the rotators. Next up would be dependent on the week since I like to change up orders and excersizes but for the sake of keeping it simple let’s say I hit flat bench. I like to hit 3 working sets and usually use a warm up set to make sure form is in check as well as what my strength may be like that day. After the 3 sets, unless I feel like I have something more to prove, I’ll move on. Next up say I hit shoulder press, I would follow the same format. After my first two exercises I’ll usually try and hit things a little heavier and may drop out of the 10-15 rep range. If this is the case I will make up for reps with drop sets, static holds etc. Other two chest exercises would be presses or flies and the focus would be pumping as much blood into the muscle as possible. For shoulders I like to use a lot of flies, especially because they take a lot of abuse just from chest movements so I may focus on rear delts and traps a little more. To end things off I like to do burnouts to failure or at least until I lose mobility/range of motion. This could be a drop set of flies followed by pushups or another 1 for 1 format going back and forth. I find by switching off I can always squeeze out a few extra reps by kicking blood to another area momentarily. I may end up doing 3 circuits of this to end things off and sometimes hit 20 plus rep range if I get in the zone.


#12

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
Have you considered pursuing a natural pro card ? I believe someone with your physique could definitely get on more social media and have success doing online training as a side gig .[/quote]

x2 Your posing coupled with the random babies and/or animals in your shots, you would be a hit in no time. I’d say 3-6 months before other youtubers are making videos calling you out as “fake natty”


#13

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
We both have Wayne Forrest stage shots :wink:

Have you considered pursuing a natural pro card ? I believe someone with your physique could definitely get on more social media and have success doing online training as a side gig .[/quote]

I am actually waiting for a photo package now which is exciting, other than a few shots that surfaced on the contest page I haven’t seen much of myself on stage yet.

As per persuing a pro card I haven’t had much more than one show in me per year, if that. The provincial organization, though not tested, has just been the most cost effective and convenient choice factoring in timing, location etc. After looking into a few other avenues I have learned that membership and competition costs can be quite high. Honestly at this stage of my life I am happy staying lean and getting some good gym shots here and there, random babies, animals and all haha (@ tsantos).

I hadn’t out really decided to compete in this passed show until last minute, at least as far as contest prep is concerned. After staying pretty lean in the off season and a family trip to Iceland not being able to afford much food over there I kinda lucked out timing wise.


#14

[quote]Fishdog70 wrote:
Your shoulders and arms are impressive. Have you always had bigger shoulders, or did you have to bring them up with training? If you had to train them up, what kind of programs worked best for you?

[/quote]

I have always felt like I have been chest dominant and had to work hard to bring some level of balance to the mix. Though I don’t feel like my shoulders are where they need to be I can make up for it a bit with posing. I used to take it easy on shoulders since I figured I was hitting them enough doing chest and then again with back. It has only been relatively recent where I invested a lot more into shoulder training. As mentioned above in my chest/delt training days I go one for one instead of what used to be hammer chest and hit a few sets of shoulder flies at the end and call it a day.


#15

Sorry, Builder, haven’t logged in for while. Thanks for the response. Would you say that you had already built most of your base size before the 2-3 year period? Or did you put on most of your size in those 2-3 years?


#16

You have been here a long time.

How much would you say T-Nation influenced and/or “coached” you? Articles? Members? Supplements?


#17

[quote]Fyzjin2 wrote:
Sorry, Builder, haven’t logged in for while. Thanks for the response. Would you say that you had already built most of your base size before the 2-3 year period? Or did you put on most of your size in those 2-3 years?[/quote]

I would say that it’s hard to gauge not having dieted down to see what I was actually working with before my first show. It is a humbling experience for sure walking around at 200lbs and realizing you are a solid 170 at best. This changed my outlook on the off season and I have since done my best to stay within reach of contest weight more of the year.

From my first show in April 2013 to now, assuming my conditioning was the same, I weighed in about 4 lbs more. I would have to say the biggest change I have noticed is quality of muscle whether it’s from age, diet, training habits or a combination of everything.


#18

[quote]JFG wrote:
You have been here a long time.

How much would you say T-Nation influenced and/or “coached” you? Articles? Members? Supplements?[/quote]

The short answer is that TNation has made all the difference.

I have always invested in the knowledge and articles shared on the site and have applied many principles to my training and diet over the years. There are lots of experienced athletes who are willing to share their knowledge and support guys like me who are just starting out in the world of competitive bodybuilding out of the kindness of their hearts.

Ultimately this has been my primary resource for contest prep, diet info, peaking protocols and general diet and training overall. As much as I can claim I do all my own prep, I can’t deny the fact that it would not at all be possible without this site.

I guess there is good reason for sticking around for so long.


#19

I think we’re all impressed with the fullness you maintained whilst dieting down. What does a typical day of food look like generally and then when you’re prepping for your contest


#20

[quote]tsantos wrote:
I think we’re all impressed with the fullness you maintained whilst dieting down. What does a typical day of food look like generally and then when you’re prepping for your contest[/quote]

I feel like the biggest factor was my level of conditioning coming into when I finally decided to start prep. I was keeping carbs high around training and didn’t really have to drop off too hard until the last few weeks. As opposed to previous preps where I would go low to no carbs for a long period of
time (up to two weeks) and end up looking flat and stringy. Keeping the carbs in around training seemed to help stay/maintain fulness while being able to deplete on lower carb days on my split. This also seemed to directly effect training intensity and motivation becuase there is nothing worse than just going through the motions of training without the benefit of getting a pump and not feeling like death.

Though chicken, broccoli and sweet potato was my main staple throughout my diet process I would always wake up to a bowl of oatmeal mixed with cocoa powder, peanut butter, and protein. The size of the bowl would depend on the training day and offer relief right off the bat from toughing out the evening before. Other treats included frozen protein shake smoothies which were mostly just protein powder and water, but eating one before bed at night allowed me to feel full and sleep seemed easier to achieve. Little tricks like this really helped out and often took the edge off. I found myself adding frozen shakes to the mix subbing out other meals my final few weeks to shave some calories without losing out on a meal. A cup of black coffee cooled and mixed into a shake was a great PWO kick too.

Typical meal layout would be:

Protein/oatmeal
Chicken, broccoli, sweet potato
Repeat every 2.5-3 hours
Shakes, frozen/coffee as needed.

Of course this sometimes changed week to week and I tend to favor adding on training time/sessions over removing food. I also implemented refeed days once I started cutting carbs hard the final weeks.