Tranformation to Fitness (Part 5 of 5)

by Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 here.)

It was a productive – sometimes difficult – 17 week transformation, but hit my fitness goal and competed in my first Physique show on October 25, 2014 in the INFB Texas State Naturals competition in Austin, Texas. Progress-Chart11.3.14

Although I did not place in the top 5 (which get medals), I am very proud of the way I looked on stage. Below is a comparison of myself and the 5th place competitor. The judges said I needed to be a little more lean, but I don’t feel like I missed placing by much. 5th-Place-Comparison

Now it is time to settle in to a maintenance diet and workout routine. By losing weight I’ve been eating less calories than my body needed by cutting carbs and reducing fats. Now that I’ve achieved my target fitness level I’ll add back in moderate amounts of carbs and healthy fats – and also have a few “treat” meals here and there!

Here are a few tips for a maintenance diet:

  • Never eat more than 35 grams of carbohydrates at one time. Any more than that will be converted to fat.
  • Balance the amount of healthy fats, like butter, olive oil and coconut oil with the amount of carbs in a meal. If eating 35 grams of carbs be sure to keep the fats low or risk putting on fat.
  • Keep protein around 25 – 30 grams per meal for 3-5 meals depending on whether it is an exercise day or not.

I’ll be changing my exercise routine as well. For the competition I needed to pack on as much muscle as possible in a short amount of time. That meant I needed to lift weights nearly every day and sometimes add in fasted morning cardio (before I eat breakfast) to also accelerate weight loss. For me, that isn’t a sustainable routine long term. I found myself being a little burnt out by the end.

My weight loss routine looked like this:

  • Exercise as many days in a row until my body screamed at me to take a rest day or two.
  • Lift weights every exercise day. Try and do 2-3 morning cycle (spin) classes per week, or 20-30 minutes of stair stepper at the end of a lifting workout.
  • My body part splits were:
    • Arms (bi/tri) – I have smaller arms and needed to put the most energy into this area. By putting them at the beginning of my split I was usually most rested and had extra energy to train them harder
    • Chest/Shoulders – I originally started with chest/tri and shoulders/bi, but found that my shoulders were getting fatigued and achy because the front of my should was used a lot during many chest exercises. By combining chest/shoulders I could work the front of the shoulders in the beginning, then round out the rest of the shoulders after chest.
    • Back/Lower Back – There are too many muscles and pulling directions to include anything else besides back in a single session. Many people also do biceps, but that would be too much for me. I like having biceps be a secondary muscle group during this day so I get a little extra work in on them. (Same goes with triceps for chest day.)
    • Leg – I am usually very fatigued after leg day, so I put them last in the split and often take a rest day after this workout.

Mentally, my mindset will change slightly. I was very strict on cheat meals, only eating a few bites of food off my meal plan when I absolutely needed it during show prep. Now I plan on evaluating my fitness every 2 weeks to decide how well I am maintaining my fitness. I was down to 4.9% body fat for the show, but would like to maintain at around 6-7%. I measure myself using calipers regularly and keep a running spreadsheet. Here are some mental tips that I’ll use:

  • Anything over 7% body fat will trigger a 1-2 week weight loss diet, similar to my show prep diet, until I get back under 7%.
  • Remember that fitness is a lifestyle, not a goal. Although the show was motivation to get in shape, it wasn’t the end goal after which I revert back to my previous body composition.
  • I downloaded an app for my iPad called My Recipe Box, which allows me to add and organize recipes. I am constantly adding delicious, low-carb and low-fat recipes that are vegetable and lean protein based so I can plan my weekly meals instead of eating whatever I crave when I’m starving.

Thank you for sharing in my journey! I hope that I’ve inspired some of you to take a similar challenge and get into peak condition. It’s never too late and although the path can be difficult occasionally, the increased energy, positive moods, positive body image, mental clarity, and being a damn sexy beast are well worth a temporary commitment to transform into your ideal you!

