Miguel Lopez was born in Puerto Rico in 1993. As a youngster he was athletic, energetic and tall for his age. Blessed with quick reflexes and a loads of fast-twitch muscle fiber, he was a natural for volleyball and basketball. “I discovered I could leap. At age 15 I could dunk and by age 16 I could windmill dunk.” This is a huge indicator of Miguel’s great genetics. Another indicator of great genetics was his admission that he has always been naturally lean. “I had a hyper active metabolism because I was hyper-active. As a kid, I naturally held an 8% body fat percentile eating anything I wanted and as much as I wanted.” Natural leanness is a great attribute for a future bodybuilder. “The downside to my fast metabolism was that it has always been difficult for me to add muscle.” In high school he gained his full height of 6’2” and as a star basketball player terrorized opposing high school teams as a run-and-gun shooting guard. Miguel won a full-ride college scholarship. “I came stateside to attend school on a basketball scholarship. I went to college in upstate New York. It was quite a culture shock.” One can only imagine shifting from sunny beaches and incredibly good indigenous food to 9-degree February days with this strange new white stuff Miguel had never seen before: snow. Miguel also got serious about his studies.
Miguel was not a lunkheaded, one-dimensional collage athlete, he was extremely bright and did well all through school. “I took an interest in my education and I am naturally curious. I had ambitions that required a higher education.” Miguel graduated college with a 3.96 GPA. He decided to get serious about fitness. “I played college ball weighing around 180-pounds. After graduating, there was a lack of physical activity in my life. For over a decade I had played organized sports all year long. I had played at a high level in both basketball and volleyball in high school and college. Then one day, nothing. One day you are done with all that.” Miguel had done his research and decided that he would fill this athletic void with bodybuilding. “I really looked into the differing forms of bodybuilding; there is so much conflicting information out there, it is extremely confusing. However, it didn’t really matter. Right when I was ready to launch my comprehensive bodybuilding effort, I tore my rotator cuff in spiking a ball in volleyball. At the time, I had no idea how big a deal this would be.” It turned out to be a very big deal. It took Miguel nine long months of rehab to “get back to zero.”
During this time, Miguel had, in his words, “Gotten in the worst shape of my life. It was months of not being able to do anything. For the first and only time in my life, I became ‘skinny-fat,’ I had ballooned to a 12% body fat percentile while shrinking to a muscle-less 180-pounds.” Miguel could not wait for the day he would be given the okay to begin training. “While rehabbing I took the opportunity to purchase and virtually memorize Arnold’s massive Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding.” Once he has given the go-ahead, Miguel hit the ground running. “I had it all planned out. I used my nine months to craft a diet and exercise plan based on Arnold’s training. The moment I was okayed, I launched. I began weight training twice a day, using Arnold’s famous (or infamous) double-split routine. My first session would be at 5 am and my second weight training session was at 4 pm.” Six days a week Miguel was weight training twice a day – and he also did cardio. “I built an incredible 35-pounds of muscle in a year. Then nothing, crickets, minimal progress.” He was new to the game and was unaware that lifting, cardio and nutrition need be periodically altered to avoid stagnation: all protocols, no matter how effective, eventually cease delivering results and need be rotated with other protocols. Miguel had thrown himself into the deep end of the bodybuilding pool right off the bat and needed a new approach. “I was new to bodybuilding. I had done some weight training connected to sports, but I never seriously got into real bodybuilding till after basketball. I built up so much repressed energy during my nine-month rotator cuff rehab that as soon as I was cleared, I was hitting the gym twice a day, six days a week. I also took on a real, Parrillo-style bodybuilder diet. I would perform cardio maybe three times a week. I would use the HIT cardio approach, high intensity cardio done in short duration sessions.”
Within a year Miguel dropped his body fat percentile from 12% to 8%. That’s what happens when a restless athlete goes buck wild after nine months of enforced inactivity. “After a year my gains stopped. It was a great program and I had a great run, and now my progress was stalled.” Miguel had gotten a job as IT Project Manager with a Fortune 500 corporation, Proctor & Gamble and relocated to Cincinnati. He found a local gym to train at and lucky for Miguel, he was at the gym when bodybuilding star Wilson Martinez stopped by unplanned and unannounced. “I had been stagnant for six months when I happen to see this gigantic, ripped guy, obviously a high-level bodybuilder.” Miguel approached the big man and introduced himself. He asked, ‘Hey Wilson will you give me some advice, I am spinning my wheels.’ Miguel related that Wilson was eager to help. “He got me on a new diet, he revamped my training and he motivated me. I had been less than enthused and now I was on fire again. People at the gym were like, ‘Hey, Miguel, you are looking really good – are you planning on competing soon?’ I had never even been to a bodybuilding show.” With his lean, athletic, proportional physique, Miguel was a natural for the Classic Physique division.
