Medium Grip Pull Downs: 160×12,200×12,240×12,260×10,260×10,240×12
superset w/ cable kickbacks (glutes):120×10,150×10,160×10
Standing CR on Bear:8plx12,10plx10,10,10,10
Wide Grip Pronated Seated Cable Row:240×10,250×10,10,10
Walking Lunges: 135 x 3 sets
HS Kneeling Leg Curl:105×8,8,8,8
Calf Raises on Precor Leg press: 415×10,10,10,10
Glute/Ham Raises 3 sets x 10
10 Hill Sprints
Smith Machine Incline: 135×20,185×15,225×15,275×5,245×8, drop:225×12>185×8>135×16
Incline Cable Flys: 100×12,120×6,120×5,100×12
Cable Preacher Curls: 160×9,7,6,6
Overhead Rope Ext on seated row: 80×14,90×6,80×19,70×12
Dips: 100×8,8 bdywt x 31,25
Alt D-Bell Curls: 65′s x 7,6,6
HS Incline: 6pl x 6,5,4 (6 second negatives)
20 minute posing session
The workout split Vaughan and I have been following has been:
Sunday: Shoulders & Arms
Monday: Quads, Hamstring, Calves
Tuesday: Back, Traps, Rear Delts
Thursday: Chest, Triceps, Biceps
Friday: Legs (ham/glute focus) & Back (focus on lower back/ham/glute tie in) + Calves
Vaughan (my workout partner) and I will be making a slight adjustment to the split:
Monday: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves
Tuesday: Back, Traps, Rear Delts
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps, Biceps
Friday: Legs & Back (focus on lower back/ham/glute tie in)
Saturday: Shoulders, Triceps and Biceps
Cardio is performed in the am and abs/core are either performed in conjunction with cardio or included in the upper body workouts.
Wide Grip Pull Downs (neutral grip): 160×12,220×12,260×12,280×10,280×10,260×12
Isolated T-Bar Row (w/ chest pad): 3plx9,8,7,7
HS One Arm Low Row:4plx12,12,12
Precor Lat Pull Down: 220×8,7,6, 175×10
D-Bell Shrugs: 170′sx16,12,12
Stiff Arm Lat Pull: 100×10,10,10
Rope Pull Downs: 4 sets
21 minute posing session
HS Calf Raises: 8plx12,10plx12,10,10,10,10,10,10,10
Prone Leg Curl:175×10,10,10,10
Leg Ext: 2 sets 6 second pauses + 6 second eccentric: 250×7,6 2 regular sets: 250×12,10
Barbell Pause Squats:315×6,6,6
Seated Calf Raises: 2plx15,4plx10,10,10
Smith Machine Split Squats:2plx10,4plx10,4plx10
Standing Calf Raises on Bear: 10plx10,10,10,10
Hyperextension w/ Barbell across back:10,10,10
10 Hill Sprints (behind gym)
One Arm Lateral Cable Raises: 40×20,50×15,60×12,70×10, drop:60×10>50×10>40×10>30×10
cable crunches on bosu: 110×16,120×16,120×16
EZ Bar Curls: 110×14,12,12
Overhead D-Bell Press: 60′sx10,80′sx12,100′sx5,100′sx5,80′sx9
Tricep Rope Pushdown: 80×12,90×8,80×10 drop:75×12>50×16>30×16
Upright Rows on Smith Machine: 115×16,135×12,135×10,135×10
Precor Preacher Curl Machine: 160×6,145×7,145×7,130×8
Alt Front Cable Raises: 45×15,55×10,55×10
Hanging Leg Raises: 12,12,12
23 minute posing session
My article entitled “Humility” in my Animal Instincts column is featured on page 34 of the November 2011 issue Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness. This magazine can be found in Barnes & Nobles.
One of the most important lessons learned from my career as a natural bodybuilder and one of the most important attributes of one who aspires to be a successful natural bodybuilder is humility. Early on when one becomes involved with this lifestyle it’s easy to become impressed with the strength gains, physique improvements or even success at the amateur level that one might experience. Unfortunately, this mindset often allows for complacency, which impedes progress.
Sometimes it takes a rude awakening, like stepping up to the pro level, in order to realize an important life lesson…you’re not that good!…regardless of how good you are, there’s always someone better! Think you are strong? There are plenty who are far stronger! Think you are lean? There is someone who makes your contest condition look like off-season!
Sometimes the best motivation a competitor can ever experience is getting his/her ass handed to them…I was certainly nothing special as an amateur, but this is exactly what happened to me when I first competed as a pro. I realized that I was going to have to work a lot harder and sacrifice a lot more if I ever wanted to succeed as a pro. Simply put, I need to take it to another level.