Providing Life Saving Nutrients: NeoCell’s 2014 Vitamin Angels Campaign

By Jessica Mulligan, Vice President Sales & Marketing
Jess VAAs a company, this is without a doubt our favorite time of year. We are embarking on our 4th annual fall drive for Vitamin Angels ( From October 1 through December 31, NeoCell will donate $0.25 cents for every unit we ship from our warehouse to the Vitamin Angels charity. Last year alone, we raised $190,000. With your help, in the last three years we have collectively donated enough to help over 1,000,000 mothers and children in need!


alVAcheckI want to thank our leader and CEO, Al Quadri, for this tremendous commitment to do good in the world and his continued support of this incredibly important cause. We also want to thank all of you! Because of your support we continue to be able to make bigger and bigger strides in our efforts to help Vitamin Angels.

As many of you know, Vitamin Angels is an organization that provides at-risk mothers and children with life saving nutrients. Forty-five percent of all child mortality worldwide is caused by undernutrition. To put that staggering percentage into context, that’s more than a million innocent lives lost every year – and millions more that will never reach their full physical or mental potential. Improved nutrition through vitamin supplementation can eradicate childhood blindness, reduce mortality rates, and break the poverty cycle.

_ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-2705I wanted to share a personal story with you all. I was lucky enough to be able to accompany Vitamin Angels on a vitamin drop high in the Andes of Peru in August 2013. We were at altitudes of 14,000 feet, and at that high up nothing can be cultivated except potatoes. I spoke to mother after mother who said their families eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all year round. Potatoes don’t provide the vitamins and minerals that are needed for children to grow and develop properly. In these communities this lack of nutrition causes something called “stunting”. My heart broke a thousand times when I met these beautiful little children who looked to be about 5 years younger than their actual age, all due to poor nutrition.

_ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-4901 Vitamin Angels had been in Peru at that point for about 3 years so I also met the younger children who had been receiving vitamins their whole life. These kids were bigger, stronger, and had healthier immune systems than their older siblings who hadn’t had access to the vitamins. There was had no stunting, physically or mentally.  Seeing this very real difference that our contributions are making in the lives of children was without question one of the most moving experiences of my life.

We ask you to please reach out to your friends, family, local health food retailers, and anyone else you can think of that can help promote this campaign. We will use the hashtag #GivingIsBeautiful to promote the campaign and ask for your support on social media to spread the message. Most importantly, we want you to feel proud that every bottle of NeoCell you purchase during the campaign directly affects the entire lives of these precious children. In true holiday spirit, let’s end 2014 knowing that we have helped more kids than ever before!

_ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-4559 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3799 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3723 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3575 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3463 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-5023  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-4709  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-4609 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3681 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3676  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3618  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3280 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3240 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3238  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3176  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-2895 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-2883_ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3514  _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-3194 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-2926 _ Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels PE13-4706


Physique Show Progress 4

by Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 here.)

Here is a quick update on my progress. Only a couple weeks to go! (Update Note: the picture below shows my full progress until up to the show. When I wrote this I was at the 10/07 picture date.)



A few things I’ve learned since the last update:

  • I’ve really settled into the diet and rather enjoy it now. I’ve gotten used to shopping, preparing protein and vegetable ahead of time, and knowing portions. It’s become second nature. I never feel hungry. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I’m eating too much. But my body fat keeps dropping at the exact rate I was hoping, so it’s obviously working. High protein every 2-3 hours, nearly no concentrated carbs and starches, lots of veggies to fill me up, and limiting “treat meals” to a reasonable amount instead of gorging – there’s no secret to it, ya just gotta do it!
  • Posing isn’t easy! I’m not the type to stand in front of a mirror and flex, but presentation is a big part of an NPC show, so it’s necessary to practice a lot. A slight tilt here and there makes a big difference. And flexing your abs for minutes on end it exhausting.
  • My energy level is through the roof! I feel great throughout the day. That is the best benefit so far.
  • I’m a “hard gainer” (difficult to put on muscle), but after 14 weeks I’ve managed to increase my strength by leaps and bounds. I almost feel like the pictures don’t do it justice.
  • Balance is key when exercising. Not only do I lift weights at the gym, but I’ve incorporated trail running in Vibram shoes. What a calf and leg workout (make sure you run on your toes if you do it)! Sprinting is great for my hamstrings and burning body fat too. As for weightlifting, I start with my problem areas first, the areas that are underdeveloped and weaker, then move on to my strengths. Due to injuries earlier in life my lower back has been an area that I typically shy away from, but now I start with it.


