Copyright 2002 by Raymond Burton. All rights reserved
Introduction: Why I Wrote This Book
Part I: Timing & Prep Work
Chapter 1. Time Frames Needed
Chapter 2. Routines – Cardio Guidelines & Weights Chapter 3. Diets
Chapter 4. Supplements
Part II: Now That You’re Here
Chapter 5: Posing, Lighting and Attitude
Chapter 6: Tips and Tricks to Make Things Smoother Chapter 7: Motivation
Chapter 8: Stick to Your Plan
Part III: Post-Contest
Chapter 9: What to Do After the Contest
Chapter 10: Why We Do the Things We Do Afterword: The End of the Trail
hat in the world were you thin k- ing? Do you really
Want to spend twelve weeks starving yourself and going through every mental twist and turn of pre contest prep? The only reward being to get a pat on the back or a silly little trophy?
You think you can deal with being lighter than all the other gym rats for twelve weeks as you watch your training poundage’s drop to pencil neck proportions? Great! Me too!
Who knows why we do it? There is a ton of work involved and very little reward, financially. But here is the kicker, winning feels like a million bucks. To be the best is a great feeling, actually I think it’s the driving force of man!
So what do you think? Are you ready? If so, get pumped! Once you fill out that registration form its all heart and soul from that moment on. If you think you’re digging deep now, just wait until you knowyou’ll be up on stage in your underwear for all to see. Everyone at your gym is going to ask how you did when its over. Saying first place is a lot more fun than explaining away a failure! Competing is the best way to take your physique up to the next level and to get in the best possible shape you’ve ever been in. This is really great if your contest is close to summer by the way! Beaches rock for bodybuilders!
Once you compete, you’re a competitive bodybuilder.
Welcome to The Jungle. What an adventure into the unknown competition can be! This is def i- nitely a self-test into your true strengths and wea k- nesses. This experience will teach you more about your body and personality than most people will ever get to know. It is definitely difficult but also rewarding. This is one of those things in life where the harder and smarter you work the better your results. Work hard and everyone will see it.
When you are done your contest, you will look at things different than most people. You will definit e- ly appreciate your little freedoms more! The little things in life hold more joy because we always desire what we cannot have and boy are there lots of things that you cant have while dieting for a show.
The other side of the coin is your training. You will get to see rapid changes in your body and the way it
reacts to different techniques in training and diet. This in itself is exciting for the true body People will come up and mention your change in appearance and pat you on the back, and it feels great!I also found that because you are so worn down that you do a lot of time thinking and being self reflective, that’s when I came into the idea of writing this book. The worst part of dieting for me were the uncertai n- ties that all my effort and depravation was for not h- ing or if I was using the correct approach. There are so many theories out there that it’s easy to lose your focus and end up hopping from one method to another. When you do this, the body never adjusts and you end up confused and nothing at all works for you. The whole situation doesn’t seem so bad though once you know that every chunk of effort and self-sacrifice is going to make you better and better in the end.
What I want to do for you in these pages is give you a solid and practiced method to follow from the beginning to the end, right from the horses’ mouth. What I tell you to do through this book is exactly what I do every time I step on stage. There are many tricks and false practices that may make you look better, but then again maybe you try them and end up blowing 12 weeks of hard work!
Follow my advice the first time and you will make a solid showing, something to be proud of. After you have built your confidence, feel free to try out some
of the other gimmicks and advise from the newest “guru” if you want, but don’t blame me for your new “results”. The world is full of people trying to rei n- vent the wheel and make a name for themselves.What I am going to show you is real, solid and is guaranteed to bring you in to the show in the best shape of your life. Some of what I tell you may not be backed in science but it is backed up by real world experience. Remember, until the mid 80’s sc i- entists said that steroids don’t work. I think that the
average gym rat could have told them the 411 on that! So put your head down and charge into the next couple of months with d e t e r m i n a t i o n and grit and lets see what your years of effort have produced!
Timing & Prep Work
ow long do I Need? First thing to do is have your body fat percentage measured. This will be the start and basis of ever y-
Hthing you are going to plan out. You should aim for a body fat percentage between 2-4% by contest time; so you must determine how much fat you have to lose. For example, if a bodybuilder weighs 200 pounds with 10% body fat, he has 20 pounds of fat (200 x .10). To get down to 2% body fat, he would need to lose 16 pounds of fat. Rough calculation says at a max of two pounds of fat per week, you would need 8 weeks to get into shape for the contest. Maybe in a perfect world! This is pushing it and the slower you go the less muscle you will waste. This is why you hear the general rule of 12 weeks for a pre contest diet. Its better to get in shape and then cruise in to competition instead of timing it to the day.
A pre contest diet is very restricted and takes a toll on the body. The harder you have to hit the diet, the more potential off-season mass lost. This is why you shouldn’t get much heavier than 10% fat in the off- season. It just makes life a little easier come contest
time. So, 12 weeks if your around 10% body fat and if your not close to this, you are either going to have to lose some valuable muscle in the extreme cardio you are going to do or start to clean up your diet at around 16 weeks.
Phase 1: 14 – 8 Weeks Out
Let’s begin by taking a few things for granted. First, you have been training properly and have already started regulating your diet by eliminating “junk” foods, sugar, white bread, high carbohydrate drinks, and regular soft drinks and are not consuming any milk (my opinion). At 14 weeks out you should only be eating solid clean food and your post workout shake. Second, you should be doing some regular cardio like half an hour three times per week just to keep the fat burning primed. This should be high intensity cardio (more than 75% max heart rate) because research has shown that it has a greater positive effect on body composition than low inte n- sity cardio. Now keep in mind that cardio interferes with muscle growth, so less is better. This is why you should be close to contest shape before you start to diet hard, that way hours of treadmill time are not needed.
Phase 2: 12 Weeks Out -It’s Time to Start Seriously. The goal is to maintain bodyweight, unless you areway out of shape, but to slowly lose bodyfat while actually adding lean tissue from your
training, improved diet and supplements. Your weight should drop at a max of 1 pound per week if you’re close to in shape and two pounds if you’re a chunker. Anything extra will be muscle. One of the mistakes made most often is a competitor makes an instant huge calorie drop when he starts his diet. This causes the loss of a lot of muscle tissue right at the outset of the diet. Fat calipers are the best way to see what is actually going on because the scale only tells weight not composition.
The diet itself revolves around the basic standby of making sure you are getting 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and two grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Now these totals are subjective to each individual, as some folks need 1.5-20 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is especially true for those that need to reduce carbohydrate intake in order to stay lean because of slower meta b- olisms. For your two evening meals replace most of your starchy carbs with fibrous ones. Broccoli is the choice of most folks. More on diet formulation later.
Phase 3: 10 Weeks Out. Depending on how much fat you have to lose at this point you may have to do up to two hours of cardio a day, four to six days a week. This is a bad thing and can hopefully be avoi d- ed. Start by incorporating one 35-minute session of in te r val tra in in g (15 min-minute warm-up) after every workout while your carb depleted. At this point the hard dieting begins. A lot depends on how
well you are dialing it in. If you are sporting some flab, go to two 35-minute sessions per day, but at 75% of your max heart rate. If at any time this breakup of cardio becomes inconvenient just do it all in one shot in the morning on an empty stomach at a lower intensity of 65-70%.
Phase 4: 8 Weeks Ou t. This is evaluation time. If all is going well, keep on going the same route. If nothing is happening, you have to bump up your cardio or cut back on carbohydrates by 25%. Do one hour in the morning (65% of max heart rate) and one 35-minute session (interval style) after your workout. This is not the best route though because you will start to burn muscle, but this is what you have to do if you are going to get ripped. The other option is to drop out 200 calories off your diet per day. This and the normal level of cardio will create the calorie deficit you need. This sucks too cause your already hungry. Cut the calories from your carbs not your protein. You will lose energy but not size. Your body will adapt in time and you only need 50-100 grams of carbs a day keep the system ru n- ning anyway. So that’s it for how far you can restrict your carbs, 50-100 grams, no lower, but boy does this bite!
Phase 5: 6 Weeks Out. Every thing should be co m- ing together now and youshould only have to keep up what you are doing and get in better shape as you cruise into the contest. No matter what, don’t go
above your two hours (if you are at that point) of cardio. If anything increase the amount of calories burnt per session, don’t increase the time. At this point your training should be quite fast paced and very intense, as it should have been all along. That’s about all you can do as far as training and fat loss goes. From here on in it comes down to diet manip u- lation and water retention. These things sort the m- selves out as you cut out artificial sweeteners and increase you water intake. If you are still fat, too bad for you, you are not going to make it on time.
To learn how to do your own pre-contest diet, check out the diet section in Chapter 3.
Posing Time Line
Start your poses from the legs up!
There is no such thing as a relaxed pose, always flex.
Contests all basically follow the same formula. There is the mandatories first, then relaxed poses, the free pose and if you’re lucky, you get to do the pose down. Mandatories- these are the eleven major poses for bodybuilding.
- Front double biceps
- Front lat spread
- Side chest
- Back double biceps
- Rear lat spread
- Side triceps
- Abdominal and thigh
- Most muscular
- Relaxed front
- Relaxed side
- Relaxed rear
10 Weeks Out
This is when to start getting into it if not sooner. Start looking for music that really moves you for your free pose. Just throw in 10 minutes of mandit o- ries at the end of your workout to start to get a fee l- ing for it.
8 Weeks Out
Start getting a little more scheduled now and spend twenty minutes hitting your manditories and stan d- ing in the relaxed comparisons. Hold each pose for 30 seconds.
6 Weeks Out
Same thing, every workout now do your poses for 1 minute each and start to form your routine for the free pose. Use your good body parts as weapons and hide your slow gainers, don’t show your crappy calves if you can hide them. Ask friends what they think are your strong points and trust them. What you think are your big show stoppers probably are not. This is a good time to have your music picked out by if not sooner.
4 Weeks Out
You should now have your routine figured out and you should look solid in all your poses. Run though your routine a couple of times and have honest cri t- ical friends point out flaws, don’t be proud. Over and over you should do the routine so there is no hesit a- tion when you’re on stage. If you have been posing in front of a mirror, get away from it now so you can feel if the pose is right instead of relying on sight. There will be no mirror on stage. This is also a good time to make sure you have two copies of your music ready to go. As a side note, don’t forget to pick up your music after the show.
3 Weeks and Down Squeeze your poses hard to bring in detail that will not come from weights and cardio alone. Push out every drop of fat and water you can. When your on stage you will prob a- bly hit your poses harder than in pra c- tice so you want to make sure you can last and not cramp up.
Now that everything is done, don’t change it. Stick to your music and stick to your routine. Sometimes a new song comes out or you see a new cool pose, but stick to your plan. Everything must be automatic when you step on stage and it’s a little too late now to be able to get a new idea together flawlessly.
Tanning: The Base Ta n: If you can tan in the sun, do it, you will get outside and for some reason it looks a lot better.
