The Nutritional Scientist: IFPA Pro Dr. Layne Norton Talks With Simplyshredded.com [Updated]

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How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I was picked on a lot as a kid, more so than the typical nonsense that everyone went through. When I went to school I would fear every day because there were about a dozen people who’s mission in life seemed to be making me feel terrible about myself and embarrassing me. The summer after my freshman year of high school I decided that I was going to do something about it. I went to the library and checked out about a dozen books on weight lifting and started doing a routine I put together using some sand weights in my basement.
I didn’t get really serious with it until I graduated high school. I had played baseball all the way through high school and once that was over I no longer had a competitive outlet.

I loved weight lifting and building muscle, so bodybuilding was the next logical step for me. I did my first show at age 19 and won the teen & novice tall classes, and was totally hooked from that point on!

Where does your motivation come from?

Well I like being fit but for me it’s more about setting goals for myself and challenging myself and  that’s what drives me. I don’t go into the gym thinking, “I’d really like to have a good workout so I stay healthy and my abs look good.” I go in thinking, “I want to smash what I did last time and make myself better and every single way!” I believe that we all have an ‘inner loser’ and an ‘inner winner.’

When you are presented with a challenge the inner loser will tell you “Oh man that sounds hard and stressful, don’t bother with it but the inner winner says “Nothing great is easy and if you want to be remembered and not be another average person you have to do things that are difficult.” I always try to listen to my ‘inner winner.’

What workout routine has worked best for you?

Non-linear periodization. Specifically Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training. An example of the split would be:

  • Day 1: Upper Body Power
  • Day 2: Lower Body Power
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy
  • Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy
  • Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy
  • Day 7: Rest

Day 1: Upper Body Power Day

  • Pulling Power Movement: Bent over or Pendlay rows
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance Pulling movement: Weighted Pull ups
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary Pulling movement: Rack chins
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Pressing Power Movement: Flat dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Weighted dips
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Seated dumbbell shoulder presses
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary curling movement: Cambered bar curls
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary extension movement: Skull crushers
    3 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 2: Lower Body Power Day

  • Pressing Power Movement: Squats
    3 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Assistance pressing movement: Hack Squats
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance extension movement: Leg extensions
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Assistance pulling movement: Stiff legged deadlifts
    3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • Assistance pulling/curling movement: Glute ham raises or lying leg curls
    2 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Standing calf raise
    3 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Auxiliary calf movement: Seated calf raise
    2 sets of 6-10 reps

Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Back and Shoulders Hypertrophy Day

  • Pulling Power Exercise speed work: Bent over or Pendlay rows
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Rack chins
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Seated cable row
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Dumbbell rows or shrugs bracing upper body against an incline bench
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Close grip pulldowns
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Seated dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Upright rows
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Side lateral raises with dumbbells or cables
    3 sets of 12-20 reps

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy Day

  • Lower Body Power Exercise speed work: Squats
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hack squats
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Leg presses
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension movement: Leg extensions
    3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy pulling movement: Romanian deadlifts
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Lying leg curls
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling movement: Seated leg curls
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Donkey calf raises
    4 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy calf movement: Seated calf raises
    3 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 6: Chest and Arms Hypertrophy Day

  • Pressing Power Exercise speed work: Flat dumbbell presses
    6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Incline dumbbell presses
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hammer strength chest press
    3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy fly movement: Incline cable flyes
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Cambered bar preacher curls
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Dumbbell concentration curls
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy curling exercise: Spider curls bracing upper body against an incline bench
    2 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Seated tricep extension with cambered bar
    3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable pressdowns with rope attachment
    2 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable kickbacks
    2 sets of 15-20 reps

Building The X Frame – Time To Get Wide With Layne Norton

For many bodybuilders, the missing ingredient is width. What would you recommend?

Well I think that many people overstate how much wider you can make the back using specific exercises. I think the main component to width is making the lats and shoulders/rear delts as large as possible, so doing lifts that stimulate those areas the best will provide great results. For someone like myself who has strong arms that tend to take over movements, I really like dumbbell rows supported against an incline bench. Of course I also do traditional weighted pull ups, pulldowns, as well as face pulls with a rope attachment as that seems to really help the rear delts as well. But let’s be honest, if you want a back that’s worth a damn, you are going to have to deadlift.

My back totally changed after I started doing deadlifts and anyone can go back and compare the pics from before I won my pro card till my first series of pro shows this year and see the dramatic difference in size & density.

How important is a trim waist if the goal is to make the V-taper (top half of the X-frame) more dramatic?

Well it’s very important, it’s half of the V-taper equation, but unless you can shave off a few inches from your hips, you can only make your waist so small depending upon your genetics and how low you get your bodyfat. I will NEVER have a 28″ waist, period. It’s just not in the cards for me genetically, my hips are too big.

Therefore I have to devote a lot of focus to really increasing my back and shoulder width.

What are your favorite back exercises and why?

Deadlifts, rack pulls, dumbbell rows supported on an incline bench, hammer strength wide grip pull downs, weighted pull ups, pullovers, face-pulls with a rope attachment, and pendlay rows.

Why do you think most people especially beginner’s neglect back training?

Because they want huge chest and arms to impress the girls. At least that was the reason for me.

Optimal sets and reps?

Well all rep ranges have merit and there is no ‘optimal’ amount of sets. A muscle doesn’t know how many reps or sets you’ve done. It just knows how long you’ve been under a certain tension and for how long.

For those that have read my PHAT training protocols you know that I incorporate many different training styles, sets, reps, and volume loading schemes for all bodyparts. If you are a slave to any one protocol your progress is certain to stagnate.

What is your diet like?

I don’t follow set meal plans. I shoot for a certain number of protein/carbs/fats/fiber and I eat foods I enjoy to reach those numbers. In the offseason I was consuming 250g protein, 400-500g carbohydrates, 80-90g of fat, and 60g fiber. During precontest I was consuming 275g protein, 100-230g of carbs, 45-60g fat, and 25-40g fiber.

Obviously the numbers dropped as I got leaner and leaner to help keep fat loss progressing.

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I use a combination of both, but HIIT is definitely more effective for fat loss and muscle retention as evidenced by the scientific literature, but you can only do so many HIIT sessions per week before it negatively impacts your workouts with weights. So when that happens I fill in with low intensity sessions.

What is your supplementation like?

I use the following:

  • Xtend: 1 scoop between meals and 2 scoops post workout
  • Creatine Monohydrate: 5g per day
  • Beta-Alanine: 6g per day
  • Novem pre workout
  • EssentialFA: 6 capsules per day
  • Sesamin: 3 capsules per day
  • Lipoic Acid: 300mg with preworkout and 600mg with post workout meals
  • Elastamine: 6 capsules per day
  • Multivitamin
  • Scivation Whey

Favorite Quote?

“Unless a man takes on more than he can possibly do, he will never do all he possibly can.”

Layne’s Transformation Journey: Age 15-28 – Click to view the pictures

Bodyspace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/str8flexed/
Website: http://www.biolayne.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LayneNorton

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