[Case Study] How Mike Built 10 Pounds of Muscle and Lost Fat While Skipping Breakfast and Eating Lucky Charms for Dinner


Mike Berg. Mike is a Del Monte Pro Team member.

AGE: 30 | HEIGHT: 6′ 2″ | WEIGHT: 205

Give us some insight into what your nutrition looked like over the last 18 weeks.

Before the contest I prided myself on eating super “clean.” I stuck to so-called one-ingredient foods at least 98 percent of the time. I ate virtually all organic food and completely avoided sugar (excluding post-workout) and high-glycemic carbs. Unfortunately, eating this way provided very little in terms of results. If I was to earn a spot on the Del Monte Pro Team, something needed to change. Enter carb backloading, the ace up my sleeve, which allowed me to break a lot of nutritional “rules:” 

  • I skipped breakfast every day and ate my first meal at noon
  • Between waking at 7:30 a.m. and hitting the gym at 4:00 p.m. I only ate one meal; I definitely did not eat every 3 hours as most people preach
  • I eliminated so-called “healthy” carbs from my diet (e.g., quinoa, brown rice, oats) and replaced them with what most people consider “bad” carbs, or even junk food (e.g., white rice, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Chex, frozen yogurt, cookies)
    • I only ate carbs at night, six nights per week, anywhere from 250 grams to 600 grams, averaging about 450 grams per night
  • I only ate vegetables with one meal; I did not eat any fruit

Q. What does your post-workout nutrition look like when using carb backloading?

I have a shake 45-60 minutes after training, including:

  • 25 grams Molkegan whey isolate (Protein Factory)
  • 20 grams Heliogen (micellar) casein (Protein Factory)
  • 15 grams hydrolyzed whey (Hydro 520) or hydrolyzed casein (PeptoPro) (Protein Factory)
  • Masszymes (proteolytic enzymes) to assist in protein breakdown and absorption (BiOptimizers)
  • 40-100 grams dextrose (NOW)
  • 5 grams each creatine and leucine (Allmax)
  • 300mg magnesium (NOW)

dpt transformation

Q. What kinds of workouts have worked the best for you and what’s your typical training split?

I start with strength-based programming with heavy weight, low reps (2 to 5) and long rests (2 to 3 minutes), and then finish the workout with more traditional hypertrophy training in the 6-15 rep range with moderate weight and 40 to 90 seconds rest. I use a lot of Angular Increment Sets (AIS) for the hypertrophy-focused exercises, meaning that I make small changes between sets of a particular exercise rather than performing the same variation for all sets in order to stress a wide array of muscle fibers (e.g., changing grip, stance, implement, trunk position, bench angle, etc.). The AIS sets, also known as “omni” sets are very effective and, as an added bonus, the variety they provide makes the workout more enjoyable.

My training split varies a bit but here is what I’ve done for the past eight weeks (this is the Omni Shred program, from Vince’s Beta No Nonsense Muscle Building 2.0):

Monday: Chest and back with shoulders touch-up (touch-up means you hit the muscle with just one or two sets, which may involve a drop-set or other intensification technique)

Tuesday: Quads and calves with hamstrings touch-up

Wednesday: Biceps and abs with triceps touch-up

Thursday: Shoulders with chest and back touch-up

Friday: Hamstrings and calves with quads touch-up

Saturday: Triceps and abs with biceps touch-up

Sunday: Off


Q. List one example workout.

Triceps and Abs with Biceps Touch-up

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A Close Grip Bench Press with Chains 4 4-5 30X0 3 min
B Decline DB Triceps Extensions 3 10-12 2011 40 sec
C AIS* Triceps Extensions – Straight Bar 6 8-10 3010 75 sec
D Seated EZ Bar French Press 3 10-12 2011 45 sec
E AIS** Abs Series 6 15-30 1011 30 sec
F Low Pulley Biceps Curl with Rope 1 (drop set***) 10->10->10 3011 N/A

* 2 sets each to chin, nose, and top of forehead

** 2 sets each Incline Garhammers, Decline Crunches, and Bicycle Crunches

*** do 10 reps, decrease the weight, do another 10 reps, drop the weight again and do a final 10

Q. What is your opinion on the best type of cardio to get shredded?

Honestly I think that most people overuse cardio when they’re trying to lose fat. You can get fairly lean simply by hitting the weights and following an intelligent nutrition plan (I generally get down to around 7-8% this way).

