Competing in a professional bodybuilding contest has to be an extremely demanding pursuit. Just getting a pro card takes amazing courage and determination. Competing at this level requires even greater sacrifices, as the competition is tough and the good and the great are often separated by the slimmest of margins.
Ever wonder exactly what a professional bodybuilder does as they work their way to the top, what sacrifices they make to compete among the best in the world? The following will provide an exclusive look at this very process, as IFBB pro, Wong Hong, takes us through all aspects of his bodybuilding schedule as he prepares for the Australian Pro show in March.
Follow Wong over the next few weeks as he embarks on a quest to be among the best in the business. In this, the first of three installments, Wong, who last competed at the Toronto Pro in 2004, provides the exact training program and diet he has used to achieve his best ever conditioning. In his own words, Wong shares his highs and lows, along with insights into all aspects of his Australian Pro, pre-competition preparation.
Target: The Australian Pro.
I started my preparation 12 weeks out this time around. Ali Amini, my nutritionist, advised me to start two weeks earlier since I have not competed for almost three years (my last pro show was the Toronto Pro in June 2004). By doing so, this would give me more time to diet slow and steady so that I do not lose too much hard-earned muscle, too fast. To be exact, I started my diet for the IFBB Australian Pro Grand Prix on 15th December 2006.
The Clock Is Ticking, How Do I Look?
At this point - five weeks out - I weigh around 105kg (231 lbs). I do not measure body fat percentage because bodybuilding is a subjective sport. The winners do not necessarily have the lowest percentage of body fat. I always go by the mirror to judge my progress. I think I look very good this far out. I am on the right track so far and am happy with my current condition and size.
I am going to train heavy all the way to the show. For my previous shows, I was training way too light and the result was that I lost too much muscle mass before the day of the show. This time I will be considerably larger onstage.
Most of my sets (10-12 sets for smaller muscles and 18-20 sets for larger muscle groups) are performed with low reps 8-10 and I throw in a couple of sets (three or four) of cable movements as a finishing way to pump the muscles, to bring out the striations of each muscle group. The exact routine I am using for the Australian Pro is as follows:
Training Split: Three Days On, One Off.
- Day 1: chest, biceps and abs - Click Here For A Printable Log.
- Day 2: back, triceps and calves - Click Here For A Printable Log.
- Day 3: shoulders, legs and abs - Click Here For A Printable Log.
- Day 4: rest day
- Day 5: repeat day 1
- Day 6: repeat day 2
- Day 7: repeat day 3
Cardio: twice a day for 30-45 minutes each session.
- Bench press 3 X 8-10
- Incline dumbbell press 3 X 8-10
- Incline flies 3 X 8-10
- Dips (with 45lbs plate hanging attached) 3 X 8-10
- Dumbbell pullovers 3 X 8-10
- Cable cross over 3 X 20
- Barbell curls 3 X 8-10
- Alternate dumbbell curls 3 X 8-10
- Concentration curls 3 X 8-10
- One arm cable curls 3 X 20
- Rope pushdown 3 X 8-10
- Skull crushers 3 X 8-10
- Close grip bench press 3 X 8-10
- Cable one arm kickback 3 X 20
- Lat pull downs (front) 3 X 8-10
To the back 3 X 8-10
With a reverse grip 3 X 8-10
- Seated Rows 3 X 8-10
- Hammer Strength High Rows 3 X 8-10
- One arm dumbbell rows 3 X 8-10
- Standing cable reverse flies 3 X 25
- Deadlifts 3 X 6-8
- Military press 3 X 8-10
- Arnold Press 3 X 8-10
- Side laterals 3 X 8-10
- Upright rows 3 X 8-10
- Bent over flyes 3 x 8-10
- Shrugs 3 x 8-10
- Cable one arm side laterals 2 X 20
- Leg extension 3 X 8-10
- Hack squats 3 X 8-10
- Leg press 3 X 8-10
- Walking lunges 3 X 40 feet
- Lying leg curls 3 X 8-10
- Seated leg curls 3 X 8-10
- Stiff leg deadlift 3 X 8-10
How Does A Pro Feel This Far Out?