Are Skin Supplements More Effective than Lotions?

by Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

Youthful skin has always been in. There is evidence that as long ago as 3500BC women have been putting lotion on their skin in hopes of slowing the aging process. In modern times, a multi-billion dollar skincare industry thrives, boasting celebrity endorsers and prime time commercials.

Until relatively recently the idea of using food or supplements for skincare was a foreign concept. Most of us instinctively know that what we put in our mouth has some effect on our skin, but unless there is an immediate allergic reaction, the results are difficult to put our fingers on.

Fortunately, over the past few decades the scientific community has discovered ground breaking supplements that were never before possible. The field of chemistry has shed light on microscopic molecular bonds that affect the bioavailability of nutrients. The field of internal medicine has investigated the digestion and absorption process of our intestines. Internet connectivity has provided a worldwide forum to share these discoveries and the development of global commerce has made new and exciting ingredients available to the public.

As an increasing body of research develops, a consensus is growing among the scientific community that modern supplements may in fact be more effective to skin health than topical lotions.

Short Term vs. Long Term Benefits

While lotions and serums have quick, noticeable benefits, a fundamental problem exists when these products are applied to the surface of the skin. The skin’s main job is to protect us from the outside world – mainly from bacteria and viruses, which are extremely small. Therefore, the skin has developed a thin barrier called the epidermis that is nearly impossible to penetrate, even by the tiniest of molecules.

Although topical lotions can help to smooth and hydrate the surface of the skin for a quick, superficial benefit, the products aren’t able to penetrate to the deeper levels of the skin. Once the product is washed off or evaporates the benefit is gone.

The only way to truly grow healthier skin is to bypass the protective epidermis by taking supplements. As funny as it sounds, in medicine we think of the mouth, stomach and intestines as the outside of the body. Our digestive tract is basically a hollow tube that runs in the middle of our bodies. Its “external” barrier, unlike the barrier of the skin, is designed to let certain nutrients pass through and keep other foreign invaders out, such as bacteria and viruses.

Because of this more sophisticated filtering process, scientists have discovered how to sneak supplements past the doorman and get them into our bodies. For example, large molecules like a collagen protein, which in its natural form is too big to pass through the intestines, can be put through a natural enzyme process called “hydrolyzation”, which allows it to enter our bodies.

This type of supplement couldn’t have existed in the 1950s because internal medicine was still in its infancy. Nowadays bioavailability studies are being published at a record pace because we’ve finally figured out how to effectively get supplements past our digestive barrier. Scientists can then track these supplements to see if they are of benefit to the skin.

The “Gradual Disconnect”

We live in a society of 8 second videos and instant news reports on Twitter. If we don’t immediately like something we simply change the channel or click on another website. Even popular “lose weight fast” diets are favored over steady, sustainable dietary lifestyle changes.

This problem exists for skincare as well. Although topical lotions only provide a fleeting benefit, at least we can notice an instant result, even if it only lasts a few hours. Conversely, taking a collagen supplement may take a month before a benefit is visible.

Think about how long a cut takes to heal. A few weeks, right? Rebuilding a tissue like the skin takes time.  A gradual change in the skin is much less noticeable on a day-to-day basis, especially since we see ourselves in the mirror all the time. The difference in our skin from 8am to 10pm during the same day is imperceptible, but the change from the 1st of the month to the 30th is striking!

It’s the gradual nature of supplements that often causes a disconnect. Science may be able to prove that after 30 days wrinkles may be significantly reduced, but unless we have the patience to allow our bodies to rebuild, we may never see the results.

Perpetual Youth

What goes up, must come down. To expand on that idea – the rate at which something goes up determines how fast it comes down. Throw a ball in the air and it will land with the same speed as when you threw it. Similarly, a lotion may provide instant benefits, but it fades just as quickly. A collagen supplement may build gradually, but the benefits literally become a part of you! Your skin doesn’t suddenly shrivel up if you forget to take your NeoCell Collagen that morning, your body has been building more youthful skin for months…and those benefits stay with you for just as long!

To obtain perpetually youthful skin a supplement is the only way to go. Skin lotions are still an important part of your daily beauty routine, but your priority list should begin with NeoCell Collagen so you can build your beauty from the inside out!

Weight Loss: Sticking with it! (Part 3 of My Physique Show Progress)

By Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 here.)

