PHASE 1: January ’03 – February ’03
After taking a couple of months completely off of training to rest and recuperate both physically and mentally, Ronnie went back to the gym. At this point, I put him on a pretty clean diet, keeping his protein around 400 grams (I didn’t push the proteins or carbs at this point) and his carb intake around 800 grams. Ronnie’s protein always consisted of beef and poultry—he never ate fish. His carbs consisted of oats, grits, potatoes, and some rice—he never ate vegetables. This first phase of relatively clean eating lasted around eight weeks, taking us to March and the beginning of phase 2.
PHASE 2: March ’03 – May ’03
In this phase, I wanted to push the envelope a bit more to take him to the next level of strength while also pushing his weight to the heaviest point. This phase would run for approximately 12 weeks. At this time, I upped his daily protein intake to 500 grams. Throughout the week he ate exactly 500 grams of protein. I didn’t vary the amounts at all and I was very adamant about sticking to this. If you have seen any of his videos, Ronnie had a daily plan, even during the off-season: He ate certain meals at home, certain meals at the Black-eyed Pea, and certain meals at Outback Steakhouse. Through this phase we made certain he was able to stick with this plan so that his protein amounts were always the same.
The carbohydrate amounts during the second phase were planned so they fluctuated throughout the week and pyramided up as the week progressed. We began the week with clean carbs in the 700–800 grams range and upped them each day so that by Friday, Ronnie would be eating clean carbs in the range of 1,200–1,500 grams. On Saturday and Sunday, that carb amount would skyrocket when I added around 1,000 grams of “junk food” carbs, pushing his weekend carb intake to 2,200–2,500 grams. On the weekends I also increased his fats from his usual 50–100 daily grams to 150–200.
Come Monday, we would once again decrease the carb amounts to the beginning point of 700–800 grams and begin the pyramiding process all over again. We continued this path for the entire 12-week period of phase 2 with the hopes of getting his weight higher than it had been. When phase 2 concluded at the end of May, Ronnie’s weight was already at the 320-pound goal I wanted him to reach by the end of the off-season.
PHASE 3: June ’03
With the 2003 Mr. Olympia still another five months away, I knew we had a little more time to really take things over the top. June would bring another brief off-season phase that would help Ronnie mature the size and weight we had gained during the first two phases. I used phase 3 to alter his diet—shifting from clean foods and adding in more fats. I wanted a drastic change between his off-season diet and
contest diet, so that when his 2003 Olympia preparation began, he would not plateau and we would be able to continue with consistent weight and fat loss throughout the entire program.
By June, Ronnie was already the heaviest he had ever been during an off-season by about 10 pounds. With this in mind, I wasn’t really looking to add much weight—I just really wanted him to maintain the weight he had gained as long as possible before beginning the diet.
For phase 3, his protein amounts continued with a consistent 500 grams daily—never veering. I kept his daily carb amounts more consistent. Instead of pyramiding up in carb amounts, I kept his daily carbs “clean” and around the 1,500 grams range. However, every third day I would have Ronnie eat an extra 800–1,000 grams of “junk carbs” or more simple sugar carbs in addition to the clean carbs—it was almost like a carb-loading day, if you will. From there, we would go back to the 1,500 grams of clean carbs for a couple of days, and then add the extra carbs back in for a quick loading day. We continued with the 1,500 grams, bumping up to 2,500 grams for about seven weeks. We were able to put on yet another seven pounds during phase 3, bringing him to a shocking 327 pounds by the time his 2003 Mr. Olympia diet would begin.
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