T Nation

Rob's Natty Bodybuilding Log / Q&A


#1

Thanks for reading! After two years of prepping and competing, I’m now in a long off season, time for a training log.

The Basics
-32 years old
-Height - 5’4"
-Stage Weight - 140lbs
-Off-season weight - 155-160lbs
-Training Time - 7 years
-ANBF Pro

Background

Up until age 25 I was never very athletic and didn’t step foot in the gym until 26. After college I got pretty fat, up to 205lbs, at 5’4", not a pretty picture.

One day I’m trying on a belt I typically wore a few holes in, which gradually became two holes in, then one hole in, and now I’m struggling to just get it on. I take a big breath, suck in my gut, and manage to get the belt on. I exhale a sigh of relief, and POP, the belt buckle pops off the belt and flies across the room, making a small hole in the wall. Talk about a wake up call! After that, I started exercising, not sure of what to do, just doing a lot. I’d take a 90 minute spin class then lift weights, having no idea what I was doing, but just needed to do something.

Lost a little weight, then eventually got into the P90X programs. While I don’t think they’re ideal as long-term programs, there’s no doubt they work well for losing fat and establishing strength, and after 7 months and 2 rounds of the program, I lost 70lbs and got down to the low 130’s.

Eventually, I stumbled upon T-Nation looking for a new workout drink, finding Surge Workout Fuel, along with the infinite amount of articles on the website. I got addicted to T-Nation, and spent hours and hours reading. Eventually, it motivated me to get into the gym. I have a somewhat addictive personality, and any time I take on a new endeavor I get fairly obsessed with it. From day one in the gym I was taking Indigo, Surge Workout Fuel, and following CT’s “Indigo Hypertrophy” workouts. These gave me a great foundation of strength and understanding of the basic movements. From there, I kept doing various programs from T-Nation, slow and steady progress.

Eventually, after reading enough prep logs on here a few years ago, I decided to take it to the next level and step on stage. I met my coach, @The_Mighty_Stu, on this website, we quickly became great friends and over the past two years have made quite a lot of progress. These are from our first couple weeks together in 2015.
WEIGHT - 165lbs

A year and a half later:
WEIGHT - 143lbs


Yes, I am 20 pounds lighter in these pics. Amazing what some serious training, nutritional and consistency over a couple years can do, of course with pretty much the entire catalog of Biotest supplements.

2016 Competitive Season
My first year competing I did two shows, the INBF Northeast America, and the INBF Hercules. INBF is the amateur division of WNBF, which is arguably the most well respected natural organization in the competitive physique world. My first show was quite a learning experience. I placed 4th out of 4 in my class and my tan malted off, but it was a great time:

The second show, the Hercules, I placed 2nd in the open Bantamweights. I made a lot of progress in the 8 weeks between shows, but ultimately fell short of ultimate stage level leanness. I’m #81, 3rd from the left:

After this show, I was right back in the gym, maintained a strict and very productive off season for 6 months, and started prepping again in January of 2017. I started my prep at the same weight of 165ish, but was significantly leaner than the previous year.

2017 Competitive Season
My first show for 2017 was the ANBF Gambler’s Classic. ANBF is mostly NJ based, with some shows in other parts of the country. While not as well known or big as WNBF, it’s a great federation, same drug testing policies as WNBF (polygraph for all competitors and urinalysis for winners). I won the overall, and my pro card.

7 weeks later in early May was the INBF Northeast America, the same show I did the previous year as my first show. While there were not enough competitors there to reward a pro card, I had a solid showing and won the overall, which are the pics on the top of this thread.

Two years of prepping and competing takes quite a toll, mentally and physically. I’m not sure when I’ll compete again, but I love the bodybuilding lifestyle, and consider my off season to be a “loose prep.” I’m still on a nutrition plan, than while isn’t rigid like a prep, I know the macros and cals I’m getting every day, weigh my food, train hard, and am always striving to improve.

So, this log will detail all aspects of my training, nutrition, supplements, etc. I am very meticulous and detail oriented, and will be as thorough as possible, as anyone who’s read either of my prep logs can attest. Especially as a natural, I am after every advantage I can get.