The time lines to get a nice tan vary for each person but its better to start sooner than later. You can’t play catch up with a tan; you’ll just look like a lo b- ster!
My preference is to start at ten weeks out because I am really pale skinned. Other people can tan up in a couple of weeks. At any rate, start small with 5-10 minutes and then up it if you don’t get too red. Work your way up to 30 minutes by 5-minute chunks and use a moisturizer! A tanner is really good if you can afford them, but moisturizer works almost as good. Just remember that burning and trying to rush it will only peal away what you already have.
The Stage Ta n: Now when it comes to stage time your natural tan will not be enough. I know you may be dark but those lights on stage will wash you out. So you need to buy some fake tanning products that can be found at most good gyms. The timing for pu t-
ting these on is also important, here is a good sche d- ule to follow. I put a list of the products you’ll need at the bottom following the application methods.
First before you start to put on lotions and creams make sure you are shaved! That’s the whole deal too, not just the big stuff. Any hairs have a way of rea l- ly sticking out once the tanner is on. Do the twig and berries too guys, you don’t want any peek-a-boo’s if your trunks ride a little. So shave it all off before the tanner goes on and make sure you’re smooth as a babies butt when you step on stage.
The Week Before the Show:
Wednesday (If extremely light skinned start this process on Tuesday. If dark skinned start on Thursday) I would also advise you to wear sandals when you can or it will take forever to get the stains out of your sneakers and socks! The same goes for bedding and towels; don’t use anything that your afraid to ruin if the stains don’t come out.
E v e n i n g –
- Shower with a loofa pad to exfoliate and prepare a clean layer of skin. The tan will absorb better and it wont be so blotchy.
- Apply PROTAN INSTANT COMPETITION COLOR by spraying the Protan directly onto the applicator then painting, in light coats, the whole body. You can also just mist it on and smear it around with ru b-
ber gloves if you want but don’t leave blotches. Start from the feet up and stand on an old blanket or towel. Two coats will do for the first application. Go light on the knees, elbows, knuckles and toes. Let each coat air dry for about 30 minutes before putting on a new one.
Thursday M o r n i n g –
1. Take a shower, with soap and water only. Do not use anything more abrasive than your hand. The carrier from the Protan will come off, but the dyed layer of fresh skin will remain dark. After the sho w- er, apply moisturizer, and continue the colouring process. Wash the lotion off of your hands when fi n- ished. I don’t know about safety concerns but bleach works well for this! (Don’t bleach your hands if your self-applicating or it will look like your wearing mittens!) This advice is for your mate!
1. Repeat Wednesday evening, step 2, only.
M o r n i n g –
1. Repeat Thursday morning, step 1. Evening –
1. Repeat Wednesday evening, step 2, only. Saturday (Contest Day)
- Repeat Thursday morning, step 1.
- If additional colour is needed (and it usually is), apply a bronzer like Protans Dream tan. It has a nicer dark colour and a little bit of shimmer to it. Between coats of Dream tan put on some Nivia cream so when you sweat on stage you get a nice sheen.
- When your class is called to pump-up, and not before, apply HOT STUFF VASODILATOR to bring out your vascularity and improve your look of stage hardness. Make sure you find out the rules about this as some promoters don’t allow this product.
- Pump up. This depends on the timing of the event coordinator though as sometimes things get rushed and out of sink. I always have some muscle sheen on under my sweats just in case.
- Apply PROFESSIONAL POSING OIL for a gloss finish or MUSCLE SHEEN for a matte finish. Note: for most stage lighting situations the Professional Posing Oil works fine.
After the Event
1. Take a shower and enjoy the dirtiness you can cause! The tub will look like you just jumped out of a mud puddle so make sure you clean up if your in a hotel. You can scrub as much as you want but it will take at least a week before you look normal.
So here is what you need to get your tan.
- Minutes at a tanning parlor
- Moisturizer or Nivea cream
- Protan (spray on)
- Dream tan (cream)
- Rubber gloves
- Old towel, blankets and pillow cases
ardio Guidelines. Cardio should be kept to a minimum during your early contest prepar a- tion period. If you do too much cardio too soon,
your body will adapt and you have nowhere to go but to increase your cardio even more. Having done the two hours of cardio a day thing, I can tell you its much better to start your diet sooner and lean out that way. Avoid the final couple week panic when your doing cardio all the time and watching y o u r fat as well as muscle disappea r. Start with 20-30 minutes of high intensity cardio three days per week during the first part of the contest prep, most do this amount year round anyway. Remember your goal during the first four weeks of dieting is to improve your body composition while maintaining your weight. Research has shown that high intens i- ty cardio has a greater positive effect on body co m- position than low intensity (less than 75% max i- mum heart rate) cardio. Each week attempt to burn more calories in the same amount of time. This way you know your burning more and can make sure you are improving.
You should be doing cardio year-round anyway, but pre-contest it will take on a much more vital role. In conjunction with your diet, this is the only way to shed the bodyfat needed to arrive in true contest condition, which is about 2-6% for men, 7-10% for women. Performing cardio in a glycogen-depleted state is the most efficient way to burn fat stores rather than stored carbohydrates. This can be achieved by doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or immediately after weight training. The “stack” can help to accelerate your fat burning efforts quite a bit. Take your caffeine and ephedrine at least a half hour before hitting the cardio with a liter of water. Around week eight I am usually at two 35-minute sessions per day every training day. If all is going well, after that I may have to up it or cut some time off. Depending on how much fat you have to lose, you may need to perform up to two hours of cardio, four to six days a week, this is not a good thing! It may be embarrassing, but get your bodyfat checked at regular intervals to make sure it’s coming off and your not just getting smal l- er as a whole.
So there is no specific amount of cardio you should be doing, just watch your body and adjust. Here is a good general guideline though.
Weeks 16 to 13- three 30-minute sessions per week Weeks 12 to 10- one 35-minute session daily
Take a look at what happening. If things are coming
in well stay at this level. If not, do this.
Weeks 9 to 6- Two 35 minute sessions daily or one 35- minute session and one 1-hour session.
Weeks 5 to 2- if your still not dialing it in and the diet is good than your going to have to go crazy. Do two one-hour sessions per day, sucks to be you! All trai n- ing stops on Wednesday, the week of the show.
I have been experimenting with sprints in the off- season to see how well it works. In theory, the expl o- sive nature of the sprinting will burn calories while giving a nice surge of various hormones. Not to mention that it helps the nervous system to recruit muscle fibers more optimally and should carry over into better developed hamstrings and a bigger squat. Add to this the fact that your sprints will develop both your short term and intermediate energy pat h- ways and you have got “cardio” that h e l p s y o u r weight training sessions! Did I mention to you pre- contest guys that it helps increase vascularity? Thought you might like to know!
Rational? Well in order to lose fat weight you have to burn more than you take in, right? If you enjoy chasing your dog and you can burn enough calories, why not do it? Now the good thing about sprints is that they still work the fast twitch muscles, so you will still remain powerful while shedding body fat! Almost too good to be true! The only down side is that you have no way to tell how many calories you are
burning and pre contest you will be too tired to sprint all the time. Works great though in the off- season.
e i g h t T r a i n i n g This is simpler than most people think. There is no special “way” to train for a competition. Increase
your intensity, cut your rest back and continue to train as heavy as you can.
How did you get big? Heavy weights and high inte n- sity! Why change what put the mass there in the first place? If your training style made you big, it will keep you big. Whatever you do, don’t drop your heavy basic movements like bench presses, barbell rows, and squats. These are the exercises that put the muscle on, so keep doing them. If your weights ha p- pen to go down as your body fat gets into the low single digits, don’t worry about it, your strength will come back when your weight does. You should add in some detailing exercises to squeeze in your striations and extra detail, but don’t neglect your basics.
Phase One Training-Weeks 16- 9. At sixteen weeks you should begin to up the intensity of your training and start working on anything that is lac k- ing. The rear delts, serratus, hamstring, glutes and calves seem to be what everyone neglects to train. Blast these areas now and you wont have glaring flaws come contest time. Whatever split your on now
that you like is probably the best because it suits you, but I will give you my recommendations to help out. Sets and reps are different for everyone. I like to put in one hardcore exercise for 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps to keep the power and strength and then 2-3 more exercises of 4 sets of 10-12 to increase capila r- ization and hormone production. With this workload, once a week training for each body part keeps you anabolic and eager to train. One body part a day is very popular for those that wear out easy and is the way I like to go. You could try the twice a week route but most find it too much. It really depends on your recovery ability. Better to under train than over train and burn out at the beginning of the prep. Remember you’re adding muscle during this phase and getting over trained is counter productive to say the least. Here is an example of a size program to do pre contest.
See Table 1-1
Phase Two Training-Weeks 8-2. As the diet kicks in you will find yourself wearing down a little or a lot! One way to get around this is to do two mini sessions a day so you can get some days off to rest. If you cant make the two mini sessions than your going to have to suck it up and put both together. You can still stick with the body part per day if you like, but some guys like to have those days off because you get real tired. I use a combination of both because all that matters really is that ever y- thing gets trained by the end of the week. Here is the routine that I follow.
Pre-contest Routin e. Before we get into this I would like to thank Jay Riddell for showing this stuff to me. Despite how much you think you know in this game of plates and bars, someone can always show you something new.
Most everything here is 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps usually letting failure designate the end of the set. Note that A1 and A2 designates a superset and separate letters means a totally new series of movements.
Day 1- chest
A1) flat flyes
A2) smith bench presses
Do your flyes to failure and then continue to tweak it at the bottom with partials. Go immediately to the benches and do three drops in weight, each one to
B1) Incline flyes
B2) hammer inclines
Same deal with everything here except no drops on the hammer inclines.
A) 4 sets of triangle grip pull downs, all done drop set style
B1) Narrow grip barbell rows for four sets B2) Machine rows
C1) Behind the neck pull downs for three sets C2) Cable rows
Sometimes we throw in some shrugs, usually every second workout. We alternate deadlifts week to week.
Day 3- shoulders
- Smith machine presses for 4 sets of drops
- Smith again but we do back to front presses for three sets of drops
C1) Rear delt cable raises C2) Lateral or front raises
Day 4- Arms
- Incline dumbbell curls for 4 sets with partials
- Low incline dumbbell curls for three sets with one drop
- Over a bench spider curls for 3 sets
- One polisher set of cable preacher curls, usually 21’s
A1) incline bench pushdowns
A2) incline bench overhead cable extensions A3) between bench dips
Day 5- Off
Day 6- Legs
Whatever evil workout we can come up with we do for legs. Lately we have been doing the “four horse man” If your interested just ask.
We usually do an a.m. p.m. split of quads and hams. Hams are usually one leg presses with feet high, stiff leg dead lifts and some ham curls. Calves are hit twice a week when the mood strikes. For calves we like to do seated calf raises and leg press toe raises. We do ten strict and then ten burns with deep stretches. Usually three sets per exercise
Day 7- Of f. The cool thing about this routine is that you hit the muscle real hard. A one way trip to fry- ville. The routine only takes a half hour on any given day though. So no matter how dieted you are, you just have to turn it on for a sprint and then you can go comatose for the rest of the day.
