In late April, Wayne Brady, world-famous actor, singer and comedian and current host of Let’s Make a Deal, embarked on a journey to get in the best shape of his life in just three months. During that time, he left his comfort zone early and often — doing exercises he’d never done, eating meals he’d never tried before, and having his physical and mental limits pushed to new dimensions. The result of this undertaking? An equal mix of drastic improvements that Brady can see in the mirror and feel from the inside out.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Brady says. “I’m able to wear the size 48 suits that I want to be in. I’m kind of like a girl in that I really like clothes and I really like certain designers. And with the designers I like, you have to really be in shape to rock it. So I’m enjoying that. I’m also able to feel the effects energy-wise; I just feel healthier. And again, not to sound girly, but I’ve got a glow that comes from enjoying the working out. I love that buzz now. I think overall there’s a huge difference.”
A Steady Diet
Brady pulled out all the stops in an effort to shape up like never before. For the last four weeks or so of the 12-week program, a professional chef — Diana Stadlen, executive chef and owner of The Take Home Cook in Los Angeles — was brought in to cook Brady’s meals for him. A pretty drastic measure, some would say, but one that paid great dividends in helping Brady burn off that extra bit of body fat to let his abs (which he says progressed to a four-pack by the end of the program) show through.
“The challenge for me was to keep the fat low and the flavor high so he was always satisfied,” says Stadlen, who prepared the meals and had them delivered to Brady. “I focused on clean foods like fresh vegetables; lean proteins such as chicken breast, filet mignon, egg whites and legumes; and some healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa. Portion control and nutritional balance are very important to diet, both for building muscle and getting rid of those last extra pesky pounds of fat.”
Says Brady about his diet coming down the homestretch: “I think there was a phase when I was working out very, very hard and not seeing all the results I wanted to because I wasn’t eating quite right — not like I was binging or having anything that bad, but maybe I wasn’t aware of the exact ratios and being able to take the meals that were suggested. And then I would add my own seasoning to it, but in doing that, I was adding too much sodium. And then I would double up on a portion, thinking, ‘Ah, that’s not gonna hurt anything.’ So once I dialed it in, once the food was there, it became idiot-proof, and I was ready to rock and roll.”
In addition to clean eating, Brady continued his use of supplements (see sidebar on Page TK), an often-overlooked dietary element that was critical to keeping his energy levels high (both in the gym and at work) and enhancing muscle recovery and fat burning.
Brady’s nutrition wasn’t the only area that was fine-tuned during the last month of the program; his training was, too. And by fine-tuned, we mean trainer Mike Vale upped the intensity and added more cardio and more isolated abdominal work. Abs were typically trained four days a week, and Brady did cardio virtually every day to maximize fat burning. More important, Vale’s workouts varied from week to week based off his observations of Brady’s progress. There was nothing cookie-cutter about the program. “I would make changes based on how I felt Wayne was feeling on a given day, how his body felt, as well as how he felt mentally,” Vale says. “I would sit down on a Sunday night and assess the past week, go over my training log and notes and see what we had accomplished. After that, I established clear goals for the coming week with Wayne, but nothing was written in stone.”
Maximum intensity was achieved through minimal rest periods during lifting workouts. With few exceptions, all exercises were combined with others in circuit or superset fashion. Vale also manipulated rep speeds, having Brady do slow reps to build muscle mass and fast reps to develop strength and power, thus ensuring that the program was anything but one-dimensional.
“I’ve definitely gotten stronger,” Brady says. “A couple weeks ago I was able to start benching 205 pounds. And not even like that was my max or, ‘Oh, I’m gonna crap myself.’ It was like, ‘I’ve got more.’ That was a good feeling.”
“The work Wayne has put in is showing,” Vale says. “His abs are leaner, his arms are much bigger — he has probably added an inch and a half to each arm. He’s added around 4 to 5 pounds of lean muscle while also dropping body fat, which is why his bodyweight hasn’t changed much even though his body composition has definitely improved. All and all, I really think Wayne’s made a big jump from Day 1 of this challenge to Day 90.”
If anything, Brady’s transformational challenge confirmed that getting in great shape isn’t determined by diet or exercise alone, one or the other — it’s about the combination of the two. “Diet without exercise, or vice versa, isn’t enough to get results,” Stadlen says. “You need both. Mike [Vale] told me that after only two weeks of my meal plan, he was already starting to notice a significant change in Wayne’s body. His face was leaning out and his abs were finally getting that ‘cut’ look he was after. It goes to show that the right food plan along with consistent conditioning can give you the results you want if you know how to do it.”