Please feel free to comment and post freely, and ask any questions regarding training, nutrition, weight loss, etc. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and there’s always more than one way to go about things. But, I live the life style every day, coach both competitive and non-competitive clients who are very successful, and have learned everything I know through good 'ol fashioned personal experience and trial and error on myself.

More posts coming soon detailing nutrition, supplements, and daily training. Thanks for following along!

In case anyone is interested, here are the links to my previous prep logs:
2016 - Rob's Road to Hercules: Contest Prep
2017 - Rob's 2017 Contest Prep Thread


Rob's 2017 Contest Prep Thread
#2

Hell of a journey brother! Really inspiring dedication and work! Damn proud to call you a friend


#3

@joshbenjamin - thank you so much, same here man!

For anyone following along, @joshbenjamin is another one of Stu’s clients who just finished his first year competing as a physique athlete, also nabbed his pro card at the ANBF Gambler’s Classic winning the overall in his class, and placed top 3 at the INBF Northeast. Hell of a nice guy and great competitor. A fellow shorty lightweight like me!


#4

SUPPLEMENTS

Today was a delivery day, yay :slight_smile:

***A NOTE ON SUPPLEMENTS IN GENERAL - I believe in order to see if supplements work for you or not, training, nutrition, etc., whatever the current “plan” is, must be executed very consistently. How many folks do we know who have tried “fat burners” of some kind, but don’t change their diet, life style or anything, and then wonder why they “don’t work?” Once training, nutrition and such are locked down, then it’s time to put supplements into play to take things to the next level.

SIDENOTE: The ultimate supplementation will always be a smart, enjoyable, consistently well executed nutrition plan that supports your goals.

SCHEDULE
Wake - Carbolin 19 with my coffee. Helps keep testosterone elevated and burn a little fat without the stimulant effect of HOT-ROX. Right now I’m in a very slight caloric surplus in an effort to slowly gain quality mass without excess fat, so I take Carbolin 19 to help keep excess fat off while I grow.

After breakfast
Rez-V - Helps keep the testosterone up, estrogen down, and I notice I feel better physically and mentally with it. I’ve noticed the Rez-V, combined with Carbolin 19, helps keep me leaner and tighter more consistently.
Curcumin - For overall muscle soreness in addition to the health benefits.
Vitamins - B Complex, C 1000, D3 2000
Probiotic - For gut and overall health
Flameout - For joints and health

Pre workout
Micro-PA - For mass. I started noticing results very quickly with Micro-PA​ when I started it a few years ago, it’s been a staple ever since, and I believe has helped me develop solid thickness and strength for someone of my height and weight as a natural.

Indigo-3G - Has helped me utilize carbs infinitely better than I used to, this has also been a daily staple for me since I started taking it years ago. Especially comes in handy on a high carb day or a large meal I wouldn’t normally eat, like the sushi buffet after leg day.

Finibars - A delicious pre-workout meal that’s quick, portable and delicious with great macros. 40g quality functional carbs, 15g whey protein and 8g fats each, I’ll usually have two bars for a pre-workout meal, popped in the microwave first of course so it comes out like a brownie.
OR
I’ll have a pre-workout cake, a concoction of my own making, consisting of cream of rice or oats, nut butter, Metabolic Drive Protein, baked into a cake. More food pictures and recipes to come later.

Metabolic Drive Protein - Seriously the best tasting protein I’ve ever tried, and also top quality and great consistency. It’s thick because it’s a whey/casein blend, unlike some proteins that feel like you’re drinking water. Metabolic Drive is thick, so it’s ideal for adding to shakes, cottage cheese, or a glass of cold unsweetened almond milk (how I have it with my Finibars.) I have Metabolic Drive a few times a day, and always before bed.

Intra-Workout
BCAA’s mixed with added glutamine, citruline, betaine and beta-alanine, mixed in 64oz of water. I make sure to drink it all by the end of my weight session. Strength and performance has felt solid in the gym with this drink. Eventually I’ll add Plazma back into the mix, but right now I’m enjoying eating my calories through Finibars or pre-workout cakes.

