Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tracy Zimmer's Bodybuilding Program

Tracy recently won the middle-weight class and finished second overall at the Steve Stone Metropolitan Championships in New York.  Here is her exact training, diet and cardio schedule form her training log.


Since we followed a body part split, the training schedule is straight forward:

Day 1 Shoulders
Day 2 Legs
Day 3 Chest/Calves
Day 4 Off
Day 5 Back 
Day 6 Arms
Day 7 Off

When I was 11 weeks out, we began lifting 6 days a week, taking Saturdays off (cardio only).  So some weeks we would hit the same body part twice.

As far as sets, reps, and rest goes, we would usually do 20 sets a body part.  So for shoulders or arms we may do 4 exercises, 5 sets a piece.  Reps could vary, but it was typically between 10 and 20 especially for upper body.  Leg and back workouts may have been a little different--10 to 15 total sets.  In terms of specific exercises, we usually stuck with the basics and hardly touched a machine.  Generally, workouts would look like this:

Shoulders: BB or DB Press, Laterals, Kirks/Shrugs, Rear Raises - All 5x12

Legs: Squat 6x6 or 5x12, Walking BB Lunges (6x40 yards with 65lbs or 6x20 yards with 95lbs), Leg Curls 5x12

Chest/Calves: DB Bench, Flat or Incline DB Flyes 5x12, Dips x5 sets-as many as possible but not to failure, then donkeys 5x30

Back: These workouts were the least similar in sets and reps, but the exercise selection was fairly routine-Deads/Dorian deads, chins, bent rows, one arm rows, and occasionally pullovers.  One workout we did bent over rows for 15x12 with short rest.  Most workouts would be some combination of deads, one arm rows, and chin-ups.  At the end of one workout I remember counting sets and reps for chins and it totaled 90 reps!

About 5 weeks out, Steel had me add in 3x20 light leg extensions and light leg curls every day as forced flexing.

My last lift before the show was that Monday and I squatted 185 3x15, did 6x20 yards of walking barbell lunges with 95lbs and finished with 5x12 leg curls.  The next 2 days I went through this circuit: machine chest press, lat pulls, machine laterals, cable curls, pushdowns, leg press, calves (using leg press) 1x50.  Tuesday I did all of these exercises for 3x30 and Wednesday I did 2x50.


Like the lifting, this was routine.  Back in October I had been doing an hour any way I could-bike for 1 hour straight or 2, 30 minute sessions.  November I was up to 90 minutes for 2 sessions any way I wanted.  Then in December 2012 I mixed it up with some higher intensity work for one hour.  I would run stadiums in Franklin Field for time, completing as many sprint up/walk down reps in 20-30 minutes.  The other 30-40 minutes of cardio I would do intervals (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy) on the bike.  I've had a number of back issues and running stadiums fired up my SI joint, so running them didn't last too long.  At some point in December, I also joined a gym near me for the convenience of locaiton and because they have stepmills.  I began doing 2 hours of cardio 8 weeks out from he show and I weighted just under 150.  4 weeks out, Steel said I should switch it up and try to get more out of intervals to shorten the total amount of cardio time.  I did 2, 30 minute interval sessions or climbed the stepmill FAST!  The last few weeks I changed it up, usually alternating days between 2 hours of steady state, and 1 hour of high-intensity cardio.  I always did 2 sessions-first thing in the morning and at night.  This is how I finished out the last 3 weeks.  My final cardio session was 35 minutes of easy biking the Wednesday before the show.


Back in mid-October when I decided I needed to lose weight, I was 165.6 and I had been very random with dieting, not sticking to anything in particular: some weeks I'd try to stay Anabolic(all meat), some weeks I'd eat beef and sweet potatoes, or if I felt like eating an entire jar of peanut butter, I would because I really had no goal.  In need of help, I asked Steel what I should do-I was miserable, and he knows I have a million food hang-ups so he had me start with carb cycling to keep things simple and a little less strict.

He told me to do 2 days with zero carbs, 2 days with 100 grams of carbs, 2 days with 200 grams of carbs, then repeat the cycle.  My protein sources were chicken, turkey, lean beef, egg whites, tuna, and zero carb shakes (Isopure).  For carbs I ate either oats, sweet potatoes, or rice (brown or white).  I also had the individual packs of planters Men's Health nuts for fat: I ate 2 packs on zero carb days and 1 pack on 100 gram carb days.

I stuck with this for a while, having one cheat meal a week-typically Friday or Saturday night.  January 1st I weighed 155.  For one week, I went back to beef for 3 meals a day (I'm really not sure why), then stuck with the carb cycling until I was 9 weeks out from the competition.  Carb cycling works, but the progress is slow.

With 9 weeks to go, it was time for tilapia.  Two pound per day with whatever vegetables I wanted.  I typically ate red cabbage, but every now and then had green beans, green peppers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, or cucumbers.  Some days I added a 50 gram protein shake.  I ate like this for 3 weeks with no carbs and went form 150.4 to 143.2.  At this point I was starting to have less energy, so 6 weeks out, Steel would tell me to add carbs in every now and then--sweet potatoes or oats.  I was free to choose either and I normally opted for sweet potatoes.

Everything stayed the same until the last 10 days.  I went zero carb until the "carb up" which went like this:


  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: 12oz sweet potato, 4oz boiled chicken
  • 1 gallon distilled water (for the day)


  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: 12oz sweet potato, 4oz boiled chicken
  • And a snack! (12oz sweet potato between breakfast and lunch)
  • 2 liters distilled water (for the day)


  • Breakfast and Lunch: 12oz sweet potato, 4oz boiled chicken
  • Snack between breakfast and lunch: 12oz sweet potato
  • Dinner: 8oz steak and 16oz white baked potato
  • Sips of distilled water throughout the day

So there it is!  Please feel free to leave questions in the comment section or email me at

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.