Monday, December 14, 2009

700 lb raw deadlift falls!

As some of you may know, this past weekend I competed in the AAPF Illinois Raw Power Challenge in Willowbrook, IL. It drew a pretty good number of lifters for a raw only meet at well over 50 I believe and there was a lot of big raw lifts going down! I had a good day hitting a 567.5 lb squat, a 331 lb bench press, and a 700 lb deadlift! I went for 711 on my third attempt but I was just too gassed out and could not lock my hips through. I probably would have also gone for more on bench press but it was very cold in the building (probably in the 50s) and several people got injured that day so I decided not to chance it and did not take a third attempt on bench press. I ended up with a 1598 total which was good enough to win my weight class. My squat and deadlift were both the highest in the 220 lb class. I was extremely excited to accomplish my goal considering this time last year I had not even begun to deadlift again after my pec tear surgery! As cheezy as it sounds, it goes to show that when you write your goals down, work hard, and truly believe in yourself, it's amazing what is possible.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Congratulations to new IFBB Figure PRO Ava Cowan

Typically I do not single out clients for individual achievements because I like the group atmosphere, however I do have to point out Ava Cowan's recent achievement. I could probably sit here and write a hundred pages on the challenges Ava has faced during this contest prep alone. She rose to the challenge and hit her all time best through hard work and just down right stubbornness and determination. After being away from the NPC for several years, she stormed back to win the overall at the NPC Eastern USAs and the following week won her class at nationals to claim her IFBB pro card. She is a perfect example of what can happen when fantastic work ethic and determination is combined with great genetics and structure. I have no doubt we'll be hearing much more from her in the future. Congratulations Ava, you are a champion!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Team Norton at the 2009 OCB Midwest States

Well for the 5th year running Team Norton invaded the midwest states with 4 competitors and an even greater # of supporters in tow. Paul Revelia, Eleanora Reeves, Nicole Lindblad, and Joe Ronk took to the stage and absolutely rocked it. All in all we ended up with 4 class wins and a novice overall victory. Though Team Norton had taken home 3 pro cards in the past 2 years at the midwest states we didn't walk away with any this time, but the overall winners looked great and did a fantastic job. We also got to see the Scivation clan as Marc Lobliner's brother Aaron was competing. Aaron looked fantastic and was runner up in a very competitive tall class to Paul. Aaron definitely has a bright future if he chooses to continue competing. As always Ray Binkowski put on a first rate show and we had a blast.
Photobucket Photobucket
Thus ends the competitive season. Our Team walked away with 3 pro wins, 13 pro cards, 25 overall victories, and too many class victories to count. I'm proud of all of the Team as without you all, we would be nothing. Thank you for your hard work! I have no doubt next year will blow this year away!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big ups to Ava Cowan

Wanted to take a minute to give a big congratulations to Ava Cowan. Ava and I have been working together for just a bit less than a year and she's really made a ton of progress as well as overcome a ton of obstacles. This past weekend she won the overall at the NPC Eastern USA's. Unfortunately I could not be there to see it as I had to attend a wedding but my lovely wife Isabel flew out to NYC to be Ava's side kick for the weekend. They both had a great time and Ava did fantastic. She will be doing NPC Nationals this weekend with the hopes of earning her IFBB Pro Card. Here are some pictures from the show.


I'd also like to extend a big congratulations to Scott Kluth & Steve Lamper. Stave has been working with me over a year and Scott has worked with me over 2 years! They have made tremendous progress. Scott won his WNBF pro card, then won the overall at the NPC Ironman in Washington, and then placed 7th this past weekend at the WNBF worlds in a freaking stacked MW class. I think Scott has a bright future and will only continue to improve, he must have some of the freakiest hamstrings known to man. Steve placed third in his show out of 12 (behind Mike Lindberg who placed 2nd and also worked with me); but he was ripped to the bone and with a little more size, he will be a big threat in his next series of shows. Very happy to see people I have been working with for a long period of time do so well, it's very gratifying and one of the reasons that I absolutely have the best job in the world. Thanks guys. Let's keep the hits coming!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deadlift Training 11-10-2009

Video from tonight's deadlift training session using reverse band technique. I had a huge blister on my finger and my neck has been so sore I could hardly look up; but screw that... it was deadlift training and I'll be damned if I'm missing that.


Team Norton Member Paul Revelia wins NGA Pro Card

Wanted to extend a congratulations to Team Norton member and friend Paul Revelia for winning his NGA Pro Card by taking the Overall at the NGA Florida. This was only Paul's second show ever and he has a very bright future. He will also compete for an IFPA pro card at the OCB Midwest States in Dekalb, IL on November 21st.

here are some pictures of Paul from the show! From myself and the rest of the Team, congrats Paul and welcome to the pros my friend!

New interview video with Natural Bodybuilding Radio

Mike Neumann of Natural Bodybuilding Radio caught up with me at the NANBF USA and did a short interview. Thought some of you might like it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deadlift Training 10-27-09

Tonight was max effort for lower body and decided to hit up deadlifts. Sets went as:

135 X 10
225 X 8
315 X 6
405 X 4
475 X 2
545 X 1
595 X 1
635 X 3 (personal record)
585 X 5 (personal record)
495 X 5

After that my posterior chain was shot so did leg extension & curl as well as some calf work.

My next meet is the APF Illinois Raw Power Challenge in Willowbrook, IL where I will be competing in the 220 lb class and hope to break 700 lb deadlift and total raw elite (1551 lbs by 100% Raw Standards).

Right now I'm weighing in at around 230-233 so I will probably start cutting 3-4 weeks before the meet to ensure I make weight.

Here is a video of the 635 X 3


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Congratulations to Team Norton members for another great weekend

Isabel and I attended the NANBF USA Championships this past Saturday. As usual, Dave Yeates puts on a first rate show and the competition was very good. It was a super pro qualifier and so quite a few high quality competitors came out to vie for the pro cards. We were exstatic to see Team Norton members Ryan Irwin and Amy Sedlatschek (aka AmySuds) walk away with two of the pro cards. Ryan won a very competitive short class to nab his pro card. He told me that he had done over 20 shows and this was by far the best he had looked. It was great to see the look on his face as they announced his name in first place.