Weeks 2 To Contest
Hear is where you have to do a little playing. You may have to skip an off day or double some body
parts up, but don’t train past Wednesday. Don’t do anything past Wednesday the week of the contest. This is where you rest up and use your food to fill out instead of to fuel your workouts. Despite what your thinking, extra training will not do you any good at this point. Rest and grow. Usually there is something that you have forgotten to take care of and not ha v- ing to train at this point is a God send, trust me. You probably will be sick of the gym at this point an y- way!
f you are lean and in decent shape, you need ten to twelve weeks of contest dieting. If you’re a little bulked, go for sixteen to avoid panic at the
Simplicity is key and precontest diets are anything but. It basically boils down to increasing your pr o- tein, and replacing much of your starchy carboh y- drate intake with fibrous carbs, kinda. I say kinda because some people react different to certain carbs than others. Your diet should be long and gradual enough so that you only lose about a pound a week. And of course there are no cheat meals. Cheat means cheat. It means you broke the rules, don’t. You will think of every reason why you need something that is not on the diet, but don’t fool yourself into second place! The last thing you want is to compete without being as lean as you should because you gave in to cravings for junk food. How do you like them apples girly man! Do everything right and you’ll feel like a success regardless of where the placings fall because you’ll know you did everything possible to be in your best shape. Cheat a few times and it will
linger in your mind along with your crappy pla c- ing. Just remember that there is definite satisfaction in knowing that you had absolute control over your body for 12 weeks.
The reason to stick with one method at per contest is simple. If you don’t give it a fair shot the way it’s described, then you don’t know if it worked. Here is a tree hugger parable.
There are many paths to any location, and there is always one route that is the quickest for you. If you get confused of where you are and never stick to one single path and change your mind to take another path, which path was quickest if you did indeed reach your destination at all?
So lets cover some basics that I hope you already know, but just in case.
The Basic Macronutrients and What They Do. Carbohydrates – The fuel for your fire. Carbs are the preferred source of energy for the body. When you eat carbs your body converts them to blood sugar or glucose. This glucose is stored in your mu s- cle cells and liver for use when needed, (like trai n- ing!). When weight lifting, it is mostly this stored energy that your muscles use for contraction fuel. As with any calories you eat, any excess carbs that cant be utilized are stored as fat. Ouch!
Some sugars are more conductive to a good-looking physique than others. There are three kinds of ca r- bohydrates:
Monosaccharides (one-sugar molecule) Disaccharides (two-sugar molecules)
Polysaccharides (three or more sugar molecules)
Monosaccharides and disaccharides are called sugars while polysaccarides are usually called co m- plex carbohydrates or glucose polymers. This is where the real good stuff begins. Because the co m- plex carbohydrates contain three or more sugar molecules, they take longer to break down. The longer it takes the body to break these carbs down, the more time it has to use them as opposed to sto r- ing them as fat. A good way to gauge the quickness of the break down is the glycemic index. You can find these charts in different places; the best right now is www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm. You should shoot for carbohydrates in the 55 to 65 range on the gycemic index, but the lower the better. This way you get the slow break down for sustained energy and avoid the sharp rise in insulin levels. If you would like to know more about the glycemic index and how it works I would suggest reading the mat e- rial at www.mendosa.com/gi.htm. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.
Protein – Building blocks! These are the bricks in the building we call the body. Protein is respo n- sible for the repair and growth of your hair, skin,
nails and most of all your muscles! A deficiency in protein can result in reduced energy, weakness, lowered resistance to infections and prolonged recovery time after your workouts. The basic su g- gestion for intake of protein is 1-2 grams per pound of bodyweight. Modulate this up or down depending on how intense your training is, but start at a gram at least. Protein contains 4 calories per gram
Fat – Fat is essential for maintaining healthy skin and hair. It also acts as a transport for the fat- soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The deal with fat is that is contains 9 calories per gram, and this is why fat foods are considered high calorie. Despite its bad reputation, you do need between 10-15% of your diet to be comprised of fats to maintain health. Most of this will come indirectly through your regular ea t- ing and it’s a fat chance (pun intended) that you’re not getting enough already!
Where to start. For calories at the beginning it’s best to start high. As the diet goes on and you want to lose more fat you will have to reduce calories. The higher you set the table in the beginning the more you will be able to drop and still get your needed ratios of nutrients. At the sixteen-week mark esta b- lish your diet with:
- 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight
- 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight
- Fat at no more than 15% of total calorie intake
- Stay with this diet till you start serious prep at the
12 Week Mar k. You should have a scale that mea s- ures grams and ounces as well as a measuring cup. Invest in a good calorie book so you know exactly what you’re getting from your foods.
Once you’re at the twelve-week mark have your body fat tested. This will tell you how much fat you need to lose and from here you can start to reduce calories to create the needed calorie deficit.
Lets say you weigh in at 200 pounds with 18% body fat (oh brother!). This means you are carrying 36 pounds of fat and have a lean mass of 164 pounds. (200-18%=164) and (200-164=36) you want to shoot for 4-6% body fat on stage, so that puts your bod y- weight at 170-173 pounds. So in total you have 30 pounds of weight to lose. (200-170=30 pounds) You now have 12 weeks to do this and that means 2.5 pounds per week. See why you should stay around 10%? A pound of fat contains 3500 calories so if you want to burn of 2.5 pounds per week, you need to create a deficit of 8750 calories per week from your base line diet that you have established. This works out to a deficit of 1250 per day (ouch).
How to Create The Defici t. Don’t just drop off 1250 cals from your diet! Divide it up. Deficit can come from less food, more activity or both. Here comes the cardio! Lets say you do your workout (good for 500 calories) and you do 35 to 45 minutes of ca r- dio (that’s another 500) and if you cut 250 calories
from your diet, your there! This is how I work it any way, but you know what they say about opinions! Go this approach for a week and if you don’t get the weight loss make another reduction to the food intake. I prefer to cut back on calories instead of spending all day doing cardio. Too much cardio can make you tiny! However you can just work harder during your cardio to burn more in less time. There are tons of approaches but you can see the idea behind how to do it now. If you want to do other activities and want to know how much you burn, check out www. nutristrategy.com/activitylist3.htm
The Food s. What you eat can also effect how your body uses it. The above G.I. list is a good guideline for carbohydrates. You would want to eat the low G.I. foods because they will be more likely to be used instead of stored as body fat. My dieting choice of carbs has always been yams. They just seem to be the best for me. Others prefer brown rice ect. The time of day you eat certain foods is also taken into consi d- eration. Try to eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day and switch to the fibrous veggies towards the night. I personally take in 70% of my carbs for breakfast and post workout (35% each) and split up the rest over the day. I still switch to veggies at night.
The Foods in M e. When the diet time comes, I don’t like to think much. For this reason I limit the var i- ety of foods I eat and that way I have limited food
prep and I also know exactly what calories I take in dailey without too much calculating. I make up the perfect days diet and then follow it for twelve weeks. Hey, no one said this was fun. You can vary your food if you get sick of something but it just means you have to spend more time figuring out calories when all you really want to do is sleep.
Here are the foods I eat:
- Yams and potatoes
- Frozen veggie mix and broccoli
- Shredded wheat
- Brown rice
- Egg whites
- Frozen chicken breast
- Lean ground beef
- Coffee, tea (green usually)
- Crystal light and diet pop (not in the last two weeks) That’s it! That’s all that goes into my mouth- ever.
Food Pre p. I’ m not going to give you any yummy recipes, sorry. What you will get is the quickest and most efficient way to get your needed nutrients without much fuss. Usually food prep has to be done twice a week for myself. I boil everything. I’m a te r- rible creature of habit though, so feel free to do what you like.
C h i c k e n
- Get a big pot and throw the chicken in
- Let it boil for half and hour or until cooked
- Take them out and let them cool (they are easier to cut up)
- Chop them up into little chunks
- Put in Tupperware and chuck them in the fridge
B e e f
- Beef is usually frozen, so as I start to run out of cooked stuff I take one out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. All ready to cook up when I run out of the good stuff
- You can fry it, but you will have to stir it. This is effort and we don’t like effort! I’d rather stick with the pot, so throw it in and let boil for half and hour or until done.
- Dump it into a strainer to get rid of the fat. Use the sink not the tub. The tub method will tick of your mate when she takes a bath. Not that I’d know or anything.
- Let it cool off and then mix it up a little so you don’t get chunks.
- Tupperware it and put in fridge
T u n a
- Open can, dump in strainer, rinse with water (duh!) Hey, even pop tarts have instructions!
E g g w h i t e s
- You can separate eggs if you like but you can save time and yolks by buying eggbeaters at the store. They come in 250ml or 500ml. The small one has 8
whites, so it’s nice and easy to measure.
- Spray Pam into frying pan and fry them up. Boiling is too messy here unfortunately!
- I wouldn’t precook egg whites, they get rubbery and gross. Just my opinion.
Yams and potatoes (cooked)
- Peel the yams but you don’t have to peel the pot a- toes if you don’t want to
- Chop them up into little cubes
- Throw into a pot and boil till soft
- Strain and throw into a large bowl
- Mush it all up
- Put into Tupperware and fridge it
- Sometimes I do a potatoe/yam mix and throw everything in together
( u n c o o k e d )
- Just peel and chop up
- Tupperware it
- Its nice and crunchy for a texture change but the potatoes will only last a day or two before changing color (blah)
Frozen Veggies and Broccoli
- Measure out serving size
- Add to protein source
- Microwave everything for three minutes
- Put into Tupperware
- Add some splenda and water
- Wait for it to get mushy
- Some guys like to heat it
- I buy a gallon jug of water and drink it. Then use the container to hold your crystal light. The box makes three liters but its pretty sweet, so I just fill up the whole jug.
I know a lot of this stuff is not gourmet quality but you get real impatient and grumpy as the weeks go by. The less hassle the better, trust me. So, on to how I eat this stuff. Everything is micro waved. The night before, just before bedtime I make up all six meals for the next day. This is actually important because when you stark raving hungry it’s tempting to throw something not on the diet into your mouth as you prepare your meal. This way as I get hungry I pull it out of the fridge and zap it and in 1.5 minutes I’m eating. Your meals are very portable. All you have to do it throw them into an igloo that you can buy at Wal-Mart.
The Tasty Meals
Here are the different combo’s I stick to. Feel free to get more inventive.
- Uncooked yam and chicken
- Cooked yam and chicken
- Potato/ yam mix with ground beef (tastes like
- Ground beef with veggie mix (it’s a high volume meal, so I use it before bedtime)
- Potato/yam mix with chicken
- Broccoli and chicken
- Broccoli and beef
- Breakfast rocks because I eat shredded wheat and chicken (not together, even I have my limits!)
