“You got to eat the right foods – it’s as simple as that. You got to put the right fuel into your body.”
If there was such a thing as a Parrillo Army, Mike Grant would be a Drill Instructor. Mike is a Parrillo Certified Personal Trainer and has appeared repeatedly in this magazine for good reason: he started off at a high level (when we first got to know him) and he has consistently gotten better as he has gotten older. He exemplifies the classical bodybuilder lifestyle and by any benchmark Mike Grant is “the real deal.” Mike has been the real deal for the past 25 years. Living and working in Woodbridge, Virginia, an outer suburb of Washington, DC, Mike is the part owner of Life Design Personal Fitness Center. He works with upwards of 60 clients and students each week. “I love what I do. I am able to
help anyone improve, assuming they exert the right effort.” Mike has been renovating physiques for a long time and has been doing so on a consistent basis. He practices on himself: his physique is pure art, a work in progress. Mike seeks to continually renovate himself and it is no coincidence that Grant is one of the nation’s leading natural bodybuilders over the age of 40.
Mike continues to compete and continues to win; his combination of muscular mass and muscular delineation are amazing for any man – the fact that Mike will be 48 this year makes his physical condition nothing short of incredible. Even a cursory glance at these photos reveals that Mr. Grant has acquired those three most elusive and exclusive of physical traits: muscular size and muscular symmetry combined with muscular delineation. Asked how the 2009 version of Mike Grant rated compared to previous year’s models, he laughed and was detached in his self-assessment: “My muscular separation and definition have never been better. I’ve always had good muscular balance. Overall I definitely improved this past year and I feel I have a lot of room left for improvement.” Lean and mean Mike Grant is also bull strong. “I am as strong today as I have ever been. I don’t even believe it myself sometimes.” He routinely handles 450+ pounds each week in the deadlift for sets and reps. He added, “By doing everything right – by training hard, by stretching, by staying on top of my nutrition, it all adds up and the result is physical progress – and as we all know, progress is the name of the game.” When asked if he has made any concessions to age, Mike immediately mentioned nutrition. “As I have gotten older, I have tried to eat a little stricter. Nowadays I compete weighing around 185 pounds. In my “off-season” I never allow my bodyweight to go higher than 195 pounds. Staying within 10 pounds of my contest condition makes it a lot easier to roll into a competition phase.”
At age 47 Mike shows zero signs of slowing down. “In many ways, I am in the best shape of my life. And I am doing the best work of my life. As a bodybuilder I feel on top of my game. As a trainer I feel that I am at the top of my game. I make my living helping folks build better bodies. After doing it for so long, I have a real feel for recognizing what a person needs. Everyone is different. Everyone requires a slightly different approach. But that’s where my experience comes into play.” Did we mention Mike was a Parrillo Certified Personal Trainer? He routinely uses the tactics and techniques he learned from John at one of those early PCPT training camps held in the 90s. Mike creates customized and individualized diet and exercise programs for every client. He takes into account the person’s life situation and their degree of fitness. All clients working under Mike Grant’s auspices use Parrillo procedures and products. Mike has the highest respect for John. “I’ve been following John’s (Parrillo) advice for twenty years. Nowadays his message and my message are identical: combine hard weight training – including stretching – with lots of hard cardio. I think you should sweat when you do aerobics. Lift weights, stretch hard and stretch often.” Mike is extremely disciplined in his approach to nutrition. In his words, “I am pure Parrillo. My approach to nutrition is straightforward. You got to eat the right food. It’s as simple as that. You got to put the right fuel into your body.” Mike eats the right food and puts the right fuel into his body. He also uses potent Parrillo supplements every single day and considers them integral and irreplaceable.
One of the nation’s finest Master bodybuilders, Mike competes in the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation. He recently captured the WNBF Pro Master title held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This was a big win at a national competition and Mike was pleased with his preparation and the outcome. At the competition he weighed a ripped-and-shredded 185 pounds. He was pure steel muscle. Mike guesstimates that he was carrying around 3% body fat on contest day. His resounding win was both popular and richly deserved. His nutrition is critical. “Parrillo said it best: there is no such thing as the off season. I might eat a little more red meat in the so called off season, I might eat a little more food, but the foods I eat are pretty much the same ones I eat year round. All year round I eat a lot of greens; all year round I eat a lot of vegetables and I eat a lot of rice. I eat a lot of oatmeal – in fact, year round, in season, out of season, whatever the season; my first meal of the day is always the same: oatmeal mixed with peach-flavored Parrillo Hi-Protein powder™. I put CapTri® on this oatmeal mix. I love the taste of it. I love the taste of it as much today as the first time I ever tried it. So why change what’s working? If I like the taste of it, I can eat a food everyday.” Mike’s commonsense approach to training and nutrition could be summed up as KISS – keep it simple stupid.
Not every successful bodybuilder makes a successful personal trainer. Mike is very successful at transforming bodies and can transform anyone: old, young, skinny, fat, male, female, athletic, un-athletic, housewife, factory worker, handicapped – no matter whom you are Mike Grant can make you better – assuming you follow his Parrillo-inspired advice to the letter. Those that do as Mike says become physically unrecognizable: they undergo a radical change in body composition as muscles sprout and body fat melts. Mike has supervised countless transformations over the past quarter century. He is a Mac Daddy personal trainer and has been for decades. “After you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, you develop a knack for knowing how hard or how long to push a client. You also become pretty good at determining who is going to actually put out the effort and who is wasting your time.” In Mike’s world, the rules are simple: train hard, train often, perform lots of cardio, stretch intensely between lifting sets and eat “clean” foods in balanced meals at certain times each and every day. Supplement with potent Parrillo Products. Hold this tried and proven approach for 60 to 90 days and watch in pure amazement as fat melts and muscles grow. “Every single time a person does what I ask them to do they get excellent results.” No exceptions.