When you’re one of the only bodybuilders in your gym, it’s easy to attract attention and compliments that allow you to be impressed with yourself. Remind yourself who is out there. Do yourself a favor if you’re interested in improving…compare yourself to the best physiques out there, not the average individual in your hometown. When gym members compliment you, remember that they are not measuring you against the top physiques in the world. They’re comparing you to the average person in the gym they see. Looking good in clothing amongst the other people in your gym is far different than looking good while standing next to other top physique competitors who dedicate their lives to being their best onstage.
Instead of giving yourself credit for your accomplishments, spend more time focusing on your weak points and aspects of your physique or training methods that need improvement. Remind yourself that there is always someone out there training harder. Focus on what you have not accomplished yet…don’t admire what you did yesterday. Yesterday is gone…what are you doing today? What goals are you chasing after tomorrow?
Over the last several years that I have competed I have had my doses of humility. I trained with Brian Whitacre for 2 years. I watched Brian win almost every show as an amateur and then go on to win an overall in his first pro show. Brian and I trained and competed together numerous times, while becoming close friends. Coming back home from shows, Brian was always the one who won and I was the one who didn’t do as well. Brian went on to win 3 lightweight titles at the WNBF Pro World Championships, while I came home with several disappointing subpar placings. It was always a nice reminder to me, “You aren’t that good and you need to work a lot harder if you ever want to become better!”
After Brian’s departure Vaughan Twigger eventually become my new workout partner. As an amateur, I quickly realized the insane potential of this British phenom.Vaughanearned a pro card in 2006, tearing apart his competition. Since that time I have watched him grow like a weed. It seems like he gets bigger, stronger and leaner every week. I look back and realize that I was no where close to his level of development when I was that age! Every day I train with him, I am reminded by his freakish physique that I am still not that good! There are plenty more out there like him: Huge quads, cannon ball delts, triceps that look to be possessed by aliens, no waist, wide thick back, etc, etc. I look at my physique in comparison and am left to think, “You better work even harder!!! You better find a way to take it to another level or the judges aren’t even going to notice you on the stage!”
While the constant reminders of humility can be frustrating, you must learn to use them as motivation. When reminded that “You aren’t that good!” there are two choices: quit or work harder! I’m not a quitter! I also hate mediocrity, so I will do anything to be more than just an average bodybuilder who simply gets overlooked in the line-up. While I constantly remind myself of how good the competition is, I also continue to do two important things:
1) work as hard as I possibly can every day
2) maintain faith in my ability to continue improving my physique
Fortunately, there are plenty of stories of those who did not attain success right away, but rather had to persevere. As a former hockey player and lifetime hockey fan, the recent Stanley Cup Playoffs offer a great example of a humble hero, who always worked hard, never gave up and realized a life’s dream. Tim Thomas, goaltender for the Boston Bruins, not only led his team to a Stanley Cup, but also captured the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. While Thomas has reached the pinnacle of his career at age 37, having won the Stanley Cup, Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy, his road to NHL stardom was a long and arduous process. Thomas spent years shifting around the minor leagues, before ever making it in the NHL. He didn’t make it to the NHL until he was 28 years old and did not become the starting goaltender for the Bruins until he was 31.
While we all need reminders that we are not that good, we also need inspiration that enables us to believe we can become better, so that we never stop working towards our goals. Humility and perseverance work hand in hand in the success of many late-blooming stars. Athletes like Thomas remind us of that. Stay grounded, work hard and never lose sight of your goals!
Today’s Legs & Back workout concluded week 21 of contest prep…the week after our first show. Great workouts all week!
HS Hi Row: 4plx10,6plx10,8plx10,8plx8,8plx8,8plx8
Neutral Grip Pull-ups:12,10,10,8
Standing Calf Raises on Bear: 10plx12,12plx10,14plx6,14plx5,12plx8,10plx10
HS Kneeling Leg Curl:105×8,8,8,8
Calf Raises on Precor Leg Press Machine: stack (415)x10,10,10,10
Underhand Seated Cable Row:250×10,8,10,8
Unilateral Leg Press: 2plx12,4plx12,4plx12
10 Hill Sprints
Incline D-Bell Press:50′sx15, 75′sx12,100′sx12,9,8,6
Cable Curls:stackx12,stack + 25 x 8, stack + 35 x 5, stack x10
Cable Flys: 120×10,120×8,120×7,100×16
Alt D-Bell Curls:65′sx7,65′sx6 drop:65′sx6>45′sx4>30′sx6
Reverse Pushdown: 60×12,10,10
Pec Deck: 250×8,7
23 minute posing session
1. Name, Age, Occupation, marital status
Ellen Cianelli (50), I currently work as a counselor at Virginia Tech in the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center. My husband, Dave is the Director of Cross Country and Track and Field at Virginia Tech. We have two children, Mariah (16), who is a junior at Blacksburg High School, and Sebastian (12), who is in the seventh grade at Blacksburg Middle School.
