Adam’s Transformation

I recently had the pleasure of helping Adam with a transformation program. He worked hard and the results show proof of that. Adam and his wife Andrea have been friends of ours for a few years now and were members of our gym destination until they moved to Chicago. Adam has primarily trained as a powerlifter and strength athlete, but thought since we have similar body types, I would be a good choice to guide him through a more bodybuilding-esque transformation program. Here’s an outline of the plan we put in place for Adam and also some words from him about his success and hurdles throughout the process!

The Diet

I used a four-day rotational diet with Adam. This is a structure I use with many clients and is my personal favorite as well. We do three “low” days, which are characterized by a low daily caloric intake and low carbohydrates, followed by one “high” day, which is a substantial calorie increase compared to the low day, primarily with the addition of carbohydrates. I also gave Adam a weekly cheat meal, which I required falling on a high day. I don’t like having cheat meals on a low day because it essentially turns a low day into a high day, meaning he would have three days at higher calories and only four days low in a given seven-day period which would make for very slow progress. Throughout the course of the diet, we continued to reduce calories from the low days, in the form of fats and carbohydrates, keeping protein consistently high.


Most of my clients are familiar with the saying “minimum effective dose” when it comes to cardio. I always aim to get the most result out of the least required cardio. This pays dividends as the transformation program goes on because small increases in cardio yield big returns, without the athlete getting too worn out mid-way through the program. If you start high, you usually just end higher. With Adam we used one HIIT session per week, to increase his metabolism and provide a fat burning stimulus. The intensity of the HIIT increased over time as he adapted to the workouts. We started with three relatively short steady state cardio sessions and increased those in duration and frequency throughout the course of the program.


I put Adam on a very Mountain Dog inspired split. Giving him four core workouts of the week: back, chest and shoulders, legs, and arms. In the first four weeks, we gave him an additional upper body workout to do, focusing on bringing up his back. Since Adam was coming from powerlifting, I knew the volume and intensity techniques would work well for him. Strength athletes have a ton of muscle gaining potential. They are strong but haven’t taken advantage of the strength for hypertrophy yet in most cases; so their response to this type of split is generally much better than someone coming from other hypertrophy programs or coming from sports, for instance.

Sample of Adam’s Split:

Four Core Days plus additional Upper Body Day
Monday: Back
Tuesday: Chest and Shoulders
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Secondary Back Day
Saturday: Arms
Sunday: Rest


Here’s a list of the supplements we used for Adam’s program. Some of the items are links to the specific products we chose.

The Result

Adam’s Comments

What was new for me: Coming from power lifting, new for me was using more bodybuilding lifts along with the clean diet. I came from having a bad diet beforehand because I wanted to be “stronger.”  So I hardly tracked any food intake and only focused on lifting heavier and eating more.

What was harder than I expected: Leg day was no joke by any means. Shoulders are something in power lifting that you never work; so returning back to weekly shoulders and seeing some definition in my traps has been great to see. Probably the most difficult was getting down the protein necessary daily at the beginning part of the diet. However, after a few weeks, you get used to the diet and you understand the need for the large intake of protein.

What was easier than expected: The cardio; I don’t know if it was exactly the “easiest” because the stair mill is the complete opposite of fun. However, I just always finished my workout and stepped on the stair mill without hesitation each time. I found it easier to get my cardio done after every workout rather than try to come to the gym with just cardio on my agenda.  MAN Sports’ pre-workout BlockBuster and their L-Carnitine helped me finish my workouts by keeping my body warm and rather sweaty.

What made me successful: Greg McCoy. With his knowledge of diet and working out, I felt I had the right coach in my corner. I seriously believe his knowledge of the human body and dieting is amazing. The training program was simple to track in his application on my phone and his diet being in the same app helped to make sure I wasn’t ever confused or missing anything.

Super Fit After 60: Randy McCoy Transformation

Randy McCoy, AKA Dad, was very inspired by the results Mark Diaz was able to achieve (Click here to check out Mark’s transformation). He made the decision that after his summer travel plans came to a close, that he wanted to dedicate 12 weeks to getting into the best possible aesthetic shape. His results were very impressive. This article will cover what we did to achieve this.

