Below is an article written by one of my first young athlete, Gunnar Anderson. This young guy has overcome some major adversity by becoming a bodybuilder even though he was born without a right pec major. Talk about “I Do What I Want”! I love this kid, and I am sure that you will all love him as well. Enjoy!
On the Way to My First Competition
By Gunnar Anderson
I started working out when I was about seventeen with Travis Mash. I was one of his first young athletes, something I pride myself on to this day. In the beginning it was about injury prevention. Quickly it evolved to strength training when he saw potential. When I left for college I was strong, but my goals had changed from strength, to size. For years I worked to get as big as I possibly could. Heavy training to volume training, cardio to no cardio, I went through a ton of phases and I thought I had done it all. But in the summer of 2015 everything changed.
I decided I wanted to compete. I had built a solid foundation over the previous five years and I wanted to see how it would fair in competition. I knew quite a bit about bodybuilding training principles and proper nutrition and supplementation, but only enough to get where I was at that point. To push myself further, I needed more. I needed a coach. I hadn’t had a trainer in five years so adhering to someone else’s workout routine wasn’t something I was terribly excited to do, but I understood the necessity. I had worked my butt off so how much different could it be?
I decided to reach out to IFBB Pro Malcolm Marshall for my training. When I met with him I explained my goals, my unique physique situation (with the missing pec), and what I was willing and unwilling to do. I was willing to do anything that it took to have the best shot at winning, except use steroids. I have nothing against those who do and I understand their necessity, I just personally want to see how far I can go naturally. I told him that I wanted to build a physique with the golden era of bodybuilding in mind. I think Frank Zane had one of the best physiques of all time, so I used that as my reference. He measured my body fat at around eight percent, and said he could tell “I had some mileage in the gym.” I agreed to train with him for the seventeen weeks leading up to my competition. Again, how hard could it be?
I hadn’t puked after a back workout in quite a while, and let me tell you, after my first session I puked my guts out. The volume was more intense than anything I had ever done. I almost laughed when he put a 25lbs plate on the T-Bar for rows, but after twenty reps wide and twenty reps close with no rest that thought had vanished completely. He also introduced me to 1,1,10’s. This exercise is a bent over row holding a light weight in each hand. You do one row with your right arm, one row with your left, and then ten together. Perform this ten times for one rep. It is brutal. Nearly every exercise is performed with a rep range of 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, all done without rest making one set, and usually doing four sets. This type of training was new to me, and my body responded drastically.
The diet was also new to me. Before I had been eating around five meals a day, with a protein shake after a workout. Now I am eating eight meals. In the morning I have eight egg whites and two cups of oatmeal. Mid-morning I have a protein shake and a teaspoon of peanut butter. For lunch I have eight ounces of chicken, one cup of white rice, two cups of broccoli and a large mixed greens salad. About two hours after that I drink another protein shake with another teaspoon of peanut butter. Amazingly not long after that, I find myself ready to eat my next meal. The fifth meal of the day is eight ounces of chicken, one cup of white potatoes, two cups of broccoli and another large mixed greens salad. The sixth meal, eaten immediately after my workout in the afternoon is eight ounces of chicken, one cup white rice, and one cup of broccoli. Later in the evening, the seventh meal is steak or bison, around ten ounces, with a large salad. Right before bed, I have a casein protein shake and a teaspoon of peanut butter. All this, and two gallons of water daily.
Most people would think that this was a bulking diet, but I was shredding up like crazy! The meals every two hours kept my metabolism running like a well-oiled machine and I was hungry all the time. The high glycemic index of the white rice is perfect for getting your insulin levels up quickly, and it sits in my muscle bellies quite well. After only four weeks on the diet I was craving even more food, but I knew I couldn’t have it. I allowed myself one cheat meal a week until the six week point, and writing this now I am at seven weeks out.
The supplementation is not much different than what I had been doing. A multivitamin, fish oil, calcium, CLA and a fat burner in the morning, a fat burner with lunch, BCAA’s throughout the day, whey and casein protein shakes, and a creatine free pre workout. Each one is absolutely essential for what I need to do to my body since I am on such a strict diet.
With fat being a close second, my ego was the first thing to go. I had never put 25lbs plates on the barbell for bench press before, but with the volume of 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 I had no choice but to start there. My chest aches after each workout and is sharpening up nicely. There is no room for ego in this sport. Prepping for a competition has nothing to do with how much weight you can move. All that you can show for the work you’ve put in is the physique that you bring to the stage. This was hard for me to grasp at first. I have prided myself for being able to go moderately heavy through workouts for a long time and completely phasing out of that was tough. My strength has gone down, but it will return in the off season. Muscle memory will account for that.
I want to bring the very best that I can to the stage, and for that reason I am willing to adapt to new training principles and a strict diet. I have the discipline needed to achieve my goal. Part of that discipline comes from a genuine passion for the sport. Currently I am at about 187lbs and five percent body fat. I am right where I need to be at the seven week mark, and I cannot wait to see the final product. This has not been easy, but it sure has been fun. I enjoy a challenge. I enjoy pushing myself. I enjoy seeing what I’m made of. These are all things that I have to do on a daily basis. To do this you have to push yourself to your absolute limit, then a little bit further. You’ll ache, you’ll puke, you’ll crave, but you’ll look in the mirror and smile. This is the first of many competitions I will compete in, and the beginning of my journey into the fitness industry. To see my progress follow me on Instagram @theonepecwonder , and on snapchat at gunnar_anderson.