May 05, 2021 10 min read

When it comes to impressive physiques, there are quite a few people that come to mind. But when it comes to perfect aesthetics, Ulisses Jr is definitely up there.

With his early successes in bodybuilding competitions, Ulisses has graced the covers of several magazines while also modeling. These days he’s focusing on his other business ventures, but he still remains in peak physical condition throughout the year.

If there’s one thing that this bodybuilder can be described as it’s devoted. With the intense workout regime and diet plan outlined below, you can be one step closer to a ripped and shredded body.

Who is Ulisses Jr?

Hailing from New York City and born in 1976, Ulisses Jr was always one for sports. From a young age, he was obsessed with fitness, taking part in soccer, track, and football teams throughout school. Although he was athletic, he didn’t make much headway in this area.

In fact, he was always one of the smallest members on his teams, lacking the size and strength to be much of a force. After a suggestion by his coach to hit the iron, he soon became obsessed with weightlifting and bodybuilding. Still in his teens, he would win a local bodybuilding competition which fueled his drive for success even further.

athletes bodybuilders with medals winners at bodybuilding competitions

Accolades

Only five years after he began his training, Ulisses would go on to win the Novice Middleweight division of the 2000 Platinum Classic NYC. In 2003 he would win his pro card, and then go on to win over 100 bodybuilding competitions until his retirement in 2014.

He’s kept the impressive physique, however, and it’s constantly rumored that he’ll be making a comeback. Furthermore, he’s also the only person to have ever won the Musclemania World and Universe titles in back-to-back years. Here are some of his most impressive placements:

  • 2000 Platinum Classic NYC Novice Middleweight, 1st place    
  • 2001 MET Championships NYC Novice Middleweight, 1st place      
  • 2002 Musclemania Fitness Atlantic Championships Welterweight, 1st place      
  • 2003 Musclemania Fitness Atlantic Championships Middleweight, 1st place      
  • 2003 Musclemania Superbody Championships Middleweight (Pro Card), 1st place      
  • 2004 Pro Musclemania Superbody Championships, 1st place      
  • 2005 Pro Musclemania World Championships Las Vegas, 3rd place     
  • 2010 Pro Musclemania World Championships Las Vegas, 1st place      
  • 2011 Pro Musclemania World Championships Las Vegas, 2nd place    
  • 2013 Pro Musclemania World Championships Las Vegas Pro, 1st place
  • 2014 Pro Musclemania Universe Championships Miami, 1st place      

The Training Philosophy of Ulisses Jr

Ulisses’ training is fairly conventional, bread-and-butter bodybuilding workouts for hypertrophy. We’re talking a lot of compound exercises and a lot of reps, making this routine extremely high volume. He’s a believer in “shocking” the muscles to improve muscular endurance.

That means utilizing either supersets or dropsets to completely gas out a muscle group. The former is when two exercises are done back-to-back with no break in between, while a dropset is when you keep doing reps until failure. The routine below also implements a finisher exercises at the end of every day.

The finisher is meant to gas out every last bit of juice left in your muscles, ensuring that no gains are left on the table. And you really will feel finished after these—we’re talking 100 reps at the end of your workout. But for those who avoid cardio like the plague, then this routine is going to be your cup of tea.

Ulisses doesn’t utilize as much cardio as others we’ve looked at, and it makes sense. Even though his body fat percentage is low, he controls that with his diet and ensures that no muscle is lost with cardiovascular activities. However, he will do 15 to 20 minutes of HIIT at the end of his workouts, going 1 minute of sprinting followed by 1 minute of walking.