The Starting Point:

Randy has always lifted weights and is no stranger to the weight room. After an assessment of what he was doing, his program lacked structure. He was overtraining certain body parts, neglecting others, and there was a lack of planning for progressions in weight or total training volume. He was doing a lot of cardio because he liked to maintain a lean appearance, so he was doing a high volume of running and walking to make up for any poor dietary habits. On the diet front, he was eating generally very healthy, but his caloric intake was very low most days, aside from some high calorie out-to-eat meals a few times per week.  I had him get baseline numbers from DexaFit. Results are shown below.

Transformation Goals:

  1. Decrease Body Fat
  2. Increase Lean Muscle

The Plan


I structured his training to have four core workouts with an option to do one or two additional workouts. Here is a sample split using the option for an additional Chest/Shoulder Day.

Four Core Days plus additional Chest/Shoulders
Monday: Legs
Tuesday: Chest and Shoulders
Wednesday: Back
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Arms
Saturday: Additional Chest and Shoulder Day
Sunday: Rest


We actually began by reducing his cardio volume. He was doing too much cardio compared to his caloric intake. To make sure he was able to have enough nutrition to build new muscle tissue, I needed to reduce his cardio in both duration and intensity. I didn’t want to eliminate it completely because he had adapted to doing a lot. He likely would’ve experienced a body fat gain had we reduced it completely, which would have required me to over diet him toward the end of the 12 weeks to get the look we were after. Our cardio plan to begin with and for the first eight weeks of the program is detailed below.

  1. Four Days of Steady State Cardio. We’ll start with 35 minutes per session. You can do whatever modality you prefer, but let’s aim to keep your heart rate between 135bpm and 145bpm. I’d like these to be either fasted or post workout.
  2. One Day of Interval Cardio – You can choose which machine you use. I personally prefer a spin bike for this so I can really dig into the sprints! Five-minute warm up. Then five rounds of: 15 second all out sprint, 90 second cruise. Then do a five-minute steady state low-moderate intensity cruise, using the last two minutes as a cool down.
    In the final four weeks, we increased the cardio to 45 minutes per day and exchanged the interval cardio for an additional day of steady state cardio. At this point, his calories were very low and I wanted to protect his muscle mass as much as possible and optimize his recovery from training, so I removed the HIIT and kept with fat burning focused cardio.


We started his diet at 2,000 calories per day consisting of 170g carbs (about 35% of total cals), 230g protein (about 45% of total cals), and 50g fat (about 20% total of cals). While this may sound like a low caloric intake, this was a substantial increase in clean food each day. We maintained this for as long as possible. This consistent increase in clean calories was one of the pillars that made our lean muscle mass possible.  Toward the end of our 12 weeks, I removed added fat and the small amount of carbs from fruit that I had included to make our final reductions in body fat. Other than that, I did not change anything until the very end of our program, which was mainly to go through a depletion and carb up process to “peak.”


Our supplement plan was a three-part plan consisting of General Health, Muscle Building, and Fat Loss. For general health, he took a men’s multivitamin and glutamine along with a few other general health supplements he had already been taking. For muscle building efforts, we utilized Creatine (in the form of Creatine HCL), EAAs consumed during weight training, BCAAs consumed during cardio, Whey Protein Isolate consumed as part of his meal plan, and a pre-workout formula. For Fat Loss, we used a green tea based thermogenic (Clean Burn) and CLA.

The Results

I was very impressed that we were able to gain lean muscle mass during this process. I was realistically hoping, at best, to maintain his lean muscle while getting rid of body fat. I attribute this success to our training structure, diet strategy, and supplement planning but also the fact that I believe he had likely experienced atrophy over the years. I think our program optimization likely regained lost muscle mass and did a good job of maintaining those lost gains while shedding the nearly seven pounds of pure fat. These results are difficult to achieve at any age, but Randy’s age make these results even more outstanding. I also need to point out that his adherence to the program was very good. Other than a few travel situations where the diet adherence had to stray some or gym access was limited, his discipline and effort are what made the plan come to life and create real results.