Where to buy your stuf f. Contest food bills get expensive so shop around to get your lowest prices. This is where I get all my stuff. If you can find it cheaper-let me know!
Broccoli and veggie mix Shredded wheat
Frozen chicken in bag Lean ground beef
Crystal light Tea
Small box egg whites
Costco or Food Depot Potato
Egg whites in bulk
Frozen chicken in 4kg box
- kg lean ground beef Diet pop
If you’re impatient and want to get everything in one stop then go to the superstore. If money it tight you should go to Costco for the bulk items and the superstore for the smaller stuff.
How Much & When to Eat? In the words of Jim Morrison “this is the end”. Dramatic but once you nail your diet or “functional eating habits” as I call it. Your new body is all but guaranteed. I have used several ways but let me give you the low down on what I think is the easiest and best method to stay functional, feel good but get in wicked shape.
First step – losing fat and maintaining your shape (muscle) is the key to looking good. So you need to take in fewer calories than you are used to but enough not to lose muscle. Your protein intake will maintain your muscle, but we’ll get into that in a different section. So we need to figure out just how many calories this takes. Use the Harris Benedict equation that I have provided a link to or you can do it the manual way if you’re a geek at heart. This is the equation that most registered dieticians use.
Harris Benedict Equation
- Convert your weight from pounds to kilograms. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. For example: 190 lb / 2.2 = 86.3 kg;
*Convert your height from inches to centimeters. Take your height in inches and multiply it by 2.54. For example: 58 in. x 2.54 = 172.72 cm.
Listed below are the equations, for both men and women, in order to calculate your Basal Energy Expenditure (BEE). Your BEE is the amount of energy you need in order to maintain your weight at bed rest or no activity. Therefore, your BEE is also used as the standard for your total calories needed when you are active and want to lose weight because the acti v- ity will cause the calorie deficiency needed.
66 + [13.7 x (weight in kg)] + [5.0 x (height in cm)] – [6.8 x (age in yrs)] = BEE (in calories);
655 + [9.6 x (weight in kg)] + [1.8 x (height in cm)] – [4.7 x (age in yrs)] = BEE (in calories);
Second step – Fat is not totally evil. You need 15- 20% to maintain your hormone levels and to process several vitamins in your diet. Just as any nutrient, you need enough but not an excess. Multiply your total caloric intake (step one) by .20 to get 20% of your total calories from fat. That gives you the cal o- ries and if you divide that by 9 (this is how many fat calories there are per gram) you get the number of grams of fat you get per day.
Step three – Muscle is good. Protein builds muscle. You need anywhere from .8 gram to 2 grams of pr o- tein per pound of bodyweight depending on your activity levels. The rule of thumb for normally active people is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 150 pounds that’s 150 grams of protein. Sorry if it sounds redundant but I want to make sure you understand everything here. If you multiply your grams by four, you know how many protein calories your getting.
Step four – Carbohydrates are your energy source but too many can make you fat by causing insulin spikes that lead to fat storage. Now what you do to figure out your carbohydrate needs is to subtract your fat calories and protein calories from your daily total calories. What your left with is your daily carbohydrate calories and if you divide that by four you get the grams.
So now you have your totals for calories, fat, carb o- hydrates and protein for the day. Now we just figure out how and when to eat them.
S t e p f i v e – you should have ended up with som e- thing like this if you weigh 134 pounds. I just picked a figure out of the air, so don’t get uptight!
Fat- 37 grams (20% of total)
Protein-134 grams (one gram per pound of body
Carbohydrates-204 grams (remainder of calories)
Better back up a minute before I throw it in drive here. When people hear that they should be eating 5-6 times a day they often cant understand why ea t- ing that much would be beneficial to losing fat. So I will explain. Your body can only use so much of an y- thing at any given time. Any more than it needs will go to the body fat stores. So it makes sense to eat smaller meals so this will not occur. The thing you have to realize is that the body does need a certain total of nutrients by the end of the day to achieve the demands you are putting on it. So by eating less at each sitting but eating more frequently, you get the best of both worlds. Another added benefit of the frequent feedings is that each meal will speed up your metabolism causing the body to burn fat like a furnace all day long.
So onward and upward. If you should eat six times a day, just divide your totals by six and you get what you should eat at each meal. As long as each meal has these portion sizes, you are on the right path. Here is what the above would translate into for each meal. Fat/6 grams, Protein/22 grams, carbohydrates/34 grams. Each meal has 281 calories. And that is how it is done! If you really want to jump in with both feet, taper off your more simple or high glycemic carb o- hydrates towards the evening and go with veggies or salad. This is the best way when you really need to
rip the fat off.
Carb Manipulation and Loading in the Last W e e k . Some people like to carb load and others don’t. It is a personal choice so I have included it for you to try if you want and then you will know if it agrees with your body or not. Like I said, your first competition is a series of experiments. The idea behind the loading phase is that after the initial depletion stage your body will store more glycogen intra muscularly causing an increase fullness and appearance of size. So here is the general protocol to carb load.
- Deplete carbs for three days and load for three days, more than this will lead to muscle loss. So you deplete on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
- Keep sodium high and even add some just before you go into a carb loading stage. Keep it high until you restrict your sodium two to three days out. The sodium excreting hormones will still flush out sod i- um for a while even though you have dropped your intake giving you a hard look.
- Exercise on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday with a hig h- er volume of 15-20 reps and 16-18 sets per body part to produce enzymes that will store glycogen in the muscles come loading time.
- No cardio in the last week.
- Deplete carbs by 50% on the three low days
- On Thursday and Friday use 400 mcg of chromium, 300 mg of ala, eight grams of omega-3, and 1000mg of
hydroxycitric acid. These nutrients will promote the muscle to store the carbs in the muscle and not as fat.
- Double water intake on Sunday to Thursday and cut back on Friday by following my contest prep water intake in this chapter.
- Use 1000-2000 grams of supplemental potassium daily during the final week before the show to excrete more sodium and store more carbs.
- Use 20-30 milliliters of glycerol with eight ounces of water on Thursday and Friday to prevent deh y- dration and to suck water from under the skin.
- Load on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Multiply precontest carb intake by 1.75 daily for carb intake.
- Watch and either lower or raise carb intake depending on what the mirror shows you.
How to Do the Last Weeks Water
Final Week Water Management:
- 3 gallons – Sunday through Thursday.
- Do not restrict sodium until Wednesday. However cut all condiments, sauces, diet drinks and dressing.
- Thursday – no added salt.
- Friday – cut water intake back to 2 gallons up to 6:00 P.M. Intake after 6:00 P.M. should be approx i- mately 1 liter until you retire
- Saturday – drink only when you are thirsty –di s- tilled water-in sips
Sodiu m. Here we go, the big S. So much confusion
about this one. I will make it real simple for you. Don’t restrict sodium. Cymbals crash and the crowd screams.
Most of the problems that occur in the later phases of dieting are because of low sodium and then ever y- one goes and purposely cuts back more! Pass the mustard please! Think about the amount of water excreted during all that cardio and training. What goes with the water? Sodium.
Sodium is needed for muscle contractions and the absorption of carbohydrates into the gut. This means that if you restrict sodium your precontest workouts suffer and the minimal carbohydrates you’re taking in are not getting into your system. That’s a heck of a double whammy. So cutting sodium is one of the biggest mistakes the precontest bodybuilder can make! Carb loading seems a little redundant if you can’t absorb the carbs due to a lack of sodium, eh?
Now sodium and water attract each other, remember that. If you have normal levels of salt in the muscles and then restrict your water on the last couple of days, the water has to come from somewhere. Try under your skin. That’s right, the sodium will suck the water from under the skin leaving you ripped to the bone.
So right up to the contest keep the water and salt high and then the Thursday night before the co n- test start to restrict your water intake. Then and only
then should you stop adding any condiments that are included in your total caloric intake for the day to your food. Your body figures it will still get the same water so will keep on excreting it at the same rate. That means less water in and here comes the thin skin!
I think what happens is that people don’t do their diet right and still hold fat come the last couple of weeks. Since they can’t be “fat” is must be water retention right? Sometimes, but they are probably just fat.
m p o r t a n t P r e C o n t e s t S u p p l e m e n t s. Supplements are important during any trai n- ing phase, but during precontest they are a
must. The extra hours of cardio and increases in se s- sion intensity make great demands on all of your bodies systems. You sweat out more and create tons more waste products. So in order keep your massive muscles from becoming a catabolic feast follow these guidelines that work.
- Multi-vitamin and Mineral Comple x-This is a catch all supplement. You won’t notice any fanta s- tic body change but it keeps everything running the way it should. Any deficiencies will impede the proper functioning of your systems and keep you from getting in shape as fast as you should.
- Chromium Picolinat e– some people in the industry speculate about the validity of this suppl e- ment, but it makes sense to use it if you look at the facts. Chromium works by improving the efficiency of insulin. Insulin does two things: it clears glucose out of the blood and stores it as glycogen in muscles,
or it clears glucose and stores it in fat cells. Use 200 to 400 mcg to make the muscle cells more receptive to insulin. By this process making the carbs less likely to be stored as fat and will lessen the chance of those yummy carbs ending up on the abs. So if you are planning a big meal or carb-loading, chromium will help prevent the excess calories from getting stored.
- Digestive Enzyme s– I found that your stomach gets sensitive during the dieting. And since you’re eating so little, its important to suck the nutrients out of each meal. Follow the directions on the bottle and you will not get heartburn so often.
- Vitamin C– I would take 1 gram at every meal to ensure that all the cardio and extra reps I was doing wasn’t building up to many toxins in my system. During the last two days a combo of coffee and vit a- min C helps to shed water, in my opinion. And they taste like sour candies, so enjoy! Vitamin C helps keep you in a positive nitrogen balance and helps to get rid of waste products caused by hard training. These two effects combined will keep your immune system healthy and allow you to continue training until the contest without getting sick.
- Vitamin E– Scavenges the body for harmful free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals destroy ce l- lular membranes and that’s bad news for you! Hard training bodybuilders and athletes, especially, can
wear down their body’s immune system down cau s- ing sickness or infection. This is where Vitamin E comes in! Supplementing with Vitamin E can increase the strength of your immune system and the overall health of your body. 1,200 mg/day of Vitamin E taken previous to a vigorous will do the trick. Vitamin E also helps with insulin sensitivity. In one study ten healthy subjects took 1,350 IU per day of Vitamin E for 4 months straight. They showed a tremendous improvement in glucose clearance and insulin sensitivity. For very active athletes as much as 1,200 to 1,500 IU per day has been reco m- mended by trainers and researchers.
