The Road to 2800+
The Garry Frank Chronicles
By Anthony Ricciuto
Garry Frank is no other than a living icon in the sport of powerlifting. In the history of our sport, there has never been a lifter so strong and more complete. He is the Michael Jordan of powerlifting. He is what Muhammad Ali was to boxing, and what Wayne Gretzky was to hockey. Untouchable in his class, feared by his competitors, Garry Frank is a powerlifting superstar looking to rewrite the history books like never before.
For those of you that have been under a rock for the last couple of years, I will let you know that I have been working with Garry as his personal nutrition and supplementation coach. I will have to say that working with him has been nothing short of a pleasure. I am honored to work with the undisputed strongest man that has ever walked the planet! Many people think Garry isn’t human at all. They believe he is some type of powerlifting cyborg from another planet looking to wreak havoc on all the mortal human lifters out there. Garry Frank is a bad man and if you get in his way he will run you down like a freight train. There are a lot of great lifters that have graced the powerlifting stages. But none have dominated the sport and done things thought unimaginable like Garry. The purpose of this article is to take a look inside the nutritional practices of this superhuman beast and his secrets for taking his total to unseen heights.
Garry Frank is a Legend in Powerlifting!
I started working with Garry in the winter of 2002. At this time Garry had already done over 2500 pounds in the total. So by far, he was no amateur in the least. One thing that makes a true champion is that they are always looking for that extra edge. It is this edge that most average athletes overlook but only to their loss. Garry knew his training inside out. He had mastered his powerlifting gear working full time with Inzer Advance Designs. But there was still something missing in his plan. What was missing in his plan for stardom was the final touch that would help him more than he ever believed. Garry now looked in the direction of sports nutrition and supplementation. He knew other athletes used the practice to help them increase their performance but how would it pan out for a powerlifter? Was there such thing as specific nutrition protocols for powerlifters? Heck, the majority of powerlifters just eat what they want, when they want with no particular order. Just eat when the stomach grumbles and pile in as much as you can. As you can see that is not the best method of power eating but until recently that was the sad state of nutrition among the majority of powerlifters, even world champions. In all reality, up until my monthly column in PL USA for Nutrition, there was very little valuable information on sports nutrition for the powerlifter. Heck, there was tons of info on nutrition for runners, basketball players, and even bodybuilders, but Garry knew that these ideas were going to do little for his performance. What Garry needed was a customized nutrition and supplementation program that was going to get him some real-world results. So to make a long story short, Garry decided to work with me one on one to get that extra edge that he knew many of his competitors were avoiding. It was now time to give the Nutrition XP3 customized program a whirl on a genetic specimen like no other!
Buffets were No Longer on the Menu!
After the first phone consultation with Garry, I knew right away I was working with someone who was more than just a powerlifter. Garry was a true athlete as well. His past football history can attest to this. I have worked with numerous world champions but Garry is truly one of a kind lifter. Hey, I don’t have to tell you that. How many guys do you know that are as strong as Garry? As I went through all his background, medical info, and nutritional journal I realized one thing. The Nutrition XP3 program was going to get him some unbelievable results. As I looked over Garry’s nutritional journal I couldn’t believe my eyes. Garry’s diet wasn’t as bad as many of the lifters out there but he still liked eating some junk foods a little more than he needed. The real shocker that caught my eyes was his appetite. It was nothing, to say the least. Looking back over his first consult with me, his first journal layouts had him eating just over 4,000 calories a day. Can you believe it? Now many of you may say, “Hey that’s a lot of food.” Well from where I stand Garry was eating as much as some of my athletes in the 132-pound class. Yeah, that’s right! The strongest man to ever walk the face of this green earth was eating like a lightweight. I couldn’t believe my ears. There was no way he was maximizing his strength eating like that. When I was going through his journal with him on the phone I actually laughed and told him, “You are this strong and you eat like a lightweight. Wait until I am finished with you and you will see the weights that you are lifting now will be your warm-ups in the near future!” Little did we know that in the short distance my words would become a reality!
Not only were his calories way too low but his macronutrient ratios were also out of whack. We had a lot of other issues that we had to address as well. His micronutrients were severely depleted. With his hard training and hectic work schedule, he was burning his micronutrients off like there was no tomorrow. Another thing we had to take a look at was his metabolic rate. It was way too slow for what he was trying to accomplish. We had to get it running like a Mack truck if we were going to assault new territory. We had to get his metabolic rate not only increased but I had to get him to process and absorb an increased rate of nutrients if I was going to tackle new frontiers. Increasing his energy output was another factor that we had to address with his new nutrition plan. We had to get his energy level “jacked up” if he was going to be able to maintain his brute strength over long periods of time. These were not all the things that had to be fixed with his nutrition plan but were the major first “Nutrition Attack” that we were going to focus on over the next couple of training cycles.
Dialing In Garry’s Minerals was a Key to Performance!
Garry’s talent and genetic structure were unreal, to say the least, but his eating plan was in no way going to support what he needed to do. I needed to get his body working like a well-oiled machine and to fuel that massive structure of muscle I was going to have to design a plan that was going to be unlike anything you could imagine. No longer could Garry simply eat what he wanted and when he felt like it. Not only was I consulting with Garry, but his wife Teresa was on board full time. I worked with her one on one as well in the layout of his nutrition and supplementation plan. She was his personal chef and “Nutritional Technician”. Whatever I laid out for him she guaranteed was going to be eaten. There was no way out for Garry now. He had me in his corner and Teresa “The Enforcer” was going to make sure that he did as I instructed otherwise she was going to make some serious trouble for him. Garry now had no choice but to give it his best and give it his all. Teresa was fantastic to work with since she prepared all his meals in advance and made sure that his supplementation schedule was on the mark day in and day out. To tell you the truth neither Garry nor I could have made this a success without her. She was that ace in the hole that totally made the difference to make my nutritional plans go the distance. No plan will work if you don’t give it your best and Teresa made sure that there was nothing less than 100% effort. I know all you other powerlifters must be jealous when you hear about her support of Garry. I know a lot of other lifters who wish they had the same kind of support from their spouse when it comes to the iron game. She was a true gem and I am happy to have her help make sure that everything went smoothly.