Mark Diaz Transformation

Mark Diaz recently completed the 2018 $250,000 Transformation Challenge! His results were excellent and I wanted to share the path we followed to achieve these results. Mark is a lifelong athlete, what I would consider a pretty advanced lifter, and someone who has participated in body transformation challenges before. So he had a lot going for him before we ever got started, but nonetheless a good road map and a lot of hard work were still critical to his success. Hopefully this quick overview provides some education and/or inspiration for someone looking to get results like Mark.

Starting Point: Mark started in early January at just under 220 pounds. He was consistently going to the gym, though he lacked structure to his training, and his diet habits were already pretty good to begin with. His only real hindrance in the gym was some nagging shoulder pain.

1. Decrease Body Fat
2. Increase Lean Muscle Mass
3. Increase Strength

The Plan

For Mark’s training program, we started with a four-day split that included two optional additional workouts that he could do depending on how he was recovering or how his work schedule was. Mark did two of his workouts with me in person each week. For the rest, he would input his weights and reps into my training app so that I could follow along with his progress. We switched his workouts every four weeks. This was an example of the training split:Monday – Legs
Tuesday – Chest, Shoulders, Abs
Thursday – Back, Traps, Calves
Friday – Arms, Abs
Saturday – Optional Additional Leg or Chest/Shoulder workout

We started Mark with quite a bit of cardio out of the gate. We used a mix of steady state cardio, HIIT cardio, and even some metabolic conditioning work. The basic overall plan was to start with a variety of cardio, taking advantage of some higher intensity work while his calories were higher and his body fat was a little higher to support all of the work. As the transformation challenge progressed, we increased the low intensity work and removed or held back on some of the harder cardio. Here’s a sample of his beginning cardio plan:

  • Three Days of Steady State Cardio at 35 minutes, any machine, heart rate between 135-145 bpm, post workout or fasting.
  • One Day of HIIT Cardio –five minute warm up. Then eight rounds of: 15 second all-out sprint, 45-second cruise. Then a ten-minute steady state low-moderate intensity cruise, using the last two minutes as a cool down. Performed separate from weight training, either later in the day, or on a day all its own.
  • One Day of functional cardio –30 – 45 minutes of activity, options below:
    • Spend ten minutes doing three or four of these activities: Jump rope, battle ropes, heavy bag, med ball slams, kettlebell swings.
    • For each of these, you can do one minute on, one minute off to start, then weekly work for improvements like 90 seconds on, one minute off. 90 seconds on, 45 seconds off, etc.
    • Bleacher Sprints with Track walk.
    • You can get creative with formats, but one workout I like is four sprints up the bleachers, then a recovery walk for one lap. If you walk a mile, that makes for 16 sprints and it’s a great workout.

Through the entire transformation, we relied on a carb cycling program. His diet basically consisted of a four-day rotation. One high carb day, followed by three low carb days, and repeat. His caloric intake in the beginning was around 2600 calories on his high days and 2100 calories on his low days. We used cheat meals sporadically throughout the challenge for a metabolic boost, to load up for big workouts, and for a mental break. We maintained the same rotation for the entire 12 weeks and every few weeks would make some modifications by removing either fats, carbs, or both, depending on his results.

Mark’s supplementation routine was pretty basic, except for his intra workout nutrition, which was a MountainDogDiet inspired concoction to aid his muscle growth and recovery. We used Whey Protein Isolate shakes a couple times per day as part of his diet. BCAAs during cardio, Glutamine to support recovery, and some basic health supplements like multivitamins and joint support.

During his workout, we used Post Lift by Nutrex mixed with Peptopro by True Nutrition.

The Results

As you can see by Mark’s photos, we were successful in not only losing a lot of body fat but adding and shaping his lean muscle mass. The strength increases he experienced throughout the transformation challenge were also very noteworthy. We could’ve possibly pushed his diet and cardio harder to lose more body fat, but in my opinion, it would’ve likely come at the cost of those strength gains and muscular changes. I mentioned that he started with a nagging shoulder issue, which did not hold us back much at all. Most of the issue was alleviated by changing his form on his presses. Like many people, he pressed with “high elbows,” which put a lot of pressure on the front of the shoulder joint. Narrowing his grip a bit, keeping his elbows in line with his wrists and close to his body helped the shoulder pain and also increased his press strength.

