Cutting Up For Bodybuilding

Inside Natural Bodybuilding Part 4

This is part 4 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.   He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder.

Dieting for competition

Tracey: Run me through a typical muscle-building day, food-wise!  You’re getting ready for a competition now, so you’re building, you’re trying to strip down some fat.  So right now, what’s your typical food like? Starting in the morning, how do you eat?

Tomas: This is what I do in the morning, because from my understandings and from what I’ve read, and then also what I’ve benefited from (because you can read something and it might just not work for you).

In the morning when I get up, I immediately hit some carbohydrates because my body has been through a fast (when we get to breakfast, what it actually means is “break” the “fast”), so I’ll have, let’s just say for right now, I’ll start off with a banana.

I can’t get rid of coffee!  I’m Cuban, so I was raised on coffee and now I have to be a little bit more careful with the cream because I love the cream.  But less and less tablespoons, I’ll do about 4 tablespoons of hazelnut cream.  I’ll have 8oz of blackberries or strawberries and then I’ll have three eggs with it.  And what I do is have my fruit first, then I wait about 20-30 minutes and I’ll have my protein. Reason being, just to get the sugar pumping in my body, fill it up and then moving into the protein.

Then in the afternoon (I’m basically a three-meal a day guy, I don’t need 5-6 meals even though I’ve done that),  I’ll have a 3oz steak with 2 carrots and half an onion, and I’ll have a tablespoon of avocado oil and medium-chain triglyceride oil, which is a supplement.  Then I’ll have, maybe, half a tablespoon of saturated fat, actually saturated fat and consume that.

That really holds me for a good, long time! I’m looking at about 3 ½ to 4 hours in-between meals.  Then pretty much, especially when it comes to getting ready for a show, you really start being very specific about the foods and your foods become very monotonous.

I basically follow pretty much the same routine.  At dinner I’ll have a 3oz steak, I’ll have 2 carrots and I’ll have a half an onion.  Because that way  you don’t have to be constantly thinking about it.  You could add, if you have the time, or you get to the point where it’s just like, “Ok, I’m just going to eat this and move on,” especially when it comes to shredding days before a show.

Cutting up

Tracey: Ok good!  So this is another question about food.  When you’re cutting up, do you keep eating the same stuff?  How do you eat when you’re cutting?

Tomas: No, what starts happening is, as I start cutting up, I get really into the calorie intake.  I get to a point where it becomes a visual thing.  And what I do is (and of course this comes with experience. It’s taken me over 4 years just to get to this level and I’m not even at the level yet of really understanding), when it comes to diet, I’ll start using the mirror and I’ll start looking at myself and I’ll start manipulating.

It gets to a point that I start saying, “Well, let me drop my carbs a little bit here,” and then I’ll start playing that for a couple of days and if it’s working, I’ll keep that.  Then maybe I’ll have to cut a little more of the saturated fats or maybe increase the saturated fats and decrease the monounsaturated fats.

So the best thing to actually do during that whole period is to actually write the stuff down and that way you have it for future reference.

What’s very interesting is that our bodies change yearly! So what works for me one year, might not work for me the next.  But it gets to a point where it’s to calories, and you start leaning out.  It gets to the point that you might have to manipulate and see where it goes by removing a little bit of this, a little bit of that and see where you actually end up.

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Best Natural Bodybuilding Exercises

Inside Natural Bodybuilding Part 3

This is part 3 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.   He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder.

Cardio

Tracey: How much cardio is needed to burn fat?

Tomas: You know that all depends on the individual.  I think it depends on the person’s metabolism.  I think that people can actually, that for me has been a journey.  I’ve found that sometimes less cardio helps and sometimes more cardio helps when it comes to bodybuilding.  That is a very metabolic question.  I think every individual, like in any other form of training, I think through hit and miss a person finds out for themselves how much cardio is needed.  But cardio, in the bodybuilding world, in relationship to fat, lean mass, we look more at heart rate.  Keeping your heart rate lower because we want to burn more of the calories through resistance training and more of the fat burning, so you’re looking at there being a little bit more of walking, not so much sprinting or running.

Stretching

Tracey: Do you stretch at all?

Tomas: You know I should stretch more.  It’s so important.  I’ve been blessed by not stretching enough, by not having any injuries.   I did have surgery about 7 months ago, but that was more of my experience with football in the ‘70s when I was a kid.  I should!  I would focus more, if I was to address it to an individual, I would say, “Please put your time in,” because it does help in preventing injuries. But I don’t do it enough, no.

Legs

Tracey: Give me your number one best exercise for building each of these: Legs?

Tomas: Legs?  For building legs, it’s so interesting because I just came across this, for building strength in the legs, can’t beat squats.