WAYNE BRADY’S TRAINING PROGRAM, MONTH 3
Below is a sample week of Brady’s training routine during the final month of his physique transformation challenge. The program was designed by Los Angeles-based personal trainer Mike Vale, who also worked with Brady one-on-one in the gym when the Let’s Make a Deal host wasn’t on the road. “Mike Vale is an excellent trainer,” Brady says. “He pushes gently, but he definitely pushes.”
Brady did cardio most days, either on his own via activities like racquetball and basketball or with Vale.
WAYNE BRADY’S DIET TARGETS, MONTH 3
Brady’s daily calorie and macronutrient ratios were left the same as they were for the first two months of the program for one simple reason: He was still seeing results — losing body fat and building muscle — so there was no need to make any drastic changes. The only difference in Month 3 was a slight (practically unnoticeable) decrease in daily calories — only by 100 to 150 calories. This helped Brady lean out just a little bit more toward the end of the challenge.
Daily Ratios and Totals (estimates)
2,100 to 2,200 calories
45 percent protein
35 percent carbs
20 percent fat
40 grams fiber
Supps With Wayne
Throughout the three-month challenge, Brady relied on cutting-edge supplements to help build lean muscle mass, give him more energy in the gym and improve overall health. Below are the specific products he used to put his physique over the top.
- Dymatize Nutrition Elite Whey Protein
- BPI Sports 1.M.R
- MuscleTech MyoBuild
- Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
- Healthy ‘N Fit Nutritionals Nutri Pack
- Barn Dad Nutrition Ultra Fiber DX
- BodyTech BCAA
- True Athlete ZMA With Theanine
- Dymatize Nutrition Elite Gourmet 6-Layer Protein Bar
Cooking Up Lean
To help Wayne Brady get shredded during the final month of the challenge, Chef Diana Stadlen, owner and executive chef of the The Take Home Cook in Los Angeles (TheTakeHomeCook.com), was commissioned to cook the majority of his meals. Her job was to make the food delicious but also very clean and specific to Brady’s target macronutrient ratios. Below are two of the recipes Stadlen prepared for Brady at the tail end of his successful physique transformation.
Yields: 6 servings
- 2 pounds large shrimp (shelled and deveined)
- ½ cup (4 ounces) olive oil
- ½ cup (4 ounces) red wine vinegar
- 3 ounces water
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped oregano
- ¾ cup freshly chopped parsley
- 2 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon red paper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pulse all ingredients (except the shrimp) in the food processor for approximately half a minute until coarsely chopped and refrigerate until ready to use. (Chimichurri can be stored up to four days.)
2. Rinse and dry the shrimp. Marinate the shrimp with a few tablespoons of chimichurri for about an hour. Reserve the rest of the chimichurri for plating.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
4. Place the shrimp on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the center of the oven for seven to eight minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque and firm to the touch.
5. Serve the shrimp with a tablespoon of extra sauce along side a ¼ cup of quinoa tabbouleh, a ¼ cup of French lentil salad and a steamed vegetable of your choice for a complete meal.
Lime Chicken Breast With Kale Salad
Yields: 1 serving
Ingredients for chicken:
- 6 ounces organic free-range chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1½ teaspoon olive oil
Ingredients for kale salad:
- 5 leaves of lacinato kale (black kale)
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 teaspoon sun-dried sour cherries
- 1 teaspoon toasted slivered almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Heat a pan on medium-high heat for 30 seconds and then add oil. Let the oil heat up for roughly a minute. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast. When the oil is hot, place the chicken breast (presentation side down) in the pan. Do not move the chicken for at least three minutes. Check to see whether the chicken looks golden before flipping it over. If the chicken is not golden, the pan isn’t hot enough. Adjust the heat. Flip the chicken over and cook the second side for about three minutes or until golden. Turn off the heat and place the chicken breast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. If cooked properly, the breast should be firm to the touch with a little give. Place a patch of tin foil over the chicken and let it rest another 10 minutes away from the heat. It will continue to cook another few degrees.
2. Start making the salad. Strip the leaves from the spine of the kale, stack them on top of each other and roll them up like a cigarette. Slice the leaves across the roll very thinly. Place the sliced kale in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Finish by tasting and adjusting the seasoning with more salt, pepper or lime juice, as desired.
3. Serve by placing the chicken breast over the kale salad. Add a squeeze of lime over the chicken breast before serving.