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Like The Pros



Sep 8, 2010
It never ceases to amaze me, the questions and statements made about professional bodybuilders and their training, diets and supplementation of legal and/or illegal supplements.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard a question about, or read a post pertaining to the methodologies of these genetically elite I would buy Microsoft and have change to spare.
I think at one time or another we all (including me) have thought that the ways the pros do things is they way to go about it ourselves. Unless we are the kind of person who has extremely good genetics, it is not the process we need to emulate ourselves.
Early on, before I realized what it took, my dream was to be a pro-bodybuilder. Like most noobs and trainees getting into the game I was fascinated by the extreme muscularity these individuals carried. Andreas Munzer was the first bodybuilder I ever really idolized, his training was intense, notorious for taking sets far beyond the "pain barrier" a German behemoth with extreme definition in the sense that made other pros look "soft".
So like many newbs, I attempted to emulate his routines. At first since I was young and fresh the routines seemed to work but as the weeks went by I noticed I simply wasnt able to progress and keep up that level of intensity, nonetheless I was young and stubborn and refused to quit.
Diet and drugs were the furthest thing from my mind, I thought like many, so long as I did as he did I could obtain a similar look...was I in for a surprise.
As the months turned into years and time went by I progressed and learned a thing here a thing there, but honestly for the first 3 years I had no idea how vital protein intake was for gains, I ate a shitload but my protein intake was coincidental at best, I liked meats so I ate them, but had no idea about my actual level of intake whatsoever.
Around 1993 I remember joining a gym that was old and dank, but a great lifting environment, it was my very first gym, it had a great atmosphere and some very big guys there lifting. I was young and cocky, thought I knew a thing or two and these guys were just older is why they were bigger.
After a year there I progressed a bit, mainly to the fact I had access to machines and exercises I couldnt do before, the new stimulus pushed out some new growth and I was growing. Back then the big mantra was carbohydrates, eat as many as you want, no fat and a little protein, so thats what I was doing.
I was big but I was soft, I was working a landscaping job so I burned a lot of calories during the day and I didnt own a car so I rode a mountain bike everywhere, so lucky for me all those carbs were at least coming in handy...otherwise I would have probably just been a fat slob.
That same year I bought my first protein style powder, it was more of a 'gainer' but it had a high protein content - it was from Champion Nutrition and it was called Metabolol II. Man that shit was the bomb back then- it had every fucking concievable supplement you could think of at the time.
I had 2 a day one at lunch and one PWO, shit was actully good tasting. Then came a new revelation in bodybuilding, his name was Dorian Yates. Holy shit this guy was freaking enormous and he was just doing a set or 2 per exercise!?
Once again I jumped on the bandwagon and went to HIT training, my body loved it.
I gained an immediate 15 lbs in about 4 weeks, people were coming up to me in the gym and asking me 'what are you taking?' and they werent talking about OTC sups, though I was 100% natty at the time. I was still working a physical job, and had no car so I was relatively lean, but not very good just the same, not bodybuilder-esque fat levels just somewhat muscular.
It seemed to be the way to go - get more rest and train hard as shit when you did and the growth would keep coming...or so it seemed.
Then came my first attempt at dieting, the new fad at the time was Atkins and any other extreme low carb approach. I started my first diet at about 250 lbs, what bf% I was carrying was anyones guess, ALOT would be my honest assessment. I was now driving a car so I was burning off alot less cals and the bf% had really piled most young dooshbags I was also trying to impress this girl who went to the gym and hardly noticed me. So began my endeavor to become 'ripped' my regimen was simple 6 meals a day, hydroxycut 2x's a day, egg whites and rice for breakfast, chicken breasts with a 1/4 peice of bagel throughout my workday, egg whites with corn and rice PWO, and chicken breast and brocholi before bed.
Cardio was done 45 min of running on an empty stomach in the am, and PWO 45 min of running again.
Well I lost bf, and muscle but hey I thought thats just the way it goes, ended up 211 lbs but @ 3% bf...I looked amazing...honest too god just shredded, everywhere, it became an addiction to see how far I could take it. Peoples reactions were as telling as well, everyone was impressed...well everyone except that girl I wanted to get the attention of LOL! Dont know what she wanted, just know it wasnt me hahaa.
I digress, so now came winter and my first experience with post dieting mass season. I completely stopped dieting, and cardio was done too. I ballooned up to 265 lbs that winter, all natty but fatty too.
I must have repeated this process 3 more years while inching up the scales. The progress was frustrating, lose gain, lose gain, repeat. The monotony of it all began getting old, but I pressed on, I was 220 lbs ripped that year, I was training like a madman, and boom, my first injury and it was a bad one, rotator cuff and serratus tear, not needing surgery but it sidelined any upper body training for the next 2 was depressing and hard to deal with. It just didnt seem to want to heal, so finally I took the next step, anabolics, and it was a big one.
By the end of that year I was 270 lbs and training hard again, I entered my first show and took second place and qualified for Nationals.
I went to JrNationals the next year and got my ass handed to me, LOL! Phil Heath was in my weight class, he made us ALL look bad, just some of us worse than others.
By that time I was on the forums and many of you and were meeting for the first time, since then I know that I have photodocumented alot of my progress over these last 5 years.
The culmination of what I have learned over the last 20 years is that, training LIKE the pros, doesnt make you a pro, doesnt mean you will even get 1/8 the results they got training, eating and supplementing like they do.
You have to find your own path, the people you should emulate are the ones who started out with similar genetic traits to your own, not just in appearance but in results and reactions to various diets and stimulus from training.
The genetically elite are just that elite, the top-the small percentage of the population whose bodies have the genetic capability to hold and grow a ton of muscle and stay relatively lean while doing so, many of them could eat or not and still be bigger and better than many of us. When they follow a proper diet and training protocol they just become that much better.
For me and most others its a look that is far out of reach, I dreamed many years of becoming a pro bodybuilder, but the reality is that it probably wont happen. I havent given up on that dream but Im balanced by reality.
I love to train and learn so I will always bodybuild to some degree or another, and I will still compete, simply because its what I love.
But I know that being a pro takes a lot of god given talent that myself and the large percentage of bodybuilders dont have, what we have that most genetically elite dont have is drive, we hunger to reach that level of development that they obtain seemingly with little effort.
Watching there training and listening to how they rationalize their diets and drug protocols is however just not going to work for most of us. We need to find through some trial and error, and research which is the best approach for us to take. Following Jay Cutlers 32 sets for back training is NOT going to yield the same results for many of us, and taking a purported Sustanon every hour is not going to give us Ronnie Coleman's physique.
Massive G on Pro Muscle wrote that he watched Vic Richards pound white rice and chicken breats all day long, the man was 300+ lbs and had intercostals...he tried to emulate that diet and found himself 280lbs and soft, and this is a large man with good genetics we are speaking of, but they werent the same as Vic's, that was his point.
Some people dont feel like they want to figure out how to do their training "their way" they want to simply copy cat some pro's routines and plug it in like cruise control.
It simply doesnt work that way, bodybuilding is a life long experiment and the routines and protocols will constantly change, the physical effort required to stay in this sport is nothing to the mental effort of constant self observation and assessment of what is and what is not working in our training.
Their is not a cruise control and you cannot simply xerox someone elses plan into your gentics and think the results will make you a facsimile of that pros reslutls.
You mus take in account that you are of average to above average genetics and that you have to have elite powers of observation and assessment into your own personlized form of training that will get you the closest results to that of the pros...there are some axioms that are true for all of us but after that its all about personalizing your training, diet, and drug protocols based off the knowledge you have at hand and your experience, to fit you the best.


