By: Peter Pham, MachineMuscle.com
Today we are going to get to know Tervor Ragan, a young college student that is looking to compete in his first bodybuilding show in the coming year!
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Peter: Could you give us a little background info on who you are?
Trevor: Certainty! I am currently a sophomore studying at Ohio University. I am 20 years old, 5 foot 11 inches, and weigh 195lbs. I currently reside in Athens, Ohio where I am working to attain a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Nutrition with minor concentrations in Environmental Health Sciences and Business Administration. In addition to being a full time undergrad, I also work as a Resident Assistant for the university’s Department of Residential Housing ( yes, I unfortunately still live in the dorms). Over the past year and a half, I started getting into bodybuilding and am in the process of prepping for competitions later this year.
Peter: What got you started on your road to the DO WORK! Lifestyle?
Trevor: Growing up, I played tons of sports and was always active. I started out playing club soccer all over Ohio and Pennsylvania and then took up football as a placekicker years later. Taking up football in high school introduced me to the Olympic style of powerlifting. I was fortunate to earn All-State honors and got my name into the state record books as a kicker, but did not seem satisfied.
Over the years of playing football, I realized I was into the training and preparation more so than the actual sport. The lifting, the running, the time management; it all made me a better student and person at the same time. So naturally, after my football career ended, I picked up power style bodybuilding. The more I got into the sport, the more I liked it. Everything about it is beneficial to life in general. It really brings out discipline and mental toughness in everything I do. If you are not doing your best work, you might as well give into being mediocre and no one wants to be average.
Peter: What exactly is “power style” bodybuilding?
Trevor: To me, power bodybuilding encompasses using Olympic style lifts that focus on moving heavy weight more so than holding contractions, forcing blood into tissue, and focusing on exhausting the muscle. The typical big three: squat, bench, deadlift (or power cleans). I call it power style just based on the premise that it has more of a powerlifting background to it as compared to other training techniques. However, I do think that it is a great place to start as it uses 3 of the most fundamental lifts in powerlifting and bodybuilding.
That is all great stuff but different things work for different people and training as heavy as possible is not always the answer. Training heavy is great from time to time, but if you can pull a 500lb deadlift and look like you have never touched a weight in your life, then you need to change up your methods and adjust your load accordingly. Bodybuilding is subjective towards physique, not how much you can lift. A person who squats 100lbs with great form and technique that has lean, separated quads will beat the guy who can hit 500lbs and has chicken legs all day every day.
Peter: What keeps you motivated through everything?
Trevor: A good majority of my motivation to continue training hard and living this lifestyle has a lot to do with the people that I choose to surround myself with. There have been many times when I wanted to give up and just pack it in. It is very hard see changes take place when you train by yourself around hundreds of people at a time in a crowded gym. It is easier to see other people make gains before you notice yourself making any progress and that can be discouraging.
Patience is a virtue and this sport takes it to the next level. Overall, I got lucky in having some great friends and a brother who are in the same spot I am, and never fail in holding me accountable. Often times, I also look up to fictional superheroes for motivation. Superman is a typical one for many people, but the Incredible Hulk is the biggest, angriest, greenest dude there is. It is always a great day to be green and pissed off. You can always be bigger, greener, leaner, and meaner! Following people like Marc Lobliner, Layne Norton, RJ Perkins, JR Barthel, and Derek Charlebois have been great motivators in my decisions to compete. These guys kill it!
Peter: Current goals, such as a show or competition you planning to compete in or new physique achievement?
Trevor: This summer /early fall (2012) I will be competing in my first bodybuilding competition. The first one will be a smaller WNBF show in Ohio and I am contemplating a follow up show in the Pittsburgh area with the OCB. This will be my first bout of on stage competition. As of right now, I plan to step on as a middleweight and hope to come in freaky and peeled. In addition, my goals will remain to be as healthy and active as possible. Regardless of how I place, bodybuilding is subjective, so no matter what happens, I will continue to maintain this lifestyle.