And in a subversion of Monday being international chest day, Ulisses has made Monday into leg day. If that doesn’t speak to the man’s commitment to bodybuilding, then we’re not sure what does. Without further ado, here is the Ulisses Jr. workout plan:

Monday: Legs

  • Barbell squats: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Leg press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Calf raises: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Leg extensions: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Lying leg curls: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Stiff leg deadlifts: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Seated calf raises: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Barbell lunges: 1 set of 100 reps

Tuesday: Back

  • Barbell deadlifts: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Weighted pull-ups: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Single-arm dumbbell row: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable rows: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Lat pulldowns: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Back hyperextension: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell pullover: 1 set of 100 reps

Wednesday: Chest

  • Barbell bench press (incline): 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Bench press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell flyes: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell press (decline): 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell close press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable crossover: 1 set of 100 reps

Thursday: Shoulders

  • Military shoulder press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell lateral raise: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Arnold dumbbell press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell front raise: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell posterior raise: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell shrugs: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Upright rows: 1 set of 100 reps

Friday: Arms

  • Barbell curls: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Reverse barbell curls: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Barbell press (close grip): 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Dumbbell hammer curls: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Cable tricep extension: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Preacher curl EZ-bar: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Bodyweight dips: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Lying supinated dumbbell curls: 1 set to failure

The weekend: Ulisses works out six days a week. The sixth day is considered the “wild card” day, while the seventh is the rest day.

The wild card Saturday is used for catching up in whatever muscle group that Ulisses feels needs catching up. At this point, he knows his body well enough to understand that a muscle or a body part is lagging behind the others. So, his Saturdays are devoted to paying special attention to these problem areas.

And on the seventh day, he rests. With a workout routine that has such an incredible amount of volume, everyone who gets through the week is going to need a well-deserved rest.

This doesn’t necessarily mean lounging around, however, as active recovery can be implemented instead. Things like hiking or playing sports can get you up and moving.

High protein food for body builders

The Diet for a Star Body

Early on in his bodybuilding career, Ulisses realized that his diet was keeping him back when he was younger. So, he decided to fix this by making it front and center in his transformation and overall routine. And in his case, it really is front and center.

When it comes to strict diets, even the most sculpted guys like to indulge in some cheat meals or days. There are benefits to it if you’re doing a low-carb diet, and it’s also nice as a bit of a mental respite. But with a body like Ulisses’, it’s not difficult to imagine that he goes above and beyond.

For example, he cuts out everything that’s junk food: eliminating all things fried, sugary, or processed. You probably didn’t need us telling you that, but it’s also important to keep in mind that he doesn’t let loose with his cheat meals—he’ll only eat more of those foods.

When it comes to strict macro counting, Ulisses has it down to a science. Put together the right amount of chicken breast, egg whites, oatmeal, brown rice, and the drive of Ulisses, and you’ve got one hell of a physique. It goes without saying that everything he puts into his body is weighed, measured, and counted.

It should also be noted that Ulisses doesn’t have an “off-season” with his physique, like many others. Instead, he’ll always float around 200 pounds, going around 10 pounds one way or the other. That means that his strict diet is kept throughout the whole year—at least with the information he’s admitting.

All in all, this is definitely one incredible diet to follow if you can put the work in to back it up. Here’s a sample of his eight meals:

  • Meal 1: 40g whey isolate protein and a cup of green tea
  • Meal 2: 6 boiled egg whites, 1/2 a cup of oatmeal, 1/2 a grapefruit, and 1 serving of BCAAs
  • Meal 3: 40g whey isolate protein
  • Meal 4: 6 oz. chicken breast and 1/2 a cup of brown rice
  • Meal 5: 6 oz. tuna, 2 cups of spinach, 1 small banana & flaxseed oil
  • Meal 6: Post-workout shake: 50g whey isolate, serving of vitargo, a serving of L-Glutamine, BCAA’s, Multi-Vitamin & Vitamin C
  • Meal 7: 6 oz. tilapia, 2 sweet potatoes & 1 cup of spinach
  • Meal 8: 2 scoops of casein protein, 1 serving of fish oil & a serving of glutamine

As you can see, there’s a lot of whey protein powder going on. If you’re looking to pack on some mass, then drinking a few shakes throughout the day is a terrific way to get your protein and calorie count up.

Mix it with some milk instead of water and you’ve just upped your calories significantly, ensuring that you won’t be leaving any gains on the table.

A Note on Steroids

As Ulisses found more and more success through the years, this success was followed by rumors and claims of steroid usage by others. Critics normally point to his transformation from when he was younger into the juggernaut he is today, saying that that wouldn’t be able to happen naturally.