- C.L.A and Flaxseed Oi l– The C.L.A has been show to have an effect on fat burning when taken in proper amounts and the flaxseed oil besides being healthy will help to calm the hunger pains before bed. CLA usually comes in 600-1000 milligram soft gels, and is supposed to be taken with meals three to five times daily. 6.8 grams of CLA per day is what is necessary for results, any less will have no effect. Take three doses total per day at breakfast, lunch, from the start of your 12-14 week diet. If you can find 1000mg capsules with 75% pure CLA you don’t have to swallow so many pills, but take what you can find. Just add the total dosage up to approximately 6- 7000 mg. At a dosage of 6-7000 mg you can expect an increase in lean body mass and an increase in phy s- ical activity. All good things when tired from a diet.
- Glutamine-L-Glutamine levels drop signif i- cantly during intense workouts. By adding small amounts of L-Glutamine, all through the day, (like 5 grams 4 times daily during extreme training and 10 grams total during normal training) will correct imbalances that may occur. This also benefits pr o- tein synthesis in muscle tissue. The L-Glutamine molecule is a substrate, which is a template for other molecules to build on, in the immune system. That is why L-Glutamine is one of the more important amino acids needed for a fully functioning immune system.
- B.C.A. A-Amino acids, the building blocks of mu s- cle. Take BCAA’s before your empty belly cardio in the morning and before training. This way you have some fuel for muscle growth in your system and you won’t go catabolic on your hard-earned muscle. Use five to ten grams before and after training to keep the fat off and muscle on. I some times take BCAA’s with some of my meals especially my last meal of the day. Taking BCAA’s with your meals will improve the quality of that meal and make sure no amino acids are missing to complete the protein. I prefer the peptide bonded amino acids for better nitrogen retention and stay away from the “colon bullet” hard tabs. Try to get a liquid form or a soft gel as these get broken down in the system better.
- E.C. A– Better known as the stack. This is the granddaddy of the fat loss list. It increases metabolic
rate, increases fat burning and spares muscle loss. How do you like them apples? As a bonus, it gives you a heck of a kick to fire up your workouts! Recommended use is 20 mg of ephedrine, 200 mg of caffeine and an aspirin. This is usually one of each pill right out of the bottle. Now its not a free trip however. Most precontest bodybuilders take three stacks a day: one before morning cardio, one midday and the last one around 4:00. At first this may cause you to have trouble sleeping, some jitters and plain old bugs in your pants. These effects start to wear off after you get used to it, but the fat burning effect will continue. It is still a good practice to go for three weeks on and two off however. As for myself, I hit it at the beginning of the diet to get things going, take two weeks off and then go the last eight weeks on. After the contest, wean yourself off slo w- ly so you don’t become a slug of inactivity after your big day. In addition to the stack you may want to include green tea. It will prolong the effects so you won’t get the quick down between stacks. I use the green tea to stave off hunger between meals. One of my favorites is to mix up a cup of coffee (black) and throw in a tea bag. This fights my hunger and burns off fat at the same time! It tastes terrible though.
- Creatin e– Almost every one now knows that creatine works. It increases power and increases the speed of your recovery rate. Some experts believe that you must load creatine when you start taking it, but if you’re strapped for cash don’t worry about it.
It will still work but might take longer to really kick in. The loading method is usually done with some kind of transport system that usually contains Alpha lipoic acid and a high glycemic carbohydrate. You can avoid the hassle by getting a pre-mix formula like Cell tech by Muscle tech. The loading phase is usually included with the manufacturer directions and varies from company to company. After the loading phase take in 10 grams per day if you are around 200 pounds and less if your bodyweight is lower. This should be done in two separate doses, one pre workout and one post workout. Do not eat high glycemic carbs prior to your workout if you are die t- ing, as this will curb your workouts fat burning effects. Also remember that if you do consume a carb source with your creatine, that it counts towards your daily intake.
- Magnesiu m– 50-60% of the general population is deficient when it comes to magnesium; especially those involved with strength and power work. Again deficiencies causes problems so make sure you have your bases covered. Do not take magnesium with ca l- cium however because they both compete for the same receptor sites and wont be used optimally. I’ve grown fond of a product that contains zinc and ma g- nesium called ZMA. Taken before bed this product can help promote better recovery and more sound sleep.
Does Creatine Make You Retain Water?
The key benefits of creatine supplementation are:
- Promotes muscular growth and size through increased intensity and cell volumization.
- Increases muscle strength.
- Improves endurance by delaying fatigue.
- Increases storage of “instant” anaerobic energy, (remember sprints?)
O.K now the only worry about creatine for the pre contest bodybuilder would be if it causes water retention or not. Specifically subcutaneous water. The answer is no. The only water retention involved occurs inside the cell, a process called “Cell Volumization”. This process is linked to increased muscle protein synthesis, which means greater muscle size and strength. In anabolic states, muscle hydration or water retention always occurs, with the reverse occurring during catabolic conditions Creatine draws water from the body to do its work. There is a difference between cell volumization and water retention. Cell volumization leads to more water inside the cells, making muscle bigger and firmer. Water retention, the process that makes the muscles look smooth, happens outside the muscle cells. These are hard-core results from many diffe r- ent studies.
Now For a Bit of My Own Theory. The body uses
water that is stored for cell volumization while on creatine. Once creatine is introduced, it would be believable that in the final week of contest prep when your limiting your water intake that the water could only come from subcutaneous sources. Think about that. This means you could thin out your skin and drop water showing better definition. Add to this that most competitors carb load in the final week and creatine loading takes 4-6 days to fill cell stores. There would be a synergistic effect that would shu t- tle the glycogen right to the muscle. This has great potential to really fill out a person and harden them up in the final week. Add in the chromium picol i- nate to help control insulin and there will be no spill over because you’re already carb depleted from diet and cardio. Use your creatine.
R e f e r e n c e s :
3. http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/3069/cr e- atfaq.htm
4 . h t t p : / / w w w . d a v e d r a p e r . c o m / c r e a t i n e – questions.html
Part II: Now That You’re Here
o s i n g. Yup, your gonna be an actual legit i- mate “poser”! It seems funny that you push tons of iron, sweet it out on cardio and have
fantastic physical capabilities but it all comes down to flexing your muscles in your underwear!
I would love to have a video for this topic (maybe later) but such is not the case at present, sorry. Trying to describe posing is like teaching someone to dance with words alone, pretty tricky I must say. Here we go anyway. If you are in the Calgary area you can always pop by and I would be glad to help you in person.
Basically you have 11 poses that the judges will ask for. Here are the ones you have to learn.
- Relaxed front
- Relaxed rear
- Relaxed side
- Most muscular
- Abdominal and thigh
- Back double bicep
- Front double bicep
- Side triceps
- Side chest
- Front lat spread
- Rear lat spread
And so off we go!
Relaxed Fron t. Despite its name, there is no rela x- ation here. Take a long time looking at this pose and manipulate it so that your weak points are hidden and the good stuff shows. This goes for all poses, as there is a certain amount of individuality allowed for each. Main points here are to flair the lats, to show your taper and to turn the toes out a little to show off the outer thigh sweep. Always remember to keep all muscles flexed. Legs, abs, chest are always being looked at. Start squeezing from the ground up.
Relaxed Rear. Still flare the lats on this one but arch backward to tighten up the lower back. Almost do a reverse crunch and try and touch your butt to the back of your head! Well not really, you have to find the right amount of flex so you are totally tight but don’t look like a contortionist. Since your loo k- ing at the rear of the body, squeeze your glutes, hams and calves to make them pop right out.
Relaxed Side. You really have to play with this one so it doesn’t look like your trying too hard or you will look like a peacock. Puff up your chest, pull the
lead arm back a bit to show off your intercostals and keep your head high and forward. Forearms, legs and triceps all have to be tight.
This pose is sometimes asked for but not always. Regardless, when you throw it, the crowd will go nuts if you have som e- thing to look at. Flex your legs hard and perhaps put one more forward than the other if you like. Bend fo r- ward a tad and pretend that
you’re hugging a large barrel like on a cable crossover. Flex everything! Chest, traps, arms and abs. Everything should pop baby! If you look like the incredible hulk, you’re on the right track!
Abdominal and Thigh.
This is a make or breaker. Hope you did your dieting
and ab work! Some bodybuilders like to put a leg fo r- ward and then give it a little shake before “snapping it tight. Put your hands above and behind your head and then blow out all your air and squeeze down on the abs. Don’t fold over too much or you will hide everything from the overhead lights. Take the lights into consideration on every pose and as to how they will hit your physique.
Back Double Bice p.
Work from the ground up as always! Squeeze the calves, hams and glutes. The arms go up and flex your biceps. It’s nice to retract your scapula and then really flare your back
out with a little lower back crunch for the lumbars.
Front Double Bice p.
This pose is one of the hardest to pull of because everything is in the judge’s face. Keep the legs
hard and flex your biceps while flaring your lats. You can flex or vacuum your abs depending on what looks best for you. Make sure your elbows aren’t too low and point your toes out a little to show outer thigh sweep.
Side Tricep s. There is a lot of variation on this one. On the lower half, squeeze your front leg into the rear to push out your hamstrings. Stick your chest up high and twist slightly towards the judges. Your rear arm will grasp the front arm on the hand or wrist while behind your back. Squeeze the lead arm into the body to enhance its size and straighten the lead arm to flex that tricep.
Side Chest. All is the same as the side triceps except that now we are showing the chest. The rear arm will grab the lead arm in the front by the stomach and pull the lead arm back so its cocked at 90 degrees back at your lower side. Pull up that chest as
high as it will go and slam it all tight.
Front Lat Spread. Flex the legs hard and put your hands on your waist just above the hips. Semi roll your shoulders forward while keeping your chest high and throw out those lats. Careful not to shrug your shoulders up so you look like a hunchback. Lots of practice on this one to get the right feel and maximum spread. Some find it hard to pull the lats out, so watch the mirror. The judges will be looking at your legs, delts, lats and as always, those darn abs!
Rear Lat Spread. Same as the front lat spread but now the judges get the rear view so they can see how thick you are through the mid back. Usually one leg is cocked back to show a calve muscle so pick your best one. Don’t forget to crunch the lower back. This is a rear pose so as always keep the calves, hams and glutes nice and tight.
Hit the Lights
L i g h t i n g. A lot of hard work can be wasted when
you get up under the stage lights if your preparation is not up to par. The coloring of your skin and the way you pose and situate yourself under the lights must be taken into consideration if you going to get the placing you deserve. If you are too light in color, you will be washed out and look flat under bright light. If you are too dark, you will look like a chunk of charcoal if you get out of the perfect position. It is best to observe the lighting on the stage before you get out there and do it from the audience. If you can have someone give you feedback between rounds of posing about these things then that’s perfect. A good example of how the lights can help or hurt is the front lat spread. If you don’t lean back some, then your upper body creates a shadow that will hide you upper body from the judges. What you can’t see you can’t judge. When you lean back a little, you show everything and look a lot better than the guy beside you who doesn’t know the difference. Result? You are now one up on the podium.
The best thing to do about these two topics is to try and get a video of a major contest and look for these things. Pay attention to what a winner looks like. See how the pros use the lighting to their advantage. The quickest way to success in any endeavor is to copy someone who has already achieved what you desire.