2. How did you get involved with fitness?
I have always been a physically active person. I was involved in team sports in junior high and high school. In my 20’s I lived in Santa Barbara, Ca. and my only mode of transportation was a bicycle. Over the years, I have enjoyed running in 5k’s and 10k’s; I ran my first half marathon (13.1 miles) earlier this year. I also love to hike. I noticed early on in life, that I was a much more stable and happy person when I worked out several times a week.
3. Why is health & fitness important to you now?
I have lost two sisters. My sister, Louise (age 48) died suddenly just over 10 years ago. Her death was due to complications caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a compromised immune system, and heart failure. Louise was in the prime of her life, she was intelligent, beautiful, fun, lively, and she was a good friend. She was ripped out of my life, and when she died, it was a huge shock. Running and pushing myself physically helped me cope with Louise’s death.
My sister, Theresa (age 57) died a few short years after Louise. She passed away after a nine year courageous battle with cancer. When talking about a person who dies of a cancer related illness, in general, people usually say he or she fought a “courageous battle with cancer”. The phrase is accurate! To watch a strong, capable, vibrant person physically shrink before my eyes, and to have no power to help her was haunting and terribly disturbing. As death can, it made me think hard about my own life and my own mortality. Burying two sisters packed a double punch that was difficult to handle. As I have done most of my life, I turned to exercise and natural endorphins caused by intense workouts as a healthy coping strategy.
I have become dedicated to both physical and mental health. I am determined to do everything in my power to be fit and to stay strong physically, which in turn, keeps me strong emotionally. I have made the conscious choice to live a long, active, and healthy life. I earned an undergrad degree in Behavioral Science and a master’s degree in Counselor Education so I can help others understand that life is worth living in a sober and healthy manner.
4. Provide some background on your workout history, athletic or competitive endeavors, etc.
I was a competitive athlete in high school. I played volleyball, ran cross country, track, and played basketball. I have played softball on and off over the years, and as I mentioned, I like to run occasional 5k’s and 10k’s. I recently completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando, Florida. (Yes, racing in Disney World was indeed a magical experience and I highly recommend this venue!)
5. What does your current workout regiment look like?
In the past, my workouts had been mainly cardio focused; I was in a rut doing the same things over and over. I ran 3 to 4 times per week, and averaged about 3 to 4 miles per run. I was intimidated by the machines and free weights at the gym, mainly because I did not know how to use them properly. My VT counseling schedule and our family’s schedule never seemed to match up to classes offered at the gym, so four years ago I decided to hire a personal trainer.
Enter Kurt Weidner! To say Kurt has changed my life might be laying it on a little thick; however, it’s true, he has! Over the course of a few years, (yes years, I am a slow learner), Kurt helped me understand that what I ate made a difference, that what I did in the gym needed to be planned out a little better, and that what I did on my rest days needed to be factored into my fitness plan. Kurt has finally gotten the message through my thick and stubborn head that food is fuel, not a source of comfort, or an outlet for frustration! He pushes me up to, and beyond my comfort zone physically, and sometimes mentally.
I currently work with Kurt two days per week on strength training and conditioning. We alternate upper and lower body workouts. We concentrate on strengthening my core and making improvements to my “problem areas”. On cardio days I run indoors or outdoors, hit the elliptical machine, ride my bike with the kids or go on hikes.
6. What do you enjoy most about training?
Everything – I actually like being nervous before a workout! I enjoy sweating and pushing myself to the point that I didn’t think I could push myself to. I love escaping from the problems and worries of the people who I counsel for alcohol and drug use. In my line of work it is very easy to “take on” the stress of my clients and to feel the heaviness of their burdens and struggles with addiction.
Counseling others can cause anxiety and worry that is very difficult to get rid of. The gym is my outlet, it’s my refuge, the place I can burn off steam, anger, resentment, frustration, confusion, and sadness. I solve problems there and come up with ideas for my counseling sessions there. I leave most of my stress there, at the gym, in a big pool of toxic sweat. A good workout is the cheapest and most natural high a person can find!
7. What type of training do you enjoy the most (particular bodypart, type of workout, running, sprinting, swimming, etc.)
I like the variety of logging miles running on the Huckleberry Trail, and I enjoy running hills. I look forward to sprinting up and down the stairs at the gym, and doing step-ups with dumbbells. I actually like lunges and core work too. Basically, I do what Kurt says when it comes to lifting and strength training, he’s the expert; I do what he tells me to do.
