The strategy When Jason and I put together his off-season plan after he won the USA, we agreed that his lower body overpowered his upper body. Taking an objective and critical look at his physique, I knew that before he advanced to the next level and stepped on a pro stage, several areas needed significant improvement. Jason needed to cap his delts, thicken his upper chest, and continue to build his back and arms. If he continued to train everything with equal frequency and intensity, his strong points would only keep getting stronger and forever remain ahead of everything else. Phil Heath had a similar situation with his arms, which is why we didn't have him do any direct training for them until three weeks out from the 2010 Mr. Olympia. In that case, Phil's arms were still getting adequate residual stimulation from his back, chest, and shoulder workouts. We couldn't be that extreme with Jason's legs because obviously the legs aren't involved in much of anything you do for the upper body, with the exception of deadlifts. Instead, we would have him go through all the upper body muscle groups at least twice before hitting legs. That usually worked out to training them about every two weeks, which was more than enough to maintain them. As I write this at twelve weeks out from the New York Pro and four weeks into his diet, Jason is at the point where he's lean enough to see the results of this tactic. Suffice to say, we're both very pleased with the results. I've said this before, but it bears repeating. The best bodybuilders don't just make their strong points stronger. They continually strive for a physique that's as balanced, complete, and proportionate as possible. Believe me, when the judges are faced with a lineup of excellent physique competitors to sort out fairly, they don't get impressed by freaky bodyparts unless the whole physique matches. Major weak points, especially on a pro stage, will assure your status as 'also competed.' Jason isn't going to New York for the pizza - he's training to win. As the weeks go by, I can hear the excitement in his voice as he starts to get closer to his first pro show — and he will be ready.
Diet and training changes I won't get into too much detail about the changes we've made to Jason's nutrition, as we've been trying a lot of different things and gauging his body's response. A major part of this process is determining exactly which foods his body seems to be most efficient with. And along the way there have even been little hiccups. One came when I had told Jason to weigh his food before cooking, not after. For whatever reason he missed that part, and for a while he was going by the cooked weight of foods like steak, chicken, and fish - which was about 30-40% more than what he was supposed to be eating. As a result, he wasn't getting lean as fast as he should have been, and contacted me with that concern. After a few simple questions, we figured out the misunderstanding and within just a few days he started getting leaner. With his training, as we discussed last month, Jason had been using a high-volume approach for years; but the way he was doing it meant there was a lot of wasted effort and it simply wasn't efficient. He was doing 7-9 work sets per exercise, which meant that typically the second half of any given workout lacked the intensity of the first half despite his best efforts. Recently we've overhauled that and Jason is gradually easing into FST-7. The reason I didn't want to have him jump right in was that in general, I don't like to change too many aspects of an athlete's program at once. When you do that, it becomes impossible to accurately say which variable change had which effect. You can end up throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. But so far, he's taken very well to FST-7 and I'm confident it's going to help him improve the roundness and fullness of his muscle groups just as it has for many others. Some of the 7's are standard, using the same weight for each set, while some are 'Reverse 7's,' adding weight for each successive set. He seems to respond well to both styles.
Get ready for GlycoJect™ After the success and excellent reception of Evogen Nutrition's first two products, EVP and Cell K.E.M, we are ready to launch GlycoJect. GlycoJect is a complete carbohydrate loading solution to use both for preloading muscle glycogen levels before training as well as reloading them after your workouts. It contains a patented high molecular weight starch along with insulin mimickers and cell volumizers to give you the fullest muscle-stretching pump possible. Look for it on www.evogennutrition.com and www.bodybuilding.com.
The sequel FST-7 DVD is nearing completion! Due to the popularity of the DVD "FST-7: Defined," we have shot and are in the process right now of editing a second DVD. Based on feedback we received from the first DVD, this will be less instructional and features more lifestyle, ie; what the athletes do in their downtime outside the gym. As of now the DVD is untitled and without the final cut I can't tell you for sure who will and won't be in it, but athletes that were filmed included Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, and Seth Feroce. It should be completed and ready to ship by early May.
Originally published June 2011.