I’m two months into the contest prep with 9 weeks to go. (Note: the picture below shows my full progress until up to the show. When I wrote this I was at the 8/21 picture date.)


This means I’ll be going up against many competitors that use substances I’m not comfortable putting in my body, so the pressure it on! I’ll be one of the smaller competitors, but hopefully I can make up for it with proportion and overall tone.

My goal is to be down to around 5% body fat by “depletion week” (the week leading up to the show). I’ll have to lose around 6 more pound of body fat and gain a few pounds of muscle weight, which means I’m about on schedule at my current progress averages.

Here are a few observations that I think are helpful for anyone attempting to lose fat and gain muscle:

  • Keep taking NeoCell collagen! I’ve attempted to compete before, but had to abandon the idea because of a number of injuries like weight lifter’s shoulder, which developed because my connective tissue couldn’t keep up with my muscle gain. That’s not the case this time and the only difference is that I’m taking collagen now.
  • After a few months rest days are very important! I tried to push through fatigue a few times because I didn’t have a scheduled rest day, but wound up regretting it. Listen to your body, if you’re exhausted let yourself sleep and recover.
  • Stay even keel. On a daily basis I swing up and down between feeling like I’m making progress and that I’ll never be ready. Pictures and body fat charts with monthly check ins have kept me motivated by knowing that it’s a long term process, regardless of how I feel that day. Seeing the progress over time has allowed me to step back from the ups and downs and know I’m on the right path.
  • Cheat meals are addictive, minimize them as much as possible. I’ve noticed that I’ll allow myself a cheat meal lunch, but have it turn into bingeing on snacks for the rest of the day. I find it easier to accept that my diet is what it is and I don’t let myself go down that slippery slope often anymore. Health is a long term lifestyle lived moment to moment, it isn’t a short term chore that I reluctantly force myself to do. By keeping that mindset I’m much less tempted.

Anyone can make the commitment to change, regardless of age or current health condition. Make a decision, set yourself a goal and see if you can attain results alongside me as I go through this journey!

Is Collagen the Most Important Exercise Supplement?

by Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

The choices of workout supplements are almost overwhelming – pre-workout, post-workout, BCAAs, glutamine, whey, N.O., creatine, fat burners, antioxidants, and on and on. You could spend several hundred dollars a month if you took it all, but who has that kind of money?

Now that I’m training for an NPC Physique show in November I needed to figure out which supplements are the real deal and which ones are hype. As your personal guinea pig, I’ve tried nearly every supplement on the market and whittled the list down to absolutely essential supplements that are the most effective.

Here is my list of supplements I never skip, in order of priority:

  1. Types 1&3 NeoCell Collagen
  2. Glutamine
  3. BCAAs
  4. Creatine

That’s it! To those in the bodybuilding world #2-4 are well known and accepted, but #1 is not. Collagen seems to be overlooked by nearly all competitive athletes. How, then, could I consider collagen the #1 most critical exercise supplement? Am I crazy?

First, let’s set our priorities straight. Exercise is about improving health, looking good, and feeling great. Most people equate those goals with lower body fat and bigger, leaner muscles. I don’t disagree, but I also don’t consider weight loss and muscle gain the most important measure of health and the top goal of exercise.

How does the saying go, “You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone”? As a second degree black belt in judo who has had my fair share of injuries, believe me when I say that NOTHING is more important to your health than having fully functional joints and strong connective tissue.

When I tore my MCL and wound up in a full leg brace for 3 months was I able to exercise? When I twisted my ankle hiking was I able to go to the gym? While training for a competition and developing “weightlifter’s shoulder” causing me severe pain and limited range of motion in my right arm, was I forced to take months off while it healed?

Here’s the thing everyone forgets – you have to be able to move in order to exercise! Joint health is taken for granted until it’s gone and you’re laid up on the couch for months, gaining weight and losing all that hard-earned muscle. Protecting and strengthening your connective tissue needs to be your top priority when exercising, otherwise you won’t be exercising for long.

Nearly everyone I know in the fitness and athletic industries have had some type of injury, or at the very least some nagging joint pain which limits their training. Does it have to be that way? Not if everyone supplemented with NeoCell Collagen!