8. What has enabled your success as a competitor in your chosen activity?
Consistently working out, sticking with it, and just battling through all of my physical “limitations”. I don’t give up easily. I have fun during most workouts, especially when I am preparing for an upcoming fitness challenge or race. I stay focused on the positive, even when my performance is less than desirable. I do not take myself too seriously. I am not an Olympic athlete, nor am I paid for my athletic prowess (that’s a joke), so, I get all serious thoughts out of my head during competition. I simply let my body take over and it gets the job done. Afterwards, I am sure to thank my muscles for getting me through another race without too many major complications!
9. How has competing and/or training positively impacted your lifestyle?
It balances out my moods, chases away the demons and keeps me humble.
10. Give a detailed description of a typical day in your life, including when you get up, go to bed, work, perform every day activities, workout, etc.
Monday through Friday I get up by 6am to let our dog, Dallas out, and to see Mariah and Seb off to school. Every night, I set my phone alarm for 12am and 3am to do a couple middle of the night blood sugar checks for Seb. He has Type I Diabetes and he is on an insulin pump 24/7 and it’s important to know his blood sugar is in target range while he is sleeping. I try to get in bed by 10:30pm since I typically don’t get long stretches of sleep.
I work out with Kurt on Mondays and Fridays, it’s optimal to both start and end my week with a dose of Kurt (those of you who know him understand this comment). For those of you who don’t know Kurt, suffice it to say, you learn very quickly to hydrate, eat proper foods for fuel, and to be ready to work hard for one hour. I have scheduled my VT work hours on Mondays and Fridays around my workouts at the gym because I do a much better job as a counselor when my own baggage is left on the gym floor!
I work 20 to 25 hours a week at VT. I go over to campus for counseling sessions and various meetings three days a week and I teach an alcohol education course at VT (Making Positive Choices) one night a week. I am constantly juggling my workouts around work, Dave’s travel schedule, and the kids’ school and sports practice schedules. I have to get very creative when I can fit in my work outs but I do it, and everyone else can too.
Dave is responsible for three sports at VT; Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track, his areas includes both the men’s and women’s programs, so needless to say, he is a very busy man. We have full lives but my workouts are a priority. Everything in our household runs much more smoothly when we all get our workouts in.
11. What have been your greatest sources of motivation and inspiration? What individual(s) has/have had the greatest impact on you throughout the course of your life and why?
The greatest sources of motivation for me are Dave, Mariah and Sebastian. I see them working every single day to make healthy decisions to eat right and to stay active. Dave works incredibly hard at VT. He is in a league of his own and sets a very high standard for excellence, dedication and performance. His resume is impressive and he motivates me to be a better person. Mariah is very independent and she is a strong, healthy, young woman. She is determined, persistent and has a great work ethic. She motivates me to keep going, to never give up, nor give in to doing things the “easy way”.
Seb had to learn at a very young age (7 years old) what the importance of a healthy diet meant. He is insulin dependent, he has to eat “right” to survive. Seb has to prick his finger sometimes 6 to 7 times a day to test his blood sugar. He tolerates me coming at him with syringes to give him insulin shots when the friggin’ insulin pump malfunctions. He changes out his insulin pump site every 2 days (which is not fun and can be painful). He is an amazing athlete and he has hardly ever missed baseball practice or games in the five years he has had Type I Diabetes. It is a daily commitment to keep his blood sugar “in target” so he can perform academically and athletically year round. Seb motivates me to shop for healthy food, to keep mostly healthy food in the house and to be mindful of eating a correct balance of proteins, carbs and healthy fats.
My VT students are another source of motivation. I see intelligent, caring, capable, young students hour after hour struggling through unhealthy choices and poor decisions about what they are putting in their bodies. Each one of the college students have unlimited (and often) untapped potential. They want to feel better physically and emotionally but are stuck in an unhealthy space (hopefully temporarily). I have to stay fit and strong so I can work with them to help them find their intrinsic motivation to turn away from alcohol and drugs as a crutch to cope with their issues.
As far as inspiration goes, Dave, my parents, and my sisters and brothers, as well as extended family members are at the top of this list. My mom and dad are both 86 years old. They are living independently and lead very full and active lives. My family members are all athletic and continue to run cross country, half marathons, marathons, hike, bike, play and coach soccer on many levels! Kurt, my friends, and all the folks at the gym who encourage me to keep at it day after day also inspire me.
12. What is the best advice you could give to anyone regarding health & fitness and how to properly adopt a lifestyle that incorporates health & fitness?