Post-Workout
Protein cereal - this is a new off season addition that I’ve really enjoyed. As soon as I get home from the gym, I mix 4oz unsweetened almond milk with a scoop of whey isolate into a shaker cup, shake it up, and add serving of cereal (20g carbs) of my choice. Anything goes really, typically I’ll choose chocolate sprouted rice puffs, sprouted grain honey nut cheerios or cinnamon toast crunch. Then, I’ll start making dinner. I’m always pretty hungry by the time my session is done, this helps with that and also makes sure I’m getting protein into the muscles quickly with a little bit of simple carbs.

After Dinner
ZMA - 1 full dose
Flameout - For joints and health
Curcumin - 2nd dose of the day

Before Bed
Z-12 - Sleep is always a crap shoot for me during a prep. With Z-12 I notice once I fall asleep, it helps me sleep through the night and feel more rested in the morning. During a prep I take it every day, off season I take only when needed.


#5

CHEST - from Monday
Incline DB Presses - 90’s x12, 95’s x10, 95’s x10, 100’s x8, 100’sx8
Low to High Cables - 55x12, 60x12, 60x12
Pec Deck - 115x12, 125x10, 125x10
Hammerstrength Plate Loaded Flat Bench - 220x8, 220x8, 220x10 (110lbs each side)
High to Low Cable Power Flies (for lower chest) - 65x15, 70x12, 70x12

Strength has been increasing consistently over the past weeks. 5 weeks ago I started each workout with 5x5 to get strength up, and put my extra carbs good to use. This past week I went back to the 8-10 rep range for the first exercise and am able to do more weight for more reps than previously, which was the plan. Weights for all exercises have been increasing, lots of PRs lately so that tells me I’m on the right track with both the training and nutritional approach.

I’ve been slowly reversing my diet since the show 6 weeks ago, currently up to 2700-2800 cals a day with 300-350g carbs a day, and maintaining my weight with acceptable conditioning. I’ve never been able to eat this much for maintenance, I think I’ve found the limit I can get away with, without adding excess fat, so I’m going to ride these numbers for a while. Currently 155lbs, I’d like to keep it below 160lbs in the off season.


#6

I gotta get my weight up!!! Coming for the champ :slight_smile:


#7

6/14 DELTS
Seated DB Presses - 65’s x12, 70’s x10, 75’s x8, 75’s x8
Alternating DB Front Raises - 35’s x10, 37.5’s x10, 37.5’s x10
Bent Over Rear Lateral DB Raises - 20s x15, 20s x15, 20s x15
Rear Pec Deck - 110x10, 120x10, 120x10
Side Leaning DB Lateral Raise - 15x15, 15x15, 15x15
Seated DB Lateral Raise —> Standing Military Presses (2 sets) - 25’x10—>60x12

Got some new “Blue Line” wrist wraps at Bev’s Powerhouse this past weekend, very thick and supportive. Yesterday was the first time using them, felt great!


#8

Just got these in from the photo shoot the day after my last show. The show hosts for the INBF Northeast are great, they’re both WNBF Pros that were very successful competitors, they own a gym in the neighborhood where they hosted the show. The day after the show, they host a photo shoot for the winners, to use the shots for promos and the show poster for the next year, and we get copies of the photos for free. There are a lot, these are some of my favs.

You may notice some pics with a trumpet! This is because I write music for a living, specifically marching band music, and am a pro trumpet player. I write mostly for competitive high school bands, but also some colleges, as well as the half time show for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. I’ve had some articles published in various music magazines and websites on the topic of fitness and marching band, so I wanted to get some shots with the horn to use as my head shot for those articles, and for my business.






#9

FRIDAY - LEGS
Great leg session on Friday, strength and performance was solid and enjoyed great meal afterwards with the lady.

