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Dallas & Matt Prep for the Chicago Pro

 

Originally apppeared in the August 2016 issue of MD.

Just a couple months ago, we spoke with Dallas and Matt as their very productive off-season was in its final stages. Now, they are in contest prep mode for the Chicago Pro show on July 2. While younger bodybuilding fans may have a bit of trouble relating to 40-something pro’s and gurus, Dallas (25) and Matt (27) represent a new generation rising in the industry. I talked with these two hard-working young Southerners as they were almost halfway through prep for Chicago to learn more about their methods and their mental approach to becoming a better pro bodybuilder.

 

First of all, MD Forum members were fortunate enough to be able to follow your entire off-season collaboration since the 2015 Mr. Olympia. What were the main goals for that phase, and were they reached?

Matt:

The main goals were leg development, back development, and overall just getting a more mature look throughout his entire physique. In terms of what we saw onstage at the Olympia, the structure was there, the shape was there, it was just a lack of density in some shots, mainly from the back. His back width was great, but if you look at his back compared to the other guys that placed ahead of him, there was just a difference in muscle maturity. Overall, they had more tissue as well. That’s what we’re after, and it’s gonna be an ongoing process, really. It’s not gonna be resolved in just 6 months of training. But I think we’re definitely on the fast track to making the improvements that we set out to make in those areas.

Dallas:

When you look at the Olympia lineup, where I fell short and where I was disappointed in myself was the lack of density and thickness from front to back, and in my legs too. It’s nothing but a maturity thing. Matt and I had a conversation right after the show, and he said, ‘This off-season, we’re gonna lift heavy.’ That’s all that’s lacking, that density and thickness that comes from heavy training. That goal was accomplished. That’s a daily goal, really. Bust your ass and lift heavy every day. Every time we set foot in the weight room, that’s the goal.

 

Your first prep together was for the last Mr. Olympia, and every first prep is bound to be a learning experience. What were some things you discovered that worked well and that you’ll be applying toward this current prep, and what are some things you found didn’t produce the best results?

Matt:

I learned a lot about Dallas and the surprising amount of food that he needs, even compared to other pro’s that I’ve worked with. It’s a team effort, and I don’t dictate everything that Dallas does. Dallas made some decisions during the Olympia prep that I accepted, but that on my own I wouldn’t have had him do. Just because I’ve never seen anybody need that much food before. I’m not talking about every day. He dieted, and he dieted well. But there were points where a typical high carb day or refeed for him would look like what somebody else would do if they were bingeing or trying to get fat. The difference is, his body utilizes it, where most people’s bodies wouldn’t. One of the biggest things I learned was his ability to handle very large amounts of food at certain times, when needed. We’ve been applying that to this prep so far. Obviously, he got more muscle tissue now. That’s one thing to keep in mind, because it means there is an even greater demand for food. We’ve kept him a bit fuller to start the prep, and keeping the food higher is going to allow him to keep growing as we go on. He’s continuing to lean out. It’s not like once prep starts, we have to drastically cut back on the food. He needs food to lose the fat, and to keep his fullness. That’s one of the biggest parts of what we do. There will be hard days in the gym, and prep is gonna suck. But we want to keep training as hard and as heavy as possible throughout. That’s one of the main ways I believe muscle tissue is built and kept. We are focusing right now on fueling his body specifically for training, and going into each session with a purpose, not just to check off a list.

Dallas:

I think it was just a mutual learning experience. I learned so much from Matt daily, but especially living with him and his wife Jordan for the final 8 weeks of the Mr. Olympia prep. Seeing their daily lives at first was a bit unsettling, because I hate to say it, but they take this stuff very seriously. I won’t say more seriously than me, but it was eye-opening, you know? Their consistency, their preparation, just the forethought that they put into things. I learned a lot about more efficient ways of living this lifestyle. In turn, I carried that over to my off-season. I’ve definitely been leaner and healthier than I’d ever been before, and thus started prep in a much better spot. Like Matt said, we’re able to keep the food higher. I’m staying fuller, I’m burning fat, and I credit a lot of it to adopting the ‘just suck it up and do it’ attitude I saw in Matt and his wife.

 

How much more effective do you feel this prep will be due to the fact that you have now worked so closely on a daily basis throughout an entire contest prep and a full off-season?