Get started! Be honest right now with where you are physically and mentally. Just know that you have to start somewhere and get going. Remember that both your body and your mind are gifts that need to be respected and exercised. Trust the process of learning new ways of doing things in the gym or with your exercise routine. Be patient with your progress, remain optimistic in your efforts and most importantly, spend time with people who will support you in your efforts, not those who try to sabotage your healthy lifestyle or choices!
13. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement (fitness & competition related or otherwise)
Running the Disney Princess Half Marathon and completing my master’s degree are two fairly recent accomplishments, both required dedication and hard work. I would not call either one a “great achievement” however.
14. Looking ahead, what are some of your goals (either personal or fitness related) over the next 1,3,6,12 months?
Short term goals include continuing to work on reducing my body fat so I can begin training again for another half marathon. The Disney Half Marathon just happens to fall on my 51st birthday, which is January 7, 2012. Also the Disney Princess Half Marathon is in February 2012, I’d like to do one or the other.
Long term goals include staying injury free so I can begin logging miles to get prepared for longer runs. I’d like to gain more knowledge about weight training so I can begin to plan out my own strength workouts. Ongoing goals are to strengthen my core and it would be nice to be able to do pull-ups without looking like some kind of alien!
Close Grip Pull Downs: 160×12,220×12,250×8,250×8,220×12
Nautilus T-Bar Rows: 3plx12,4plx10,4plx9,4plx8,3plx16
Wide Grip Pronated Pull-ups:12,8,7,7
HS Seated Shrugs:6plx20,8plx12,12,12
HS DY Row:6plx12,12,12,12
Precor Rear Delt: 175×11,10,10,10
Precor Lat Pull Down: 220×7,220×6,220×6,175×10
Stiff Arm Lat Pull: 100×10,8,8
Seated Lateral D-Bell Raises:30′sx15,15,15
Cable Upright Rows:160×12,12,12
Front Squats on York:2plx10,4plx10,6plx10,8plx10,10plx10,12plx6,10plx10
Standing Calf Raises on Bear:6plx12,8plx12,10plx12,12plx8,12plx8,12plx8,12plx8
Prone Leg Curl: 175×10,10,10,10
HS Horizontal Calf Raises: 10plx10,10,10,10
Hack Squats: 4plx10,6plx10,8plx10,10,10
Barbell Pause Squats:135×5,225×5,315×6,6,6
Seated Calf Raises:3plx15,4plx10,10,10
Hyperextension w/ barbell across back: 10,10,10
Leg Ext: 250×12,12,12
10 hill sprints
What a weekend!!! Last Thursday Vaughan Twigger and I traveled up north for our competition in the WNBF Pro Universe on Saturday, Sept 17th. I picked Vaughan up at 5am and we arrived at our hotel in New Jersey a little before 12:30pm. We did a little bit of cardio and stretching to loosen up and took the rest of the day easy. Friday morning we took the train into NYC for our polygraph tests and check in, after which we walked around the city a bit, while enjoying the beautiful fall day. The second half of the day was spent relaxing in preparation for Saturday’s event. Prejudging started at 9am Saturday morning. There were 18 pro men divided evenly into 2 classes. Vaughan was the cutoff for the lightweight (heaviest guy in the class) weighing in at 180.8 lbs.
It was looking to be a strong competition and after 20 weeks of contest preparation, preceded by almost 2 yrs of training since our last shows, we were both very excited to hit the stage. Vaughan would be facing 2007 Overall World Champion, Jim Cordova in his weight class. During the prejudging it was obvious the judges were performing a close comparison of the two as they held the middle of the stage shot after shot. Head judge Nancy Andrews put them through a workout, hitting poses multiple times in all 3 rounds. This was the first time Vaughan and I had competed under the new judging structure with 3 separate rounds of scoring (symmetry, mass, muscularity & conditionig), but each of us came away a fan of the new system. It places equal emphasis on each aspect of what contributes to a complete physique and forces the judges to take a strong look at the athletes front to back, top to bottom, taking into account their size, muscularity, symmetry and conditioning. We both felt very well prepared as we put ourselves through rigorous posing sessions 2-3 times a week every week during our prep.
Following prejudging we both got a lot of very positive feedback from people in the audience, so we felt pretty confident going into the night show. At the end of the night, both Vaughan and I came away with class victories and knew we would then face each other for the overall posedown.
This was as good as it could get! Vaughan and I have trained together for years and have been great friends. Spending the weekend together and competing together was beyond fun, but the entire experience was topped off when at the end of the night it was the two of us out of 18 pro men left to duke it our for the overall. At this point, it was a win/win situation, because one of us was bringing the WNBF Pro Universe Title back to Blacksburg with us. It was just fun! Posing next to one of my closest friends and workout partner on a pro overall stage. This was a dream come true situation! Nancy put us through each pose multiple times and had us change positions so each judge could have a close look. Knowing Vaughan had just defeated a former World Champion, I knew I had my hands full.
