That's the million dollar question. Trial and error is usually the best answer but with that comes a lot of disappointment and heartache. I know the routine: "But I looked so good two days ago before I depleted my carbs and now I look like shit for the show... I'm flat. I been busting my ass for all these weeks and I blew it." Believe me, we've all been there. Well even though it's a tough and costly lesson, it's really the only way to learn what works for you.
So you can listen to the gym "guru" who gets everybody in shape. You can listen to your training partner. Or you can even listen to the guy that competes and wins some shows. All this might help. But more times than not, it won't. These guys are going to tell you what works for them. And like I said before, you got to figure out what works for you. Trial and error.
The best advice I can give is this: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." In other words, if you're looking good and you like what you see, don't try to make it better and risk fucking yourself up. It ain't worth it for that little bit extra. If you're behind and you need to catch up, lower your carbs and increase your cardio to get tighter. If your holding water, cut back on the sodium and drop your carbs a bit. Got it? The following is a very simple diet for the last couple of weeks.
Now, let me emphasize this again. This is not a one-size-fits-all diet. I'm not saying this is perfect and will work for everyone. Use it as a basic guide. Tailor it to your specific needs, and if something doesn't work for you, change it.
Meal 1: 10 egg whites, 1 cup oats
Meal 2: 8-10 oz. steak, 1 medium sweet potato
Meal 3: 8-10 oz. chicken
Meal 4: 7 oz. tuna, half cup rice
Meal 5: 8 oz steak, half sweet potato
Meal 6: 10 egg whites
Meal 7: protein shake
In addition to the above, eat all the salads you want and eat all the dark green veggies you can handle. You don't need to be fancy here. You don't need all the technical bullshit. Dieting isn't brain surgery. And I am not trying to impress anyone with my in depth knowledge of nutrition. I'm just trying to lay down a basic guide that I know works. It has been used time and time again. When you get more advanced, you have to fine tune this diet. Carbs is one thing you'll have to think about.
The Last Few Days:
The last few days before your show, you'll need to adjust your carbs if you need to or want to deplete and load up. This can become tricky as far as timing goes. You need to adjust your sodium intake as well as your water intake in the last week, to get that sharp, shredded onion-think skin look that we all want. So with that in mind, let's talk about the last week.
Let's say your show is on a Saturday and you have been using something similar to the diet I outlined above. You feel that you're holding water and you're not quite satisfied with your condition. So you decide that you're going to deplete carbs in an attempt to sharpen up and dry out. Well this is how I suggest you go about doing that.
First things first. Monday, eat your normal amount of carbs. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, eat zero carbs. Important note here: You need to continue to eat lots of salads and green veggies, otherwise you may become constipated from all the protein and lack of fiber. Trust me, the last thing you want is to be bloated in your belly and have to step on stage, so eat the salads and veggies.
You will also need to drink large volumes of water on the low carb days in order to flush out your body. Also, water can help keep you feeling full so you won't feel as though you're starving to death. Try to drink at least a gallon of water on these days. If you can handle more without straining, then do so.
Replace the last egg white meal with chicken or fresh fish to cut back on your sodium. However, you'll want to eat your usual 10 eggs for breakfast. You need to have about 500 mg. of sodium to keep the muscle and mineral balance in check so you can achieve your pump and stay full. Now that you have depleted for the 3 days, you need to load back up for the remainder of about 30 hours or so before your show.
Again this is just a guide and you may need to change things up. While you may need to eat more or less carbs for your body, you'll need to start somewhere. And as I said, this usually works. Loading will start at breakfast on Friday.
Meal 1: 10 whites, 1 medium yam
Meal 2: 8 oz. steak, 1 medium yam
Meal 3: 8 oz. steak, 1 medium yam
Meal 4: 8 oz. fresh fish, 1 white potato
Meal 5: 8 oz fresh fish, 1 white potato
If you feel you need more food, then you can have it. If you're full and you don't want to eat anymore, then you don't have to.
Your water intake should drop to about three or four 8 oz glasses. If your not thirsty, then don't drink. Don't force it. It's OK to drink less. Go to bed. You will be up half the night in the bathroom, pissing. You won't be sleeping anyway cause you'll be checking yourself out all night, hoping that you look good, hoping that you'll be peaking for the show.
Saturday morning, have a light breakfast. Don't eat too heavy or you'll get gas or have that belly sticking out. Drink very little water at breakfast. You will get to drink later, at prejudging, cause you will be thirsty. I guarantee it. If you want to bring some jam to prejudging and have a few teaspoons while you're waiting, that's usually cool.
Some guys can't have simple sugar though because it will cause their insulin levels to spike and they will smooth out. So you need to find out if you're one of those people. That is pretty much it. Try and see if it works for you. Remember this: trial and error. Take this basic diet and adjust it to fit your needs and your body. Good luck with the show. And remember to try and enjoy it.
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