What made Mark’s Transformation so Impressive:

  • A Great Baseline – Mark started in a great place. This cannot be discounted. Good muscularity, good habits, and good knowledge of what to expect through the process; he was well prepared.
  • Great Program Adherence – Mark followed the program perfectly. Aside from a few unavoidable missed workouts due to work travel, Mark gave his best effort for 12 weeks.
  • Well Planned Custom Program – Mark’s diet, cardio schedule, training, and supplementation were put together to create a synergistic effect that maximized Mark’s hard work.

Want a custom program of your own? Serious Inquiries Only.

My First Off Season in 6 Years Tracked

Following my first dance on the NPC National stage, I’m filled with motivation to approach my first goal oriented off-season since 2012. As a refresher to anyone reading this that hasn’t known me through my competitive journey, I took a hiatus from competing from 2013 – 2017. In 2013, I had competed for eight consecutive years. I had just built and opened …destination Dallas and was inspired to dedicate myself to my work and explore “body building” in a different sense. Building a body that could do different things: Triathlon, Motocross, Adventure Racing, Boxing, to name a few sports that I dipped my toes into. The last time I finished a bodybuilding contest with the intent to add muscle and improve my physique for the stage was following the Texas State Championships in 2012. Now in 2018, I’m thrilled to take the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained since that time to put together an offseason program to make improvements with the goal of returning to a national stage. I’ll lay out my goals for the coming offseason with some explanations of them. Hopefully reading this will have some bearing on your own bodybuilding or athletic endeavors.

Take Aim

I have been jotting down notes throughout my basically two consecutive contest preps, July – October 2017, and March-July 2018, about what I wanted to accomplish in an offseason. But I wanted to wait for the dust to settle after my first national contest to really have a clear perspective on what I was aiming for. My goal for the 2018 season was simply to have the best version of my physique that I had ever attained, which I defined as hitting a conditioning “PR” and holding more muscle mass than I had in any year previous. While I didn’t have hard numbers to back this up, in my visual opinion, I accomplished this. I’d like to echo that goal but also infuse some influence for the judging “taste” that I see in the new Classic Physique division that I’m competing in. Looking at the difference between my physique (that did not place in my class) vs. the guys that were in the top five, it’s clear that my biggest issue is still conditioning. Simply put, I still need to remove more body fat before peaking. I think that my coach for this show, Skip Hill, hit it about perfectly with my peak. I think it was a great balance of fullness and dryness for the physique I had at one week out, but I realistically just needed to lose more fat still before the peaking process began. This is ironic because this was a conditioning “PR,” meaning I do believe it’s the leanest and hardest I’ve ever been, but even still, it’s my biggest weak point. I had the size to be in the top five, maybe not to win, but to compete. I just wasn’t lean enough. The physiques I see winning and being rewarded are also VERY visually pleasing. In this new division, rarely are there guys with poor structures or bad symmetry winning at a high level. I’m pretty happy with my symmetry and have pretty good God-given structure; but compared to some of these athletes, I’m a bit thick in the waist. I will really need to be careful to add muscle in the right places (adding width with more shoulders, lats, and quad sweep) and pay attention to my waist line.

Goal Setting

Like most successful people, I’m a big believer in setting SMART goals. I recently completed the ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition Certification and I really enjoyed the goal setting process they laid out. I’ve been using it with great success on my personal training clients and would like to implement it myself. In short, authors John Berardi and Ryan Andrews lay out a system of setting outcome based goals supported by behavior goals. Outcome based goals are essentially SMART goals that describe what you want to achieve. Behavior goals are key points, which when followed, ensure the completion of the outcome goal. Following Team Universe, I went straight to Body Analytics Hydrostatic Body Composition Testing to get my lean body mass checked so that I could set a proper outcome goal. I was measured at 84.2 pounds of lean mass. This was the number I would focus on for the next 9-12 months. But in retrospect, the biggest thing standing between me and a top five national placing is conditioning. I need to add a body fat caveat to my goal of increasing lean muscle mass.