On the other hand, Ulisses has firmly maintained that he’s never taken steroids. He claims he’d be much bigger than his 200 pounds if he’d been using steroids for users. Not to mention the fact that there aren’t any normally tell-tale signs of ‘roiding.

And since the Musclemania competition is known for compulsory drug testing and Ulisses has never had a positive test, it’s most likely that he earned all of his wins naturally. However, that’s not to say he doesn’t supplement at all. For muscle definition and size like Ulisses’ body, a concoction of supplements is a very useful tool.

The Protein Propping Up Ulisses

It should be obvious by now that Ulisses takes care of his body very, very well. With the intense workouts he does and a strict diet that cuts down all the frills, you can be that his supplement stack is going to be well-thought as well.

As we saw in his dietary plan, whey protein is front and center in many of his meals. And it makes sense: it’s a quick, easy, and effective way to get extra protein and calories into your body throughout the day. When you’re having to support as much training as Ulisses does, then eating is going to quickly become a chore that you resent.

You can also throw in the fact that the eating is super clean, so it’s not like your taste buds are going to at least enjoy things. While whey is the majority of what Ulisses takes throughout the day in terms of protein supplements, not all protein supplements are built equal.

Casein is one example, and it also happens to be one of the best proteins you can take. While whey makes up 20% of the milk protein, casein makes up the other 80%. But what makes it so good is that it’s slow-digesting rather than easily digestible like whey.

So, the trick is to take whey before and after your workouts, or throughout the day. However, when you go to sleep your body is still using energy to power itself—albeit a lot less.

When you’re at a low body fat percentage, that means your body will begin to start breaking down muscle for energy—a big no-no if you want to look anything like Ulisses. So, to mitigate these effects, casein protein can be taken before bed and slowly digested as you sleep.

BCAAs are another great strategy to up your protein intake even further. Known as branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs consist of a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. What makes these amino acids special is the fact that they’re broken down in the muscles rather than inside the liver.

This is why they’re believed to play a much larger role in energy production, allowing for extra gains to be squeezed out. Out of the three, leucine is the most important when it comes to building more muscle.

Barbell and whey protein shaker

Turbocharging with Supplements

Glutamine is another important amino acid; a building block of protein. Glutamine in particular has many functions in the human body, mostly relating to exercise performance, intestinal health, and the immune system. Glutamine is unique in that it’s not an essential amino acid—meaning that your body is able to produce it.

However, it’s also considered conditionally essential in that your body’s production of glutamine can sometimes fall short of its needs. For example, when you’re sick or when your energy expenditure is very high (i.e., when working out with a lot of volume).

Since it’s a building block of protein, supplementing with glutamine has been shown to improve muscle recovery and help prevent soreness. This makes glutamine a great supplement for taking post-workout.

On top of that, glutamine has also been shown to play a big role in your gut and immune system health.The intestines and your immune system are linked, and glutamine is an important energy source for both types of cells.

In this way, it helps to maintain the barrier between your intestines and your body which not only prevents leaky gut but is also helpful in preventing harmful toxins from entering the rest of your body. But when it comes to supporting immune health, Ulisses goes a step further.

The Immune System

He’ll also regularly take multivitamins—the most taken supplement in the world. Vitamins and minerals are absolutely essential for a well-functioning body, and they become even more important if your energy expenditures are high.

Although multivitamins vary wildly in what exactly they contain and in what proportion, they do help in ensuring your body is getting everything it needs. Most of this can come from a well-balanced diet, but it becomes much more difficult if you’re working out at the volume that Ulisses is.

And lastly, we have vitamin C to top things off. Vitamin C is also a great supplement for immune health, and it’s particularly important in this respect. However, it also has other uses specifically for athletes. For example, if taken either pre- or post-workout, vitamin C is able to mitigate the catabolic stress response of the body and improve recovery time.

Devotion and Drive

If there’s one thing that’s become clear while examining Ulisses’ workout routine and his dietary plan, it’s that the man is completely devoted to his art and driven to be the best—even when he’s supposedly in retirement.

While following the routine that’s been outlined will get you closer to your goals, it’s going to be the Ulisses Jr mindset that gets you over the finish line.