Attitud e. Bodybuilding is judged by people and as such a certain amount of it is based on opinion. Sure
there are general criteria that the judges look for like shape, muscle mass, definition and posing abi l- ity but there is an amount of personal opinion in what each judge sees on stage. Because of this, don’t blow it all by being a jerk. What I mean is that the first impression you give when you walk on stage will form an opinion of you and your physique in the judges mind. Carry yourself with confidence but don’t be a cocky prick. It like when you see a babe but then the attitude just sucks; it’s an immediate turnoff. With that in mind, if you stand on stage with your head down and a forlorn look in your eyes, why would anyone want to crown you the as the champ? Well you might get something for being the king of chumps but that’s about it! It’s a fine balance, just like in life. So something to consider when doing your contest prep is how to develop confidence in your posing and how you present yourself to the judges and other competitors both on and off stage in a professional manor.
Next topic. If you don’t get the placing you think you deserve, take it like a man. Some say you have to pay your dues and work your way up. I don’t know if I agree with that, but its something to keep in the back of your mind when you receive your placing. The judges are just that, they judge. These are the people that are sitting and evaluating your body compared to the other contestants, and they have the best view. If they don’t see what they want on that day, then that’s the way it is. Ask them what
they saw and improve on it for the next show. However if you throw a tantrum and act pig headed, it’s unlikely that you will be looked at favorably at the next show, judges remember.
Competition Survival Supplie s. Being die t- ed down, you will probably have the I.Q. of a tree stump come contest day. Here is a list of
stuff you will need for the weekend of the contest.
- 1-2 big towels.
- Extra old sheets so you don’t have to pay for stained hotel sheets
- Combination lock
- 1-2 pairs of underwear
- Warm-up pants and jacket, dark in colour
- 1-2 old t-shirts that are dark in colour
- Hair spray or gel
- Eye wash
- Shampoo and Hair conditioner
- Pro tan- for touch ups and sponge
- 2-3 posing shorts
- Pro Tan OIL and Dream Tan- –don’t forget this!
- Hand mirror
- Tooth brush and toothpaste
- 2 cassettes or CD’s of posing music cued to the exact start
- Sandals for once your tan is on.
- Glasses and extra contacts if you wear them
- An electric razor
- All your food!
- Something to read or listen to back stage
- If you carb load, have your goodies before hand with you
- Make sure you have some cash for things that pop u p
- One change of clothes to go eat out in after the contest
- A map to the weigh in spot and show location
After a few contests you will have your own special list to go off but this covers the basics. Check it all off as you add it to your gym bag and you won’t get to the competition missing something! The less stress the better, so make things as easy as you can and be organized.
Tips to Make Things Easy Contest Day
1. Once you start to put on your pro-tan, have a pair of sandals to wear. Sneakers will blotch up your base and you will stain socks and ruin your shoes. (Learned that one the hard way!).
The weigh in:
- Eat immediately before the weigh in (unless you
have to make weight!). The weigh in process can take anywhere form 1 to 3 hours. You may get very hungry and stressed out!
- Bring a pad and paper to get any details about the next day that you may have missed. It also gives you something to doodle on.
- Don’t look at everyone else during the weigh in, your not a judge so don’t psyche yourself out ahead of time. You’ve done your work, don’t worry and let the judges do their work.
- Water should only be sipped at this point consu m- ing about one litre between 6:oo and bed.
After Wigh In: This works for me, me not you! I would say that it works for you too, but it is ultimat e- ly your decision. The body is very delicate at this point and everyone is a little different.
- Chocolate bars- Yes, the good old chocky bar.
- Have one after weigh in with 3 rice cakes and peanut butter
- Have one before pumping up for the morning show
- Have one after the morning show
- Have one before pumping up for the evening show
- Water should only be sipped at this point consu m- ing about one litre between 6:oo and bed. Coffee is great and I drink what I want with 1gr of vitamin C to flush water with every cup.
Morning of the Show
- Once you wake up at about 5:00A.M have your re g- ular meal (mine is some yams and chicken) and have a rice cake with peanut butter and a fig newton every half-hour till the show.
The Three-Hour Wait:
- For the morning get there on time, but use the timing of the morning show to see when you really have to be there in the evening, waiting sucks unless you’re a social butterfly.
- Relax and don’t listen to all the backstage wisdom, everyone that hasn’t prepared is looking for last minute fixes, and they don’t work. Stick to your plan and don’t ruin 12 weeks of dieting in a few hours. Just listen to some tunes and go over your routine.
- Once the class before you has been called, slam back your chocolate bar and start to sip some red wine. Go with only a cup, not the half bottle I used my first time. It made posing fun but most things are a riot when you’re wasted. The combination of the two will bring out your vascularity.
- When you pump up, don’t try to fluff your whole body. Pick your weak parts and pump them. You only have so much blood to use so don’t waist it on what doesn’t need fixing.
- Don’t over work the muscle; cramping onstage in front of a ton of people is really embarrassing. Ask some of the pro’s that used diuretics.
- Don’t use diuretics. If you deplete your water right, you won’t need too. If you still look smooth,
congratulations on skipping your cardio, you’re fat.
After the Morning Show:
- Have one meal after the morning show with a chocolate bar and then eat three rice cakes with peanut butter and a fig newton in place of each meal after that. About every three hours.
- Really take it easy and have a nap or two. Keep stress to a minimum.
- Drink a litre of water till the evening show only in sips.
1. Do the same thing as the morning show, just go on autopilot.
WhenIt’s All Done.
- Drink some water! I pigged out on Chinese food and all the salt combined with the dehydration made for a rough sleep.
- Enjoy eating crap for the next few days!
- Know that if you did every thing like you were supposed to, your placing is just that. It’s how you compared with those few guys on stage. Take it and improve on it if you’re not happy. But, if you skipped cardio or had some cheat meals, you should feel like a twit. You didn’t win because of the mi s- takes you made. Don’t make excuses, just do it right the next time. You have a standard now and you know what needs work.
General Life Style Tips
- Get some Tupperware! -Actually get lots! Every night I would weigh out the next day’s food and put it into the containers. When I was hungry, there was no ambiguity as to what to eat, it was already laid out for me. For the weekend of the contest you will want a cooler to carry your food for the weekend to the show in. You never know what will happen when you leave town and the less stress the better.
- Get a food scale- Don’t cheap out on this item. I have a digital one that does grams and ounces. Some labeling is done in grams and others in ounces so you need both. Don’t think you are going to guess at portion sizes, when you get hungry, your mind can play nasty tricks on you!
- Clear the house- This one is important! If it is there, you will eat it in the last weeks when you get weak. Throw out the sauces and bag up all the ca n- dies and other nasties. The only thing in your cu p- boards should be what is included in your diet.
- Get the week off- I know this isn’t possible for some people, but it really helps. This could actually save your job if you deal with people a lot. You will get incredibly irritable in the last couple of weeks and you lose your mind/mouth filter. Your patience that is usually there for those difficult people will be gone. So if you can, avoid the situation and take the week off. It will help to relieve some of the stress that fixing last minute details will cause.
- Get your supplies- Get all the stuff you need for the show in advance. Your trunks, posing oil and
tanning cream should be bought at least 4 weeks out. Pre-register for the contest so you don’t have to worry about it. Get all your food at the beginning of the week before you run out. Most important, make sure you have enough money to do the contest. If you diet and train for 10 weeks and then run out of money, it really sucks to be you!
- Take naps or get quiet time- its all about not losing size from stress. Naps and “you time” can take the edge off and let you regroup.
- Use the lack of sleep to your advantage- It ha p- pens to most people. As the diet gets harder the body is hungry most of the time. This combined with the thermogenics causes many a restless night. Use it to your advantage! Read a book, get extra office work done, reevaluate where you want to go in life, well you get the point. A person thinks very clearly in the middle of the night. Many ideas for my books and business come to me while dieting for a show.
- Put elastic bands around you meals that are in Tupperware. It sucks to open your igloo and find your meal all over the place. Man, I hate that. I have to clean it up and I don’t get my meal. That or som e- one sees me licking the inside of this huge contai n- er.
- Up until the last couple of weeks it’s a good idea to keep some crystal light or diet Koolaid (add splenda instead of sugar) in your gym bag or in the car. When you get crazy hungry or crave some sweets you can chug this down and it does help.
- Try to get a training partner that is really co m-
mitted. During the last weeks you will be tired and tempted to rest and skip workouts and a good buddy will keep you on track. Remember though that a bad partner is worse than no partner (in all areas of life really!). I was fortunate enough to hook up with Jay Riddell and it was beneficial when things got tough or my dieted out brain wanted some Chinese food!
- Get rid of temptations and distractions in all areas of your life. Lose the friends you don’t like and don’t go places that will tempt you to break the diet. You and your inside voice become enough of a challenge to keep under wraps so don’t waste energy trying to put up with unnecessary trivial problems. They all build up and cause stress that you don’t need.
- Plan your day in a daily planner and try to be either busy or sleeping. Idle hands cause too much thinking and self doubt when your brain is whacked out from lack of food. It’s important to stay on track or at least think you are. This sense of purpose will guide you in to the big day easier than sitting around bored dreaming of tasty snacks.
- Always have a meal ready in the fridge to pr e- vent you from snacking while your getting your food prepared.
- Use old sweats, towels and bedding once you start to apply your tan; it probably won’t come out. Dark colors are usually best if you’re not into the tie-die look!
- Bring all the bedding and towels to the hotel with you or you may end up paying for the stuff.
- Bring an electric razor to the contest. You are
going to probably have to shave on the morning of the contest and it’s going to have to be a dry shave or you will smear your tan. So use the electric razor or you will look like a bum.
any Try, So Few Try Hard Enough. Where or what is the magic bullet of bod y- building? There is none. No secret, no
wonder supplement and no perfect routine. Nobody is hiding anything from anyone. Sure, there is a ton more steroid use than the mags let on, but there is no “champions secret”. You have all the info you need right here. Everything. Period. The only exception that I have not covered is steroids. If that is your preference, I recommend Mick Harts “No bull co l- lection”. You can find it at www.mickhart.com . When making a decision, make an informed one. There is always new knowledge and many ways to do the same thing, but you wont go wrong with the basics. That’s what I have given you, the basic no extreme measures contest prep guidebook. The key to remember is that you don’t need to look for the magic bullet, what you need to do is follow this advise with heart and determination. There will be periods of time where nothing will happen and then, wham! Everything starts to pull together. What you don’t want to do is listen to every shmuck at the gym. There will be tons of advice and some of it may
be good on its own, in its own type of program but combined with ten other theories, you will screw yourself big time. Why? Because low carb diets work, high carb diets work, no cardio works, and 2 hours a day cardio works. But they don’t work together, and they don’t work for everyone. Stick to what I show you and don’t doubt yourself or your results an y- more.