Likewise watching Amy win the overall figure title and a pro card was equally as compelling. Unbeknownst to most people in the audience, Amy threw out her back a week before the show and couldn't do any cardio, lifting, or even hardly get out of bed the last week. At various points she was in excruciating pain onstage. It came to climax when the judges asked for the girls to hit their favorite pose during the overall as shown in the picture below. Amy could have easily done an easy pose, but she went ahead and did a pose that I know must have put her back in excruciating pain; but she was not going to be denied her pro card, and rightly so. Amy has worked extremely hard for it and to see her hard work rewarded was absolutely fantastic.

Also competing in his first show, Team Norton member Mike Randall won the Men's Novice Short class! Mike has been working at the gym I train at for the past year as a personal trainer. He did absolutely fantastic and his posing was that of a seasoned veteran. He certainly has a very bright future and had a mile wide smile after the show!

I would also be remiss if I did not sent out a huge congratulation to Dave Crisafi for winning his first overall at the OCB Tidewater, the final show of his career (he announced his retirement from competing a few months ago). What a way to go out, congratulations Dave, we are really proud of you!

Here are pictures from the show, we had a great time, and it just makes me want to thank everyone who allows me the opportunity to work with them. Novice or pro, I enjoy the process of seeing someone take the journey and achieve their goals. It re-emphasizes the point that I absolutely have the best job in the world and I cannot express to our Team how much I appreciate it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Leg day speed work

Some of you may be wondering what some of my powerlifting training has been looking like. Of course I do typical heavy work but I also do repeated speed work. When performing speed work I use accommodating resistance (ie bands & chains a lot) here are some photos of me doing box squats and a video of me doing speed work with 405 lbs on deads using bands. Today I did:

Box squats: 335 lbs + average bands for 8 sets of 2 reps
Deadlifts: 405 lbs + average bands for 4 sets of 2 reps
2 rounds of 4 sets of occlusion training on leg extension
4 sets of glute ham raises: BW for 8-12 reps
4 sets of seated leg curl with the stack for 15-18 reps
5 sets seated calf raises & 5 sets donkey calf raises

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here is some video from my training tonight. I hit 585 lbs for 3 reps on a 3.5" box; a 20 lb personal record for me. I also did another set for 2 reps and then a final set with 545 for 3 reps. Currently 8.5 weeks out from the APF Illinois Raw Power Challenge!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Updated Blog

Hi Everyone,
I'm assuming you've all noticed the new BioBlog format. It is going to make it much easier for me to keep you all updated on what is going on. Much more user friendly. Today Isabel and I are actually part of a wedding for bodybuilding royalty. WNBF Pro Kera Harle is tying the knot with IFPA Tommy Jeffers, both good friends of ours. We are honored to be a part of their wedding and wish them well. Even though I am traveling I will be driving a good 25 minutes to the nearest gym so I can get leg day in. I now realize I am less than one year away from my pro debut and looking at all the talent in natural bodybuilding I realize that it is going to take nothing less than absolute 100% all out effort, and that's what I'm willing to give. Only everything I have got will be good enough.

Back to work!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hello Bio-Blog readers,

As is usual, this blog is a long time coming. Lots of been happening in my life so we'll get right into it. I just finished up my final experiment for my PhD research and it seems to have gone very well. The data thus far looks down right remarkable! I can't wait to get it all worked up and published! I am probably about 6 months away from FINALLY finishing up my PhD! There were times I thought I wouldn't make it and times that I wanted to just give up, but I stuck it out and I must say, it's the most difficult, most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life other than marrying my wife.

Training wise things are also going extremely well. I just did my second powerlifting meet on September 19th, the APA Indiana States Power in Wheatfield, IN and won my division hitting a 570 lb raw squat, 275 lb raw bench (a token bench press as I was not ready to test my repaired pec yet), and a 690 lb raw deadlift, which set the new APA world record for raw 220 lb class deadlift! I definitely feel like I have 700 lbs in me, but I was very fatigued and my back felt a bit of a tweak on 690 and I did not want to risk doing 700 lbs if I didn't feel 100%. Still I was very happy with my effort and most importantly I had a lot of fun. I plan to do one more meet this year on December 12th where I will likely attempt 700+ lbs! Be sure to keep watching the new Inside the Life episodes coming out soon as they will be documenting my powerlifting training and will have footage from the meet!

Business wise things are booming, Team Norton is doing extremely well; better than I could have ever possibly imagined. It is a true testimate to the people involved with us, I owe all my success to them! The DVD is damn near sold out! We have less than 50 copies left. It's a real feather in the cap of natural bodybuilding to see a natural bodybuilding DVD do so well and I think it will open doors for other natural bodybuilders to have more success with these sorts of projects!

We have lots of events coming up and you can catch me in the following places this fall:
-September 25-26: Mr. Olympia Expo in Las Vegas working with and helping them with interviews
-October 24: NANBF USAs in University Park, IL
-November 21: OCB Midwest States in Dekalb, IL

Hope to see some of you this fall!



Hey Everyone,

I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend. Ours was fantastic. Isabel and I were in a wedding for 2 of our best friends Bill & Sara and had a great time & are extremely happy for them. Congrats guys! Now, I know I have been out of touch with my BioBlog and I apologize for that. Between Isabel's contest prep, putting out two peer review papers, running my business, and designing my final experiment for my thesis, things have been pretty crazy.

Isabel did really well at her shows. All the shows were very competitive, in fact one show had 12 people in Isabel's class. Even though it was her first 3 shows, she only did the open classes and managed to place top 5 in every single show and also won her class at the NGA Heart of America Natural Classic! She did not win the overall but there will be plenty of time for that. Overall she had a great time and wants to compete again in the future. If you want to check out her journey in more detail she is now a part of the video series on

As for me. I've just been trying to focus on my thesis and my business, both of which are going extremely well. I have been blessed to be able to work with so many really great clients this year and so far they have done an awsome job. I want to shout out to all of them for doing such a fantastic job and normally I don't single people out but I want to say great job to Tiffany Benson, Francisco Montealegre, Ava Cowan, and Amy Sedlatschek. Tiffany has fought through injuries, personal setbacks, and too many obstacles to name to finally come away with a pro card; great job girl. Francisco has been with me for a year and has never waivered from his singular purpose to win a natural pro card. Great job buddy, now he will be competing in his first pro show ever and I'm sure "Senior Symmetry" will do fantastic. What can I say about Ava Cowan except the girl kicks ass. She won the ridiculously huge Figure Universe (18 girls in her class alone) show unanimously on the judges score cards. She has done a fantastic job and I truly believe she is one of the best figure competitors in the world. Amy is another person who overcame tremendous obstacles to come out on top. She showed up in phenominal condition at all her shows and even won the overall at a big NPC show with 12 girls in her class!