Mike Grant leads by example: he weights trains in brutal fashion and he trains at a brutal time of day, 5 am every single morning. Additionally, he will “slip in” a cardio session later that same day. Asked if it is a task to train so hard and so heavy so early in the morning, he said no, not at all, he was used to it. He passed along his “secret,” ease into the morning session by starting off with twenty minutes of concentrated abdominal work. “Ab work warms up my core muscles and this is a great way to gradually build up to the heavier weights later in the session.” Proper warm up reduces the chances of injury. “I would never just walk into the gym at 5 am and start off with 450 pound deadlifts. I build up to it. Warm up the core before tackling the heavy lifts.” Just as Mike has evolved his physique, Mike has evolved in his approach towards weight training. His favorite training tactic is the use of Giant Sets. “In each workout I will pick a particular muscle or muscle group and hit that muscle right quick and right hard. I like to do exercises in Giant Set fashion. I will hit one exercise right after another, without rest, until all four exercises are completed.” After the Giant Set, Mike performs an intense Parrillo fascia stretch. He will stretch while he rests up for another Giant Set. Mike usually performs four giant sets. Here is a how a typical Grant Giant Set might unfold…
Typical Grant Giant Set
Pec deck flyes
1 set of 12-15 reps
Flat bench press
1 set of 12-15 reps
Flat bench flyes
1 set of 12-15 reps
Incline dumbbell press
1 set of 12-15 reps
“Four exercises are done one right after another, without rest. Repeat the four-exercise Giant Set four times. Rest for a few minutes between each Giant Set; while catching your breath, perform a Parrillo Fascial stretch or two. I use one or two different stretches per muscle or muscle group. Hold the stretch for a good ten seconds. Look to improve the stretch each time. I try to work in the stretching pain zone. I finish a Giant Set, go and get a drink of water, and take a minute or two. On each successive Giant Set I increase the poundage and decrease the reps.”
Mike Grant’s Training Split
Monday: legs, biceps
Tuesday: chest, triceps
Wednesday: upper, lower back
Thursday: legs, biceps (different exercises)
Friday: chest, triceps (different exercises)
Saturday: upper and lower back (different exercises)
Using the time-saving Giant Set method, Mike can blast through a weight session in 30 to 35 minutes. “The Giant Set approach is tough but you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. My body responds well to this type of training.” Mike feels that stretching is the most neglected component of the training regimen. “People underestimate the value of stretching. I perform one or two intense, Parrillo-type fascia stretches between each Giant Set and have become a lot more limber. I believe stretching is a good thing. I know for a fact that it has helped me. Stretching between sets ‘resets’ the muscle, and brings it back around faster.” Mike’s long term use of stretching should serve as an example to readers: if you are not performing Parrillo-style fascia stretching get started! Stretching properly for a protracted period not only improves flexibility, stretching enhances a muscle’s growth potential. Take a tip from Mike and slip some fascia stretching into your lifting regimen.
Mike eats a limited number of foods on a consistent basis. “I eat pretty much the same things at the same time of day, day in and day out.” Mike has developed certain meals or dishes that he finds easy to prepare, nutritionally satisfying and tasty. “I love turkey cutlets. You can’t get them everywhere. I will make rice and mix it with a packet of frozen vegetables and add tuna or turkey. This makes a perfect bodybuilder meal that I can pack in a container and take to work. I eat this mixture at lunch and again at 4 pm. In the evening I might make fish or have some lean beef. I also take a lot of Parrillo supplements.” Mike has used Parrillo products for decades. “They are the best.” Mike says without the slightest hesitation. “There are a lot of bad supplements out there. I got lucky and found out about Parrillo Products early on. I consume Parrillo Products every day and have for years.” Mike has been a longtime fan of Parrillo Liver Amino Formula™. “When I started seriously supplementing with Parrillo beef liver tabs, my muscles got a lot harder. Hard like steel. I have my football players take Parrillo beef liver tablets for exactly that reason.” Every year Mike works with high school football players interested in playing college football. Last year four of his students won football scholarships. “I tell my football players to eat right, lift right and take Liver Amino Formula™; they need to have a body as hard as steel. That way, on the field, during a game or in practice, when an opponent hits them, they bounce off. The blocker or tackler thinks, ‘Hitting that guy was like hitting a steel pole!’”
Mike intends on competing far into the foreseeable future. “I have a lot of goals left and I still have a lot of room for improvement. As long as I think I can get better I don’t see any reason to retire. Of course I will never stop training or living the bodybuilder lifestyle.” At age 47, Mike made significant improvement over last year’s version of Mike Grant. “I felt that I had a good year. I feel I am in my best condition. In a year’s time I have added muscle and definitely gotten harder.” Mike is a role model for folks over 40. He points the way for anyone seeking to improve their physique: lift weights with tremendous intensity, perform cardio and sweat while doing it, eat right and supplement correctly using potent Parrillo Products. “I feel I got a good ways to go yet. I am completely grooved into the bodybuilding lifestyle so in some ways there is nothing to retire from.” It would be very easy to envision Mike Grant competing at the national and international level for another decade. And no doubt you will be seeing future articles on Mike Grant in this magazine for many years to come.
Mike’s Daily Meal Plan