True Grit

Cody Montgomery’s total-body blast

For many bodybuilders, their passion for lifting weights began in high school. Whether it was getting strong for football or just wanting to put more size on a teenage frame, it was the start of a lifelong journey. But not many teenagers have the desire or discipline to actually compete at that age. Between school, family obligations, and maybe even a part-time job, fnding the time to work out, do cardio, and cook clean food generally dissuades most from even thinking about it. But Cody Montgomery has done all that for the past several years, winning the NPC Teen Nationals twice. Now a freshman at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Montgomery is preparing once again for the Teen Nationals, hoping to sweep both the Teen—which would make him an unprecedented three-time champ—and the Collegiate overall trophies.

Montgomery is not your average teenager. Not only does he train seven days a week while attending school full time, but his first semester college GPA was also an impressive 3.5. And let’s not even get started about his diet. It’s the of-season, yet, like clockwork, Montgomery still eats his seven clean meals a day, allowing himself only two cheat meals a week—either In-N-Out Burger or some variation—on Sunday nights. Between the 2012 and 2013 Teen Nationals, he put on 16 pounds of muscle. He can thank his age for some of that growth, but the rest is clearly due to his focused approach to eating and training. It’s hard enough for most people to stick to a contest diet, but Montgomery never complains. For him, food is fuel. Food makes him train harder. Food helps him add 16 pounds every year. His capacity for self-discipline makes him mature beyond his years.

A WINNING TEAM

His contest diet is done by 2011 NPC Collegiate overall winner and fellow Texan Jonathan Irizarry (ji-ftness.com). They met through a mutual friend when Montgomery was just 15 years old and had competed at Europa but was looking for someone to help him properly train for the Ronnie Coleman Classic. A partnership was formed. Their meeting spot became Metrofex Gym in Plano, now known as Destination Dallas. That’s where Irizarry supervises Montgomery’s training when Montgomery comes back home from college for weekends or breaks.

I asked Irizarry what a normal day looks like in terms of diet. “Cody eat seven times a day—standard bodybuilding fare like oatmeal or grits with a dozen egg whites or eight ounces of beef and two cups of rice with a little barbecue sauce,” he said. I wondered if it was a challenge working with such a young bodybuilder, and he assured me, “Cody is very meticulous. He’s almost OCD in terms of his diet. He leaves nothing to chance.” Sunday is a cheat day in the off-season. Well, really a partial cheat day since he only does it for his last two meals.

When dieting, though, Sunday is a “refeed” day, which always begins after a very heavy leg workout. His traditional refeed is spent hitting a local pancake house to get several stacks with chocolate chips, bananas, candy, and a lot of syrup. However, it’s important to note that he never does a pure junk food day. His 4,000-calorie refeed days, which consist of mostly clean carbs after the decadent pancake meal, are carefully calculated to coincide with his weekly diet plan.

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