Now that I'm done gushing over how proud I am of them, I'll talk a bit about me. I am in the midst of prepping for another powerlifting show on July 25th in Terre Haute, IN. It is an IPA push/pull meet but I will just be doing the deadlift only portion. At my first meet I hit 645 and I hit 660 recently in training pretty easily, so I'm hoping to do even better at the meet. I also realized that right now I am less than a year away from starting to prep for my comeback shows! HELL YES! I am so excited I can hardly wait. I've been away from the game way too long. It's time to find out if I can hang with the pros.

I also want to thank everyone who has checked out my DVD. It has sold so well that we are almost sold out. I just opened the last box so we have less than 100 copies left. So if you wanted to check it out, you might want to do so. You can get it by emailing me directly if you'd like a signed copy or you can buy it off scivation's store,,, or

I promise to do a better job keeping everyone updated. Thanks again for visiting my site, I truly appreciate it.



Hey Everyone,

As usual, this blog is long overdo! For that I apologize. Now let's get down to business. Lots of things happening in the world of Layne. Probably the biggest thing coming up is my wife Isabel's first show this weekend! She will be competing in the NGA Heart of America Natural Classic, the same show I won the overall at in 2006. She will be competing in the figure division. I'm very excited for her, she has worked so hard and come so far, I just couldn't be more proud of her.

As for myself, I have been quite busy with academics. I am preparing to run my final experiment towards completing my thesis so that is excited. I recently presented some of my research at the Experimental Biology conference in New Orleans on the 20th of April. I had a great time speaking, it is always a big rush to get up to talk about something you are passionate about to a room full of very intelligent people! In that same vein, my first peer reviewed research paper was just accepted by the Journal of Nutrition! You can see the abstract here:

This is very exciting for me, the Journal of Nutrition is a very prestigious journal and I am humbled to have my research be published in such a journal! I never would have thought a dream a started so long ago when I was a teenager to do things like be a pro bodybuilder and make an impact on research would actually lead here. I can't wait to see what the next few years bring.

Competitively, I am definitely itching to get back onstage; but I don't plan to do so until I have my graduate research wrapped up, hopefully that will be about a year from now. Until then I plan to do a few more powerlifting competitions to give me some goals to shoot for and quench my competitive thirst. As always, I will keep everyone updated on any competitions I plan on doing.

Shows you can catch me at this spring include:
May 2 - NGA Heart of America Natural Classic in Washington, IL
May 16 - NANBF Mr/Ms Natural Illinois & Great Northern Bodybuilding & Figure Championships in Kankakee, IL
May 30 - OCB Circle City Championships in Indianapolis, IN

Hope to see you there!



Hey Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a great beginning to this year. The cold is starting to break and spring is just around the corner and that means so is contest season! Certainly some of you are already in the full swing of things. I know Isabel is already 7 weeks into her prep and she is doing fantastic. She started at 133 lbs and in 7 weeks is down to 125.5 lbs and is right track to have a super successful debut in figure. I am very proud of her to work so hard and take the next step. I would invite everyone to stop by the forum and check out her pre-contest log. I know I stop in for my daily dose of motivation.

As for me I have been very busy with grad school work. Our lab has some really cool data that should be coming out here in a few months so I can't wait to show you guys that. I am also very busy with writing for MD. I have submitted my first two columns, and the first column just came out in the April issue of MD so look out for that!

The Unleashed DVD has also been selling very well. Better than I could have ever expected to be honest. At this rate it looks as if we'll sell well past expectations! Recently the editor in chief of IRONMAN Magazine, Steve Holman, reviewed my DVD in the March issue of IRONMAN on page 88. He gave it an absolutely fantastic review. It was very cool for me to see such a highly regarded name in bodybuilding have such positive things to say about my DVD. Additionally, Mike Pulcinella of Muscular Development also gave the DVD a very nice review that can be found here:

As many of you also know, I recently returned to compeition. Not for bodybuilding but I competed in my first powerlifting meet, the APA Crush Cupid on February 14th, 2009. How cool is my wife to let me do that on valentine's day? I had a great time and participated in the 220 lb class in the RAW (only belt and knee wraps allowed, no suits) division and did the squat and deadlift. I was pretty confident going in that I would do well, I had weighed in the night before at 215 after depleting down slightly to ensure I made the 220 lb class (I was 223 earlier in the week). Everyone at the meet was very friendly and encouraging. In the squat my three lifts were 455 lbs, 495 lbs, and 520 lbs, a personal record! In deadlift, my goal was to break the APA's RAW 220 lb class record which was 625 lbs. My first lift was 585 lbs and I pulled it so fast the judge said he thought I was going to power clean it! My second lift was 610 lbs. That went up easy as well. My third attempt was 630 lbs. I focussed myself and ripped it off the ground for a good lift and a new APA record! After I hit the lift I was informed that I could do a 4th attempt since I had hit all 3 previous lifts and set a world record. I decided I would go for 645 lbs, 3x my bodyweight. Again I focussed myself and used thoughts of my loved ones to motivate myself. Again I ripped the weight off the ground and it came up easy. Several people told me they believed I could have pulled 660-670 easily. I don't know if that's true or not, but it is certainly a goal! The all time best RAW deadlift for 220 lb class in any organization is 705 lbs, so i still have a long way to go before I can call myself a world champion in that record, but at least for the APA, I was able to set a world record, which felt unbelievable.

Overall, it felt great just to be able to compete again. I had such a great time and I look forward to doing another meet in fall. To see videos from the meet check out:

I also want to remind everyone that the Arnold Classic is just around the corner. For those of you who will be going to the expo, please stop by the Scivation booth. As always, I enjoy chatting with bodybuilding fans. I will also be selling my DVD at the presale price for those who are interested in purchasing it.