But when it comes to squatting, your back needs to strengthen before your legs get stronger.  So that’s a pretty much overall exercise.  When it comes to just legs in general, in the bodybuilding world, I love the hack squat. You can’t beat the hack squat.  You can work with the leg placement, it really isolates the legs.  It takes away the pressure, if it’s done correctly, from your lower back.  So leg building, in a bodybuilding sense, I love the hack squat.

Back

Tracey: Ok cool! What about back?

Tomas: Back?  You know it’s funny because when I started lifting when I was very young, I developed a very big back.  That was one of my main muscles that I worked on.  Rows!  I love rows, standing rows.  Bringing it up and down.  That’s all I would do and I developed an incredible thickness in the back and width simply by rowing.

Tracey: So in the lats?

Tomas: Yeah in the latissimus, yeah, because what I did is I would just come lower and the body coming lower isolated a little more of the lats. You know, as you come up at like a 45° angle, you’re getting more of the trapezius and the rhomboid area.  But just by placing my body and row, row, row I just, because you know that’s all I knew.  You know what; it was a benefit because I really benefited from it.

Chest

Tracey: Cool! Chest?

Tomas: Chest?  You know it’s interesting because times are changing, of course we know that we have three types of chest.  We’ve got the upper, middle and lower.  But you can’t beat a bench press, incline and decline press and the combination of them so you can isolate the individual parts of the chest.  And also free weights!  Free weights.  Because then you get the stabilizing muscles.

Shoulders

Tracey: Good! Shoulders?

Tomas: Shoulders?  Shoulder press.   I get on shoulder press, shoulder press, I hit the shoulder press and I work it. Of course we can get into isolations like lateral raises or frontal raises.  But the shoulder press, especially if you’re just starting the body building, that’s the way to go.  Go with compound movements in the shoulder press, it’s definitely a compound movement.

Abs

Tracey: Good! Abs?

Tomas: Abs?  Sit-ups!   I’ve been so traditional.  Sit-ups, leg raises, there you go! But not to ignore the obliques, the external and internal obliques and also not to ignore the lower back.  Which, you know, dead lifts are great for lower back.  So you can do some back arches.  When I hear abdominal, I think of the whole mid-section instead of just the rectus abdominis.

Biceps

Tracey: Okay good! Biceps?

Tomas: Biceps?  Curls!  Curls! And change up your free weight, change it wider, you can go in more and just curls!  You know, because it also incorporates a little bit of other parts of your body, like your back and the stabilization in your legs.  You can do them standing, if you were to just start off because we want to get the body to work as a whole as much as possible.  In bodybuilding, you eventually start isolating, but if you’re just starting in bodybuilding, its best to get some other parts of your body in conjunction with that.

Triceps

Tracey: Okay and last one! Triceps?

Tomas: Triceps!  I like, for triceps, I like a close-grip bench press! I really do.  Because I believe, especially starting triceps, you want to build that thickness, defining a tricep later on with maybe triceps extensions or scull crushers.  But I think a good start would basically be a close-grip bench press.

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Diet for Natural Bodybuilding Over 50

Inside Natural Bodybuilding Part 2

This is part 2 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.  He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder.

Eating fat to strip fat

Tracey: What are the main things you cut out of your diet to strip fat?

Tomas: You know it’s interesting because I added fat to strip fat.  My diet today would be considered a paleo approach.  I basically moved beyond the Neolithic period into the Paleolithic period.  My diet consists of, depending on the time of year, on meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit.  That’s basically as far as I go. I’ve cut out everything else so when I go to the market it’s either the vegetable area I go to, it makes it so much easier, or the poultry, the meat section and the fruit section and there it is.  Very simple.  Very simplified.

Tracey: Okay cool!  How long have you been doing that for?

Tomas: I have been following this program, consecutively now, for about two years.

Tracey: Do you use any fat burning supplements?  What are they?

Tomas: I use fat to burn fat! I’ve incorporated more saturated fats and I find that, I don’t know If I’m saying this right or correctly, I’m more satisfied, I don’t have to eat as much!  I think it’s called satiety or something, where my food consumption has actually dropped because I’m not as hungry and I don’t crave. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t crave sweets like I used to.  I’ve gotten to believe that there’s no such thing as a sweet tooth, but there is a fat tooth.  I think that we’ve gone to a point that we are neglecting our saturated fats.

Tracey: So what kind of saturated fats would you eat?