Strength Pimp
Feb 27, 2011
Awesome reading, once again Aj. First I'll just throw this out there - I have heard people say that Branch Warren doesn't have the genetics to be where he is, but he got it through his hard work. I'm not sure because I honestly can't read DNA... But when I first started training and was clueless, I was using youtube vids of Jay Cutler to learn what exercises to do and how many reps etc... I was overtraining like crazy and wasn't growing. When I went to the complete opposite which was the Yates Blood and Guts HIT I started gaining. But then I started hitting these boards and asking the big guys at the gym (when they were done working out lol not mid benchpress) for some help. Some were dicks and told me to fuck off, others were more than helpful. One worked with me as a training partner for about a year. He helped me find what worked for me.

As for the drugs, that is more of a side bar discussion. It comes after training and diet because they don't work without that. But regarding drugs I see the mega doses you and Big_Paulski take and they are mind blowing to me. I am getting great results from 30mg of Dbol and 500mg of test. Can't see myself ever getting up that high. But at the same time I wouldn't criticize either. If thats your dose, than thats what it is.


VIP Member
Jan 26, 2011
Very good post! Aj for real write a book or make a magazine. Alot of people would buy it.


Crusty Poo Butt
Sep 21, 2010
Wow wall of text!!! A good read, and what's the source of this article? People have big ideas on how to get big and getting there is the challenge they face. Using AAS or going it natty is the big choice but its not exactly an easy one.


Sep 25, 2010
Good read... I remember Metabolil!!! That and Hot Stuff had it all! And the original ultimate orange was like crack, lol...


Staff Member
Aug 11, 2010
Ultimate orange... that was some great stuff. Another great post aj, I hope people will take the time to read and respond to it. Really powerful stuff you write.


TID Board Of Directors
May 3, 2011
Good insights into your journey. Thanks for sharing it.


TID Lady Member
Mar 17, 2011
very well put! there is no one way for everyone. we are each individual and need individual programs.


Nov 14, 2010
What a great read! Thanks for this post. :)

This part: I think at one time or another we all (including me) have thought that the ways the pros do things is they way to go about it ourselves. reminded me of something. I probably shouldn't admit this, but we all probably have some kind of story like this (God, I hope so anyway).

When I first got into "bodybuilding" or weightlifting or whatever you want to call it, my idols were people like Rachel McLish and Bev Francis (yes, I saw Pumping Iron II :) ). Then as I learned more, I liked Debbie Bramwell, Elena Seiple, Cathy LaFrancois, etc. HOWEVER, for some reason I still cannot figure out (dropped on my head as a child?),even though I was inspired by the women, I was reading the diet and training information of MALE bb'ers, so I was trying to eat like them and supplement like them. What the heck was I thinking??? At first, it didn't register that a 6 foot tall, 250 pound man might have different nutritional needs than a 5'3" 120 pound woman. I was just thinking "to build muscle, you have to eat X", and so that's what I was doing. What a dork!! Anyway, the more I got into it, and the more I learned, the more I realized I probably shouldn't have the same diet and workout plan as Ronnie Coleman. Takes me a minute, but I eventually catch on. ;)

Ah, just one of my embarrassing stories.... Enjoy. :D


Senior Moderators
Staff Member
Dec 25, 2010
AJ, I've got to disagree with you. Just saw the latest BBing mag at the grocery store, and it says they just discovered Arnold's secret workout that had been lost for 30 years, and by buying the magazine and purchasing muscletech magic powder I'm gonna look just like him in just 6 weeks... after all, it's in the magazine, so it must be true!! LOL