Look around your gym today. I'll bet you'll spot a lot of people training hard who, sadly, don't even look like they work out. Maybe they're just new to the gym, but sometimes these guys and gals have been training for years. So what's their problem? Most likely, they're missing some key element. They're not dialed in.
"Dialed in" means you're covering all your bases. Training's on target, a diet's been adopted that reflects your physique goals, and other issues like recovery, supplementation and motivation have been addressed. Once everything is "dialed in," all it takes is consistency and soon your body composition will begin to change. The fat comes off; the muscle packs on.
Ryan Godleski, one of our four HOT-ROX Inferno Challenge winners, is a perfect example of what you can accomplish once you get everything dialed in. Ryan's main goal wasn't to be "hyoooge," but to get lean and mean for sports and martial arts. Did he reach his goals? You bet he did! How'd he do it? That's what I decided to find out when I sat down to talk with him.
Testosterone: Hey, Ryan, thanks for talking with us. Start off by telling us a bit about yourself.
Ryan Godleski: I'm 19 years old and have lived in Parsippany, New Jersey, all my life. I'm currently a freshman majoring is exercise physiology at West Virginia University. At least for now I plan on getting a Masters in exercise physiology with a minor in nutrition, and perhaps even some English and business.
T-mag: What do you do when you're not getting shredded?
Ryan: Obviously, I love to train, so that's my biggest hobby. I also like reading and learning about anything regarding training and nutrition, and I like to spend time with my friends and my girlfriend, Jackie. In my free time I listen to and write music. I've actually recorded seven songs. My other interests include cars, car audio, PlayStation 2, and many others that I don't have time to peruse as much as I'd like.
T-mag: Did you play a lot of sports growing up?
Ryan: In high school I played fours years of football, two years of basketball, and a year of baseball and wrestling. Currently I train Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. I love training, especially with athletic goals in mind, so over the years I plan on competing in assorted sports, maybe some roller hockey, baseball, rugby, powerlifting, or bodybuilding.
T-mag: Since your main goals have always involved sports, what made you enter the Inferno Challenge, which was mainly about just looking good?
Ryan: When I first saw the proposal, I was skeptical. However, once T-mag stepped in and it was organized (and I saw the prizes) I was in. I knew being in the contest would be a great incentive to get into my best shape. I didn't think I'd have a chance in hell of winning!
T-mag: What were your before and after stats?
Ryan: At the start of the Challenge I was a sloppy 172 pounds at about 13.5%, with 149 pounds of LBM (lean body mass) and carrying 23 pounds of fat. I finished up at 165 pounds at about 7%. So that means I lost 12 pounds of fat and gained about four pounds of muscle.
T-mag: How has the fat loss and muscle gain affected your performance in sports?
Ryan: I think it definitely helped me. I'm a firm believer that lowering your body fat improves athletic performance. It's simple: carrying an extra ten pounds of fat will never help you. Whatever your sport, having less fat on your body will help your speed, agility, and stamina.
T-mag: Let's talk heavy stuff. How'd you train during this time?
Ryan: I began the contest using Chad Waterbury's "Outlaw Strength and Conditioning" program with Mike Mahler's "High Octane Cardio" three times a week and Christian Thibaudeau's "Ab Training for Athletes and Babe Hounds" once per week. This was for seven weeks. Then I turned to Charles Staley's "Lose The Fat, Keep The Strength" EDT program along with Thibaudeau's "Running Man" program once per week for the final three weeks.
T-mag: Wow! Now that's how to apply the articles here at T-mag! Any strength gains during this time?
Ryan: Well, it was hard to compare personal bests while using Outlaw Training because of rest time and exercise selection. However, I went up in weight for every exercise for every week. As for EDT, it's hard to judge as well, but I was going about as heavy as I've ever gone on bench, squat, and hang clean. I also increased my weight or reps each workout in the PR zones.
T-mag: What type of diet did you use during the Challenge?
Ryan: I started using John Berardi's "Don't Diet" plan. I adjusted my calories according to my progress. I started off my first week at 3200 calories, but by the second week I was down to 2700. I cycled between 2500 and 2700 calories for eight weeks. I found the best results around 2600, especially while on HOT-ROX.
For my first seven weeks my macros were coming out 40% protein, 30% carbs, 30% fat. Week eight I went to a stable 275 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs (50 from greens, 50 from post-workout drink, 50 from oats), and 100 grams of fat. Then for the final 19 days I dropped fat intake to 50 grams a day. Also, in the final days I reduced and eventually eliminated the oats.
As far as meals and food choices, I was eating using "Massive Eating" guidelines and only using food choices from T-mag's "Lean Eatin'" article, although for carbs, it was oatmeal, post-workout drink, and vegetables only. As far as meats go, I reduced animal fats and increased my intake of flax and fish oil in the final 19 days. I also used Grow! and Low Carb Grow! along with Surge and some other protein powders.
The final 19 days were spent at home instead of a college dorm, so I had better access to leaner meats. During my time in the dorm, my evening protein came from hamburger patties. Throughout the contest, I experimented with Don Alessi's refeeds, overfeeds (8 and 16 hour) and cheat meals. I felt I had success with all of them, or at least they didn't hurt me.
T-mag: How'd you take the HOT-ROX and what did you think of it?