Tomas: You know what I actually do is I will take it from grass-fed meats.  But I’ve also incorporated table spoons called “tilly” which is actually beef lard. I will incorporate two table spoons of that with my meats and I’m completely satisfied throughout the day. I’m actually incorporating a little bit more now and I’m actually starting to cut up more for a show that’s coming up.  So I find myself getting leaner when I incorporate more of the saturated and mono and maybe about 3% of the poly.

Tracey: Wow!  That’s interesting!

Tomas: Yes.

Diet for Natural Bodybuilding Over 50

Tomas de Milera

Supplements to build muscle

Tracey: What are the best supplements you’ve used to build muscle?

Tomas: You know in all honesty, the only supplementation that I take, because I really, really, focus on my diet, is minerals and of course a multi-vitamin.  I will incorporate the omegas, Omega-3.  Because I think even with grass-fed, it’s depleted somewhat.  But for years, it’s interesting, I have moved away from supplementation.

I understand the importance now of hydrogenated proteins and ways that will help when it comes to bodybuilding and what they call “nutrient timing.”  But I’m really focused more on, now, diet in the sense of: I’ll have my eggs in correlation to my workout. I’ll have my eggs, which are a good amount of BCAs (branch chain amino acids), I’ll have them a good 3 hours before my training.  And then during that time, from my education, they should be ready to be used; the BCAs should be ready to be used in your body 3 hours prior to your workout.  So that’s my approach at the moment.  Supplementations are needed because you’re taking your body to the excess, but I’ve found that minerals and a multi, always a multi, and some Omega-3 are a big plus when it comes to supplementation.

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Motivation for Natural Bodybuilding Over 50

Inside Over 50′s Natural Bodybuilding Part 1

This is part 1 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.  He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder. You can read the transcript or watch the embedded video below.

Motivated by Tarzan

Motivation for Natural Bodybuilding over 50

Tarzan by Neil Adams

Tracey: Why did you decide to get into bodybuilding?

Tomas: What actually got me into bodybuilding is very interesting.  When I was about eleven years old, I went to the library and came across some Tarzan books.  It was very interesting because of the covers of them (I later found out they were created by Neil Adams). I liked the body composition of the Tarzan.  It was a lot more muscular, a lot more defined.  So I was fascinated.  I thought, it’s interesting because I thought then bodybuilding wasn’t about weights, even though it was the Golden Era where it was actually all about hypertrophy and getting bigger and less on fitness.

So I started bodybuilding by reading Tarzan books.  My understanding was swimming, running, calisthenics, I thought that was the way you became bigger.  Later on in the ’70s, I found out, when I incorporated weight training, that you needed a little bit more concentric movement to actually build those kind of bodies.

Arnold and Frank Zane

Tracey: When did you start bodybuilding and how old were you then?

Tomas: Well I’ll tell you, I started bodybuilding about ’78, 1979.  I got into that whole Muscle and Fitness, the Golden Era, Arnold, Frank Zane. I related a little bit more to Frank Zane than any of the other bodybuilders because he had a little more of that Tarzan feel that I wanted.  So it was about ’78, ’79!  Not much experience.  There was a lot of hit and miss!  Not like today, there’s so much information, you can progress quicker.  So I was more into the more weights you lifted, the bigger you would get.  I was very unfamiliar with the chemical aspects of bodybuilding like they have today.

It’s never too early, it’s never too late

Tracey: So you were obviously younger when you started.

Tomas: Much younger!  I mean I was fascinated, again, at eleven.  I moved into the bodybuilding world around 15, 16, 17.  And I always stayed physically active, not so much in the weight room, more outside and stuff.  I carried on that whole concept of more fitness in the sense of running, cycling and swimming.

At 47 I did my first bodybuilding competition and I went into a natural division. From then, I’m 51 now, so I’ve been actually competing in the bodybuilding world for about 4 years.

Using natural hormones

Tracey: What’s the difference between the way your body responds to training and diet now, compared to when you first started?

Tomas: It’s interesting, because of course if we can take the advantage of our HGH (human growth hormone) levels at such a young age, we understand our human growth hormones are very productive during our puberty stage and our younger period and starts to decline, your metabolism starts going down and so forth (as we age).

I found out that my past body building experience, keeping my body, my muscles fuller and of course my muscles had that opportunity to grow a little bit more by using the benefits of my natural hormones.  Coming across to now, I have to be a little bit more careful with diet and have to be a little more conscious about my joints.

Natural Olympia

Tracey: What’s the highest level you’ve achieved in bodybuilding?

Tomas: You know I’ve won a lot of 1st places in my division.  I have taken, in the Novice, I’ve accomplished and taken first place against young adults half my age.  I’ve won, in my division, Mr. Los Angeles, Mr. San Diego.  I actually took the Silver in the Natural Olympia about a year and a half ago.

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