Last year I did a blog titled Ever Wondered How the Most Muscular Guy in the Gym Lifts? www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
I've always felt a follow-up blog about some of the daily habits of this same man would perhaps help someone else looking to make the most of their physique. While the weight lifting is obviously what has put all of that muscle on Ivory, what he does day-in and day-out contributes heavily to his health and appearance, as well. It really is a whole package if you want to get results as impressive as his.
*********NOTE***** I am not implying that anyone else should adopt ALL of these habits! Even Ivory didn't take them all on at once. Like anyone else who has made lasting lifestyle changes, he implement these bit by bit over the course of years.
So here, in no particular order, are some of the things I have observed and/or wrangled out of Ivory about what it is he does on a day-to-day basis:
- Never drinks soda. Unsweet tea? Yes. The occasional sugar-free Rock Star before a workout? Unfortunately, yes. (This makes me batty!) But carbonated beverages? In three years I've never seen him ingest one.
- Never drinks alcohol. No kidding.
- Rarely ingests sugar. I mean, hardly ever. Around the holidays he may have a piece of sweet potato pie or banana pudding, but sugar for the most part is not in his diet.
- Keeps white flour to a bare minimum. Maybe once every week or two he'll have pancakes (with sugar-free syrup) right after a workout, but almost every other starch Ivory eats is either potatoes or whole grain.
- Not afraid of carbs, but eats plenty of protein. Protein is the center of most of his meals, but he always has some kind of a starch and usually either veggies or fruit along with it.
- Keeps fruit consumption fairly low- perhaps a piece of fruit a day.
- Eats an extremely wide variety of foods.
- Stops eating when he is full. He'll leave half a plate of food because "I'm full"
- And, because everyone wonders this: Doesn't go anywhere near steroids or other stuff purported to help you gain muscle. Tried Creatine once, but it dehydrated him so bad that he wound up in the ER. About the only thing supplemental he takes is the occasional scoop of protein powder and a multivitamin when he remembers it. Really. (I made him pinky swear on this one.)
- Cardio is short (usually 20-30 minutes) but very intense. I'm tellin' ya, the guy is positively raining sweat when he gets done with a cardio session.
- Changes set/rep scheme and the exercises he does frequently.
- Hits every muscle group once a week.
- Takes more time to train shoulders than any other body part.
- Takes 1 day a week as rest day from gym. He typically lifts weights Mon-Fri and does cardio Mon, Fri, and Sat. Sometimes Tuesday.
- Gives full rest between sets. This way, he's able to put maximum effort into all of his lifting.
- Asks for a spotter when he goes super-heavy. If there is no one around to spot, he doesn't go heavy that day and does more reps.
- Does abbreviated movements on big lifts- stays in the tension.
- Always keeps good form. If he can't keep proper form, he lowers the weight.
Life in General:
- Keeps a relaxed attitude- What some would call stressful, he just accepts as life and rolls with it.
- Is hardly ever in a hurry. For as fast as this guy moves during cardio, he kinda ambles around the rest of the time.
- Prioritizes taking time to do things he enjoys (coaching football, playing softball, going to his kids sporting events, fishing)
- Invests time in friendships.
- Keeps current on fitness information and is always willing to learn and try new things.
- Makes an effort to stand up strait- excellent posture.
- Sleeps all he can. He is a night worker, so sleep is usually very broken up, but he does the best he can given the circumstances.
- Lost weight when he needed to. Ivory told me that at 6'2" he weighed 330, if I remember correctly, for quite a while. It was affecting his health. The doctor gave him what-for, Ivory listened and started eating better and adding cardio to his exercise routine (he'd been lifting all along). He lost 50 pounds and the weight has stayed off. Gotta respect that.
Lastly, I feel compelled to point out that it has taken years of doing these same things, day in and day out, to get to where he is now. Genetically Ivory is indeed gifted, but the mounds of thick and well-defined muscle would not be there if he didn't work hard and stay consistent in his habits. So if you aren't getting the results you want in a few weeks or months, remember that it takes sticking to doing the right things over and over for many years on end to be able to carry this kind of a look well into your 40's (Ivory is 45), and beyond.