In the end I was announced the Overall winner by a very close 4-3 margin. The first thing I did was turn to Vaughan, shook his hand, gave him a hug and told him he was fundamental part of what was a victory for both of us.
I can’t express how proud I am of Vaughan. His progress over the years has been incredible! At only 28 yrs old, he is a force to be reckoned with on the natural pro circuit and has absolutely amazing potential. I feel fortunate to have him as both a friend and a training partner. It was an honor to share the stage with him Saturday night. You are a true champion Vaughan!
This weekend was the first of 3 shows for us both and we are beyond excited for the next 3 weeks leading up to the WNBF Mid-America in Evansville, Indiana. We could not have asked for a better opening to our 2011 season. After a long day of travel today (Sunday) we’ll enjoy the moment and allow both our bodies and minds to catch up. Tomorrow it’s time to kick it back in high gears and go balls to the wall again!!!
I would like to thank everyone for the support and encouragement you gave, especially in the days leading up to our show. Vaughan and I both received many emails and texts from family, friends, co-workers and clients, showing their support and appreciation of what we do. We are both very thankful!
All the pics can be viewed on my Facebook fanpage:
Up until now I really haven’t told too many people about my contest plans for this year…after the first 20 weeks of contest preparation, tomorrow Vaughan Twigger and I will kick off our 2011 season. We are competing in the WNBF Pro Universe (NYC). There are 18 pro men, so it should be a great show. We decided to take a few pics in the hotel (we’re staying in Secaucus, NJ) friday afternoon just to document where we’re at. Consider that we’re both kind of flat right now (cold and no pump), we’re pleased with how we look and are excited to hit the stage tomorrow.
Looking beyond tomorrow we will be competing again in 3 weeks at the WNBF Pro Mid-America on October 8th inEvansville, Indiana and then our season wraps up 5 weeks after that at the WNBF Pro World Championships (back here in NYC) on November 12th. It’s been a great prep so far. We’re both very appreciate of all the great support we’ve gotten leading up to this show and we’ll do our best to bring it when we step onstage.
Precor Lat Pull Down: 3 sets
Precor Seated Row: 3 sets
Tricep Rope Pushdown: 3 sets
High Cable Curls: 3 sets
Cable Crunches: 3 sets
Skull Crushers: 3 sets
Incline sit-ups: 3 sets
Alt D-Bell Curls: 3 sets
Dips: 1 set
Hanging Leg Raises: 1 set
Tricep Pushdown superset w/ reverse pushdown: 3 sets
Cable Curls: 3 sets
push-ups on bosu: 1 sets
underhand pull-ups: 1 set
22 minute posing session
1 set push-ups
HS Incline: 5 sets
Pec Deck: 4 sets
Lateral Cable Raises: 4 sets
Cable Flys: 4 sets
Overhead D-Bell Press: 4 sets
Precor Rear Delt: 4 sets
Cable Upright Rows: 4 sets
HS Decline: 3 sets
Alternate Front D-Bell Raises: 2 sets
23 minute posing session
Medium Grip Pull Downs: 160×12,200×12,240×12,260×10,260×8,240×10
Precor Lat Pull Down: 220×9,220×7,205×8,160×12
Calf Raises on Precor Leg Press:415×15,15,12,12
Seated Cable Row: 240×12,250×10,250×10,220×12
HS DY Row: 6plx12,12,10,10
HS Seated Shrugs: 6plx20,15,15
Prone Leg Curl:130×12,145×10,145×10,130×12
Standing Calf Raises on Bear:6plx15,8plx12,12,12
HS Hi Row: 6plx15,11,10
Name, Age, Occupation, marital status
Vaughan Twigger, 28 years old, Personal Trainer. In a serious relationship.
How did you get involved with fitness?
When I lived in England, soccer was the sport everyone played, I basically started playing the moment I could walk. I started playing competitively at age 7 along with running track and participating in field events. At age 14 I began strength training. I first began strength training to improve my performance in both soccer, and track & field. After I moved to the USA at age 16, my interest turned to Bodybuilding and General Health & Fitness.
Why is health & fitness important to you?
Health and fitness is my lifestyle, and my career. In my opinion, there is nothing better than to feel good, be proud of your body, and to be physically and mentally healthy. You only get one body and it needs to last your whole life, so bottom line take care of it!
Provide some backround on your workout history, athletic or competitive endeavors, etc.
