Unless you have been living under a rock, you have no doubt heard of Metroflex Gym.
Shortly before Ronnie Coleman won his first Olympia, I visited the Arlington, Texas gym to spend four days alongside the Big Nasty as he prepped to become the greatest bodybuilder of the current age. While there, I interviewed Metroflex Gym owner Brian Dobson because the gym struck me as suck a throwback to everything I love about gyms and everything that is lost in the current age of corporate fitness centers.
Twelve years later, Metroflex is known as a hardcore haven, listed alongside Westside Barbell, Body Builders Gym in Akron, Dorian Yates’ Temple Gym, Quads Gym in Chicago and Rick Hussey’s Big Iron Gym as one of the few truly hardcore gyms around.
Fortunately, there seems to be a resurgence in hardcore gyms these days, with a number of Metroflex Gyms taking the position of the Gold’s and World Gyms before they self-castrated and went mainstream.
Now with locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and new locations opening in Colorado Springs, Metroflex is on the rise. Best of all, these gyms are owned by top bodybuilders or fans of serious lifting. Greg McCoy, the owner of the Metroflex-Plano location is no exception.
To show his appreciation for serious bodybuilding, he runs twice a year promotional/customer appreciation events which consist of seminars, lift-offs and lots of freebies handed out to the crowd. He also held a seminar with National Level Bodybuilder and Top Level Trainer Jeff Dwelle, National Level Bodybuilder and Record Holding Power Lifter Justin Harris, and National Level Competitor and Metroflex Plano Member Steve Kuclo.
In the seminar Jeff, Steve and Justin answer questions regarding training, diet, and the lifestyle required to be successful as a bodybuilder or power lifter.
I am going to share some of the interesting info quotes below and also review the DVD:
Metroflex Bodybuilding Seminar Insights
Justin Harris: “That’s really the difference between being a guy that works out and being a bodybuilder. Being the guy that works out means going to the gym an hour or an hour-and-a-half, a couple days a week. Being a bodybuilder is not one hour a day. It’s literally ALL day long.”
“Every two hours when you eat you have a chance to make yourself a better bodybuilder or make yourself a worse bodybuilder.”
Steve Kuclo: “Bodybuilding is a twenty-four hour, 365 type of lifestyle. The guy that slacks over his off-season is the guy that not necessarily going to win. Consistency and dedication are the two key words applied to bodybuilding.”
Jeff Dwelle: “Bodybuilding shows are not won on the day of the show. They are won in the months or the years leading up to that show in the time in the training in the gym and the getting your food with the consistency.”
Justin Harris: “There is a point of overtraining but the fact that people walk around worrying that they are going to work TOO HARD to get big is a bit absurd if you think about it. I think about other sports, ‘I could have been a great basketball player but I worked too hard…’ Over training is probably, on the list of things to worry about, towards the bottom.”
Jeff Dwelle: “The only instances where I’ve seen it [overtraining] become an issue is in a diet situation, where you have some stress (low calories, lot of cardio). Outside stressors can definitely inhibit your ability to recover and get the benefit from training.”
Justin Harris: “If you decide to compete, you have to decide to compete. It is all-or-nothing. There is no worse feeling the being on stage and looking like shit… being on stage and being embarrassed to be up there.”
Justin Harris: “There’s a million different diets that work: the keto diet, carb cycling… they all work. The one thing that will never work is trying a million different things during the course of your diet.”
Jeff Dwelle: “For me as a trainer, what I ask my clients or prospective clients is, ‘Do you have the money…?’ because [contest prep] is a very expensive undertaking, no matter what. ‘Do you have the time’ and ‘Are you committed to winning?.’ Those are the three questions I would ask because it is a commitment you have to make on all fronts.”
Steve Kuclo: “I like cooking in bulk; not one meal at a time, if I cook, I cook for like three days so I have a container full of chicken at home and a container full of rice. I have it portioned out for the day and throw it in a baggy to go and eat. Cooking in bulk is huge in order to keep up with your eating schedule.”