I look forward to meeting some of you for the first time, and seeing old friends as well!



Hey Everyone,

Big things poppin' right now! First of all I want you all to know that I sent off my first article to Muscular Development and the boss himself (Steve Blechman) told me he loved it so I hope you all really enjoy it. The article will be appearing in the April issue of MD, so don't miss it. My goal is to write articles that are thought provoking and are about issues that haven't been covered yet, or at least cover old issues from a new angle. Either way, I promise it won't be the same old regurgitated crap that I'm sure everyone get's tired of reading.

In other news Isabel and I will be attending the Arnold Classic this year along with the rest of Team Scivation! Please come to the Scivation booth and say hello. As anyone who has meet me at the expo previously knows, I am more than happy to take pictures with people, sign stuff, and just have a conversation. I don't think my mouth stops moving the whole time when I'm in the booth! I just love talking to the fans of the sport and people who have a thirst for knowledge. I will also have copies of my DVD at the booth for the pre-sale price ($25) so if you want one just let me or Isabel know. Speaking of Isabel, she is 4 weeks into her contest prep and she is doing FANTASTIC. She's lost almost 5 lbs and about an inch off her hips/thighs already. She was flaring her lats the other day in the mirror and I've gotta tell ya, I hardly see lats on male bodybuilders that big. She has definitely earned her nickname: "The LATin Assasin!"

In other news, I have finally decided to take the plunge and enter a powerlifting meet. I will be doing the APA Crush Cupid meet in Plainfield, IN on February 14th. I will only be doing deadlift and squat as my pec, while much better than before, is not 100% and even if it was I'm just not sure I'd have the nerve to get under a heavy bench press. My personal bests in the squat and deadlift are 515 lbs and 630 lbs respectively. I will be entering in the 220 lb class. I am about 225 lbs now so I am just going to carb deplete a few days beforehand, weigh in the day before, and then add back in energy before the meet. My only goal is to go in and have fun. It's been so long since I've competed in anything, I am just really excited about having the oppertunity to challenge myself in a competition setting again! So if you are in the area of Plainfield, IN and want to see me try my first shot at this, feel free to come out! I'd appreciate the support!

Hope to see many of you at the Arnold!



Hi everyone,

Well I know many of you have been awaiting my DVD and I'm happy to report that it is finished and available for pre-order! If you pre-order your DVD not only will you not be charged for shipping if you live in the US (if you live outside the US there will be an additional $5 fee), you will also receive a significant discount off of the retail price and your DVD cover will come to you autographed.

To place a pre-order please send $30 ($35 for orders outside of the US) to through PayPal ( In the comment section please provide your address and the name of the person that the DVD is for. The pre-order will last for a few weeks after which time this deal will no longer be available. If you have any questions please send them to

Thank you everyone for all your support. I hope you enjoy the DVD. You can catch a free trailer from it on my main page playing now!


Hello everyone,
Monday afternoon I had my follow up with the physicians assistant who assisted with the surgery on my pec. She told me that when they opened me up my 'pec was a mess.' I had significant scar tissue and fluid build up and a large portion of the surgery they spent just trying to find the torn fibers. They were able to find them and retrieve them but could not get them all the way up to the tendon so in order to bridge the gap between the tendon and the muscle they made a 'bridge' using a very strong filament called FiberWire. They attached my torn muscle fibers to one end and the torn tendon to the other and this should allow them to heal together. Furthermore, she said that when they pulled the fibers back up to the tendon my pec regained the proper shape. She said they may never be perfectly symmetrical, but they will be MUCH better off than they would have been without surgery. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was thrilled to hear this news. They also took my bandages off and I got to see the incision for the first time, it is sizable running from where my pec meets my shoulder down into my armpit, but I'm not worried about the scar, it will make for a cool story.

As for my recovery, I still have to wear my arm brace for 2-3 more weeks, after that I can begin physical therapy to regain my range of motion and function. Physical therapy will be grueling and frustrating she said, as I will only be able to get back very small amounts of range of motion at a time. She said it may be 4-6 months until I am ready to be cleared for lifting. I am not worried about that though, I am still cleared to work legs! So legs it is! I am going to purchase special squat bar that allows me to keep my hands in front of me while squatting so I can begin squatting during physical therapy once my brace is off. To this point I have not lost more than about a pound since the original injury and there is no noticeable atrophy of my chest and arm, though I have lost some fullness. I think a big reason why I've been able to stave off atrophy is because I have stuck to my diet. So many people go off their diets when they get injured because they feel there is no point. They are wrong! When you cannot train your diet is the only thing that can save you. I have been even more strict with my food intake. I have also been dosing Xtend to get BCAAs between my meals as well as HMB and both of these have been shown to reduce muscle protein breakdown, so I feel they have also aided me in holding onto my size.

Overall I'm very happy and encouraged by how well the surgery went. Each doctor tried to talk me out of surgery but I did my own research and knew that surgery was the only chance I would have to regain most of my strength, functionality, and symmetry. The surgeon himself said he thought surgery might not do anything at all. I told him that I loved bodybuilding and lifting weights and if it even just gave me 5 or 10% more functionality, strength, and made it look a little better, it was worth it for me. After the surgery he told Isabel he was surprised he was able to do anything at all, but I had read many medical case studies on this surgery and knew that in most cases the surgery does help things, and sure enough it looks like it did.

I sure hope you all are ready for the comeback...



Hey Guys,

Just a quick blog update for you all. Please check out my shoulder training article in the March Issue of Ironman Magazine on page 118. If you like the article, let them know. Positive feedback helps keep the magazines interested in my articles. I hope you all enjoy it, you can check out a preview of it here:



2007 OCB AWARDS -> Here

Hi everyone,
It's been a few weeks since I posted a blog and I apologize for that. I have been traveling the last few weeks. First to Evansville, IN to visit my parents for the holidays. That was a great time getting to see my family and friends for christmas. I received some great gifts, including a brand new Inzer belt from Isabel that I was really excited about!
Then we went to Des Moines, IA to visit a few of our friends Carl DuCharme and Carly Smith for new years.
Carl was my roomate my freshman year in college and we both got really into bodybuilding together, so it was great to get in the gym with an old training partner and hammer it out.