I played soccer and track & field competitively from age 7-16. I began a strength and conditioning program age 14-16, without access to a gym, so in the beginning my workouts consisted of made up exercises like bed dead lifts, one arm little brother rows, shed dips, tree branch bends, and various body weight exercises. I joined a gym at age 16, and began a bodybuilding style workout schedule, which eventually lead me to my first bodybuilding contest at age 21. I still compete in Natural Bodybuilding today, I have three competitions this year.
What does your current workout regiment look like? Does this vary at all during different points of the year?
I workout with weights 5 times a week for 1.5-2 hours (heavy and fast paced), 20 minutes of light cardio every day, 20 minutes of extra core work 3 times a week, outdoor activities on the weekends (hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing). My workout regimen stays pretty consistent year round, apart from less light cardio, and more outdoor activities during times I’m not preparing for a bodybuilding contest.
What do you enjoy most about training?
I enjoy the feeling of pain and extreme exhaustion during and after a workout. Nothing else exists, just your mind and body and the connection between them.
What type of training do you enjoy the most (particular bodypart, type of workout, running, sprinting, swimming, etc.)
I enjoy the hard and heavy weight training workouts most of all, Along with hiking and rock climbing a close second.
What has enabled your success as a competitor in your chosen activity?
Training and learning from my good friend and workout partner Kurt Weidner, has really made all the difference to my success in competitive Natural Bodybuilding. Before I met Kurt, I was terribly misinformed about preparing for a contest. Kurt had competed many times when I met him. After only competing once myself, his knowledge and experience turned me from a novice, to a pro in just a couple of years.
How has competing and/or training positively impacted your lifestyle?
Any kind of Fitness Training is a great stress reliever, not to mention good for your health! So training has kept me healthy physically and mentally, and led to a career that I love. Competing has given me discipline, motivation to train hard and a goal to work towards. I continually strive to improve and be the best I can be-in and out of the gym.
Give a detailed description of a typical day in your life, including when you get up, go to bed, work, perform every day activities, workout, etc.
I typically get up at 5:30 a.m. I eat breakfast (which I prepared before hand) and enjoy a cup of coffee first thing. I pack all my meals for the day and head off to the gym about an hour before my first client. I start with 10-20 minutes of light cardio (mainly to wake up and get some blood moving) and 15-20 minutes of core work. I begin working with clients at 7 or 8 a.m. and continue until 1 or 2 p.m., eating 2 more times in-between clients. At 2 p.m. I eat my pre-workout meal then get ready for my main workout at about 3 p.m. The workout lasts for about 2 hours, afterwards I eat and shower then prepare for my next client at 5:30 p.m., I usually train people until 8 p.m., eating once more in-between. After work I usually run to the grocery store to pick up whatever I need. When I get home I cook my 7th meal of the day, along with any meals I need to prepare for the next day. I relax for an hour with my girlfriend and a cup of tea, we usually watch a movie or a documentary, then I have my 8th and final meal right before we go to bed around 10 p.m.
What have been your greatest sources of motivation and inspiration?
As a kid, a lot of my inspiration came from Arnold Schwarzenegger. As I grew up and learned more about bodybuilding and fitness, my inspiration now comes from successful Natural Bodybuilders, and my family and friends.
What is the best advice you could give to anyone regarding health & fitness and how to properly adopt a lifestyle that incorporates health & fitness?
Find something you enjoy doing. Once you no longer enjoy a particular sport or exercise routine, find something else. Train hard, be consistent, and learn about nutrition.
What individual(s) has/have had the greatest impact on you throughout the course of your life and why?
My Parents, younger brother, and girlfriend Deziree have always been very supportive for everything a choose to do, and never hesitate to help out. My good friend Kurt Weidner is the hardest working and most dedicated person I have ever met and he is constantly pushing me to do my best.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement (fitness & competition related or otherwise)
I would say my three greatest achievements in fitness would be placing 2nd in the 60 meter sprint final of the Leicestershire Championships in England. Being drafted to train and play in two games for a professional soccer team (Derby County), and winning two overall Natural Bodybuilding contest to qualify as a Pro Natural Bodybuilder.
Looking ahead, what are some of your goals (either personal or fitness related) over the next 1,3,6,12 months?
My goal over the next three months is to do my best and hopefully place high in all three of my upcoming Natural Bodybuilding competitions. Over the next 6-12 months, my goal is to increase my muscular size, my strength and possibly compete in another fitness related competition. I also plan to do some traveling with Deziree. I would also like to improve as a Personal Trainer and expand my business however I can.
In recent years, there has been much attention and research regarding the benefits of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) which have shown both anti-catabolic and anabolic effects, with an emphasis on the important role leucine plays on protein synthesis, specifically post-workout.