Justin Harris: “We were meant to walk for four to six hours hunting before we got a piece of meat. The way we were designed… think thousands of years ago… the women would gather fruits and nuts and the men would go hunt all day for one single meal of meat. Obviously it is different being a top bodybuilding from being a skinny guy in a hunter/gatherer society but people get a little too worried that walking on a treadmill at a couple miles an hour is going to make muscle fall off.”
“Look at Ronnie Coleman. In one of his videos, he’s in the off-season and we see him squatting 800-pounds then two hours later he is doing an hour on the Stepmill. If Ronnie Coleman, at three-hundred pounds, can do 45-minutes on the Stepmill, which is high-intensity cardio, and he was not exactly lacking in leg muscle.”
Justin Harris: “This is the first time he [Steve Kuclo’s Nationals prep] has ever gotten that lean. Those last fat cells, those stubborn fat cells that are bound to an estrogen receptor that have never been gone before have been shrunk down…. Now that he has got there, his body will remember that.”
National Level Bodybuilder and Record Holding Power Lifter Justin Harris
Jeff Dwelle: “You can thin out your skin on a keto diet, there is no doubt, and you can lose bodyfat. I do think it comes as a trade at some level, depending on how long you can maintain glycogen and how long you can handle the dieting. It was difficult for me to train, to be honest. I was doing two hours of cardio a day and not really eating anything and subsisting on shakes and some protein. I really didn’t get much done… I think you need to find the right system for you and that can be different for everyone.”
Steve Kuclo: “This year was my first year experiencing keto and a lot of it boils down to your genetics. Keto isn’t for everybody. Is it something to try out? It is. A running keto is what I did. For two weeks I would hit keto and then I’d bring some carbs back into my diet. Did it get me really lean? Yeah, I got lean really fast but then I sacrificed some muscle and energy levels are just really in the dirt. When you are about seven days into it, you just really are pretty much running on fumes. Some people can handle it and some people can’t. For me, personally, a keto diet would be a last resort type of deal.”
Jeff Dwelle: “In my own personal circumstance, I make it really easy. I bookend my meals with eggs or egg whites. I’m at home for my first meal and I’m at home for my last meal so that knocks out two. I’ve got meat for two meals and some sort of carbs, so that gets me to four. I have some sort of protein shake and nuts, almonds or peanut butter for two and that gets me to six [meals]. That’s basic.”
Jeff Dwelle: “I was a steakaholic for a long time too. I’ve done a couple of diets just on pure steak. Different people will have different opinions on that. I happen to mix my protein sources so I don’t have steak at every meal, but I might have steak, when I’m contest dieting, twice a day. It does seem to satiate me a bit more than the white meats do. If I’m dieting and making progress well, I am going to stay on steak. If I’m not, I may go to white fish for a little while or mix them back and forth. I do think steak, for whatever reason, seems to be more substantial for me when I’m dieting.”
Steve Kuclo: “Personally, I have only pretty much dieted on chicken… just because of ease and cost. It’s pretty affordable. It’s going to boil down to calorie and fat content between the two [chicken and steak]. Obviously, if you are on track and eating steak, and you’re making progress, then there is no reason to change it. If you need to cut some calories out from fat go [from steak] to chicken or white fish, that way you are going to cut maybe fifty calories out a meal by just reducing the amount of fat.”
Justin Harris: “Steak generally has generally higher calories. It has saturated fat which gets converted to cholesterol, which gets converted to androstenediol, which gets converted to testosterone. For some competitors, natural competitors, that’s very important. But the other thing with steak… steak has a slightly lower bioavailability than chicken but the protein ratio is better for raising iron levels. If you can increase the iron level , it increases your hematocrit (the amount of red blood cells in your blood, which) you can increase your blood volume, which can give you a fuller look. You look at your bicep and only about 30% of your bicep is actual contractile tissue, actual actin and myosin. If you dehydrated it out… look at beef jerky. That’s the actual amount of actual tissue in the area. The rest of it is water, glycogen. If you can double the amount of blood vessels and double the amount of blood going through those blood vessels in your bicep, that’s going to add size to your bicep, and that’s something [a benefit] of the iron from steak.”
Steve Kuclo: “I’m a big fan of feeding a muscle as fast as you can after a workout. If you can [eat post-workout] the sooner the better, if it’s a meal or a shake. If you can afford a specialized shake, your branched-chain and glutamine ratio is going to be higher in a lot of those shakes because of the specialized amino acid profiles.”
