It seems a lot of people want the ripped abs and the power to go with it. In this article I will show you how I compete as a powerlifter and look like a bodybuilder. I have been lifting now for 14 years. It started like some, with the old school style of "bulking" to put on size and strength. I added some strength, but a lot of fat to go with it. Over the years I played with different diets and training programs trying to lose fat, increase muscle, and get stronger. Well I have come up with a simple plan that worked for me and helped me break the Florida state record in the deadlift.
I eat pretty much like a bodybuilder and train with methods used by the famous "Westside Barbell". I have used their methods along with old school training and even some bodybuilding exercises added in. The diet I have put together is tailored to meet my body type and training needs. I don't believe there is a "one size fit's all " diet out there that is for everyone. You must learn to “dial in” with your body and adapt the diet to fit it’s needs.
Here is the diet I use 8 weeks out from a powerlifting contest to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss:
The basic foods I stick with for the meals are tuna, egg whites, turkey, chicken, protein shakes, and whiting (fish low in fat). I keep fruits in the morning and vegetables at night. I avoid high GI carbs and late night carbs. At 8 weeks out I cut out all junk foods and make diet number one. Supplementing flax seed oil and other sources of polyunsaturated fats, helps to make sure I receive the necessary amounts of good fats in my diet.
UNIQUE METHODS FOR MASS
There are many ways to attack adding some serious size and keeping your strength levels up. Some simple, some unique. Never become closed minded to new training ideas and methods. Now more than ever, you see power lifters having physiques that are leaner and more muscular. Why? A lot of you may have already heard of things like bands and boards in training. They over load the top of an exercise and also produce a large amount of eccentric resistance. Bands are a very inexpensive items to buy. A pair of mini's, which is a good starting point, costs around $20. You can buy a couple 2x4 boards, cut them in 18" pieces and you’re ready. I don't recommend training with bands for longer than 3-4 weeks at a time. It's best to cycle them into your training.
I'm going to go over just a few examples you can try. Let’s pick triceps as an example. Do 4 and 5 board presses. Loop the band under a power rack and up over the bar. Lay down and have a helper place the boards on your chest. Un-rack and lower the weight. You will feel the force pulling down to the boards. Use and index on smooth close grip. Remember to keep your elbows in and pause on the boards, then press back up. You can use what reps you like but I suggest you aim for around 6-8 reps. This exercise really helps build the triceps without over stressing the elbows. It also is a great way to isolate the triceps in a bench specific motion. You can also try reverse grip to further take the shoulders out of the mix.
Next exercise is floor press. Lay in a rack with pins set so you can take the weight out yourself. You can do these with or without a band, but if you use one, make a figure"8", then pass it behind your back (at chest level) while you lay back on it, your hands passed into either ends of the band. Make sure you get a good resistance when your arms are extended. When you’re set, un-rack the bar. As you lower the weight, your elbows will touch the ground. Pause for a second then blast the weight back up. Again use a close grip here. These work great for taking the lat's out of the exercise and are valuable to me when in prep for a bench contest. Again, I suggest aiming for 6-8 reps.
This type of training is a must try for a natural lifter looking to get stronger and add size. Remember, you need to get stronger to get bigger. They go hand in hand. (The reverse is not always true!) It doesn't surprise me when you see a physique that stands out and you find out they're a former powerlifter. I have trained this way while dieting for a photo shoot or to go a lighter weight class. I have never believed in high reps to get cut. It’s the diet that gets you ripped folks. Our bodies also get bored very quick from repetitive training, so with these exercises above you can keep it fun and unique. These examples are just a way of stimulating the muscle in a different way. Sometimes that's all you need for new growth or to get you over a plateau.
Rich Daniels , CPT