Let’s take at look at BCAAs first. Here’s the short version: During workouts BCAA oxidation is dramatically elevated, because they are required for energy. If not provided by an exogenous source (supplementing with something like Scivation Xtend) the body will derive BCAA from it’s own muscle (catabolism). Free Form BCAAs (different from the peptide bonded aminos in protein) are metabolized directly in the muscle (not in the liver like other aminos), immediately elevating levels of BCAAs in the blood (which has a sparing effect on muscle tissue). Additionally, Leucine acts as a key nutrient signal for triggering protein synthesis. We’ll come back to that in a minute.
Let’s start with the the intra-workout importance of BCAAs. Let’s sum it up…your body needs BCAAs while you workoutfor energy and to avoid muscle breakdown and it needs free form BCAAs, because only free form will immediately raises you blood levels, providing the desired effect. YOU NEED TO DRINK XTEND DURING YOUR WORKOUT!!!
Beyond the intra-workout phase, the post-workout window of opportunity is crucial for for getting specific nutrients. While whey protein is of obvious importance (because of it’s rapid absorption and high biological value)
we also know that carbohydrates are best utilized after the workout for glycogen replenishment. In the post-workout window, the GLUT4 receptor in your muscle cells is upregulated, allowing for a rise in blood sugar and thus insulin to act as a nutrient shuttle. Ok, so you need protein + carbs after the workout…that’s not it!
The winning combination after your workout is the combination of protein, carbohydrates and free form leucine. Remember as I mentioned before that Leucine acts a trigger for signaling protein synthesis.
The following supports that it is the combination of all 3 that is superior for post-workout recovery and growth:
What this means is that it would be beneficial to spike your post-workout cocktail ( of whey protein + carbs of your choice) with some added lecuine…the free form leucine will effect the metabolic pathways in the mentioned fashion, whereas the leucine present in the whey protein will not (because it has to be broken down through the digestive process and thus cannot immediately elevate blood levels of leucine).
To get the added leucine, I would suggest either throwing in Primaforce Leucine or Primaforce BCAAs (or you could just drink more xtend post-workout):
Ok, so we’ve covered the workout and post-workout nutrition. Is there any benefit to supplementing with leucine at other times?
While I don’t agree with the issue of meal time presented in this following article (another issue to discuss), the research indicates that approximately 3 grams leucine will maximize the anabolic response of a meal. The article identifies that proteins are not equal with varying percentages of leucine in them. It would be easy to bolster up your meal with the inclusion of free form leucine coming from either xtend, bcaa powder, leucine powder or a combination of xtend with one of the other (1 scoop Primaforce BCAA has 2 gram leucine, which you could combine with half a serving xtend…an additional 1.75 grams leucine) putting you above the target.
In regards to the meal timing, it does not take into account individual differences. A sedentary individual may be able to get away with 4 or more hours in between meals, but for someone who is extremely active, this is less likely to work as well.
So there you have it folks! Now go maximize Muscle Protein Synthesis!
HS Shoulder Press: 2plx15,4plx15,6plx7,6plx5,4plx16
Seated Lateral D-Bell Raises: 30′sx20,40′sx15,40′sx12,40′sx10,30′sx15
Cable Upright Rows: 160×12,12,12,12
Alt Front Cable Raises: 40×15,45×15,50×15,55×15
Precor Shoulder Press: stack x 18,12,10
Precor Lateral Raises: 115×8,100×10
22 minute posing session
Best of luck to Cortney, who will be competing in another triathlon today:
Medium Grip Pull Downs: 160×12,200×12,240×12,270×10,260×10,240×12
Front Squats on York:2plx10,4plx10,6plx10,8plx10,8plx10,8plx10
Standing Calf Raises on Bear: 8plx12,10plx10,12plx8,12plx7,12plx7,10plx10
HS Unilateral Kneeling Leg Curl:105×8,8,8,8
Calf Raises on Precor Leg Press:415×10,10,10,10
Neutral Grip Pull-ups:12,8,8,8
Walking Lunges: 135,185,225
Seated Calf Raises:3plx15,4plx10,4plx10,4plx10
Thanks to Juliet for sharing this article with me, which drives home some of the points I was trying to make in my original post about milk
D-Bell Flys on Ball:45′sx15,65′sx15,80′sx15,100′sx8,100′sx6,80′sx12
superset w/ Incline sit-ups:16,16,16
SM Incline: 135×10,225×12,10,8
superset w/ cable crunches on bosu: 110×15,120×12,120×12
Alt D-Bell Curls: 65′sx8,6,5
Close Grip Press on Precor: 175×12,205×7,205×6
Precor Preacher Curl Machine: 130×12,145×6,145×6,130×7
Cable Flys: 100×20,10,12,10
Tricep Rope Pushdown:75×12,12,12,12