“I had no desire to add tons of mass. I consider myself a functional athlete. However, when I discovered that there was a division where the judging protocols favored my type of build, I was intrigued.” After checking it out further and consulting with Wilson, Miguel made the decision to compete. “Before I met Wilson, I had spent six months going backwards. I added ten pounds, most of it was body fat. I was confused. Wilson straightened me out.” Wilson took Miguel training and nutrition to the next level. Miguel began to look around for a competition. He decided to compete in the Classic Physique division. It was important and to understand what the judges were looking for. Miguel couldn’t be too big, and he couldn’t be too small. When the decision was made to compete, Wilson bought in an old friend, Vic Simms, to school Miguel on posing. “I found that there were three competitions within the same month. I decided to compete in all three.” Pretty audacious for a man that had never competed before. While this seems overly ambitious, remember that Miguel is the same guy that began bodybuilding with the most bone-crushing workout split ever devised: the Arnold double-split. With three shows in a row Miguel was really putting himself on the spot.
“I had to get dialed in quickly. Each workout had to be better than the last, each week needed to be better than the week before.” As the shows drew closer, Vic bought in Parrillo Performance Training Center head trainer, Scott Canatsey. “Scott was the final piece to the preparation process. We were leaving nothing to chance.” Scott was bought in to consult about “peak week,” those last crucial 7-10 days before the actual show. If the proper balance is struck between nutrition, weight-training, hydration, supplementation and cardio, the bodybuilder will step onstage 5% better than before beginning peak week. Scott has peaked himself and other bodybuilders for competitions for years. Scott knows all the right and wrong things to do and not do in the last week. It all came together seamlessly when Miguel made his debut at the NGA Cincinnati Natural. In this first show he entered both the Classic Physique division and the Men’s Physique division. In the Men’s Physique Miguel took 1st in the Novice division and 3rd in the Open division. In the Classic Physique division, he won the Novice, Open and was declared the overall champion. Miguel could not have had a more auspicious debut. Mind-blowing, yet with another show coming up, Miguel had no time to dwell on his incredible showing: he had to remain perfect and show up in even better shape.
“My second show was my Pro debut. By winning the overall at the Cincinnati Natural, I had won a Pro card in my first show. At the NGA Kentucky Natural show, I weighed 205-pounds sporting a 5% body fat percentile: I was in the best shape of my life. Miguel won the Pro division. “It could not have gone better.” On April 27th in his third show in a month’s time, Miguel missed the title by a whisker. “I finished in 2nd place by 1 point!” Miguel was simultaneously disappointed and fired up, “I almost grabbed the title of Mr. Ohio 2019 in my third ever show! This contest was called the NPF Battle of Ohio. Now my streak has come to an end.” Asked what his next competitive move would be, he indicated he will spend this summer “gaining more mass and working on my weak areas.” Which is bad news for his competition. Being young and smart and fired up to stay in this game, Miguel has nowhere to go but up.
Monday shoulders, chest
Tuesday legs, back
Thursday chest, shoulders
Friday back, arms
Daily Meal Schedule
Meal 1: (3:30 am) turkey, cream of rice, asparagus Parrillo Fish Oil, Calcium Pyruvate
Meal 2: (4:45 am) Parrillo Muscle Amino Formula™, raisins, banana
Meal 3: (6:15 am) Parrillo Creatine Monohydrate™, Parrillo Optimized Whey™ shake, rice milk
Meal 4: (8:30 am) egg whites with two yolks, sweet potato, broccoli, almonds
Meal 5: (11:30 am) chicken breast, quinoa, black beans, almonds, Parrillo Essential Vitamin Formula™
Meal 6: (2:30 pm) turkey, cream of rice, asparagus
Meal 7: (3:45 pm) Parrillo Muscle Amino Formula™, raisins, banana
Meal 8: (5:15 pm) Parrillo Creatine Monohydrate™, Optimized Whey™ shake, rice milk
Meal 9: (7:15 pm) egg whites, 2 yolks, oatmeal, broccoli and avocado