NDSU grad follows challenging diet, workout regime as part of bodybuilding lifestyle

Fargo Tyler Gylland goes through his workout schedule as if it's nothing. To the 30-year-old Fargo South and North Dakota State graduate, making his return to bodybuilding competition after nine years being off the stage, it is nothing. It's just...

Bodybuilder Tyler Gylland
North Dakota State graduate Tyler Gylland finished second in the light heavyweight class at the National Qualifier Upper Midwest bodybuilding championships on Saturday. Dave Wallis / The Forum


Tyler Gylland goes through his workout schedule as if it's nothing. To the 30-year-old Fargo South and North Dakota State graduate, making his return to bodybuilding competition after nine years being off the stage, it is nothing. It's just his way of life.

"You look back on the day and think about what you did," Gylland said. "There's really not a lot of people that would do the same things that I would do. Sometimes you have to put your body through hell."

By the time the sun has risen in Fargo, Gylland - who weighs in the mid-to-high 180s - has done reps of 315 pounds on the weight bench and squatted reps of 365 pounds as part of his 90-minute lifting session at 5 a.m. After that, it's off to his uncle and grandpa's farm to help build additions to their shop or put up a garage or continue work on the house he's building in Colfax, N.D., before heading back to Fargo in the mid-afternoon for a cardio workout. Gylland gets back home to Colfax at 7 p.m., eats his last meal of the day and goes to bed. He doesn't touch sweets, after the two or three beers on New Year's Eve, he hasn't touched alcohol and he's done this with a wife, two kids and a tree service business he started last year.

"It keeps me busy," Gylland said. "I think it's something people do to find something within themselves. For some people to go and grab a cupcake or have a beer, it's nothing, but, for me, it's something I wouldn't think about doing because it's not part of the routine. I want every single calorie to count, so I can use it to full potential. Everything I do is attributed toward these goals and making myself the best I can be."


His training for Saturday's National Qualifier Upper Midwest championships at North Dakota State and his first bodybuilding competition in nine years began right before Thanksgiving, but got into full gear Jan. 1.

It isn't all brawn with bodybuilding. Gylland talks about calorie deficit and adding and subtracting gallons of water to make sure his muscles are visually separate, but also make them pop, as if he should be wearing a lab coat.

"It's one thing to exercise and lift weights, but it's another thing to train for a competition," Gylland said. "It's a whole different mindset that really affects your whole life with sleep and nutrition and sticking to a routine. I was at about 2,700 calories a day on Jan. 1 and I gradually took away 60 to 80 calories a week leading up to the show to slowly deplete myself and get stage ready."

Even going to the bathroom has become a scheduled event.

"The last 10 days before the competition, I've been down to 1,400 calories and 10 grams of carbs a day," Gylland said. "It depletes your muscles and takes everything out of them. Leading up to the show I did what's called a 'load.' I increased my calories and my carbs and since my muscles are in a depleted state, they will soak up all that energy and fill out.

"I also increased my water intake to three gallons a day to get my body used to going to the bathroom every half hour. Then, I decreased my water, but my body was still used to going to the bathroom every half hour. It dehydrates you and it gets rid of that water between your skin and your muscles. You want to appear dry and you want to appear full, so you want to be able to see the muscle separation, but the muscles to be big and full. I'm trying to display my body the best I can on stage."

There's more to it than oiling up, flexing and smiling. It's displaying months of training where the only opponent is the person staring back in the mirror.

"I've been lifting since I was in eighth grade and I just never stopped," Gylland said. "I always hear people saying I must have good genetics or they could do what I did if they stopped eating McDonalds. I don't do this for compliments. At the end of the day, you have no one to blame but yourself. I'm trying to beat myself. It's an individual sport, but it's also a lifestyle."


After finishing second in the light heavyweight class Saturday, Gylland got to feast.

"I'll have a decent meal tonight with some sweet potatoes and turkey," Gylland said Saturday.

A brief change of pace, but the routine goes on.

"Then I'll hit the gym at 6:45 in the morning," Gylland said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548

Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: or 701-241-5548
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