Matt:

We’re best friends, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that. It’s not a typical coach/athlete type of relationship. I don’t just focus on his end result. I care about how he gets there. I care about his mental and emotional state throughout the process. We talk on the phone every day. If we’re not training, we’re always in communication. I believe ultimately, that’s what’s gonna make us different in the long run. We have such a tight bond. I think there are often gaps in coaching, in terms of understanding an individual, what drives them, what pushes an individual towards or away from a goal. This whole year has been about becoming better friends and essentially learning what makes Dallas tick beyond just food. There’s more to contest prep to me than just the diet. That’s going to make the difference. Our communication has gotten stronger.

Dallas:

I tell people in the industry that Matt’s my coach, but if you were Joe Blow on the street, I’d say Matt is my friend. Before you called, we were texting about our next leg workout, and then the conversation turned to what’s on ESPN. I just knew we were both watching ESPN. Pretty much every day, if we’re not training together, I can count on Matt to text me before I train. He gives me a summary of what he wants me to do. Even if the text doesn’t come, I know the pattern, and I know the way Matt thinks. So I’ll text him what I did anyway, and he’ll just be like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I was gonna tell you to do.’ We’re just on the same page.

Matt:

One other note about my role with Dallas. Yes, we’re friends. I look up to him, and he looks up to me. But at the same time, I know that he expects leadership out of me. But within that, I also saw an individual during last year’s Olympia prep that has matured so much. He’s more self-reliant than he’s ever been in his life. I don’t need to call every shot. He doesn’t need me to do every little part of his prep. We’ve been through one already, and our communication continues to get better. I’m proud of him. It takes an individual, not only knowing their goals, but how to get there without being told every step of the process. Look at the NBA. Someone like Steph Curry knows when to take his shots. He’s not looking at his coach before every shot and waiting for the nod to pull the trigger. It’s that communication that leads to the maturation process that I think is gonna show a better end result. And I’m confident that it will. That’s something that I don’t think people necessarily can see in our videos or our posts on the MD thread.

 

You started training every bodypart twice a week fairly recently. What was the rationale behind that, and how has it been working so far?

Matt:

To be honest, we’ve been doing a little higher frequency throughout the entire off-season. This comes down to me paying attention to research, and also just realizing it fits our training style. Dallas and I, with our mentality, we couldn’t just go into the gym and do a high-volume workout the way some of these guys do it, and be able to sustain our level of effort throughout. It’s very high-intensity, maximum effort. With that approach, our volume is not crazy high. Most guys either do high-volume, or they have a lower volume, but they’re training more frequently. At the end of the week, the total volume is fairly equal. We’re not doing 25 set quad workout at every session, because we simply can’t maintain the level of effort we put out through that many sets. That being said, we choose to train all-out, high-intensity of effort, and with heavy loads on the bar. We do that more frequently. So we can recover between sessions, but still get that volume in week to week. As far as the progress made, aside from the visual evidence you see in pictures and video, I do believe that by stimulating the muscle more often, you’re gonna keep the muscle fuller, as long as the nutrients are in place, which they are. That’s one thing. You’re also just continuing to improve on rep patterns, technique, things like that. If we’re benching twice a week, if we’re squatting twice a week, we’re only going to get better and more efficient at those movements over time. Ultimately, we’re going to make more progress. That’s our thought process.

Dallas:

I think I’ve responded better to this than anything we’ve done thus far. If I were to just be on my own and say, okay, I’m gonna train every bodypart twice a week, I’d beat myself to death. Luckily I have Matt to systematically organize things so that I don’t hurt myself, basically. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not so much what we do, it’s how we do it.

 

Why was the Chicago Pro chosen as the show to qualify for the Mr. Olympia at? Is there a backup plan for another contest if for some reason you don’t win that one?

Matt:

There is no backup plan. We carry plan A out until it’s over, and then we go from there. I don’t like having backup plans, honestly. If we fail, then we move on, and we get better. But we’re not planning to fail, so therefore we don’t need a backup plan. I don’t mean to sound cocky. That’s just kind of how I look at things.

Dallas:

Matt is definitely the more confident of the two of us. I’m confident in myself, but I’m also just very hard on myself. But why have a plan B? Ron, to be honest with you, when I first started bodybuilding, I knew I was doing the North American, and I knew I had the potential to do well. So I quit my job and everything. I mean, why have a plan B? It was what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, so it was either gonna be this or nothing else. That’s kind of my mentality with life. With every show prep, I don’t worry about the next show. Even if I was doing a show one week after, I’m not worried about that show. I’m worried about Chicago. If we fail, we fail. I think if you’re truly committed to any cause, commitment involves risk, and risk doesn’t have a backup plan.