Finally I traveled back to Evansville to help conduct interviews with the film crew at Dr. Joe Klemczewski's Natural Bodybuilding Fantasy Camp. The fantasy camp is held every year for Dr. Joe's clients. For a fee they get to spend the weekend in Evansville and train with some of the best natural bodybuilders in the world. This year's camp featured 2 former WNBF world champions in Dave Goodin and John Harris as well as Jim Cordova, the current WNBF world champ. Top WNBF figure pro Mary Bell and her boyfriend, WNBF Pro Duke Bell also were instructors at the camp. My function was to interview them for a DVD that Joe will be selling later in the year as a documentary about the weekend. Some of the footage we took will also be appearing on my show "Inside the Life of a Pro Natural Bodybuilder" on so watch for it in the coming months! The weekend was unreal! As many of you know, Dave Goodin was one of my bodybuilding idols when I first got into bodybuilding and getting to hang out with him for the weekend was a real treat.
Jon Harris is someone who I had deep respect for as well and have always considered to have a flawless physique. Jon was a truly great guy and told me that he will be a father in just 8 short weeks!
Congratulations John! Jim is always fun to hang out with. I think he had his camcorder taped to his hand the whole weekend because he took so many pictures and so much film! Mary and Duke were also a ton of fun to hang out with and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again at the Arnold Classic. Dr. Joe is a good friend and even though we are direct competitors as we are both 'prep guys' we never quibble and never hesitate to share information with each other.
Friendships and relationships are always more important than a few bucks in the long run. Joe has always been supportive and more helpful to me than he needed to be and hopefully I can do something to pay him back for that someday.

What I thought was really cool about the camp was that you had 5 top pro natural athletes, 3 of which who have won world titles, as well as two of the bigger prep guys involved in natural bodybuilding and there was absolutely no display of egos at all the entire weekend. At one point in Joe's seminar I was asking him questions, as well as the rest of the pros there.
Even though I am working on my PhD and am a pro, I am not so arrogant to believe that I can't learn things from these guys. Likewise, routinely they would all be asking each other questions. Jon Harris, who lost his title to Jim Cordova last year, was actually giving Jim advice at one point and vice versa. Can you ever see Jay Cutler & Ronnie Coleman trying to give advice and help each other out? I don't think so. I thought it was a great display of sportsmanship and what bodybuilding truly should be about!

Probably the highlight of the weekend for me was hanging out with Joe, Mary, Duke, Dave, Jon, and Jim as well as the rest of Joe's clients on Saturday night. Not only did we all go out and have a great time, I realized that there was not one person at the camp that I even remotely disliked, I really enjoyed everyone there. I found myself even a little star struck, I was hanging out with 3 world champions, including arguably the most successful natural bodybuilder ever in Dave Goodin, and it was just like I was hanging out with friends I had known for years.
It was a bit surreal. At the end of the day I am still a huge fan of natural bodybuilding and it really was a great experience for me. They are all great role models and I encourage you all to get the DVD when it comes out as well as watch the episodes to get to know these guys better. In the meantime, please check out their websites...

Dr. Joe:
Dave Goodin:
Jon Harris:
Mary Bell:
Jim Cordova: (coming soon)

Duke does not have a website, but if he ever puts one up I will let you all know!

In the meantime, I have big things in store for 2008 so get ready, it's going to be a hell of a year for myself, my family, and Scivation.



What's up gym rats?

Been a while since my last blog as I have quite a few irons in the fire at the moment.
Wedding planning, research, grant writing, filming for the show and DVD, training, traveling to shows, and writing books/articles has been taking up about 28 hours of my 24 hour days. I wouldn't be happy if I wasn't busy I suppose. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was bored. It will be a welcome vacation next may to get a few weeks off for our honeymoon.

The next six months are going to be exciting for me and Scivation as we have several big things planned so remain on the lookout! I almost forgot to mention, if you have not tried the apple Xtend yet, you just don't know what you are missing. It is simply ridiculously good. So much so that we were running low on it, Isabel would slap my hand when she found me using her bottle of apple xtend!

One of the big things I am looking forward to this month is the OCB Midwest States in Dekalb, IL on November 17th. Isabel and I have been involved with helping/planning the show in some form or another since it's inception in 2005. This year it will be a pro qualifier and primed to bring in some big talent.

What I am most excited about is the "team" portion of the show. If 3 more more competitors are from the same gym, have the same coach, from the same town, etc, then they can form a 'team.' It just so happens that I have four people doing the show including the latest addition to Team Scivation's growing list of top natural bodybuilders: Tommy Jeffers. This will be Tommy's first pro qualifier and I have to believe he is one of the front runner's. You can see more of Tommy on the latest episode of my webcast:

The other people entering as our team will be Carissa Meyers, Nicole Lindblad, and Darrell Sneed. Carissa is certainly a front runner for the figure pro card. This will only be her third show ever, but she has a ton of talent and great conditioning. Nicole will be entering the women's bodybuilding portion of the show.

Nicole has been with me for some time and I'm really excited about the progress she has made and how hard she has worked. I think this show will be a turning point for her and I doubt there will be a better back
on stage! Darrell is coming off winning the Master's class at the NANBF Great Lakes States, his very first show! Again, I have a hard time believing Darrell will not be challenging for another Master's title at this show. You just don't see many 40+ year olds with split hammies and striated glutes! The only thing this team loves more than apple flavored Xtend is WINNING, so if you are in the area you should come check out the Team along with the other fabulous natural athletes at the Midwest States! I will be attending and happy to chat with anyone who shows up!

Also, check out the forum section of the site as several Team members have pre-contest journals there!

Until next time,


What’s up people? I hope everyone is well. It’s getting colder outside but the contest season is really heating up as the BIG shows are just around the corner, so obviously contest prep topics are something constantly on my mind. This past weekend I had a client call me and tell me that he felt he was holding water. Now typically I think that 99% of people who say they are ‘holding water’ just aren’t in shape, but I knew he was in shape, but I figured he was probably paranoid. But he was very convinced that he was in deed not nearly as tight as he had been. So what do we do? What can we do if we get to the day before or dare I say the day of the show and for whatever reason we are holding water? Most people would say ‘cut water’ or ‘take a diuretic. I would have to disagree with that.