So motivation? “Whatever”, you say? Well wait until you get down to your last couple weeks and see if you don’t take a peek into this chapter! Things get tough, so here are a few things I like to keep in the back of my noggin.
- Every rep of every workout takes you closer to the title. You can’t make up missed cardio or weight se s- sions, their gone, too bad. But don’t dwell on past mistakes just don’t miss the next one.
- If you don’t work harder than the average guy, you will look like the average guy.
- If you cant visualize yourself as number one, why would your body and brain work hard enough to be number one?
- Dieting sucks and you feel miserable, so at least you know your routine is working! If you find this trip easy, make sure your not going downhill!
Here is a little story of me and my buddy Jay. He is at
- weeks out and I am at two out. We both feel like crap, so I thought I would write about it!
A Tale of Stacks and Carbs
Two weeks out from competition:
I rip the covers off and swing my arm over to turn off the fan that has been sucking the moisture out of my brain all night. There’s got to be an alarm tone that won’t induce a mild heart attack every mor n- ing. It takes a minute of clutching my chest to make sure my heart doesn’t make a run for it. I can never figure out if I am going to sleep in a pool of sweat or have cold chills all night, I usually know half way through the night if I have to flip my soaked pillow. It has become an adventure to make it to the bat h- room with my eyes glued shut from dehydration. In truth I cant wait to wake up because between the crazy dreams from the stack and my growling sto m- ach, sleep really isn’t that much of a kick! Wake up time is an end to the 360 flips I do all night. I get to have breakfast. The thought of three shredded wheat biscuits and 4.6 oz of chicken is a touch of heaven in this cruel land of depletion. I just need to make it through morning cardio first. That means a stack to get rid of the jitters and a liter of water to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth. I enjoy feeling full for about ten minutes after brea k- fast, and waiting another two and half-hours to calm the gremlins again. I can tell this is gonna be one of those days where I get to spend 45 minutes of trea d- mill time watching leg press lockouts and coffee pot seminars at the water fountain. Wow, these people really enjoy their social outing, “shmucks”. Isn’t
this special? I hope someone decides to do hammy stretches on the hyper machine again, just so I cant bring in my lower back in time for the contest. Nice, now that Mr., buttercup in the corner is all loosened up on the hyper, YOU SUCK JACKASS!
9:00 finishes of my first client of the day and now its home to eat and take a nap before I phone Jay “the freak” Riddell to make sure we are still on for back today. He’s six weeks out from provincials and we’re pushing hard. The phone call confirms it, 11:30, parking lot of Mac’s by the L.R.T. Sounds like the callout for S.W.A.T. Time to drop my second stack of the day and put a liter of distilled water down range. Doesn’t seem to matter how much of this stuff I drink, it feels like I got sand in my eyes every time I blink. The training pace has picked up so much that we don’t have time to grab water any more. It’s almost tempting to lick the sweat off the bench so I can swallow. “Hey Ray”, huh? There’s that little shit voice again. Keeps saying I need extra carbs today because I’m flat. I hate that guy. Every time I start to lean out this voice decides to put up residence in my head. He gets really loud and annoying about 11:00 at night when I want to sleep. Usually something like, “don’t you need an extra ounce of beef with those veggies so you don’t go catabolic during sleep?” Like I said—Little shit.
Heading down town now to get Jay, that is if this crappin pedestrian will ever get his sluggish, ove r-
weight ass off the cross walk. Bet ya he enjoys his donut every morning, just two more weeks Ray and I get all the treats I want. I think the diet is kicking in nice now; I sit at stop signs, waiting for them to turn green, hmmmm. Every day of crankiness is another percentage of body fat though, so it’s worth it. There’s Jay now. This is hilarious; I don’t think he even knows where he is. He looks like a drunk tr y- ing to act sober. Better honk the horn or he will walk right by. Braaaaamp! Yeah! “ Hey there! Good morning sunshine!” Life is always much more fun when someone is suffering as much as you are. I guess all us meatheads are all a little jaded and off some way. Misery loves company. I should be pum p- ing up mentally for the workout, but all I can think about is the half a deck of tomato and basil rice cakes I get after back. My “bad” for the day. Jay jumps (well more of a climb, crawl combo) into the truck. We exchange a couple grunts and other one syllable greetings and we’re off to do some damage.
We opt for ProBodies today, it’s our home gym so we can be a little more ourselves and get shit done.
The doors are open now and were on autopilot. Jay changes from “Mr. professional work guy” to “ The incredible human forklift”. I’m feeling a little small today so I suggest we start off with dead lifts to try and boost some self-esteem. Just have to check to see if I have slid into the pencil neck strength zone yet. I hate looking average with my sweater on, but I can’t strip off till I get my pump. Funny how that
works. We warm up with one, two, three and stop at four plates off the box. Now I can rip off the shirt. Felt kind of heavy till Jay said I had veins in my back. Now I’m ready to go. This feels like a good weight to work at. SO we stay here. We pop off three sets of ten, eight and six and then drop back to three wheels for a back off set. I don’t usually feel sweat running down my lower legs though, what’s up with that? Oh aren’t those pretty! I got nice red hig h- lights on my sweats, both our shins are goo. That’s great, two weeks till I step on stage and I’ll have these monkey ass scabs on my shins. That should make the pro-tan look freaking great. Oh well, at least I know I still got some power, the diet can’t be eating away at me too much.
Phase two; I’m hoping its some kinda pull down because my lumbars are fried. Yeah, triangle grip pull downs, my little voice says “break time!” about a milli-second before jay goes “O.K., three or four strip sets sounds good!” Yeah, terrific. O.K., those are done, still getting good pumps at two weeks out, glad I read that Scott Abel stuff about sodium. Feels wrong to be using mustard on my chicken this close in though.
Phase three, v-grip t-bar rows, I used to think Jay was all right, now I think he sucks. Since its two weeks out I’ll nail off a couple sets of 20 reps, 10 strict and 10 squat, jerk, hernia reps. Just for the remote chance it will bring with it some vascularity.
Ahh, that’s what I was looking for. The feeling that my lat is gonna rip off my armpit and whip around and slap me in my left eye. I must really be having a good workout. What’s next jackass? I hope you said super sex. I like super sex. No super sex? Crap. So its gonna be v-grip rows and behind the back pull downs, lets go then.
Ooooh, what’s that? Yup, I seen it Jay. That look. Jays getting wupped too! Now we’re in the same place. The place of champions, winners and the alpha male. The place that the wanna -be’s pretend doesn’t exist. The land that’s only seen from afar by the se c- ond place finishers. The zone that causes mister average to take water breaks or admire his pipe (cleaners) in the mirror. But then it’s gone. With a snort and a grunt of disapproval, we break on through to the other side of focus and loose it. It’s the only place left for the barbaric males in us to vent our frustration and engage in rage fed activity. Form is the second priority. Common sense and re a- son has been dominated by something primal and pure. (Flashes of bringing a fitness babe back to my cave on my shoulder grow stronger with each pas s- ing of the spandex clad blonde.) And then that’s it; final set, final rep. Release and accomplishment fill what used to be a tired and worn out body. I’m gonna feel like a million bucks for the next hour or so, thanks to my endorphin pusher in my melon. I slap Jay on the back and give him a “good one buddy, looking large.” After my glorious rice cakes and
chicken, I drop him off back to his corporate ca p- puccino and espresso co-workers. All of whom wo n- der why the cranky lumpy guy in the corner eats so much. Someone had to put the beast back in the cage. Until tomorrow anyway.Poor me!
Tell Tale Contest Quirk s. Funny things happen to the human body when you push it to the limits. Pre contest dieting is one of the most extreme sports out there to the initiated. While the rest of society may wonder what special-ed program your on, these daily events tell you everything is right on track to fat loss. Here are a few tell tale signs that your diet is working and you have joined the ranks of the bod y- building elite!
- You wait at intersections for the stop sign (not light) to turn green
- Your fantasies involve food not sex
- To use the smith machine becomes an I.Q. test
- You swear junk food talks to you in squeaky elf voices
- The T.V. doesn’t have to be on for you to enjoy it
- Shredded wheat is the highlight of your day
- You fall asleep in odd places like the bank machine
- You can smell potato ships through the bag
- Grunting and nodding become sophisticated forms of communication
- You finally decide that abs and calves need to be worked too
- Food comes in two flavors; carbs and protein
- Homer Simpson has valuable insight to share, and you take it to heart
- Anything under 60 minutes is a short cardio se s- sion
- Rice cakes taste good
- You decide that hermits have the right idea and social contact is a choir
- Watching the clock for the last half hour before your meal becomes a daily event
- A large part of your day is spent thinking about your first post contest meal
One more thing. Some people get depressed and feel down right terrible. I mean like the world is coming to an end, nobody loves me and that this diet thing will never work in time. Its all normal, really. This is why so few do it, or at least do it well. Tempers flare and every daily activity is annoying. Sometimes you just want to stay in bed and let som e- thing take it all away. That would be cool if you weren’t so freaking hungry! I’ll share a little story of my own.
At about two to three weeks out I was getting really hungry. I don’t mean just the dieting hungry but the “I would take on a wild bear right now if I was in the woods hungry”. It’s almost like walking
around all day with a baby kicking in your stomach (I think anyway!) So I was desperately thinking of anything that I could put in my stomach that would make the pain go away but not add calories. Man, I
thinking if cardboard was that bad for you or not. Anyway there I was thinking on the couch and all of a sudden I came up with bran! Holy cow was I ever excited. You know those little wormy bran strips some people have for breakfast? I figured that’s straight fiber and that doesn’t get digested, just passed through. So I tear out of the house to the super market searching for my holy grail. When I get there I’m all pumped and thinking in no time the hunger will be gone and that I have found the coolest thing ever. Once I get to the cereal isle, I’m looking for it like a heroin junkie at a drug store, and I find it. I look at the ingredient list and my heart just cracked. There on the list was brown sugar and a bunch of other junk. I felt like sprea d- ing my legs and letting another one hit me in the pills. I put my hand on the shelf and hung my head as a little tear went down my cheek.
This sounds funny but it’s so true. When you least expect it, something will make you crack. What you do at that point is up to you, but champions suck it up and charge forward using everything derogatory as tackling fuel. Do it for you and do the best your cap a- ble of. Nobody knows what you put in your mouth when your alone and nobody knows when your not giving 100% in the gym, except you. This contest is a personal challenge, don’t give yourself any regrets.
I wish you the best. I know it’s hard. Nothing worth having ever comes easy.
ail to Plan and Plan to Fai l. You want to push every workout to the max, you have a goal and a time line so everything counts
now. And, don’t be afraid to fail. Fear of failure is much worse than the failure itself. Failure is a good thing! If you know where you’re utmost limits are, than you know where you need more work. The li m- its are not set and are ready to be broken. Worrying about failure can prevent you from giving it your all. Train hard and push yourself to the limit. Get motivated to do everything in your power to climb higher on the staircase. Don’t be afraid to test your limits. Lift intelligently, but with complete conf i- dence! You will go farther than you can imagine.
