There are a few guys who can diet down and get shredded and never lose much muscle in natural shows; however, it is very tough to hang onto muscle and get your abs to come in really sharp when you are natural. Other guys seem almost contest ready all year and then they get ready for a show and they lose a lot of muscle and look flat onstage. Now, of course everyone’s metabolic rate is different, and at this age, skin quality can be an issue, and knowing your body is a key piece to the puzzle—but there are some different ways to approach this with great results.
The last time that I wanted to get into shape, I got into contest shape with a 12 week diet that I had used during my bodybuilding years. It was diet that took me from 230 pounds, down to 210 pounds and I looked pretty good, but that year I decided to stay in shape for the entire year and for the entire following year, for I was doing a lot of photo-shoots and getting a lot of roles in acting, living in New York City. I was even down as low as 205 (at 6’) that first year. I dieted on grilled chicken, or grilled salmon, broccoli, beans, hummus, two protein drinks with half-water—half-apple juice, two-scoops of pure whey (no flavor) and I would have a piece of fruit here and there—that was it—nothing else.
As I trained on this diet, I first felt tired and weak, for about the first three months after I had done the regular 12 week diet bit that many bodybuilders are used to. I wasn’t that motivated to keep training while eating like this, but this was an experiment that I had wanted to do my entire life, so at 46 years of age, I did so.
Normally, after I get ready for a contest, or even a photo shoot, once it is over, I go right back to where I feel most comfortable. I was used to filling out my clothes more and lifting heavier weight when not contest ready; but, I was seemingly on a mission this time, so I dieted on—for the next 18 months the only things that changed were that I ate more often (still the same food) and I was slowly getting bigger, harder and more separated.
How is this possible? I wrote down everything because I had done something that I had never been able to do in the past—gain weight when getting ready for a contest (or in this case—commercial work).
For me, something started working about month six. Something that I would have never been able to experience if I had listened to my ice cream craving ab-crunches at the end of every other workout. Right around that timeframe, I increased my consumption of the same foods again—added another protein shake also, and the results kept going against everything that I had ever read or spoke of with other bodybuilders—I kept getting bigger and stronger while on a extremely limited diet. By the time a year passed, I had gained ten pounds of muscle—but it looked like I had gained 25 pounds because my skin was so tight and my arms had grown almost a full inch and a half. My power level was way up there with lifts that I hadn’t done since I was in my early thirties.
By the fall of my 47th year—35th year lifting weights (and some 22 months into the diet), I weighed just shy of 220 pounds and I was more ripped than I had ever been in my life. That is a net muscle gain of almost fifteen pounds during these two years of dieting and training. I knew that I looked good when people started to ask me if I were “taking anything?” All I was taking was protein powder with diluted apple-juice, plain grilled chicken, broccoli, hummus, and some other greens on occasion. I also would eat a handful of pecans or macadamia nuts every few days—but nothing notable really. I had tossed the fruit and tossed the beans, but I was eating five plates of this “muscle-food.” Plain-grilled chicken, a plate of broccoli with hummus and a protein shake (made as described) only.
What I had learned was something that few people will get a chance to experience and that is why I wrote this out so that if anyone reading this wants to give it a try, it really takes (took me) two years to reach this pinnacle of natural bodybuilding. What was so amazing about the whole experience was that once I got over that initial six months, I felt fantastic, powerful, huge and always ripped and ready for any shoot or audition.
This is something that I think everyone should try once to see if this works for them because when it works, it is profoundly noticeable. People who didn’t see me during those two years could not believe the size that I had put on, and the separated, ripped, vascular, thin-skin work of art that had occurred.
About the author :
Paul T. Burke has a Master’s Degree in Integrated Studies from Cambridge College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is presently in a Doctorate Degree Program at A. T. Still University, and will be a Doctor of Health Education upon completion. Paul has been a champion bodybuilder and arm-wrestler; and, he is considered a leader in the field of Over-40 and Over-50 fitness training. You can purchase his book, “Burke’s Law,” A New Fitness Paradigm for the Mature Male, from his website, or the Home Gym Warehouse, call (800) 447-0008, or visit www.home-gym.com. ** His second book: “The Neo-Dieter’s Handbook,” A Guide to Finding Your Nutritional Root; Past, Present and Future, will be out in March, 2009 and his third book, “Burke’s Law II,” Reaching Your Muscular Potential through Musculoskeletal Designation (Book Surge/Amazon Publishing, 2013) will be available soon.
Contact Paul Burke: website www.paulburkefitness.com
Call Paul Directly: Toll free 855 308 2200