M&F youth writer Razvan Radu spent his high school years undergoing an inspiring transformation.

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After being a writer for Muscle & Fitness for some time now, I have been given the opportunity to do a piece on myself. During my years in middle school, I spent most of my time practicing soccer – I felt burnt out pretty quickly and started looking for ways I could maintain my athletic conditioning. I had a friend from soccer who asked if I wanted to go to the gym with him and lift. I took that opportunity and went into our local gym, hit some chest and walked out feeling great. After getting home, I went on my laptop and discovered two amazing sports which I had little knowledge of before-hand – bodybuilding and powerlifting. As a bodybuilder, I have competed in the NPC VA Grand Prix, where I placed first in my weight division. On the powerlifting spectrum, I have competed in a USPA powerlifting meet, where I was able to break the Virginia state record for bench press in my weight class with a bench press of 325 lbs.  I would like to take this opportunity to both introduce myself and my story, as well as provide information which I believe was crucial for the progress I was able to make in a couple years in the weight-room.

My 3-Year Transformation


After a year or two of eating the typical eggs in the morning and chicken, rice, veggies in the afternoon – I stumbled upon a trend that was around called “flexible dieting”. I have stuck with this ever since and continue to track and alter my nutrient intake as needed. In this approach to dieting, I use an app on my phone to track my macronutrient (fats, carbs, protein) intake and abide to those numbers on a daily basis. I eat 85-90% all healthy and natural foods, while leave a little room for less nutrient dense foods or eating out at a restaurant. I believe this is the most effective way to eat, as it allows you to make changes as you need to either lose or gain weight.

Suggestions for Young Weightlifters

  • Enjoy the process and be patient. Don’t rush into wanting to get massive or shredded too soon. Take your time and enjoy every training session you go into.
  • Always look to progress. You can never know too much in regards to fitness. Always look to better yourself and learn from those with more experience.
  • Train hard but smart. Don’t overdue training to a point of overall exhaustion. Training is there to better your life, not make you feel drained 24/7.
  • Set goals for yourself. If you want to get in the gym just to look better for the summer, do that. If you want to be the next Mr. Olympia, do that. Don’t set goals based on everyone else around you.

My Training Style

Like many people, I began training with the “bro-split”- where I dedicated one day to each body part. I saw major progress with that programming style for about 3-4 months, then I plateaued. After doing some research, I found out that the once-a-week training frequency I was doing was not optimal for growth in a natural bodybuilder. So I quickly switched to a Push/Pull/Legs twice a week – which I continued for some time and still use to a degree today. Recently, I have started incorporating more volume geared towards powerlifting into my program in order to get stronger. Every 1.5 to 2 months I do a week of deload where I perform the same routine with 50-65 percent of the normal weight in order to give my body a break from the workload every so often. I do it whenever I feel like my efficiency in the gym is decreasing. I will outline my two favorite training methods below; the Push/Pull/Legs which I used throughout my bodybuilding show prep and the current program I am using which incorporates both powerlifting and bodybuilding.

Push/Pull/Leg Cutting Program

Powerlifting/Bodybuilding Program (Periodization Method)

  • Day 8 Upper Accessories Start
  • Day 9 Upper Volume Start
  • Day 10 Lower Volume Start
  • Day 11 Full Rest Start
  • Day 12 Upper Accessories Start
  • Day 13 Squat/Upper Accessories Start
  • Day 14 Lower Volume Start