Here’s why – your ligaments and tendons responsible for joint mobility and strength are almost 100% Types 1&3 collagen. If you twist your ankle you are twisting your ligaments and tendons, therefore, you are damaging your collagen. If you have tendonitis (“tendon”-itis), your collagen which makes up that tendon is injured. In order to heal from these conditions your body needs to repair the collagen that makes them up.

By taking NeoCell Collagen, you can keep that connective tissue strong before an injury occurs! Taking muscle-building supplements, like BCAA and glutamine, does nothing for connective tissue. In fact, building strong muscles without equally supporting your connective tissue is a recipe for joint disaster. Likewise, “cardio” exercise designed to reduce fat puts an incredible strain on your joints, and over time wears down your connective tissue with repetitive motion.

So ask yourself, do you want to make exercise a healthy activity that you can sustain? If so, you should be taking NeoCell Collagen as your top priority!

NeoCell Collagen SportCheck out the Collagen Sport protein powder that makes an excellent post-workout shake that supports both joint and muscle recovery with collagen and whey proteins. In fact, any NeoCell Collagen product will be an effective supplement for ligament and tendon health.***

***Note that NeoCell’s Type 2 Joint Complex is a more cartilage specific supplement for knee meniscus and spine disc support.

Weight Loss and Lean Muscle Routine: The Mental Side of Success (Part 2)

By Tim Mount, CN, CCMH

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 here.)

I’m  4 weeks in to my journey with 13 weeks left before the Texas State Naturals Physique Show in Austin, Texas on October 25, 2014.  I have mixed emotions about my progress in one month. (Update Note: the picture below shows my full progress until up to the show. When I wrote this I was at the 7/27 picture date.)


On the positive side, I can see great changes for only one month. I feel good too, and it wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I’ve felt moderately hungry only occasionally, and had to check myself a few times to make sure I didn’t overindulge in a couple “treat meals”, but all in all sticking to the plan was a piece of cake (figuratively speaking of course!).

On the negative side, I’m a little angry at myself that I didn’t do this sooner! For years, every time I looked in the mirror I thought to myself “Ugh, I’m fat!” and remembered how I used to be. To get to this point in only 30 days makes me feel like I could’ve had it all along and not had such a poor self image this whole time.

The Mental Side of Physical Change

Here are a few tips that have helped me. They are all designed to stoke the flames of that burning desire for change. Knowing WHAT to do isn’t that hard, DOING IT is the real challenge!

Set a goal

For me it is a Physique Show. Knowing that I will be on stage in front of hundreds of people is a big motivator. I remember it every time I have a moment of weakness. For you, it doesn’t have to be a fitness show, but it does need to be a goal that is important enough to give you strength. Looking good for a vacation, fitting into a pair of clothes by a certain date, and setting a family or personal photo shoot with a photographer are some ideas.

Take before and progress pictures

You see yourself every day so incremental change may not be apparent, but comparing progress after a month will show you quite a bit. The motivation to look good for progress picture can be used as a short term goal on your path too. The boost you get from seeing the changes will keep you going for another month!

Post reminders throughout the house

I keep a picture of myself on the fridge from when I was in good shape several years ago. I’ve also used torsos of fitness models that I’d like to emulate. Every time I open that door I look at the picture and it helps me to make good decisions. Other places to post pictures or inspirational quotes are bathroom mirrors, pantry doors, in front of the toilet, at your work desk, or any other place that you tend to snack or sit at often.

Keep a progress chart

I bought a cheap skin fold caliper and use this website to keep track of my fat weight and lean weight. (I use both Jackson/Pollock 7 and Parrillo Caliper methods, which give slightly different readings.) As you exercise you will gain muscle, which is heavier than fat. You may not be dropping as many pounds as you’d like as you become more lean, but the amount of fat that you lose is the real key. Granted, this can be a slightly inaccurate way to measure body fat, but the actual numbers don’t matter, it is the difference month over month in the amount of fat and lean weight that will be the best judge of progress.  If you’re interested where you are in comparison with other, you can use the chart below.

If you’re wondering, today I’m between 9.27 – 10.55% body fat. I weigh 192 with 18 – 20 pounds of fat and 172 – 174 pounds of lean weight. I’m 35 years old, so that puts me right around the first category of “lean”.




Remember to follow this blog for future updates and tips!