AGE: 26 | HEIGHT: 6′ 0″ | WEIGHT: 202
Q. First off, during your contest prep, how did you get down to 4% body fat without sacrificing any of your muscle?
My nutrition has always been pretty simple, but my knowledge of nutrient timing as well as my knowledge for how my body adapts to changing variables has been critical over the last year.
For my previous shows I had a simple approach of tapering down my carb intake over the course of 16 weeks. This, of course, was paired with a consistent progression of increased cardio, so that both variables were balanced out.
For my most recent show, I took it a step further to plan the perfect prep and reach 4% body fat:
Phase 1 (Weeks 12-9)
Carbs: 300g total; 50g each in meal 2 and pre-workout, 200g post-workout
Protein: 50g per meal, 7 meals per day
Fats: used as an energy source in every meal that didn’t contain carbs; usually 1 Tbsp of MCT oil
Cardio: steady-state, fasted morning cardio; 35 minutes for 2 weeks, 45 minutes for 2 weeks
Phase 2 (Weeks 8-5)
Carbs: decreased to 200 g total; 50g in pre-workout meal, 150g post-workout
Protein: same as Phase 1
Fats: same as Phase 1
Cardio: post-workout high-intensity interval training (HIIT); 20 minutes for 2 weeks, 30 minutes for 2 weeks
Phase 3 (Weeks 4-1)
Carbs: decreased to 100-150g total; all post-workout, in the evening
Protein: increased to 55g per meal, 7 meals per day
Fats: decreased to 50g per day
Cardio: post-workout cardio; 20 minutes HIIT followed by 30 minutes steady state
Training Split (All Phases)
Day 1: Back & Shoulders
Day 2: Chest & Triceps
Day 3: Biceps, Legs & Abs
Day 4: Shoulders & Upper Back
Day 5: Triceps & Chest
Day 6: Biceps & Hamstrings
Day 7: Off
I used a consistent training protocol throughout the entire prep. The mistake most people make when preparing for a show is changing their training to something completely different than what they’ve been using to grow in the first place. I didn’t believe in that. Each week I aimed to improve in my strength and growth regardless of my lack of energy from a nutritional standpoint. In my mind, I was STILL growing, no matter what!
My most recent training protocol has been derived from a simple goal since the last time I stepped on stage: To improve my weaknesses! Over the last year I’ve changed up my training quite a bit to now hit each major muscle group twice per week, instead of just once. In my mind it makes sense – if a muscle is fully recovered in about 48-72 hours, shouldn’t I hit it again?
Training my weak body parts twice per week came with different styles of training each day as well. The first day being a heavier loading workout with compound lifts mostly, followed by the second day of higher volume loading and maximal tension techniques to tear the muscle fibers to shreds!
You’ll notice that I changed which muscle group I targeted first in each workout, giving it a top priority at least one of the days each week for maximum stimulus and energy usage.
Simple principle I used to keep my hard-earned muscle mass: positioning carbs post-workout, thus allowing my body to use FAT as energy throughout the day, during cardio and during my training.
My consistent training paired with carb cycling allowed me to stay anabolic, thus promoting more fat loss and increased muscle gain even being on a restricted diet!
Q. When did you begin training to improve your physique? How did you get started?
.I started training consistently when I was 18 years old. Prior to that, I had only messed around with a few dumbbells or body weight exercises on the floor in my bedroom, trying to figure out exactly what I was doing. From being around the rest of the football team senior year in high school, I completely fell in love with training and the rewards it brought me. Even more so, I felt POWERFUL – something that a skinny and small guy like myself had never felt before!
Q. When did you become interested in competing? What motivated you to do so?
.I started to become interested in competing when I got a new membership at a small, family-owned gym franchise in Phoenix, my home city. The gym was saturated with competitors from all walks of life, both new to the sport and some veterans. It didn’t take too long for the local gym rats to interrupt some of my workouts asking if I’m getting ready for a show. Before that time, I never once thought about completely diving into the competition lifestyle, but the athlete in me eventually came out and last year I made a commitment to win my first show, and that’s exactly what happened! After being on stage for 10 seconds, I was ADDICTED. There’s no stopping now!
Q. Are there ever days where you just do not want to train or stick to your nutrition program? How often and how do you overcome the urge to slack off a bit?
There are definitely days when I feel mentally weaker than others for both training and nutrition. I’ve learned to train myself over the last year to recognize these moments of weakness immediately, and then replace the negative thoughts with something empowering. Just the other day I parked my car at the gym and sat there for 15 minutes before walking inside. My mind wasn’t ready, I didn’t want to train, I was exhausted and fatigued. Instead of dwelling on these things, I pulled up some workout motivational videos on YouTube and blasted them through the speakers of my car as loud as I could. It’s safe to say I was pretty amped after that!
Q. Do you have any stories about a time you gave in to that urge and went on a junk food binge or something like that?
.During contest prep I’ve honestly been pretty good about not binge eating, but after my first national show last July, I went on a 3 day eating spree and gained about 10 pounds! Some was muscle, but most was fat. What can I say, we’re all human!
Q. What are you most looking forward to eating/doing once you’re finished with your upcoming shows?
My weaknesses are both pizza and doughnuts! Any and all combinations of those two will be absolutely ideal for the BEST post-show cheat meal. Besides eating, I’m just looking forward to some extra time off to spend with my girlfriend and give my mind and body a breather from training.
Q. What do you believe is your purpose in the fitness industry?
I realized my purpose about 5 years ago when I was training alone at a small gym at my church: To help reach and empower men through the combination of both faith and fitness together to become the leaders they are called to be in all areas of their life. My platform is through fitness and building muscle; however my purpose is on a much greater level of helping them to achieve the ultimate rewarding life of leadership. Strong leaders’ help others become leaders.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give someone stepping into the gym and fitness lifestyle for the first time?
Fall in love with the process. Everything: lifting, eating, getting enough sleep, not partying on the weekends. Live the complete lifestyle and you won’t have to TRY to get to your goal, it’ll come naturally.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is competing for the first time?
Hire a coach. Believe me; it’ll make the whole process so much easier than figuring it out yourself. Also, be sure to practice posing on a DAILY basis for at least 30 minutes. Having a great physique is awesome, but if you don’t know how to present it correctly, it won’t matter!
Q. What goes through your head when you’re backstage at a show? What are you thinking about when you step on stage?
Honestly I get so amped up back stage that any and all nervousness goes out the window. I think I know subconsciously that all the hard work is already done. All I can do now is sit back and enjoy the moment and show the crowd and judges what I’m made of! Confidence is always key when walking out on stage, and I make sure I’m showered in it.
Q. What’s the one thing you want more than anything else in life?
I want to show others that my success and my purpose are driven by my ability to lead others to God. I want them to see my faith through my actions and know that the things I do are for a higher purpose, not my own.
Q. What’s your stack, bro?
Supps I would never train without: creatine, electrolytes, BCAAs, hydrolyzed whey protein, casein protein, karbolyn, and Advocare Spark!
Q. How much do you bench?
Last time I checked it was 355. That was 3 years ago! It’s not my goal so who knows where it’s at now!
Q. Can I get your autograph?
Better yet, let’s get an Instagram selfie!
More from Mitch:
- Watch Muscle Camp Season 1, Episode 1 to see Mitch interviewed at Powerhouse Gym – Downtown Tampa during the Del Monte Pro Team Weekend, held February 27th-March 1st, 2015.
- Read Mitch’s article, BE A MAN! 4 Keys To Unlock Your Physical and Spiritual Potential, featured on this blog.
Where to connect with Mitch:
Instagram: @MitchMuller (http://instagram.com/mitchmuller)
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