Jeff Dwelle: “I will have a shake, usually whey protein, some carbs; probably because I just like the way it tastes and its simple and it digests quickly. I have that immediately after training. And then I will eat a whole [food] meal sixty-to ninety minutes after that.”
These are just a fraction of the wisdom shared. I recommend that you purchase the DVD of the entire seminar, which I have conveniently reviewed below
Metroflex Bodybuilding Seminar DVD - Volume One Review
As a voracious reader and gluttonous consumer of info products, I like to share my finds with like-minded lifters. There are some impressive products out there but, with every nutrition expert, guru, strength coach or national contender waving a product in the air, our Paypal accounts can only be spread so thin and we have to discriminate where we are going to send our hard-earned dollars.
This is therefore a REAL REVIEW. What you commonly read in the magazines are not actually product reviews, they are press releases reprinted as part of an advertising package.
For those of you not familiar with me, I have a reputation for journalistic integrity unmatched in our industry (which means I’ve taken the moral high ground and paid for it) and that’s not something I intend to ever cash in.
So consider this a completely unbiased review:
This hour-long seminar DVD was put together by Greg McCoy, the owner of Metroflex Gym in Plano, Texas. The seminar features Justin Harris, Steve Kuclo and Jeff Dwelle. Justin Harris is known as one of the smartest power bodybuilders and nutritional theorists in the industry. He understands both the science of bodybuilding nutrition and the reality of a 600-pound deadlift. Steve Kuclo (at 24-years old) is a bit less seasoned but is the rising star of the group, expected to break through at the national level in the next few years. I was not familiar with the third speaker, Jeff Dwelle, who is a Texas-based competitor and contest prep coach. He was a great addition to the roundtable with some insightful views and a gift for boiling topics down to useable strategies.
The seminar was a Q&A roundtable, which is one of my personal pet peeves. No offense to the three speakers here or the seminar promoter, that’s just the way bodybuilding seminars are done these days , which I think is why they have dwindled in attendance from the crowd they would pull two decades ago.
I would have preferred thirty-minute focused and prepared segments of, for example: 1) Justin Harris on setting up a carb rotation diet, 2) Steve Kuclo explaining training strategies, and Jeff Dwelle discussing pre-contest dieting, and 4) a wrap-up Q & A segment. Of course, the fact that I wanted the seminar to be longer in length says that the content was exceptionally good.
If a couple experts at the level of these three showed up with a polished, entertaining presentation (overhead projector presentation, handouts, etc.), they would help elevate the seminar concept and make it a viable money-making avenue once again. So the responsibility for good content is shifted to the attendees to ask decent questions, which almost never really happens.
Fortunately, these three speakers have a lot of insights (as you will see above) so quality came out regardless. And this is just a smattering of the info that these three experts share.
While the production value is nothing special (but certainly not bad), Greg is offering the DVD at an incredibly affordable price (just $10.00 plus shipping), which to be honest, is pretty much giving it away. I assume he just wants to get the word out about his new Metroflex, which I hear is a great place to train.
With most similar DVDs selling for three to four times this cost, you owe it to yourself to add this to your library. Even if you just pick up a couple ideas (or have a good idea reinforced) it is well worth the price and thats why I have given it an official rating of four out of five plates.
To order, check out the MetroFlex Store and I’ll leave you with a trailer video of the seminar:
Written by Steve Colescott
Discuss, comment or ask a question
If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums - The Best Bits & Review of the Metroflex Bodybuilding Seminar discussion thread.
About Steve Colescott
Known as the Guerrilla Journalist, Steve Colescott has written over a hundred published articles for many major bodybuilding publications, including Peak Training Journal, the innovative and well-respected magazine in which he served as Publishing Editor.
He is currently a staff writer for WannaBeBig.com and has been a consultant to a number of top sports nutrition companies.
With his company, Colescott Metabolic Solutions, he has transformed the physiques of scores of average businesspeople, weekend athletes and housewives beyond their wildest expectations. Steve lives in Akron, Ohio and trains at the ultra-hardcore Body Builders Gym, an Ohio musclehead landmark.