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Simmons Classic 2015

How To Get Started

There comes a time in the progression of a weight trainer that the idea of competing pops into their head. Maybe it’s a passion they have or it may be that others are impressed with their physique and say why don’t you compete? Some may entertain the idea, and a few will actually follow through. For those who do follow through, the first question is “How do I get started?” Finding the right pre contest diet is the most important part of this journey. It’s not an easy thing to do and it is difficult to find the right resources to follow to achieve contest condition. There are tons of articles on the internet, but how do you know if that person even knows what they are talking about? That is the difficult part of all this is finding the right guide because contest prep is something 99.9% of people can’t do on their own. People like myself, Justin Harris, Shelby Starnes, Bill Tocco, Matt Porter and a host of others have been through this hundreds if not thousands of times in our career. To get where I am today, I learned from sources too numerous to thank in one article. I will try to get the major points across in this article.

The Weight Training

The most obvious part and least complex is the actual weight training. I have joked around before and said ” I could teach a monkey to work out but the difficult part is the diet.” So how do you know if your training is up to snuff? You need to evaluate your physique. Is it balanced? Do you have holes that need filling in? How is your level of development? That means if you are 5’11” and 160 lbs, bodybuilding may not be your sport right now. Perhaps Men’s Physique Division is more up your alley until you get more muscle on your frame? How is your level of conditioning? Are you fairly lean or do you carry a lot of fat? Much of these issues can be addressed by the weight training program you follow. Getting the right amount of sets and reps in can make all the difference in the world. I personally see better results in all those I train with higher volume; more sets and reps, less rest. If you are looking for a custom program, you can have me do it by contacting [email protected] or go to and hire Bill Tocco.

muscled guy curling

Pre Contest Diet

This is where the magic happens. You will often hear that diet is 80% of contest prep. I would submit that it is close to 90% of the success of a competitor. The problem is pre contest dieting knocks normal nutrition on it’s ear. You can’t read a manual to learn this stuff. You really need to find and experienced coach who can guide you based on YOUR genetics. Most people don’t get it and they try to use a diet that someone else used. Well, that diet works for that person, and not other people. I can’t tell you how many times people approached my clients and asked them to give my diet. My clients would get pissed off because they paid me for something people are begging for it for free. I would highly recommend finding someone who does this at a good level. Don’t go trying to hire a coach like Justin Harris, Shelby Starnes, or Matt Porter unless you are at a pretty advanced level and have a lot of money. Get familiar with macros and how your body works. Journal everything down to how you felt. That way you can hone in on what is the best way for you to diet most effectively. Again, look me up at [email protected] or Bill Tocco at

As 4 time World Champion, Jay Cutler Knows to do intervals


This is the worst part as far as 90% of people are concerned. Nothing sucks worse than mindlessly walking on a treadmill for 60 minutes literally going nowhere. Or feeling like you’re going to vomit doing 20 mins ass heart exploding HIIT. Again, this should tie in with the diet because your coach ultimately has a plan, a vision of how this should go down. Should you do am fasted cardio or should you do it post workout midday? These are all questions that need to be answered. People will try to pluck pieces from different coaches and it may work, but more than likely, it will cause more harm than good. Although I call cardio the icing on the cake, I will punch the next turd who tells me, “I am gifted so I don’t need to do cardio!” Well Mr. One Hundred and fifty pounds, glad you are such a genetic mutant. Us mere mortals still do lots of this boring stuff for a reason; it works!

Pre Contest Diet: Putting It All Together

Over the years, I learned how to best train my body. It took a lot of trial and error, a lot of record keeping and a lot of commitment. AFter all that self discovery, I still use a coach. Why? I know pretty much all there is to nutrition and training after 22 years as a trainer and a registered dietitian (RD). Last year I dieted under Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition and he kicked ass in getting me into shape. I looked really good before the Mr. Michigan but had some issues with stress(dying mother in hospital) and it took me down. Too much cortisol washed me out. Justin is owner of Troponin Nutrition and he has over 100 online clients. I work for Troponin as well, but i felt bad he was sinking time into me when he is so busy. That’s why I sought out out Bill Tocco’s help. We are close in age and he was peeled at the Michigan. So I had two really high level coaches help me while I was helping 4 other people that weekend. My client Melissa Otto placed 4th in Womens Figure. My clients Todd Marra and Dr. Todd Lee won the Lightweight and Welterweight divisions respectively. My other client Ken Kolb won his Pro Card in Chicago that weekend as well. Sometimes you need to understand that other people can help you gain what you give to others. Much easier to let someone else think for me while I think for 4 other people.