He’s Still Got It!

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Former IFBB pro Dave Hawk, 51, finishes his 90-day challenge to get into peak condition. Here’s how he did it.

Even when you’re young, it’s difficult to maintain muscle while losing a lot of body fat to get into top shape. But as the creator and leader of all of M&B’s transformation programs, I had to be able to prove I could get it done.

Participating in my own 90-day challenge was a rude awaking that made me realize that my former bodybuilding glory days in the late ’80s and early ’90s were both a blessing and a small curse to my aging body. Thankfully, I did have some decent muscle memory, which helped me to dial into my training faster and generate some solid results. The downside was that with every good workout, I was conditioned to push harder at the gym, forgetting that my body will no longer respond positively to heavy training. I just can’t recover like I used to. This can lead to overtraining and poor results.

After being crushed from a few needlessly intense workouts, I realized that my championship bodybuilding days are behind me. My mind clearly remembers when my body once weighed around 270 lb in the offseason and 225 lb in competition. When you hit the age of 40, you have to rethink your training and diet process. You have to be very smart about your approach, or you’ll hurt yourself and burn out.

Get Motivated

For me, the most difficult part of this program was scheduling my training and planning my diet. For any transformation to succeed, the key lies in making time to exercise and finding the exact calorie balance and ratio of protein, carbs, fat and fiber that allows you to maintain your gains while dropping excess fat.

About 80% of results come from diet and nutrition; the other 20% comes from training. I was running at 60% with my diet and nutrition, and about 15% with my training, so my results should be at that level. For my goal of getting in fit shape, that’s more than what I needed. I worked through my left torn elbow joint and my right shoulder tear while trying to manage my borderline type 2 diabetes with my diet.

If you look at my before-and-after photos below, I may no longer be Mr. USA or Mr. World, but I made some nice changes in 90 days. While I didn’t reach my ultimate goal in that time, if I continue for another 30 days or slightly longer, I should hit it.

Sometimes we have to understand that transforming your physique may take longer than we expect, but if you stay focused, good things happen. Fitness is a lifestyle, not necessarily a 90-day challenge. The goal is to keep moving forward. As long as you do that, you’re on the right track for success.

Manage Your Calories And Hunger

When you reach the final weeks of a transformation program, you’re going to be required to reduce your caloric intake in order to look as tight and taut as possible, while whittling down your waistline on your triumphant last day. You can’t just skip entire meals or cut foods and quality calories your body needs.

The two things that were extremely important for me was my protein and fiber intake. With more volume training and cardio stimulation, my body needed slightly higher protein intake (achieved with Amidren Protein) while balancing the right amount of carbs and fats, so muscle doesn’t become catabolic or shrink while supporting greater body cleansing. For the last month, I increased my protein intake to 1.2 g per pound of lean body weight.

The BarnDad’s FiberDX added to my Amidren Protein shake greatly curbed my hunger, helping to provide protein to build muscle while reduce fat, cholesterol and support healthier blood-sugar levels, which is necessary for me.

When trying to lose body fat, a lot of people have a tendency to take in hardly any healthy fats. This is a mistake for anyone trying to gain lean muscle mass while losing weight. A low-fat diet is fine for a general exercise program, but when you want to manage and maintain rock-hard muscle, healthy fats (almonds, flaxseed, olive oil and/or natural peanut butter) become a critical component.

Train Smarter, Not Harder

In my last 45 days, things got a bit crazy. I had to increase my training volume for each body part, which meant doing more sets and reps with moderate weight, working for a good muscle pump. The goal was to maintain the gains I had achieved while cutting as much fat as possible. To do this, I also kicked up my cardio time.

I needed to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible to create muscle separation and shape, so I pushed myself to do more volume training. Although I would still run a few good heavy compound sets to try and develop some strength and lean muscle, at my age and for my goal, I found it better to keep the volume up. My biggest problem for the program was that I didn’t have more than four or five days a week to work out for 60–80-minute sessions.

Just three months ago, at 51 and weighing 217 lb in fair condition, I was too embarrassed to take my shirt off at the pool. Now, I feel on top of the world.

Four years ago, I found a great partner and love of my life, Lisa. She is a blessing to me. Lisa and I are expecting a beautiful little girl in March. Growing my family gives me even more motivation to keep the dreams of fitness alive.

Thankfully, I know that if you take the time to exercise at least four days a week, watch your diet and use quality nutrition products to boost your health, you can make some great physical changes while improving your health and longevity. You may not become Mr. USA or Mr. World, but you’ll feel great and won’t worry about walking around shirtless anywhere.

Ready to embark on your own transformation? Download Dave Hawk’s training-and-nutrition regimen at muscleandbodymag.com.

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Dave’s Stats

Age: 51
Height: 5’9”

Day 1 Day 90
Weight 217 lb 205 lb
Chest/Back 45” 47”
Biceps 16” 17.25”
Waist 38” 33.75”
Quad 25” 26.5”

In 90 days, Hawk lost 12 lb and 4.25 inches off his waist, and he gained lean muscle:

• 2 inches on his chest and back
• 1.25 inches on his arms
• 1.5 inches on his quads

Building Blocks: Dave Hawk’s Supplement Program

No pill or powder will ever be a substitute for hard work, but as Dave Hawk says, “Good supplementation puts you in a gear to excel and go beyond your normal potential.” Here are some crucial additions to his pantry for this transformation—and beyond.

Test Drive

Amidren
Never be scared of andropause and its offspring—muscle wasting and obesity—again. This blend of magnesium, zinc, copper, saw palmetto and tribulus helps jump-start natural testosterone production while blocking estrogen and producing a proper ratio that maximizes muscle building, energy and libido.

Fat Chance

Amidren Burner
The body likes to hold on to fat. (Blame cavemen, who skipped a lot of meals.) You can help hit the toggle switch from blubber to burning with Burner, which uses all-natural ingredients to stimulate your metabolism, making sure your gains are lean and existing fat stores are used as energy.

Bulk Strategy

BarnDad’s FiberDX
Forget (for a minute) protein, carbs and fat; fiber might be the most underappreciated macronutrient around. Like a sweeper for your intestines, a good fiber supplement helps catch and release saturated fats and contributes to a feelisng of satiety. It can also be a crucial component in lowering cholesterol, a nagging problem for men over 40. BarnDad’s FiberDX mixes into virtually any noncarbonated beverage and delivers 11 g of a fiber matrix and 7 g of protein.

Recovery Mode

Amidren Builder
Too much exercise can be catabolic, breaking down muscle tissue instead of building it up. Amidren Builder blocks cortisol (a wasting hormone) and primes the body for optimal recovery and a greater anabolic response.

Protein Power

Amidren Performance Protein
With so many protein jugs on shelves, why Amidren? Using highly bioactive whey and pea protein isolates produces an easily digested addition to your diet without the bloating. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Added probiotics boost your immune system and also help the stomach better utilize the nutrients you’re taking in.

Multivitamin

GNC Mega Men 50 Plus & Triple Strength Fish Oil
GNC’s multivitamin for men of a certain age can help lower the chances of prostate cancer in addition to providing an energy boost. And since you’re more likely to be sore the morning after a workout, consider adding the most celebrated of solutions: fish oil. It’s proven to reduce joint pain and help get you ready for the next session.

Natural Water Diuretic

MHP’s Xpel 
Xpel is the quick water-loss solution for those who need to lose weight fast. Its gentle yet highly effective water-loss blend goes to work immediately, leaving you with a nonbloated feeling.

Image courtesy of Alan King.