Matt:

Whether or not you know you’re gonna win a show, or if you’re confident you’re gonna win a show, commit to that. I see some of these guys posting how they’re hitting this show, and that show, and then another couple shows too. That tells me they’re not confident they’re gonna do well in any of those shows. If the goal is to get to the Olympia, the goal should also be to not run yourself ragged by the time you get there. If it’s gonna take you 5 shows, then you’re not going to be at your best, in my personal opinion. Getting back to why we chose Chicago, we essentially wanted to do two things. We wanted to allow enough time since the Olympia to show improvements. And we wanted to give ourselves enough time to qualify and then make further improvements going into the Olympia. There are 11 weeks between them. It was pretty much a case of Chicago falling in a place in the calendar year that made the most sense for what we are trying to do.

Dallas:

Also, I’ve heard only good things about that show and the promoter, Tim Gardner.

 

Thirteenth place at the last Mr. Olympia was a bit puzzling to many who watched the contest either in person or online. Obviously I won’t put you guys on the spot and ask for any predictions, but what improvements have you made that will hopefully lead to a much higher placing this time?

Dallas:

I think it goes back to our goals for the off-season, especially density and thickness. I honestly feel that I’m a much different bodybuilder than I was at the Mr. Olympia last year. The Dallas you see in Chicago will be new and improved.

Matt:

If you want to get down to raw stats, he was 267 pounds at this time last year going into the California Pro. He’s 301 now and just as lean if not leaner.

 

It’s been said that the only way Phil Heath can possibly be beaten on his way to winning 8 or more Mr. Olympia titles is by a taller, wider man. Time is certainly on your side here at age 25, so we aren’t necessarily talking about this year’s Olympia. But do you feel that you might possibly be that man to eventually take down The Gift?

Dallas:

Let’s be realistic about it, okay? Phil already has 5 Mr. Olympia titles. He only needs 3 more to get 8, the all-time record, and 4 to beat that. So that gives me 3 or 4 years to close the gap between where I started, which was 13th place, and where he is, first place. I’m not saying that it can’t be done, and I’m not saying I can’t be the person to do it, but that’s a big gap. Put it this way. There’s a lot of people I have a goal to beat before I’m worried about Phil Heath. There’s a lot of people I want to beat this year before I worry about Phil. Take that for what it’s worth.

Matt:

I’ll say this. I know that Phil get a lot of negativity within the industry, but Dallas and I respect the hell out of him and what he’s done. We’re not gonna take anything away from him. Do we want to beat him? Absolutely.

Dallas:

Who doesn’t? Every kid doing a bench press wants to beat Phil Heath. That’s why we bodybuild, to be the best.

Matt:

But we also respect what he’s accomplished and the physique that has taken him to the top for the past five years in a row.

 

To contact Matt Jansen for coaching services, please email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Training Split
Day 1 Back, rear delts, bis
Day 2 chest, shoulders, tri
Day 3 legs (quad emphasis)
Day 4 back, rear delts, bis
Day 5 chest, shoulders, tri
Day 6 legs (ham n quad emphasis)
Day 7 off

 

Cardio – AM on all days besides Wednesday and Saturday. 30 minutes – An assertive 30 minutes!

Contest Diet at 9 weeks out


Meal 1
3 Whole Eggs
300g Egg Whites
100g – oats raw
3g – Omega 3

Meal 2 – Pre workout Meal
300g – Sweet Potato Cooked
194g – 96/4 Beef Cooked

Intra workout Layout – sip on Pre/ during / post
Start to sip on way to gym:
30g – Amino/BCAA
5g glycerol
5g Citrulline Malate
4g taurine
5g creatine
10g glutamine
2 g beta alanine.
40g of Carbs from dextrins. – 1 liter of water / On off days just remove intra powders

Meal 3 – Post meal
80g – Cream of Rice
60g – Whey Isolate

Meal 4
280g – Jasmine Rice cooked
194g – Chicken Cooked
50g – Avocado

Meal 5
300g – Purple potato cooked
194g – 96/4 Beef Cooked

Meal 6
400g Egg Whites
3 slices of regular food for life bread or two Thomas English muffins

Meal 7

60g – Whey isolate

 

Dallas's complete contest history

2011 NPC Hub City Fitness Quest          Junior Heavyweight and Overall Champion

2011 NPC Battle at the River                  Super Heavyweight and Overall Champion

2012 IFBB North American                     Super Heavyweight and Overall Champion

2015 IFBB California Pro                        Winner

2015 IFBB Mr. Olympia                          13th place

 

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