Ryan: I took it in my closing five weeks. I spent two or three days easing into it, then went to the recommended four pills a day. It's a great product. HOT-ROX helped me keep my intensity in the gym while feeling good. I never really had that dragging ass feeling that's usually associated with dieting.
HOT-ROX also allowed me to gain muscle while losing fat. It completely halted my cravings. In addition, one of my favorite qualities about it was that it allowed me to sleep. Every time I used an ephedra-based product, I had trouble sleeping throughout. No problems there with HOT-ROX.
T-mag: Cool. Now, you wrote on the T-forum that you'd been training since you were very young, around ten years old. Honestly though, your before pics didn't show it much. What were you doing wrong?
Ryan: Well, I'm not naturally lean. When I was young I was fed the constant cardio and carbs craze. That was obviously a problem. But once I got into high school I don't think training was ever the problem. I always had pretty good training programs or made decent programs myself. I think diet was most to blame. Although I was never eating bad diets, when I was young I thought that as long as you work out you can eat what you want.
Probably around my freshman year of high school I started a high protein diet, six plus meals a day, but along with this was high carbs. My freshman year I was about 103 pounds; by my junior year I was over 200!
I soon realized at the end of my senior year that super high carbs weren't for me. So I dropped my carbs, not super low but in the 100 range, and got good results. Then I stumbled across the Massive Eating meal combinations at T-mag. So, eventually I cycled my carbs back in and gave it a shot using Berardi's guidelines.
After experimenting it was easy to distinguish my insulin situation. From there I learned how my body works best and I now consume my carbs in the morning and\or in the post-workout period only. Unfortunately, I still carry the nickname "Chubbs."
T-mag: Great advice with the carb timing, Chubbs. That works best for a lot of people. Give us an idea of what an average day was like for you during the Challenge.
Ryan: When I was in school, the average day went like this:
7:30 a.m. wake up
8:00 meal 1(eggs and cottage cheese)
8:30-10:20 two classes
10:20 meal 2 (protein powder and fish oil) Back to the dorms, get a takeout box in the cafeteria (fill with veggies and egg whites), get books, gym bag, and next meal.
11:20-12:20 train and consume post-workout drink. Shower, back to class 1:30-2:20.
2:30 meal 4 (tuna, oatmeal)
3:30-4:20 Back to class, then back to the dorms.
5:00 meal 5 (veggies, egg whites, oats)
5:20-6:00 leisure time (read T-mag)
8:00 meal 6 (veggies, hamburger patties, olive oil)
11:00 meal 7 (cottage cheese, Grow!, flax)
11:30 go to bed
T-mag: Man, that's one packed schedule! Were there any times during the Challenge where you wanted to quit or became discouraged?
Ryan: I don't think there was a time I wanted to quit, but there were many frustrating days. At these times I thought my progress halted, or many times I thought I wasn't lean enough and had no chance getting to where I needed to be. In overcoming them, I just tried to stay focused, stuck with the plan and kept moving.
T-mag: Ryan, you were actually attacked by some moron on the T-forum because your goal wasn't to be "huge and freaky" but instead lean and athletic. How do you respond to attacks like that?
Ryan: Well, what can you do? I usually tend to ignore internet bullies. For all I know that could've been a sexually confused 12-year-old kid. In all seriousness though, I'm going to pursue my goals and try to look how I want to look. Nothing wrong with being huge and freaky, but those aren't my personal goals. I don't consider myself a bodybuilder. I have no desire to add excess bulk. I want speed and power and a high strength to weight ratio. I compete in Mixed Martial Arts and submission wrestling (which use weight classes), so that's what I need.
T-mag: Fair enough. Now, when I walk into a commercial gym it seems that most young college guys I see in there are clueless. Do you find that to be true? What are most people your age doing wrong?
Ryan: Hmm, where do I start?! There's so many bench press heroes and arm kings who curl in the squat rack. First off, most of them are trying to follow some pro-bodybuilder's mass program out of the latest Flex issue (minus the leg workout of course!). Also, they feel they'll be able to make progress without making any lifestyle changes, so they continue to drink four times a week and eat McDonalds.
Also, the majority of kids my age only train chest and bi's, and make no dietary changes. Unfortunately, many of them turn to steroids for an easy way out. I have nothing against people who juice (if you train hard and go about it in an educated manner), but these kids have no idea what they're putting into their bodies!
T-mag: Sad but true, Ryan. If they were half as dedicated as yourself and did some research into proper training and dieting, maybe they wouldn't need the drugs.
What advice do you have for those people out there who are looking at your before and after photos and wondering if they can achieve the same results?
Ryan: If you're disciplined and follow your plan with consistency, you can achieve your goals. You can have the best diet and training program in the world, but without discipline it's meaningless. I owe a lot to my dad who passed me his sense of discipline. All my life my dad has been up at 5:30 AM, ready to train before work. He made me run with him starting in the third grade and started me lifting in the fifth grade. I hated it at the time, but eventually I was hooked.
The Inferno Challenge taught me that if you stay strong and follow your plan you'll achieve your goals. I've learned a lot about myself during this time. I've learned what works for me and what doesn't. I think I've learned the most from others in the contest and from reading the essays of the other winners. I now have several things to experiment with for the future!
T-mag: Sounds like you're on the right track at a young age, Ryan! Congratulations on being one of our HOT-ROX Inferno Challenge winners!
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