Game Plan for Growth

August 23, 2011

Author: Craig Richardson, IFBB Pro; Photography: Courtesy of MHP; Model: IFBB Pro Craig Richardson [Q] Craig, I work at a desk from 9–5, six days a week. I’m having a hard time keeping to my diet, let alone following a preferred bodybuilding regimen. Any suggestions?

[A] I work eight hours a day, five days a week for a total of 40 hours. My solution? I bring my food with me. I put a small refrigerator and microwave in my office. It’s all a part of being precise with your meals. You have to make sure they’re all ready. You can’t just leave the house and wing it and just eat whatever. You have to be prepared. Part of the difficulty stems from laziness ⎯ all you need to do is take a few minutes at night and put them all in Tupperware for the next day. Preparation is the key. [See article name TK on page TK.]

[Q] Craig, I used to be a hardcore gym rat ⎯ I never missed a workout. Now, I have two children and I find that it’s tougher to get to the gym as regularly as I used to. Do you have any tips for scheduling my workouts with my new life priorities?

[A] Again it all comes down to getting a good schedule and a game plan together. I’m a father of three and I’m a young grandfather (laughs). My step daughter just had a baby 10 months ago. I hear excuses all the time for why someone can’t get to the gym. With your situation, you can try to find a gym that has a childcare in it. When my daughter was a newborn, I would take her to the gym with me and she would go to the childcare while I trained, then I’d pick her up and leave. So it’s not impossible.

Another viable option is getting your workout done in the morning before your kids are awake. I didn’t like getting up at ridiculous hours, but it works for some morning people. Plus, when you get off work, you can go straight home to be with the kids; your training is already done.

[Q] I’m an amateur bodybuilder with a few local contests under my belt. I find it really hard to stay strict those last few weeks and I know it’s keeping me from reaching my full potential. How do you get through those final days and weeks leading up to a contest?

[A] I just try to keep in mind that my competitors are out there doing everything it takes to win. I’ll think of Branch Warren and other guys who I think I’m going to be competing against and I know that they’re doing everything possible to be as conditioned as possible the day of the contest. That’s enough motivation. I’ll think “Hey, I’ve lost to these guys before.” So I’ll make sure everything is precise. My meals are laid out and I’ll pour everything I have into every training session. And that’s pretty much it. I don’t like to lose ⎯ that’s what motivates me. My advice: Figure out what you love ⎯ or in my case, hate ⎯ the most about competing and let that guide you through those final weeks.

[Q] Like a lot of guys, I hate cardio but I know I need to do it to reach my goals. Do you have any tips to make it more bearable?

[A] Unfortunately, cardio is a very boring activity. And you’re right, most of us don’t like to do it. When I find myself in a rut with cardio and it gets to the point where I really can’t stand it anymore, I’ll get a movie and watch an hour of it in my morning cardio session and an hour of it in my night session (if I have one). Lucky for me, I’m working with George Farah who has me doing only 25 minutes of cardio a day, so that’s a big help for me! It’s just one of those things that you have to do. It can be boring, but we all have to do it at some point.


Birthdate: July 25, 1974
Hometown: Paterson, New Jersey
Height: 5′7″
Weight: 210 pounds, contest; 250–260 pounds, offseason
Web site:
Top finishes: 2009: Sacramento Pro, 2nd; 2008: Houston Pro, 2nd, New York Pro, 5th; 2007: Atlantic City Pro, 7th.
Occupation: Truant officer