Garry’s Meal Prep was on Point!
The first major competition that we focused on was the WPO Semi-finals taking place in New Orleans on Nov 8th and 9th 2002. For this show, Garry and I put our heads together to make sure we were going to do some major damage. This was going to be one show that was going to go down in the history books. For this contest, I did some major changes with Garry. One thing that we decided on for this show was to get his weight down. Garry usually hovers between 385 –405 pounds during the year. One major thing that we focused on for this show was to get his body fat level down while maximizing his lean tissue gain. On contest day Garry weighed in at a svelte 368. He was down from 395 at the beginning of his training cycle. He was on the cover of the December 2002 Powerlifting USA and you can see from the picture that he was much leaner and more muscular than in meets prior to this event. One of the first things that I got him to do is increase the number of meals that he was eating. Heck, Garry was only eating three square meals a day and a little dessert on the side. I told Garry that there were cockroaches in New York that ate more than that. Eating more meals definitely made a huge difference in his overall metabolic rate. I got his metabolism working like a furnace burning off whatever I fed the engine. If it wasn’t going to help Garry burn fat, build muscle, increase his anaerobic endurance, and make his strength go through the roof then it wasn’t on the plan and it most definitely wasn’t going in his mouth. From this order, Teresa made sure that she monitored his junk food intake and made sure that he didn’t stop by the local 7-ELEVEN for 5 or 6 ice cream bars or chocolate tacos as he was known for doing in the past. Those days of just wolfing down whatever his fancy was gone. His body was now running on a well-calculated nutritional program. The Nutrition XP3 plan was going to get the ultimate test- a major competition against some of the best strength athletes from around the world all looking for the gold. One other major thing we changed with his diet was his protein intake. Garry had not been eating enough protein to say the least. I had guys less than half his weight eating double what he was. His lack of protein throughout the day was leaving him in a catabolic state leading to muscle loss. I know from looking at him you would think I was crazy but once he was on his game plan the amount of lean tissue that Garry put on in the last phase of his contest cycle was phenomenal. You guys out there know that I am big on protein among other things but now Garry started to realize that I wasn’t just blowing sweet nothings in his ear. All my ranting and raving to get his protein consumption up was something that he now truly believed in. He saw the effect immediately as his strength was going up every workout. His training cycle went extremely well and we knew he was ready for his big day. The contest day was soon upon us and no one was more excited to see how his new nutrition plan was going to perform than Teresa and me.
Garry Heisey’s Deadlift Record wasn’t touched for over a Decade!
It was the day of the big meet and you could smell the adrenaline in the air. Garry was pumped and primed to do some major damage. Today was the day he declared war and he was not taking any prisoners. He had a few technical glitches but Garry still hit a 959 in the squat and 672 in the bench press. Could you imagine having a bad day only squatting almost a thousand and benching close to 700? I could use a bad day like that anytime! He had some trouble with the bench shirt during the meet. Since he lost a good amount of weight the shirt was not dialed in right for his new leaner structure. His squat suit as well was not giving him the support in the right areas due to his changed body structure. Since he didn’t get his equipment altered for his new leaner body this threw off his game plan. But Garry is a true champion at heart. He wasn’t going to allow a few glitches to get in his way. Just as things were not going his way, when the bar hit the floor the tide seemed to change direction. The main attraction of the show was the deadlift. As you all know the deadlift record has barely moved in over a decade. The 925 deadlift by Garry Heisey back in the early ’90s wasn’t touched until recently when Andy Bolton did a 926 deadlift. Garry was pumped for this show and knew he needed the deadlift record more now than ever. As he battled back and forth with Bolton in the deadlift, he knew that today was the day history was going to be made! It was an intense war in the deadlift and on that day only one man was going to stand the victor. Garry knew it was now or never and there was no way this day was going to end on a sour note. Garry’s opener flew up like he had 135 on the bar. Heck, he probably could have ripped it up for a good 8 reps. His second attempt flew up just as easy. It was now the time to go for the gusto and set the history books on fire with an attempt that would leave all the super deadlifters of powerlifting past in the dust. Garry called for 931 pounds for his third and final attempt. With the roar of the frenzied crowd, Garry approached the bar like a machine ready to do what he does best! When all was said and done Garry ripped 931 off the floor like it he was stealing candy from a baby. He held it there long enough to make sure everyone knew who now was the world’s strongest deadlifter. If any of you were in attendance there you will attest that it looked like he could have done a triple with that weight. It was just that easy for him! The crowd went crazy with excitement as Garry strolled off the stage with the heaviest all-time deadlift now under his belt. Garry had now done what most men only dream of. He dropped over 30 pounds of body fat, gained close to 20 pounds of lean muscle, and getting his deadlift to an all-time historical best. Garry’s nutritional plan was right on the money for what we were trying to accomplish. Most importantly it definitely got the job done! From this day on Garry would embrace the “Nutritional Sciences” as a new weapon in his arsenal for powerlifting greatness. Garry knew he was onto something big here with this whole “Nutrition” thing, but I knew that this was just the beginning of what was to come.
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Two of My World Champion Clients… James Grandick with Garry!