Physically I am feeling great and my energy is at its highest, just like when I was in my early 20's. My body is responding very well to my pre contest training and dieting. Mentally I am very strong because I have something to prove to myself: that I can still compete at the highest level after taking three years off.
Also, I am full of confidence going into this show because I know I have what it takes to do well in bodybuilding. I have never trained and dieted this hard in my life and after working with Ali Amini, I can see that my physique has never looked this good at this point in time. I am going to come in bigger, more conditioned and more symmetrical than ever.
Why The Australian Pro?
My reasoning behind wanting to compete in the Australian Pro is that I want to be judged by different people. I think the USA judges tend to reward mass rather than symmetry. I have a physique with good symmetry, along with decent mass, and hopefully I will get what I deserve in Australia.
With Ali's help I have been eating more meals than usual (six per day) with two protein shakes. Also, I have been eating lower carbohydrates (moderately low about 100-120g per day) earlier this time around.
Exact Nutrition Plan:
- Cardio (1000)
- Meal 1 (1100)
60g Whey Isolate
- Meal 2 (1400)
1-cup of rice
- Train (1600)
- Meal 3 (1730)
300grams of Steak
1-cup of vegetables
- Meal 4 (1930)
300grams of Chicken
1/2 cup rice
- Meal 5 (2200)
300grams of White Fish
1 cup of vegetables
- Meal 6 (0000)
60g Whey Isolate
Compared to my last prep period, I am training heavier right up to the day of the show - as heavy as possible for 8-10 reps. I want to come in big and with deeper cuts.
As for nutrition, my main changes for this show involve eating more meals than usual: six meals with two protein shakes. Also I am eating moderately low carbohydrates (100-150g a day as mentioned) 10 weeks out, as opposed to six weeks out for my last pro show.
It is hard training for a pro show while juggling business. It all comes down to how I organise my time. Thank God I have good, reliable staff working for me at my gym, and personal training clients who are considerate - sometimes they train around my schedule.
It is not easy because by the end of each day I am drained and exhausted. I can overcome this because my mind is very strong and focused and whenever I do something I will give my best.
The Man Is No Island
As I have mentioned, Ali Amini, who is a well-known nutritionist from the Middle East, is helping me with my supplements and diet for this show. This is the first time I have worked with him and he knows what he is doing.
My friend and sponsor Datuk Noorazmin, who is a chairman for a large local company, has also helped me immensely. His company is covering the cost for all my supplements, food, airfares, and accommodation for my contests around the world.
Will You Win?
My goal is to place in the top six. I know it is an uphill task for me to make the winners circle, as I have not competed for almost three years and many top names are doing the show as well. But I know I will be competitive. This is because I have good symmetry with a small waist and decent size, and I pose well. I always come in shape for my shows. Look out Australia!
What Do You Have To Offer & How Will You Stack Up?
I want to impress the judges with my new package, which will have more size, even better symmetry, great proportion and excellent conditioning. Balance is the key in with my physique and I want to accentuate that in my posing routine also. As far as measuring up, I heard that Dexter Jackson, Toney Freeman and Markus Ruhl are doing the show. Well, they are great, seasoned bodybuilders and I will just try my best to be compared with them.
I started practising my posing routine last week (six weeks out). I am doing 30 minutes, which includes the seven compulsories as well as my free posing routine, everyday. I do not have the whole routine figured out yet, but all I can say is it is fluid and interesting, with an emphasis on artistic poses to show my symmetry and proportions.
This year I would like to do the Montreal Pro in September and definitely the European Grand Prix shows after the Big O.
I would like to win the Mr. Olympia some day and be successful in bodybuilding and fitness long term. God willing I would like to be an Asian ambassador for the sport of bodybuilding.
Note: be sure to check back four weeks for Wong's final week report.