Squat - 255x10, 275x10, 295x10, 315x10. These are a couple videos of the last two sets.
295x10

315x10


Leg Press - 16 plates x 15, 18 plates x 15, 20 plates x15
Leg Extensions - 130x15, 130x15, 130x15
Lying Leg Curls - 120x10, 130x8, 130x8
Hamtractor - 110x12, 120x10, 120x10
RDLs holding dumbbells - 45’sx15, 45x15, 45x15

FOOD
I eat pretty much the same cals/macros every day, about 2700 cals and 300g carbs, on leg and back day I’ll have a little more carbs pre-workout, and a “cheat” post workout meal, which is really just a typical post workout meal in larger quantities and usually going out somewhere with my wife. Post workout Friday, we went to Whole Food and got a big 'ol burrito bowl with white rice, veggies, black beans, chicken, etc.


#10

SATURDAY ARMS
Shoulders and arms were top priority after my 2016 season ended. I started training arms twice a week right after my last show in 2016, and did that all the way through my 2017 competitive season, so about a year. I would hit shoulders and triceps together, back and biceps together, then have a separate arm day on Saturday. I’m now training arms directly once a week on Saturdays, as I really enjoy a direct arm day. But, arms still get hit indirectly throughout the week, triceps are always worked during chest, and biceps during back, so still plenty of stimulus. While I’m sure we can all agree we’re never satisfied with the size of our arms, I do feel I’ve made solid progress over the past year.

Barbell bicep curls - 80x10, 85x8, 85x8, 85x8
Plate Loaded Preacher Curl - 70x10, 75x8, 75x8
Narrow Grip EZ Bar Curls - 60x10, 60x10, 60x10
Hammer Curls (on the hammer curl bar) - 70x10, 70x8, 70x8

Narrow Grip Bench (Had a PR today, first time pressing over 200) - 175x10, 185x8, 195x6, 205x5
Rope Pull Downs - 55x12, 60x10, 60x10, 65x8
Single Arm Overhead DB Extensions - 30x10, 30x10, 30x10

Pre-workout meal was one of my oatmeal cakes, with Metabolic Drive Vanilla, and cereal on top, along with some 0 cal maple syrup.

Post workout lately I’ve been having a serving of protein cereal, then start making my post workout meal. This is my usual go to:

.

Went to my parent’s for dinner last night for Father’s Day, and fortunately for us my dad loves to cook and is quite the grill master. Chicken, ribs, stuffed salmon, baked sweet potatoes and more!


Weight is still hovering between 155-156. I’m trying to slowly put on quality size without adding excess fat, and found with my current training and nutrition plan I’m gaining roughly half a pound every couple weeks or so. Weight is very slowly but steadily creeping up, along with strength, and conditioning still looks good to me, so I’ll continue with this same plan for the foreseeable future.


#11

Very inspiring, man. Keep going!!!


#12

@raoh1990 thank you very much, glad to have you following along!


#13

MONDAY CHEST
Some solid PRs today! I’ve had numerous PRs in the past couple of weeks, strength has been going way up, slowly increasing carbs and gaining about half a pound a week.

Incline DB Presses - 90sx12, 95sx12, 100sx12 (rep PR), 105sx10 (weight and rep PR)
Incline Press Double Pin Loaded Machine (weight is each side) - 80x15, 85x12, 90x10
Standing Cable Flyes (pec deck was taken) - 70x12, 70x12, 70x12
Hammerstrength Plate Loaded Chest Press (weight is per side) 90x10, 90x8, 90x8
High to Low Cable Powerflyes (For lower chest, weight is per side) - 40x12, 40x12, 40x12

FOOD
I won’t always talk about what I eat as the meals are typically the same, or similar, each day, but here’s a typical day of eating.

Breakfast - 1 cup egg whites w/ veggies and ketchup, 4 Van’s Waffles with 0 cal maple syrup
Meal 2 - Cottage cheese, cut up apple, chocolate-peanut butter granola and ezekiel cereal mixed together
Meal 3 - Chicken Sausage and eggs
Meal 4 (pre workout) - 2 Finibars
Immediately Post Workout - Protein Cereal - 1.5 servings cereal mixed with unsweetened almond milk and whey isolate
Meal 5 (about an hour after cereal) - Grass fed roast beef sandwich on organic everything bagel
Meal 6 (pre bed) - Cottage cheese, Metabolic Drive Chocolate protein, crushed almonds on top

Today is BACK DAY, one of my favorite days. Looking forward to killing it in the gym with the lady as always, then we’re heading out to dinner to celebrate her last day of school (she’s a teacher.)