What you have to remember is that even if you are holding water under the skin, cutting water is not the best way to get rid of it. If you are holding water under the skin & you cut it then you are just going to increase aldosterone even more and reabsorb more water from the nephrons into the interstitial space. When you cut water or take a diuretic you will not be able to control where you take it from… it is going to come out of muscle and out of the subcutaneous tissue; the problem is it's going to come out in the same ratio contained by the two areas. If we think about Le Chatelier's principle we can start to make sense of it. For those of you who haven’t had a lot of chemistry, Le Chatelier's principle can be used to predict the effect of a change in conditions on a chemical equilibrium. It can be summarized as: “If a chemical system at equilibrium experiences achange in concentration, temperature, volume, or total pressure; the equilibrium will shift in order to partially counter-act the imposed change.” For example, let’s say we have 2 reactions: A ----> B-----> C. If you remove C, then you will accelerate the conversion of B to C, and also accelerate the conversion of A to B. PULLING the reaction forward. Now if you reduce the amount of A, then the conversion of A to be will slow and therefore, the movement of B to C will also slow in order to maintain equilibrium. By the same token, let's look at water distribution assuming A is water in the muscle, B is water in the interstitial space, and C is water in the kidneys. If you take a diuretic to increase water excretion, (in our example, removal of C) you will therefore accelerate the removal of B (interstitial) but you will also accelerate the removal of A at the same rate to maintain equilibrium. The ratio of water in each compartment stays the same, all you have managed to do is reduce water in all departments and flatten yourself out. So what happens if we cut water? If you cut water then you are reducing the input of A into the system. This will reduce the movement of A into B, and will subsequently reduce the movement of B into C. In this case the kidney totally restricts it’s excretion of water due to the reduced input in order to maintain equilibrium. Again the distribution of water in the compartments is unchanged, there is just less water everywhere and so you are just flatter everywhere.
So what do you do? You’ve only got days or worst case, hours until you have be onstage and you have to tighten up. What can you do? Your best bet is to MOVE the water by changing the equilibrium. That is taking the water from the interstitial space and moving it into the muscle tissue. The best way to do that is to start doing a good hard pump up workout for anywhere to 20-40 minutes. There is no need to go heavy, just a circuit with lighter weights to get a really good pump going. This is going to do a few things

1) Increase blood flow and blood pressure helping to push water from the interstitial area into the vascular system.

2) Upregulate skeletal muscle GLUT-4 receptors, causing your muscle to pull more glucose from the interstitial space into the muscle and a lot of water along with it

3) It will increase perspiration, which isn't always a good thing but if you are in fact holding water it may help get rid of excess water in subcutaneous tissue.

So what happened to our mystery man who was holding water? Well he didn’t cut water, he didn’t take a diuretic, he just did a nice circuit training routine the night before the show and then again the morning of the show. That night he called me to tell me he tightened up and won his show. Don’t thank me though… thank Henry Louis Le Chatelier. Who would have known a dead French geek from the late 1800s would be helping people win bodybuilding shows in the 21st century?


There is a story I want to share with you all. I was at the store a few nights ago buying groceries with my fiancĂ©e Isabel. We were in the check out line and a young kid, about 16 years old, was our cashier. We had just come from the gym and still had our workout gear on; I was being quite obvious with my tight under armor shirt on. The kid looked at me and asked softly, “Sir, are you a bodybuilder?” I smiled back at him and replied jokingly “Yep, what gave it away???” He smiled and continued to scan our items. After a few moments he looked at me and asked, “Is it fun?” Of course my reaction was “Yea it’s a lot of fun, if you make it fun. If it was not fun, I probably wouldn’t do it.”

He smiled and finished checking us out, we thanked him and left. As I walked out of the store, I thought about his question, “is bodybuilding fun??” I can honestly say yes, it is. I have a lot of fun with what I do. But I also think about all the people who don’t have fun with bodybuilding. You know who they are, maybe you are even one of them. The people who lament what they do. They complain about having to eat bodybuilding foods when their friends go out to dinner. They whine about the cardio they must do when getting ready for a show. They go out of their way to tell you how hard their road is and how much they have to sacrifice.

Well I got news for you… if you don’t like bodybuilding, THEN DON’T DO IT! I’m tired of hearing pissing and moaning from people who don’t truly love the sport. Why would you do something you hate? Bodybuilding isn’t for everyone. Just because you don’t enjoy it, that doesn’t make you soft, or a coward, or anything like that, it just means you don’t dig the lifestyle. Personally I love what I do and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. Sure enough though, I see plenty of people lamenting what they do day in and day out in the gym. It is almost as if they workout and diet out of some kind of fear. That is no way to live. If you can’t have fun with something you do, then you simply aren’t going to work hard at it.

Is bodybuilding tough? You bet your ass it is. But I love it. I love bodybuilding. I don’t want to hear you’re whining or complaining. If you don’t like it, if it’s not fun for you, if you wake up everyday not looking forward to your workout or what you have to do, then get out. Do something that makes you happy.

Yes bodybuilding is fun for me. I’ve learned how to integrate it into my life; I don’t let it dominate my life. There is a difference. So when that kid asked me if bodybuilding was fun, I didn’t have to lie to him. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll try it out for himself.

Layne Norton


The year sure is going fast and the fall shows are creeping up on us. I always enjoy attending shows for various reasons, most of all being I just love bodybuilding and I am a fan of all bodybuilding shows.

It is also always fun to get to talk with the competitors and the fans in the crowd. We are such a niche sport that quite often we have very few people who can relate to us, however at a bodybuilding show we are surrounded by them. This fall I have plans to attend several shows where I will be either expediting, working the Scivation booth, presenting trophies, or my fiance Isabel will be judging. You can catch us on the following dates:

September 22nd in Indianapolis,IN at the OCB Indiana Natural October 27th in University Park, IL at the NANBF USAs November 17th in Dekalb, IL at the OCB Midwest States.