That being said, cardio is an effective tool when used properly, and I am a big fan of interval sprinting in all but two cases. First, if you have a lot of muscle mass (like a bodybuilder) interval cardio will likely cause you to lose some muscle tissue. The same goes for people significantly restricting their carbohydrate intake. If you fall into either of these two categories you’re better off with lower intensity, steady-state cardio.

I have two preferred protocols for interval sprints, one to tax the body’s alactic energy system and one to hit the lactic system. For alactic sprints I’m going full-throttle for 6 to 10 seconds (preferably uphill or pushing a sled) and resting for 1 to 3 minutes. On the lactic sprints I do a 15 to 30 second sprint and rest for 60 to 90 seconds. If you want to try these out start with 10 rounds for the alactic sprints and 5 rounds for lactic. If you can’t sprint you can use a spin bike.

Q. Pick your favorite quote that has helped you find your best motivation.

It’s a tie between Zig Ziglar’s “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want,” and “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” from Theodore Roosevelt. Doing my best every day to live by these philosophies has changed my life, and granted me the opportunity to change the lives of others!

Q. What do you believe is your purpose in the fitness industry? What passion are you feeding?

My purpose, very simply, is to help others build what Vince Del Monte refers to as “life-changing muscle.” When I started working out I never imagined the impact it would ultimately have on the rest of my life – I thought it was just a way to get healthier and look better. I had no idea that the confidence gained from transforming my body (if I can accomplish that then there’s nothing I can’t do) – as well as having a great body – would dramatically increase my career and relationship success. My mission is to help as many people as possible build life-changing muscle so they can experience similar success.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give someone stepping into the gym and fitness lifestyle for the first time?

If you can afford it, find an awesome fitness professional to get you started the right way. There’s nothing like one-on-one help. A great alternative that anyone can afford is purchasing programs from people you know and trust online. I couldn’t afford to hire a trainer when I was starting out but I picked up some programs from Vince Del Monte and Ben Pakulski that were worth their weight in gold.

The most important consideration when you’re finding someone to follow or assist you is whether they’ve been in your shoes. Genetically-gifted bodybuilders who build muscle just by walking into the gym and throwing some weights around aimlessly will not be able to help guys like you and me. Find someone who has gone through the struggle of transforming their body and helped others to do the same!

Finally, and along the same line, you can’t go it alone – you need support. Not just from a fitness professional, but from the important people in your life. The going will, at times, get tough! During such times, having the ability to turn to someone who will tell you “hang in there,” or “you’ve come so far, don’t stop now,” or even “quit whining and just do it!” can be the difference between throwing in the towel and wiping the sweat off your brow with that same towel and plunging forward towards success!

I am very fortunate to have my fiancee Natalie in my life. She constantly encourages me to improve, to push harder and strive for more. In times of turmoil she reassures me and helps me avoid traps like negative and irrational thinking. Quite simply, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Natalie, and I can’t wait to marry her in July 2016! Want success? Get support!

hiking Jan2013

More from Mike:

Where to connect with Mike:

(Mike usually has one or two openings for personal training clients near Central Phoenix, Arizona, as he only accepts exceptionally dedicated and committed students.)

Newsletter: Subscribe to Mike’s Newsletter

Facebook: facebook.com/mikebergfitnesspro

YouTube: youtube.com/mikebergfitness

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[Case Study] How Mike Built 10 Pounds of Muscle and Lost Fat While Skipping Breakfast and Eating Lucky Charms for Dinner, 4.7 out of 5 based on 6 ratings


3 thoughts on “[Case Study] How Mike Built 10 Pounds of Muscle and Lost Fat While Skipping Breakfast and Eating Lucky Charms for Dinner

  1. You guys did a great work to share this exercise related post.When i see your post and the pictures then i also wants to start my training spider solitaire 1 suit and make a perfect body.Thanks for your videos and the tips.

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  2. NEVER SAY SOMEONES NO FOR THEM!!!!!!!!!! Hello??? That axiom rings SO honkin true in the Palacios home. Mr Cuban was a successful entreprenuer, living high off the hog. But PT lived out this axiom and got himself an XP who now lives low off the hog…but for the Kingdom!!Great post, friend!

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  3. Ive been MIA for too long with the shop, so glad to be back to catch up with my fav blogs. You always set such a beautiful table….love the dining room table color too.Happy HodLkaysMJiucly 7 Design

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