Outcome Goal: Reach 90 pounds of lean body mass, by March 1st 2019, at a body fat percentage less than or equal to 12%.

Behavior Goals

  1. Commit to a structure training program, which includes proper intensity, rest, de-loads, etc. that will allow me train at the maximum smart intensity while staying healthy (details discussed later).
  2. Maintain a structured diet in a calorie surplus for most of this time period, with the exception of one or two mini diet cycles to regain insulin sensitivity when needed and keep body fat in proper range (details discussed later).
  3. Monitor progress with quarterly lean body mass tests.
  4. Maintain motivation by having fun and living a balanced life but not in a way that is detrimental to my goal at hand.

There is also a list of sub-goals I’ve compiled that I’d like to keep in mind this offseason. In no particular order:

Sub Goals:

  • Keep resting HR below 80 bpm.
  • Keep blood pressure in healthy range.
  • Never have to increase my jeans above 32-inch waist.
  • Improve Hamstring Size.
  • Improve Back – more width and lower back development.
  • Increase Flexibility and Mobility.
    • Attend hot yoga a minimum of once per week.
  • Achieve 20-inch arms!


I tried something new for my prep for Team Universe and I got really good results; but like anything, it came with some drawbacks. For the first time since I was probably 18, I trained primarily by myself. I did this for a few reasons, some related to my departure from destination for business reasons, but also strategically for my contest. For the past nine years, I used the strategy of training with the biggest, and baddest dudes I could. Being a gym owner and in the industry with a great network, these are some of the biggest and baddest dudes on the planet! As a result, I’ve learned a TON, I’ve done things in the gym I likely never would have thought possible, and all in all it has been a great plan. BUT, when you’re training with the top dogs more often than not, their goals take precedence over your own. In a training partner or training group environment, I’m very laid-back and usually have no qualms about compromising something that might be better for me for the betterment of my training partner (who likely has his career on the line) or the training group. I also HATE to say no and HATE to lower weights in a session! Often times I would sacrifice quality reps for the keeping up with poundages I probably shouldn’t have been using or doing too much volume or intensity even when I knew I was entering a counterproductive zone because I didn’t want to bail on my partner or didn’t want to bitch out. For Team Universe, I followed John Meadow’s GAMMA BOMB program and consulted with John off and on about exercise selection, taking de-loads, etc. The results were phenomenal. I have ZERO problem pushing myself. I’ll take a set to death if it’s on the program; so I wasn’t worried about losing intensity training by myself. My issues generally come in the form of over training, shit reps because of using too much weight, and nagging injuries because of those two aforementioned issues. I’m going to continue to use John’s programs because they are so well planned out with waves of intensity, volume, frequency, etc.

My calendar will look something like this:

July – September: four days per week weight training.

September – March: five to six days per week training, with two to three de-loads sprinkled in.

During that second phase, I’ll trade out every four to six weeks of doing legs twice per week and doing upper body twice per week. I mentioned the drawbacks about training alone, which are simply just missing the gym camaraderie and also the ability to have quality spotters that can assist with forced reps and intensity. Asking random gym goers is like rolling the dice!

Some specifics I want to address in my training: I’d really like to improve my incline bench press. It’s traditionally a weak movement for me. I’m much better on flat bench, but I’d like to prioritize that movement. I want to develop better detail in my arms by focusing on the brachialis and brachioradialis, so I’ll be prioritizing overhand grip curls, hammer curls, and some fun intensity techniques to give new attention to those details. My squat is very quad dominant and depth with good form has always been an issue for me because I start to develop hip pain when I squat heavily and deep for a few weeks in a row. I’m hoping the yoga and mobility work I’ll be doing will get me back to doing sets of ten plus with 405; something I haven’t done since 2014. I really want to enhance the mind muscle connection in my hamstrings as well and get better at exercise execution to bring up my hams.