These are three of the premier natural shows in the midwest region so if you have a chance, make sure you check them out and if you are a competitor you should give some thought to competing in one or two of them.
If you make it to any of the shows please be sure to stop in and say hello!

Hope to see you all soon,

What is your excuse? Everyone seems to have one.

From the average couch potato who can't seem to muster enough energy to put his beer & big mac down to do a few workouts, to the guy who placed low in a show putting the blame on his water, carb load, prep coach, etc. Everyone seems to have an excuse these days.

Where is the personal accountability? Have we all developed such fragile egos that we can't fathom the thought of taking responsibility when things DON'T go well. I've got news for everyone out there. 99.999% of the time, if you fall short of your goals, it is time to STOP pointing the finger elsewhere and look in the mirror. The extra calories in your fish oil capsules didn't stop you from getting to 6%; it was the binge out on pizza two weeks ago. How you were holding water had nothing to do with your placing low at your contest, it was the fact you didn't give yourself enough time to diet and started out with too much bodyfat. And no Mr. Couch potato, you DO have the time to workout, you just choose not to. So when you look in the mirror and see your beer belly hanging over your belt and can't see (amongst other things) your toes, you need to look right back in that mirror and put the onus on yourself to get in shape. In the end, the world isn't going to hand you anything on a silver platter, but on the same token, the world isn't out to get you either. You make your own fate, your own success. If you are lazy, then your fate will be... average or less, but just remember, it is no one else's fault other than your own. In the end either you want to improve or you don't... period.

Layne Norton



What's happening everyone? I hope summer is treating you well. Mine is going very well. Research is keeping me busy in the lab as always but things are going quite well. As some of you may have heard I have started the wheels in motion for putting an offseason training/nutrition DVD out there. It will cover off season nutrition & training, my bulk/cut cycles, my power/hypertrophy training, my cardio regiment, and of course will have hard core lifting with tossing some weights around.

I am looking for ideas for a title and I'm also looking for ideas on unique content you'd like to see.Please sign up for my forum and post your ideas on the thread dedicated to this topic. If I decide to use someone's title they propose, I will give them 3 months of free nutritional consultation as well a signed DVD.

Contest season is also in full swing now and my clients are keeping me quite busy, which is the way I like it. So far it's been very successful with a few overall titles already in the books for a few of them. Since I'm not competing for a few years I have to live vicariously through my clients, but I really enjoy it. I even find myself getting nervous on Saturdays when I have clients competing because it still feels like 'game day' for me.

One thing I always fine funny is the looks my clients get at their shows. None of my clients water deplete, and most of them drink 1-2 gallons of water on show day. They always get strange looks and people asking them if they are concerned about 'retaining water.'
In our natural state we actually have MORE water inside our cells than outside our cells (subcutaneous water). It is when you screw with things that you start getting problems. People seem to have this notion that if they cut water, they will lose all their subcutaneous water. There are a few problems with this: 1) You won't just lose water from the subcutaneous area, you will also lose it out of the muscle tissue, and you will most likely lose MORE from the muscle than from the subcutaneous layer as the body will attempt to maintain the water balance between the inside & outside of the cell. 2) You will flatten yourself out big time. The only reason a carb load works is because the increased glycogen causes your cells to store more water. All you have really done is flatten yourself out, you haven't changed the ratio of intracellular/extracellular water at all.

I know what you are thinking "but Layne, at my last show a judge said I needed to be drier" or "everyone tells me I just need to lose the water." Well I'm not here to make you feel better about yourself, I'm here to help you do better at your next show. And the truth is that people are telling you that you are 'holding water' because they don't want to hurt your feelings. The fact of the matter is that you weren't 'holding water' you just weren't lean enough. Period.
Look at team Scivation member's Kurt Weidner and Ben Goins at 3 weeks before a show. They are 'drier' than 99.99% of people who compete ever will be. No water manipulation, no sodium manipulation, nothing. How can they look so dry when they haven't changed a thing from their normal diet? What is their secret. Well listen very closely because I'm only going to tell you the secret once. The big secret is THEY ARE EXTREMELY LEAN! They gave themselves long enough to diet and they were honest with themselves about how much fat they needed to lose. That's the secret. Get shredded and very little of that final week stuff is needed.

Most people don't realize that the big reason all these complex final week protocols came about was simply marketing from pre-contest prep 'gurus'. If it was as simple as just getting shredded, how would these guys stay in business? They make their clients feel like they 'need' them because these guys have their clients manipulating fifteen hundred variables in the last week. How could they possibly do that on their own? And thus, they feel like they need their 'guru'. You would be surprised at how many clients I probably lose because my approach is so simple, but I'm not in this to make money dishonestly. The secret is simple, give yourself enough time to diet, be honest with yourself about how much bodyfat you have to lose, and GET SHREDDED! Period.

Til next time,


Hey everyone!
Man have I been busy as always but even more so. Myresearch is really heating up and it looks like I've got some interesting stuff! Hopefully we'll be able to start writing up a manuscript here soon! Good news on the bodybuilding front, my webcast on got extended for 6 more weeks! That's big news for natural bodybuilding! If you haven't seen the show yet make sure you check it out:

Last Monday (7/16) I was also on Muscular Development's No Bull Radio debating Dave Palumbo on precontest prep. It was great fun. Dave went to a few years of med school so he knows quite a bit and it's always fun to debate a well educated person, it keeps you sharp and on your toes. Apparently they liked having me on there enough that they will be having me back this week on Monday's show (7/23) which will be featuring natural bodybuilding with guests Skip LaCour and Chris Faildo along with myself.

If you haven't heard part 1 of our debate you can download it here:
Remember, the show starts at 7 pm eastern and I should be on around 8:15 pm eastern. I hope you guys listen in and enjoy!

Until next time, Train INSANE!


What’s up guys? Been a while since I clocked in and MAN have I been busy. What with the web cast at doing so well and working so hard in lab as well as in the gym, and with so many of my clients competing this summer I just don’t get as much time to sit down with my good ol’ friend the keyboard. I am doing very well however. Last night I weighed in at 229 lbs! A new all time high! I took caliper
readings three times & they came out to 9.7, 9.7, & 10.4%! I pinched extra hard the last time to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. This is by far the most muscular & strong I’ve ever been. I’ve been around this weight during my last off-season (227 lbs) but I was not near this lean.

