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Hardcore Pre-Contest Diets!

Check out these three awesome pre-contest diets for the biggest shows in the industry. Find out what you need to do to be the best!

By: AnimalPak


Pre-Contest Diet 1

Level: IFBB Professional
Competition: Mr. Olympia
Start Time: 20 weeks out
Goal: 3% bodyfat
Off-Season Weight: 225-230
Competition Weight: 195-200

Macronutrient Manipulation

Five months is usually plenty of time to manipulate protein, carb and fat intakes until you get results. If you've never prepared for a show before, 20 weeks is also useful because it allows your body to get used to new changes gradually. "At 20 weeks out, my basic plan was to eliminate any food that was not beneficial. In other words, stop eating crap. For the first 4 weeks, I ate a lot of red meat, tuna, chicken, and protein drinks. I didn't count calories, fat, or carbs. It was not difficult because I was eating a ton of food. I was never hungry, but if I was, I would eat. It wasn't a big deal to eat this much because I didn't have to make a weight class."

Protein Sources

During the first half of the diet, protein can come from a variety of sources including lean red beef, tuna, chicken, and protein shakes. "Depending on how I feel, I'll leave red meat in or out, cut it back or increase it. Beef has more fat, more iron, more aminos, and B vitamins. If you change red meat for flaky white fish (a cleaner protein source), you'll get tighter, quicker because it has less fat and is digested faster. When you want to stay fuller, eat more red meat. This is what works for me." Experiment with both the amounts and kinds of proteins you use. For you, chicken might work better. It all depends on your metabolism and biochemistry.

Carb Rotation

As with protein, this diet varies carb intake. "I begin rotating carbs a couple of weeks out. If you want to geek up your metabolism, if you're not lean enough, you can begin altering your carb intake." By changing your carbs, you can see how it affects your water retention or loss. During the last two weeks or so, this diet follows a three day cycle: Monday (50g of carbs), Tuesday (100g of carbs), Wednesday (150g of carbs), and Thursday (repeat cycle). "Changing the intake causes your metabolism to speed up to burn more fat. If you have more carbs in your body, you burn less stored bodyfat. Less carbs, more fat is burned. By rotating carbs, you change variables in your body rather than letting it get accustomed to the same thing."

Fat Manipulation

"Many pros don't add any fat to their pre-contest diets. I do. In my case, my metabolism is so fast, I had to eat 1/2 jar of peanut butter every day, 2 weeks out of the show."

Typical Daily Diet

The diet calls for 6-7 meals per day, taken every 2 hours or so.

    #1: 10 egg whites & 1 cup of oatmeal
    #2: 10 egg whites & 1 cup of oatmeal
    #3: 10 oz steak & 1 cup brown rice
    #4: 10 oz steak & 1 large baked potato
    #5: 10 oz steak & 1 cup brown rice
    #6: 10 oz steak & 1 large baked potato
    #7: Specialized Protein For Gainers

"If you're still hungry, you can eat extra protein. Sometimes, I eat as many as nine meals a day. Again, adjust your diet to your needs. I happen to like red meat, so it wasn't a problem for me to eat 2-3 pounds of meat a day. You may prefer more chicken."


Pre-Contest Diet 2

Level: IFBB Professional
Competition: Arnold Classic
Start Time: 16 weeks out
Goal: 3% bodyfat
Off-Season Weight: 315
Competition Weight: 270-275

Carb Rotation

"Most bodybuilders pay attention to their training, but not enough attention is paid to dieting. Dieting should be treated with the utmost importance." This pro's diet is 14 weeks long and consists of 12 cycles. Each of the 12 cycles is 8 days long. This diet follows an alternating pattern of protein and carb intakes: three days without carbs, one day with carbs. During the days without carbs, 1 lb of either chicken or red beef is eaten per meal.

Protein Sources

During the off-season, chicken is the primary source of protein for this diet. During contest preparation, add lean red meat as well.

Frequency

6 meals are consumed per day, approximately every 2-3 hours.

Day 1: Monday

    Protein: 340g meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken
    Carbs: 113g per meal (steamed rice)
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 2: Tuesday

    Protein: 453g meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 3: Wednesday

    Protein: 453g meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 4: Thursday

    Protein: 453g of meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 5: Friday

    Protein: 340g of meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 113g per meal (steamed white rice)
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 6: Saturday

    Protein: 453g of meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 7: Sunday

    Protein: 453g of meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 8: Monday

    Protein: 453g of meat per meal (4 meals with beef, 2 meals with chicken)
    Carbs: 0g
    Steamed Vegetables: With 4/6 meals

Day 9: Repeat


Pre-Contest Diet 3

Level: NPC Amateur
Competition: NPC Nationals
Start Time: 18 weeks out
Goal: 3-3.5% bodyfat
Off-Season Weight: 220
Competition Weight: 195

Macronutrient Manipulation

The following diet doesn't seem like a diet at first. As the weeks progress, the caloric intake actually increases. During the final weeks, the numbers slowly drop. "I change one element at a time, whether it's carbs, protein, or fat. Depending on how I look and where I am, I may increase my protein intake or change my source of protein from chicken to fish. I might lower my carbs and replace them with extra protein. Use what works. That's what I do."

Carb intake peaks at about 5 weeks out, and then gradually drops every few days. With this drop, I normally increase my protein intake. In essence, during the last few weeks of the diet, the overall calories will remain the same, but the ratios of protein and carbs will change.

Baseline Measurements

The most important thing when starting your pre-contest diet is to establish a baseline, or a starting point: "I always start with 1.5g of protein and 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. As my appetite increases, I increase my protein intake until I reach approximately 600g of protein. Any more increases in my appetite (which means my metabolism is really kicking into gear) and I increase my carbs in 50g increments. I will reach my highest carb intake approximately six weeks out from the show.

This is the worst part of the diet because it is when I am the strongest and eating the most food. However, after six weeks, I start dropping 50g of carbs every few days until I reach a total intake of 50g of carbs daily.

I get really hard and dry by this method, but tired as hell. Being tired is just one of the pitfalls of competing. All of your hard work and suffering is made worthwhile when you step on stage hard, dry, and ripped to shreds."

Typical Schedule

Weeks 18-14

    Protein: 350g meat (chicken initially, but beef and fish later on)
    Carbs: 250g carbs (yams & oatmeal, no steamed white rice as the moisture content can vary from batch to batch)
    Fat: None added
    Vegetables: Round off my diet

Weeks 13-9

    Protein: 475g meat (chicken, top sirloin, protein shakes)
    Carbs: 350g carbs (yams & oatmeal)
    Fat: none added

Weeks 8-4

Protein: 550-600g meat (chicken, top sirloin, protein shakes)
Carbs: 500g carbs (yams & oatmeal)
Fat: none added

Weeks 3-1

    Protein: 500g meat (chicken, beef, protein shakes)
    Carbs: 50-400g (yams & oatmeal)
    Fat: none added

Typical Daily Diet

Total daily food intake during the first week:

    3 lb chicken (skinless, boneless breasts)
    2 protein shakes (Specialized Protein For Gainers)
    1 cup oatmeal
    1 lb yams
    2 bags of premixed salad greens (dry)
    12 oz frozen green beans
    Crystal Lite or Diet Coke (unlimited)

Total daily food intake during the last week:

    5 lb chicken breasts
    2 lb top sirloin
    8 oz yams
    3 bags premixed salad greens
    1 gallon of water

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Thanks,

Hardcore Pre-Contest Diets!

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