Train Like A Competitor - Full Week Workout & Meal Plan by Jesse James

So, you’ve been going to the gym for a few years now, you no longer consider yourself to be a total noob in the gym, but you start noticing that once “beast mode” workout just isn’t cutting it anymore. What do you do now to re-ignite that fire you once had when you first stepped in the gym? A majority of the guys resort to looking up a new workout by their favorite bodybuilder or physique guy, but usually, the focus is on a certain body part instead of a full body workout. Browse any of the numerous fitness magazine, websites, social media, and I’m pretty sure more times that you can count there is always an arm or chest workout available. While going from a total gym newbie myself to a nationally qualified NPC Men’s Physique competitor, I cannot tell you how many times I revised my own workouts to get arms like Phil Heath or shoulders like Dennis Wolf. Don’t get me wrong I loved those articles and they are 2 of my favorite modern bodybuilders still, but I fell into the same trap that I see others go down. 

We do “spot workouts” as I like to say, that is where you try to get that shredded 6 pack, sleeve busting biceps, or thick oak like chest, and I never really understood fully to train like a competitor that I needed a full body workout to tie my entire physique together. I would work on a certain body part like my biceps or triceps until they were big enough then moved to another body part thinking this was the way to the better overall physique. It wasn’t until I dug deeper into the inner workings of my favorite competitors that I soon realized I had been going about this all wrong, my workouts were more or less full body workouts mixed in with a body part and their workouts were split up by body parts. My mind was blown yet at the same time it all started to make more sense as to why I never could achieve that complete package look but rather a pieced together physique. 

With this new knowledge of the NPC and IFBB I was ready to train like a real competitor, I had engulfed myself in learning as much about the sport as I could so one day I too could step on stage. I now can offer you a fast forward with what took me 18 years to fully understand, the workout below is a typical workout split I personally use and would recommend if you are at a stagnant point in your workouts. Since my journey started back in 2014, I have competed at nationals and nationally qualified 4 times.



Warmup – 1 set of wide grips lat pulldowns, 15 reps with light weight.

1) Weighted Wide Grip Pull-Ups 
a. Neutral grip pull-ups 
b. Reverse grip pull-ups 

(Super Set: Do all 3 grips to total 1 set, 4 sets x 10 reps) 

Recommended: 10lb. weighted vest by HumanX Gear®  

2) Meadows Row (each hand): 4 sets x 10 reps  

Recommended: Lifting straps  

3) High Hammer Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Cable Pullovers: 2 sets x 15 reps 

5) Deadlifts: 4 sets x 10 reps 

Recommended: Padded Leather belt 


1) Cambered Barbell Curls (close grip): 4 sets x 10 reps 

2) Straight Bar barbell curls (wide grip): 4 sets x 10 reps 

3) Concentration dumbbell curls: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Reverse straight bar cable curls: 4 sets x 10 reps 

Recommended: weight gloves 



Warmup – 1 set of lateral dumbbells 15 reps with light weight. 

1) Lateral Dumbbell Raises: “Run the Rack”

    • 10 sets X 12 reps, on the first set and last set before working your way back down to 2 sets. 

*Running the rack entails: An example would be starting with 15 lbs. at 12 reps twice to start out with, move up to 20lbs do 12 reps, and once you are at 30lbs you will do this 2 times. After this, you will start to work your way back to 15 lbs. by dropping 5lbs each set. Do not forget you will end on doing your starting weight twice again to get a total of 10 sets. 

2) Rear Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps 

*Superset with 45lb plate raises after each set. 

3) Wide Smith Machine Upright Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Military Press: 4 sets x 10 reps 5) Reverse Peck Deck Flyes: 4 sets x 10 reps 
Recommended:  weight gloves


1) Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps 

2) Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps 

3) Donkey Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps  



Warmup: 1 set of leg extension, 15 reps with light weight. 

1) Leg Extension: 4 sets x 12 reps 

2) Squat Rack: 4 sets x 10 reps 

3) Front Squats: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Hack Squat (narrow): 4 sets x 10 reps 

5) Leg Press: 4 sets of 10 reps 

Recommended: Padded Leather belt


1) Stiff Leg Deadlifts: 4 sets x 10 reps 

2) Lying Leg Curls: 4 sets x 10 reps 

3) Lunges: 3 sets across the gym 

*For added difficulty wear weighted vest



Warmup: 1 set of barbell press, 15 reps with lightweight 

1) Incline Landmine Press: 4 sets x 10 reps 

2) Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets x 5 reps (each grip)

*One set is considered: Start with a wide grip, medium grip, then close grip 

3) Decline Barbell Press: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Weighted Dips: 4 sets x 10 reps 

*Superset with pushups to failure. 


1) French Press: 4 sets x 10 reps 

2) Dumbbell Kickbacks: 4 sets x 10 reps 

3) Rope Cable Extension: 4 sets x 10 reps 

4) Supinated Grip Single Cable extension: 4 sets x 10 reps 




Pick 1 body part per muscle group and do 1 set of 25 reps. You will do these 3 more times for a total of 4 reps, try to keep time between sets to a minimum while only resting after you’ve completed a full cycle through all body parts. 




Meal 1: Homestyle Protein Pancakes + 3 whole eggs + 7 egg whites 

Meal 2: Beef Medallions, Rice, & Green Beans 

Meal 3: Chicken, Rice, & Green Beans 

Meal 4: Lean Ground Turkey, Rice, & Green Beans 

Meal 5: Chicken, Rice, & Green Beans 

Meal 6: 10 egg whites 

*Meal plan provided as a general guideline, make sure to speak with your doctor or certified nutritionist to verify if these meals will be good for your personal needs 

*If you have any questions on how to eat or where to start with a typical diet feel free to follow me on Instagram or any other social media account to see how I personally use Icon Meals for my everyday meals. They also offer custom meals for the competitor needing a more customized diet plan.  


If you are trying to lean out then add 45 minutes of fasted HIIT intervals 3-4 days each morning. Fasted means it is done before your first meal of the day and is best done right after you wake up in the morning.  




1 - 4 (warm up) 3.5


5 6 1
6 3.5 1
7 7 1
8 3.5 1
9 8 1
10 3.5 1
11 9 1
12 3.5 1
13 - 20  repeat minutes 6 - 12 repeat minutes 6 - 12
21 - 27 repeat minutes 13 - 20 repeat minutes 13 - 20
28 3 1
29 - 30 (cool down) 3 0


Jesse James is an actor, internationally published fitness model, bass player and foodie. 

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