I attribute the gains to a few different things.

1) I’ve been following my 4-8 week bulk, 2-3 week cut cycle religiously.
2) I’ve been hitting the high intensity intervals hard on my off days.
3) I’ve reduced my meal frequency to once every 3.5-5 hours with a 5g dose of Xtend in between each meal and this has worked wonders. I changed my meal frequency after results from research that I got back in lab that suggested this approach may be better than eating every 2 hours and so far it has been WORKING!
4) I have been going like a maniac in the gym, just absolutely insane. Some people get burnt out on lifting but I still love it. Yesterday I was going into the gym for leg day and as I was pulling into the gym I realized I had butterflies! I still get anxious & nervous before a big leg day! I look forward to every workout day in and day out. Hard workouts are a blessing, not a burden. I am blessed to be able to workout as hard as I do, many people don’t have the physical health to do this and I’m thankful everyday that I do.
5) Finally I’ve been using sesamin and Dialene-4 in the OFFSEASON and I’ve found that they are very good at keeping off body fat while in a caloric surplus. This actually makes quite a bit of sense to me since much of the research that is done on fat burners looks at PREVENTING fat gain while feeding subjects and excess of calories. I am quite certain it’s made a difference for me.

Since I had a hand in helping design Dialene-4 it makes me feel good to know that I am taking it because it works and it’s something I can be proud of. I was honestly very nervous the first time I took it because I was scared about whether it would actually work or not. I didn’t want to have helped put out something that looked good on paper but didn’t pan out in the real world. Fortunately I don’t think that is the case and after having used it for 3 months now, I’m very proud of it.

So things are going very well with me with a lot of things coming up. I’m looking forward to the Scivation workout video shoot coming up at the end of August as well as the OCB shows in Indianapolis, IN and Dekalb, IL on September 22nd and November 17th where I’ll be helping out backstage as an expeditor. I always enjoy expediting more than judging simply because I love being around the competitors, especially the first timers. It helps me remember how I felt at my first show; it’s an experience that stays with you in a way that you cannot accurately put into words.

Of course there is also the NPC Carolina Clash that I’ll be attending to root on Scivation owner Marc Lobliner as well as other Team Scivation athletes! Afterwards, we’ll be hitting up some BBQ at Marc’s house in celebration. Now you KNOW I’m looking forward to that. I invite all of you to make it out to any of those shows if you can to say hi and introduce yourself. I always love interacting with people who have a passion for bodybuilding, so if you see me at a show please do not be shy and do introduce yourself. Also, if you have not done so please stop & check out my message board and introduce yourself or ask any questions that may be on your mind. I’m always happy to help in anyway I can.

I hope you all have a great 4th of July and more importantly, a safe 4th of July.



What’s up everyone? Hope this blog finds you well. I want to thank you again for visiting my site. The feedback thus far has been really really good and I appreciate it. Last week I was AWOL a bit as I was out in Las Vegas presenting some of my research as a poster at the ISSN symposium. There was a good mix of meatheads and science geeks there so you know I enjoyed it. As much as I enjoy attending shows like the Arnold and the Olympia I do get tired of the questions like “ay bro wutz gud 2 get me big ‘n’ ripped yo.” At the same time I also can tire of research symposiums like Experimental Biology where many people don’t think research in protein metabolism is that worthwhile as the majority of nutritionists feel that protein is over consumed (someone hand me a dumbbell to hit them with). So I enjoyed the ISSN symposium. People were insightful and asked the right questions by and large. They also kept the research in the context of enhancing performance and muscle mass for the elite athlete/bodybuilder rather than the context of trying to apply it to the general couch potato which is what is typically done at science symposiums. There was some very interesting research presented there that I look forward to seeing published in the coming months. And oh yea… who doesn’t like a few nights out in vegas?

Til next time,


Hey everyone, I thought I'd take this time to update you all as to what is going on with me personally and professionally. As many of you know I am currently in the midst of a long LOOOOOOONG off season from competing. As of now my main focus is completing my PhD thesis research as well as getting married to my girlfriend of three years, Isabel. I am still training very hard and trying to make improvements in anticipation of stepping on the natural pro stage for the first time. I have still managed to stay very busy this off season.

In addition to the new site I also am featured in a webcast series on called Inside the Life of a Pro Natural Bodybuilder ( which is chronicling my off season quest to make improvements for my first show.
I also recently presented some of my thesis research at the University of Illinois Nutritional Science symposium where my poster presentation was awarded first place and I also presented the same research at the Experimental Biology Symposium in Washington, DC and it seemed to be received very well.
This weekend I am traveling to Las Vegas, NV to present more of my thesis research at the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) symposium. A big thank you to Scivation is warranted for sponsoring my research presentation and my trip out there. Many companies talk the talk but I'm glad to be affiliated with a company who actually genuinely cares about the research I am conducting.
Other than the aforementioned ventures I am also keeping busy with prepping many clients for shows. This is especially fun for me, as I am living vicariously through them until I compete again. There are few things in the world more satisfying than the look on someone's face when they do well in a show and accomplish their goals.

Until next time,


Well the site has been up around a week now and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I want to thank each and every one of you for visiting my site and checking it out. Your support means the world to me. Please email me any questions you have regarding nutrition, supplementation, and training and if you may find it in the bioblog. Now onto this week’s blog…

It is summertime and the contest season is fully upon us. Being somewhat of a veteran competitor I get asked quite a bit about competition by potential competitive bodybuilders. One trend I am starting to notice is that many of these potential competitors often say “well I plan to start dieting to see how it goes and if all goes well I’ll do (insert show name) show.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a bodybuilding competition is not something you just casually do, especially if you expect to win. If you want to have a chance in the world you either have to decide if you are IN or you are OUT. If you haven’t fully committed yourself to a show I can all but guarantee that you will back out when things at work get stressful, or when you start getting terrible hunger pangs, or you start feeling small in your clothes, etc. If you want to do a show, then do it. Mail in your entry form 6 months ahead of time so there is no backing out. In the words of Yoda “Do or do not, there is no try.” Yoda would have made one hell of a bodybuilder… other than his height issue.

Until next time, train insane.