To be totally honest, I’ve never been a big fan of HIIT cardio. I’ve always been pretty partial to LISS cardio done with proper timing, both in season and offseason. I guess I’ve just always been a bit amiss on when to do the HIIT cardio and not impair my recovery. This year though, I’m planning to pay close attention to my intra workout nutrition at the advice of John Meadows, which oddly enough I think has been the missing piece of the puzzle as to why I’ve avoided HIIT. In the past, I’ve viewed the post workout window as holy – and when muscle gain is my primary goal, I generally rationalize skipping cardio to make sure I’m taking advantage of the post workout anabolic window. Now that I’ll be ingesting carbs and protein during my training, essentially drinking my “post workout” throughout the workout, I plan to do two to three HIIT sessions per week as my main cardiovascular activity. I think this will help me maintain my conditioning and be able to keep weight training intensity high and that it will also help me partition food better. If I’m going to be eating high calories, I think the HIIT cardio will help me utilize the food I’m eating better. I’ll likely still do some LISS cardio from time to time, but not as a main tool. I would also like to experiment with some Metabolic condition training consisting of circuit style exercises done with short rest periods to increase EPOC and stimulate metabolism. If I’m doing two HIIT sessions per week, I would probably only do one Metcon per week, just to be careful not to stress my CNS too much.


I’m not going to elaborate on this next statement because it would be long winded, but I’m thoroughly convinced that I am TERRIBLE at converting fats into energy. (Maybe another blog post for another day…) Therefore, I’m going to keep the minimum amount of fat in my diet to help with health, inflammation, and aid in raising calories; but in general I will be following a very low-fat diet. I will aim for a macro split of about 50% carbs, 40% protein, and 10% fat. Most of the fat I’ll be getting will come from meat sources. The only added sources of fat will be fish oil supplements, a few green olives with one to two meals, and the occasional spoonful of peanut butter just because it’s my favorite food on Earth. I really gained confidence in my metabolism’s ability to process a high amount of carbohydrates during my Universe prep. Every Sunday when I would do my Skip Load, I would eat upwards of 800-1000g of carbohydrates. I would obviously get a big weight gain from this, as my muscles would swell with water and glycogen, but I would clear it out within two to three days, which I was pretty impressed with. Had I not done this week after week and trusted the pattern, I would have expected it to take more like seven to eight days to clear that many carbs. Given my ten years plus learning the lesson of my bad fat metabolism and my new confidence in my ability to burn through carbs, I think this diet will be the ticket. This is much like the diet Jay Cutler followed most of his career under Chris Aceto’s coaching and someone I’ve been digging up old articles and advice from getting ready for this offseason. This approach will make the mini diets I plan to include important, though. With a high carb intake, losing insulin sensitivity is a real concern; so I’ll likely need to cycle in some two to four diets with lowered carbs to regain my sensitivity. During my rebound phase, I’ll be slowly growing my caloric intake from 2300 calories per day up to around 3000 per day. I’m hoping to find a maintenance stage around that point where I’m maintaining weight and body fat levels. In the fall, I’ll start to increase calories and make an effort to gain quality weight. I don’t expect I’ll need to exceed 3500 calories per day or I’ll likely start to gain too much fat.


I really enjoy some extreme sports that don’t lend themselves to making progress in bodybuilding. Motocross, sport bikes, mountain bikes, and wake boarding, to name a few. I really enjoy these activities and I don’t plan to discontinue them, but I want to make sure that I don’t let them become a distraction while I’m making a serious run at competitive bodybuilding again. For example, I was prioritizing motocross for some time during my break from competing and I worked really hard to keep my weight low and increase my endurance, which certainly led to some lost muscle mass. To keep my motivation up, I will plan two to three bodybuilding experiences that will keep me “hot” during the less exciting times of an offseason. Visiting high level coaches and athletes for workouts are one of my favorite things to do. I’d like to make an extra trip out to Elite FTS and train with John. Mark Dugdale is one of my favorite bodybuilders of all time. It’s on my bucket list to get a workout in with him, which I could make happen. I still haven’t made a trip out to Ben Pakulski’s Mi40 gym. He’s a personal friend and I’m sure I would gain a lot from that trip. I make it to LA usually two to three times a year for different reasons; so a training session with Charles Glass at Gold’s Venice usually gets me fired up! I think that taking advantage of my professional network and having fun experiences like this will keep me focused and having fun working on my goal.