Peter: Since you will be going out for your first bodybuilding competition soon, what kind of things are you doing to prepare for it?
Trevor: For my first time out, I obviously want to be in the best shape and condition possible, but the tanning and routine are really going to be tough. Even with a trainer helping with posing and a routine, it’s really hard to coordinate meetings and sessions with him when away at college. Other than that, I want to have a solid color on stage so I will probably start tanning a month or so out before the paint and all that good stuff. Shaving is a pain in the ass sometimes, but it is worth it in the end. It has become a habit to shave arms, legs, chest, and everything year round. I would rather shave continuously than to have a fur coat to shave off days before and risk irritations and things like that. It only takes a few minutes once or twice a week; it becomes routine after the first few times. Besides, it is very intimidating to women when you have smoother, better-looking legs than they do.
Peter: What is your current training program look like?
Trevor: Currently, I am using a combination of training principles. I train 5 days a week with two resting days. Being pressed for time at a college rec center, I take a combination of high intensity training with some muscle activation movements to really drive it home. I usually like a higher volume for chest and back, but it is not very beneficial to be in the gym for 3 or 4 hours waiting for equipment. Personally, if I cannot get all of my energy and effort out in 15-20 sets per muscle group in about an hour, the training session is not tough enough.
Spending hours in the gym for 30 or 40 sets per group just invites catabolism and overtraining, especially if the intensity remains high as possible. As of right now, I try to incorporate at least one Olympic style movement into each muscle group. Deadlifts on back day, squats on leg day, and standing military or push press for delts. My typical schedule changes based on my workload, but I use a 3 on, 1 off, 2 on cycle. My rep ranges tend to stay in the 6-12 area, with a few lower rep sets for Olympic type movements. I am a big proponent of forced reps and slow negatives. Nothing beats a good negative. In off-season preparation, I hit a LISS cardio session of 25 to 30 minutes for cardiovascular health twice a week. I find that using combinations of training styles rather than one strict program allows not only for variety, but also for additional benefits in finding what works best for each individual.
Peter: How about your diet? Any eating tips or quick recipes you want to share?
Trevor: My diet is fairly basic. I eat five to six meals a day with a post workout shake depending. Being in college makes it tough to eat around classes or laboratories. Having things prepared ahead of time is always a great idea, or at least have a plan laid out for attaining your meals. Tuna or tilapia, chicken breast, beef, turkey, brown rice, basmati rice, almonds, whole grain tortilla shells, oatmeal, blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli; the typical meathead foods you would find most competitors throwing down. Keeping it simple is necessary; cooking in a microwave blows! However, I am allowed one cheat meal per week, which is always exciting.
A quick recipe that is a staple to my regimen is a unique twist on a post-workout shake. I mix up 1 cup of sugar free, unsweetened applesauce (cheapest store brand) into a shaker with two scoops MTS vanilla whey (or whatever powder I have on hand) and a scoop of Scivation Xtend. It sounds a little gross, but it tastes pretty good and serves a great purpose. You could throw some Splenda in there, but it tastes great by itself.
Peter: Favorite supplements?
Trevor: My favorite go to supplements would all be typical ones: BCAA’s, glutamine, creatine monohydrate, EFA’s, and a good whey powder. Yohimbine HCL and green tea extract are two others I use regularly as well. Scivation Xtend is hands down the best BCAA supplement on the market. That stuff is the business! While training, studying, and working a job in college, there is little time for proper rest and recovery. Supplementing with branched chains definitely helps to alleviate some of that stress, especially during training sessions.
Peter: If you could go back to your starting point, what kind of advice would you give yourself?
Trevor: If I could go back, I would tell myself that diet is more important than the training itself. With a proper, individualized diet, you cannot go wrong. Becoming educated with how your own body works is crucial to laying your foundation, more so than pulling or pushing weight in the gym. Getting caught up in just throwing around weight and trying to outwork everyone else will only get you so far. Diet is a full time, 24 hour a day job. This sport is stressful; hire someone to be your “third eye”. It is a huge help and takes a ton of pressure off.
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