For those who may not have read my previous prep log, my wife is also a competitor. We’ve been training together for years now, and last year, after seeing me compete for a season, she got the bug and competed in her first show in 2017, which was also my first show of the season. I coached her, and we prepped together through the entire thing, which was such an amazing experience, digging in together and pushing each other, and she won her debut and novice class in physique. While we’re both enjoying the off season now, it’s really incredible to be married to someone who prioritizes health, fitness, food and training the same way. She’s a total badass in the gym, we train together every day. I’m a lucky guy!


#14

TUESDAY BACK - More PRs!

Lat Pull Down - Narrow Neutral Grip - 165x12, 180x8, 180x8, 180x8 (rep and weight PR)
Straight Arm Pull Downs - Double Handle Attachment 50x10, 50x10, 50x10
T-Bar Row - 135x12, 145x10, 155x8, 155x8 (155 weight PR)
Hammerstrength Seated Double Arm Pulldown (weight is per side) 90x12, 90x10, 90x10
Hammerstrength Seated Iso Low Row (weight is per side) - 90x12, 90x12, 90x12

The wife and I went to Cheesecake Factory post workout, we haven’t been there in a while but they have some great choices that are tasty without going overboard calorically. A good way to enjoy, keep the gains coming, and stay in my 15-20% surplus without doing any unnecessary damage. We shared some mexican style chicken lettuce wraps, and for dinner I got white bean turkey chili with brown rice. Halo Top at home for dessert!


#15

6/22 DELTS
Seated DB Presses - 70sx10, 70sx10, 70sx10, 75sx8, 75sx8
Alternating DB Front Raises - 35’s x12, 35’s x12, 35’s x12, 35’s x12
Face Pulls (rope-cable attachment) - 50x15, 55x15, 60x15
Rear Pec Deck - 115x12, 120x10, 120x10
Seated Lateral Pin Loaded Machine (with the round pads that rest against the arm) - 50x10, 5x10, 50x10. For this one when I use it as a finisher, one rep is a full rep, plus a partial. Increases TUT and gets a crazy pump to end the session.

Been enjoying this snack lately if I want something to munch on while working, great macros and literally just roasted beans. Good source of carbs! This company also make great low cal protein ice creams, similar to Halo Top.


#16

You’re a legend, man.


#17

Thanks for the snack recommendation. Those look great, I’m gonna order some.

Have you heard of “The Good Bean” Roasted Chickpeas? Similar.


#18

@Der_Steppenwolfe - Thanks very much for that man, what an awesome thing to say! Glad to have you on board brother!

I have! Just my preference, I like the broad beans better. The “Good Bean” chickpeas taste a little too chick-pea like to me, and I feel like the broad beans more take on the flavor they’re supposed to. BUT, I’ve certainly been known to chip away at both bags while writing all day :slight_smile:


#19

Sorry for the long hiatus all, still training hard and eating well, just been in full on “holy crap” mode trying to finish my workload for the season. Marching bands are starting their summer rehearsals and band camps, and as always, the last few clients get their info to me late. Trying to finish my projects so I can have a semblance of a summer with my family. At the very least, we do have some solid vacations booked, including PA, VT, and our very favorite, CO Springs!

Quick side note, has anyone ever read Tim Ferris’ “The Four Hour Work Week?” If not, I HIGHLY recommend it. I read it a few years ago, and recently picked it up again, and now that I’ve successfully completed the transition from quitting the public work force and working from home, this book is really hitting home with me. As soon as my writing is done for this season, I’m going to start on some extra side projects, hopefully eventually allowing me to put the “work” on the side and make the majority of my income passively.


#20

This is top on the list of books to read actually. I have started some of his podcasts and a lot of his thoughts really hit home with me as well. I’m just around the corner from being able to make some life changing moves (career, kids, forever home, etc) and I think his writing could really help put a lot of my decisions into perspective. Glad to hear that you would recommend it, I will be picking up a copy asap!