One day at a time is the best way to go. Never think of how many days you have left! If each and every day you do exactly what your supposed too, you can go to bed knowing that when the big day comes you will be in the best shape possible for the time you allotted. If you don’t win, you need to review what happened and change it for next year, chances are you need to bring up a muscle group or two and add
more size. Its nothing to get ripped for stage-you just diet, train hard, don’t cheat and do your cardio! It’s that simple when you have a plan to follow. What gets tricky is when you listen to too many people, then you have doubts as to if what your doing is co r- rect or not, that is fatal. When I competed I took in a max of 2000 calories a day, people said it was not enough. Maybe it wasn’t in retrospect, but I came in on target and won the show. Stick to your plan. One guy takes in 4000 and other takes in a billion carbs, so what! Follow the plan and come to the show in shape! Don’t forget that there are pricks out there that will deliberately tell you crap to mess you up. These people are idiots and should be ignored. I wont steer you wrong, I have nothing to gain from it. This is my reputation and I truly desire for you to write me and say “ Ray I followed your advise and rocked the show” One day at a time, its tuff, but being a wi n- ner is not easy, that’s why there is only one at each contest. If you switch methods during your first show prep, how can you improve for next year? What you have done is cause so many variables that you now have no idea what caused what change. Worst-case scenario is that you come in a little off. But next year you tweak it out and come in 2% better and the same for the year after that. See everyone responds better to certain minute changes, but every human basically responds the same. Follow the general guidelines first before trying some freaky new fad contest prep. Its like if you go out and buy 5 different parts for your car to increase
horsepower and then of course it goes faster, but what was the one real power booster, you don’t know. Take it one show at a time and follow my re c- ommendations first. You can always adjust for the next one. You wont have too, because it will work, but like I said, worst case scenario.
Post – Contest
ow to Handle Your Placin g. Good or bad? Well neither really. It’s always nice to win but there can only be one and sometimes
that’s not you! Ronnie Coleman did a lot of contests as a relative unknown and now after dialing it in for years he has become the biggest freak on the pla n- et. If you won than congratulations to you. Now is not the time to get complacent though. There is someone out there that sees you as the man to beat and probably has your picture in his or her training manual! The bottom line regardless if it was win or lose is to come back next year bigger and better. All contest are learning experiences, a definite trial by fire. So take what you can from it and improve. Don’t give up or think that this years condition is good enough for next year.
What Now? Empty sponges baby! Those muscles are ready to grow! After the contest, do your weeks worth of chaos eating and get back on track. Get the bugs out, but don’t lose everything. Your body is primed now for muscle growth and quality gains.
People find it weird that this fat guy was once a titl e- holder only three weeks later when they see your blubber butt come into the gym.
The best thing to do is eat like a pig for a week and then start to calm down and slowly get back to a normal off-season schedule. By week three you should be thinking about your next competition and eating lots of good food to put on extra size for next year. Plan out how many calories you need for good weight gain and get large (its there, don’t worry). I was so excited in my last week before the contest because I knew in 14 days I would be lifting heavy again and getting large. The really cool part is ma k- ing the fastest gains of your life in the shortest time ever. It’s not unusual to gain back twenty pounds in the couple weeks after the contest. Now most of this is water and your carb stores getting back on line, but who cares. What a rush to be able to up your poundage’s and watch the scale skyrocket! Be a fat pig or an off season bodybuilder, its your choice. I for one want to be able to show that I look good all year long. There is too much time invested in the gym to look like a cow when you take your shirt off. I like to take one day a week to go out for absolute garbage and that’s usually with the girlfriend. I save money by not going out all the time, get to treat out the little woman and stay in shape all at once. A well-rounded lifestyle is the key to long sustained progress.
Now after three weeks, whatever you are eating sa t- isfies you and is enough to be comfortable and mai n- tainable. Now go get your body fat done. Do this so you have a barometer to gauge your eating over the next few months. If you slip above 10% you are co n- suming too many calories or you need to add more cardio. You could just blow off bodybuilding all together if your head is not into it but if you decide to do a contest again in the next year you will have to diet hard again, uhhh! Your choice, I like to stay lean.
Your off-season diet is pretty simple to figure out. Here are your minimums:
Protein: 1-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
Carbohydrates: 2-3 grams per pound of bodyweight Fat: .35 grams per pound of bodyweight
These totals are more important than trying to go by a fixed calorie total. You’re not going to grow just because you’re taking in 3500 calories in chocolate dip donuts (my favorite).
When you are ready to start eating by a plan again, start at the lowest numbers of these guidelines. If you don’t see a gain of a pound a week for the first bit than you need to add some more of the carbs or protein. Up your totals by 500 calories each time from one or both of the above. This is where the body fat testing comes in. If your body fat goes up past the 10% than you have gone too far and you need to cut it back a little. If you are barely taking
these totals and you are still getting fat than you need to take a hard look at your training because something is seriously wrong.
Most experts agree that diet variation and calorie manipulation of some sort keeps the metabolism bumped up. What has been beneficial and simple for me is when training, I have a post workout shake and on off days I don’t. This is a variation of 400-600 calories for me so the body is kept guessing and I take in less calories when I am not so active. The early part of the off-season is a good time to exper i- ment with different diets and training strategies. Try the high fat thing, the high carb diet and di f- ferent methods of lifting. This experimenting will keep things fresh and enable you to increase your body awareness to different stimulus.
Off Season Training. Now is the time to start lif t- ing heavy and to enjoy your training. Stick to your basic compound movements for the first couple of exercises and finish off the muscle group with a few higher rep sets for a killer pump. Attack those weak areas now! Something like this would be good for a chest mass program.
- Dumbbell presses 5×5
- Dips 5×5
- Superset of incline flies and incline presses 4×10 As long as you go as hard as you can, this is all it
takes for a body part to grow! Why don’t you see more simple routines like this? Because simple is hard to sell month after month, that’s why!
It’s a great idea to check your condition and mea s- urements after the contest and about a month or two later. This way you can check your progress and fix it right away if your not getting the results you need to win next year. Its better to check regularly, like every month than to put in a years worth of trai n- ing only to realize that you are exactly the same now as you were a year ago and no further ahead for all your hard work.
Make sure your getting enough recovery between sessions and this takes some experimentation, as it is different for everyone. Safe to say though that if you are tired and have to push yourself to go to the gym, than you’re probably over training. You should be possessed to hit the gym each time you go and should be so well rested that you dread off days! Make up your split and volume for each body part so that your in and out of the gym in an hour to an hour and a half tops. I am so general on this topic because despite what the mags say, if you go hard and heavy you really cant go wrong on any routine. This is a pretty normal split that gives you enough recovery and hits the muscle hard once a week.
- Monday- Quads
- Tuesday- Chest and biceps
- Wednesday- Hamstring and calves
- Thursday- Shoulders and triceps
- Friday- Back and abdominals
- Saturday and Sunday-rest
As soon as your done, get your post workout shake down range and go home to grow. As long as you have your shake eaten its o.k. to try and pick up babes at this point!
Now as much as you would like to, you can’t co n- stantly move your poundage up or we would all be benching 400 pounds within two years! So when you go stale on a routine switch up the rep ranges and go on that till it stagnates. Start easy and increase the weight as long as you can. This is a kind of lazy mans way to periodization! As far as the sets and reps go, like I said before, if you go really hard on every set and rep, once you get that dead crampy pumped fee l- ing, you have found the right amount of sets and reps!
“Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure are, by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral and subject to change.” -Arthur Schopenhauer
This is just a little bit of personal experience and “wisdom” I would like to share.
he question before you begin any great adve n- ture or task in life should be, “why am I doing this?” It may seem silly, but think about it.
Why do you want to hit the gym? There are many reasons to take the time to think about this. No si n- gle motivation is “better” than another, but you must know what drives you. A person with a plan and intense desire is unstoppable. Some say they don’t have the genetics or that they have had two kids, they are very busy and don’t have the time, blah, blah, blah. I say quite making excuses. The world is full of sympathetic ears, but I am not one of them. Excuses fall on deaf ears to the successful. I
have worked with some folks that are in pretty rough shape, you name it, and I have trained it. Car accidents, knee surgeries, heart attacks, depression and the list goes on and on. Some of these folks have trained with me for a few months, going through the motions for what seems like nothing and I wo n- der if I am wasting their time and mine, but then it happens. Without the coddling and sympathetic ear they are used to, they realize the future is in their hands. And that a change of life can only be brought about by their hard work. A person doesn’t get in shape just because they want to. I have the know l- edge, but they have to do the work, at home and in the gym. It happens so quickly and without for e- shadowing. I wait out each session patiently until it does. Nothing extra-ordinary takes place. This is the same person, same type of day, who went to the same job as the day before, but now they are different. Why, and what happened? They have figured out why they are working out and they use the old ene r- gy that they used to make excuses with to better themselves. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. I say, “Don’t go half assed!” You won’t acco m- plish anything! Go play ping-pong or something, but don’t pretend your working out hard and become frustrated for not making any progress. You have to work hard and put in the time; there are no shortcuts. So take some time to yourself and ask the difficult questions. What drives you?
This applies to all areas of life, it really does. Since
this is a book on training the body though, I’ll explain how your goal effects how you train.
After you have broken into the game and have a solid base, you have to decide what you want to accomplish. The reason is because different trai n- ing methods give different results. Here is what I classify the different goals as. It is definitely a ge n- eralization, but it’s a start.
- Muscle gain
- Fat loss
- Sport training for a specific event
- Health and lifestyle
It can also be broken down into why you want to be fit or loss fat. The why is as important as the how. The why keeps you going when you want to quit. The how makes sure you are doing it right. Lets figure out how to do it.
Muscle Gai n– This is probably the least complex. As long as you consume more calories than you burn and make the weights progressively heavier, you will gain muscle. Concentrate on the basic multi- joint exercises and go hard. Bust yourself out on every set. The last thing is don’t overtrain. Make sure you recover on each body part before hitting it again.
ell there you have it. Those are the basics. Any other tweaking is really a matter of experience with your own body through
several contests. There are so many fine details and timing issues that are an individual thing and unfortunately these are the things that you must find out for yourself. The way to look at it is not as a matter of drudgery but as a continuing adventure or “hobby” if one can use such a light word to describe such a huge phenomenon. Please feel free to email me your results and opinions, as I like to know what happens to the advice once I throw out there. I will probably have additions to add to the book at a later date as knowledge and scientific studies are always changing and it’s only in ones best interest to stay informed. So as you cruise into your contest, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you do well and have the courage and discipline to stick to what you know to be true. Only you know if you have given your best. There can only be one.
Sign up for your free fitness e-zine on the site!
A big thankyou to Nick Nilsson for his help. Nick has written some excellent fitness books. Visit Nicks site to take a look at what he has to show you.